Saturday, 27 February 2010

Vegetable Biryani

I haven't updated in a couple of weeks, I had food poisoning/some sort of gastric bug last weekend which made me not want to think about, let alone look at food, until about Wednesday. I was reduced to toast and plain water biscuits! So although I menu planned, I only did the evenings, and then it wasn't very exciting. I did however finally hand it my nasty legal essay that was hanging over my head, and the next one is not due until 27th April! Hurrah! That said the week before last I was cooking, just not posting, and I made a delicious Vegetable Biryani.

This is one of those recipes where you can bung in all those vegetables that get left at the bottom of the fridge and come up with a delicious, filling meal. Its also so easy to make because its done in the oven so you can just leave it to cook, whilst you get on with the housework or whatever needs doing!

Vegetable Biryani (adapted from Good Food Magazine January 2003)
(Serves 6)

vegetable oil
1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 small aubergines, cut into cubes
2 carrots, cut into cubes
2 leeks, chopped
1 large onion, sliced
1l hot vegetable stock
3 tbsp hot curry paste
large pinch of saffron strands
500g basmati rice
140g trimmed green beans, halved
2 lemons, juice only
a handful of fresh coriander leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin or ovenproof dish and put in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat through. Add all the vegetables to the tin, except the beans, stirring to coat them in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 15 minutes until beginning to brown.

While the vegetables are roasting, stir together the stock, curry paste and saffron

Mix the rice and green beans with the vegetables in the tin, then pour over the stock mixture. Lower the oven to 190C/gas 5/fan 190C. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice and check the seasoning, then scatter over the coriander.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last weeks Menu Plan Monday got somewhat messed around. I ended up going out for Chinese on Saturday night, so changed Friday night as well to a yummy creamy prawn pasta dish. I am trying my hardest to eat things out of the freezer and the cupboards, this month seems a little lean on the money front and food from the freezer definitely needs eating. The venison steak and chops was delicious last night, and I am really looking forward to the breaded veal with polenta.

On Saturday I sat down and wrote my essay which is due in on 23rd February, for my lunch break I had a bratwurst wrap with onion sauerkraut filling. It was absolutely delicious and really filling. Now all I have to do is check over the essay and send it to a friend to check over it too. I am so glad to have it finished.

Lunch: Sausage Sandwich, Salad
Dinner: Venison Steak and Chips with Mustard Mayo and Grated Courgette with Lemon

Lunch: Three Mushroom Rice with Vegetable Balls and Sweet Chilli Sauce
Dinner: Spinach Pakora in Pitta Bread with Crème Fraiche

Lunch: Vegetable Biryani, Samosa
Dinner: Out with my Mum and Sister if they get back from Brussels!

Lunch: Salad with Kabanossi, Cheese etc
Dinner: Out with my Dad

Lunch: Black Bean Curry, Naan Bread
Dinner: Chicken and Cucumber Sandwich

Lunch: Chicken Soba Noodle Salad
Dinner: Breaded Veal with Tomato Sauce and Polenta

Friday, 12 February 2010

Lentil, Bulgar Wheat and Spinach Soup

I did manage to make one meal from scratch last week, Lentil, Bulgar Wheat and Spinach Soup from my Lebanese Cookbook. I have had a real hankering for Lebanese/Middle Eastern food recently and I found small taster packets of bulgar week in the supermarket. I have only had bulgar wheat once before and really didn't like it, but I thought I'd try it again and in this soup it was really tasty.

The original recipe called for water rather than veg stock, and didn't have any spice in it, but I added some cumin, and it really was delicious. I'm going to try making falafel with some bulgar wheat in them and also some tabbouleh, with the rest of the bulgar wheat.

Lentil, Bulgar Wheat and Spinach Soup (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly Lebanese Cooking)
(Serves 4)

2 litres vegetable stock
200g brown lentils
160g bulgar wheat
60ml olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
350g spinach, shredded finely

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large saucepan and cook the lentils, uncovered, until tender. Add the bulgar wheat, cover and simmer the mixture for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan, cook the onion and garlic, stirring until lightly browned, add the cumin and stir. Add the spinach, cover and remove from the heat.

Just before serving, add spinach and onion mixture; stir over a low heat until heated through. Serve topped with yoghurt, if desired.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Spinach and Cambozola Pasta

I thought as it is the 150th Presto Pasta Nights, I would add something to the round up. I haven't submitted anything in ages, I don't seem to have cooked all that much pasta recently, or at least nothing very interesting. This week its hosted by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, so check out her blog on Friday for the round up!

