Monday, June 16, 2008

The Challenge Continues

After deciding to make a curry for last night's supper, raided the vegetable drawer in the fridge and ended up with one large carrot (10p) cubed; less than one-third of green pepper (10p) cut into chunks; a few cauliflower florets (12p); and a small piece of butternut squash (8p) cut into chunks. To this I added one large potato (12p) cut into chunks; one and a half onions (15p) sliced. After weighing the prepared vegetables they came to approx 1lb 5oz, so added 3 oz home-cooked chickpeas (est. 10p) from the freezer to make the weight up to 1.5lbs. This brought the total to 77p. A very little oil was put in the pan to fry the onion (est. 5p). The potatoes and carrots were boiled for a few minutes, the cauliflower added and finally the squash, just to get them to the al dente stage, and then drained and added to the onion. A can of curry sauce (4p) was then poured over, the pan covered and left to simmer for a few more minutes (total for curry: 86p)

Because chickpeas were added to the numerous vegetables, this could easily have been turned into a vegetable tagine by using harissa (hot tomato paste) instead of the curry sauce, and served with cous-cous. The dishes were photographed before being served (shown below) but must point out each dish is not shallow as appears, the bowl being 5" tall, but with sloping sides, the metal dish 4" deep, also with slightly sloping sides

Beloved and I had two very good helpings, Beloved taking a third, and still enough left over for a fourth, so can say that there was enough for four, and with extra couscous, possibly five. Any leftovers, blitzed with a little water would make a very good vegetarian version of Mulligatawny Soup.
Incidentally, the addition of the chickpeas was a bit of serendipity as only decided to use these to make up the weight. They gave more 'body' to the curry, almost making me feel there was meat in the dish, and certainly made it very much more substantial/satisfying even though not too many were used.

This next recipe is for chicken liver pate, very similar to the one I make myself (also using the processor) only I do not line the tin with bacon (that saves money for a start), and so far have never added ginger (but will certainly try this), cream or flour. Instead of allspice, I include a few juniper berries. After mine has been made and slightly cooled, it is pushed through a mouli (food-mill) and softened butter worked in with some freshly ground black pepper to make it more a spreading pate.
Chicken Liver Pate:
5 oz (125g) streaky bacon rashers, thin cut
half onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled and sliced (opt)
half inch cubed root ginger, roughly chopped
3 fl.oz measure fatty bacon, diced
half tsp salt
half tsp ground pepper
half tsp ground allspice (opt)
1 lb (450g) chicken livers
1 egg plus 1 yolk (OR 2 egg yolks)
6 fl oz (300ml) cream or evaporated milk
1 - 2 tblsp brandy
quarter cup flour
Line a 3" x 9" loaf tin with the bacon rashers. Fit the steel blade into the processor bowl and add the onion, garlic, ginger, fatty bacon pieces, salt, pepper and allspice. Blitz together until finely chopped. Add the chicken livers and 'pulse' once or twice then add remaining ingredients. Process until well blended. Spoon out into the prepared tin and cover with a sheet of baking parchment (or greased greaseproof paper) and then tightly cover with a double sheet of foil. Make sure the foil is tucked tightly under the rim of the tin to prevent water getting in.
Stand tin in a larger dish, and pour boiling water around to come halfway up the tin, and bake for one and three-quarter hours at 190C, 375F, gas 5. Cool, chill and turn out when ready to serve. Keeps well for a week.
Tip: soak the chicken livers overnight in milk to 'sweeten' them, also remove any green (part of the gall bladder). Normally I make this in much smaller amounts and one hour is long enough cooking time, at a slightly lower temperature. If blending through a mill and adding a litter butter to make the spreading pate, pot up into small ramekin dishes, smooth the top and pour over melted butter to seal. For extra presentation, put three juniper berries on the top of each pot, or one small bay leaf before covering with the butter. Kept in the fridge it will keep for at least two weeks if the seal is unbroken (probably longer), it will also freeze well.

This next recipe is for gingerbread made in the processor. It might also be able to be cooked in a bread-maker so for those who like to experiment, have a go and let us know.
Gingerbread: makes 2 loaves each giving 10 slices
one and a quarter cups of flour
threequarters of a tsp baking soda (bicarb)
half tsp salt
quarter cup of sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
third of a cup of salad oil (suggest sunflower oil)
third of a cup molasses (suggest black treacle)
half cup boiling water
Using the plastic blade in the food processor bowl, add the flour, bicarb, salt, sugar, ginger and cinnamon. Hold hand over feed tube and process for a few seconds to blend. Remove cover from bowl and add egg, oil, and molasses/treacle. Blend for a few seconds then stop and pour in the boiling water, Blend again using the pulse button. Pour into tso greased and lined 3" x 6" baking tins and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 20 - 35 minutes, or until the gingerbread has begun to shrink from the ends of the tins and feels dry on top.