Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Mincemeat Cake

It seems I only just mixed up and canned my mincemeat, and here I am using some already. One of the reasons I decided to make mincemeat was that I had been seeing so many ideas for things to make with it other than pies or tarts, which I usually find to be a bit too intense. This cake, however, was very good. The mincemeat gave it a lively, rich flavour and moist texture but it was not overwhelming.

I actually only put in 1/4 cup of sugar on the grounds that mincemeat basically is sugar, held together with a little fibre and booze. But apparently not quite, because the general consensus was that it could have used a little more. You may wish to taste the batter to be sure you have added the correct amount. I have to say I was amazed that what looked like a substantial quantity of mincemeat going into the batter turned out be almost invisible in the finished cake. We could certainly taste it though!

8 to 12 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Mincemeat Cake

Mix the Dry Ingredients:
2 cups whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Measure the flour, and mix in the other ingredients - you can do it right in the measuring cup, if the sides are high enough. 

Mix the Wet Ingredients & Finish:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
the finely grated zest of 1/2 large orange
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (the juice of 1 large) orange
2 cups (500 ml) mincemeat

Line the bottom of an 8" spring form pan with parchment paper, and butter and flour the sides, Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Work the butter until soft in a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar and work them together until very smooth and soft. 

Grate the orange zest finely and add it to the butter. Mix it in well. Break in the eggs, one at a time, and beat them in. The mixture will be quite curdled looking and that is fine.

Mix in half the flour, etc. Measure your orange juice; if you are short of 1/2 cup top it up with some brandy, rum, or sherry. Add half of it to the batter and mix well.

Mix the mincemeat into the batter. Mix in the remaining flour, and the remaining orange juice, until the batter is smooth. Scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly. Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then loosen the sides and let it sit until cool. Keep well wrapped until you are ready to serve it. Keeps well for several days - and in fact is probably best let to sit for at least one day before being served - but it is not for long-term storage like fruitcake because of the apples or pears in it. You could freeze it, I imagine.

Last year at this time I made Roasted Potatoes Manti Style

Monday, 12 November 2018

Warm Chicken & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables

I seem to be on a kick for warm salads of roasted vegetables. This is a salad, I guess, and not a casserole, but it definitely inhabits the borderland between the two. Mr. Ferdzy was a bit perplexed by it but proceeded to eat truly startling quantities of it, so it's a happy habitation, I would say.

Wild rice is available all year round, but it always goes so well with autumn vegetables that this is the time of year I seem to use it most. This is a bit of a casual dish for such an expensive ingredient, but sometimes I don't care. Well worth it, I thought.

4 servings
1 hour - 20 minutes prep time

Chicken & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Seeds, & Dried Cranberries

Cook the Wild Rice:
1 cup wild rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water

Put the wild rice and salt into a rice-cooker with the water and turn it on. Alternatively, it can be cooked in a pot on the stove. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes until the rice is cooked and the water absorbed. This can be done a day in advance.

Roast the Chicken & Vegetables:
1 large carrot
6 to 8 large shallots
450 grams (1 pound) Brussels sprouts
2 or 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
4 large (450 grams; 1 pound)  skin-on boneless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons rubbed savory
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Peel the carrot and cut it into short, thin strips. Peel the shallots and cut them into quarters. Wash and trim the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half or quarters if they are large. Toss the vegetables with the oil in a large shallow baking pan.

Cut the chicken thighs in half - you are most likely to get skin-on thighs with the bone in too, so I did this in the process of removing the bone - and toss them with the mixed seasonings. Arrange them over the vegetables and roast for 30 minutes.

If you cooked the wild rice the day before, it should come out of the fridge to warm up a bit while the chicken and vegetables roast. 

After 30 minutes, stir the vegetables, but shift the chicken pieces around to keep them on top. Roast for a further 15 minutes.

Dress the Salad & Finish:
the juice of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Juice the lemon into a jam jar or small bowl, and mix in the mustard.

Measure out the seeds and cranberries, and mix them.

