Tag: recipe

my Magimix


I’ve had my Magimix for years – I bought it, and a whole batch of blades, many years ago, when I was much better off than I am now 🙂 It’s always sat there on the worktop, but I don’t actually use it all that much – veg for soup, whipping up the odd cake when I can’t be bothered to get the mixer out, etc.

I was having a “cook a nice dinner” day yesterday, something I love doing on an autumn/winter Sunday afternoon. I nipped (or popped) up to Iceland for one of their chateaubriands, but horror – they’d run out! So I bought a couple of duck breasts, a bag of spuds, and two cartons of cream. Pete had picked up a punnet of red plums for £0.45 in Aldi earlier in the week, so that needed factoring in too.

I started with grating the last of the Gruyére. Readers, I hate grating cheese – I usually get nail, or finger, or both in the grated stuff, so Pete always does it, but he was out. So I put the small bowl on the Magimix, and the grating blade, and it worked a treat!

Then came red cabbage (already in the fridge) – chopped it in plunger-size wedges and sliced it with a slicing blade. Then, I chopped an apple. And then a red onion. And then some garlic. I was on a roll by this point, as you might be able to tell. This all went in my ancient and venerable oval black Le Creuset casserole, with salt, pepper, a knob of butter, a good dollop of red wine vinegar, plus nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

I washed up the bowls, then put the thin slicing blade on, and sliced up a load of spuds very thinly for what might be pommes dauphinoise (it’s what we call them, anyway); again, Pete would normally do this on our mandolin, which absolutely terrifies me, so I thought I’d try the Magimix. It was great, sliced them up very thinly. I layered half in a heatproof dish, sprinkled half the gruyere, salt, pepper and garlic power, and quite a lot of cream, then repeated the two laters. Stuck it in the oven for about 1hr 20m, with a foil hat for the first 40 minutes. Gorgeous.

Next up: plums. We decided on a plum upsidedown cake. Despite being cheap, the 45p plums were still quite hard, so I cut them in half, and cooked them off for ten minutes, cut side down, in a little water with five spice powder. I always do an upsidedown cake in my tarte tatin dish, which is like this:
I think I bought it from Lakeland, but they don’t seem to do it any more – Amazon do, though. I put some butter and some brown sugar in it, and melted it on the hob (sorry, not very good at measuring things like that), then arranged the plums, cut side down again, on top of the melted mix.

I made my standard cake mix with three eggs:

Weigh the eggs in their shell, then take the same weight of self-raising flour, butter and caster sugar. Beat the lot together. You can add gin to this, vanilla essence, chocolate drops, sultanas, pretty much anything. Bake for about 45 minutes at 180C.

Pour the cake mix onto the plums, smooth off, bake as above. Delicious. Oh, and of course, I mixed the batter in the Magimix!

It had a hard day, but it saved me hours, and that’s well worth it when you have arthritic paws like me.

apricot, almond and lemon sponge pudding

poaching apricots

As always, I was looking to use up something; in this instance, a bowl of apricots that were going a bit wrinkly – I sometimes think this blog should be subtitled “reactive cooking”.  In fact, I think I will do just that!

[later] And I have, if you look at the address bar!

A bit of googling brought forther the fact that apricots are often flavoured with cardamon; I don’t know why I’d never though of it, because I love mixing fruit with spice.

So:  cut some apricots in half, and remove the stones.  Place them, cut side down, in a wide, shallow pan, and add some cardamon seeds (note: you want the little black seeds from inside the pods, not the pods themselves, if possible), a sprinkling of caster sugar (we like our fruit tart, so adjust to taste), a splash of vanilla essence, or a pod or whatever you prefer, vanilla-wise), and about half an inch of water.

Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about five minutes.  Remove the apricots to an oven proof dish, then reduce the liquor to about half its volume by boiling it fiercely.  Pour it over the apricots.

In a food mixer, blitz 110g each of butter, ground almonds and caster sugar, 2 large eggs, and the rind of one lemon.  Pour this over the fruit, and then scatter flaked slivered almonds over the top – I did wonder if this latter might be an almond too far, but it wasn’t.

Bake for an hour at gas 4 / 180C, serve with ice cream or cream.  Truly lovely.

asparagus and feta risotto

I didn’t take a photo because, to be honest, I was exhausted from too much Wii Tennis in the heat! So you’ll have to be satisifed with a repeat of the asparagus photo.

I’m a big fan of risotto, although I must confess here to generally doing them in the oven as [whisper] Delia Smith taught me. Friends have insisted that these dishes are most emphatically not risotto, but should instead be described as oven baked rice dishes, which seems a bit purist, but there you go.

However, last night I did this the proper way, and here’s how:

This serves 2 fairly greedy people.

