Saturday, 29 June 2013

Cauliflower in Mornay Sauce

From All Colour Vegetarian Cookery, Ruth Kimber, Ward Lock, 1978.
I was after one vegetable dish to accompany some slices of pumpkin pie left over from the evening before. This was the dish I chose.

I took half a cauliflower and placed it in a bowl of salted water and left it for half an hour. A saucepan of salted water was now brought to the boil and the cauliflower, drained, placed in the boiling water for 15 minutes. It was then taken out and added to a greased casserole dish.

The sauce was now made. I took 25g gram cornflour and stirred in sufficient water to dissolve it. In a saucepan I heated 250ml milk with a little salt and nutmeg. As it heated I poured in the dissolved cornflour and stirred until the mixture had boiled and thickened. Now 100g grated Emmenthal cheese went in and was stirred until dissolved. The sauce was poured over the cauliflower and it was cooked in a 200ªC oven until the sauce had begun to brown.
This was a satisfactory vegetable accompaniment. It was pleasantly cheesy with occasional nutmeg highlights. The cauliflower had retained a little body and was not too soft.
Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔
In One Word: Seventies

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Egyptian Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey and Dukkah

Sometimes you are never sure what the source of a recipe is. They get passed on from one person to another and frequently get a little modified (muddled) in the passing on. Often these are the recipes that one treasures. This one I was assured was worth trying.

Some Brussels sprouts were washed and the ends cut into a cross shape. They then went into a baking dish with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. They went into a 200ªC oven for 45 minutes. This seemed a long time to me but on the first try I always follow the recipe. They had blackened somewhat when I took them out—and I would have to say that I did lower the temperature towards the end of the cooking.

They were dribbled with honey and sprinkled with dukkah while they were still hot. The sprouts were then served on a base of hummus with more dukkah sprinkled over.

I’m a little unsure of this one. The flavour was good but the sprouts had collapsed inside to a sort of puree while the outside leaves were on the crispy side. I feel I would perhaps like to cook them for a lesser time and retain a little bit more body to them. They are certainly worth trying again.
Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

Torta de Zucca (Pumpkin Pie)

From My Italian Heart: Recipes from an Italian kitchen, Guy Grossi, Lantern, 2005.
There was sufficient pastry dough left over from a previous cooking time to make another pie so I got stuck into this one.

A kilo of pumpkin was cut up, placed in a baking tin, seasoned and sprayed with a little oil and put into a 180ªC oven to bake. When it was done—about 20 minutes—it was taken out and left to cool. While it was cooling a leek was cut up finely and chopped and sautéed.
The pumpkin now went into a bowl to be mashed. The cooked leek was added together with about a cup of grated parmesan cheese and another cup of gruyere cheese. Two eggs were beaten and stirred in.

The pie was served with Egyptian roasted Brussels sprouts.
The dough was now halved and rolled out in two sections: one for the base and one for the top. This was a bit of a mistake for there was really only enough for a base but I persevered rolling it out thinly to make both. The result was that when the pie cooked the top shrank and became a disk sitting on top of the filling. The taste wasn’t affected though.
The pie was cooked in a 180ªC oven for about 40 minutes.
Though the pie was fine enough to eat it didn’t really do a lot for me. I think I prefer sweet pumpkin pies. I soon found that getting through a slice slowed me down and I didn’t want to finish it. It was really filling and had a texture that filled the mouth somehow. Possibly it needed something in it that would add a little variety, perhaps something crunchy.
Taste: ✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

French Onion Soup

From Veg Out, MQ Publications, 2003.
Sometimes I ponder over what prompts a person to choose a particular dish. Frequently it’s done just by wandering along past the shelves in stores; other times it may be chosen by browsing through the pages of cookery books. This particular time it was decided from looking at the end of a stale baguette and wondering what to do with it.

French Onion Soup is an easy dish to make. About 500g onions were finely sliced. I used half red onions and half brown. A little olive oil and about a tablespoon butter were heated up in a large frying pan and the onions went in. The heat was turned down to low and the onions let gently fry until they had caramelised. It took roughly an hour.
The onions were transferred to a saucepan and a litre of stock added. A little of the stock was swirled around in the bottom of the frying pan to ensure that the brownings from the bottom were included. The soup was now simmered for another 30 minutes. It was checked for seasonings and 2 tablespoons dry sherry added. The soup was ready for serving.
The baguette end now played its part. The bread was sliced and placed under a grill until one side was toasted. It was turned over and grated Gruyere cheese sprinkled over the untoasted side. When the cheese had melted the soup was placed in serving bowls and the toasted bread slices put on top.
This is such an enjoyable and cheap dish it’s no wonder that it will always be one of the standard soups.
Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Vegetable and Split Pea Sambar

From Healthy Eating: Vegetarian, The Australian Women’s Weekly, ACP Publishing, 1998.
I guess I was in a bit of a lazy mood for I felt as though I wanted to make something in one pot. I settled for this sambar.

I measured out 100g yellow split peas, placed them in a bowl and covered them with water. They were left for a good hour.
In the meantime I prepared all of the other ingredients. I measured out the spices: 2 teaspoons ground ginger, a teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground coriander, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, 3 cardamom pods which I gave a little pounding to soften them, and 4 curry leaves from the garden.
In a bowl I placed a can of tomatoes and smashed them around a little until they were the consistency of a rough puree. I added 15g desiccated coconut, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons tamarind puree and 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds.

The vegetables were also prepared. About 500g chat potatoes were cut in halves. About 250g sweet potato was peeled and cut into chunks. A carrot was peeled and cut into pieces. Two zucchini were cut into pieces.
I chopped an onion and added it to a hot pan with some olive oil. The onion was cooked gently until it had become translucent and softened. The heat was turned up a little and the spices and curry leaves were added and stirred around until their fragrance came through. Now the tomato mixture was added. The split peas were drained and also stirred in. All was now brought to the boil and left to simmer for about 10 minutes. The vegetables (except for the zucchini) were added and let cook for another 20 minutes. Now the zucchini went in with about ¼ cup of water as the mixture had become a little thick. It was now left to simmer until all the vegetables were cooked. A little lime juice was added.
I tasted it now and found it needed some salt and I also added some chilli flakes as it felt as though it needed something to liven it up a little.
I had thought I might have this with rice but I ended up just serving it as it was because it was more of the nature of a spicy stew with an abundance of potatoes.
On the whole this was a very average dish. I was not totally happy with the spice mix. It felt as though something more (or less) was needed because it did not all totally jell. I think a couple of garlic cloves added with the onion would have helped.
Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔
In a word: Reasonable