Thursday, August 02, 2007

Favourite and Seasonal Foods

Today I posting up some recipes using foods/ingredients that you have specifically mentioned and hopefully are your favourites. So here comes an assortment for you to try.

Spicy Gravy: (V)
1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp mild curry paste (or hotter if you wish)
1 can plum tomatoes
2 oz (50g) red lentils
Fry the onion in a little oil until beginning to soften. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a further four minutes then stir in the pepper. Continue frying for a couple more minutes. Tip the contents of the can of tomatoes into a sieve and rub through (this makes your own passata), then add this to the pan with the lentils and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add a little water if necessary. Use as-is poured over sausages, meatballs, fish cakes, or make even smoother by blitzing in a blender for a few seconds. In which case, as well as used for gravy, it could make a good soup. So why not make a double batch?

Butterbean Sandwich Spread: serves 6
1 410g can butter beans (drained) or 14 oz (400g) home-cooked
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp lemon juice
125g pack of low-fat cream cheese (Philadelpia type)
1 clove garlic, crushed
chopped chives or other chosen herb
salt and pepper
This spread can be made by mashing with a fork, but most easily done in a food processor. Whizz together the beans, oil and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. When it has formed into a smooth paste, add a little garlic (don't overpower it unless you absolutely adore garlic), the cheese and herbs. Blend until just smooth then put into a container and chill. This will keep up to three days in the fridge. To use: spread on the inner surfaces of pitta bread and tuck in some of the coleslaw salad (recipe above). Or spread on hot toast and pop under the grill until heated and browned. Spread onto sliced granary bread instead of butter and make tomato sarnies.
Variations: Use a cream cheese which already has herbs included. Or add a pinch of paprika to give a spicy bite.

Butterbean Soup: serves 4 (V)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tblsp. olive oil
1 410g can butterbeans (or use home-cooked)
1 200g can of sweetcorn (or use frozen)
1 3/4 pint (1 ltr) vegetable or chicken stock
Herb garnish - mint or parsley, chopped
Fry the onion in the oil until softened. Add the drained beans and sweetcorn, stir and fry for a further minute. Pour in the stock, season to taste, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve as-is or blitz in a blender or food processor if you wish for a smoother soup. Garnish with herbs.
Tip: Dried butterbeans last for years if kept in an airtight container. As they are so much cheaper (weight for weight when cooked) than canned beans, it is worth cooking your own. Make up a whole packet by soaking overnight in plenty of cold water, then bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes until tender. Drain, rinse, drizzle over a little oil to help keep them from sticking together when frozen. Spread out on a flat baking sheet and freeze, then put into bags as 'free-flow', or just bag up in small quantities and freeze.

Shirley's Supper:
This I made yesterday just to use up bits and pieces. Really loved it, so thought you might like to try it.
1 large onion, thinly sliced
fingerlength piece of chorizo sausage,
1 small pack home-cooked butterbeans
1 small pack of Dolmio roasted pepper tomato based sauce
The onion was fried until golden and beginning to caramelise. To this I stirred in the skinned and chopped chorizo and continued to fry until the onion was taking up the chorizo flavour. Then I added the butterbeans, stirred those well in and finally poured over the roasted pepper tomato sauce. Any other well flavoured tomato sauce would have done. Heated it through and ate it. It would have served two but I was hungry. Would certainly have served two, three or four if served as a sauce with pasta.