When the roasting pan comes out of the oven, remove the chicken pieces to a plate to cool slightly.

Mix the wild rice into the vegetables, along with the seeds and cranberries. Drizzle the dressing over and toss again.

Chop up the chicken and mix it back into the salad.

Last year at this time I made Lentil, Carrot & Parsley Salad.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Stir-Fried Beef with Broccoli, Shiitakes & Oyster Sauce

A popular and classic take-out dish, made in about the same time it would take for your order to arrive and probably cheaper and better too. Dirty dishes though; but you can't have everything.

That was the last red pepper from our garden, which had been sitting on the counter for a while and required some trimming. Hopefully you can get greenhouse peppers now. It could be omitted if you can't. As with all stir-fries, the cooking is very quick so everything should be ready and organized before you turn on the burner.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time

Stir-Fried Beef with Broccoli, Shiitakes & Oyster Sauce

Make the Sauce:
1/4 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Measure the cold stock and mix in the starch and soy sauce. Set aside.

Prepare the Ingredients:
250 grams (1/2 pound) sirloin or similar steak
1 small head of broccoli
1 medium onion
1/4 of a red pepper
75 grams (3 ounces) shiitake mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
3 to 4 very thin slices of ginger

Cut the steak into 1/4" thick slices; if your beef was from frozen it is easiest to do while it is still semi-frozen.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. 

Wash, trim, and cut the broccoli into florets. Peel the onion and cut it into slivers. Wash the pepper and cut it into thin strips. Remove and discard the stems of the shiitakes, and cut them into strips. Peel and mince the garlic. Mince the ginger very finely.

When the water boils, blanch the broccoli for 1 or 2 minutes, then drain well. 

Make the Stir-Fry:
1 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons good quality oyster sauce

Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet or wok. When it is hot, add the beef, and stir-fry for a minute or two. When it is sizzling hot, add the onion, pepper, and mushrooms. Continue cooking for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften, and the meat looks mostly cooked. Mix in the garlic and ginger, then after a minute or so, mix in the drained broccoli.

Cook for several minutes more, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is done to your liking. Stir up the sauce and pour it over, stirring as it goes. It will thicken up and coat the vegetables, etc within about a minute, at which point the stir-fry should be transferred to a large serving dish. Drizzle half the oyster sauce over it and mix in gently, then drizzle the remaining oyster sauce over it. Serve with steamed rice.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Pasta with Bacon, Broccoli, Leeks, & Cream

I'm on a kick with leeks and broccoli! I've done plenty of versions of pasta in a cream sauce with some cheese, too. This all comes together very nicely, and in pretty much the usual time to get pasta on the table, which is to say not very long at all.

Three leeks seems like a lot, but it's amazing how they want to disappear. The amount of pasta to cook is, of course, the amount of pasta you know 2 people will eat.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time

Pasta with Bacon, Broccoli, Leeks, & Cream

1 small head of broccoli
1 large carrot
3 large leeks
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
150 grams (1/2 pound) lean bacon
2 tablespoons bacon fat
166 grams to 225 grams (1/3 to 1/2 pound) stubby pasta
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons rubbed savory
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 cup 10% cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Wash and trim the broccoli, and cut it into florets. Set it aside. 

Peel and grate the carrot. Wash, trim, and cut the leeks into thin slices. Rinse them well and drain them thoroughly. Peel and mince the garlic.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Chop the bacon and cook it gently in a large skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and drain off any excess fat leaving about 2 tablespoons. (Or add enough to make 2 tablespoons, but good luck with that.)

Add the leeks and carrots and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The vegetables should soften and cook down, but don't let them brown. Season with salt - very carefully given the presence of both bacon and cheese - and more generously with pepper, and add the savory. Mix in well.

When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook it for the time indicated on the package plus 1 minute. When it has 6 minutes left to cook, add the broccoli.

