Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Camargue Red Rice and Quinoa Salad with Bean and Hazelnut Salad

Yet more Ottolenghi Delicious Doubles for lunch. I'm not going to post the full recipe as I really do want to encourage everyone to buy the book but here is a list of ingredients I used so you can get the idea.

Camargue Red Rice, Quinoa and Orange Salad

Camargue red rice

Red quinoa

White quinoa

Orange zest

Freshly squeezed orange juice

Red onion


Spring onion

Olive oil


Unsulphured dried apricots

Green Bean and Hazelnut Salad

French beans, topped and tailed

Mange tout

Roasted hazelnuts

Orange zest

Hazelnut oil


Sunday, 22 June 2008

Granola with Summer Berries

In the last of today's installments on Sunday's epic cook-off, here's what I made for breakfast for the boy's Dad and his girlfriend who came to stay last night. I searched on the internet for a recipe and found one million variations, I decided to use this one as my base as it seems as good as any of the ones on offer and it turned out fantastic.

Rapeseed oil
Jumbo oats
Flaked almonds
Sesame seeds
Dried shredded coconut
Sunflower seeds
Dried unsulphured apricots
Large muscatel raisins

Take two cupfuls of oats and mix with generous handfuls of the nuts and seeds. Mix in a quarter cup of rapeseed oil (any cooking oil will do except olive oil) and a half cup of honey. Mix the ingredients well in the bowl until all of the dry ingredients are covered with the honey and oil. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake until golden, usually around 20 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula. Once cooked, leave to cool a little as this will help it to become crunchy before chopping and adding the apricots, dates and the whole raisins. Mix in well together with the oat mixture.

I served this with fresh raspeberries and blueberries from the market and with thick and creamy homemade goat's milk yoghurt (made courtesy of my new yoghurt maker). If anyone reading this happens to know where to get raw unpasteurised goat's milk in London (or Buckinghamshire) then please let me know!

Butternut Squash with Aubergine Dip and Fennel with Pomegranate

Continuing on Sunday afternoon's cook-off, I have made this for our lunch tomorrow. As I mentioned before, we are huge fans of Ottolenghi and live dangerously close to the Ledbury Road branch. Flicking through the cookbook, we decided that one of the dishes alone would not be enough to satisfy us for lunch, but that if we doubled up, it would be filling and varied enough to keep us going, so this will be the week of the Ottolenghi doubles.
Seedy Butternut Squash with Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses Dipping Sauce
Half a butternut squash
flaked almonds
black mustard seeds
black sesame seeds
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
1 aubergine
pomegranate molasses
juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
flat leaf parsley
olive oil
Firstly, cut the butternut squash into wedges, spray with olive oil and roast in the oven. Blacken the aubergine in the flame of your gas hob (or grill it for around an hour, turning occasionally, until the skin is black). Once the skin is shrivelled and black, cut the aubergine in half and scrape out the flesh, leaving the charred skin behind. Drain for 10 minutes in a sieve and then mix with 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, the garlic and the parsley using a stick blender.
As the squash is finishing roasting, toast the flaked almonds and black mustard seeds (original recipe calls for nigella seeds also known as kalonji or black cumin but we didn't have any). Once lightly toasted, mix with the other seeds and sprinkle over the butternut squash. Add a handful of fresh basil leaves and serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
Fennel with Pomegranate Molasses
Half a pomegranate
Half a fennel bulb
Flat leaf parsley
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Cut the pomegranate in half along its belly and using the back of a wooden spoon, bash the top of the fruit until the seeds begin to fall out easily into the bowl. Thinly slice (or mandoline) the fennel and add it to the bowl, along with the tarragon leaves and flat leaf parsley. Make the dressing by mixing olive oil, lemon juice and sumac in a glass. Pour over the salad and top with crumbled fresh pecorino. The original recipe calls for feta but we had pecorino left over from serving another Ottolenghi salad the previous night (with figs and a honey dressing).
If there is anyone left out there who hasn't got this cookbook, please don't hesitate to get it - it really is one of the best I have ever owned!

