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

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

 

 

Spinach and Feta Pie

Spinach grows well in the Uists, and it is also often available in the co-op.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg spinach
  • 1 small onion finely chopped, or six spring onions
  • 50g butter
  • 125g Feta Cheese
  • 1 dsp chopped fresh fennel or dill
  • 100ml cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • flaky pastry
  • Small grating of nutmeg

METHOD:

  • Gently fry the onion in the butter until soft, then add all the spinach, and cook until it has all wilted down
  • Mash the cream, herbs, and cheese together
  • Mix the cheese and the spinach together, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • Put the spinach and cheese mixture in a pie dish, and use the flaky pastry to cover
  • Bake in a medium hot oven for 30-45 minutes until the top is crisp and golden.

If you were going to be really authentic, this would be made with filo pastry to create little triangular packets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQITqEJ-TvQ shows you the technique.

Persian herb omelette

A Kookoo is a large omelette dish from Iran. It has a little flour and raising agent added, and it is baked in the oven, a bit like a Spanish frittata. It tastes wonderful, spiced and flavoured with herbs. It often has vegetables in it as well. This version is full of herbs from the garden, with spices and barberries, which I sourced from Seasoned Pioneers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp advieh (Persian spice mix)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs, to include chives, parsley, fennel
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp dried barberries

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Melt the butter in an 8 inch frying pan or skillet that will go into the oven
  • Break the eggs into a bowl, and lightly beat in all the other ingredients
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pan and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes

Serve with salad and bread, possibly a little Greek yoghurt. A herb Kookoo is a traditional New Year dish, a taste of the start of spring.

Mashed potatoes and pears with ginger

This is an astonishingly good combination to serve with pork.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Enough potatoes for the number of people being served
  • About half that quantity of hard pears
  • Salt, pepper, butter
  • A tiny amount of finely chopped crystalised ginger

METHOD:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes as you would normally for mashed potatoes. Drain them, saving the boiling water
  • Peel and core the pears, and poach them in the potato water until they are soft
  • Mash the pears and potatoes together with salt, pepper, butter and the chopped ginger

Spanish scrambled egg with mushrooms

I love the Moro cookbook. The recipes are simple and the flavours are bright and fresh. We had mushrooms and we had eggs so I followed their recipe. Just like you’d think, but better.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g mushrooms, a mixture of wild and fresh if available, including porcini, chanterelles, etc. We used horse mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 25g butter
  • 6 organic free-range eggs, preferably local
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 40g slice serrano ham, optional
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD:

  • Clean and roughly chop the mushrooms.
  • Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, and when the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic. Fry it until it begins to colour.
  • Immediately, add the chopped mushrooms and stir well. Fry for around 4 minutes
  • Add the sliced ham at this point, if you are using it.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and put the fried mushrooms aside in a bowl.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter
  • Meanwhile, break the eggs with the milk, and stir until the yolks are broken; the mixture should not be well mixed.
  • Add the eggs to the melted butter and stir until the eggs begin to set
  • Add the mushroom mixture and the chopped parsley, and continue to stir until the eggs are as cooked as you wish them to be. The white of the egg should be set.

Serve with toast.

La Piperade (eggs, peppers and tomatoes)

This is an Elizabeth David recipe, and it is a classic. I made it because one lot of neighbours had grown some splendid green peppers in their polytunnel, and another lot have the most fantastic free-range eggs. This serves 2, but it is easy to scale up the recipe according to the availability of ingredients, or number of people to feed.

INGREDIENTS:

  • olive oil
  • One small onion, finely sliced
  • 3 green peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 can organic chopped tomatoes (or, even better, use 500g fresh locally grown tomatoes, skinned and chopped)
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

METHOD:

  • Heat a generous amount of oil or dripping in a large frying pan, and then cook the sliced onion until it begins to turn yellow.
  • Add the strips of green pepper, and cook on medium for up to 15 minutes.
  • Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper. Some people add a little basil at this stage as well.
  • Cook until the tomatoes are in a pulp, and the mixture is good and thick.
  • Add the beaten eggs and stir until the mixture begins to thicken, like scrambled eggs.

Serve on a heated dish. This is good with toast and bacon or ham.

Beetroot and Coconut Curry

 

Malcolm got this recipe from somewhere, no idea where. We had it tonight, cooked with beetroot from Maria’s vegetable box scheme.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400g raw beetroot
  • 2 tbsp organic sunflower oil
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 hot green chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 can organic chopped tomatoes
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime

METHOD:

  • Peel the beetroot, and cut into matchsticks (a mandolin is useful for this. Or just cut it up as small as you can)
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the mustard seeds. As soon as they start jumping, add the onion, garlic and chillies. Fry on medium heat until the onion is tender.
  • Add the spices and the beetroot, fry for a further two minutes and then add the tomatoes, 250ml water and a pinch of salt.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beetroot is tender.
  • Add the coconut milk and let it simmer for another couple of minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  • Stir in the lime juice, adjust the seasoning, and serve with rice.