sobrique: (Default)
Walnuts (100g)
Cashews (100g)
Some stilton
Some cheddar (waitrose No. 4)

Half a leek
An onion.
Some sunflower oil
A handful of white rice.

Cooks the rice, and then leave it to cool.

Chop the leeks and onions, and then fry them until they soften.

Modge the walnuts, cashews, cheddar and stilton together. I said 'some', I'd guess it was about 50g of each.
Anyway, modge with a hand blender, until it's not lumpy.

Stir the rice, leeks and onions into the walnut/cheese paste.
Pour it into a lined bread tin, and cover with some foil (poke a couple of holes in the foil so the moisture can vent).
Cook in an oven at around 180 degrees, for about an hour and a half - you may want to uncover it for the last 20 minutes or so, so it crisps up a little.

Served up with:
Some roasted roots (potato, sweet potato, parsnip)
Some boiled veg.

And some gravy (dried granules, but with a generous slug of port - really did help, as it offset the 'cheesyness' quite nicely).

Worked quite nicely as a roast dinner, and the leftovers also made good sandwiches. (Especially with the addition of a slice of cheese and some toasted nuts).

Leeks and onions were because they sweeten and add moisture to the mix. I think some chopped red pepper would also make a reasonable addition, and maybe some larger pieces of nut, or raisins.
And yorkshire puddings, because every meal is improved by yorkshire puds.


Sep. 27th, 2010 10:15 pm
sobrique: (Default)
So, on some cookery program on the bunkum box earlier, was crique ardechoise.
It's a potato pancake, sort of:

I guess a bit like a seasoned hash brown.

I think I might have to have a go at this.
sobrique: (Default)
It's an omlette, with potatoes and onions, and whatever you feel like adding.
Attempt was:
2 Desiree potatoes.
A red onion.
A brown onion.
Some 'mixed herbs'.
Some pepper.
6 eggs.
Olive oil.

Heat the oil, cook potato and onion in the frying pan. This will take about half an hour, as you need to do it on a low heat, and ideally over it. I used a wok that was knocking around, but I think I'll have to think about how to accomplish this better, as it wasn't _quite_ right.
Sprinkle occasionally with the mixed herbs - they should stick with the oil.

Whilst it's cooking, beat the eggs, and stir in a some pepper. A teaspoon or so seems to have been about right.

Be patient, and wait for the potatoes to soften - this does seem to take forever. It needs to be on a low heat because it takes a long time - other wise you will get burnyness, and that's considered a bad thing.

Once potatos are soft, pour in the egg, leave it to cook a little without stirring overly, until it looks like you've got a moderate 'layer' of egg starting to form. Then use a spatula or wooden spoon to shape it into a sort of whoopee-cushion shape. (inflated).
You'll probably need to do this a couple of times, as the first few it'll 'leak'. But that's ok. You're trying to 'fold' the egg over the potato and onion in the middle.
After it looks like it's about cooked (if you wiggle it, there are no runny bits), then you need to flip it over.
Unlike a pancake, tossing an omlette is not recommended. Use a plate - or two - to turn it over. (Tip out onto plate. Put other plate on top. Turn over. Put back in pan).
You'll need to do this a couple of times, and this might be a good time to apply a little seasoning. I put a bit of pepper on it, and it seemed to work.

Then cut up and serve - works either hot, warm or cold. If serving cold, don't forget to refrigerate it.
sobrique: (Default)
Last night's attempt at chilli salt and pepper tofu worked beautifully.
I'm not quite sure how, but I got an ever so slightly caramely coating.

I think it was partly down to freezing the tofu first - heartily recommend that by the way, it makes a lot of difference to the texture. Freeze it, thaw it, press it.

When frying, cook it almost entirely before mixing with the veg.
Cook the veg separately, and stir in just long enough to get the tofu 'coated'.
Add soy (3 shooks) and repeat.

Worked nice.

Anyway, the chinese supermarket in town, has oodles of fascinating and strange things, which I'm sure make perfect sense if you know what you're doing with them.
But mostly they had a sushi mat, some seaweed, and all the other ingredients I could need.

Which is nice.
sobrique: (Default)
Been retrying this most of this week.
Have concluded that:
Pressed tofu is better than un-pressed. It's not obvious on inspection, but it does make a lot of different to the texture.