Finely chop a large shallot or two, and sauté in olive oil and butter over a low heat. Take a bunch of asparagus, trim off the woody bits, then chop into lengths of, oh maybe 2 cms, leaving the tips whole. Sling them in the pan and stir about for a bit.

Take 5 oz of arborio rice, and stir that in until the grains are coated.

Now you want 1 pint of liquid, made up as you like. I took the juice of a lemon, a goodly sloosh of vermouth (3-4 fl oz), and made it up with water, and added a pinch of the wonderful Marigold bouillon powder. Set that in a pan, bring it to the boil and keep it on a low simmer.

Now sloosh spoonfuls of hot stock into the rice mix, one at a time, stirring every time until the liquid becomes absorbed. It’ll probably take 20-25 minutes for this; it depends on the rice and the heat of the pan and so forth.

Then add as much feta cheese as seems reasonable, chopped into small cubes, and stir about until melted.

Pour into a bowl and devour.

Ours was followed by a nice mug of Assam tea, and banana muffins, but these aren’t essential. I suppose.

upside down pear pudding

pear upside down pudding

Peel core and quarter 3 or 4 pears – enough to cover the bottom of a 20cm/8 inch cake pan. I use a silicon one, but if not, grease it well, and I’d line it with baking parchment.

In a food processor, combine 175g of butter and 175g of caster sugar until fluffy and soft. Add 2 eggs, and blitz again, then add another egg, 175g of self raising flour, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pulse till combined.

Spread the mixture over the pears, and bake at gas mark 4 / 180° for 45-50 minutes. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes, then turn out on to a plate.


the finished moussaka

Last night was moussaka, loosely based on this recipe. Things are pretty much always loosely based on recipes here, depending on what we have and what we feel like eating.

I suspect adding a layer of spinach into the dish in between the meat and the aubergine is not authentic, but we had it, and it worked, so what the hell. I couldn’t be bothered to zest a lemon either – there was a half lemming clingfilmed in the fridge, so I chopped it into chunks and hurled it in, then fished it out again when the meat was cooked. We add some cumin too.

You’ll also note the celery and carrot – I usually start any sort of meat casserole-y thing with some diced veg like that, sometimes a courgette too if there’s one about. Sauté them down, and they add a richness and sweetness to the proceedings.

perlmonger got to do the aubergine frying for a change, and I supervised watched.

simple food again

Concocted this for supper last night – quick and simple, tasty and healthy. What’s not to like? 🙂

Seed and core a red or green (bell) pepper, slice thinly. Slice a courgette into batons. Quarter an onion, then slice thinly. Finely chop as much garlic as you like (lots in our case) and some peeled fresh ginger (ditto) – I always use my Braun whizzy thing, which they will prize from my cold dead hands.

Heat about 3 tbsps groundnut in a wok until it’s Hot. Throw in the veg and garlic and ginger, and stir about until they look reasonably cooked to you; this entirely depends on how crunchy you like your veg – we did it for about six minutes. Add the juice of a lime, a sachet of coconut cream diluted with about the same again of boiling water, and the remains of a bunch of rather weary basil that was in the fridge. Sprinkle a little salt over, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Serve with rice or noodles – lovely.

simple food

The other night, Pete and I both had to be out of the house at 7.15. This is early for us – we don’t normally eat until about 8 p.m. And we forgot to get anything out of the freezer, and didn’t stop work till about 6.30.

So, one big pot of penne pasta. When cooked, drained it, ladled in some very good olive oil, stirred in some fresh basil, dished it up, sprinkled it with loads of fresh parmesan.

Gorgeous, and 20 minutes start to finish. I’d forgotten how good it was.

risi e bisi is fab!

just a note to remind myself how gorgeous this was – so gorgeous, in fact, that I have instructed Pete to save all the pea pods from his bag ‘o’ peas, and I will simmer them down with the rest of the chicken stock, and put it in the freezer.

I’m sure frozen would be fine for the peas, but it really wouldn’t be the same without the pea pod stock.

The recipe is here – go cook it *now*, while fresh peas are in the shops!

home made burgers

Finely chop a shallot, some fresh coriander and a red chili. Combine this with 1lb of Dexter mince, together with some sel gris. Shape into vaguely hamburger-shaped shapes

In a bowl, combine a can of chick peas, some chopped fresh mint, diced cucumber, finely chopped spring onions, some cold cooked potatoes from the fridge, and grated carrot. Make a dressing with walnut oil, white wine vinegar and a splash of shoyu and toss it about a bit

Get Pete to stand in front of a very hot ribbed cast iron pan and cook the burgers

Sprinkle the salad with sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which have been dry fried, then tossed in a little tamari.

Perfect summer food.