Thursday, June 03, 2010

Indoors Outdoors Eating

One thing I haven't made for years is the Cornish Pasty. Having come across a vegetarian pasty, think it might be a good idea to make some of these for the party, as they can be prepared and frozen, then thawed and cooked on the day to eat hot, warm or at room temperature, indoors or out.
The pastry in the original recipe is shortcrust to which a teaspoon of ground turmeric had been added to the flour before mixing. This gives the pastry a lovely golden colour, but the idea of adding flavour to pastry is always a good one. Try adding lemon zest to pastry when cooked fish or chicken, or a pinch of dried herbs when making a meat pie. Even a little dry mustard added to the flour will give that extra zing to pastry used for a savoury dish.

Although this recipe is for a vegetable pasty, it does contain cheese - but this could be vegetarian cheese. The pasty is called 'golden' as this is the main colour of the ingredients, but feel free to substitute others according to season - you could make a 'green' pasty (broad beans, peas, broccoli, courgettes etc), or a 'red' pasty (red bell peppers, tomatoes, beetroot, aubergine... Different vegetables can be used according to the season. Same goes for herbs.
Golden Vegetable Pasties: makes 4 (V)
14 oz short-crust pastry (for flavoured see above)
1 small yellow bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1 small carrot, diced
7 oz (200g) butternut squash, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 oz (50g) Red Leicester (or other orange coloured) cheese
4 oz (100g) canned sweetcorn, drained
1 - 2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
half tsp rock or sea salt
(beaten egg for brushing)
Put the prepared yellow pepper, carrot and squash into a pan with just enough hot water to cover. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain well and put into a bowl. Grate the cheese and add this to bowl with shallot, sweetcorn, coriander and salt, then stir to combine.
Cut the pastry into four blocks and roll each into an oval about the thickness of a £1 coin. Place the filling mixture on one of the long sides/half of the pastry ovals, leaving the edge clear. Dampen the edge and fold the pastry over and crimp with the fingers (or fork) to seal (they can be frozen at this point). Either prick the top with a fork or make a couple of slashes. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until golden and cooked throughout.
To freeze: Once the pasties are made ready to cook, they can be open-frozen on a tray, then bagged up and kept frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge, then bake as above.

When we think of salads, often it is just lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes that spring to mind. Nothing wrong with those, but when entertaining or eating al fresco, we hope to offer something a little bit different. This next recipe is worth trying as although it is meant to be served warm, the leftovers taste just as good when chilled - so a salad that can be prepared and cooked in advance if you so wish.
Instead of the green beans, use another green vegetable: broccoli, asparagus, green bell pepper, sugar snap peas. Chop to the same size as the other vegetables.
Warm Summer Salad: serves 4 - 6
half pint measure desiccated coconut
half pint Greek yogurt
half tsp salt
half tsp curry powder (or curry paste)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
2 courgettes, cut into large dice
2 large carrots, cut into large dice
5 oz (125g) green beans, chopped into small pieces
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
Put the coconut, yogurt, salt, curry powder, and turmeric into a bowl, mix lightly together, cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop.
Steam or microwave the vegetables until just tender, then fold them into the coconut marinade. Return to the heat to warm through (but this must not boil). Remove from heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice and serve.

Certainly most of us just love to eat ice-cream on a hot sunny day, but whether our diets allow it is another matter. But never despair for here is a frozen yogurt that eats as good as any cream-based ice-'cream', and despite the rather lengthy beating it needs (if you have a mixer on a stand then you can walk away and forget it), it really is worth making. Add flavourings/essences if you prefer, or use a fruit flavoured yogurt.
Note - as the original recipe uses a cup measurement (1 cup = 8 fl oz), the sugar and milk powder needs to be 'measured' and not weighed.
Yogurt Ice-'cream': serves 4 - 6
4 fl oz (125ml) water
two and a half teaspoons gelatine
8 fl oz (225ml) natural or Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 fl oz measure sugar
4 fl oz measure skimmed milk powder
Put the water into a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the surface. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, by which time the gelatine should have begun to swell up. Put the pan over a low heat, and stir/heat until the gelatine has completely dissolved, but make sure the liquid does not boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool down (but not set).
Put the yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar and milk powder into a bowl and pour over the gelatine mix. Stir until well combined, then pour into shallow tray, cover with kitchen foil, and freeze until the mixture is almost (but not quite) solid.
Using a spatula, scrape the frozen mixture into the bowl of an electric beater, and beat at high speed until the mixture had doubled in volume and has become glossy. Depending upon the machine this can take up to 20 minutes.
If wishing to add any extra flavouring (or fruit puree), this can be swirled into the mixture before putting into a container. Freeze for several hours before serving.