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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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.

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.

 

 

Cauliflower Biriyani

Adapted from a vegetarian recipe with the help of a friend. Not very authentic, but adaptable to whatever’s in the fridge.

Fry 1 medium onion or leek, thinly sliced and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or thinly sliced, in a little oil in a large (preferably non-stick) saucepan for 5 minutes, or until onion/leek is beginning to soften. Add 1/2 cup brown or white rice, 1 heaped tbsp curry paste, a pinch of chilli flakes to taste, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp garam masala and stir well until the spices coat the rice. Add 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets, 1 small courgette, thickly sliced, a handful of broken cashew nuts, a handful of raisins and a 400ml can coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes (brown rice will take longer to cook), stirring occasionally and adding 1/2 cup water about halfway through the cooking time, until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed.

Serves 2, or 3 with naans

Variations:

  • Easily scaled and frozen or eaten for leftovers. Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • Instead of coconut milk, any other non-dairy milk or 1/2 cup yoghurt and 1/2 cup water or stock may be used
  • The best kind of cauliflower to use is romanesque, although it’s not always easy to get hold of! A mixture of cauliflower and broccoli can be used as well
  • The turmeric, chilli flakes and garam masala can be substituted for an extra tsp of curry paste if you don’t have them
  • If your cauliflower comes with leaves on, they can be added to the biriyani halfway through the cooking time
  • I would suggest keeping the cauliflower but any other vegetables can be substituted in and out as you have them. Soft vegetables like peas, spinach etc should be added to the biriyani halfway through the cooking time, or else they’ll cook down to mulch.