Saturday, March 20, 2010

Home Farming?

Nuts tend to go rancid if kept too long, and ideally - if not wishing to use them up within a few weeks - store them in the freezer, where they will keep in good condition far longer.

Today the recipe is made using nuts - which can be almost any that you have, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, whole (chopped) almonds... just make sure they are unsalted.
This recipe also uses up any chunky cranberry sauce you have left in a bottle (although this is optional - and could also be spread on top of the cooked 'loaf' rather than an integral ingredient), and together with regular store-cupboard ingredients (lentils, curry paste/powder, tomato ketchup...) and home-grown herbs, we should have all the 'makings' to hand.

Lentil and Nut 'Roast': serves 6 (V)
4 oz (100g) red lentils
8 oz (225g) mixed hazelnuts, walnuts (or your choice)
1 onion
1 carrot
2 ribs celery
4 oz (100g) mushrooms
2 oz (50g) butter
2 tsp mild curry powder OR curry paste
2 tblsp tomato ketchup
2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 tblsp cranberry sauce (opt)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
handful fresh parsley, chopped
5 fl oz (150ml) water
Put the lentils into a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 1 hour.
Meanwhile put the nuts in a food processor and grind them down (not too fine), and tip into another bowl. Using the food processor again, finely chop the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms.
Melt the butter in a frying pan, tip in the vegetables, stirring to coat with the butter, then stir/fry gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder or paste and cook for a further minute, then remove from heat and set aside.
Drain the lentils, and mix them with the ground nuts, then add these to the pan with the ketchup, W.sauce, cranberry sauce (if using), egg, parsley and water.
Line a 2¼ (1kg) loaf tin with baking parchment or foil, spoon in the mixture, pressing down firmly, and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 1 - 1¼ hours or until just firm. Check half-way through and if browning too fast, cover the top with foil to prevent the top burning.
Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out - spreading cranberry sauce on top if you wish -and serve immediately.

Most cooks keep a head of celery in the fridge, celery being one of the Holy Trinity of vegetables (celery, onion and carrot).
In the store cupboard we might keep (as I do) coconut powder, or maybe a block of coconut cream. Perhaps goes without saying we make our own thick yogurt.
So this next, and quite unusual salad, is made with the above and very little extra other than a lime, unusual andl very refreshing, so worth making on a hot summer's day (if we ever have one). Similar to a raita, it eats well with spicy dishes (especially Thai curries) and also as a side dish to eat with grilled (barbecued?) meats. Instead of coconut cream or fresh coconut, desiccated coconut could be used.
Celery and Coconut Salad: serves 3 - 4
3 - 4 tblsp thick (pref Greek) yogurt
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
zest and juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
1 small head of celery (about 8 ribs) incl. leaves
third of a block of coconut cream, grated OR...
...flesh of half a fresh coconut, grated
flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Put the yogurt into a large bowl, and add the garlic and lime zest with seasoning to taste.
Grate the celery - reserving the tender leaves - and fold into the yogurt mix with the grated coconut. Leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow the celery juices to flow into the yogurt, but don't leave it longer or it will end up watery.
Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with celery leaves. Serve immediately.

Final recipe today uses up cooked rice which, together with other store-cupboard ingredients will turn into the most delectable fritters. Serve piping hot, dusting with icing sugar.
Golden Rice Balls: serves 4
6 oz (175g) cooked rice (pref basmati)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tblsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz (50g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 oz (25g) desiccated coconut
sunflower oil (for frying)
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients (but not the oil), mixing well together.
Using a deep frying pan or wok, fill one-third with oil to 180C (when a cube of bread dropped in with brown in 15 seconds), then gently drop tablespoons of the mixture, one at a time, into the hot oil, and fry for 2 - 3 minutes until golden. Using a slotted spoon, removed cooked fritters and place on kitchen paper to drain.
Immediately (while still hot) pile the fritters on a serving platter, dust with icing sugar, and let everyone tuck in.