Monday, 11 November 2019

All-In-One Red Chard, Chickpea Minestone with Macaroni

I have hardly been out in the allotment garden plot in recent days, partly because of the persistent freezing rain and it has been freezing with snow in some parts of Wales.

I was actually looking forward to November when things around me will be a bit quiet, so that I can also tend to the garden, but its unlikely that the ground will be cleared of spent plants.  One thing that is still growing well is my Rainbow Chard - Here is Ruby Chard.  
I  borrowed a cookbook from the library by Rukmini Iyer called eThe Green Roasting Tin and had bookmarked to make the All in One Kale Borlotti  Minestone with Ditalini, but adapted it with what I had growing in the garden and other ingredients in my kitchen cupboard which these days happens to be a lot of pasta and tinned chickpeas.  

What's great about this recipe is that you put everything in a ovenproof dish and cook! No hanging about the kitchen, stirring ...
There was plenty of left over that I took it into work the following day for lunch. I especially loved how the chilli oil elevated a simple minestrone.
I am sharing this blog post with Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts Harvest Monday every week.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Dark November

My kitchen is not that interesting this month, I haven't been spending much time in it either cooking new or experimental recipes, just making the usual tried and tested recipes for ease and convenience. 

I don't have very much to share, but here goes with the little I do have. 
I picked up this salt pig when we went to Hay-On-Wye a couple of months back. I don't any more salt pigs, but this was one was so pretty with trailing flowers and being sold at a bargain price, I dithered as I knew D would not be very pleased at my purchase..what to do? was just too nice to leave behind.  
The woman selling it gave me a fantastic idea and said, you don't have to use it as a salt pot, but perhaps put a jar in it containing a trailing plant.  Sold.  I bought it there and then.

I also picked up this handmade terracotta snack tray for holding nibbles: peanuts, olives and the like, but thought it would be nice to hold some small cactus plants. I think it will come into use around Christmas time, by the way these are the last of the tomatoes from the greenhouse.  
We also went into Bristol and just outside St Nicholas Market, there was a young woman selling home made Ethiopian sauce.  I picked up two. I thought they'd be good t perk up some of our pasta dishes.
This Squash is waiting to be roasted.  
I don't know what came over me a few weeks back, but i really wanted to eat some paneer which is Indian cheese, so i picked up a packet from a supermarket.
That weekend I made Paneer Swiss Chard an adaptation of Saag or  Palak (Spinach) Paneer that you often find at South Asian take-aways and restaurants.  I'll share the recipe later this week. 
Now this was an impulsive buy.  
I picked up not one, but two types of Black Charcoal Cheddar Cheese.  D was none to happy as they were not cheap, but i said, they will last us up into Christmas and we don't indulge that often with cheese, so he forgave me - but I put my hands up, it was excessive, thank goodness they expire in February 2020.  
I have already used one block of the Black Charcoal Cheddar Cheese for Black Macaroni cheese a late Halloween meal for friends. 
I introduced these Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio bars to IMK last month, I quite liked them and picked some more up they are essentially sticky nuts glued together with blueberries and pomegranate molasses.
And finally some herbal tea: Blackberry, Apple, Beetroot and Ginger.

I am sharing this blog post with Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen series.  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by the 13th of the month

Friday, 8 November 2019

Black Charcoal Cheddar Macaroni Cheese

Last year I made a Black Garlic Macaroni Cheese for World Pasta Day and Halloween that has become a big thing in the UK in the last five years, but this year I had neither the energy or  or motivation to do anything at home or for the trick and treaters banging on the front door. 

This Black Charcoal Cheddar Macaroni Cheese only appeared on my table as some friends rang me out of the blue wanting to come on over for a short visit  last weekend; and as good hostess I wanted to make them something to eat and as it was short notice, I made do  with what I had at home - pasta, milk and cheese.
Despite how it looks, it tastes just as you would expect - like Mac'n'cheese.  To break the grunge grey-blackness, I did scatter over some chopped spring onions. 

I had picked up the Black Charcoal Cheddar Cheese whilst I was in Cardiff recently.  I had bought some Black Charcoal Cheddar last year but never got round to sharing what it looked like, so partly with blogging in mind and partly because we liked the black charcoal cheese I indulged and paid a few extra pounds to bring this cheese home. Look this one is even designed to look like coal!
This is not a sponsored blog post 

I also spotted this creepy graffiti art on the side of a building in Cardiff recently and thought it would compliment my blog post and a late Link to other Black coloured food recipes 
Black Charcoal Cheddar Macaroni Cheese Bake
Serves 4 - 6
75g butter
1 medium onion - peeled and chopped

75g plain flour
800g milk
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g-225g Charcoal cheddar cheese, grated plus extra for topping
Salt and ground pepper

300g macaroni pasta

Melt butter in a saucepan, add the chopped onions and cook gently until soft, then garlic and cook until soft.
Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, then gradually add the milk, whisking all the time.

Then whisk in about three-quarters of the cheese and allow to melt into the sauce.  
Cook until you have achieved the required thickness.
Season to taste and combine well.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. 
Drain, then stir into cheese sauce and gently transfer into an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
Bake in oven Gas mark 6 for 20 - 30 minutes until golden.  
This dish can be made in advance and reheated.