Step 1: Press the tofu. Wrap in about 6 pieces of kitchen towel, sandwich between two plates, put something heavy ish (I used the bottle of olive oil) on top.
Leave for about an hour.

You want about:
1 tsp pepper, 1tsp salt, half tsp chilli, 3 tblspsn cornflour. Mix well.

Chop 1 pepper (2 halves is what I've been using).
1 red onion, one brown onion
About half a chilli (optional)
3 cloves of garlic - crush.
Chop 'em into chunks, not slices or rings - it works better that way. Imagine them being approximately the same size as the tofu cubes, and it seems to go quite nicely.

Once tofu is pressed - chop into cubes - mouthful sized is good.
Break apart any bits that seem to be sticking, and dump in the cornflour mixture, and stir until no more seems to be sticking.

Fry your tofu cubes (I used olive oil, it works nicely), until they start to go crispy. This'll take a few minutes. You'll need to 'turn' them, as they're quite prone to not flipping over, and getting cooked on all sides. But they'll brown up nicely after a while. Watch the pan doesn't dry out though, as they will be absorbing some oil.
Once they're mostly cooked, they'll have a fairly browny-golden colour, and be crispy.

Move them out of the pan, and onto a plate or a bowl or something.

Put your veg in the pan. Chilli and garlic first, leave to fry a bit.
Onions next.
Peppers last.

Peppers IMO need less time on the heat to cook 'enough' so they go in last. Add a bit of oil if you need, but try to keep this to a minimum - your tofu is already fairly oily.

Once they're looking about ready, stir in the tofu again, mix well until the tofu is properly coated with juices from the veg, and leave to sizzle a minute or two.

Add a splash or two of soy sauce, and then stir well - you'll see the tofu cubes start to change colour, and after about another minute or two, it's ready.
Dish up, and enjoy.

Standalone, I could eat this much as a good meal, but as before, I suspect it'll work quite well accompanied by rice or noodles.

Tomorrow I shall try again with some frozen tofu, to see what texture that gives me.

Anyway, the next thing I started to think about, was making sushi.
Been thinking about this for a while, and there was some cookery program on in the gym, where they did exactly that.
Looks fairly easy too:



8 sheets of Nori seaweed
600g Japanese short-grain rice
100ml rice wine vinegar
50g caster sugar
200g salmon fillet
100g tuna fillet
1 cucumber
1 pickled Dakon radish
1 tube Wasabi
1 avocado
6 spring onions
Juice of 1 lemon
100ml Japanese soy sauce
Jar salmon eggs, or lumpfish caviar

For the preserved ginger:
1 large piece of root ginger
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbs sugar


Start with preserving ginger. Peel it and slice it as finely as you possible can preferably using a mandoline or even a potato peeler. Put it into a colander with a generous sprinkling of salt and cover it with a weighted plate. Leave it for a couple of hours, then rinse off the salt. Put it into a bowl and mix in the vinegar and sugar.

To prepare the rice it should be soaked in plenty of cold water for half an hour then rinsed and drained. Put it into a large saucepan with about 750ml or water and bring it to the boil. Let it simmer, covered, for 10 minutes then remove it from the heat and leave it for a further 15-20 minutes without removing the lid.

Meanwhile warm the vinegar enough to melt the sugar, add two teaspoonfuls of salt and allow that liquid to cool. When everything has nearly reached room temperature, put the rice into a bowl and sprinkle on the liquid. To help it cool quickly, lift and toss it with a wooden spoon and fan it as it loses heat until it is glossy. It will also be sticky, so prepare a bowl of cold water into which you can dip your fingers if they get gluey while you work on it.

While the rice is cooking, prepare some fillings. Cut half the salmon and half the tuna into narrow strips Do the same to the radish, the peeled avocado and the spring onions. Peel the cucumber and cut that into strips too, discarding the seeds.

To assemble the little rolls. Spread a sheet of Nori on top of the bamboo mat. Spread some of the rice over the Nori until it covers three quarters of it, being careful not to make it too thick (no more than 1cm thick). Dampen the edge of the exposed Nori with a few drops of cold water, which will help it to stick. Dot the rice sparingly with Wasabi, take care as it has a powerful taste, then put an arrangement of salmon and cucumber across the middle of the rice and, holding it steady with one hand, use the other to roll up the mat, lifting it so that it doesn’t get caught. It should stick together in a neat roll. When you want to serve it, cut it with a wet, sharp knife into bite-sized pieces.

