Friday, June 10, 2011
I was just wandering through the SparkPages about Protein etc, and ended up at Lentils. My goodness - there are a huge number of recipes there! Far too many to look through in this evening's browse.
I love lentils - the wee dried orange ones that cook to virtually a mush.
I put them in soup. I've used them to eke out mince and stew, and to help thicken gravy!
One of my favourites is something I occasionally cook - and I use it as a cross between carbs and veg. Though now I realise I should be including it in my protein count, as well.
I toss a good handful of lentils or 2 (I usually only make this for myself) into a small pan of boiling stock or water - no salt in the stock or the water. Then cover and bring it back to the boil, turn down to a low simmer, and leave it for maybe 10 minutes - about 2/3 of the cooking time on the packet.
While the lentils are simmering, dice some onion and chop some garlic. Put into a pan with a small amount of heated oil (I use olive or rapeseed) to soften. Add whatever seasoning you like.
Once the onion is softening and going translucent, you could also add diced celery, diced bell peppers. I like some finely diced courgette (zucchini) tossed in with the onion.
Once the veg is all softened, slightly - don't let it get mushy - add some chopped tomatoes (either tinned, or peel and dice what you have lying and going soft). Heat it through then check your seasoning. Add in the lentils and cook for a final few minutes, checking your seasonings again before serving.
That is so tasty served with meat, or chicken, or fish, or........
Anyone got some other ideas?
Oh - by the way, re an earlier blog and comment. I bought myself a packet of dried chickpeas today. At some point I'll get round to cooking some and I'll let you know what happens!
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Tonight I've been motivated be talk about Curry.
In the 60's, my family started to make curry, same as many other families.
I do have good memories of sliced banana in lemon juice to go with curry.
In the 1960's when curry was becoming a family weekday meal - we had whatever the meat was with boiled rice. And the additionals were sliced banana in lemon juice - or even maybe lime juice; dessicated coconut (which I still don't like) - it came straight from the packet, as was; raisins in lemon juice,...
I'm sure there were always 4 things, but I cannot recall the 4th one just now. It certainly was NOT yoghurt with anything - that didn't happen till late 60's and would never have been used with "the main course", or for my Dad.
I do remember that the "seasonings" was curry powder!
One weekend when my Mum and Dad had to be away, I was left at home, being over 16 - oh bliss. But I decided to make myself a curry for dinner one night. I misread the recipe and added tablespoons instead of teaspoons of curry powder. The wooden mixing spoon never lost the yellow colour till it fell apart! And that was well over 20 years later! It remained yellow-stained for all those years!
Maybe the 4th item was pickled onions - you know, the wee ones? I always got confused with the shampoo Silvikrin - so silverskin pickled onions. That may well have been the 4th bowl added to the table, for those family curries.
I can tolerate a good curry, so long as the spiciness isn't too hot. My stomach muscles rebel otherwise, and I have a very painful several days,
But - i do like to use a bit of tabasco, occasionally. Sometimes, depending how much tabasco, I'll add a teaspoon or 2 of sugar, as well - that does ease off the bite of the spice.
But I can do it to suit me, or to suit DH, or to suit us both - it's so much easier now there's just the 2 of us again.
Cos I can even do it to suit DH - with a bit more spiciness, having taken my portion out first!
Tonight, we had nothing to do with spicy or curry.
Simple & plain: bacon and eggs - with frozen soy beans cooked in the m'wave and halved tomatoes seasoned and heated. DH also had some oven cooked Hash Browns with his.
Flavours - soy beans were plain, cooked in a bit of water in the m'wave. Tomatoes, halved and the core wedge taken out - sprinkled with various seasonings, and put in the oven with the pre-fried hash browns. So DH got his beans and tomato, without me going to baked beans, for a change - and he managed to enjoy them as well.
Very simple and very plain this evening - cos that works too.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
I just love some of the things that happen on SP.
Like getting the 100 points for goodies yesterday. Any time I get one of these bonuses, I like to send something to every friend on my friend list.
What a reminder that I haven't been as good a friend as I could be, to a number of folk!
And then getting some contact afterwards, too - brill!
Tonight's dinner was mainly left-overs from last night.
So the mince with onion and mushroom through it, reheated.
Last night, DH had it with: spinach, onion, tomato mix; carrot and courgette; and pickled beetroot. With rice.
Tonight he had it with some cooked-from-frozen chips (french fries); peas; pickled beetroot, and mushroom.
I like to peel my mushrooms - especially the value-pack ones - rather than just wiping them.
Then roughly slice. My younger son does this more finely than I do!
Add some olive oil and a small knob of butter to your frying pan (skillet) - or omit the butter.
Add the sliced mushroom to the pan.
Tonight i also added 3 big cloves of diced garlic.
Add in seasonings, and loads of parsley. I use dried. Younger son uses sage, thyme and other stuff as well as parsley.
I let this cook all over, turning the slices as they cook.
Tonight I cooked it a bit less in the pan on top of the stove, then poured into a dish in the pre-heated oven, to finish cooking and keep warm.
