Coconut Dhal with paneer

Though I’ve already posted a recipe for dhal on this website, the first Tarka Dhal recipe was more gently spiced whereas this one is more of a flavour hit round the chops reminiscent to a curry. This one also you do in the slow-cooker. I served it with paneer which I crisped up in some ghee but I think if you can’t find paneer maybe halloumi would be a good swap though it is a little bit salty. The recipe is also easily made vegan by subbing the ghee for oil. Change the paneer for quorn or serve with a roti instead. This recipe was in Libby Silbermann’s ‘Vegetarian Slow Cooker’. I find most slow-cooker recipes are slow cooking meat and not really substitutable so this is a useful book for me. Things are just getting back to normal in the UK so I was really pleased with how this meal came out whilst waiting for an opportunity to dine out at the Tiffin Room in Manchester (also partly due to watching about 80% of the Euro 2020 tournament on at the moment).

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ghee
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 350g red lentils
  • 1 tin coconut milk (I used light)
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 150g spinach
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • salt and pepper

For the paneer

  • ghee
  • 200g paneer
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds

Method

1.) Peel and chop up the onion finely

2.) Melt 1 tbsp ghee in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft

3.) Peel and chop up the garlic and ginger

4.) Add the garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, cumin powder, mustard seeds, turmeric and curry powder and fry for a couple more minutes until fragrant.

5.) Make up the stock and weigh out the lentils. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker, along with the stock and the lentils.

6.) Cook in the slow cooker for 2 hours on a high setting.

7.) Chop up the coriander and set to one side.

8.) 10 minutes before the dhal is done, add the coriander and spinach to the slow cooker.

9.) Chop up the paneer into cubes, heat 2 tbsp ghee in a frying pan.

10.) Add the paneer to the pan along with the curry leaves and mustard seeds.

11.) Fry until the paneer is golden brown, turning over.

12.) Put some kitchen roll on a plate and move the paneer onto it with a slotted spoon.

13.) Put another layer of kitchen roll on top and press to get rid of some excess oil.

14.) Stir the spinach through the dhal and serve with the crispy paneer.

Brie and peach salad

I’d never been a huge fan of Brie up until I participated in a virtual wine and cheese night over Christmas. We all looked on the Waitrose website, chose a mini bottle of wine each and a type of cheese to go with it, My friend picked Brie de Meaux which I’d never tried before. I picked some up and needless to say, it became a fast favourite. When I went for a walk recently and just ended up in M&S, like you do, I couldn’t resist taking some home. Although serving it with crackers is perfectly delicious, I wanted to do something different, so I had a look on BBC Good Food and found an interesting salad recipe. I added peach – because why not. The candied walnuts sadly burned in the oven on the recommended temperature whilst not melting any of the sugar so next time I’ll do them in the pan.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 peaches
  • 200g rocket
  • 1 packet of brie de meaux – I think about 200g
  • 40g dates
  • 50g croutons
  • 50g walnuts
  • 12g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp walnut oil

Method

1.) Slice the peaches and put them under the grill, flipping so each side is grilled. When done, remove to a bowl and pour over the honey, give it a stir.

2.) Measure out the sugar and add to a frying pan. Measure the walnuts and break in half and add to the pan. Heat on a low heat until the sugar melts and coats the walnuts. Set aside.

3.) Slice all the rind off the Brie. Put the brie in a bowl and stick in the microwave for 15 seconds. You should then be able to whisk it up with a spoon.

4.) In a mixing bowl, add the rocket, the dates, the oil and the balsamic vinegar and toss.

5.) Plate up the rocket and dates, sprinkle over some walnuts, some croutons and divide the peaches between the plates.

6.) Finally spoon blobs of the Brie into the middle of each plate.

Blue Cheese Cheesecake

After the absolute delight that was Yotam’s aubergine cheesecake, I was extremely keen to try his blue cheese cake from his book ‘Nopi’. It did not disappoint. I recommend it best of all warm from the oven but it’s also delicious chilled from the fridge. The base isn’t baked in this recipe before the cheese mixture goes on but I probably would give it a pre-bake when I make it next. The recipe has pumpkin seeds in the base but I used pistachios. Gotta say, the savoury digestive mix is a treat just on its own here – McVities are missing a trick. I would buy savoury digestives for sure. I’ll give the proper ramekin sizes below though I just used what I had in the house which were a bit smaller. I also doubled the amount of base mixture as I like a higher base:cheese ratio. I used low fat cheese too – I honestly prefer the tang of lower fat cream cheese. Serve with a drizzle of honey and a side of pickled beetroot (there is a recipe for the pickled beetroot in ‘Nopi’ but I just used jarred).

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 80g pistachios
  • 10 digestive biscuits
  • 60g parmesan
  • 1 leek
  • 360g cream cheese
  • 170g crème fraiche
  • 80g double cream
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 20g chives
  • 20g basil
  • 100g stilton (or another blue cheese)
  • 4 eggs
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C on a fan setting

2.) Wash and trim the leek. Slice thinly.

3.) Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the slices of leek. Cook on a low heat until the leek is softened. Set aside to cool.

4.) Add the butter, pistachios, biscuits and parmesan and salt to a blender and blend into crumbs

5.) Press the crumbs into 8 ramekins of 12cm diameter to form a base (a buttery biscuit base as Greg Wallace would say)

6.) Into a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, the eggs and the double cream. Whisk up until smooth. Crumble in the blue cheese.