Use up the other strips you have cut, in any combinations you like, with more rice. Your aim is to have enough rice left to make Nigiri Sushi from the remaining fish. You do this by slicing it into small rectangles. Dot each with Wasabi then take a walnut sized spoonful of rice into the palm of your hand and press it into the same shape as the fish. Put the fish on top. Another trick is to make a small patty of rice, the shape of a tiny hamburger, and wall it in with a piece of Nori leaving space above the rice which you can fill with salmon eggs, caviar or fish.

Serve the various Sushi on big plates, accompanied by the ginger and a little bowl of soy sauce."

I shall have a think. It seems to have quite a bit of potential for veggie or non veggie options alike.
sobrique: (Default)
OK, so having done it like the man said, I decided to have a go my way.

Wasn't happy with the flavour, and whilst I liked the crispy, it was too crispy.

So I started off with the cornflour, but this time stirred the salt, pepper and some chilli powder into it.
Coated the tofu as before, and fried again. This time, not so long, - just enough to have it starting to feel 'hard' in the pan.
Fished it out, cooked the veg - this time, onion, red onion, couple of shallots and a yellow pepper.

Then put it back in, stirred around a bit more. Added some soy, and dished it.
Worked quite nicely. Needed just a little longer cooking I think, but that's about it.
sobrique: (Default)
So, following on from my previous post, I thought I'd make a try at chilli salt and pepper tofu.

Started off with:
Some shallots (4)
A pepper.
3 cloves of garlic.
Cornflour. (3 heaped tblspn)
Some black pepper. (1/4 tsp)
Some salt. (1 tsp)
Brown sugar ( 1/2tsp)
Some chilli sauce of doom.

So what you do is:
Press the tofu first - I wrapped it in some kitchen towel, and put a plate and a bottle of oil on it.

Preparation was by chopping up the ingredients - garlic, some shallots and a pepper. Would have done with a chilli as well, but I opted for some chilli sauce instead.

Coat the tofu in cornflour like so:

Took a bit of effort this - the bowl i was used worked, but was too small really.
But once done, fish out the tofu and season it - sprinkle the pepper, salt and brown sugar over it.

Then, fry it up in the pan for a bit - until it starts looking a bit golden, and then mix in the chilli and garlic.
I didn't use enough of the chilli - I was worried about the sauce, because it _is_ very strong, but it turned out that it didn't really make it's way into the flavours.

Take it out of the pan, and back into a bowl or similar, to make way for the pepper and onion (shallots). Fry these until they start to soften. Put the tofu back in, and continue to stir for a few more minutes.
Then splash in some soy sauce, and fry a little more.

End result looks a bit like:

The tofu was crispy on the outside, which I liked, and the pepper/shallots went well. I don't think the pepper, garlic and chilli really 'took hold' the right way though - you really couldn't taste 'em. I think I'd have to go with mixing the pepper, salt and brown sugar into the cornflour before coating the tofu cubes with it.
And maybe putting the chilli and garlic into the pan first, not last.
Even so, turned out quite well I think - right idea, just needs a bit more work on the flavour.
sobrique: (Default)
So, bit of recipe theorycrafting.
Current constraints for culinary creativity:
No Spinach
Minimizing Dairy and Wheat as much as possible.

So I'm thinking about a new idea. I tend to go for something in one or two parts, because then getting timings right is less of a problem.
I also tend to go for things that are continuously cooked - I'm not good on put something in the oven for an hour type dishes.

So I was thinking:
Mole sauce - mexican, chocolate and chilli based sauce, that's often used with chicken. Would probably work with tofu instead, on a bed of rice. (Suggestions also include enchiladas).

Chicken Mole
Tofu Mole

Anyway, ingredients list is quite long, but looking at it's mostly looking like vegetable broth, chocolate and chillis, along with a few onions and tomatos, and a bunch of spices.
Not sure how strong the need for a food processor is though, so it might bear a bit of experimentation. I'm not hugely a fan of liquidizing my food anyway.

As for the rice, I daresay just 'plain boiled' rice will work.
I'm getting there with fried rice - recent iterations have been quite promising - and did a test run with lemongrass rice.