Meanwhile, mix the flour into the chicken stock being sure there are no lumps. Mix the cream into the chicken stock then pour it into the pan of vegetables. Bring it to a gently simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta and broccoli are cooked and the sauce has thickened; both at about the same time if all goes according to plan. Drain the pasta and broccoli very well then mix them into the pan of sauce. Serve with the grated Parmesan sprinkled over.

Last year at this time I made Onion Caraway Soup.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Moroccan-Spiced Cauliflower

This is a flavourful but straightforward treatment for cauliflower, good with simply cooked fish or chicken. Rice, pasta, or roasted potatoes will round out the meal. If you could get your hands on some parsley to sprinkle over the top it would be an improvement, as cauliflower tends to make for a very pale meal. I still have some in the garden but I didn't think of it until I was sitting there looking at my very beige plate; what else is new?

4 to 6 servings
20 minutes prep time

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

Mix the Spices:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed summer savory
2 teaspoons rubbed mint
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

Grind the coriander and cumin seeds, then mix them with the rest of the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cook the Cauliflower & Finish:
4 to 5 cups (1 medium head) cauliflower florets
2 or 3 shallots
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
the juice of 1/2 large lemon
a sprinkle of chopped parsley (optional)

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the cauliflower. Wash and trim the cauliflower and break it up into florets. 

Peel and mince the shallots and garlic. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet and cook the shallots until soft - just a couple of minutes - stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer. Mix the spices into them for a minute, and remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, once the water boils, cook the cauliflower for 5 to 7 minutes, until done to your liking. Drain it well and return it to the pot, over medium heat. Drizzle the olive oil over them, then mix in the shallots and spices. Stir in well. Mix in the lemon juice and stir in well, until completely absorbed. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Trout & Spinach au gratin.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Smoked Pork Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce

You need to have access to a good German-style butcher to get smoked pork chops. Fortunately, here in southwestern Ontario that is not too difficult. They are so good that usually I just fry them up and serve them, maybe with some applesauce. Mashed potatoes are the classic choice to serve on the side, alongside whatever green vegetable you would like.

Smoked pork chops come in 2 styles. Some are brined before smoking, making them rather ham-like. This seems to be more common, although I have purchased others that were simply smoked, and were essentially raw. The brined ones will cook a bit faster, but otherwise they are treated the same. They will also vary in their degree of saltiness, so don't add much salt to the sauce to start with but be prepared to adjust it at the end.

They don't take too long to cook either way so you should at least have the sauce ingredients out and ready to mix before you start cooking the chops. Keep a light hand with the salt and the lemon zest, although remember the sauce should taste a bit stronger than you would want to eat straight, since in fact you won't be eating it straight but putting it on the chops.

4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Smoked Pork Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce

Make the Sauce:
1/4 cup ham or chicken broth, or water
1 teaspoon arrowroot or corn starch
1 tablespoon coarse-seeded Dijon mustard
a few gratings of lemon zest
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sherry
1/4 cup 10% or 18% cream

Measure the stock or water and set it aside.

Mix the starch, mustard, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and sherry in a small bowl until smooth. Mix in the cream until smooth.

Cook the Chops:
2 teaspoons bacon fat
4 smoked pork chops

Heat the bacon fat (or other oil, if you must) in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it is melted and just starting to smoke, add the chops and cook them for 7 to 10 minutes per side, until the chops are done to your liking. The time will vary according to the thickness of the chops and the style of smoking.  Ham-like chops will cook a little faster than raw smoked chops.

When the chops are done, remove them to a serving platter. Immediately reduce the heat to medium, and pour in the stock or water. Scrape up any bits adhering to the pan. Stir up the sauce mixture to redissolve the starch - it will have settled in waiting - and pour it in to the pan at once, stirring well as it goes in. The sauce will simmer up and thicken pretty much at once. Test it for salt, then spoon it over the chops. Serve at once.

Last year at this time I made German Leek Salad

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Warm Roasted Squash & Broccoli Salad with Hazelnuts

This is really quite a simple salad, and I was a bit surprised at how much Mom and Mr. Ferdzy liked it. I liked it too!

