For when your husband comes home with a random cauliflower. It is a longish list of ingredients, but it is very very good.
- 1 small to medium cauliflower
- 100g creamed coconut
- 2 tsp salt
- 100g tomatoes
- 2.5cm cube of fresh ginger
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 2.5cm cinnamon stick
- 1 medium onion
- 2 hot green chillies
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 6 curry leaves
- 2 medium potatoes
- 4 eggs (optional – leave these out for a vegan version)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
Prepare all the ingredients.
- Boil the potatoes, then cool, peel and chop them into 2cm dice.
- Separate the cauliflower into small florets, about 2cm across at the top. Cook the florets for a minute in boiling water, then drain and rinse in cold water.
- Pour 500ml boiling water onto the creamed coconut, and stir so it is all melted in.
- Peel and chop the tomatoes.
- chop the ginger and garlic, and put them into a small blender with a spoonful of water, and blend until smooth.
- Finely chop the onion
- Finely chop the chilli peppers
- Boil, cool and peel the eggs and cut in half.
Next, start assembling the dish.
- In a wok or large deep frying pan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fenugreek seeds and then the cinnamon stick.
- After a couple of seconds, add the chopped onion, and turn the heat to medium, stirring and cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic mixture, and the chopped chilli peppers. Cook for another minute.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric and curry leaves. Cook for another couple of minutes.
- Add about a third of the coconut milk, turn the heat to low, and simmer. As the sauce reduces, keep an eye and stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick.
- Add the potatoes, cauliflower, 1.5 tsp salt, another third of the coconut milk, stir and bring to a simmer.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk and the lemon juice, stir and then put the eggs in carefully, spooning the sauce over the eggs. Cover and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Sprinkle with garam masala before serving.
This is good with flat breads such as chapati or roti.
Covid-19. We are staying in as much as possible, and I am systematically going through the ingredients in the freezer, seeing how long we can stay in between shopping expeditions. The top shelf is now down to some cooked beetroot (we’ll have to find something to do with that later)
The second shelf had several half-tubs of ricotta cheese and quite a bit of spinach. This is such a good recipe, I didn’t have to think that hard about what I was going to make.
- 50g butter
- 40g plain white flour
- 600ml milk
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- another 50g butter
- 700g (approx) spinach
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 125g parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic
- around 150g oven-ready lasagne sheets
- Make a bechamel sauce: Melt 50g butter in a small pan, and add 40g flour. Cook for a few minutes, so that the mixture is smooth and well-mixed.
- Slowly add the 1 pint of milk, stirring all the while. Add the bay leaf, and cook slowly, stirring, for ten minutes. The sauce should be thick and smooth.
- Remove the bayleaf, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Use a soup wand to make the sauce extra-creamy.
- Set the oven to 200C Gas 6. Grease a dish that measures 20cm by 30cm and around 6cm deep.
- In a very large pan, melt 50g butter and add the spinach. It might be a tight squeeze to get it all in, but it will cook down in about five minutes. You might need to squish it in with a spatula or spoon.
- Stir in the ricotta cheese, garlic, half the parmesan and a grate of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the lasagne. The first layer is sheets of lasagne. Then around a quarter of the bechamel sauce, and then half the spinach. Next, a layer of lasagne, then another quarter of the bechamel and the rest of the spinach. Finally, another layer of lasagne, the rest of the bechamel, and then the rest of the parmesan.
- Bake in the oven for around 35 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and the pasta should be tender.
Eating locally caught prawns, delicious.
- 200g prawns, cooked and peeled
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 40g butter
- 200g risotto rice
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 500 ml stock, simmering
- 50g parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fry the onion very slowly in half of the butter, until it is soft and translucent.
- Stir in the rice and continue to cook until the rice is glossy and hot.
- Pour in the wine and heat until the alcohol has evaporated.
- Add the stock slowly, allowing the rice to absorb each ladleful before adding the next one.
- When the rice is almost cooked, about 15 minutes in, add the prawns, and continue to cook, adding the stock as before.
- When the rice is cooked, but still a little firm to the bite, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, parsley, parmesan and adjust the seasoning.
- Serve after a couple of minutes, in warmed bowls.
It is time to make the most of what is in the freezer. I am avoiding going out as much as possible, and eating some of the odd ingredients that are stashed in our freezer. I often take inspiration from recipes from the internet, adapted to what I have. In the freezer, for this recipe, I had some venison diced for stew, and I also had an old pack of membrillo, a quince paste that is generally served with Manchego cheese.
- 500g diced venison
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp black pepper, ground
- 200ml red wine
- 200ml stock
- 1 tbsp membrillo paste
- salt to taste
- Marinade the meat for at least two hours, and preferably overnight, in the wine and olive oil, seasoned with black pepper and dried rosemary.
- Strain the marinade and set aside.
- In a casserole dish, fry the venison in a little more olive oil,
- When the meat is browned, add the strained marinade, stock and membrillo paste.
- Cook in a slow oven, around 140 C for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours, when the meat should be tender. Season to taste
I served this with kale tops and mashed potatoes.
Our local food producers have just lost access to their markets for this year. Covid-19 means they can’t sell seafood to Spain, local ingredients to tourists, stock restaurants. This is a hard time for us all, worried about our health, our relatives and our futures.
Please support your local food producers. Find out who is the nearest, and see if there is a way of working cooperatively.
In Benbecula, a small group of volunteers is working on getting a new website launched. The plan is that it will use the Eat Drink Hebrides branding. Local food producers will register with basic information on stock, when and where. Each producer will need to manage their own payments, preferably using paypal or contactless payment. The group is taking advice from Environmental Health to ensure that it is all done safely.
I’ll update you all when it is all up and running. In the meantime, buy very local produce, eat all those spring eggs, fill the freezer with fish, and be glad that we live here.