Sunday, 30 January 2011

Squash and chickpea pie

This pie was inspired by one of my favourite recipes: Roasted butternut squash with spiced chickpeas. I thought to myself wouldn't it be delicious to encase all these flavours in a pastry pie and it worked splendidly.

It may not be as pretty as the Uchiki Kuri squash pie, but let me tell you this is one comforting pie. Today, I would go as far as saying, its better than a dessert. Why?
Well, despite all the spices, the roasted butternut squash filling is both rich and sweet in flavour and it melted in your mouth. I strongly recommend serving this pie with a contrasting flavour such as broccoli, or salad greens dressed in citrus.
If you have any of this spiced filling left over, its fantastic spread over a tortilla wraps, topped with some peppery rocket and rolled. In fact, I'll be taking some into work tomorrow for lunch.
Butternut squash and chickpea Pie
Serves 4 - 6
1 medium butternut squash , weighing just over 1kg
2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally including the green parts
2 - 3 fresh red chillies, sliced
1 tablespoon of cumin, lightly toasted
1 x 400g tinned can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of fresh coriander, minced
Peel the squash, slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the flesh into bite sized pieces. Put them into and large oven proof dish and toss them in 2 tablespoons of oil. Roast at gas mark 5 for about 15 -20 minutes or until tender. Tip half of the butternut squash into a large bowl and mash. Then add in the remaining squash pieces, chickpeas, cumin, salt, coriander and give it a good stir to combine. Set aside and allow to cool.
Now make the hot water crust pastry.
For the hot water crust pastry
To line deep 7 inch spring form round cake tin
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
Pinch of salt
½ - 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
100g solid vegetable fat or shortening, chopped (I use Trex)
100ml water
Olive oil to glaze
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Melt the vegetable fat in the water and heat until about to boil. Add the liquid to the flour, baking powder if using, salt and chilli flakes and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. Now you have to work very quickly, as the dough will get cold and be tough to work with. Keep some of the dough back for the lid, then roll out the rest quickly and line the tin, pressing down so that it is snug to the tin and in its grooves. Then fill the tin with the cooled filling. Press gently down with a spoon. Cut of excess dough around the tin and roll out again so that it fits the top of the pie filling as a lid. It will overlap, just cut off the excess with a knife to make it look presentable. Place the lid over the filling, then gently press or pinch into the side of the pie so it seals or with a fork. Brush with oil and make a small steam hole in pie.
Bake in preheated oven Gas mark 6 for 45 to 1 hour till golden. Serve warm or cold.
Filling idea inspired by Denis Cotters Cafe Paradiso Seasons.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Oriental Mushroom Tart with Oatmeal Pastry

I’ve made mushroom tarts, quiches and flans before, but never with oriental mushrooms.

This tart made with shiitake and oyster mushrooms was going to be interesting for the both of us. Actually the oatmeal pastry was new too.
The oriental mushrooms kept their mild flavour and moist texture - velvety or rubbery - depending on your perspective. The oatmeal pastry was a breeze to roll out, unlike other pastry crusts that break up upon rolling with you having to do a lot of patchwork. The taste was unusual though, I don't know if it complimented or clashed with the oriental mushrooms, but it wasn't bad.
Oriental Mushroom Tart with Oatmeal Pastry
For the Oatmeal Pastry
Serves 4
170g plain flour
A pinch of salt
115g butter
55g medium oatmeal
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the oatmeal and combine. Add 2 tablespoons of water and mix to a firm dough. Chill for 30 minutes before using.
Heat oven to gas mark 6
Roll the pastry and line a 8 inch tart tin. Chill for 20 minutes and blind bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. Reduce heat to gas mark 4.
For Oriental Mushroom filling
15g butter
1 shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
250g mushrooms, I used Oyster and Shiitake, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
2 eggs, beaten
100 -150ml milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and shallots and cook over gentle heat until soft. Turn up the heat and add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until they have softened. Add the parsley, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Mix the eggs with the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooled mushrooms.
Pour the filling into the baked pastry case and place on a baking sheet in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes to 40 minutes or until the filling is just set in the middle. Serve hot or at room temperature. Filling slightly adapted from Leiths Baking Bible.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

A little music tonight

Sorry no cooking...

Instead I have some music to share with you. I was looking at my Music CD rack earlier and noted that I had only purchased two music albums last year: 'Mumford and Sons' and 'Stornaway'. So I thought instead of plate of food, I'd share two songs I really like from each album. I hope you like them enough to go out and buy the albums, that is of course if you don't already have them.

Despite the Bands name 'Stornaway', which is taken from a town in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, there is nothing Scottish about them at all.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Robert Burns Birthplace

This evening many people with Scots heritage will be tucking into a Burns Night Supper. As I've already suggested some edible offerings for the day, I thought today I would share some photographs with you of Robert Burns birthplace.

We briefly visited The Burns Cottage last year. Unfortunately we were not able to get a photograph of the auld cleg biggin - cottage from the outside, as too many cars were passing by. Instead here are some photographs of what's inside. You will have to click on the pictures if you wish to read the words more clearly. Enjoy your evening, whether or not your Celebrating Burns Night.

Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man

Monday, 24 January 2011

Mincemeat and apple crumble tart

These Mincemeat and apple crumble tarts were a very nice. Enjoyment elevated further with the accompaniment of vanilla ice-cream.
These tarts were going to be my first submission towards a blogger food event called We Should Cocoa. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. This months host challenged readers to create something using leftovers or surplus stock. I have plenty of things in my fridge to use, including nearly empty jars of chutneys and jams, frozen berry fruit like raspberries and foraged blackberries it the freezer, but it was a jar of mincemeat in the cupboard that was calling out to be used.

I thought to myself if I did not make use of this opportunity now, perhaps I never would and it would find its way to the bird table in the form of fat balls or worse in the bin, so I decided to make a 'Mincemeat and chocolate tart'.
But then my eyes fell on my fruit bowl that nestled some Bramley apples, that I had picked early in the week to make 'Apple and blackberry crumble'. So instead of Mincemeat tart, this tart quickly evolved to 'Mincemeat and apple crumble tart'. When I was about to submit it to the food event, I realised I missed out on including the vital ingredient - Chocolate, duh. Oh well, maybe next month.
For this recipe I used 6 tartlet tins and cut the pastry into the shape of an apple using a large apple cookie cutter. You could also make one large one in a 10 inch tart tin.
Mincemeat and apple crumble tart
Serves 6
For the rich shortcrust pastry
170g plain flour
a pinch of slat
100g butter
1 egg yolk
very cold water, to mix
For the filling
400g Jar of ready made vegetarian mincemeat
225g Bramley apples, peeled, cores removed, flesh sliced
1 lemon, juice only
For the topping
100g plain flour
50g butter
50g granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Grease a 22cm/9in loose-bottomed cake tin with the vegetable oil.
Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons water and add to the mixture. Mix to a firm dough, first with a round-bladed knife, then with one hand. It may be necessary to add more water, but the pastry should not be too damp. Chill, wrapped for 30 minutes before using.
Roll out the pastry until it is 2.5cm/1in bigger in diameter than the cake tin.
Line the cake tin with the pastry and trim off any excess. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork, then chill the pastry case in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill it with dried beans or rice. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the oven, remove the beans and greaseproof paper and set the pastry case aside to cool slightly.
Spoon the mincemeat into the pastry case and spread evenly over the base.
Dip the apple slices into the lemon juice and arrange them on top of the mincemeat layer.
For the topping, in a bowl, mix together the flour and the butter rub the mixture together using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then mix in the sugar.
Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples and mincemeat. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the crumble is crisp and golden-brown. Mincemeat crumble tart recipe adapted from here.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Red Chilli Shortbread

I could not resist making these savoury 'Red chilli shortbreads' and I had a good excuse.
D said he may have some friends possibly come over. So I thought I'd make these again, as they would be perfect with a can of Tennents lager, bottle of beer or something like that. This recipe is exactly the same as the one I used for the Red Welsh Dragon Shortbread, except for the fact that I used a chilli pepper cutter and upped the chilli pepper ratio from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
I also wanted to share this beautiful red photograph. These were the last of my home-grown (window sill) sun-dried chillies from last year. Sadly all gone now.
For ease, I made these in a food processor. Also you can double the quantity below if you want to make a lot more.
Red Chilli Shortbread
Makes 16 - 18 other shapes
150g sharp cheddar cheese, grated
40g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
130g plain white flour
1 - 2 teaspoons cold water (may not be necessary)
Preheat oven to Gas mark 6.
In a food processor, blend together the cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in the flour with the chilli flakes and mix thoroughly. You may or may not need it, so check and then add a teaspoon of water at a time to form a dough. If necessary, squeeze together with your hands to form the dough into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with your chosen cookie cutter and place on an un-oiled baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and bottom. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Curried Tofu with Turmeric rice

This dish is unusual for me, as I don’t normally use tofu in ‘South Asian style curry' based dishes. I am always happy to use fresh vegetables, but I had picked up this tofu to compliment the dried Chinese mushrooms - a broth of sort had come to mind, however it had not been used and it was fast reaching its use by date. As Tofu is not a particularly affordable ingredient to purchase, I did not wish to waste it. I have a wish that one-day I’d like to have a go at making my own, but until that day (should it arrive) I’m relatively happy with this brand.
This is a mild spiced curry with absolutely no chilli heat at all. The flavours were fine, but I personally don’t think the tofu worked well here, as it was too soft and did not absorb the flavours. But I understand its addition here as it was designed with our vegan friends in mind. If you not vegan, I think ‘paneer’ a Indian tofu like cheese would work well, it has more texture and bite, even mock 'chicken' style pieces would work which would have been Ds preference.
Turmeric rice
Serve 2 – 4 with accompaniments
200g Basmati rice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
400ml water
½ teaspoon salt
Rinse and rain the rice. Heat he oil in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the rice and turmeric and stir on high heat for a minute or two. Add the water and salt, bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook covered for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork, and let sit until ready to serve.
Curried Tofu
Serves 2 - 4 with accompaniments
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ tablespoon ginger root, grated
1 tablespoon Curry powder
1 tablespoon Garam masala
Salt to taste
Packet of firm tofu, drained and cut into ½ inch cubes or triangles
1 x tin tomatoes, chopped or blitzed in food processor
In a large saucepan with a lid, cook the onions in the oil on medium heat until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, salt and tofu. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 15 minutes for the flavor to develop. Occasionally stir gently so not to break the tofu. Serve with rice. Adapted from Moosewood Collective Simple Suppers.

