Sunday, 27 July 2014

Recipe: Courgette Appetisers (and Bisquick)

Oh, OK, it's really Zucchini Appetisers but this is an English blog so it's courgettes to thee and me!

It was sent to me by Joan, who sometimes comments on my other blog, Diary of a Teacher, and it was originally sent to her by an American friend.  I'm grateful to both of them because this was delicious.  It's not a quiche or an omelette or a frittata or anything like that.  If anything it is a sort of savoury 'cake' but that's not the right word to use.
Of course, cheese and courgettes are a flavour match made in heaven anyway.

First of all you need to know how to make home-made Bisquick (I had to google this because I had no idea what it is) and as Joan sent a link to a recipe for that too, here it is.  Please excuse the cup measures.  This may be an English blog but I have no idea what they convert to in real weights!!

Home Made Bisquick
2 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp shortening (butter or marg)

Mix all ingredients and blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (I did it in Thermione as you can imagine).
Store in a dry cool place and use as a substitute for Bisquick mix.

So, having got that out of the way, here's the recipe for courgette appetisers

3 cups thin sliced unpeeled courgette (although the joy of this is that it doesn't have to be courgette, it could be other veg too or instead)
1 cup bisquick (see above)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used the not-parmesan version so it was vegetarian friendly)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt (be wary - the cheese has salt already - I didn't add as much as this)
1 tsp chopped oregano (fresh)
Some black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, slightly beaten

You also need a rectangular pan or dish, well oiled.

Preheat oven to 170 C

Mix all the ingredients together well.
Spread into the pan or dish and level.
Bake until golden brown and set (about 25 mins)
Cut into pieces to serve.

It can be frozen and then reheated.  Works well reheated in the microwave (it says)

Adapted for Thermione.

I made half the quantity of bisquick and set it aside.  I sliced the courgettes by hand.
Then I chopped the onion, parmesan, parsley, salt, oregano, pepper and garlic together - speed 6 to 8 for about ten seconds; basically until it's all finely chopped.
I added one cup of bisquick mix (nearly all of it) and mixed it into the above ingredients (about four seconds on 6)
Then I added the oil and the eggs and gave it all a good zizz.

I mixed the batter with the sliced courgettes in a separate bowl to avoid breaking up the slices.  Then I poured the mix into the dish and baked as above.

It was a doddle, absolutely delicious and very filling.  We only needed a very simple salad with it although it would be nice (and evil) with chips.

As with the lemon courgette cake (by the way, that mixture does also bake well as muffins - I tried it today), this is definitely one to make again and a great way of using up some of those garden courgettes.  I can see myself making this when my parents come to stay; I think they would really like it.

I think you could use grated cheddar, if wanted.  It would taste different but still delicious.  If I did that, I might cut down on the oil somewhat.

A very big thank you to Joan and her friend (who I haven't named because I don't know if she would want to be named in an open blog) for this recipe.  I'm extremely grateful.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recipe: chilli lentil and tomato soup

Just made this for lunch.  It's flavoursome with a bit of a kick so I'm sharing.
It has made enough for four, more or less.

two cans chopped tomatoes
one red onion, peeled and quartered
1 red chilli, seeded
a good glug of olive oil
80g lentils
10 mls marigold vegetable bouillon
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
5 mls mixed dried herbs

Method for Thermione
Pour the chopped tomatoes into a roasting dish.  Add the onion, the chilli and a good drizzed glug of olive oil.  Roast in the oven at around 200C until you start getting black bits and a lovely roasted aroma.

In the TM bowl, zizz 90g red lentils until powdered.
Add the tomatoes, onion and chilli. marigold, mixed dried herbs, pepper and some water.    Briefly zizz at speed 6.  Cook at varoma heat, 15 to 20 mins, speed 3.

Allow to cool a bit, then blend on speed 9 for around a minute or so until smooth and gorgeous!  Add more water if needed.   Add the sugar and some salt, stir briefly and taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary.

Serve piping hot with a dollop of yogurt and some bread on the side.  I might also swirl in some balsamic vinegar too.

Normal method:
Roast the tomatoes, onions and chilli as above.
Pour into a saucepan, add the lentils, herbs, pepper, water and cook until lentils are soft.
Zizz with a hgand blender, adding more water if needed.  Add the sugar and sal, stir and taste.
Adjust seasoning if necessary

Serve as above.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Recipe: Roast dinner pie: leftovers

OK, so I had quite a lot of leftovers yesterday as grandson, for once, wasn't hungry (he was rather affected by the heat).

I had courgettes, peas, potato, chicken and gravy.

This is what I did with it.

First of all I peeled and thinly sliced a small red onion and gently sauteed it in some fat off the roast chicken until it was all soft.

Then in an oven proof dish I layered courgettes, onion, peas, chicken, peas, onion, courgettes.  Then I poured over the gravy and a bit of the stock.  I topped it with sliced potato and smeared over some butter, then baked it at around 170 for aboiut an hour (because I had a cake in the oven and that's what the cake recipe needed!

I could have added seasonings but it was already seasoned from yesterday so I didn't bother.

