Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Grub for pre-gig nerves and Party Food

On Friday I took part in an open mic. I was generously offered some food by Aliki, a friend of a friend, who I hadn't met prior to that day. It was the most delicious simple food I had eaten in a long time. t was basically boiled haricot beans (so nice! and not at all like baked beans!), with a fresh pesto made of lots of of olive oil, fresh parsley and raw garlic to go on top. As well as some lemon juice and some boiled greens. Lovely. The sauce is a Spanish thing. I am going to make some. Her five year old son had spaghetti, tomato sauce and sausages. He sure was missing out.

I've been thinking about party food and party drinks for a summer occasion and I am getting very excited indeed.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Things to do in Denver when you're Stale Bread.

My mum used to make this curried rotli (rotli / chappatis) where she would tear up stale rotli, temper some cumin seeds in oil, then add the pieces to the pan with spices and yogurt and cook it all up. It was lovely and a good way of using up food which had lost the appeal of freshness.

I tried a variation on this recently with some stale bread. It doesn't work as well with the crusts on, as they are less absorbent, but lack of waste was my priority.
I wish I had recorded this on the day. I can hardly remember what I did.

I fried a bit of chopped garlic in a little bit of oil. Then I added cubes of stale bread and chopped mushrooms, letting them cook until the oil had gone.

Now comes the amnesiac bit. I think I added water, but depending on what kind of flavour you want, you could add milk. I think I did choose water over milk because I added some creamed coconut, tamarind paste and chilli. As well as salt and pepper, I might have added other vegetables. I'm sure you could add stock for the liquid. It's variation on pasta, grain or even a sandwich, so use your imagination.

I would cook this down until all or most of the liquid had been absorbed. It should look quite amorphous, and be almost in one lump, like a thick porridge.

You expect me to be so organised as to have pictures?!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Filled and filling.

The filled boiled wheat paste food item is a pan-cultural phenomenon; the Chinese have their wontons, the Italians have their tortellini and ravioli and Eastern Europeans have vareniki, which I attempted to make on Sunday for a Russian-themed party:

Those which you see are not the ones I made. They are supposed to look like that. The skill with these and wontons is getting the pastry rolled out thin enough without it tearing. Also I was very impatient and didn't let the filling cool, which melted holes in the pastry and caused some to burst whilst cooking. I had to improve their taste and appearance by shallow frying them once they had been cooked.It was a not uncommon and good call.

I filled mine with chopped cooked sweetened apple. I did a few savoury ones filled with mushroom. The beauty with these is you can fill them with almost anything (edible).

I also made a very good bubble and squeak a few weeks ago. Here it is:

As I recall, it had onion, red cabbage, beetroot, white cabbage and an orange-fleshed sweet potato which I microwaved (tut tut) for speed. There were also some vegetarian sausages which were mainly potato, cheese and small pieces of vegetable. Fried it all in butter. Shame you can't see the lovely crusty burnt bits.