Thursday, 30 June 2011

Mushroom, Puy Lentils and Ale Pie

There are so, so many variations of the 'Mushroom, Lentil and Ale Pies', in vegetarian cookbooks, at veggie-friendly eateries, on blogosphere and even the Vegetarian Society in the U.K has its own version. Well this one is mine. I’ve actually made these pies last year, but I didn’t get to try them as I was away for work in the granite city of Aberdeen. This time I wasn't missing out.

The generous amounts of Portobello mushrooms and puy lentils in this pie, makes this dark pie look and taste like a rich meaty pie, but its 100% vegetarian.  I've also dubbed it Drunken Mushroom Pie simply because of the alcohol content.  Why?  No reason at all.  It just sounds more interesting.
I made hot water crust pastry for this pie from scratch, but I completely appreciate that making pie pastry can be daunting for some people, so I've given you three options for the pastry below: shop bought puff pastry, shortcrust pastry or hot water crust pastry.  Now all you have to decide is which one suits you.  Also I appreciate that some of my readers do not consume alcohol, so please feel free to omit the ale if you wish, just remember this won't be a  Drunken Mushroom and Puy Lentil Pie', but a 'Mushroom and Puy Lentil Pie' - it will still be good though.

I am submitting this hearty 'Mushroom, Puy Lentil  and Ale Pie' to My Legume Love Affair. MLLA was founded by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. This month MLLA #36 is being hosted by Aqua of Served with Love.
Mushroom, Puy Lentil and Ale Pie aka Drunken Mushroom Pie
Makes 1 large pie (7 - 8 inch round pie) or 8 – 10 individual pies
Ingredients for the filling
300g Portobello mushrooms
300g chestnut mushrooms
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
3 – 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoon plain flour
150ml dark ale*
200ml vegetable stock
100g puy lentils, cooked
Salt and pepper to taste
Wipe clean the mushrooms. Slice or quarter each mushroom. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent, but not brown. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute before adding in the mushrooms. Keep the heat high and cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently until softened.
Gradually add the flour and stir until evenly combined. Add the ale and vegetable stock and stir, over high heat until the sauce thickens, before stirring in the puy lentils. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Now make the pastry
You have three choices for the pastry.
For ease, you can use shop bought puff pastry or shortcrust pastry – in which case pour the filling into a casserole and top with the pastry and cook according to packet instructions.
Or you can make your own shortcrust pastry. For recipe follow here.
Or You can make you own hot water crust pastry. Follow here for the recipe. For individual pies, see here.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5.
Cook for 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your shortcrust or hot water crust pastry pie(s). Allow to cool, before serving.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Black Buckwheat and Blackcurrant Pancakes

Yesterday it was soba noodles, today I am showcasing Black Buckwheat pancakes.  What these two recipes have in common is that they are both made with buckwheat flour.   

I had considered making some savoury crêpes with my Black Buckwheat flour, but then I was reminded of the remaining blackcurrants in my fridge and the crêpes became a sweeter variation.  But hey this is me, I changed my mind yet again, after seeing an American style pancake recipe on blogosphere.
As I cooked these little pancakes, the blackcurrants burst oozing out its juices and the purplish grey colours of the buckwheat flour shimmered.  Its hard to describe, so I guess this is my way of saying to you is make some and you'll see what I mean.  In relation to the flavour -  these buckwheat pancakes were not particularly sweet, but tart from the sharpness in the blackcurrants.  The twang in the blackcurrants certainly complimented the bitter and nutty undertones of the buckwheat.  By the way did you know that buckwheat is actually a herb, not a cereal grain?!

 These Buckwheat Blackcurrant pancakes were too sharp for me to eat on their own, so I drenched my pancakes in a little agave syrup, but honey will do also.
I had submitted a waffle recipe containing black buckwheat last month to the Breakfast Club, I thought I would do so again.  I am submitting this recipe to the Breakfast Club event #12. The Breakfast Club was initiated by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. The challenge for June is to create a vegetarian breakfast containing berries.  It is being hosting by Nayna of Simply Food.
Updated 20 July 2011: For a vegan alternative to these pancakes check out Elise's version here on her blog No Thanks, I'm Vegan.
Black Buckwheat and Blackcurrant Pancakes
Makes about 12 - 16
160g (Black) Buckwheat flour
140g plain flour
3 tablespoon caster sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1medium egg
¾ pint milk
225g - 250g fresh or frozen blackcurrants
In a large bowl, sift together the buckwheat flour, plain flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, egg and milk.  Then whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well combined. Then gently fold in the blackcurrants. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and coat gently with a little olive oil. For each pancake, pour two tablespoons of  batter into the pan.  Cook until little bubbles form on the top of the pancake (a bit like crumpets), then flip over and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.  Enjoy as soon as possible. Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Sesame Soba Noodles with Edamame Beans

I can't remember when I made this dish, but it was on one of those afternoons when I was feeling a bit lazy and wanted something relatively quick and easy on the table.  So instead of Italian style pasta coated in some flavoursome green pesto, I made noodles, yes you read right Noodles!

