Saturday, 29 December 2012

No! Sushi

I just had my first attempt at making Maki Sushi. Needless to say, I didn't find it anywhere near as easy as this guy. Lets put it this way, if I was on The Generation Game doing it I would certainly not consider it a 'good game' and I doubt that 'the score on the door' would be all that high. Still, the end result is edible, even if one does need a fork and spoon to do so.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Roast Beetroot

Back when I was a child my Dad used to grow quite a bit of beetroot but all Mum ever did with it was pickle it. As this recipe helps to prove it's a much more versatile vegetable than that.

Prepare:            10 mins
Cook:                1 hour
Serves:             4


455g      beetroot, whole unpeeled
10 cl      garlic, unpeeled, squashed
             handful of fresh oregano or marjoram
             salt and pepper
10 tbs    balsamic vinegar
6 tbs     rapeseed oil


Aluminium foil; roasting tray


Heat the oven to 200C.
Tear off 1.5 metres of foil and fold in half to produce a double layer 750mm long.
Place the beets in the middle of the foil with the garlic and herbs.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fold up the foil all round to make a waterproof container and add the vinegar and oil.
Seal and cook for an hour.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Protein and Cancer

For a while now I've realised that I need to lose weight. Knowing I need to do it and doing it are, however, two separate things. My problem is that I just enjoy food too much, hence starting this blog. Now that I'm between jobs though I've got the time to devote to trying to do something about my weight problem. The latest prod to get me dieting came from this post from Jacqueline's blog. This, in turn, lead me to Michael Moseley's recent 'Horizon' programme. One thing he mentioned struck me as very interesting and that was that a low protein diet can help reduce the incidence of various cancers and other diseases. Naturally, as a good carnivore Michael ignored this titbit but as a committed vegetarian I decided to follow it up, which lead me to this abstract which indicates that reduced protein intake is indeed the way to go. As most vegetarians know, a vegetarian diet is naturally lower in protein than a carnivorous/omnivorous one so getting my protein intake down to the requisite level shouldn't be a problem. According to what I was taught in my nutrition course the relevant proportions are: 55% carbohydrates; 15% protein and 30% fats. All I need to do now is find out the protein, carbohydrate, fat and energy content of everything I eat. It's going to be a bit of a pain working all that out for everything I eat but hopefully it will rapidly become second nature.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Leek and Potato Pie

Checking the list of food in season on the BBC website I was somewhat surprised to discover just how few veggies are in season in March. Two which are are potatoes and leeks which prompted me to try this variation on a vegetarian cottage pie:

Prepare:    30 mins
Cook:        30 mins
Serves:        4


500g      leeks
750g      potatoes
40g        butter
25g        plain flour
300ml   milk
              pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
              freshly ground black pepper
50g       Cheddar cheese, grated
             butter, for greasing


    3 saucepans, greased 1 litre ovenproof dish, baking sheet, colander


    Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

    Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 20 - 25 minutes
    or until tender.
    Trim the leeks, discarding most of the dark green part.
    Slice thickly and wash under cold running water until completely clean.
    Cook in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes or until almost tender.
    Drain thoroughly, reserving the stock.

    While the vegetables are cooking, make the sauce: melt 25g of butter gently in a small
    saucepan,  sprinkle in the flour and stir over low heat for 2 minutes until it forms a
    cheesy roux.
    Remove from the heat and gradually stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the milk, then return
    to the heat and simmer, stirring, until thick and smooth.
    Measure out 150ml of the leek stock; stir gradually into white sauce.
    Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly, then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
    Remove the pan from the heat.

    Slice one-third of the potatoes, stir them gently into the leeks and turn into the base of a
   greased 1L ovenproof dish. Pour on the sauce; carefully turn vegetables with a fork, to
   coat thoroughly.

    Add remaining butter and milk to the rest of the potatoes, season with pepper, then mash
   them until smooth. Beat in half the cheese with a wooden spoon. Taste and adjust

    Spread the mashed potato over the vegetables, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
    Stand the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the
    topping is golden brown.

   Serve hot.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

About Me

Welcome to my recipe blog. I'm not a trained chef but then that's  not stopped Heston Blumenthal making something of a name for himself. I don't claim to be in his league though and I'm certainly not obsessed with the chemistry of cooking in the way he appears to be. I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years now so all the recipes on this site will be suitable for vegetarians. I can't guarantee that they'll be suitable for vegans for the simple reason that I discovered, when I went vegetarian, that I just couldn't hack the vegan diet. It's probably about time I tried again though as there are almost certainly vegan cheeses around these days which taste better than the plastic they're wrapped in, for example. This wasn't the case back in the late 1980's when I tried them.

Bread and Butter Pudding

My first recipe takes me back to my childhood in that it's one Mum used to make to use up any bread that was going a bit stale:

This recipe is based on my memory of Mum's bread and butter pudding but she never taught me to make it and I've never seen her recipe so I think it's only fair that I take full blame for this version. Note the lack of quantities for anything but the custard. This is because I just add slices of bread and handfuls of fruit as required. If it comes to that, I suppose one could even use fruit other than currants, raisins and sultanas although I've never tried.

Serves:               8
Prepare:            20 mins
Cook:                 60 mins


                          2        eggs, beaten
                          50g    butter, melted
                          2 tbs  vanilla extract
                          1 pt    milk
                          4 tbs  caster sugar
                                     demerara sugar


Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 23x33cm dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, butter, vanilla and milk.
Gradually add the sugar and mix thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved.

Place a layer of bread slices in the bottom of the prepared dish.
Cover with a thin layer of currants, raisins and sultanas.
Pour the liquid over the bread, fully saturating all the bread.
Add another layer of bread followed by another layer of fruit.
Continue in this way, adding the liquid to soak the bread as you go until the dish is nearly full.

Top off with a layer of bread and sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, until golden.