Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Baked Corn on the Cob

This isn't a recipe as such, but I thought I'd share the idea, as this was the best corn on the cob I've ever cooked (or eaten!). I think that cooking the corn in its husk and then wrapping in foil, makes it more moist and juicy.
  • 4 sweetcorn cobs in their husks
  • 2 tbsp butter, dairy-free spread or olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
Strip off the outer layers of the husk, until you get to the thinner, softer layers. 
Peel the inner layers back carefully, so they remain attached to the cob.
Lay each corn cob on a sheet of foil.
Spread or brush the marinade over the corn. 
Wrap the husk layers back over the corn, then wrap tightly in foil.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190C/180C Fan/Gas 5/375F (or in the bonfire embers) for 30-40 minutes. Alternatively grill on the barbecue, turning occasionally.

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Paneer Jalfrezi

paneer jalfrezi
Diwali is around the corner, so I thought I'd cook up something suitably spicy.  Apparently, the jalfrezi has overtaken the tikka masala as Britain's favourite curry, so here's my vegetarian version, made with paneer cheese.

Serves 4 as a side dish
  • 200g/8oz paneer, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger plus 2 cloves of crushed garlic (or 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 bell peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks or strips
  • 2-3 fresh chillies; 1 chopped finely and 1-2 sliced lengthwise
  • ½ tin/1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat.
Add the paneer and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until lightly browned.
Remove the cheese and drain on kitchen towel.
Add the rest of the oil to the pan, then add the onions and cook until golden brown. 
Stir in the garlic, ginger, chopped chilli, turmeric, cumin and coriander and cook for a few more minutes.
Throw in the peppers. 
Mix in the chopped tomatoes and sliced chilli.
Cover the pan and simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened.
Finally add the paneer chunks and garam masala.
Simmer for a further 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with chapattis/rotis and vegetable pakoras.

Suitable for freezing.

Alternatives: If you don't like paneer, you could swap it for chicken-style, meat-free fillets, cut into chunks. Cook as above.
Vegan option: Omit the paneer and substitute with button mushrooms and/or tinned chickpeas. Add these along with the peppers.

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Monday, 21 October 2013

Ocado - Online shopping/delivery with a smile! A review

Now, I must admit that this review is a little biased. When the lovely people at Ocado approached me to review some of their new vegetarian products, I jumped at the chance. As an existing Ocado customer, I already know that their website is easy to navigate, their products are great quality and their delivery drivers always have impeccable manners. I also love the email that arrives before each delivery telling me who will be my delivery driver and which van they'll be driving!

In case you don't know, Ocado don't have any actual shops, but deliver their own Ocado-brand products plus the full range of Waitrose products.

When Wayne arrived (in the cabbage van!) he offered to take my shopping into the kitchen for me, but I was happy for him to leave it in the hall. I unpacked the bags and found lots of goodies to try, including: Pieminister wild-shroom and asparagus pie, Lincolnshire Secret Sausages, Linda McCartney lentil and vegetable cottage pie, Booja-Booja Hunky Punky Chocolate (vegan) ice cream and Waitrose nut roast Wellingtons.

We were all intrigued by the Secret Sausages, as they're made from vegetables and rice rather than the usual soya or Quorn used in most veggie sausages. Whilst not unpleasant, they tasted more like stuffing than a sausage, so I wouldn't really be tempted to buy others in the range. The Linda McCartney lentil and vegetable cottage pie was equally uninspiring and lacked any real flavour apart from the lentils!

The Pieminister pie was very good though and was large enough to share between two for a main meal.  It was packed full with a variety of juicy mushrooms and asparagus in a creamy sauce.

My favourite product was the Waitrose nut Wellingtons, which were a chunky nut roast and butternut squash mixture generously stuffed with goat's cheese and wrapped in pastry.There were two individually wrapped portions in a pack and would be ideal to have handy in the freezer if you have just one or two vegetarian guests over for Christmas dinner.