For those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning, will know that I have had an aversion to noodles simply because of those 'artificial flavoured noodles in a pot'.  These potted noodles only entered my parents home in my teen years, when one of my brothers suddenly took a liking to them.  Well I promised, I'd try proper noodles at some time in my life and here it is - Soba noodles, the first of many noodle variations.
Soba, or Japanese buckwheat noodles, have a distinct nutty flavour.  Well I am delighted to share that the Soba noodles I ate are nothing like those instant our over hot water ones with a strange colour, smell and slimey texture. The colours were earthy and the flavour distinctly nutty.  I have to add, I also found soba noodles much lighter than its Italian friend spaghetti that is traditionally made from durum wheat.

To my soba noodles I added some fresh carrots and edamame beans.  Fresh edamame beans still in their pods were introduced to the British public a couple of years ago as the next superfood full of nutritional qualities.  The edamame bean was hailed as an amazing green bean to have virtually all the health benefits of meat.  I have read that some farmers in Kent, U.K are growing edamame beans, but I have to admit I haven't seen them in supermarket yet.  For this recipe, I've used frozen edamame beans.  Edamame beans look very similar to the broad bean, but taste is completely different - much more nuttier and creamier.  
I am submitting this to I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights #220. PPN was founded by Ruth Daniels of Once Upon a Feast and each Friday night a different host posts a roundup of pasta dishes submitted by bloggers from around the world. This week PPN is being hosted by Ruth.
Sesame Soba Noodles with edamame beans
Serves 3 - 4
Soba noodles to serve 3 - 4 people
4 tablespoons tahini paste
3 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
100ml - 150ml water, as required
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 large carrot, cut into small matchsticks
75g - 100g frozen edamame beans (or peas), defrosted
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions. 
In a blender, process the tahini, garlic, tamari, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and enough water to obtain a smooth, sauce like consistency.  Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until warm.  Keep the sauce warm
Heat the peanut oil in a medium pan over high heat.  Add the carrot matchsticks and stir fry for a couple of minutes, then add in the edamame beans (or peas) and stir fry until hot, about 1 minute.  Reduce the heat to low and keep the vegetables warm.
When the soba noodles are cooked, drain and place in large serving bowl.  Drizzle on the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil and toss to coat evenly.  Add the vegetables and sauce and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.  Adapted from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Millenniums Oyster Mushroom 'Calamari'

I very rarely eat out, as I am quite happy and content to cook at home.  However, there times when I wish to be sitting in modest surroundings; marvelling at an inventive and eclectic menu; then indulging in some visually stunning gourmet haute vegetable cuisine, followed by a dreamy decadent fruity dessert. One of the places I would love to dine at is The Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco described as a mecca for those seeking gastronomic thrills, it really does sound extraordinary.

Until that day comes, I am happy in the knowledge that I can attempt to recreate some of the extraordinary vegetarian cuisine served there in my own home in the West of Scotland, as I am fortunate to have both books from the restaurant -The Millennium Cookbook and The Artful Vegan
These Oyster Mushroom 'Calamari; were truly, truly succulent, no wonder they are a firm favourite at the Millennium Restaurant.  I could have easily eaten more than my fair share.

At the Millennium they serve these Oyster Mushroom Calamari over a mound of kimpira (Japanese stir-fried burdock and carrots) - sounds delicious. I did search for fresh burdock at the Chinese supermarket in Glasgow, but couldn’t seem to find any.  So I just had to enjoy these with the wasabi cream and kecap manis, it was more than plenty to satisfy this greedy girl.
I am thankful to both Eric Tucker and Alison Bagby, General Manager at The Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco who have kindly granted me permission to share this recipe and the recipe for Spicy Fennel Seitan Sausages as previously posted with my readers. 
Millenniums Oyster Mushroom 'Calamari'
Serves 4
½ cup/75g rice flour
½ cup/ 65g corn flour
¼ cup/35g sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Japanese or Korean chilli powder, or 1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika plus ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
16 oyster mushrooms
1 cup/250ml soy milk
Vegetable or rapeseed (also known as rapeseed) oil for frying
Serve with:
Wasabi cream, kecap manis
4 – 6 Spring onions, sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, toasted
Set up a dredging station by combining the flours, sesame seeds, chilli powder and salt in one bowl and placing the soy milk in a second bowl. Fill a wok or a wide pan with ½ inch oil and heat over medium high-heat until shimmering but not smoking. Test the oil with a piece of bread; it is hot enough when the bread floats to the surface and becomes golden brown in 30 seconds of less. Dredge each mushroom in the soy milk, and then in the flour mixture, and fry in batches of 6 to 8 mushrooms for 1 ½ minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden brown and float to the surface. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Flip the mushrooms after about 45 seconds, midway through the cooking. Drain well on paper towels.
To serve: Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the wasabi cream and 2 tablespoons of the kecap manis around the mushroom stack and sprinkle with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds. Or if your rather impatient like me, just tuck in!