Fried rice the trick seems to be:
Rinse the rice in a colander to get rid of any loose starch.
Cook the rice mostly first (cook to the undercooked side rather than overcooked), with a bit of oil in the pan - the oil will bind the starch, and stop the rice getting 'sticky'.
Then, when you're done, offload the rice into a colander, and rinse it again (yes, this does mean the rice goes cold).

The rest of the fried rice recipe can be found here.

Lemongrass/lemon rice is another one I tried.

Two sticks of lemongrass - one you cook in with the rice, one you chop finely, fry and stir into the rice.
First one you're looking to 'bruise' with e.g. a pestel and mortar, or crush it under a rolling pin. Do this thoroughly, but not to the point where it disintegrates (you will be fishing it out later :).
Put it in the boiling water with the rice as you're cooking it, and you'll get a delicate lemony flavour to it. Add oil to the rice or not as you see fit - it's a bit more sticky, but that's not always a bad thing. Anyway, I suspect that if you 'boil' the lemongrass for a bit before adding the rice, then you might end up with a better result.

Second stick you chop _finely_. (It's called lemongrass for a reason) - strip the outer layer of the lemongrass, and remove the lower bulb and outer layers (e.g. much like you would on an onion).
Chop it up, and bruise it (again, pestle and mortar, rolling pin, something to crushinate it).
I then fried it like an onion (e.g. until it softens) and stirred the 'slightly lemony' rice into the frying pan.
It's rather stringy and grasslike, so it does need to be quite well cooked and in small pieces, but you'll have some rice that has a really quite pleasant lemon aftertaste to it.

Chilli salt and pepper tofu.
At the local noodlebar, my favourite dish is 'chilli salt and pepper pork chop, on fried udon noodles'. So I thought I'd see how it was done.

Again, cooking with vegetarians in mind, but the carnivores can quite easily use something else instead - the cooking is much the same.

Chilli, Salt and Pepper Tofu

* 1 package of firm tofu
* 3-4 tbsp cornflour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 1/2 tsp brown sugar
* 2 tbsp sesame oil
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 red chilli, sliced
* 1 pepper, sliced thinly
* 1 small bunch spring onions, sliced
* Soy sauce

1. Press the tofu by wrapping it in a towel and putting something heavy on it for about an hour.
2. Chop the tofu up into cubes. Add to a bowl of cornflour and toss until all the cubes are coated
3. Sprinkle the cubes with the salt, pepper and brown sugar
4. Heat the oil up in the pan and fry off the tofu until golden. After a few minutes add the chilli and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Tip into a bowl and put to one side.
5. Add a little more oil if you think you need it and fry up the pepper and spring onions. When soft add the tofu back in, splash with soy sauce and fry for a few more minutes before serving.

The suggestion on the site is to freeze and thaw the tofu before use, because that changes the texture. I may well try that, and see how it works.

Typically, served on noodles or rice. Or rice noodles, rather than wheat noodles.

I think there's room to add a few vegetable to this too - again, the favourite noodlebar serves with ... a few things, such as pak choi, depending on what's in season.
sobrique: (Default)
Still got some leftovers from christmas dinner? Bored with turkey sandwiches already?

I tried my second (well, third, kinda) pass at egg (vegetable/special/...) fried rice.

Ingredients were christmas leftovers. So some lamb, bacon, couple of bits of sausage, some onion, some beetroot, a bit of chopped lettuce, pepper (half a red, half a yellow) and would have been about half a chilli, if we hadn't had a toddler to feed. It would have probably included some turkey, if I weren't allergic to it, too :)

4 eggs were used, and a useful amount of olive oil.

About 250g of rice was ample to feed 5 adults and said toddler, along with the 'rest' of a brunch (so couple of sausages, some bacon). If you wanted the rice alone, you might want a little more - I think the bag recommended 75g per person.

Pre cook the rice the night before and leave to cool. I drained it, but didn't rinse it, and I should have done - it worked well enough, but I think it would have been better still if I'd rinsed the rest of the starch off.
Rice was boiled in the pan, but with a dash of olive oil in the water. Strained and drained, and put in a dish to chill out overnight. (Cover/refrigerate). I think it works best if you leave the rice with a minute or so of cooking left on the clock - so it's technically underdone, but just about cooked enough to eat, if you see what I mean - you're going to be cooking it more tomorrow, and that preserves the flavour and texture a little.

Other prep - which can also wait until the next day - is to whisk up the eggs. 1 per person seems about right - we used four, but five would have been fine. Whisk until it's a smooth and fluffy yellow slime, of an even consistency.

