Tag Archives: vegetarian

Of Celery and Stock and Lentils…

Celery Gratin Prep

Last week I made a celery gratin and a lentil salad side dish to go with it. I also cooked some tiny chorizo sausages that Brian had bought as they needed using up, so it wasn’t in the end a vegetarian meal, but it was meant to be. Good intentions eh?

For the celery gratin I followed the method in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book on Vegetable cooking. I do have lots of cook books and after writing the last post I realise I am maybe not using them properly, so by writing the post it prompted me to open my books!

You bake the celery covered in foil with aromatics and a little butter.  In this case, I used bay leaf and thyme, both from my garden. Once baked and tender, I followed the recipe to make a sauce from the liquid exuded from the celery and a little cream and sprinkled the top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated hard cheese, such as parmesan and then put it back under the grill to bake and go an inviting golden crispy colour.  I found it a little bland so if I was going to make it again I would maybe add some other vegetables into the mix, but it was good to do something I wouldn’t normally do and see how it came out.

Uncooked Le Puy Lentils

I am on much more familiar ground with cooking lentils. One of my favourites, and I suspect that of many other people too, are the Le Puy lentils which hold their shape when they are cooked and have a wonderful earthy nutty flavour.

Home made vegetable stock

I boiled the lentils briefly first, before covering them in home made vegetable stock, the recycled bay leaf, (I have a whole shrub of it in the garden but I was feeling lazy)  parsley stalks and a couple of cloves of garlic. For the vegetable stock I used the leaf and off cuts from the celery dish, some ageing carrots, parsley and an onion.

Cooking Lentils

Once the lentils had cooked, I drained them and dressed them while warm with a little balsamic vinegar and oil and then added some cubes of yellow beetroot, cooked the day before, some feta cheese, some little tomatoes, spring (salad) onions and some basil and salad leaves.

Together with another bowl of salad leaves and some pita bread popped in the toaster direct from the freezer this was a happy meal which we shared with our lovely neighbour last week.

These sorts of dishes are really adaptable to using up small quantities of salad veggies and bits of cheese that you need to use up. They are colourful, a healthy mix of food types, and they store well in the fridge once mixed, good for lunch boxes too!

Le Puy Lentil Salad

Falafel with Fava Beans and Chickpeas

Fava bean falafel

This is my small contribution to the falafel making discussions.  I have till now, only ever either made a packet mix one or bought someone else’s and re-heated them.  I have read many posts and people saying sadly that their falafel fell apart and what was the secret, so I have been reading and asking a little and Lynne has been making them too and I think between us we are establishing some clues…. Continue reading

Potato Masala Dosa with Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic LeavesIn the woods the wild garlic is growing once again and we picked some the other day making delicious pesto with it. We had pasta with mushrooms and garlic pesto, and then used up the leftovers in a yellow pea soup  one lunchtime.

Today I collected another handful and added it to the mix for the spicy potato masala for my second attempt at scratch making dosas. I spent a wonderful day recently with Gill the Painter in her kitchen and we made dosa together as it was pancake day. Gill is an expert cook as some of you probably know!

I came home full of enthusiasm and motivation and rooted around in my garage and found much to my surprise that I had most of the ingredients sitting in a box.  Last year I had a conversation with Max Artist, (who has an alter ego called Max Cake Baker and Caterer)  about dosa making and he had recommended Vahchef’s YouTube videos. I remember watching them and I must have gone out and bought the dals, and then…ahem… not done it. Maybe I got distracted, who knows?

Dosa is a name that covers a whole range of pan cooked goodies made from a fermented batter.  There are thin crispy ones  – some completely enormous and shaped like cones or fans called paper dosa – then there are lacy ones with chunks of onions – rava dosa – thick soft ones – kerala dosa,  dosa made with rice, with lentils or dal, and ones made with wheat. There are green dosa, there are dosa eaten with fresh coconut chutney, with sambal, with mutton curry. Getting hungry yet?

They are a staple in southern India, eaten at home for breakfast and for supper,  and they are just great! For the recipes and instructions read on…

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