This recipe is from The Artful Vegan by Eric Tucker with Bruce Enloe and Desserts by Amy Pearce.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Blackcurrant Tart

Zingy blackcurrants filled to the brim of this tart, oozing out its seductive deep red juices. 

This Blackcurrant Tart is deliciously both sweet and sharp, but it seriously needs calming down.  So if you choose to make it (and I really recommend that you do as blackcurrants are in season in the U.K), then please do accompany this tart with either ice-cream or freshly whipped cream, and then sit back and enjoy as you take a mouthful. 
Blackcurrant Tart
Serves 4 - 6
For the Rich Shortcrust Pastry
170g plain flour
a pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter
1 medium egg yolk
Cold water, to combine
Method for the Rich Shortcrust Pastry
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. Chill, wrapped for 30 minutes before using. Roll out to line a 8 - 9 inch round fluted tin.
For the Blackcurrant Tart filling
350g fresh blackcurrants, topped and tailed
125g sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
Milk and extra sugar to glaze
Preheat oven to gas mark 4.
Put the blackcurrants into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and cornflour. Gently turn the blackcurrants so that they all get coated with the sugar and cornflour.
Spread the blackcurrant evenly onto the pastry. Gather up pastry and either re-roll the pastry trimming in a lattice on top of the blackcurrants; Or use a lattice pastry roller (see the last photograph).  
Brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake in a preheated oven for 35- 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. 
You may also like the look of this Almond and Blackcurrant Cake.   

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Radish Leaf and Root Tart

Its supposed to be Summer, but it been raining most of June with the skies being dominated by haunting grey clouds, so to inject a little colour into our lives I made these Radish Tarts. 

Not only is it pretty, it is also frugal as I've used both the radish greens (tops) and the root.
In the past I've made the most of my turnip greens: making soups, South Asian style Turnip Greens 'Saag' and tarts, so why be wasteful with homegrown radish greens.  Eating radish greens is not new to me, as I do remember my mother making dishes with it, but its been a while. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the taste of radish greens, I would describe the flavour as bitter, a cross between nettle and watercress.  Unfortunately, the leaves on my brightly coloured radishes were a little too mature for a radish salad, but they were good enough to cook with.
I made these tarts in 4 individual tart tins, but for the recipe below I've given instructions to make one big Radish Tart that can be sliced and shared.  I also made my own shortcrust pastry, but please feel free to use store bought.

I am submitting a slice of this Thrifty Radish Tart to Chris from Mele Cotte for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) #289. WHB is overseen by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything.
Radish Leaf and Root Tart
For the shortcrust pastry to line a 8 - 9 inch round tin
Serves 4 - 6
225g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
125g butter
3 tablespoons water
Method for shortcrust pastry
Add flour and salt to a bowl. Add the butter then rub it into the flour with your fingertips, lifting the mixture out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible as this will make the pastry light. Continue until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, then add the water a little at a time and use your fingertips to press the mixture together and form a dough. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead rolling out the dough, into whatever shape you want – a round, oval or rectangle. Blind bake in a hot oven at gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.
For the filling
About 20 radishes with green tops in tact
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
150ml single cream or milk
1 egg
Remove the green tops from the radish, wash thoroughly and mince. Slice the radishes in half and set aside.
Heat the oil and gently fry the onions and garlic in oil until very soft, then add in the minced greens and sauté in pan with lid until soft, stir from time to time to prevent from sticking. Season to taste and turn off heat.
When cool evenly spread into the pastry case and carefully arrange the sliced radishes on top.
Now whisk together the cream or milk with the egg and a little seasoning. Pour over the radish filling.
Bake in oven gas mark 5 for 30 – 35 minutes. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Rosemary and Chilli Popcorn

One of my favourite Friday night nibbles is flavoured popcorn
When I was back at my parents recently, my nephew got me to try some new flavours including 'Sour Cream popcorn'- it was disgusting, unlike this homemade 'Rosemary and Chilli popcorn' which was good.  I especially liked how the rosemary sizzled up, so left a few leaves in the bowl for contrast.
Oh a word of warning, have a tissue ready to hand, as the chilli in this popcorn may tickle your nostrils and make you sneeze like a trooper. 
Its hard to give a recipe for popcorn as it depends on how many people your making it for.  I tend to eyeball the ingredients. 

