Potato and carrot curry

We have lots of delicious potatoes, so when my daughter came over, we cooked this curry. It uses coconut milk along with spices to make a fragrant curry. We served this with a salad of grated beetroot, flavoured with toasted cumin, and dressed with lemon juice and salt. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil, or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow split peas
  • 2 whole dried birds-eye chillies
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes, or a couple of medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • a small pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 400g potatoes (we used charlotte) and 100g carrots (we used yellow carrots) – cut into 2cm large chunks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • Chopped coriander leaves

METHOD:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat up the oil and then add the mustard seeds, yellow split peas and chillies. After a minute or so, they’ll start popping. Add the onions and basil leaves as soon as this happens. Turn the heat down a bit and cook until the onion has softened. 
  • Add the coriander, cayenne, tomatoes and garam masala, and stir to mix. Add the potatoes and carrots along with around 250ml water and the salt, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for 15+ minutes
  • When the potatoes are cooked, add the coconut milk and fresh coriander leaves, and heat through, stirring. 
  • Serve with other dishes, for example a salad, or dal, or a kale dish. 

Marrow, fennel and tomato stew

There is a tale in here, as to how I had a good marrow. Susannah had four ailing wee plants, she said they were squash plants, could she plant them in the open in my garden. I was a bit doubtful, I have never had much success with growing curcurbits in the open in South Uist. The plants weren’t great either. 

I planted out the best three, and one died. Now, in September, when the gales are beginning, they are flowering, and they appear to be courgette plants. I have a few tiny courgettes. I left the first one to get big, thinking it was a squash plant, and I ended up with a small marrow, weighing about 1 kilo. Marrows are just big courgettes. 

So I made this stew. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small marrow, or 1kg of large courgettes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 50ml dry sherry or dry white wine
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, or 500g of tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar

METHOD:

  • Halve the marrow lengthways, and remove any seeds. Chop into chunks, arrange in a colander on a plate and salt it so that excess moisture is removed
  • Heat the olive oil over a medium heat, and add the rosemary and fennel, frying this for a couple of minutes
  • Add the onions, chilli and fennel, and gently fry for around 10 minutes
  • Add the garlic, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Drain the water off the marrow, and add to the pan with a good grating of pepper, and cook, stirring regularly for another ten minutes. I usually read a book and stir after every couple of pages. 
  • Add the sherry or wine, and stir to mix all the juices together, and let this simmer down and reduce before adding the chopped tomatoes and wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook at a very low temperature for around half an hour. 
  • Adjust the seasoning, and then serve garnished with oregano and rosemary. It might need a bit of salt, and it works well to let it sit and develop. 

This can be customised. Try adding a tin of beans with the chopped tomatoes, or some capers. Some waxy potatoes, cut into cubes works well. I have reheated it with a layer of sliced potatoes on top, baked as a pie. 

Yesterday evening, I served it with a grilled pork chop, pitta bread and goat’s cheese. 

Italian potato pie

My potatoes are getting harvested, and I am trying out potato recipes. The first lot that I lifted were Arran Pilot, with white flesh that mashes very well. I made this from a recipe in Elizabeth David’s ‘Italian Food’. I also used some local free-range eggs. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Kg of potatoes that mash well
  • 100g Gruyere or Emmental cheese, sliced
  • 75g cooked ham or Italian sausage (I used Fonteluna sausage from Valvona and Crolla), sliced
  • 2 eggs, boiled for around 7 minutes and peeled
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 75g butter
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste

METHOD

  • Peel and boil the potatoes until cooked, around 16 minutes. Mash them with about 40g butter and the milk, and put them through a mouli or potato ricer to make a very soft smooth mash. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
  • Grease a dish with butter (I used a small lasagne dish) and then coat the bottom and sides with 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • Put half the mashed potatoes in the bottom of the dish, then add the cheese, ham and chopped boiled eggs in a layer. Cover this with the rest of the mashed potato. Sprinkle the rest of the breadcrumbs over the top and dot with butter.
  • Cook the pie in a hot oven (around 200C) for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden. 

I served this with shredded kale. It is good with any green vegetable, or with a green salad. 

 

Japanese kale with sesame

This year I grew Japanese kale, it seems to really enjoy our local growing conditions. The leaves are quite tender, and very good in a stir fry. The flavour of sesame seeds goes very well. The basic ingredients of the sesame sauce are sesame, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. I have also added mange tout to the kale with great results. You can use sweet cooking sake instead of the sugar, if you have it. 

The Japan Centre is an excellent place to find good quality ingredients and recipes. I haven’t quite sussed how to put a Japanese menu together, this is meant as a side-dish. I served it with ginger noodles. The Japan centre suggests serving with plain rice, or as a side-dish, or as part of a Bento lunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g kale, sliced across the leaves, discarding any tough stems
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cooking sake or 2 tsp brown sugar and 1/2 tsp water

METHOD:

  •  Mix the toasted ground sesame seeds with the soy sauce and sake
  • Put about 1cm water in a large pan with the kale, bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring the kale to make sure it all cooks. 
  • Once the kale is cooked, drain, and mix with the sesame sauce. 

 

Chickpea, dill and cabbage stew/soup

A middle-eastern dish that is very much more delicious than you might suspect. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 potato, peeped and diced
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
  • 225g green cabbage, cut into 1.2 cm squares
  • 50g chopped dill leaves
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt, or more, to taste
  • Black pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the chickpeas, onion and 850ml water into a large pot, and bring to a simmer, and cook for an hour. 
  • Add the potato, tomato, cabbage, dill, tomato paste, salt and another 100ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and turn the heat to very low, simmer until the potato is cooked. 
  • Add the black pepper to taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve. 

Shepherd’s pie

There were several reasons to cook this tonight. First of all, we have a lot of fresh vegetables in the garden, and Malcolm requested plain cabbage, no messing with stir fries or salad, just lightly boiled, seasoned and buttered. Next, we had some lamb in the freezer, and I wanted to test out a new mincer. Also, we have some lovely potatoes coming in, the crop we are eating just now is Arran Pilot, and I wanted to see how well they mashed. They mashed very well indeed. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, in small chunks
  • 500g lean minced lamb
  • 500ml lamb or beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 900g potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 75g – 85g butter
  • milk, to achieve consistency
  • salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan, and when it is hot, add the onion and carrots, and cook over a medium heat until the onion is softening
  • Add the minced lamb, and turn the heat up, browning the mince
  • Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and stock, and bring to a simmer. 
  • Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then uncover and simmer another 20 minutes to reduce the liquid. Season to taste with pepper and salt, if required. 
  • Boil the chopped potatoes in salted water, and drain. Mash with the butter, and a little milk to make a soft smooth mash. 
  • Add the mince to an oven-proof dish, and then put the mashed potatoes on top, using a fork to make patterns that will crisp up in the oven. 
  • At this point, the pie can be frozen or put in the fridge for cooking later
  • To cook the pie, bake for around 30 minutes. Leave to stand a few minutes before serving. 

To cook the cabbage, I cut it into wedges, cooked it for around 5 minutes in boiling water, then I poured the water off, and added salt, pepper and butter. 

Patatas a lo pobre – Potatoes and green peppers

The trick with this dish is to stew the peppers and potatoes slowly in olive oil. We had this with grilled pork chops.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250ml good olive oil 
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 green peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1kg firm potatoes, peeled, halved lengthways and then sliced 
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of fennel seeds, optional. 
  • 4 bay leaves, optional

METHOD:

  • In a large pan or casserole dish, heat the oil over a lowish heat. 
  • Start cooking the potatoes in the oil, and when they start to cook and soften a bit, add the onions, peppers, garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves, grated black pepper and a good pinch of salt. Simmer for around 15 minutes. 
  • Drain off the oil using a sieve, set the oil aside for further use. 
  • Serve with pork or lamb chops. 

Lobster Salad

I have lovely neighbours. They gave me four small lobsters yesterday. They had been cooked the night before just after being caught. We had lobster salad for tea last night, just the best. One lobster each. We are going to do the same tonight. It is one of those things where simple is best. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small to medium lobster per person, around half a kilo weight. 
  • 1 lemon, allow one decent wedge per person
  • Salad – include tomato, cucumber, lettuce. Optional extras include rocket, spinach leaves, celery, chives
  • Mayonnaise – this could be plain, or flavoured with lemon or tarragon. 

METHOD:

  • If you are cooking the lobsters yourself, plunge them into boiling water, and simmer for around 10 minutes. Drain them, and when you can handle it, remove the heads so they drain and cool faster. Keep the claws and discard the heads. Once cool, pop them in the fridge. 
  • I serve the lobster in a bowl on the table, with a plated salad, mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon for each person. I also like a slice of brown buttered toast with this. 
  • If you have people who can’t sort out a lobster, I remove the meat from the tail and claws, chop it into pieces around 1 cm cubed and stir in a good squeeze of lemon. I then mix this with the mayonnaise. Sometimes a little chopped celery or chopped chives can be added at this stage. The resulting mixture can then be served on a bed of lettuce, rocket, tomato and cucumber, with a side serving of hot buttered brown toast. 

Pasta with mangetout peas, lemon and basil

This recipe is from Rose Elliot’s book, Vegetarian Pasta. The recipes are fab, the indexing is not, so I don’t use it that often. However, we are having days of scorching weather and fantastic vegetables, so I dived in to the section on quick recipes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400g farfalle, or similar
  • Salt
  • 350g mangetout peas
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • Juice and finely shredded rind of 1 lemon
  • Black pepper, grated
  • A handful of large basil leaves

METHOD:

  • Set a large pan of salted water on to boil, add the pasta when boiling, and give it a good swirl so the farfalle don’t stick together. Boil the pasta for around 8 minutes, or follow the guidance on the packaging. 
  • About a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the peas.
  • Strain the peas and pasta, and return to the warm pan. Add all of the other ingredients, and divide into serving bowls. 

Cabbage, ginger, carrot, spring onions

There are so many fresh vegetables in the garden it is hard to keep up. Tonight I made a light stir-fry of home grown vegetables. It is good hot or cold. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small cabbage, cored, quartered, and sliced into ribbons around 1.5 cm wide. 
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut on the slant and each slice cut into thin strips
  • 3 spring onions, cut into 3 cm lengths, which are then cut lengthways into thin strips
  • 3 tbsp light vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a wok, and then add the ginger, stir it about and then add all of the vegetables. Stir them round and cook for 3 minutes. 
  • Add the sherry, cover and cook for another 3 minutes
  • For the last minute, uncover and boil of some of the liquid before serving. Remove the slices of ginger as well. 

Super tasty as part of a larger meal.