I've never got around to using different kinds of mushrooms - we're always on a strict budget, so the fancy stuff doesn't get much chance!
My only other attempts with mushroom really would be the big mushrooms, stuffed. I'll get back to that another day,
Meantime, please send me any recipes you know and love, using mushrooms differently.
Friday, June 03, 2011
This is becoming a bit of a habit LOL
I've had some fantastic comments back from the last few blogs. Thanks folk. I really appreciate that some of you are enjoying what I do for leisure and pleasure. Cooking for the evening meal is frequently (though certainly not always) a stress-buster for me, and has been for years. Even when my sons were wee, I could enjoy getting meals prepared, knowing that the most important folk in my life were going to enjoy their dinner.
I've just been asked about chickpeas.
This is something I've never yet cooked with - I keep looking at them on the shop shelf, and I keep leaving it for "some other time".
So I reckon I'm going to give it a try, sometime very soon. Something absolutely new to cope with, so I'll have fun.
Tonight, I was cooking aubergine for DH. (Egg plant)
This is one vegetable I really so cannot get to grips with to eat. It's not just the flavour - consistency too. They gang up together to keep me away LOL!
I've tried all sorts of things - different cooking methods, prepared with salt and without salting, whatever. I've tasted restaurant prepared dishes ordered by DH or sons. NO - I cannot cope. And I find it so annoying, cos there are so many recipes out there from around the world that use aubergine, and I'd love to try some of them.
So, tonight, DH had a "platter" -
Ham - Bavarian ham needing used up, instead of the bacon which I usually use. Lightly fried then put onto the plate and into the oven at a low temperature.
Pineapple - several spoons of pineapple bits from a jar of it in juice, put in a bowl in the oven to heat.
Mushrooms - gently fried in olive oil, both sides, then the rims rolled in the oil, and the mushrooms put on top of the ham in the oven. That helped the ham to not dry out! And it also let the mushrooms finish cooking.
Asparagus - cooked lightly with water and some lemon juice, in the microwave.
Radishes - topped and tailed, washed, very lightly steamed in the microwave.
Aubergine - sliced on the slant, then fried in olive oil till nicely coloured and nearly soft.
I used to serve this with the aubergine covered with the bacon rashers, then the heated pineapple on top. But DH has now asked for the aubergine to be separate from the bacon and pineapple - he adds some vinegar to the aubergine before eating.
Tonight he also had a dollop of reheated leftovers from last night - spinach cooked with tomato and onion - on his plate.
Yes - some of my enjoyment is also from how it looks on the plate. I so love the square white plates we bought a couple of years ago when we had the kitchen redone. I'd wanted plates like this for years, and I am still really enjoying them.
Anyways - enough for now.
I'm looking forward already to getting some comments and feedback!
Especially if anyone can give me advice how to cook aubergine completely differently, to let me eat it too!
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Wow - thanks for the feedback to Blog 9. I'll be renaming that salad as Crucnhy Rainbow Salad, now
Beetroot - glad you asked!
I tend to use the vacuum packed cooked beetroot that has absolutely nothing added.
1. Beetroot Salad with Horseradish Dressing
I've made this a couple of times - just I'm not a fan of horseradish. But this worked out fine.
Dice some cooked beetroot. In a bowl, mix some "good" quality horseradish sauce (apparently it's less vinegary, and less "raw") with some creme fraiche or some good greek yogurt. Add whatever seasonings you think would help. Stir till thoroughly mixed. Add in the diced beetroot and mix gently to coat and cover.
I reckon about 1 teaspoon horseradish sauce with a dessertspoon (or even a tablespoon) of the cream or yogurt will be plenty for several small beetroots.
But it keeps quite well in the fridge, in a lidded container for about a week.
2. Beetroot Salad
Preheat the oven - I use Gas Mark 4, so the lower end of medium!
Again I'm using the cooked vacuum-packed beetroot.
Open the packet, drain and rinse - quarter the beetroot (or whatever works for the sizes in the packet) and put in an oven dish. Add some oil (olive or rapeseed is what I use), some seasonings, some cloves of garlic, and then drizzle on some runny honey OR mix in some redcurrant jelly. Mix all the stuff together well, and put into the oven to heat right through (and soften the beetroot a bit if you wish)..
Bring the beetroot out of the oven and let it cool slightly.
Make your salad dressing, then transfer beetroot to a bowl (via a chopping board and dice it, if you fancy that - it can be nice!). Toss with the salad dressing.
Sometimes after it's all mixed and ready, I throw in some finely chopped spring onion (scallion), both the green and the white.
3. Last, but not least, Beetroot Jelly
Dice your cooked beetroot and put into a nice bowl.
Make up a jelly - I use store's own, or sometimes Rowntree - lemon, lime or pineapple. Pour the liquid jelly over the beetroot, and leave to set.
If you're more adventurous - make your own jelly with gelatine and apple juice - that is wicked with the beetroot.
Let me know, please, how you get on with anything I've suggested - or your own version of something similar.
I am so enjoying this!
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