The Booja-Booja Hunky Punky Chocolate (vegan) ice cream was a bit of a revelation to us all. I didn't know that dairy-free desserts could taste that good! It tasted just like premium chocolate ice-cream but is made from just four ingredients...water, agave syrup, cashew nuts and cocoa. It's not cheap at the RRP of around £8.00 for 500ml, but if you can get it on special offer, it's definitely worth it.

I know that some Ocado products are a little more expensive than those from other supermarkets, but Ocado do have a low price promise and price match with Tesco on a wide range of products. They also have lots of half price, discounted and 2 for 1 offers each week. They stock a good range of fresh and frozen vegetarian products, including some which are a bit different to those stocked in all of the other main supermarkets. I also find that the quality of their fruit and veg means that it lasts longer than those from cheaper supermarkets, which means less waste.

Have you tried shopping with Ocado yet? If so, do leave me a comment and let me know what you think of their service.

Images courtesy of Ocado.com

Integrity Statement
I received the pictured products to review. I did not receive payment, and the views expressed are genuinely those of myself and my family.

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Veggie Sausage & Baked Bean Pasta

Not only is this meal quick and easy to prepare, it's cheap and filling too, especially if you use store's own economy brands! (I used ASDA's veggie sausages £1.58, baked beans 25p, passata 29p, onion 10p, red peppers 75p, pasta 29p - total to feed 4 people £3.26)

Serves 4, takes 30 minutes to cook.
  • 1-2 vegetarian/vegan sausages per person
  • 1 tin of baked beans (or any other kind of tinned beans)
  • 500ml passata
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp mixed dried herbs or oregano
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp veggie Worcester sauce (optional)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 250g dried pasta
Heat a drop of oil in a large pan.
Cook the onion, garlic and peppers for 5 minutes on a medium heat until softened.
Add the passata, Worcester sauce, herbs and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the sausages and pasta.
Drain the pasta, chop the sausages into chunks and mix both into the pasta sauce.

Alternatives: For an even quicker meal, use a jar of ready made tomato pasta sauce instead of the onion, garlic and passata. 
Swap the baked beans for any other tinned beans, to reduce the sugar content.
Use any vegetables you need to use up (mushrooms, sweetcorn, courgette etc), rather than the peppers, to make this dish even more economical.

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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Goat's Cheese and Caramelised Onion Pizza

This is my version of my favourite Padana pizza from Pizza Express. I've made a few tweaks, such as substituting spinach for rocket and leaving off the red onions and mozzarella, but I think it compares pretty well to the original and is substantially cheaper!

  • ½ quantity basic bread dough 
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 100g/4oz soft goat's cheese, roughly chopped
  • A few fresh basil leaves torn roughly
  • A handful of rocket/arugula leaves 
Make the dough and divide in half once it has proved for an hour or so (use the other half to make another pizza of your choice!)

Meanwhile make the caramelised onions: 
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. 
Sweat the onion with the lid on for 5 minutes, on a low heat, until soft.
Remove the pan lid, raise the heat and cook the onion for a further 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it turns a dark golden brown. 
Turn the heat off and stir in the sugar; then add the vinegar. 
Allow to reduce in the pan until most of the moisture has evaporated.

Flatten out the dough on a greased baking sheet to form a large circle (about 10"-12" in diameter.)
Spread with the sun-dried tomato paste.
Shred a few basil leaves over and top with little piles of the caramelised onions. 
Sprinkle with the goat's cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C/200C Fan/Gas 8/450F for approximately 8-12 minutes.
After 5 minutes, check on the pizza and spread out the goat's cheese slightly. Return to the oven and bake until the pizza base and cheese start to brown.

Remove from the oven and top with a handful of rocket/arugula leaves.

Serve with corn on the cob or salad.
Link up your recipe of the week
Vegan alternative: I found this recipe for tofu/cashew 'goat's cheese' over at Vegan Feast Kitchen, which looks like a good substitute for the dairy cheese. Alternatively try Bute Island Blue Sheese.

I've added this post to Emily's  #recipeoftheweek linky over at A Mummy Too.

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