This pasta recipe, I loved. Its been bookmarked for ages (with an actual bookmark in the book), but I had loads of cheese left over from a couple of trips to France, and only just bought some Cambozola. According to Wikipedia, Cambozola is a cow's milk cheese that is a combination of a French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola. All I know is that you can buy it from Sainsbury's and it is delicious! The cheese has a creamy tang, which worked really well with the spinach and the pine nuts added that marvellous crunch!

Spinach and Cambozola Pasta (from Leiths Vegetarian Bible)
(Serves 4-6)

350g pasta, such as farfalle
1 large bag of fresh spinach, washed
170g cambozola cheese, chopped
90g pine nuts, toasted
200ml creme fraiche
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Drain the pasta thoroughly, stir in the remaining ingredients and season lightly.

Mix well - the heat of the pasta should melt the cheese and wilt the spinach. If necessary, put a lid on the pan and leave for 2 mins. (I actually put the pan back on the heat on low to make sure the cheese was melted).

Monday, 8 February 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Ok so I totally did do a menu plan on paper for last week, I just never got around to posting it. I have to say it wasn't very exciting. I had a really busy week and ate out a lot of nights too. This is a recipe from the week before last, which I found in my Big Book of Casseroles.

I have to say that it actually was somewhat of a disappointment. I still can't really see the point of baking it as opposed to just drizzling the sauce over the hot pasta, and the sour cream just clumped and stuck to the pasta. I am not impressed with this cook book at all, although it had good reviews on Amazon. The only other recipe I have made from it for macaroni cheese was almost inedible, but here is the fettuccine recipe if you want to try it.

Fettuccine with Basil Pesto (from the Big Book of Casseroles)
(Serves 6)

1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup light sour cream or yoghurt
8 ounces of fettuccine

Preheat the oven to 180C. In a small bowl, stir together the pesto and sour cream. Toss with the fettuccine. Transfer to a casserole dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil. Cover and bake until heated through and flavours are blended, about 20 mins.

Hopefully I am in more nights this week, which will save me a lot of money. Although I was good and took a packed lunch and dinner a couple of times last week. I am really looking forward to the sea bass with potatoes and olives, which is a roll over from last week and the vegetable biryani, which has been hanging round for about a month!

Lunch: I really went out for Breakfast, Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup, Yum!
Dinner: Cheese and Salami Orzo Casserole, Garlic Bread

Lunch: Hummus and Cucumber in a Pitta Bread
Dinner: Cambozola and Spinach Pasta (Leiths)

Lunch: Tomato Pesto and Prawn Pasta Salad
Dinner: Sea Bass with Potatoes and Olives


Lunch: Bean Chilli with Crème Fraiche and Grated Cheese
Dinner: Pitta Bread and Hummus

Lunch: Goats Cheese and Salami Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Prawn Tamarind Stir Fry (Vietnamese Cookbook)

Dinner: Lamb Cutlets with Hummus Mashed Butter Beans

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Courgette and Dolcelatte Risotto

This week seems to have been rather hectic, no sooner did I hand in one essay but I got given the next one! Its about legal issues in Public Libraries and I'm getting all confused by the language! This one I think is going to be tough. I have been to the theatre a couple of times this week. I went to see Wicked on Tuesday night, which was awesome. I've felt like such a teenager, I finished reading the twilight series of books as well! Then I went to see Waiting for Godot on Wednesday afternoon and promptly fell asleep! I think it was the combination of the dark and that I was sat right at the back virtually on my own! They were, however still waiting when I woke up again! Then last night I went to see Really Old, Like Forty Five at the National Theatre and I really enjoyed that. It was about the elderly, health and relationships between the generations, and was hilariously funny in parts. I am also off to a friends engagement drinks tonight, which should be good fun. So all in all a very busy week!

This is the offending risotto that damaged my toe! It is much better two weeks on, with just the nail looking a bit dodgy, and I've been informed that it will drop off at some point! How nice!! Anyway, the risotto was delicious, the blue cheese was a really good combination with the courgettes, making for a really tasty, if painful, dinner.

Courgette and Dolcelatte Risotto (adapted from Leiths Vegetarian Bible)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
340g/12oz arborio rice
150ml/ 1/4pint white wine
860ml/ 1 1/2pints vegetable stock
2 courgettes, grated
30g/1oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper
110g/ 4oz dolcelatte or other soft blue cheese
handful of fresh basil leaves to garnish
freshly grated parmesan to serve

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the onion and fry over a low heat until softened. Add the garlic and rice and cook for a few minutes.

Pour in the wine and stir until it has been absorbed by the rice. Add the stock, cover and bake in the oven for 20 mins. Stir in the courgette and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put back into the oven or another 5 mins to allow the rice to absorb the courgette juices.

Cut the dolcelatte cheese into small pieces and fold briefly through the risotto. Scatter the torn basil leaves before serving and grate over some parmesan.