Pumpkin, ginger, and potato gratin

I’ve had this recipe for years and years. I think it is best with a firm squash or pumpkin, like butternut squash.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lb pumpkin or squash, cubed
  • 1 1/2 lb potatoes, boiled for 15 minutes and cubed
  • 1 oz grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 oz butter (omit for a vegan version)
  • 3 floz olive oil
  • 1 oz wholemeal breadcrumbs

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter and the olive oil together and add the ginger, cumin and cardamom, and start to fry, for around 30 seconds
  • Add the potato, pumpkin and fry for another 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is softening and the potatoes are starting to brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, put into an oven-proof gratin dish, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  • Place under a hot grill for a few minutes, until the top is crips and the interior is bubbling.

Mexican rice

I have no idea if this recipe is Mexican at all. I got it from my friend Kay, who I think got it from a book called the Vegetarian Epicure which I have never chased down yet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 floz olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 1 1/2 pints of tomato puree (I use canned chopped tomatoes which I blend, or you could use passata)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 14 floz water

METHOD:

  • Chop the onions and garlic and lightly fry in the oil.
  • Add the ginger, coriander, cloves and pepper, and stir for 30 seconds
  • Add the rice and stir, cooking until the rice seems to be turning clear and beginning to brown
  • Add the tomato puree, salt and water, and simmer for 25 minutes

Pork and tomato hotpot

This was one of my mother’s standard recipes, very delicious, slightly sweet and sour, and best served with rice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lb lean pork, diced
  • 1 oz fat
  • 1 oz flour
  • 1 lb onions
  • 1/2 pint stock
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 4 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 dessert spoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb chopped carrots
  • 1 can of tomatoes.

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 170C, gas 3
  • Fry off the pork in the oil, and set aside
  • In the same pan, gently fry the sliced onions until they are soft, and beginning to brown
  • Add the browned meat with the flour, and stir for a minute or so.
  • Add the stock and vinegar, and stir well, then add the sugar, tarragon, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to the boil
  • Add the carrots and tomatoes and bring to the boil again.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish and cook for 3 hours in the oven

Butterbean and tomato soup

This is a very easy recipe, can’t recall where it is from. I usually have these ingredients in the house, so I can usually make this.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pints of stock
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • chopped parsley to serve

METHOD:

  • Gently cook the onions in the olive oil until well cooked, very soft.
  • Add the beans, stock, tomatoes, bayleaf and then simmer the soup for half an hour
  • Season to taste, with the salt, pepper, honey.

Serve with brown toast and garnished with chopped parsley

 

Green beans with coconut

I have three recipes for green beans with coconut. This is a very easy version.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb green beans in 1 inch lengths
  • 2oz grated coconut
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander leaf
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 chopped green chilli
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

METHOD:

  • Combine the coconut, coriander, asafoetida, green chilli and salt in a dish.
  • Blanch the beans in boiling water for 3 minutes
  • In the oil, fry the sesame and mustard seeds together with the cayenne pepper – after about a minute, the seeds will pop, so take them off the heat at that point.
  • Add the beans to the mixture, and cook on a low heat until they are tender
  • Add the coconut mixture, and serve

 

 

Turkey Risotto

Here is the traditional turkey risotto recipe ready for boxing day. It is adapted from Risotto! Risotto!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 75g butter
  • 400g left-over turkey, diced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.2 litres of stock or gravy from the turkey
  • 400g risotto rices
  • 5 tbsp single cream
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

The above quantities will feed 4 to 6 people. If you are cooking larger quantities, use multiple pans, with around 400g rice cooking in each pan.

METHOD:

  • Gently the onion and celery together in 30g of the butter, until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the meat, cook through and then add the lemon juice and lemon rind, the wine and seasoning, and simmer together to create a tasty stew
  • Add the rice, mix together, and then start adding the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and keeping the risotto at a simmer. When the liquid has been fully incorporated into the risotto, add another ladleful.
  • After around 20 minutes, the rice will be firm but cooked, and the sauce will be creamy and coating the rice. Take the risotto off the heat, and add the rest of the butter, the cream and the parmesan. Give this all a good stir, and leave it to rest for a few minutes.
  • Serve on a warmed platter, garnished with parsley.

 

Maw Broon’s Cookbook

Here’s another go-to book. I was given Maw Broon’s Cookbook one Christmas, and I resisted it. It looks like an old book, whimsically recreating the basic meals of the 1950s, complete with hard-to read hand-written notes, and styled-in splashes and old sellotape. The biggest Christmas gimmick, I thought.

But the recipes are really good. They cover all sorts of basic recipes for clapshot, Eve’s pudding, jams and chutneys, roasts and stews, dumpling and the rest. If I have an ingredient that I have never cooked before, this is one of the books I pull off the shelf. If I want to recreate a dish my grandmother used to cook, this is where I will look.

The success of this book has spawned a whole series, none of which I have tried. On the basis of this one, though, I would be happy to give them a go.

Potato scones

A good recipe for left-over mashed potato.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Mashed potato, seasoned well with salt and pepper – around 250g
  • 50g plain flour
  • butter

METHOD:

  • Add the flour to the mashed potato, stirring it at first and then pulling the mixture together to form a dough the consistency of pastry. It doesn’t look like it is going to work at first
  • Roll the pastry out very thin, and cut into portion-sized triangles
  • Fry in hot butter, turn with a fish-slice to ensure each side is cooked to crispy brown. We used dripping this morning, in place of the butter.

Serve as part of a very ill-advised and delicious fried breakfast.

Risotto! Risotto! by Valentina Harris

I was trying out a recipe for mackerel risotto last night, and as I did, I thought of all my recipe books, I have a shelf full of them. Some have favourite recipes in, others are the ones I go to when I am looking for new ways of cooking basic ingredients. This book is one of the latter type.

Valentina Harris started writing recipe books in the 1980s, and by the 1990s she was on television, bringing authentic Italian cookery to us all. She was brought up in Italy, and is a well-regarded chef. I have also got one of her earlier books, about regional Italian cookery and food culture.

Risotto! Risotto! is a fabulous book. It includes a section on the start on making stock, and on the methods of making risotto. On to the recipes, every one I have tried is delicious. The range of recipes covers all sorts of basic ingredients, and the index works well. My favourites include asparagus risotto, beetroot risotto, fennel risotto, lamb and courgette, and the famous boxing day risotto, called risotto with a white ragu.

There is an updated version of the book on Amazon, but my old version is crammed with my favourite recipes and ideas, and available for 1 penny plus postage.

Mackerel with paprika and garlic

A third Moro recipe. This, we had one night, quite late, after a friend came over with some very fresh mackerel. It was unbelievably good.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 mackerel, gutted and split (butterflied)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220c
  • Butterfly the fish – from the belly side, split the fish open and cut on either side of the back-bone, and pull this away. Open out the fish and remove any obvious small bones.
  • Take a pan that can accommodate all the fish, and place it on the stove top, cover the base with olive oil and then turn the heat high.
  • When the oil is hot, put the mackerel in, season with salt and pepper and put the pan in the oven for 8 minutes.
  • Put the mackerel onto serving plates, and sprinkle with garlic, paprika, parsley and serve with a quarter lemon.

We had new potatoes with this the first time, and bread and salad the second time.