I'm saying 4 servings, but the 3 of us ate it all. However, I only served a small piece of chicken alongside it, so with something else more substantial it should go further, and while it is a little time-consuming, there really isn't a lot of actual work involved.

Often this kind of salad is served with feta cheese in it, and that would be one way to make it a complete meal in itself. Sausages on the side would be a good choice too, with their slightly salty flavour profile.

4 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Roasted Squash & Broccoli Salad with Hazelnuts

Roast the Vegetables:
a 1.2 kilo (2.5 pounds) butternut squash
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo OR similar pepper
1 large onion
1 large head of broccoli
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Peel and de-seed the squash, and cut it into large bite-sized pieces. Toss it with the first round of oil, salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper and spread it out on a large baking tray in a single layer. Roast for 40 minutes, then turn the oven up to 400°F.

Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it into large slivers / small wedges. Wash and trim the broccoli, and cut it into florets. Peel the stem and cut it into large slivers. Toss them with the remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Mix them into the squash when it has roasted for 40 minutes, and roast for a further 20 to 30 minutes, at 400°F, until the vegetables are done to your liking.

Toast the Hazelnuts & Finish:
100 grams (4 ounces) whole hazelnuts
the juice of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

At some point while the squash is roasting at 375°F, spread the hazelnuts on another baking sheet and roast them on the top shelf for 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool, then rub them in a towel to remove most of the skins. Chop them coarsely.

Squeeze and strain the lemon juice, and mix in the mustard.

When the vegetables are roasted, toss them with the hazelnuts and lemon juice. Let cool a few minutes before serving - it should be still warm but not really hot.

Last year at this time I made Lamb with Turnip Greens.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Apple or Pear & Ginger Mincemeat

Our apples, as usual, are few and rather awful, but we managed to scrounge enough to make a batch of this mincemeat. Other than apples or pears, I'm afraid this is pretty determinedly non-local, but about every 5 years or so I hear the call of the mincemeat anyway. It's quite rich and there are all kinds of other Christmas goodies I like just as well if not better, but this year the urge struck so here it is.

In spite of the number of ingredients it's actually pretty quick and straightforward, as far as canning projects go. Apples will give a firmer, tarter mincemeat, and pears will make it softer and sweeter. I have also given up all pretense of putting any "meat" (or suet, etc) into my mincemeat, so this is vegetarian.

Part of the reason I decided to make mincemeat this year is that I have been seeing a lot of recipes for other things to do with it besides tarts and pies and I plan to try some of them out. Stay tuned!

6 - 500 ml jars
2 hours prep time

Apple or Pear & Ginger Mincemeat

Mix the Spices:
1 teaspoon allspice berries
5 or 6 pods green cardamom
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Grind the allspice and cardamom - remove the papery husks from the cardamom after the first few blows - until quite fine. Mix them with the remaining spices and salt in a small bowl. 

Mix the Fruit:
2 cups sultanas
2 cups raisins
2 cups mixed candied peel
1 cup finely chopped preserved ginger

Measure the sultanas, raisins, and candied peel into a large mixing bowl. Chop and measure the ginger, and add it as well. 

And Finish:
12 cups peeled and chopped apples OR pears
1/2 cup lemon juice
the finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
the juice of 2 large oranges
1 1/4 to 2 cups rum or brandy

Put the jars on to boil in a canner with at least an inch of water to cover them. Put the lids and rings into another pot with water to cover, and bring them to a boil just before you are ready to can the mincemeat.

Meanwhile, peel, chop, and measure the apples or pears, and put them in a maslin pan or other large heavy-bottomed pan with the lemon juice and bring them up to boil. Grate in the orange zest. Squeeze the oranges and add the juice. When the apples or pears begin to soften a bit, add the prepared dried fruits and the spices. Mix well. Heat until the whole mixture is boiling hot, stirring frequently - be careful, this mixture is very thick and scorches fairly easily. Spatter burns will likewise be sticky and unpleasant, so take care. You can add a little water or apple juice if it really looks like sticking, but don't over-do it.

