27 April 2008

Curried Chickpea Burgers















Curried Chickpea Burgers

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 tsp curry paste (I used Patak's Cumin & Coriander)
2 tbsp water
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 slices bread, whizzed into crumbs
2 handfuls cashew nuts
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
black pepper


Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes, add the curry paste and water and cook for another few minutes. Add the grated carrot and cook for two minutes. Season with pepper.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into burgers and put in the fridge for 30 minutes before frying in a little olive oil for a few minutes on each side.

Makes 8 burgers

Serve in a burger bun with salad leaves and mustard.

I made 8 burgers, well when I say burgers, they actually fell apart. So they weren't so much burgers, but more a burger crumble! I am thinking of adding a beaten egg next time.














I had some mixture left over and it was just too tasty to discard. So I grated a carrot and some cheddar into the mixture, added a dollop of mayonnaise and mixed together. I filled soft tortilla wraps with this gorgeous filling along with some salad leaves. Voila, lunch for tomorrow! Should be good :)

24 April 2008

Cookie Prattle




































Cookies with Pistachio Nuts and M&Ms
(adapted from a recipe by Vicarious Foodie)

1 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
1 1/4 cups porridge oats
1 cup chocolate m&ms
1 cup mini chocolate buttons
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, halved
170g butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350/180/Gas Mark 4

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Mix in the egg and vanilla.

Sieve in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. I found I needed a couple of tablespoons of water at this point, probably because I used a medium egg. A large egg would be preferable. Use a rubber spatula to mix in the chocolate, oats and nuts. It really makes life easier!

Divide the mixture into balls the size of a golf ball. Place on 2 lined baking trays (I ended up doing them in 2 batches of 2 trays and put the rest in the fridge). Press the balls down with the palm of your hand.

Now this is where Vicarious Foodie came up trumps! You put one tray on the top shelf and one on the middle, then 20 minutes into cooking you swap the trays over, also turning them, so the back of the trays come to the front. Nice even cooking! My cookies were a little smaller, so I baked them for another 4 minutes, instead of 8. I let them cool a little before moving them to a wire rack.

Makes approx 24 cookies

You can see the original recipes for Wild Cherry M&M Cookies here.

I tried out these cookies at the weekend with view to making another batch during the week. My friend Craig was having a Cake Bake for charity, so I said I would contribute. This first batch of cookies, I took into work, where they were quickly scoffed. Comments were positive and the general opinion was that they were good because they weren't too soft and chewy, hmmm, must be the Scottish palate! I think I might try them bigger next time, because, I quite like chewy cookies.

Anyway, back to my story. So, I thought I would make a couple of fruit loaves (my mum's recipe) and a new batch of cookies. Things didn't go to plan. I forgot just how long you have to leave the fruit loaf mixture to cool before you add the flour and eggs. The loaves came out of the oven at quarter to 10 at night, so no cookies for Craig!

Graham was most disgruntled that he wasn't getting a slice of fruit loaf to sample! Oh, well!

I put the cool loaves in clear bags and tied them closed with yellow satin ribbon. Pity I didn't take a photo, but I was rushing out to work at this point.

Here is an old photo from the same recipe.

18 April 2008

Orange & Brazil Nut Loaf

Ok, so I cheated!

Sorry Johanna!

I know you wanted a savoury nut loaf for your A Neb At Nut Roast event, but I couldn't resist trying out this James Martin recipe for a zesty Orange and Brazil Nut Loaf.




Orange & Brazil Nut Loaf

5 small oranges
1 lemon
300g shelled brazil nuts
250g caster sugar
6 Eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice















Wipe the fruit well and put in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer briskly with the lid on for 20 minutes, topping up with hot water if necessary. Remove the fruit from the pan and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
















Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Spread out the nuts on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes until pale golden. Chop roughly, then tip into a food processor and grind to a fine powder.

Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C/gas 3. Grease a 25cm springform cake tin.

Cut the fruit in half and remove the seeds - don't remove the peel though. Put everything in a food processor. Add the nuts, sugar, eggs, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice, and purée for 30 seconds. Scrape the purée from the sides of the bowl. Process for another 20 seconds until you have a thick batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean - the cake should be quite moist.

Leave to cool in the tin. When cold, remove the cake from the tin and transfer to a wire rack. Leave to sit for a few hours before eating.














I made 2 loaves out of this mixture. Needless to say, I didn't leave them for the recommended few hours before I cut one open.

It is a zesty and moist cake, ahem, I mean to say, loaf!

17 April 2008

Simple But Spicy Mushroom & Quinoa Salad

This is my first venture into quinoa (keen-wah) and it was a very pleasant experience. Once I learned how to pronounce it (I couldn't until recently), I just had to make some!


Mushroom & Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 vegetable stock cube

300g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh basil
salt & pepper

1 bag salad leaves

feta cheese to garnish


Place the quinoa, water and the stock cube in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has gone. Set the pan aside to give the quinoa a chance to absorb the rest of the liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and add the spices and garlic. Allow to sizzle before adding the mushrooms. If the mixture sticks a little, add a splash of water. Cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms are succulent.

