Friday, 21 November 2014

Lazy Moussaka

Moussaka is one of those things I've never bothered to make before because it seems too complicated and time consuming, like lasagne. But, also like lasagne, I really enjoy eating it, so after having some delicious moussaka on holiday with friends recently, I asked for the recipe. It's easy, said the friend who'd made it, it's a Delia recipe....

Which she duly sent over to me. Alas, Delia,  the first part of the recipe involved an inordinate amount of faffing about with aubergines and salt, so at that point I lost interest and decided to find an easier recipe to follow. And here's what you do:

Get your aubergine and prick with a fork. Which always reminds me of this ;-)

But anyway, once you've had a little chuckle, stick the aubergine in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes til it goes soft. Meanwhile, fry off some mince, lamb is nice but beef will do) bit of tomato purée (or ketchup works just as well) and a tin of chopped tomatoes (you can get them with herbs and garlic already added for extra laziness) and season (adding cinnamon is traditional). Slosh in some red wine (no idea if that's traditional but it's required in this house)...... then shove that into your ovenproof dish, slice the soggy aubergine up (use a serrated knife!) and layer on top and finally top with a mix of yoghurt or crème fraiche, an egg and some grated cheese (strong Cheddar or Parmesan), I added a pinch of nutmeg just to be exotic. And some Tabasco to the mince......

Cook in oven til brownish on top. Eat with garlic bread (Lidl do a nice pack of sliced garlic toast) and Greek salad so you can watch one of your kids refuse to touch it and the other one pick out all the olives and tomatoes.

Apologies to anyone of Greek extraction who knows how to make a proper Moussaka. This one tastes just fine to us :-)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hearty beef stew for monster slayers.....

Last weekend I went to collect the other half after he'd been away all week LARPing (if you were wondering, the full Wikipedia explanation of this is here but it's basically grown men and women dressing up in fantasy costumes running about in the woods waving rubber weapons) and the nice lady who'd been doing the catering had 3kgs of diced beef left over from feeding the ravening hordes that needed a home. Being confirmed carnivores, we generously offered to take it off her hands. Then I wondered what the hell to do with it......

Answer? Cook it for ages. And ages. And ages.....

I did actually fry it off in batches first, bit faffy and you can probably skip that if you like, then it went into a couple of casseroles (3 kilos is a LOT, you probably won't need that much, unless you happen to be feeding a tribe of half orcs I guess) with some roughly chopped carrots and onions, a bit of dried thyme and seasoning, and a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes.

Then I just cooked it, on a fairly low heat, for hours. Checked it every now and then and added a bit of water if necessary (a slow cooker would be the best way to do it, if I actually had one) until the meat was lovely and falling-to-bits tender. Then I chopped some butternut squash to go on top, you could use sweet potato or good old spuds instead, and cooked it some more.

It was excellent :-)

Oh and if anyone is wondering what the OH looks like in his LARPing gear, he's the one on the left of this photo wearing the very fetching headband ;-)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Kiki's Quickie Quiche

This is a brilliantly simple recipe from my mate Sheila. Well, originally from her French neighbour I believe (hence the name). I once made a "proper" quiche years ago with all that blind baking malarkey and it was way too much faff, so this is the first time I have been inspired to make one since!

You need a ready-made round supermarket pastry: pate feuilleté pur beurre (puff pastry); put in 30 cm tin with the paper still on; prick the base with a fork.

Mix 6 eggs with enough creme fraiche to come to about 500 ml on measuring jug; add a packet of grated Comté or Gruyere (or cheese of your choice, I use old Gouda usually, would also be good with a mature cheddar) saving some for on top; spread a packet of lardons fumés (chopped up smoked bacon for mu UK readers) on the base and pour over the egg mix; add pepper but the bacon usually is salty enough; bake in oven at about 200°C for about 40 mins until puffy and golden.

Easy, eh? Being me I chucked in some chopped chilies to the mix :-)

I have since made it with tuna instead of lardons ( when a fluffy bunny vegetarian came to lunch) which is possibly even nicer.....

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Chilli feta

Saw this recipe on the telly the other day, from one of the few chefs I can bear to watch, Nigel Slater. He doesn't ponce about doing complicated stuff, he does simple and quick.

And this is both. Chop up some spring onions and as many fresh chillies as you dare, fry them in a bit of oil for a couple of minutes with some garlic and a bit of fresh thyme, then add a piece of feta cheese and fry on both sides til it starts to melt. Put it on a plate, sprinkle on chopped fresh coriander and eat with some nice crusty bread.

Brilliant :-)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Chocolate Black Bean Cake

Our friends Guy and Sarah came round with some of this cake the other day. Chocolate cake with a hint of orange flavour. How complicated is that, I wondered, and it turns out it isn't complicated at all.......not even finding the black beans (in Leclerc, next to the white beans and red beans of course)

So the ingredients are:

100g sugar
normal sized tin of black beans (drained)
3 eggs
3 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of instant coffee
half a vanilla pod, scraped
1 teaspoon of baking powder
juice & zest from half an orange
pinch of salt

You just stick them all in a blender, whizz it up til it's smooth, pour it into a cake tin then break up 50g of 70% dark chocolate and spread it across the top of the cake mixture. Bake at 175 degrees C for about 35 minutes. Easy peasy. And very delicious, and in this house it has disappeared rather rapidly, I wasn't even quick enough to get a photo of it in one piece!!

Friday, 1 March 2013

(Chilli) Chowder

So after having to make carrot soup three times as Éowyn has been eating it non stop for two days, I decided to try and come up with something different. That doesn't contain carrots......

So I fried up some leeks and bits of bacon (I managed to find some proper British bacon in the freezer, but I guess those lardon thingies they have over here would do just as well), added a load of chicken stock, put in a couple of chopped spuds and peppers (Éowyn likes chopping peppers for some reason so that bit was very easy for me), salt & pepper and a few sneaky chilli flakes when no one was looking. Left it to boil along merrily for 20 minutes or so, then added a tin of sweetcorn to heat through and there you go.

Bluddy loverly, even if I do say so myself......

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Carrot soup

At school, Éowyn often eats carrot soup. Apparently it's her favourite. She keeps on at me to make her some like she's mistaken me for some kind of domestic goddess or something....

Anyway, today, as she's at home due to the teachers being on strike (again) and as she actually helped me with the poo picking (!) I told her we could have carrot soup for lunch. Turns out it's pretty easy really.

Chop an onion or two, fry for 5 mins in oil, peel a decent sized spud (or even better, get a small child to do it for you), chop and add to pan, stick in a spoonful of ground coriander and stir a bit. Then add 5 or 6 peeled (preferably by said small child) and sliced carrots, bit of salt and pepper and a litre or so of chicken or veg stock.

Then leave it to cook til the veg is soft, chuck in a handful of fresh coriander and whizz it all up (small child enjoys this bit but tends to make a mess)

Easy. And very tasty, especially with a few chili flakes added ;-)