Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What to do with leftovers

I am the leftovers effin' QUEEN. The KING, even. I'm the entire goddamn monarchy.

I'd made some really rubbish houmous for my birthday party. I put too much salt in it, and having run out of chickpeas, tried to abate the saltiness by adding gram flour to the dip. It didn't work too well and added a dry taste to the proceedings. Needless to say, it hardly got touched all evening.

So I made some soup out of it, and with some other leftover ingredients from my party.  This is what I did:

1. Fried some onions in a heavy bottomed-saucepan until browned
2. Chopped up half a red chilli and added it to the onions
3. Fried some finely chopped celery separately, and added to onions and chilli
4. Added houmous to the mix, immediately followed by water to thin it down. Waited until soup was heated through
5. Final stage: stirred in chopped fresh coriander and fresh mint

As the houmous I was using was very well-blended, I added liquid aiming for a thin but creamy consistency. The consistency and texture of your soup will depend on your houmous.

It was good and I am hankering after more.

On a slightly different note, I tried some supermarket houmous recently, from Tesco. I was actually stunned by the taste. It was as salty as Marmite.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Catching up

Some of the things I've been eating since I moved to Moss Side:

Above: Jo made a beautiful gingerbread house for Dan and I as a housewarming present (back and front)

Spaghetti with tomato sauce and mushrooms. Dan made this.

Red pepper stuffed with nice things like breadcrumbs, onion, garlic and seeds. Millet with spinach and sweetcorn on the side. I don't really like millet but I eat it because it's got iron in it and it's a break from gluten. Dan made this too.

 My first attempt at sushi. Inside: avocado, yellow pepper, tofu, shreds of raw leek, carrot. I made these without a rolling mat, using a clean folded up tea towel instead. The YouTube tutorials I watched before attempting them were very reassuring. I would recommend it.

 Baked marinaded tempeh slices, roast mushroom, courgette, garlic and broccoli and mashed potatoes
with greens in them. This might have been a joint effort between Dan and I. It was a while ago and I can't quite recall.

Roast butternut squash, puy lentil salad, cucumber and radish raita, potatoes roasted with garlic and paprika. Washed down with a Belgian beer, this is what Dan and I had for dinner tonight.

In April, I planted some fenugreek in a trough and had to keep them indoors because of the hail. As soon as the temperature went up, I dragged them out. I left it to grow too long and it went a bit tough. The last few plants weren't good enough to use in cooking, so I just ate them raw. Tasty, but stringy. Eleanor planted some rocket seeds in little cardboard pots, which I have been tending to. Some of the leaves are starting to grow with wavy edges, just like the rocket you see in the shops. It's very exciting.  Dan's mum potted up some oregano, parsley and rosemary, and Humaira gave me a lovely pot of chives. Things are taking off.

I don't have a salad spinner, so instead, I loosely wrap the wet leaves in a clean tea towel then wave them round, sometimes above my head, and the water droplets fly off. Dan thinks it silly. He's right, but it does work a treat.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Note for Dan

Should you want to recreate the polenta pizza thing I made for our dinner earlier this week, follow the following:

1. Boil a kettle. Slice a medium-sized onion and fry it until soft and translucent. Add a heaped cupful of polenta and stir. Add the water from the kettle. Add slowly and make into a thick porridge, stirring continuously to make sure there are no lumps. Add a glug of oil, stir in a heaped teaspoon of pesto, a handful of frozen peas, salt, pepper and a glug of vinegar. Taste it. Polenta is ridiculously hard to make taste nice. If it's lacking in salt, hold your horses for a sec. Put the grill on. Generously grease a baking tray and spread the polenta mixture out onto it as thinly as possible. You might want to sprinkle some coarse rock salt onto it now. Stick it in the grill until it is crusty and has browned a little.

2. While the polenta is grilling, you will have time to do the toppings:

  • Fry some mushroom slices with salt, pepper and garlic and set aside.
  • Defrost 4 chunks of frozen chopped spinach (this will be easier when we get a microwave but for now, heat with a bit of water in a pan. When defrosted, season, add freshly grated nutmeg and stir through some cream. (If you're using non-dairy cream, make sure it's not too sweet. I used oat cream). You could probably do this with fresh spinach too. Keep warm.
  • Heat up a can of chopped tomatoes with a bit of dried basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder (I was feeling lazy) and chopped black olives. Keep warm.
  • Your polenta should be ready now. Cut into slices and slop your toppings on, er, on top.
It's really nice cold the next day for your lunch as well. You can have it next time. This is dish was too delish for pictures. Or mail me one.