Wilt the salad leaves by placing in a colander and pouring over some boiling water. Drain leaves off and pat dry on a tea towel. Place the leaves in a bowl. Mix the quinoa with the mushrooms and serve on top of the wilted leaves with a generous garnish of fresh basil and some crumbled feta cheese.

Serves 4















The mushrooms in this dish packed a punch when cooked with the spices, lovely! It was a dish achieved by looking at what I had in my fridge and cupboards, but despite that it turned out well. But, then, I do love mushrooms. We had the left-overs next day with the addition of some sundried tomatoes and that was really good.



I am submitting this dish to this month's round of No Croutons Required. Lisa is hosting this month and her theme is a soup or salad featuring mushrooms of any variety.

If you would like to join in this mushroom extravaganza, please post your recipe and email it to nocroutonsrequired@googlemail.com by the 20th April. The rules are here.

13 April 2008

Six Word Memoir














£325














£450 - read on....

Johanna has tagged me for a six word memoir. I have to choose 6 words to describe myself.

impatient

bossy

loyal

generous

shoe-freak

The last one, I don't get to indulge enough, but I can look! Graham agrees with impatience and suggested I add ratty, but things did pick up a bit when he said I should add generous. I will let him live!

I would like to tag:

Yvonne at It Had Better Be Good - answers
Davimack at Wish I Were Baking - answers
Tadmack at Hobbits Abroad - answers
Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie - answers
Megan at Megan the Vegan - answers

Thanks to you all for giving it a go!

Hummus for Lunch

I have been buying hummus for a while now and it seemed like madness. I knew I probably had all the ingredients in my store cupboard. I did. So I plugged in my mini food processor and got to work. I only took me a few minutes to make. There is no excuse for me now!


Hummus

400g can chickpeas
1 handful fresh coriander
1 lemon, juice and rind
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Drain the chickpeas and rinse well, keep some aside, to top the hummus with, add the rest to the processor with all the other ingredients and whizz until it is the right consistency for you. You may like more garlic and olive oil in your hummus.

I split the batch in half and added a red chilli to one batch. This was for Graham's friend Paul, who likes his food spicy. I topped the hummus with the remaining chickpeas and sprinkled some paprika over the top.

I used my half of the hummus in sandwiches with grated carrot and salad leaves, which were unbelievably tasty!

07 April 2008

Putting Up




































Putting Up is a brand new blog event dreamed up by two lovely ladies, the irrepressible Pixie and the queen of baking, Rosie.

Pixie and Rosie are asking us to dust off our preserving pans and make them some homemade preserves, quick sharpish! Well actually that's a fib, because they have generously given us until the 21st May 2008, but I couldn't wait to get started!

I was craving rhubarb after seeing Wendy's Stewed Rhubarb with Ginger, so I googled rhubarb and jam and hey presto, there it was, Rhubarb & Orange Jam by good old Mrs Beeton.


Rhubarb & Orange Jam
by Mrs Beeton

1.13L/2pt/1 quart finely-cut rhubarb
6 oranges
700g/1½lb loaf sugar


Peel the oranges; remove as much of the white pith as possible, divide them and take out the pips; slice the pulp into a preserving-pan, add the rind of half the oranges cut into thin strips, and the loaf sugar, which should be broken small.

Peel the rhubarb, cut it into thin pieces, add it to the oranges and stir all together over a gentle heat until the jam is done.

Remove all the scum as it rises, put the preserve into pots, and when cold, cover down. Should the rhubarb be very old, stew it alone for ¼hour before the other ingredients are added.


















I grated the rind from the oranges before I cut them up, I used rhubard from last session, which I had chopped into pieces and frozen in a bag and I used white sugar, that I had sitting in the cupboard. I put a saucer in the freezer and did the wrinkle test, to judge when my jam was ready and then poured it into sterilised jam jars. The quantity was enough for 3 x 400g jars and a little left over to take a photo of and to try.


Graham came home from work and pronounced "I smell rhubarb!".

I tried to allay his fears by telling him the jam was mostly oranges and reminded him that he liked rhubarb, when I mixed it with strawberries to make Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble.  

He still looked very dubious, but I made him try some anyway!

His conclusion was "it has chunks", "yes Graham" I said, that would be the oranges and rhubarb!", "oh" says he! "Actually, it is really quite nice!".

Yay! Victory! Another point to me!

If you want to submit a preseve for the event, the rules are here.

06 April 2008

The Vagaries of the Scottish Weather


















Yesterday, I was shopping in Perth and it was a glorious day, so sunny and warm. I didn't even need a coat, a thin cardi was enough and I was thinking "Summer is on it's way"! Well I was obviously wrong! I look out of the window this morning and everything is white. What is going on here? Why are there such quick changes in weather? Is it global warming or is this just another example of our fine Scottish weather? Will Summer ever arrive? I would settle for a few weeks of Spring!

And now for something completely different!
I would like to show you a couple of comedy photos of my cat Beaker!


















I think he was about to sneeze or proclaim something very important!

And now, what he normally looks like. Well as normal as this cat, who likes you to shut the door after everyone has come in and open it freshly for him, can be!