Indian Porridge (Uppma)

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe on the blog because I really like it. I made it for the first time just before I started writing the blog and enjoyed it just as much second time around. It’s nearly one year since I started blogging, I can’t believe it as not much has happened. I’ve just had my Spotify wrapped and I’m still just stanning on Paramore, David Bowie and The Beatles despite being in the top 5% of listeners in the UK. I had some refresher driving lessons this year after not driving for several years. The instructor managed to insult me twice in the last lesson by making a derogatory comment about cats and then remembering my career wrong as being within HR. No insult to those out there that work in HR but I don’t think he would have plucked out that one out of thin air if I were a guy. I’m a chartered certified accountant thank you very much. Other things that have happened in the year, I’ve been studying French, I am now able to read JK Rowling’s ‘The Christmas Pig’ in French but Harry Potter is still a bit beyond me without the help of a dictionary. I made my reading challenge for the year (30 books), some of them were definitely on work time. I’ve also managed to crochet my first half decent amigurumi so now my office Secret Santa will be getting a mini desk cactus (well the theme is shop local and you don’t get more local than homemade).

Now away from my exciting year and back to the recipe. In the book ‘Simple Spice Vegetarian’ this is a breakfast dish. It might be a bit out there for Westerners to have curried porridge for breakfast. Personally I did enjoy the savoury breakfasts in Japan of miso soup with fish but I will eat anything at any time of day. I ate this porridge as a delicious dinner. It was a great comforting meal to enjoy after recovering from a killer cold. You can really mix it up with whatever veg you want to add.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 10 – 12 tbsp oats
  • oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1/2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 – 8 curry leaves
  • 5 cm ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 200g cubes squash/sweet potato
  • salt
  • 700ml stock

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray and spread out the cubes of squash

3.) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until soft

4.) In the meantime, peel the onion and finely chop. Peel and grate the ginger. Peel and cube the carrot.

5.) In a casserole dish, heat to a low temperature, add the oats and toast gently until they start to be fragrant.

6.) Tip them out into a mixing bowl.

7.) Heat some oil and add the mustard seeds. Heat until they start to pop.

8.) Add the lentils and cumin seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.

9.) Add the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.

10.) Add the onion and carrot and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. In the meantime, make up the stock.

11.) Add the oats to the dish and then add the stock. Cook on a low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes until it reaches a nice thick porridge consistency. Season with salt.

Sausage, cider and apple pie

Now we’re in winter I just couldn’t resist making a pie. With the veggie sausage options out there so great at the moment, I felt a traditionally meat pie like this pork sausage and cider pie could work well with a substitute. I’m a particular fan of the Richmond brand veggie sausages. The pastry in this pie is made using a mixture of cider and oil which lightens it up a fair bit. In his book, ‘Pies & Puds’, Paul Hollywood, co-judge of The Great British Bake off, just uses the pastry as a lid. I’m not so keen on pies which only have a pastry lid, so I’ve stretched the pastry out to surround the whole thing, missing the ability to make it look pretty as a result. However, I wouldn’t do it any differently, this pie was exactly how I wanted it taste-wise.

Serves 4 as main

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 350g plain flour and extra for dusting + 2tbsp
  • oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 8 veggie sausages
  • 175ml stock
  • 1 cooking apple
  • 2 eating apples
  • 6 sage leaves
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Make the pie filling. Peel and finely chop the two onions. Finely chop the celery sticks. Heat some oil in a casserole dish and cook the onion and celery until softened.

2.) Chop up the sausages into pieces, add to the pan, cook until starting to brown. Add 2tbsp flour to the pan and cook for one minute to cook off the flour flavour.

3.) Make up the stock and measure out 175ml of the cider. Give it a good stir and leave to cook.

4.) Chop up the apples and the sage.

5.) Add them to the pan and cook down for about 45 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

6.) Leave the filling to cool to room temperature and start to make the pastry.

7.) Beat one of the eggs in a mixing bowl with 125ml olive oil and 125ml cider. Start whisking in the flour until it’s too thick to whisk. Then mix with a wooden spoon to combine the rest of the flour. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

8.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Dust your countertop with flour and dust a rolling pin. Cut off 2/3 of the pastry and roll out thinly enough to line a 30cm tart dish.

9.) Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

10.) At this point, if the filling is around room temperature then fill the pastry crust.

11.) Roll out the other pastry 1/3 and cover the top of the pie. Press the edges together so there’s no gaps then stick a finger in the middle to make a small hole to let out steam. Beat the other egg, brush the pastry with the egg and bake for 30 minutes.

Mascarpone & Leek Stuffed Crepes

I’ve recently discovered the wonderful world of Meetups. Having social events where you just turn up and don’t have to harass people for availability has considerably lowered my anxiety levels. I’m enjoying a French exchange group and also a book club/games night. Tomorrow, we’ll be discussing ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’. Feminist dystopia is so my genre with the added benefit of being a warm pub as opposed to being in the arctic tundra of my house (the boiler has broken down). This delicious recipe was in Gino Di Campo’s cookbook ‘Gino’s Veg Italia’ which is highly recommended. I used tinned artichokes but proper ones or the nice jarred ones would be even better. I was proud of myself for finally being able to make a half decent crepe. The trick being a hot pan and plenty of butter.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 115g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • salt & pepper
  • butter
  • 2 tins artichokes
  • 1 leek
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 150g mascarpone
  • 50g parmesan
  • 25g parsley
  • pinch nutmeg

Method

1.) Make the crepes by whisking together the plain flour, milk and 1 off the eggs. Add a pinch of salt.

2.) Melt enough butter to cover a frying pan and pour in 1/8th of the crepe batter.