When the jars have boiled for 10 minutes, drain them and place them on a clean board by the mincemeat. Add 2 tablespoons of rum or brandy to each jar as you will them. If you wish to add a spoonful or 2 on top as well, it will do it nothing but good. Fill the jars, then carefully wipe the rims with a bit of paper towel dipped in the boiling water. Place the prepared lids and rings on them, and tighten them just snugly. Return them to the boiling water bath for 40 minutes.

Let cool, test the seals, and label. The mincemeat should keep in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Brocc-a-Leekie Soup

There is no resemblance between this and the famous Scottish Cock-a-Leekie soup; in particular there are no prunes. I just found the name amusing and these days I need all the amusement I can get, however feeble.

Leeks and bacon are a classic combination and broccoli works well with them too. Leeks are so sweet and agreeable they get along with everything, really. Toasted barley as my favourite soup thickener, and a little vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to sharpen it up, and it's a sturdy, filling soup for chilly fall days. It will need a little something on the side, though, as these are not huge servings. We had ours with a grilled cheese sandwich and were very happy campers.

4 servings
1 hour - 40 minutes prep time

Leek and Broccoli Soup with Bacon

1 head broccoli
2 medium leeks
4 to 6 shallots
1/4 cup barley flour
250 grams (1/2 pound) bacon
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Wash and trim the broccoli, and cut it into quite small pieces. Wash, trim, and chop the leeks finely. Peel and mince the shallots.

Heat a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the barley flour and cook it until it is the colour of a paper bag, stirring regularly. Watch it towards the end in particular, as it will toast quickly when it does.Turn it out onto a plate to cool at once.

Chop the bacon and cook it in the soup pot over medium heat until it has rendered most of the fat and turned fairly crisp. Add the shallots, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Add the broccoli and shallots, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until they have softened and reduced slightly in volume.

Add the chicken stock, vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, and simmer for a further 10 minutes or so until the soup is thickened and the broccoli is cooked. Stir regularly.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Beans & Sausage with Peppers & Onions

This is not chili! No, really; it isn't. Yes, it is full of beans and meat and peppers but it is still not chili.  However, like chili, it is excellent piled on buttered toast.

You can use whatever kind of sausage you like for this, although I suggest something with garlic and without sweetness, so not honey-garlic, for instance. But I could be wrong. Maybe honey-garlic would be fine. I used a raw sausage but a smoked one would be very good too. Kielbasa, even. I did not add much in the way of seasonings to this because I wanted it to taste mostly of peppers and onions and garlic and sausage. Which means that whatever sausage you use, it should be a good one.

Also, this is very much last call for peppers. I've still got a lot, moldering away on the kitchen counter but they will be getting pretty scarce in the markets by now.

4 to 6 servings
2 hours prep time not including the bean cooking time

Beans & Sausage with Peppers & Onions

Cook the Beans:
2 cups dry beans
1 teaspoon salt

Put the beans in a large pot with water to cover them generously, and bring them to a boil. Boil for a few minutes, then cover them and turn off the heat. Soak for a few hours. Repeat boiling and soaking the beans until they begin to soften. Add the salt and simmer gently until the beans are tender. Replenish the water as required.

You can do this a day in advance and almost certainly should. Or, I suppose, you could use 2 540-ml (19 ounce) cans of beans.

Finish the Dish:
500 grams (1 pound) sausage, see remarks in introduction
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil, if required
1 large onion
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
1 to 5 cloves of garlic
4 cups chopped or crushed tomatoes
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Put it in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot with the oil, if you think that the sausage will fail to provide sufficient fattiness on its own. Cook gently over medium heat.

Meanwhile, peel and sliver the onion. Wash, core, and cut into slivers the green and red peppers. Add them to the sausage and cook, stirring regularly, until they soften, reduce in volume, and brown slightly in spots.

Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic, the amount depending on whether there is any garlic in the sausage already and how much you would like there to be. Add it to the pot and stir it in for a minute or two.

Add the drained beans and the tomato, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour. Taste and add salt and pepper as required. Serve with plenty of hot buttered toast.

Last year at this time I made Spaghetti Squash Pancakes

Monday, 22 October 2018

Pasta with Smoked Trout, Fennel, Leeks, & Dried Tomatoes

Smoked trout is rather expensive but a little bit goes a reasonably long way. Here it is mixed with some glamorous vegetables for quite a fancy pasta dish, but like most pasta dishes it is quick and easy enough for a week-night dinner. And yes, it's pasta again. We do tend to live on the stuff.

This is the time of year when I tend to strew everything with parsley because it is finally looking thick and lush; also there's no denying that fennel and leeks need a shot of green to liven them up. A nice green salad on the side will have the same effect and finish off your meal nicely.

2 to 4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Pasta with Smoked Trout, Fennel, Leeks, & Dried Tomatoes

Make the Sauce:
1 medium bulb of fennel
1 large leek
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika, possibly smoked
1 cup fish or chicken stock

Wash the fennel and trim off the stems and base. Chop the bulb into bite-sized pieces. Wash and trim the leek, slice it lengthwise, and cut it in pieces.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel and leeks, and stir to coat in the butter. Cook gently until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Stir regularly. Put the water on to boil for the past as as soon as the vegetables go into the pan.

Add the seasonings to the vegetables and mix in. 

When the vegetables have softened and cooked down for about 10 minutes, add the fish or chicken stock and continue simmering.

Cook the Pasta & Finish:
150 to 225 grams stubby pasta
1/2 cup dried tomato bits
1/2 (200 grams; 1/2 pound) of a smoked trout
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
sprig of parsley, and/or fennel

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook the pasta until it is 3 minutes short of the recommended time on the package. Add the tomato bits when there is still 5 minutes left to go. Drain well.

Add the pasta to the pan of vegetables, and mix in well. Let cook for a minute or so, then add the smoked trout, crumbled into bite-sized pieces. Let that heat through for another minute.

Mix the starch into the cream and mix it into the pan. Stir gently, and cook until the sauce has thickened - just another minute or so.

If you have a little parsley, mince a sprig finely with a sprig of greenery from the fennel. Otherwise, just a sprig from the fennel. Sprinkle over the finished pasta to garnish.

Last year at this time I made Mallorcan Eggplant Pastel.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Turkish Broccoli & Carrot Salad

I'm getting a little addicted to garlic-yogurt sauce on vegetables, I have to say. We really liked this one. Carrots and broccoli go together so nicely, and look so pretty together, and the combination of garlicky yogurt and a zingy vinaigrette (is it a vinaigrette if you use lemon juice?) worked really well. 

4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Turkish Broccoli & Carrot Salad

Make the Dressing:
a few scrapes of  lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
the juice of 1/2 large lemon

Grate the lemon zest into a small bowl or jam jar, and add the seasonings. Mix in the olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice and strain it before adding it. Mix well.

This can - and should - be done a little in advance, to allow the flavours to blend.

Make the Yogurt Sauce:
1 small clove of garlic
1/3 cup thick yogurt
a pinch of salt

Peel and mince the garlic. Mix it into the yogurt along with a pinch of salt. 

Make the Salad:
3 or 4 medium carrots
1 large head of broccoli
1/2 small sweet onion (optional)
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Put a pot of water on to boil. Peel and slice the carrots, fairly thinly. Wash, trim, and chop the broccoli into florets. Peel and chop the onion, if using. Wash, dry, and mince the parsley.

When the water boils, drop the carrots in for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli and continue boiling for another 2 minutes. Drain the vegetables at once and rinse them in cold water until they are cool. Drain very thoroughly.

Toss the broccoli and carrots in a salad bowl with the onion and parsley, and the vinaigrette dressing. Pass the salad with the yogurt sauce to spoon over.

Last year at this time I made Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake.