Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Wanderer Returns

Carrots keep so well during the winter months and as they are nutritionally good for us, feel we should use them far more often. Think that most savoury dishes I make contain carrots as they give a sweetness to the dish which is very pleasing. This makes them good to use in dessert dishes as well.

This first recipe makes vegetarian rissoles. The mixture can also be 'squeezed' round skewers to cook like kebabs. If the carrots are small, double up the amount. Use different herbs/spices if you wish.
Carrot and Apricot Rissoles: serves 4
8 carrots, sliced
2 slices stale bread, crumbed
4 spring onions (or 1 shallot) finely sliced
5 oz (150g) dried apricots, finely chopped
3 tblsp pine nuts (or chopped almonds)
1 egg
1 tsp chilli powder (or 1 fresh chilli seeded and chopped)
handful each fresh dill and basil, finely chopped
salt and pepper
sunflower oil
Steam or boil the carrots for about 25 minutes, or until they are very soft, the drain well and mash whilst they are still warm. Add the breadcrumbs, onions, apricots, nuts and mix well. Stir in the egg, chilli and herbs adding seasoning to taste.
Place a small heap of flour on a shallow plate, then take a lump of mixture (plum-sized) in your fingers and form into a sausage shape. Coat this in the flour and put on one side whilst forming more rissoles from the remaining mixture. It should make about a dozen.
Put some sunflower oil in a frying pan (enough for shallow frying), then when hot, fry the rissoles for 8 - 10 minutes - shaking the pan occasionally so they roll round and all sides are cooked. When golden, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Eat hot with cool yogurt 'Raita'. Eat with crispy salad and crusty bread for a lunch or supper dish, or served on skewers as a nibble to go with drinks.

This next is very much a dish made according to what you have (within reason of course). Use it as a guide, not feel you need to stick to it.
If the egg is large (and the pan is small) you may find you can cook two (or even three) 'pancakes' from the one egg. If so, slide the first onto a plate when cooked, then slide the next on top to make a stack before rolling then up together.
Carrot and Cabbage Soup with Egg: serves 4
1 egg
1 tblsp sunflower oil
1 1/2 pints (900ml) vegetable stock
2 large carrots, finely diced
4 outer leaves Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
2 tblsp soy sauce
half teaspoon sugar
half teaspoon ground black pepper
fresh coriander leaves for garnish (opt)
Beat the egg in a bowl. Heat the oil in a small frying pan until hot (but not smoking). Pour egg into pan to just cover base and cook until the top is set and the underside golden. Slide onto a plate (see above), then roll up tightly and slice into quarter inch (5mm) rounds and set aside for garnish.
Put the stock into a pan with the carrots and the cabbage. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the soy sauce, sugar and pepper. Stir well, then pour into individual warm bowls, topping with the egg circles (leave them round or shake out into 'noodles' - whichever you prefer) and garnish with coriander leaves.

Now a recipe for oat-lovers. This is one easy enough for children to make (so B might even be able to manage it). As ever, different nuts can be substituted, and a little grated orange zest would give extra flavour.
Choc Chip Oat Cookies: makes approx 20
4 oz (110g) butter
4 oz (110g) soft dark brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
3 - 4 tblsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz (150g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
4 oz (110g) porridge oats
5 oz (150g) chocolate chips
4 oz (110g) pecan or walnuts, chopped
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla until well combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then fold this into the creamed mixture. When fully mixed, stir in the oats, chop chips and nuts. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
To cook: using 2 teaspoons, dollop mounds of the mixture - placing well apart - on greased baking trays, then flatten each with a spoon or fork. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 10 - 12 minutes until the edges of the cookies are beginning to colour. Then remove and cool on wire racks. If making larger cookies, increase the cooking time slightly.

Final recipe today is one developed for an automatic bread-making machine. A traditional Welsh Tea Bread called Bara Brith in England (or Gorsaf Fywydd Llansadwrn if you feel up to pronouncing it in Welsh).
Bara Brith:
7oz (200g) strong white bread flour
5 oz (150g) stoneground wholemeal flour
3 tsp dried semi-skimmed milk powder
2 tblsp (40g) dark brown muscavado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
half tsp ground cinnamon
half tsp freshly ground nutmeg
7 oz (200g) mixed dried fruit incl peel
5 fl oz (150ml) slightly warm water
half tsp sugar
half tsp ascorbic acid (Vit C)
2 tsp dried active yeast (Allison)
1 tblsp (to overflowing) olive oil
1 medium egg
Activate the yeast by whisking with the warm water, sugar and Vit C for 30 seconds, then for a few seconds every minute for 2 - 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the flours, milk powder, sugar, spices and fruit.
Pour the yeast mixture into the bread machine, add the egg and the generous tablespoon of oil. Then cover with the flour/fruit mixture. Set the bread machine to a basic large loaf setting with a cycle time of 2.50 hours.
Start machine and check consistency after about 10 minutes of mixing. If too wet add a little more flour. If too dry (flour remains at base) add a little more water (the most likely cause of failure is the mixture being too wet, so give it time to mix thoroughly before adding more flour).
When cooked, turn out onto a cake airer and leave to cool. When cold wrap in foil and leave to mature for a couple of days before slicing.
To serve, slice thinly and spread with Welsh butter.