Friday, January 28, 2011

I wanted...I bought...I made

Steamed Game Pudding

Out for a posh lunch Saturday so I'm thinking cold collation in the evening - all things fishy for a change from our usual cheeses and salamis. Sunday I'm hankering for roast chicken - ages since we had that - lunch out so dinner was toast with the rest of the crab pate and taramsalata. Monday might have another go at aubergine pasta - full on roast chicken dinner with gravy and sprouts and stuffing and everything, Tuesday noodles aubergine pasta, silky as sin, Wednesday steamed savoury pudding with the last of the game stew from christmas the rest of the pasta reheated in the steam oven with crusty bread, Thursday I'm wondering about belly pork made a lovely suet pastry then steamed it full of game and served it with buttered cabbage, Friday omelette and salad chicken soup with the remnants of our lovely chicken using the carcass for stock.

Borough was picking up a little busy wise this week, but still easy going and great shopping. The boys at Ginger Pig were well wrapped up against the bitter wind, John particularly in a tweed cap as well as a nice big hoodie, but they all looked a bit raw even at 9 o'clock. Bought a chicken and, as a direct result of the cold, bought some lamb neck chops dreaming of stew. Spent £20.04

Coffee next from the newly, and beautifully simply, refurbished Monmouth, espresso beans £10

Then smoked salmon from the Irish stall - £5 - a total bargain it is so beautiful

Then thinking of prawns but bought instead a tub of crab paté from Shellseekers, mainly because I have always wanted to try but haven't - £4.95

Finally returned about 1000 empty egg boxes to Lizzie at Wild Beef - and bought another box to start the new fridge top mountain - £1.50

Then into the new bit of the market where the man had bought good bread the week before, found the stall, found the bread - a lovely seedy malted loaf - £2.20

There is also a game dealer there, who also trades at Oval, and they sell the most fabulous pork scratchings at a bargainous £1 so had to have some. They also were selling partridge legs for 10p each. Yes, ten pence. A challenge I think you'll find. They are on the plan for next week...

Ted's Veg for potatoes, sprouts and a lettuce - I am beginning to hanker after salad - spent £4.90

At Tony's I wanted a cabbage and bought chicory and an aubergine too - £2

From Neals Yard I got lots of milk, some of it 50p a litre short dated, £3.20

Enough for the week, or the time being at least spent a not too bad £54.79

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seared Ginger Raita

I love raita, always have. It is the single element that brings spicy dishes and rice and bits and bobs together whilst never losing its own autonomy. It is a quite perfect accompaniment, an important part of many Indian meals. Not a single dish, its forms are as myriad as the curries it comes with.

Plain (natural) yoghurt 'dahi' is one of my favourite things, cold and creamy with a good sour tang it is somehow challenging and soothing simultaneously. It is the base of all raita, its coolness offering respite from spicy, and it can bring its own complexity and pleasure to the meal. My first one was simple - a little cucumber and mint, a perfect mouthful of summer. Then I tried it with coriander and toasted cumin seeds for a quite different set of flavours and textures, the crisp little seeds a tiny surprise. Mamta's Kitchen suggests the bacteria aids digestion, which is probably true, but the suggestion I like more is that raita should be served in generous portions. I must concur!

This particular recipe comes from Viet World Kitchen via Niloufer King, the award-winning author of My Bombay Kitchen. Using both raw ginger and some that you fry gently till it 'candies' this raita brings a whole other dimension of gingerness to the table.

Seared Ginger Raita

I had no curry leaves but did have some oil I made using fresh curry leaves so that was my base. Andrea Nguyen adds a note to her version worth passing on 'You can't really over do it so - go wild'.

Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, any level of fat
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
2 fresh red or green Thai chiles, slit to the stem
Leaves from 1 branch of curry leaves, wiped dry
1/4 cup finely julienned fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Put the yogurt into a large measuring cup or bowl and whisk it a few times to break it up. Add the chopped ginger and salt to taste. If the yogurt is super thick, add water by the tablespoon. Keep the yoghurt by the stove along with the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro which you’ll add later.

In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and let them sizzle for a minute, until aromatic. Toss in the curry leaves and when they begin to darken and change color, add the julienned ginger. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until the ginger starts turning brown and caramelizing. Now add the mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds pop, pour all of the ingredients into the yogurt. Stir to combine well and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavors. The yogurt will take on some of the gingery goodness.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander to serve.

This is a gorgeous thing - as I ate it with aubergine and chickpea curry I started imagining it with other dishes, grilled fish and steaks and as a dipping sauce for raw vegetables. This one has serious possibilities!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I wanted... I bought... I made

Saturday I am out in the morning so the man can have a list and a wander on his own. We are out Saturday night so I’m thinking substantial late lunch - it was but it was at the Canton Arms, ham and mozzarella perhaps or hot sausage sandwiches are always a treat it was too as a quick snack before running for the bus. Sunday roast beef with lots of veg, Monday the man is home late so I’m thinking salad compose with a couple of made salads that can then go into lunches with leftover beef the aubergine curry (above) with ginger raita but did make roasted veg with peppers from the fridge and a few more bits I bought to go with, Tuesday noodles fabulous lentils with a poached egg then lentils with roasted peppers and beef for spectacularly good lunchboxes, Wednesday I am out so the man might like to reprise the pie and beans of this week, Thursday I want lentils and sausage with some lovely lentils from France gifted me by a young french woman I know they were the delightful lentils Tuesday and Thursday we went out for wine and cheese at Cafe du Marché and Friday I am planning an adventure, postponed with pie and mash in the meantime!
There was no trip for me to Borough this week, the man went with a list and came back with the bounty!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spaghetti with Peas and Cream

This is a simple dinner for early in the week, great at this time of year because the peas gives it a gentle taste of spring even while the nights remain long. Its simpicity is a joy after the richness of the festive period, with the stock and vermouth giving it depth.

It comes from the incomparable Anna del Conte, in her book Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes. She recommends linguine but it worked well with spaghetti which I had in the cupboard. The original plan had been an aubergine pasta bake, from the same book, but there were no aubergine to be had - and sadly they have no substitute.

Spaghetti with Peas and Cream

Serves 4 - or 2 dinners and 2 cold lunches next day

450g spaghetti
fresh grated Parmesan for serving

45g unsalted butter
4 shallots, very finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
225g peas, defrosted if frozen
1 tbspn plain flour
6 tbspn dry vermouth
120ml chicken stock
150ml single cream

In a large sauté pan melt the butter with the shallots and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Sauté the shallts until soft then add the peas. Coat them in the butter for 1 minute, sprinkle with the flour and cook for a further minute, stirring the whole time to prevent lumps. Stir in the vermouth, boil for 1 minute and then add the stock.

Cover the pan and regulate the heat so that the liquid simmers gently for the peas to cook, They must be tender, not just al dente. Stir inthe cream, cook for a couple of m inutes, Add pepper, taste and check the seasoning.

Meanwhile put a large pan of water on to boil. Add 1 1/2 tablepsoons of salt and when the water has come to a roaring boil, slide in the spaghetti, pushing the bundle down gently as the part under the water softens. Stir with a long fork, bring back to the boil then cook till the pasta is done. Drain, but do not over drain.

Put the pan back on a low heat and add the cream and peas. Stir rapidly till all the strands are coated. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Yours in 30 minutes or less.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I wanted I bought I made

The very bitter cold has receded for the moment. Less wintery food is needed. Saturday a treat from the market, perhaps fish - meant to be chicken with white wine and mash but we went for a late lunch at St John so dinner was the last of salami and cheese and olives with crusty bread. Sunday spanish rice, Monday pasta with peas, Tuesday sausage and lentils was feeling ill so made the man a bowl of steamed chicken and ginger over rice and I went to bed, Wednesday tofu and cabbage really ill so slept the afternoon away and the man came home and made scrambled eggs which I ate a little of but not much, Thursday I am out with friends so the man can fend for himself or perhaps he might like pie I had a banana and a clementine and the man had steak & kidney pie with beans which he loved!, Friday omelette I am thinking steamed tofu and cabbage but may well jsut be fruit for me!.

We were late Saturday, overslept a little, but a nice start to the morning. The market was a little busier than last week but not much so it was lovely again to wander about and shop unhindered. The man asked for chicken and mash for dinner Saturday so bought two enormous chicken breasts at Ginger Pig, would love to have seen the whole bird! Both ended up in the freezer to start with, one was steamed with ginger Tuesday and the other will be Cost £10.87

Brindisa next where, sadly they no longer sell calasparra rice loose but do still have it in cloth bags so snaffled one as well as a pack of spicy cooking chorizo - £9.70

Ted's Veg, where the lovely young woman who works there was delighted to have had mashed marfona potatoes in the week. She was the one who assured me ages ago that they made great roasted potatoes - she was absolutely right - so another week I told her I'd mashed them and that was great too. Bought some, as well as carrots, spinach and onions £4.80

Still had some eggs so didn't need more so no visit to Wild Beef this week

Bought a lovely big hunk of Parmesan at Gastronomica - £9

A pie for the man - he does love steak & kidney - £2.50 from Elizabeth Kings

Almost no milk at Neals Yard - bought a litre of whole milk and couldn't resist a whole Tunworth at a bargainous £5 Spent £6.75

A toast loaf from Flour Power - £1.10 though I noticed afterwards a different loaf covered in poppy seeds with a sign saying it made great toast so I may finally try something new!