Homemade Tofu

And it's back to blogging after my business trip to Cambodia and Thailand. Actually the trip was only ten days long but I ate sooooo much on the trip that I did pretty much a full week's raw vegan detox on my return, just to get back into my trousers and didn't really feel like blogging it all! Thailand was fabulous as ever and it was fantastic to return to Cambodia although the country has changed so much in the five years since I was last there. It's a truly magical country which I am both entranced but deeply depressed by.
Anyway, I'd love to say that I ate so much tofu in Asia that I was inspired to make my own on my return but in fact I didn't eat any and this came about directly as a result of Hippolyra of Fuss Free Flavours and her challenge. Well I've done it! Cooking is often as much about the processes of creating as it is about the eating for me and this was certainly a fairly lengthy procedure, but as I view cooking very much as a hobby, it was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Homemade Tofu
Soya beans
Juice of half a lemon
I soaked the soya beans in plenty of water overnight, they expand greatly so be sure to cover them in more water than you think you'd need.
Once soaked, I made use of my new nut milk maker and used this to create a creamy milk, I thus didn't keep any of the okara (bean pulp left over from making the milk) as it was still raw. Once I had milk, I boiled it up twice on the hob, skimming off any foam and making sure it didn't boil over.
I kept some milk to the side which I am going to try and make yoghurt with overnight (have you seen the crap they put in soy yoghurt in the shops?).
Whilst the remaining milk was still warm (around 75 degrees), I added the juice of half a lemon to approximately 2 pints of milk. I put the saucepan lid on and left it to separate for 15 minutes.
Once separated, I strained through a muslin lined sieve, covered the tofu mixture with more muslin and then placed some heavy tins and other items on top. I left it to drain for 20 minutes and then pushed the last of the whey out by hand as I wanted a fairly firm tofu.
I was pretty surprised and pleased with the result, it does taste different from shop bought tofu and you do feel quite a sense of achievement afterwards!
Hippolyra, if you read this - I am trying to soak one of the boy's turmeric stained t-shirts in the whey but I'm not convinced of its laundry-whitening properties as yet!!
I'm planning to devour it with some wilted spinach and sweet chili sauce later on tonight. The rest I am keeping in water in tupperware in my fridge and will change the water daily until the tofu is finished.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Roast Cod with Muhummra Sauce

The idea behind this recipe came from the second Moro cookbook, I made a big batch of the sauce and will keep the rest in the fridge for a great standby meal. I think it would also work well with chicken. Pomegranate molasses is another 'it' ingredient for me and I got a lovely bottle recently at Whole Foods from The Equitable Gourmet. The original recipe calls for 'acili biber', a sort of spicy red pepper equivalent of tomato paste. I couldn't find this in my local Lebanese shop and the only near thing I could find was full of preservatives, salt and other rubbish things so I decided to improvise.

Roast Cod with Muhummra Sauce
2 cod fillets
1 roasted red pepper
2 roasted red chili peppers
olive oil
handful of walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp allspice
3-4 tbsps water
salt and pepper to taste

Puree all of the sauce ingredients using a hand blender, adding more or less water until you have the right consistency. You are aiming for a feel similar to pesto. Spoon liberally over the fish fillets and marinate for 1-2 hours. Roast the fish in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Serve on a bed of baby salad leaves with handfuls of sliced cherry tomatoes, olives, walnuts and dressed with a splash of pomegranate molasses.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Quinoa Broccoli Salad with a Carrot-Ginger Dressing

This makes an ideal lunch for the office and was again inspired by The Daily Green.

Quinoa Broccoli Salad with a Carrot Ginger Dressing
1 cup quinoa
1 head of broccoli
handful of cherry tomatoes
Handful of black sesame seeds
Sprinkle of nori flakes
2 tbsps cold-pressed sesame oil
3 tsps tamari
2 tbsps brown rice vinegar
1 inch cube of ginger
1 carrot

Cook the quinoa in boiling water, cut the broccoli into small florest and steam on top of the quinoa saucepan in bamboo steamers for 3-4 minutes. Chop the cherry tomatoes and add to the cooked quinoa. Mix in the broccoli florets, add a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and nori flakes.

To make the dressing, peel and chop the carrot. Peel the ginger and slice it before adding it to the brown rice vinegar, tamari and sesame oil. Blend together using a hand blender until smooth. Drizzle over the quinoa and serve.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Lemon and Blueberry Muffins

And so the obsession with vegan baking continues yet again. I whipped these up on Sunday morning and have to say they were my best batch yet. The recipe was adapted from my latest website discovery, The Daily Green but I wanted to keep it vegan and so substituted the egg for ground flax, a trick well learnt from the Post Punk Kitchen. Here is the original recipe.

Lemon and Blueberry Muffins
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup applesauce
3 tbsps rapeseed oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 tbsps of ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water
handful of frozen blueberries

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly mix in the rapeseed oil, followed by the applesauce then the lemon juice and agave. Finish by adding the lemon zest, vanilla essence and frozen blueberries.

Place in a muffing tray and bake for around 20-25 minutes or until the muffins have risen, started to brown and a knife comes out clean through the middle.