Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bits and Pieces

some recipes for veggie meals and those using little meat follow:

Little Lamb Pies: makes 4
8 oz (250g) shortcrust pastry
8 oz (250g) cooked lamb, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp capers (opt)
1/2 tsp made mustard
a little gravy or stock
salt and pepper
1 tomato, sliced (opt)
Use just over half the pastry to line four individual Yorkshire pudding tins . Mix together the lamb, onion, capers and mustard together adding a little stock if you have some. Pile into the tins, place slices of tomato on top of each (optional) and cover with remaining pastry rolled out for their lids. Make sure the pies are well sealed by dampening the edges of the pastry. Make a small hole in the top of each pie and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6 or until the pastry is browned.
Tip: Instead of capers you could stir in some finely chopped mint leaves or a tsp. of mint sauce. Remember that stock cubes come in all 'flavours'. Worth buying some lamb stock cubes to use in a dish such as this, and also the following:

Stuffed Onions:
4 large Spanish onions
2 tblsp cooked meat (beef, lamb, chicken, ham etc)
2 tblsp breadcrumbs
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
4 small mushrooms, chopped
pinch nutmeg
1 tblsp tomato ketchup
1 oz (25g) butter
1/4 pint (150ml) stock
salt and pepper
Remove peel from onions and place in salted water. Boil for ten minutes. Drain and then plunge them into a bowl of cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove the outer skin then carefully scoop out the centre of the onions., leaving a case of about three layers of onion. Chop the bits of onion removed and put in a dish with the butter and stock and keep hot. Chop the meat finely and mix with the breadcrumbs, parsley and mushrooms. Add enough ketchup to bind and season to taste with the salt, pepper and numeg. Pile the mixture into the centre of the onions, as high as you like, then add them to a casserole with the saved onion pieces and the stock. Cover with foil and bake at 17~C, 325F, gas 3 for at least an hour (maybe longer) until the onions are quite tender.
Tip: Another way (seen on TV yesterday) is to cut the onions through one side to their centre, then cook them in the salted water for 10 minutes. Cool slightly then peel off each onion layer. These naturally curl round, so make up sausages of filling and wrap each round with an onion layer. Place in a casserole, add a little stock, cover and bake for about 20 minutes at 180C, 375F, gas 4

A couple or so vegetarian suggestions:
Stuffed Cabbage Leaves: 3 - 4 servings (V)
12 cabbage leaves (use the outer ones)
4 oz (100g) long-grain rice (pref brown)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp oregano or marjoram
pinch salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 tblsp blanched almonds, chopped
1 tbslp Parmesan cheese
Cook the rice until al dente, drain and put to one side. Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2 mins. . Remove and drain . Fry the onion (add a little crushed garlic if you wish) until softened. To this add the rice and the rest of the ingredients (other than the cabbage leaves), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Allow to cool then using a pair of scissors, remove the tough stem from the base of each cabbage leaf. Put a tblsp of the filling on each leaf, just above the cut, then roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides, to make a tight package.
Put the rolls tightly side by side in a shallow casserole, drizzle over 2 tblsp olive oil and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4, for about 40 minutes or until tender.
Tip: To enhance the flavour, tuck cloves of garlic and slices of lemon between the cabbage rolls prior to baking. To prevent the rolls drying out either baste frequently with lemon juice, or add the juice to the casserole and cover with foil.

French Salad:
1 lb (500g) new potatoes, boiled, cooled and diced
1 lb (500g) carrots, cooked and cut into small cubes
1/2 lb (250g) green beans, cooked and cooled
1/2 lb (250g) peas, cooked and cooled
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets, cooked lightly and cooled
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
French dressing
chopped parsley
2 tblsp capers
Either mix the vegetables together or arrange separately on a tray. Season well with the dressing. Chill and garnish with the parsley and capers.
Tip: Instead of French dressing, use mayonnaise and mix into the vegetables - this makes a Russian Salad.
Feel free to alter the vegetables according to season; add some diced, very young (uncooked), courgettes,
halved cherry tomatoes or snippets of sun-dried tomatoes, some lightly cooked sugar-snap peas instead of 'loose' peas. Tiny button mushrooms, diced red, yellow or orange bell peppers. Arrange wheel-fashion on a platter, keep the veggies separate, with a jug of dressing in the centre and you have Salamagundy.

Make the most of as many summer vegetables as you can. Eat raw when you can or lightly cooked. Enjoy the moment.