Spiced carrot pickle

I adapted this from a Co-op leaflet based on the ingredients I happened to have in the cupboard. It keeps for up to a week in the fridge, and should be freezable. The particular mixture of spices you use is pretty arbitary – I’d always keep the garlic, ginger and chilli, but garam masala or mixed spice could easily substitute the rest. You could also add coriander seed or cardamom if you have it.

Melt about 1 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, then add 1 1/12 cups grated carrot (about 4-5 medium size carrots) and fry for 5 minutes until beginning to turn golden. Stir in a large thumb-sized block of grated ginger (or 1 tsp powdered ginger), 3 cloves garlic, finely diced, and 1/2 red chilli, finely diced (or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes), and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp ground cumin or (1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 star anise, broken into pieces, and 1/3 cup raisins (or sultanas). Finally add 2 tbsp honey and 3-4 tbsp malt or cider vinegar and cook down for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the carrots are completely soft. Wait a day for the flavours to develop before serving.

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Green been casserole

I threw this together out of bits and pieces from the back of my fridge and it turned out really well. There’s no need to throw away the chicken bone and skin – add them to the casserole to improve the flavour and pick the cooked meat off the bone when it’s done.

Remove the meat from a chicken thigh and cut it into roughly 1 cm cubes. In a large casserole dish, mix together the chicken, 1 1/2 cups green beans, cut into 1 cm slices, 1 medium carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes, 1 medium onion, thinly sliced, 2 cloves garlic, finely diced, 2/3 cup cottage cheese, 1/3 cup hot salsa and a generous crack of black pepper. Pour over enough stock to just cover everything. Bake at 180°C  for an hour and a half, or until everything is well cooked. If the casserole is looking a bit runny after an hour, remove a few spoonfuls of liquid and return to the oven.

Serves 2 or 3 with garlic bread.

Carrot cake

Another cake recipe adapted from A Taste of Oregon. It’s a great cookbook, especially since all the baking measurements are in cups and I don’t have a set of scales. You can also add walnuts or pecans, although I don’t usually have them in my cupboard.

Mix together 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2 eggs; add 1/2 cup oil and stir thoroughly. Sift in 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp salt, and combine. Stir in 1 1/2 cups grated carrot and 1/3 cup raisins; if the mixture is too dry (you’re struggling to stir in all the flour) add a little milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until the mixture is fully combined but still thick. Pour into a 9-inch cake tin or separate into muffin cases, filling the cases 2/3 of the way up. For the cake, bake at 180°C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. For the muffins, bake at 220°C for 5 minutes to create round muffin tops then turn down to 180°C for 10-15 minutes for the muffins.

Apple and Cashew Soup

A fairly simple soup recipe, but not a combination I would have thought of if I hadn’t spotted it in a recipe book. The Thai curry paste really brings out the flavours, but you can use 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or a pinch of chilli flakes instead if you don’t have any.

Roughly chop 1 small onion and finely chop 2 cloves garlic. Peel 1 medium carrot, 1 medium potato and 1 large apple, and cut them into small chunks, cutting the carrot a little smaller than the potato as it is slower to cook. Heat a spoonful of oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until translucent and beginning to caramelise. Add the carrot and potato and allow them to brown a little, then add to the pan 2 cups boiling water, 1 generous teaspoon vegetable stock powder, 1 scant teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (to taste) and a large handful of cashews. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the carrot and potato are begining to soften, then add the apple. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are fully soft. Allow to cool a little then blend thoroughly and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2 with bread, reheats well the next day.

Roast Carrot and Parsnip Soup

I used leftover roast vegetables from the day before for this, but you can roast the vegetables specially.

Scrub clean 1 large carrot and 1 large parsnip; halve lengthways and cut into finger-length batons. Place on a baking tray and drizzle over a tablespoon of oil, a generous pinch of salt, and generous cracked pepper. Roast at 180°C for 30-45 minutes, or until soft and beginning to blacken around the edges. Allow to cool a little then chop into smaller pieces. Fry 1/2 onion, roughly chopped, and 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, in a little butter or oil until beginning to caramelise. Add the carrot and parsnip, 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, and 1-2 cups of vegetable stock depending on how thick you want the soup (one cup will give an almost purée-like texture, two cups will give a thin drinking soup). Bring to the boil, then take off the heat and blend until reasonably smooth. Serve with crusty bread and goat’s cheese.

Serves 2-3 depending on the size of the vegetables and the amount of liquid added.

Carrot and Lentil Broth

Adapted from a Good Food recipe. Particularly good with a fried egg on top, the yolk broken into the broth. Serves 2.

Fry 1/2 onion, diced, and 2 medium carrots, diced, in a little oil until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add 1/2 400g can chopped tomatoes, 1 pint vegetable stock, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp thyme, two bay leaves and 1/3 cup puy lentils, rinsed. Bring to the boil and cook on a medium for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the carrot is beginning to soften. Add 4 mushrooms, quartered, and a handful of broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces, and cook for another 10 minutes, until the broccoli is soft. Add a dash of soy sauce to taste. Serve with bread.

Variations:

  • Instead of garlic powder, use one or two cloves of garlic, thinly sliced; cook them with the onion
  • Any kind of lentil will work in this recipe
  • Other root vegetables can be prepared and cooked with the carrot; other soft vegetables can be cooked with the mushrooms and broccoli. The original recipe used cabbage.

Kale Parcels

After a few iterations I’m still not satisfied with this recipe, but I’ve run out of kale, so I’ll post it here for the time being. Serves 1 or 2 as a snack.

Blanche 6-10 large leaves of kale in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes, until soft. Lift out with a spatula, add a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup bulgar wheat to the water, and boil for 10 minutes, until cooked through, then strain and set aside. Rinse the kale in cold water then squeeze the water out of the kale leaves and strip out the rib of each leaf, leaving the top 4-5 inches of the leaf intact. Thinly slice the ribs and fry gently in a little oil with 1/4 onion, finely diced, and 1 clove garlic, finely diced, until the onion is translucent. Add the bulgar wheat, a handful of sweetcorn, 1 small carrot, grated, a handful of raisins, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp turmeric. Mix well, then take off the heat.

Place 1-2 tbsp of the mixture onto the intact end of each leaf and fold over the tip of the leaf, squeezing the mixture down. Fold the two “tails” diagonally over the tip to create a triangle; continue wrapping the tails tightly around the mixture. They should hold by themselves. Finish off the parcels by baking at 200°C for ten minutes, grilling for five minutes on each side, microwaving for 2-3 minutes or shallow frying for 5 minutes on each side (this last method tends to leave the kale more chewy), or until the outermost kale has turned dark green-black.  Serve with any leftover bulgar mixture. Spare parcels will keep in the fridge for a few days.

 

 

Vegan Sunshine Mince

I recreated this recipe from things that needed using up in the fridge and a very vague memory of the original sunshine mince my mother used to make. The main features (if I remember correctly) were mince, grated carrot, chickpeas and sultanas – the rest can be whatever needs using up at the back of the fridge.

Rehydrate 1/2 cup soya mince in 2 cups boiling water. Soak a hand-sized sheet of dried kelp in water until soft enough to cut into 1 inch squares. Gently fry 1/2 red onion, finely sliced, and 1 clove garlic, finely chopped until translucent; then add the soya mince and water, kelp, 3-4 inches plantain, diced, a large tomato, diced, 3 mushrooms, diced, 1/2 carrot, grated, 1/2 of a 400g can of chickpeas, drained, a handful of raisins or sultanas, and 1 tsp miso paste (or 1 tsp stock powder and 1 tsp soy sauce). Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the kelp is soft and the tomato has disintegrated. Add 1 tsp smoked paprika and generous cracked paper. Serves 2 with couscous.

Eggy Buckwheat Salad

Boil 1/3 cup raw buckwheat groats and 1-2 bay leaves in water for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Strain and remove the bay leaves. Meanwhile, mix together 1 medium carrot, grated, 1/3 plantain, diced, a large handful of sweetcorn. Separate 1 egg and mix the yolk into the hot buckwheat. Fry the white in a little oil, then slice and mix into the buckwheat along with the rest of the ingredients and a dash (about 1/2 tsp) soy sauce.

Serves 1.

Variations:

  • Cous cous can be used instead of buckwheat. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over 1/3 cup cous cous, cover, and leave to stand for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  • Any vegetables which can be eaten raw can be substituted into this recipe – thinly sliced or grated courgette, sliced olives, mushrooms, fresh peas, etc.
  • The white can be left out and used to make meringues or added to pancakes later
  • I haven’t tried this, but the plantain could probably be substituted for unripe (green) banana if plantains aren’t available

Vegetable Casserole

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt 1tbsp butter in a large saucepan. Fry 1 leek, sliced and 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped until soft. Add 1 can kidney beans, rinsed; 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped; 6 small carrots, peeled and chopped; 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped; fry for a few minutes then stir in 1 can coconut milk, 1/3 cup chopped tomato, 1/3 cup stock, 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp basil and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Transfer to casserole dish, cover, cook for 35 minutes. Mix 1 tsp cornflour with a little hot water to make a paste. Stir into casserole, cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serves 3 generously

Variations:

  • Swap butter for vegetable oil for vegan
  • A large onion can be used instead of leek
  • Cornflour can be left out, just add a little less liquid or cook for a little longer
  • Any root vegetables can be used instead of carrot and potato
  • Sweet potato can be substituted for squash or pumpkin
  • Any softer vegetables should be added 10 minutes into the oven cooking time
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée or tomato ketchup and an extra 1/3 cup of stock can be used instead of chopped tomato