You know what - it was jolly nice!

Recipe: Lemon courgette cake

Borrowed from Google Images.
A way of trying to use up that glut of courgettes that appear around this time when it is so very hot.
I made this yesterday and there's another one in the oven as I type, the reason being that the batter isn't quite enough for two cakes in the size of tin I have and Beth wants to take one to a friend so, most unreasonably, doesn't want me to slice into it before I give it to her.  I dunno, daughters!

While I might not have tasted it (yet), the smell is enough for me so I am happily sharing it here.  It's on the internet so I can provide the link . . .
(I added some lemon oil to the mixture and it took a lot longer to cook than the recipe said - so be careful with that)

It's basically a muffin type batter and next time make it I will bake it in muffin tins rather than in a loaf tin which should shorten the cooking time.
It's not that expensive if you are given the courgettes.

Also, if you are a thermomix owner, adapting the method to your machine is an absolute doddle, dead easy.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Recipe: Delia's gingernuts

Delia.  Ginger nuts.  Home made.  Crunchy.  Dead easy.  Perfect for making with littlies.

Need I say more?

Recipe: Lemon spread: frugal

This has got to be very frugal because it uses up what one would normally throw away.  The only other thing you need is some granulated sugar.

This is what you do with the pulp from the lemon drink in the previous entry.  It's a Thermione recipe but can easily be adapted.  It can be found in the Fast and Easy Cooking book that you get with your Thermomix in the UK.,

Fruit pulp
granulated sugar
50 - 100 g fruit juice from the drink you made OR water

I also grated in some root ginger.

Weigh the lemon pulp into the Thermomix bowl.  Add a little water or lemon fruit drink, depending on how dry the pulp is.
Add an equal amount (in weight) of sugar.
Mix for 20 seconds on speed 8

Pop some clean jars into the oven at 100 and a couple of saucers to check for setting.

Scrape down the sides and lid.  Cook for 14-ish minutes on 100 degrees, speed 1.
Reomove the bowl from the machine and check for setting point.
If not yet at setting point, cook for another 2 mins, same speed, Varoma heat, then check again.

When setting point is reached, pour into the clean, hot jars, seal, cool, label and keep in the fridge.

I'm not sure how quickly one should use this but I doubt it will last that long anyway.  It's lovely!  It's got quite a texture to it which might not suit everyone but I guess that could be sorted by giving it a longer zizz than 20 seconds on speed 8 at the beginning.

Without a Thermomix, it can be made using a blender and a pan on the hob in the usual way.
This is not a photo of what I made.  I've borrowed it from which is a fascinating site, well worth a visit.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Lemon drink

Borrowed from Google.
This is lovely and refreshing.  It is out of the Thermomix Fast and Easy Cookbook but it's a bog-standard recipe so I have no qualms about reproducing (or amending) it here.

You don't need a Thermione.  You do need some sort of food processor though.

70g granulated sugar
8 to 10 ice cubes (I didn't use the ice cubes - as far as I could tell it was just to make the drink cold)
2 unwaxed lemons

(the Thermione way)
Slice the ends off the lemons and cut each lemon into quarters.

Weigh the granulated sugar into the bowl and grind for 5 seconds at speed 10

Add the ice cubes (or a little water) and the lemon quarters.  Pulse the turbo button until crushed - about 3 or 4 seconds

Add water to the 1.25 litre level in the bowl.  Scrape down the lid and sides and stir for five seconds on speed 4

Place the internal steaming basket in the bowl, push it down carefully and strain the lemonade into a jug or glasses.  I actually pushed it through a seive instead - easier.

(the processor way)
Use the sharp blades.
Add 70g granulated sugar and zizz until like caster sugar.
Prepare the lemons as above.  Add to the bowl with the ice and zizz until all crushed and pulp like.
Add water to make 1.25litres and mix well.
Pour into a seive over a bowl or jug.

Serve with ice and a sprig of mint.

Next time (and there will be a next time very soon) I shall add some crushed root ginger to give it some ooomph!

Oh - and there's also a recipe for using up the pulp.  I will have a go and let you know.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Recipe: Paul Hollywood's ginger nuts.

Now these are more like biscuits.  Crunchy through and through.  Truly delicious.

Borrowed from the site below - please do go and visit.
Here's the recipe:

I've put the rest away because if I don't there will be none left over for Alex tomorrow.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Recipe: Jane's ginger cookies

I was idly trawling around looking for something nice and easy to bake when I came across this:

OK, so the amounts are for 8 dozen (!!!) and reducing it down using the gizmo with the recipe gives some weird amounts which I rounded up or down, but it is an easy recipe and I had most of the ingredients in my cupboard; the only thing I didn't have was ground cloves so I used mixed spice instead.

They've just come out of the oven and I couldn't resist trying one, hot and still softish.  Brown, fragrant, lovely cracking on top and sparkly from the granulated sugar they were rolled in before baking.  And the taste?  Very, very good indeed.  Another to go on the 'must make again' list.  Take a look and maybe have a go!