Ingredients for next day were fried up - meat first, as that's important to cook through, followed by stuff in order of how cooked I liked it, which was mostly onions first, then all the rest. Use plenty of oil, as you'll be cooking egg and rice in it as well. Either fry, or cover and 'steam' depending on exactly what it is you're cooking - I went for frying the bacon, lamb, onion (And would have done with chilli) until they started to soften, then mixing in the rest of the veg, covering the pan and leaving to steam for about 10 minutes. (Lower heat needed, you don't want burningness)
Wait until your veg is about ready to eat - but again, aim for the 'crispy/not quite done yet' side of cooked, as you've still a little longer to go. But should be hot, starting to soften, and ready to eat standalone.

Uncover, stir in rice so it's well mixed, turn up heat a bit, and wait for rice to start to turn a little bit brown (as in, actually starting to cook from the frying - it's already cooked from the boiling). Then make a little well in the middle, by scooping the rice/veg mix to the edges. Add a bit more oil if you need to - if it's starting to stick - and leave it to warm up a bit - and pour your egg into the middle. Leave it for a bit, so it starts to cook like you would an omlette - the longer you leave it, the larger your egg-lumps will be, which is a matter of taste. But you don't want it fully cooked before you start to stir.
Start stirring it into your rice mix, again whilst keeping the heat fairly high - egg cooks quite fast - a matter of a minute or so.

Total cooking time is about 20 minutes to half an hour. Beetroot is an interesting ingredient, as it'll make your rice go a pinkish colour. Not necessarily a bad thing, just ... be aware that's what'll happen.

All in all, I rather enjoyed it.
sobrique: (Default)
OK, so today's experiment was Masala Tofu with fried rice.
I even have pics, but am not that great at making them work, especially in bad light. So bear with me, and if they're too horrible for your eyes, ignore the pictures entirely.

For masala tofu you'll need yoghurt (natural, set) (a 500ml pot), garam masala spice, coriander, ginger, 2 onions, a bunch of spring onions, some chilli, some tofu.

And for the rice, an assortment of vegetables, some basmati rice, and some egg.

So, first step requires a bit of prep to marinade the tofu - ideally overnight in the fridge.
Chopped up some ingredients for the masala yoghurt - in this case half a red onion, half a green onion, 2 spring onions, half a chilli.
Shallow fried that in some rapeseed oil.

Then mixed that in, along with some ginger (a stump, grated) with the yoghurt in a mixing dish.

Take a lump of tofu, and cube it - cubes work, but they could do with being fairly small cubes - just about big enough to hold together, but with as much surface area as possible for the sauce to stick to. About the size of a fingertip I reckon. For anyone who's not seen/used tofu before, it looks a bit like:

Mix in with the masala yoghurt gets you something like:

Leave that in the fridge overnight.

And whilst you're at it, boil up some rice and leave it to cool - drain it off so it's not starchy, and it won't stick as much.

Next day, you come back to it - actually, you could probably do this same day, but I figure you need at least some time to dunk the tofu in the 'marinade'. And the rice should apparently ideally be 'cool'.

Anyway, with two frying pans on the go at once (which was fun I must say) you need to dump the yoghurty tofu into the pan, and fry it until it's 'dry'. The yoghurt mix will solidify and dry out, and coat the tofu as it does.

To do the rice, you need to start off by again, lightly frying the vegetables that are going in it. I used pepper, peas, chopped onion (red/green/spring) the other half a chilli. I was going to do some beansprouts and maybe some carrot too, but misjudged the available space.

Whilst that's starting, crack some eggs into a jug, pick out the stringy bits, and then beat them with a fork, until you have an even consistency of 'yellow goo'.

Leave that to fry until it starts to soften, but not until it's mush. Then pour in some rice - I used a '4 spoons from the pan' approach, to get about the right amount - and stir the rice in with the vegetables. After about 3-5 minutes, and the rice starting to brown, add in the egg - I used 3 eggs, but that was probably a little too much for the quantity of rice - well, it made it more eggy that I'd imagined, but ... I didn't mind that overly.

Anyway, when deploying the egg, try pouring it 'apart' from the rice/vegetables, so it gets a chance to cook a bit first - depends what consistency of egg lump you want, but if you 'pre cook' and break it up, you get lumps, where if you stir it in direct you get ... well, more of a rice/omelet cross.

