Tag Archives: vegetarian

a timed supper

 

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As my regular reader will know, Tuesday night is pasta night. I just open the fridge and concoct something from its contents. For people who don’t have time to cook, here’s a 15-20 minute supper.

Bear in mind I have an ceramic hob, so you can skip the “put the rings on” bit if you’ve got gas.

  1. Switch on the big ring, put a deep frying pan on it, add a slug of olive oil
  2. Switch on the medium ring, put some cold water and salt in a pan, set it on the ring
  3. Slice up a big leek and put it in the pan with the oil.
  4. Weigh out the pasta (if you do such things – we do, because carbs/diabetes)
  5. Slice up some mushrooms, and add to the leeks
  6. Notice pasta water is boiling – add pasta, set timer for ten minutes (this is dried pasta – your pasta may vary)
  7. Remember you haven’t put any garlic in, so quickly peel and chop two cloves and throw them in with the vegetables
  8. Put a colander in the sink for drainage purposes
  9. Grate black pepper into the veg
  10. Open the fridge for some lemon juice, find a bottle of white wine open, and add some of that instead.  Too much, so turn up the heat to boil it down a bit
  11. Remove block of feta from fridge and cut up about one third of it
  12. When timer goes, drain pasta then add it to vegetables, together with the feta.
  13. Stir it all together, decant into bowls, scoff.

green beans and pasta

green beans and pasta

This is another ridiculously quick and easy supper, and pretty cheap too (depending where you shop) – certainly well under £1 per serving. Works well with runner beans as well.

serves 2:

1 pack green beans (89p from Aldi, I think)
125g of pasta (fusilli, quills, whatever – Aldi fusilli is 49p for 500g, so that’s (counts on fingers) 12.5p)
1 chopped onion (20p)
1 dessert spoon (ish) of olive oil
lemon juice – a bottle is easier, and cheaper, than fresh
black pepper
about 25g grated parmesan (35p?)

Top and tail the beans, while you put a decent amount of water on to boil. When it has, put in the pasta and set a timer (mental, if necessary) for 10 minutes. I put the beans in that pot when there was eight minutes left, which left a nice crunch to them.

While the beans and pasta are cooking, cook the onion off in the olive oil. Add to the drained pasta/bean mix, stir in a good slug of lemon juice, the parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Light, quick, simple, healthy, cheap. Vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese.

indian black-eyed peas

I made a batch of these for a friend’s curry evening, and they were so nice, I’ve just made another huge batch for us! I might have gone ever so slightly overboard with the quantities, so think on if you’re going to try this 🙂

1kg black-eyed peas (£3.69 for 2kgs from our local Indian shop)
1 carton Sainsburys passata (£0.55)
2 chopped onions (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop so – 30p max)
⅓ big carton of Aldi mushrooms, sliced thinly (about £0.50)
groundnut oil (about a dessertspoon)
various spices to suit (listed below)

12 generous servings for a fiver, absolute max.   I made this in the slow cooker, but if you don’t want to/don’t have to, I’d give it a couple of hours on the hob to get the flavour right through.

Put the black-eyes in to soak for about 12 hours/overnight. They do say you don’t need to soak them, but I always soak beans and peas. They will absorb water at a rate of knots, so use a bowl rather bigger than you might think you’ll need.

Put them in the pot, add the mushrooms and passata, and about half a passata carton of water.

Grind/mix some Indian spices; Pete always does this, but it’s not writ in stone. Cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, bit of chilli, turmeric – whatever works for you. But we tend to go for Lots, because you want the taste. Fry off the onions in some oil (i use groundnut) until they’re just starting to catch, then add the spices and cook them off a bit. A small splash of water is a good idea here. Decant that lot into the pot, add a bit of salt and black pepper.

if slow cooking, about eight hours on low. If hobbing, bring to the boil then a very gentle simmer for a couple of hours. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top if you have any (ours has bolted, sadly).