Friday, 21 January 2011

For Burns Night or Day

If you are living in Scotland or have Scots ancestry, I am sure that celebrating Burns Night will be on your mind.

So here are a few non-traditional Scottish or Burns Night night inspired recipes that may tempt you. Some are made with the vegetarian haggis such as this:
Mushroom haggis pakoras with curried neep chips, haggis samosa and
Haggis pakora bites. The haggis bites were excellent as light nibbles.
Some recipes with neeps and tatties such as this Garam masala Swede Filo pie,
Swede neep soup,
and Garam masala Swede cakes,
These Clapshot Haggis Tikkia were very moreish. Its a shame here in the photograph that they have burst, as I had left them in the oven too long to stay warm. Great disguised in pitta bread though.
Home-made Vegan Tower of Haggis, neeps and tatties
If these don't excite you, I do have some traditional Burns Night fare too.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Butternut Squash Tortilla wraps

Here is a light snack for when you don't want something too heavy to eat. Light does not mean lack of flavour.

These tortilla wraps were sweet from both the butternut squash and sweet corn, but not overly sweet as they were toned down by the optional creamy blue cheese.
Butternut squash and sweet corn tortilla wraps
Makes 6 - 8
Ingredients4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for coating)
400g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
2 garlic clove, crushed
165g from the cob, frozen or tinned sweet corn, well drained
1 small onion, minced
Optional: 100g Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
1 teaspoon fresh (lemon) thyme
6 – 8 tortilla wraps
Salt and pepper to taste
MethodHeat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat, add the onion and cool for 8 – 10 minutes until soft, then add in squash and sweet corn and cook further until just tender when pierced with a knife. Remove to a bowl, add the thyme and optional cheese and lightly mash with a fork. Season to taste and leave to cool.
Place the tortillas on a flat surface, fill the centre of each with the mixture, then fold each tortilla in half over the filling to make a semi circle.
Brush the tops lightly with olive oil. Place on a preheated hot grill pan and grill for about 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown. Brush with olive oil, turn over and grill on the other side OR if you have one, make these tortilla wraps in your Panini press for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Wild rice and parsnip soup

Hey, have you heard of 'forbidden black rice'? I have to admit, the first I had heard of it was about three days ago. Its funny an ingredient that is so popular in another culture is overlooked in the West because of its unfamiliarity, until - Until of course, it becomes trendy. As well as its enchanting name, forbidden black rice is being marketed as the new wonder of health foods.

And guess what? Yes, I too get sucked in now and again, especially as I like trying out new worldly ingredients. I am certain I will find it at some point to try, but for now I will be using the 'wild rice' stored in my kitchen cupboards which actually looks kind of similar. I actually think wild rice is overlooked in the grain world. I can partly understand why? Its like wholesome brown rice. It takes a while to cook from scratch and if your not in your angelic be patient persona, well then its often ignored for the quick cooking variety.
Other than Jane Grigsons famous Curried Parsnip soup, I think this 'Parsnip and wild rice soup' is my perhaps my second favourite parsnip soup. I’ve been looking for an excuse to post it on my blog again. Well the perfect excuse came in the guise of this months No Croutons Required (NCR) challenge. NCR is a monthly food blogging event where readers are challenged to create either a soup or salad using a particular ingredient in this case it is rice. The recipe also has to be suitable for vegetarians. NCR is alternately hosted between the Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, who is this months host.

This soup is flavourful, unctuous and naturally creamy. The wild rice gives this soup some texture, as well as colour of what otherwise could be described as a monotone dish.
Parsnip and wild rice soup
Serves 4
50g wild rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g parsnips, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons of curry powder
2 pints of vegetable stock made with 1 teaspoon of bouillon powder
Optional: 4 tablespoons of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place the wild rice in a pan. Add 450ml of water to cover the rice, bring to the boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes until the rice is tender. Drain. Or if using quick cook wild rice, cook according to packet instructions.
Heat the oil in a separate pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a low heat for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the parsnips, turmeric, and curry powder, and cook for a couple of minutes, to allow the spices to mingle and release their fragrances.
Pour in the stock. Stir well. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 40 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender.
Blend the cooled ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste. Return the soup to the pan, bring to a boil, stir in the wild rice and coriander. Serve in bowls. Adapted from Paul Gaylers Vegetarian Cookbook.
Updated 11th February 2011
This recipe was made by Amber at Fishes go meow. Please follow this link to view