Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tempting flavours

With flavour in mind, here are some recipes with a difference. First a potato recipe just packed with herbs of your choice. Herbs are like spices, use different ones and the flavour of the whole dish changes.
2 lb (1 kg) made up from six even sized potatoes
1 large onion, very finely chopped or grated
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tblsp olive oil
6 fl. oz measure of finely packed chopped herbs
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and boil for exactly 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put on one side to cool enough to handle, then grate them into a bowl, using the coarse side of the grater (or disc if using a food processor). Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together until thoroughly mixed.
Put a good tblsp of oil into a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and when hot add all the potato mixture and press down firmly with a fish slice or potato masher. It needs to be compact. After five minutes take the pan from the hob and place 3" under a pre-heated grill and cook for up to 8 minutes longer or until the top is golden brown. Cool for a couple of minutes then slide onto a heated plate and serve in wedges.
Tip: To make individual rosti, use poaching rings, or make your own from cardboard covered with a double layer of foil. Put these into the frying pan and fill with the rosti mixture. Turn after five minutes and cook for a further five minutes. Remove rings, place the rosti on a baking sheet and keep warm while you replace the rings and continue in the same way until the mixture has been used up. Add more oil to the pan if needed.

Cauliflower with Broccoli Sauce: serves 4 - 6
1 onion, finely chopped or grated
1 lb (500g) broccoli florets.
8 oz (225g) cream cheese
juice of one small lemon
2 tblsp white wine or vegetable stock
1 tblsp arrowroot or cornflour
few cardamon seeds
good pinch cayenne pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 medium cauliflower - approx. 1lb/500g.
(4 oz (110g) cheddar cheese, grated
Put a small amount of water on to boil, add the onion and cook until softened, then add the broccoli and cook/steam until this is tender. Save any cooking liquid. Put the onion and broccoli into a blender together with the cream cheese, lemon juice, wine/stock, spices and arrowroot/cornflour.
Blitz for a few seconds, it needs to remain slightly chunky, then pour into a saucepan and heat very gently until thickened, adding the saved cooking liquid until it is pouring consistency. Stir in the chopped eggs.
Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower until tender, then put into an ovenproof dish, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for five or ten minutes or until the cheese has melted and turned golden.
Variation: Switch the ingredients and make the main part using broccoli and the sauce using cauliflower. Try adding different spices, and using different, well flavoured cheeses such as Stilton.

Pasta with Leek and Blue Cheese Sauce: serves four
8 oz (250g) pasta shapes such as penne
1 oz (23g) butter
8 oz (250g) leeks, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tblsp dry sherry
1 oz (25g) wholemeal flour
small grating of nutmeg
6 fl oz (175ml) vegetable stock
3 fl oz (75ml) creme fraiche
4 oz (110g) Stilton, or any blue cheese,crumbled
2 oz (50g) cheddar cheese, grated
ground black pepper and chopped parsley to garnish
Cook the pasta until tender, then drain and rinse. Melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the leeks and garlic for about ten minutes or until the leeks are softened. Add the sherry and raise the heat to medium and cook until the sherry has evaporated (about 5 mins). Stir in the flour and nutmeg, and after one minute stir in the stock followed by the creme fraiche. Cook on until a thick creamy sauce then stir in the cheeses. Remove from heat, stir in the pasta, put into a warm serving dish and sprinkle over the pepper and parsley.