Gorgonzola and Walnut Crostini

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I’ve been waiting to make this for a few days but didn’t have any bread !

We got the munchies on Sunday whilst tidying up – so I decided to put this together. And it’s pretty easy.

Brown some onions slowly so they get nice and brown and sweet – and then add some rosemary and leave to cool down.

Toast some bread on both sides – then add the gorgonzola, walnut halves and onion – and grill again until the cheese melts.

I didn’t have any crostini – so I just used a sliced up baguette – but it was very good. Definitely one to do again. Another awesome Ottolenghi recipe.

Fried Leeks

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This seemed good until I read the recipe a bit closer and I was dubious that it would work.

After boiling some leeks until they are soft and patting them dry, you dip them in egg and breadcrumbs and fry.

You also make a pickled red pepper topping – and a yoghurt, sour cream sauce. You then plate the fried leeks with some sauce and peppers – and a few chopped spring onions.

Unfortunately leeks aren’t good carriers of egg – and in the end the breadcrumbs and eggs just ended up being separate entities in the pan.

It still tasted good – very good in fact – it just didn’t look great. I don’t think I’d make them again just because I like my food to look good.

I still haven’t made an Ottolenghi dish I haven’t enjoyed – I just didn’t like the presentation of this one – but that’s probably just my fault.

Sweet Potato Fritters

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I love sweet potatoes. They are colourful, sweet, and have nowhere near as much starch as a regular potato.

This Ottolenghi dish is quite different in preparation to the leek fritters I made the other day – even if they do look the same.

I roasted my sweet potatoes until they were soft (I find you get a more intense flavour). I think the book suggests you boil or steam them.

Once you’ve drained and let the potatoes cool down you add a spice/chilli mix and mash to a quite thick puree.

You then fry them in 5cm wide x 1cm thick patties (mine are always larger) until they really brown – almost to the point where they look burned (like a good bubble and squeak).

You serve them with a yogurt dip (like most of the street type food in the Plenty book).

These are awesome – you really should make these. If they were just for me I’d add more chilli.

Two Potato Vindaloo

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Most people see the word Vindaloo and think – HOT!!!!! – I don’t want anything that hot. Unless you’re like me and buy insanely hot chilli sauces just so you can inflict them on your friends and colleagues.

If you go on the title you’ll probably avoid this dish – until you check the ingredients list and realise it can’t possibly be hot. Yes there are spices – and yes there is one red chilli – but it’s just a regular red chilli – not a Scotch Bonnet or Ghost Pepper.

Vindaloo – means Wine and Potatoes. (vin = wine) (aloo = potatoes) and was created by the Portugese (and not the Indians as you might originally have assumed. The dish evolved and the wine was typically substituted for vinegar.

This dish conforms to all those rules – only in this case we have sweet potatoes and waxy potatoes (mine were new potatoes) cooked in a tomato and spiced sauce with garlic and white wine vinegar – along with a red pepper.

I made a lot of this. More than 3 meals worth and – as it says in the book – it just gets better the longer you leave it. This is the third day – and the spices have just made the dish even better.

Ottolenghi has some amazing recipes in the Plenty book – it’s one of the best books I own. This dish is excellent – although I think a contrasting dish alongside would be good.

Leek Fritters

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So we ran out of food midweek. This only ever happens when we are oncall for work and can’t go out !

Anyway I decided to dig out my copy of Yotam Ottolenghi – Plenty.

This was the first book I scoured for recipes and struggled to eliminated anything I didn’t want to cook. In the end I made half the things in the book – including the Leek Fritter dish. Sadly I forgot to take a photo at the time – hence me making it again.

This isn’t a quick dish – but it is worth the effort. It certainly fills a hole and is very tasty.

All you do is sauté some leeks and shallots and once they have cooled down toss them in a spiced batter and egg white mixture.

Fry them like pancakes and they go all fluffy in less than 5 minutes – mainly due to all the self raising flour and baking powder.

These are really yummy – especially with the yoghurt and sour cream dip which has been blended with garlic, coriander, parsley and lemon juice.

They must be good. My mother in law loved them!

A definite keeper – and you can make these in advance – and take them to work the next day and reheat.

Polenta Pizza with Crumbled Sage

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This dish took ever so slightly longer than most. I actually had to cook something this time!

Cook up some polenta and when it’s done pop it into a round pizza type dish about 2cm deep. I think mine is less as I used a bigger dish. Let the polenta cool down so it solidifies – you want it to resemble a pizza dough somewhat. I left mine outside as a frost was on the way. Fortunately the local wildlife didn’t get at it!