3.) Fry until browning on the bottom then turn over (or flip if you’re feeling brave).

4.) When browned on both sides, remove to a plate.

5.) Repeat until all the mixture is used. Wash out the pan.

6.) Now, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

7.) Wash and slice the leek finely.

8.) Melt 1 tbsp butter into the pan and add the slices of leek. Open and drain the tins of artichokes and then wash the artichokes under the tap to remove the grit.

9.) Chop up the artichoke and add to the pan.

10.) While the leek is softening, separate the remaining two eggs into yolks and whites. Finely chop the parsley and grate the parmesan.

11.) Add the mascarpone, a pinch of nutmeg, the parmesan, some salt and pepper, the flour and the egg yolks to a mixing bowl and whisk.

12.) Once the leek is soft, remove everything from the pan and add to the mixing bowl. Give it a stir.

13.) Whisk up the egg whites until there is a light foam and then stir this through into the mixing bowl.

14.) Find an oven proof dish and start loading up with the crepes and filling. Do this by folding a crepe into half then half again to make a pocket. Stuff with the mascarpone mixture.

15.) Bake for 18 minutes to crisp up the pancakes.

Smørrebrød

I wanted to make the most out of the delicious rye bread I bought from Pollen bakery so I decided to make some Smørrebrød – Danish-Norwegian open faced sandwiches. The toppings can be pretty much limitless but the trick is to have some sort of fatty layer. It’s good to butter the bread if you’re not eating the sandwiches straight away as it stops it going soggy. I just love the creaminess with the dense rye bread. Because of the density of the bread, you can really pile up the toppings on this sandwich. I went with 2 types salmon, cream cheese and dill and a walnut, pear and blue cheese.

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 3 slices rye bread
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • small bunch dill
  • Smoked salmon
  • 2 radishes
  • St Agar blue cheese spread
  • handful walnuts
  • 1 pear

Method

1.) Mix together the cream cheese and mustard.

2.) Pick the leaves off the dill and stir through the cream cheese mix.

3.) Slice 3 pieces of rye bread.

4.) Liberally spread the cream cheese on one slice.

5.) Top with the smoked salmon.

6.) Thinly slice the radish and place on top of the salmon.

7.) Spread the blue cheese spread over the other two slices of bread.

8.) Crush the walnuts in your hand into pieces and sprinkle over the blue cheese.

9.) Thinly slice the pear and arrange over the sandwiches. (I didn’t put all the pear on in the pic so it was possible to see the filling).

Carrot & Parsnip Soup

The beautiful pumpkin sourdough bread you see in this picture is from Pollen bakery in Manchester. I spent the day after my birthday in the city centre last weekend and popped into Pollen for lunch. We shared a pizza topped focaccia and a slice of egg custard tart and they were both so perfect that I bought some rye bread and some sourdough to take home. I’ve tried making sourdough a few times and failed miserably so it’s good to know where I can get the best. Pollen itself actually has a kickstarter appeal to raise £45,000 to start a second bakery specialising in pastries. I signed up to a day’s patisserie course so I’m really hoping they make the target. Of course, I needed to make the most out of this beautiful bread so I made a carrot and parsnip soup that I saw on the BBC Good Food website.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small bunch thyme
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • salt & pepper

Method

1.) Peel the onions and chop up

2.) Heat some oil in a large casserole dish and add the onion. Chop up the celery and add that.

3.) Pull the leaves off the thyme and throw in with the celery

4.) Peel the garlic, finely dice and add to the pan. Add some water if it starts to catch.

4.) Peel the carrots and parsnips and chop into slices. Add to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.

5.) Boil some water and make up the stock. Pour into the pan, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

6.) Chop up the parsley

7.) Blitz with an immersion blender until smooth.

8.) Mix in the cream, season and stir through. Season with parsley and serve with a slab of bread.

Superfood Salad

Superfoods may be seen as a bit of a fad but the thing is, most of them are really delicious. This salad may be made up of some slightly different superfoods from Jamie Oliver’s original recipe from his website but I’m going to blame that on the train service in this country, resulting in me having to do a rush job lunch-time shopping trip to an M&S express. Nonetheless, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, parsnips and nuts contribute to making this delicious.

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • tsp olive oil
  • 200g bulgur wheat
  • 1 broccoli
  • 35g mixed nuts (I used a mix of pine nuts and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 small tub pomegranate seeds
  • 2 limes
  • 1 pack beansprouts
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves
  • 1 pack feta cheese
  • salt

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Peel and cube the parsnips and potatoes

3.) Line a baking tray

4.) Add the cubed vegetables to a mixing bowl, add half a tbsp oil then add the chilli flakes, a sprinkle of salt, the ground coriander and the cinnamon. Turn around with your hands until everything is coated with the spices then pour into the baking tray.

5.) Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until soft.

6.) While this is baking, peel and dice the onion.

7.) Heat some more oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for a couple of minutes. Then add the beansprouts. Fry until everything is soft then turn off the heat.

8.) In another pan, add the bulgur wheat with enough water to cover and bring to the boil.

9.) Chop up the broccoli and add in the pan with the bulgur wheat.

10.) Cook for about 10 minutes until the broccoli and bulgur wheat is soft. Turn off the heat, drain off the water and set aside to cool.

12.) In another small pan, toast the nuts until they’re starting to give off a nutty fragrance then remove them from the heat.

13.) Chop the feta cheese into cubes and add to the mixing bowl. Slice the limes and add the juice into the bowl. Chop up the coriander leaves and add them to the bowl.

14.) Once the broccoli and bulgur wheat, potatoes and parsnip, onions and beansprouts have cooled to lukewarm, combine them with the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Give everything a good stir.