Freezes beautifully, makes a tasty vegan meal on its own, or a great accompaniment for a curry.

basic lentil mix

This is one of my standards – you can use it for lasagne, moussaka, shepherds pie … anything you do with mince, really.

There are just two of us in the household, but I always cook for at least six so I can freeze some. Also, this recipe is a bitsa, using up what I have in the fridge.

Into the slow cooker: one chopped onion, three diced carrots, one diced courgette, half a red pepper, 4 cloves garlic, small slug of olive oil, and any spice you fancy. I usually use Ras el Hanout, but anything middle eastern is good. Left on low for about an hour. Add 1 pint of red lentils and 2 pints of water, switch to high, leave for about four hours. If you didn’t fancy the spices, substitute a splash of red wine for some of the water, and bung in some herbs.

I made a lentil bake with this yesterday, which I shall write up in a bit.

two caulis, two bunches of asparagus

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We were in Norfolk last weekend, to celebrate the 7th birthday of our grandson. A very nice time was had by all, and on our way home on Sunday afternoon, we kept an eye out for roadside stalls, looking for asparagus and strawberries. Nothing on the roadside, but we stopped at a huge farm shop somewhere … in the South Holland district in Lincolnshire, according to Foursquare.

Two bunches of asparagus at £1.50 each, and two caulis for a quid. So all that lot for £4.00!

One bunch of asparagus went into a quiche, with three eggs, some milk and some rather elderly brie, chopped up. Also a shallot fried off in a little butter, and some chopped chives. That did supper with some Jersey Royals, and lunch the following day.

The second bunch was stir fried with chilli and ginger, one of our absolutely favourite dishes.

One cauli was last night made into a veg curry, which will do at least two more days (if I can find some freezer space!), and the other will be enrobed in cheese sauce for tonight’s supper.

No strawberries (just a little bit too early, I guess), but all the same – that’s really cheap living (although I suppose it’s rather far to go if we weren’t passing …)

cheesy irish potato scones

Cheesy potato scones.

Potato scones are a doddle. 3-2-1 potato, flour, butter or marg. I usually do 150g of spud, but there was 225g leftover from last night and really, what am I going to do with 3oz of mash? To hell with it, it’s Friday, I used it all.

So – rub flour and marg/butter together to make breadcrumbs. Squish in the mashed potato* to make a dough. You’ll need some milk at this point – somewhere between a dribble and a splash, I guess – just to make the dough more pliable. If you make it too sloppy, don’t worry – just add more flour!

Roll it out into (an approximation) of a circle – the thickness doesn’t matter, really, it only affects the cooking time – and divide into six. You can bake these in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes, but I tend to do them on the gas hob on a cast iron griddle (any heavy bottomed frying pan would do). It uses less energy. Turn them after 5 minutes or so, or when they’re browning and cook the other side. I actually had time to wash up and wipe down the worktops while they were cooking.

Traditionally, these are served with bacon in Ireland, but we just scoff them as is, with lashings^H^H a tiny bit of butter.

*If I have cold potato, unmashed, I tend to bung it all in the food processor, but I did it by hand today.

 

a vegetable curry … ish

Well, it was meant to be a vegetable curry, but I’m not convinced it turned out like that.

I love pulses and beans, and keep serried ranks of jars in my cupboards, all containing various varieties of same. Last weekend, I thought I’d cook up some kidney beans, so I poured some into a bowl and covered them with water, left them to soak. Then on the Sunday, I cooked ’em up in the slow cooker. On Monday morning, I drained them into a colander, and thought “Gosh. That’s a lot of beans”. I do this regularly, and I really must learn how many cooked beans a given quantity of dried beans transmutes into. “Lots” seems to be the general answer.

In a “lets clear the fridge of all the old veg”, between us Pete and I chopped red onions, aubergine, butternut squash and sweet potato. And garlic and ginger was liquidised into a paste. I took the black Le Creuset out of the cupboard, looked at the bowl of beans, and got out the enormous faux Le Creuset that I bought in Sainsburys for about 45 quid (about ¼ of what a genuine one would cost).