7.) Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to the cheese mixture.

8.) Finely chop the basil and chives and add to the cream cheese. Give it a stir.

9.) Divide the mixture between the ramekins.

10.) Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until set.

Salmon Salad with Marie Rose

I came upon this recipe scanning through Jamie Oliver’s website – ‘Simple Roast Salmon’. The salad dressing is called ‘Marie Rose’ sauce and was created by a famous British chef – Fanny Craddock – back in the 60s. It’s nice to be posting this today as England won their first match in the Euros and I’m feeling patriotic. Back in the 70’s this Marie-Rose sauce was used a lot in ‘prawn cocktails’ and since then it’s come to be seen as a bit outdated. Apparently, however, coincidentally it’s made a bit of a comeback and my husband spotted it in an article on resurging food trends. This and fondue. Was fondue ever out? The usual way to make the sauce is with ketchup which feels a bit like cheating but it taste pretty good.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp low fat yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 lemons
  • tabasco sauce
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 300g cooked prawns
  • pinch paprika

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, season the salmon and put the salmon on the tray and drizzle on some oil (skin on top if there is skin)

3.) Cook for about 10 minutes or as per instructions on packet

4.) Make the Marie Rose sauce. Zest a lemon and add to a bowl, squeeze in the juice then add the yoghurt, ketchup,. Season and add a dash of Tabasco

5.) Wash and chop the little gem lettuces and chop. Add to a mixing bowl. Wash the watercress and add to the bowl. Season, chop the other lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the bowl and a drizzle of oil and mix.

6,) Plate up the salad. Divide the prawns between the servings. Add the salmon on top.

7.) Drop over spoonfuls of the Marie-Rose sauce and sprinkle over a pinch of paprika.

Simple Fish Stew

I’ve gotta write this up quickly as the first game of the European football championship is coming up – so exciting! I managed to escape to Lisbon for six days before our prime minister decided to change the regulations on travelling to Portugal. It’s a really wonderful city and a great one for fish lovers. Every restaurant serves a wide variety of fish. This visit, I had mostly grilled fish but when I visited the Algarve many years ago, I had a Portuguese fish stew which they call a ‘Cataplanas’ and wanting to carry on the feeling of being in Portugal when I arrived back in Manchester, I decided to make a fish stew. The problem is that we don’t really have an abundance of fish, or fishmongers here. Therefore, I thought I would see what could be done from a supermarket shop and therefore have on a weeknight and considering that, this was pretty damn good. I used Jamie Oliver’s website to find the fish stew recipe ‘Summer fish stew’. Note this is best served with aioli but as the only mussels I could get were in a garlic sauce I thought maybe it could end up being too much garlic. Actually I don’t think this is possible. It serves four but there were only two of us but I thought it best to eat the mussels and the langoustines fresh. Therefore I added an extra potato for the other 2 servings.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • one onion
  • one clove garlic
  • one stick celery
  • two potatoes
  • 30g parsley
  • olive oil
  • 150ml white wine
  • 680ml passata
  • 2 fillets sea bream (I used sea bass as bream wasn’t available)
  • 4 langoustines (they had frozen ones at the supermarket)
  • 400g mussels (mine were frozen with a sauce but I tipped the sauce out)

Method

1.) Peel and finely chop the onion, celery and garlic. Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes.

2.) Heat some oil in a casserole dish and add the vegetables. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes until soft.

3.) In the meantime, de-skin the sea-bream/bass and measure out the wine.

4.) Pour the wine into the casserole dish and cook off

5.) Add the passata and a cup of water to the dish

6.) Add the langoustines and sea-bream (I added the langoustines for a few minutes more a little earlier as they were frozen) and cook for 10 minutes

7.) Add the mussels and put the lid on the casserole dish and cook for 2 minutes and check they’re all open (I did about 4 minutes as the mussels were frozen)

8.) Serve with bread and some aioli and dream of being in Portugal

Miso Mushroom porridge

I’m not sure if this counts as ‘brinner’ – ‘breakfast for dinner’, because of the porridge. Maybe so as I’d happily eat it for breakfast too. I did very much enjoy having soup and mackerel for breakfast in Japan and Vietnam. The recipe from Deliciously Ella – Quick and Easy instantly appealed to me. I’d had congee before – savoury porridge with rice, but never with oats and I did enjoy it. I like to think of it as a Japanese-British fusion as I don’t think oats exist in Japan.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 120g porridge oats
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tsp miso paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 punnet shitake mushrooms
  • 1 lemon
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 avocado
  • 50g spinach
  • seasoning

Method

1.) Peel and dice the onion and garlic

2.) Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion and cook on a low heat for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until all is soft.

3.) Wash and roughly chop the mushrooms. In another pan, cook them in some oil until brown.

4.) When the mushroom is cooked, add 1 tsp of the miso, cut the lemon in half and squeeze in one half of the juice

5.) In a saucepan, add the oats, boil some water and measure out 100ml water and add in 50 ml milk. Add to the oats and cook on a low heat until desired porridge consistency is reached. You may want to add some more water.

6.) Peel and slice the avocado

7.) When close to done, add the spinach to the pan with the oats until wilted

8.) Squeeze in the juice of the other half of the lemon, add the rest of the miso paste, season and stir.

9.) Plate up the oats and top with the mushrooms and avocado.