For this Rosemary and Chilli Popcorn I coated the wide pan (with tight fitting lid) with olive oil, added a sprig of rosemary from my garden and let the two gently infuse on medium heat for a good minute.  Then I turn up the heat to high, add the popping corn kernels to cover the bottom of the pan, sprinkle it with a little salt, then I gave it a good stir and put the lid on.  Within a couple of minutes, it should start popping, feel free to give it a shake now and again.  When the popping has stopped, take the lid off and tip the popped corn into a large bowl, remove the rosemary sprig, and season to taste with chilli or cayenne powder and salt. Note: Please do not add the chilli powder to the cooking corn, as it will burn.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Carrot-Fennel Souffle Tart

Fennel, the feather like herby green that has been dormant the past few months in the border of my garden, has suddenly made its seasonal appearance.  The past few days, it has been waving its luxurious fronds at me vying for my attention and it certainly did attract my attention.  First I remembered when I bought it home, in a small pot, just a seedling.  Now look at it, its almost as big as me (almost).  Secondly, as I brushed my hand on the fronds to release its aniseedy-licorice fragrance, I begun to wonder how to incorporate it in my cooking. 

Many people tend to use the young fragrant leaves of the herb fennel to infuse fish and seafood. I like to include it in fresh salads and risotto's, but today it was a change. I had made my mind up to make a Carrot Souffle Tart and to this I would add a little of this anise seed flavoured herb.  You would think that the carrots would make this a heavy souffle and therefore fail to rise, but I assure you this Carrot-Fennel Souffle Tart is very light and full of flavour, from both the carrot and the fennel. 
Of course, like any souffle recipe, this one will also rise and sink as soon as it comes out of the oven.  So it is best to enjoy it immediately. 

I am submitting this recipe to Grow Your Own (GYO), now in its fourth year. It was started by Andrea Meyer of Andrea's Recipes who is also hosting this month. GYO is a food blogging event that celebrates the foods we grow ourselves and the dishes we create using our homegrown produce.
Carrot-Fennel Souffle Flan
Serves 4 – 6
For the shortcrust pastry
170g plain flour
A pinch of salt
85g cold butter
2 tablespoons cold water
Method for short crust pastry
Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons cold water to the mixture. Mix to a firm dough. It may be necessary to add more water. Chill, wrapped for at least 30 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to gas mark 6. Roll out the pastry and use to line a 8- 9 inch round dish, then back blind.
For the Carrot-Fennel Souffle filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
180g carrots, grated
2 tablespoon plain flour
150ml milk
50g Cheddar cheese, grated
½ teaspoon fennel herb leaves, minced
Optional: ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, separated.
alt and pepper to taste
Method for the filling
Heat the oil and fry the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic and carrots, stirring them until they are really soft. Add the flour and milk, and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the grated cheese fennel herb, fennel seeds if using, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolks.
Leave to cool, then fold in the whites, stiffly beaten. Fill the pastry shell with the mixture.
Bake in the oven at gas mark 6 for 20 – 25 minutes until the filling is well risen.
Serve immediately.

Riverside Museum of Transport Part 1

Yesterday we went to the the Riverside Museum of Transport in Glasgow which has just reopened to the public.
We've been to the Museum of Transport before when it was in Glasgows Westend (see here), but it was nice to see the some of the changes in its new location the Clyde waterfront.
The Riverside Museum of Transport from the outside.
And this is what it looks like from the inside. The building was designed by Zaha Hadid (1950-), the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 30 years.  I really liked how the building blended in with the surroundings on the river front.
D took so many photographs, so here are some of them.  I hope you enjoy looking at them.
This van's design is inspired by the colourful truck art you find in Pakistani cities...but it has a Scottish twist.

The van was part of Glasgow's 1997 'Salaam Festival of Islamic Culture and Art'.  For the festival, artist Afshan Abid came over from Pakistan to help Glasgow art students decorate this van Karachi-style.  In Pakistan, you can see truck art on everything from horse-drawn carts to lorries and buses.
 Art of skateboards.
 This was the inside of a Faslane Caravan.  To see the outside of the Caravan follow here.
There were a lot of bikes. 
'Let Glasgow Flourish'.
I noted a number of the shops from the original Museum of Transport were missing, such as the Grocers.
I have a lot more photographs so if you interested, please see the next blog post; and if your interested in reading more about the opening of the Riverside Museum, follow here.