In my ongoing attempts to lose weight, I’m using far less oil to cook, so I put about, oh, a dessert spoonful of groundnut oil, in which I softened the onions, then added quite a lot of garam masala and cooked it off. In went the garlic/ginger paste, then the cubed veg. Turned it all round to coat it, and get it started, then added passata, and sufficient water to cover the mix, and some seasoning. When the veg were almost cooked, we shoehorned in the kidney beans (not easy, I can assure you), and left it another 15 minutes or so.

It was really, really nice, but not very curryish. No matter. And it made 10 portions for really not very much money at all.

pasta with stilton and mushrooms

There seems to be Quite a Lot of Stilton in the fridge, so yesterday I made a start on it. I had oatcakes with stilton for lunch, accompanied by rather a lot of silverskin onions, and some of the coriander chicken soup (which is a triumph, though I say so myself).

Then last night, I rummaged through the fridge, and a carton of rather sad chestnut mushrooms presented itself.

So … I chopped an onion and set it to cook down in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Chopped the mushrooms and a couple of cloves of garlic and added them in.I kept the heat low and stirred all the time, because I’m trying to use less oil in cooking, and mushrooms just slurp it up. Stuck a pan of hot water on to boil, and added 120g of fusilli pasta when it did so.

Kept stirring the mushrooms, while also dicing up 30g of stilton (that’s seen off the slab, now just the jar to go :). When the pasta had five minutes to go, I put the diced cheese in, and kept it all moving so that it melted down and coated the mushrooms. Then drained the pasta, put it in the mushroom pan, and added 2 good teaspoons of half fat creme fraiche.

Really tasty, and about 520 calories a portion.

making good use …

Guinness soda bread

We held a small gathering here the other night, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We cooked up a slow cooker’s worth of lemony chicken and coriander, and  a big pot of dhal to accompany it, and also for the vegans/veggies in the throng. We also served (bought) chapatis.

That recipe, incidentally, is a base – we use a lot more garlic, chillis and spices than that, and I’ve discovered that if you just sling the chicken in the slow cooker without browning it, it still works beautifully, and you save a lot of time and effort, and a lot of oil too! Makes it a very low calorie dish. Anyway, I digress.

I also made a chocolate, ginger and guinness bundt cake, which left most of a bottle of stout left over.

So this morning, I tipped the remainder of the coriander chicken sauce into the stock pot, added a few carrots, a courgette and an onion which had been minced in the Magimix, and two mugfuls of red lentils, and a nice pot of spicy soup is now bubbling away for lunch. To go with it, I used (most of) the rest of the stout to make a Guinness soda bread loaf, which is now baking in the Remoska.

Sadly, Pete declined to drink the rest of the stout – it was two days old, I know, but still. I poured it down the sink.

a quick lunch of leeks and pasta

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We’re having a bit of a funny day today, food wise. A friend asked if we could hold a birthday party here for him tonight, and said he would order takeaway pizza. *Takeaway pizza*. I ask you. So I said we’d cook, and indeed I have – a vat of Madhur Jaffrey’s lemony chicken with coriander has been constructed, and Pete will make a big dish of dhal, later. Also two cakes baked this morning.

But the party won’t be kicking off until about 9 p.m.for various reasons, and I really can’t wait until then to eat my Indian Feeeeast, so I thought I’d made something a bit more substantial that our usual lunch, and grab a mug of soup later to keep me going.

So … to serve two.

Removed the green end bits from two nice fat leeks, and sliced the rest into rings. Set them to sauté down in some olive oil and a knob of butter. Put water on to boil for 150g of penne pasta. Added a couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped, to the leeks. Ventured out in the snow for some thyme, chopped and added that. When the pasta was done, added it to the leek mix, and hurled in half a tub of low fat creme fraiche. Quick, easy, tasty. Just under 400 calories a serving. Win.