More in the baked potato series. I learned a few more things this week. Bigger is not better, it just causes trouble with the baking. A good size potato is 300g, more is a bother.
- 2 potatoes for baking: 600 to 700g
- 3 tbsp cream
- 60+g soft blue cheese
- 200g spinach
- 20g pecan or walnuts, lightly toasted
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 220C
- Rub the potatoes with oil and salt, and bake in the oven for around one hour.
- When they are done, remove them from the oven, scoop out the potato flesh, and return the skins to the oven with a little butter to crisp them up.
- Meanwhile, mash the potato with the rest of the butter, the cheese and milk, and a good grating of pepper. Pop the mash into the microwave on high for around 1 minute to melt things together a little
- Wilt the spinach in a pan for around 15 seconds, with a little salted water. Squeeze out the water and whisk into the mashed potato
- Return the mash into the potato skins and pip back into the oven until ready to serve – around 10 minutes. Sprinkle the toasted nuts onto the potatoes before serving
The second time I made this, I left out the spinach, and served them with kale tops as a side dish.
This year I grew some massive potatoes, and they are great baked. I am working through a list of possible recipes. I came across one that involved making a mayonnaise with tuna as one of the base ingredients. It looked good, it contained capers, lemon juice, egg yolks and a can of drained tuna.
Now, I haven’t bought tuna since the early 1980s. I went to look to see what was in the shops, shelves of different varieties, some in brine, and some in oil. I stopped buying it, and most other commercial catches of white fish, because of worries about fish stocks and environmental damage.
Surely, I thought, things have changed. I looked into whether the tuna fishing industry has improved its practices. Well, only just, in that tuna stocks have recovered a little. However, within the tuna-fishing industry there are problems with sustainable fishing, by-catches, and human rights.
- Bluefin tuna is the largest and most expensive, found in sushi as a delicacy. It is severely overfished and exploited, critically endangered as a species.
- Albacore tuna is most likely to be canned. Overfishing is threatening the populations in the Altantic.
- Skipjack tuna is smaller, and the most commonly consumed. It is overfished in most areas.
- Yellowfin tuna is overfished world-wide. Larger fish in breeding condition are being removed from stocks at a rate that could lead to collapse of their populations.
- Bigeye tuna is similar to yellowfin, and is considered to be overfished world-wide.
The recipe looked delicious, but it is off the menu. How can you help? Read more, don’t eat tuna.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 400g farfalle, or similar
- 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
- 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.
This is a simple dish to bake in the oven, it can be flavoured with your favourite herbs. This time I used thyme.
- 2 courgettes, cut in four lengthways, and then sliced into chunks
- 4 medium potatoes (I used Arran pilot) cleaned and cut into chunks
- 1 red pepper, chopped into chunks
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped coarsely
- 4 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp mild smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme, or a handful of fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- Set the oven to 200C
- Mix all the ingredients together and put into a roasting tin
- Bake for one hour, stirring from time to time.
We served this with a green salad
Hello all, and thank you to the person who gave us delicious fresh duck eggs. They are lovely fried in olive oil. I made this with courgettes from the Tagsa Horticulture Project. I made it without aubergines on this occasion, as there were none in the shops. It should serve around six people.
- Olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped (mix of red/white is good)
- 2 aubergines, diced (optional)
- 4 sweet peppers, chopped (mix of green and red)
- 2 large courgettes, chopped
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- duck eggs, one per serving
It is useful to remember that you are aiming to caramelise and brown the vegetables, so the cooking is done over a medium heat, and keep a close eye, stirring to prevent things from catching, and adding around 50ml olive oil from time to time to keep things cooking well.
- Heat around 100ml olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, cook for around a minute and then add the onions, cooking and stirring for around ten minutes. The onions should be soft.
- Add the aubergines and peppers, cook for two minutes and then add the courgettes and keep cooking for another two to three minutes. Add a little more oil if necessary.
- Add the bay leaves, paprika and cook for another ten to fifteen minutes, stirring from time to time. Then add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook for another ten minutes, topping up the olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- When the dish is cooked, turn the heat off. Fry the duck eggs in hot olive oil, one by one in a small frying pan.
