Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cupboard Love

The advantage with the grains, pulses and pastas is that they can all make the foundation of what could, with the small addition of a wide variety of 'bit and pieces' turn out to be a really good and satisfying meal.

Here are a few recipes to get you going.
Riz au Chou (Cabbage Risotto): serves 4
2 tblsp light olive oil
10 oz (300g) long grain rice
1 1/2 lb (750g) white cabbage
4 oz (100g) smoked bacon, diced
2 onions, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
2 oz (50g) grated cheese (pref Gruyere)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When hot put in the bacon and onion and fry until beginning to colour. Remove the core and outer leaves from the cabbage and shred the remainder finely, then add to the onions and bacon. Cook on for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Add the rice, mix thoroughly, and cook for a further 10 minutes then pour in enough boiling water to cover. Season with the paprika, salt and pepper to taste, place on the lid and simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes or so, or until the rice is cooked. Remove the lid, stir in the cheese with a fork, and turn out into a heated serving dish. Serve hot.

Instead of serving rice with a curry, try this Arabian dish:
Burghul Pilaff: serves 4
11 oz (325g) burghul (bulgar) wheat
5 oz (140g) butter
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pints (90cl) boiling stock
salt and pepper
Fry the chopped onion n 1 oz (25g) of the butter until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep to one side. Add the remaining butter to the pan and when melted, stir in the burghul and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the onion and the stock, adding seasoning to taste. Tip the mixture into a buttered casserole dish and bake, uncovered, at 180c, 350F, gas 4 for 30 minutes, then stir gently with a fork. Continue baking for a further 15 minutes by which time the liquid should have been absorbed and the burghul moist and fluffy. Serve with curry.

Lentils with Apricots and Walnuts: serves 4
8 oz (250g) green lentils
2 oz (50g) no-soak apricots
1 large onion, chopped
2 oz (50g) butter
salt and pepper
8 walnut halves, chopped
2 tblsp chopped parsley
Soak the lentils for 3 - 4 hours, then drain and cook in fresh water for 45 minutes. Drain and return ot the pan and set aside.
Meanwhile soak the apricots in water for 15 minutes, then drain and set to one side.
When all the preparation has been done, put the butter into a frying pan over medium heat and fry the onions and apricots until the onions begin to soften. Season to taste, then add these together with the walnuts to the pan of cooked lentils and cook over a very low heat for 10 minutes to allow the lentils to heat through but not dry up. Serve, sprinkled with the chopped parsley.

Millet and Lentil Loaf: serves 4 - 6
3 oz (75g) millet, cooked
7 oz (200g) lentils, cooked and drained
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 tblsp sunflower oil
4 oz (100g) spinach, roughly chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 tblsp ground coriander
1 tblsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Put the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions for one minute, then add the spinach and toss or fork up to allow it to steam for a minute or two. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste and turn into an oiled 1 lb (1.2lt) loaf tin and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 30 - 40 minutes until firm and golden on top. Unmould onto a warm serving place, serve warm.

The final recipe today is one from the olden days, but because of the protein content of split peas, is well worth reviving with possible room for improvement by adding flavouring. This experimenting I leave to you, just offering the original recipe - but cost-wise a very worthy dish to make.
Pease Pudding: serves 6
1 lb (500g) split peas, soaked for 1 hour
2 oz (50g) butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
Drain the soaked peas and put them in a pan with plenty of fresh water to cover, and simmer until tender. This can take up to an hour, check from time to time in case they need a little more water. Drain off any liquid, then put the peas in a food processor with the butter and blitz until smooth. Turn out and blend in the egg (if you add the egg to the processor it may scramble in the heat). Season to taste.
Put the mixture into a buttered 2 pint (1.25lt) pudding basin, cover with foil and steam for one hour over a pan of boiling water. Turn out the pudding and served with boiled ham, roast pork, or similar.