Saag Paneer

You may have noticed a bit of a gap on the blog, I was a little behind on posting but with this recipe I will be caught up to at least before I came back from holiday (4 days ago) – woo! I took this saag paneer recipe from Bosh – ‘Healthy Vegan’ and brutalised it into being vegetarian again. The vegan version uses tofu with nutritional yeast and miso which does sound interesting and probably would have been better than the paneer I bought from Sainsburys which turned out to be the feta textured kind which doesn’t fry properly (the halloumi textured kind that M&S sell is much better).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250 paneer
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion
  • 5cm ginger
  • 2 tomatoes (actually I forgot to buy these or Sainsburys forgot to deliver so I switched with some asparagus – very Indian I know!)
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 rotis

Method

1.) Chop the paneer into cubes

2.) Prepare a plate with 2 pieces of kitchen roll on it

3.) Melt 1tbsp of the ghee in a frying pan, add the paneer and fry until golden brown, turning around to catch all the sides.

4.) Remove the paneer from the pan and place on top of the kitchen roll. Press down with another piece of kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.

5.) Peel and dice the onion, ginger and garlic. Dice the tomatoes.

6.) Melt the other tbsp ghee in the pan, add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook down for 4 minutes.

7.) Add the spinach and leave it to wilt for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper.

8.) Stir through the paneer and serve with a roti.

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.

Kedgeree

Kedgeree is a dish that I’ve seen a lot of on cooking programs and admired from afar but never made. It’s a dish that was adapted by the British from an Indian recipe back in the 1800s. It uses a delicious combination of smoked fish and curry powder cooked like a risotto. Sometimes you’ll see this as a breakfast option in English hotels, smoked kippers are a traditional English breakfast so I guess it stems from that. I made this as a weeknight dinner so I just used some leftover frozen fish mix that I had in the freezer but you can be as frugal (or not) as you like. I used the recipe in ‘Gordan Ramsey’s Ultimate Cookery Course’. If you haven’t already seen it, I really recommend the tv show Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip to learn a bit about the food in other countries and also have a good laugh.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 bay leaves ( I can never find fresh ones so I just used the dried kind and remove them at the end)
  • 700g smoked haddock (or a mixture of whatever kind of fish you like)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 170g basmati rice
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 100g plain yoghurt
  • coriander leaves as a garnish
  • 4 eggs

Method

  1. ) Heat 750ml water into a deep pan with the bay leaves until simmering. Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes until flaky. Depending on what fish you use, you may need to adjust your cooking times. Set aside the fish and pour the cooking liquid into a measuring jug.
  2. ) Peel and chop up finely the onion.
  3. ) Heat up the ghee in a frying pan, peel and chop the onion, add to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. ) Peel and grate the ginger and garlic. Chop up the two tomatoes.
  5. ) Add the ginger, tomatoes and garlic to the pan with the mustard seeds and curry powder and cook for another couple of minutes until the onion is soft.
  6. ) Weigh out the rice and add it to the pan, stir around the pan for a minute then add a couple of ladles of the cooking liquid.
  7. ) While this is cooking, juice the lemons and add to the measuring jug.
  8. ) Keep on adding ladles of the liquid and simmering until they evaporate until the rice is soft.
  9. ) In the meantime, boil the eggs in some water in the deep pan for about 6.5 minutes, chop up the coriander leaves, measure out the yoghurt and slice up the egg.
  10. ) When the rice has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, flake in the fish, season and stir through the yoghurt. Serve and garnish with the coriander and the eggs.

Matar Paneer

Being fed up with never being able to find paneer in my local supermarket when I need it, I spotted some in M&S and bought a couple of packets just to use when I need it – it keeps a fair while. The M&S paneer is like a of squeaky cheese, a bit like halloumi that browns up really nicely and works well with this recipe. Some paneer you buy seems to have more of a feta-like texture. I really like this as a midweek meal, it’s not a curry you have to slow cook for hours and it’s difficult for me these days to have that sort of time now that gyms are open and I still have my language classes twice a week. I found the recipe on BBC good food which is a site I like as there are reviews from people that have already tried the recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp ghee/sunflower oil
  • 225g paneer
  • 2.5cm piece ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • 250g passata
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 200g spinach
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • rice/naan to serve

Method

1.) Chop up the paneer into 1cm cubes

2.) Heat 1tbsp of the oil/ghee in a frying pan and add the paneer, fry until browning on the outside. Transfer the paneer to some kitchen roll and lightly press with kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.

3.) Peel and grate the ginger and finely chop the chilli. Heat the other half tablespoon of the ghee/oil in the pan and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and chilli. Fry for 1 minute.

4.) Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

5.) Add the peas and cook until defrosted. Add the spinach and let it wilt.

6.) Add the paneer back to the pan, mix and cook for 1 minute.

7.) Sprinkle over the garam masala and serve with the rice/naan.

Scallop gratin with artichoke salad

So far my week off work has been more stressful than I was originally hoping. My cat, Figaro got a stomach upset on Easter bank holiday when all the vets were closed except the emergency one miles from our home. Giving him a new flavour of the pet food he normally eats was enough to do it. After two trips to the vet and being hand-fed for 4 days he finally seems to be on the mend. I nearly had a heart attack when my other cat, Gino came bursting through the cat flap with what looked to be a broken paw. Fortunately he’d just gotten his paw stuck in his collar and there was nothing wrong with him. At least I had a nice treat with this delicious scallop gratin.

This recipe works with the tiny frozen scallops you get from the supermarket, I just defrosted them before using. The version in the book is served in the scallop shells but I used ramekins. The recipes are from the book ‘Cicchetti’ – a book of small Italian dishes that I really love.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 10 small scallops
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 30g butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5g parsley leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 5g chives
  • 2 tins artichoke hearts
  • 30g parmesan
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Peel and chop the garlic, finely chop the parsley

3.) Melt the butter in a pan and then add the garlic and 1/3 of the parsley

4.) Arrange the scallops in 2 ramekins

5.) When the oven is ready, pour the breadcrumbs into the butter and give them a stir

6.) Divide the breadcrumbs between the ramekins and place the ramekins on a baking tray

7.) Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown

8.) While the scallops are baking, grate the parmesan

9.) Add to a mixing bowl, drain the tins of artichoke hearts and chop up

10.) Put the artichokes in the mixing bowl and add the rest of the parsley, some seasoning, mustard and the oil and give it a good mix

11.) Chop up the chives to serve with the scallops and artichokes.

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Tarka Dahl

I’d been missing Indian food and this is a great mid-week meal that you can make in a slow-cooker. You throw a few ingredients into the slow cooker and leave to do it’s thing then at the end you just need to make a tarka to stir through and bring to life (a tarka is a few spices sautéed in oil), garnish with coriander and yoghurt and serve with a paratha (or chapati or some naan). I found this recipe in a slow-cooker recipe book by hamlyn. Spice it up with chilli if you feel like it!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g red lentils (dry)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2cm ginger
  • 200g passata
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 150g plain yoghurt
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • naan/parathas to serve
  • 1 tbsp oil (not olive oil if possible)
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves

Method

1.) Weigh out the red lentils, peel and chop up the onion finely, make up the 600ml veg stock, peel and grate the ginger

2.) Add the lentils, onion, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin, ginger, passata and stock to the slow cooker and stir through with some salt and pepper

3.) Set to high for 2.5 hours

4.) When nearly done, chop up the coriander leaves.

5.) Heat up the oil in a pan and toast the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and turmeric until fragrant.

6.) Stir the spices into the lentils.

7.) Serve up the lentils and top with the yoghurt, coriander and serve with a side of bread.