Serve the vegetables on a plate with a fried egg on each portion, and with crusty bread. We had some home-made white bread, toasted.
This is a recipe from Elizabeth David, making the perfect quick meal this evening. I had a lot of eggs to start with. I bought some from a neighbour, and then my daughter called in with more. Then there were the reduced mushrooms in the co-op. I have quite a few recipes for eggs and mushrooms, and normally I would go and cook an omelette without a recipe. Anyway, Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking was out on the table, and this is how I interpreted her instructions to make one omelette.
- Approx 60g mushrooms finely sliced
- approx 30g butter
- A grate of salt, black pepper and nutmeg
- half a teaspoon of flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbs cream
- In a small pan, fry the mushrooms very gently in the butter and season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. As the mushrooms cook down, add the flour and cream and stir together.
- In a small bowl, beat together the three eggs. You really just need to mix the eggs, the mixture doesn’t need to be too homogenous.
- In a small frying pan, melt around 10g of butter. Turn the heat up high and before the butter really begins to brown, pour in the eggs.
- Add the mushroom mixture dotted around in the cooking eggs. Tip the pan and lift the edge of the omelette, so raw egg reaches the underneath. Keep repeating this move until the top of the omelette is about to set. Fold it in three and serve on a warm plate.
This is one of the classic Italian sauces. I like to add tarragon but it is not essential. Here is a recipe to serve two, based on ingredients available locally.
- 1 egg
- Approx. 60g streaky bacon, not smoked
- Approx. 120g pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, rigatoni)
- 30g butter
- 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
- salt and pepper
- 30g grated parmesan or pecorino
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the pasta and set the timer for 8 minutes (or cooking time on the manufacturer’s packaging), and set the dishes to warm.
- Melt the butter in a small pan. Cut the bacon into small match-stick strips and fry on a low heat in the butter.
- Beat the egg with the tarragon, pepper and salt.
- When the timer goes, drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the egg to the bacon pan and stir until they begin to thicken.
- While the eggs and bacon are still semi-solid, add to the pasta and stir to mix, along with half the cheese
- Serve in warmed dishes with the rest of the cheese.
From SIMPLE. The book says it serves 2, but it fed two of us for two nights.
- 150g bulgar wheat
- 250ml boiling water or light stock
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 punnets of mushrooms, preferably mixed, around 500g – sliced to about 5mm thick.
- 2 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dill seeds
- around 100g feta (half a block)
- 1 tsp mild chilli flakes
- salt and pepper
- Rinse the bulgar wheat, add a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and add the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl and set aside while everything else is sorted out.
- Put 2 tbsp oil in a large frying or saute pan, heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook for 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp dill seeds, and continue to fry for another couple of minutes. Keep stirring to ensure that nothing sticks or burns. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
- Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. raise the heat, and then add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and fry for 7 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms are browned and soft.
- Add the rest of the cumin seeds, and the thyme and continue to cook for another minute
- Add the balsamic vinegar, and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared.
- Mix in the bulgar wheat, onions, feta cheese and chilli flakes and heat through.
Serve garnished with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
This is based on a recipe using tonnarelle, which is similar to spaghetti. I am trying to get the fridge a bit emptier, and we had some streaky bacon and some fonteluna sausage from Valvona and Crolla, as well as some pecorino cheese. This is so simple, and very filling.
- 200g spaghetti, or tagliolini or tonnarelle, if available
- 300g mushrooms, sliced thickly
- 75g streaky bacon, cut in thin strips (should be pancetta, but I didn’t have any)
- 75g fonteluna sausage cut into small pieces (if you have no sausage, use 150g bacon or pancetta)
- 30g butter
- freshly ground black pepper
- 60g Pecorino cheese
- Melt the butter in a pan, and fry the bacon and sausage very slowly, and when it is starting to cook, add the mushrooms, and continue to simmer together
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it comes to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes or so.
- When the mushrooms are cooked, season with salt and add the grated pecorino cheese.
- When the pasta is done, drain it, and return it to the plan. Pour the sauce over the top and serve. You can stir extra butter in, and add extra cheese as well.
I had a side salad with it, it is a bit rich without.