Spent a mere £44,72

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kale & Chickpea Soup

This is the most fabulous soup. Man oh man it is good. New Year, a little frugality, a little lighter eating, perhaps a little less complex, and the man hoping for a little less washing up (like that's going to happen). This recipe was featured on serious eats which, as a serious eater, I subscribe to. Sounded right for the time of year and substantial enough with some bread to be a proper dinner. I duly printed it off and amassed the ingredients and then looked a little more closely at the brief instructions while the chickpeas cooked. They didn't quite make sense - too much going in too soon, perhaps there was insufficient flavour, timings seemed highly unlikely.

I was suddenly assailed by doubt.

I had already beaten the eggs and grated the cheese so it was too late to back off. I tweaked instead, and fussed and worried right up to the first mouthful. Wow. This soup is seriously good, full of flavour and wonderful textures and pretty as a picture.

Kale & Chickpea Soup

I used chicken stock as I have loads in the freezer but you could as well use a vegetarian stock or the water from cooking the chickpeas as a base

Serves 4

125g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with a little pinch of bicarb of soda
1 bay leaf
1 litre chicken stock

750ml water - or save the water from cooking the chickpeas, something I thought of after it had all gone down the sink :(
2 large dried chillies
Rind of Parmesan
75g small pasta like ditalli
1 bunch spring onions, sliced, whites and greens divided
1/2 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg
150g chopped kale

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
A little lemon juice, perhaps a teaspoon
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas and put into a large pan. Add the bay leaf, cover with water and cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Add the stock, dried chillies, white bits of spring onion, grated nutmeg and the Parmesan rind and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the pasta and stir well to stop it sticking. Simmer, stirring occasionally till the pasta is cooked. Fish out and discard the bay leaf, chillies and rind.

Stir in the chopped kale and stir for a minute till it wilts, about a minute.

Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the soup, stirring constantly. Cook for a couple of minutes till the egg is lightly creamy. Season with salt and fresh black pepper. Add the spring onion green bits and Parmesan and stir briefly. Taste, then add a little lemon juice just to lift it, not to add a lemon flavour.

Serve in big bowls with crusty bread.

Yum. Mid week joy.

Friday, January 07, 2011

I wanted....I bought...I made

All the excitement and feasting of Christmas is over, and all but a butternut, a little hard cheese and some smoked salmon - a lovely Friday night treat with scrambled eggs and crusty bread - has been consumed in one dish or another. Very splendid it has been too.

Now it is January, pouring with rain and, best of all, Borough Market is trading again normally with normal numbers of shoppers and visitors. I am looking forward to Saturday again with delighted anticipation. Makes me grin just to think about it.

I have food chain so will be early and quick. Am planning to have some lamb chops from the freezer for dinner Saturday night with fresh veg - garlic potatoes and buttered spinach, roast pork roasted with the squash and more veg Sunday went for a very late lunch to the Canton Arms for a most magnificent cassoulet so dinner was toast!, Monday a little steamed tofu was the pork roasted with ginger and garlic and lots of veg, Tuesday kale and chickpea soup leftover lamb and barley stew with new potatoes as I cooked too much at food chain, Wednesday risotto went to see Kings Speech then had a fine steak and garlic chip supper at the Hive in Brixton, Thursday noodles totally fabulous kale and chickpea soup and Friday omelette still have the mozzarella so will have a collation with some salami and taramasalata and salad.

Borough Market was wonderfully quiet on a windy Saturday morning. It's always so in January, good respite for the traders after seasonal frenzy and lovely for regular shoppers to be able to browse in peace. Started at the Ginger Pig where Charlie was delighted with the cricket results. Said his brother had gone to the SCG for one day of the last game, said my brother did too but I suspect his brother enjoyed it more! Have to admit the best team won. I bought a nice piece of pork shoulder to roast, eyed up some gorgeous looking pork hocks but resisted! £14.20

Coffee from a decidedly truncated Monmouth. It is being rebuilt so they were selling beans from sacks at the front of the shop but no hot coffee. Dark roast Costa Rica - £10.50

Elsey & Bent have taken over Tony Booth's old shop. Insult to injury.

Delighted to see that Ted's Veg had returned after a couple of weeks off. Bought potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage - £4.20

On to Lizzie at Wild Beef who was on to her second coffee as the first had blown over in the wind before she'd had a chance to drink it. Eggs, lovely eggs - £1.50

The man professed a desire for buffalo mozzarella, it was realised at the Italian ham and cheese stall - £4.90

Milk - in pint bottles as they were almost out of milk entirely - and St John bread at Neals Yard - £6.75

Was all we got and back on the bus we were home for 10am, hot toast and coffee. £42.05 the lot.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Hope it's fabulous for all as this steak and salad was on New Year's Eve.