Then simply top with Mozzarella and Parmesan, olive oil, dried chilli flakes and fresh sage (that you have dried – not dried sage) and bake in an oven until it’s bubbling.

I dehydrated my sage in an halogen oven – to book suggests leaving it on a window sill for a few days – but who has time for that during the working week!

I got sucked into the vortex that is talking to my in-laws whilst making this and by the time it was ready it was too late to eat it – so it’ll have to do for lunch tomorrow. Hence the uncut pizza picture.

There’s no reason for it not to be yummy with the amount of cheese in it. Just be careful not to over salt the polenta as the parmesan is pretty salty already.

UPDATE:

We had this for lunch and it’s just too heavy. I think if you could halve the Polenta and put a bit more flavour in it than just salt then it might work – but for now I’m going to give this a miss.

Quick Scallion Kimchee

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This won’t be ready for another 72 hours. Not sure what a not quick kimchee is – having never made one. But there you go.

You simply trim several bunches of spring onions (scallions) and marinade in a dressing of ginger, garlic, chilli flakes, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil and seeds.

I’ve never had this before but I’m guessing it’s going to have quite a kick given the amount of chilli flakes in it.

Another incredibly quick and easy recipe to prepare from One Good Dish by David Tanis.

UPDATE:

We ate this after it had marinated for 3 days.

Half a cup of chilli flakes is going to give you some idea of how hot is was!

It would be lovely in a burger – or with something meaty. I had it ‘as is’ and it was a bit much! The leftovers I cooked in an omelette, and that was amazing!

Radishes a la Creme

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This isn’t cooking in any sense of the word. It’s cutting up some radishes and putting a blob of creme fraiche next on top.

If you don’t have a watermelon radish, or daikon it’s not going to be particularly exciting. That said – if you do it really works !

The combination of the three radishes (salad, daikon and watermelon) offers different textures and crunches.

Dressed with some whipped up Creme Fraiche and salt and pepper – this dish couldn’t be simpler or quicker provided you have a very sharp knife.

You never know what you are going to get when you buy a watermelon radish. Sometimes they are really colourful inside and look amazing. Other times (like this time) they just don’t offer the amazing contrast on the plate.

Red Beet Salad

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We cook with beetroot (red beets) a lot. It’s not unusual for us to have several bunches on the go at once. To think that as a youngster I assumed you only got this out of a jar in vinegar is quite unbelievable.

It’s good to keep track of the times you eat beetroot. It does tend to colour ‘things’ a day later!

More importantly, if you are cooking with fresh beetroot you have to be prepared to get red splatters everywhere and to gradually discolour all your chopping boards! Definitely keep the book you are following well away from them!

We typically roast beetroot in a halogen oven – then peel it and add it to dishes but this dish is with raw beetroot.

If you are as unfortunate as I was – to get the smallest beetroots ever – you’ll find peeling them and julienning them to be very fiddly indeed. Bigger beetroot is better I think – although you can’t predict what will arrive in your online shop.

This dish is essentially beef tartare with the beef substituted for raw beetroot. The dressing has capers, cornichon, parsley, dijon mustard, olive oil and spring onions (scallions). The recipe suggests serving with hard boiled eggs – which is convenient given I had two left over from the Egyptian Bean Salad!

Looks beautiful doesn’t it! Marinate the beetroot in the dressing for a while and it’ll really come together beautifully.

This is a great salad – but it can get messy – so be careful and don’t wear your best T-Shirt!

Egyptian Breakfast Beans

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I was going to hold off making this until the dried peeled fava beans arrived from souschef.co.uk but we happened to have a couple of tins of broad beans in our shop this week. I’m assured that fava beans and broad beans are the same thing but I’m not convinced.

Anyway I made this recipe without the slog of boiling the fava beans for an hour and it came out pretty good. You essentially boil up the beans until they start to fall apart, add garlic and olive oil and cook some more. Serving is simply spooning it in a bowl and garnishing with red onion, ripe tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. The dusting of toasted and ground cumin seeds really finishes the dish off.

I will make this properly when the dried fava beans arrive but the tinned beans variety wasn’t bad at all. Very filling and warming. We really like this kind of warm dish dressed with raw onions and chopped tomatoes. It’s like seasoning it with salt and pepper.

This took less than 30 mins to make but I did cheat with the tinned beans.