Anyway, it ends up looking a bit like:

I quite liked it, because I got to cook the vegetables lightly so they kept some flavour and texture to them.
The original plan was to feed this all to a guest, but illness meant that didn't work out. Which was a little disappointing, but hey, at least I have some spare rice to have another try tomorrow.
sobrique: (Default)
OK, so the first pass was a yoghurt, with some chopped stuff in it, and some garam masala powder.

Where stuff is some chilli, spring onion and some coriander.

Haven't had a go at rice, because I've run out of time.
But anyway, yoghurt was poured over sliced tofu, and left to marinade for a an hour or so.

then it was all dumped in a frying pan, with a measure of oil, and left to sizzle away until the gooey yogurty ness stopped being gooey and started being more like a batter like coating on the tofu.

I'm broadly quite pleased with how it's turned out. Could probably use a bit more ginger, and maybe a bit less chilli - it's 'warm' by my standards, so a bit too strong for some tastes.

A pack of tofu was used, and that's actually a useful amount. I'm just eating this, but I think it'd serve 2-4 with accompaniments.

Oh, and the yoghurt - I used basically all of a pot of greek style natural yoghurt. It was a bit on the thick side, and wasn't what I'd intended to buy, but I think it actually worked - the recipe also recommended draining off the 'marinade' before cooking it, but I quickly noticed that draining the tofu actually ended up leaving it looking rather white and ... tofu looking - the sauce didn't adhere very well.

So I ended up actually frying up the whole lot in the pan, until the sauce had reduced down.

Oh, and also I should cube rather than slice the tofu - slices worked well to pick up the flavour, but were too thin really, and fell apart a bit. Slightly thicker cubes would have done better I think.
Still not sure if a thinner yoghurt would have worked better though.
sobrique: (Default)
OK, so I'm thinking about more cooking experiments. I'm aiming for somewhere shy of actually killing the person I'm cooking for, and I'll count that as a victory. But y'know, a bonus if they're actually enjoying it.

I'm thinking that I'd try an adapt a masala fish recipe, to do 'masala spice tofu', with a fried rice of some kind.

Pilfering from: or something similar, to mix up a 'masala sauce' to marinade some tofu in, then pan fry it.

And then use something like:
Maybe adapting to include some other vegetables. Peas, Carrot, pepper, maybe some red onion.

There seems to be a bit of debate as to which bit you cook first though:

E.g. do you fry the egg and stir in the rice, or fry the rice and stir in the egg. I suspect I'll go with the latter, as I think that'll make the egg more subtle.

Anyway, was wondering if anyone had experience of doing something like this, and had any useful suggestions? (This one, unfortunately, violates my 'simple cooking' rule of - 'can be prepared in an hour or less' since you need to prepare/marinade beforehand.)
Specifically, can you just 'lightly fry' tofu for ~10 minutes and have it cook, or are you better off cooking it before hand? Fish cooks quick, and that's what I'm trying to adapt.

Edit: And actually this looks rather promising:
sobrique: (Default)
Whilst at Whitby, I had an occasion to try and put together a 'dish' rather than a more conventional 'some stuff cooked together'.

On this occasion, it was a risotto. Went something like (and please bear in mind that this is 'from memory' so treat accordingly). Serves two but probably four if you just want a 'side portion':
most of a bag of risotto rice (around 400g I think)
Half a red pepper
half an orange pepper
Half an onion
A nice fat carrot.
A chunk of mild-ish cheddar. (Depends on taste and strength of cheese. Assume about the amount you might put in a sandwich. I happen to like cheese quite a lot. I think the actual recipe I was actually using for guidelines suggested a fairly hard cheese, Parmesan style. )
A chunk of mild-ish goats cheese.
2 vegetable stock cubes dissolved in about a pint of hot water.
Some cashew nuts (couple of handfuls)
Enough oil to lightly cover the base of the pan.

And some wine (white, a Chablis). I say 'some wine' because some was used in cooking, and the rest was used in drinking.

Chop peppers, onion, carrot, mushroom quite fine (matter of taste, but I get along much better with mushroom if I can't identify it's existence) small ish cubes, but it doesn't matter too much. You can probably include meat if you're so inclined - you'll need to chop that too into fairly small pieces (bear in mind this is going to be a somewhat sticky rice dish)

Heat the oil (you can tell it's hot, it starts to smoke)

Fry the vegetables (if you're doing meat, do that first, as it's important to cook that through properly) in the oil. (Careful though, if your oil is to hot it'll sizzle, as the vegetables contain quite a bit of water) lightly - enough the the onion starts to go transparent.

Stir in the rice, and get it nicely mixed in with the oil and vegetables, and let that sizzle a bit - about 3-5 minutes.
Then stir in the vegetable stock (if feeding meat eaters, you can use a meat stock should you wish, but I think this actually worked out better).

It'll be juicy and wet, but adjust the temperature so it simmers, rather than boils. You want the water to 'reduce down' to leave you with something that's moist but not runny.
And leave it for a bit - probably about 15-20 minutes, or until it seems to be getting a bit dry.

Pour in a slosh of wine (yes, that's the technical term. All in I think I used about a pint, in about 3 doses) and stir it in. Check and stir every few minutes, and add more wine as you feel the need. (e.g. when it goes dryish - you can tell by the sound it makes when it's cooking).

And carry on until it's about 40-45 minutes total cooking time. When you're nearly ready to dish up, stir in the cheese and the cashews, and leave them on the heat just long enough to stir them in.

Then serve, along with a glass of that white wine you were using to cook with...

Could pretty easily use different vegetables, were you so inclined. Or possibly meat - well chopped beef or bacon, perhaps some prawn might work well.

I'm currently thinking of two upcoming experiments - first is in the form of goats cheese and onion 'something' I'm thinking a savory tart of some kind.

Second in the nearer future is 'something' with tofu. Thinking seasoned/pan-fried tofu, served with a fried rice of some kind.


Oct. 13th, 2009 10:52 pm
sobrique: (Default)
So, tonight I cooked something in that kitchen for the first time ... well, in quite some time. Unless you count toasties as 'cooking', which is a bit of a stretch.

Vegetarian sausage and mash:
A handful of desiree potatos, some butter, some cream.
A bit of cheese.
And some chopped up slices of veggie bacon.

Sausages were some cumberland, and also some cheese and tomato.

Was topped off with some sauce stuff that came in a packet, for sausage casserole. (But not the other sausage casserole sauce, which whilst it looked nice, also included worcestershire sauce, which is not vegetarian).

Veggie bacon is bacon flavour soy protein stuff. It's ok, but ... wasn't overly enthused - mostly because unlike 'real' bacon, it didn't have any juice to flavour mashed potato with. So anyway. It's like fake bacon, therefore I figure I'll refer to it henceforth as 'facon'.

Anyway, the cheese ... don't think I used enough. Or maybe I just shouldn't have bothered, and gone with garlic or chives or something.

Sausage wise... I have to say I find the 'not even trying to pretend to be meat' sausages more satisfactory - maybe it's just my perspective is odd, but ... I found the cheese and tomato sausages to be 'better' than the 'almost cumberland sausages, but vegetarian'.

Anyway, figure it mostly worked. Sausages were a bit overcooked (protip - meat sausages are much juicier, and much more important to 'cook through'. Vegetarian sausages are pretty much cooked already.).

And finished it off with a sainsburies new york vanilla cheesecake, which was just too sweet.

I have to say, you can do a decent dish that's vegetarian, it's just ... almost no where seems to bother. Speaking for myself, I find a dish that's made with meat as a central concept just doesn't work as well if you take the meat out and put in a vegetarian replacement. But I don't actually have a huge problem with stuff that ... well, does it from the ground up as it were. If you've ever been to Habibi you'll know what I mean, as there it's quite possible to eat a full meal of vegetarian dishes, and you won't even realise. Pretty much everywhere else seems to have started from 'well, I suppose we'd better cobble something together that's vaguely edible'.

I've got a vague notion of a goats cheese and caramelized onion tart that I figure would work, but might need a bit of practice - with onion you need to be fairly careful that it doesn't end up too sweet. And already did a risotto sort of thing, which... took the basic recipe, swapped the beef stock for vegetable stock, and used stuff like peppers and onions as the primary flavour focus.

Am also thinking about stir fry type stuff, perhaps with some decent tofu - as far as I can tell, tofu is one of these substances that is shockingly bland, which means it takes flavours quite well, if you bother to flavour it, and otherwise it's just some bland in your food. Which again, just seems a bit of a waste of time.
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