In fact, the site, Elizabeth's Kitchen Diaries, is lovely: jam-packed full of interesting and delicious looking recipes, crafts and more besides.  If you like blogs, you will like this.

I've just had another one - so good.  Crunchy on the outside with a hint of chewiness in the centre.  And rather good dunked in my coffee too!

I want another one.  Oh, dear!

(Edited to add that I actually made them in Thermione, but the recipe is for the conventional way)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Recipe: Naan

And finally, to complete a trio of recipes, I found a nice easy recipe for naan bread.  It's here on the all recipes site.

It is not conventional, it's not even yeast, but you know what - it was dead easy and very tasty.  I didn't fuss around with four pieces of foil, I spread one across the grill pan and oiled it.  Then I oiled each naan with my hands before placing it under the grill.  Really simple and the one that was left I cut into fingers and had them with hummus for tea.  You could do them on a griddle or in a pan but this way I could do two at a time.  Oh, and it's definitely frugal!

I'm really glad I made a litre of yogurt yesterday!  Next time I'm going to try flavouring them, maybe with black pepper and garlic.

I won't reproduce the recipe here as it's so easy to find elsewhere.

Recipe: Left over veg and chick pea curry

What do you do when you don't fancy soup or casserole or gardener's pie but you have a pile of scrappy veg that need using up or you'll have to chuck them . . .?

I had chick peas, passata (from last year) and tomato in the freezer and everything else in the storecupboard.

Cbick pea and vegetable curry

Ingredients (but these could be variable depending on what you have and all amounts are variable - this is very definitely an idea, not a recipe).

1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp chilli paste or very lazy chilli (or to taste)
2 tsp sun dried tomato paste (because I had it and it needed using up - could be tomato puree)
a good pinch each of ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon
Some garam masala (to taste)

A selection of veg.  I used onion, carrot, cauliflower, celery, red, yellow and orange pepper, mushrooms and tinned potatoes (I love potatoes in curry) all chopped to sort of bite sized bits, not too big and not too small.

Butter (I don't keep ghee in store) or oil

Chick peas (from a tin or soaked and pre cooked.

Chopped tomatoes or passata

Marigold vegetable bouillon.

A bit of frozen (or fresh) spinach if you like (I did)

Melt some butter in a large pan.  Toss in the onion, celery, cauliflower - in fact, any of the veg that might need a little longer cooking.  Stir well to coat with the butter and saute gently for a while, uintil softening and releasing that aroma.  Stir from time to time.  Then add the middly cooking veg, such as the peppers, stir and continue saute-ing.

While this is going on, combine the spices in a bowl.

Turn up the heat, add the spice paste and stir well.  Allow to cook out until it smells 'done', stirring continuously to avoid catching.

Add the 'short cook' veg (such as mushrooms or the cooked potatoes) and mix in well.  Then add the chopped tomatoes/passata, some vegetable bouillon, some salt and pepper and the chick peas.  Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring and check the seasoning, adding whatever you think is needed.

Allow to simmer, uncovered, so that it thickens, stirring now and again to avoid sticking.  Keep tasting (because it is nice)!  Add water if needed or cover, if it's thickening too quickly.

When it is done, allow to cool, place in a bowl you can cover and pop in the fridge until the next day so the flavours develop.

Reheat to piping hot, check seasoning and add the spinach.  If you like, add some yogurt or cream or even some coconut milk.

Serve with rice or a naan or something similar with natural yogurt to dollop on top and a chutney on the side.

It was very delicious.  I had it with lentil and potato dhal (see other recipe), basmati rice, natural yogurt and mango chutney.  Very tasty, very filling and there's plenty left over for another day.

Recipe: red lentil and potato dhal

I made this up this morning, just tossed things in on impulse really.  Beth loved it.  I did too.  It all got eaten up which is always a good sign.

It's not hot in the chilli sense of the word.  I wanted something that was fragrant and aromatic but not hot, as the other curry was hotter and I wanted contrast.  You could add some chilli.

Here it is.

1 smallish onion, peeled and finely chopped
a knob of butter
100g - ish of red lentils
4 or 5 value tinned potatoes, more if they are small, (they don't have to be value or tinned, of course, but that's what I used) finely diced.

1/2 tsp each of crushed garlic, crushed ginger, turmeric, garam masala
a good pinch each of cumin, coriander and cinnamon (all ground)
4 or 5 cardamom pods, slightly squashed with a knife blade
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp marigold bouillon powder
a little splash of white wine (needed using up) - optional

Melt the butter and saute the chopped onion gently until soft.  Add the potato and the red lentils and stir well.

Increase the heat a little and add all the spices.  Cook them out, stirring continuously.

Add the bay leaf, some salt and pepper, the marigold powder and some water to cover .

Bring to a simmer, almost cover and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until everything is very soft and thickened.  Add more water, if necessary.  Check the seasonings and add more water if necessary.  Long, slow cooking is the name of the game.

Before serving, remove the bay leaf and the cardamom pods (if you can find them)

It is gorgeous, it's dead easy and, assuming the spices, etc, are store cupboard ingredients, pretty frugal too.  I shall make this again!