Jesurgislac’s Journal

March 24, 2009

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

Almost too obvious to blog about, but not quite, because it really is that good.

Six leeks: wash thoroughly, remove all the bits you wouldn’t want to eat.
Two medium sweet potatoes.
Three medium white potatoes.
Two vegie stock cubes.
Herbs: I used rosemary and sage.

sweet potatoes

Chop the leeks, scrub and prepare the potatoes for their awful doom. Put the leeks in the slow cooker. Cut the potatoes up into small pieces. Add the herbs (about a half teaspoon of each) and crumble in the stock cubes. Cover theubgredients with water, put on high for half an hour and then low for eight to twelve hours, liquidise with a stick blender, and enjoy.

(Obviously one could make this without a slow cooker, in which case I would probably cook the sweet potatoes, leeks, and white potatoes in butter or olive oil, with the herbs, until the sweet potatoes were beginning to be tender, before I added the vegie stock.)

I think of leek-and-potato soup as one of the basic soups – it’s fine, you make it a lot when leeks are in season, eat it with maybe some cheesy bread or with sour cream stirred in. But the addition of sweet potato makes the soup richer, gives the flavour more depth: it turns a good soup into a great one.

The colour of the soup becomes a murky green rather than a clean green-and-white or plain green, but who cares when it’s tasty?

February 10, 2009

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Cheese and Potato Pie

In its simplest form, this isn’t even a pie. It’s just the fastest way to get three hungry kids fed, presuming that you routinely have potatoes and cheese in the house. This was my dad’s fast food meal for us.

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February 3, 2009

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Easy Peasy Pea Soup

The easiest way to make this soup:

About a quarter-kilo of frozen green peas (that is, the usual smallest size available). A vegie stock cube.

Put the peas into a pan. Crumble in the stock cube. Cover the peas with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Skoosh the cooked peas into thick green soup with a stick blender. Season to taste with salt/pepper.

That’s all. It’s a delicious quick fresh hot soup.

You can dress it up, if you have time, by sauteing garlic in olive oil, or better yet (if you’re me) garlic and broccoli and some rosemary, or fresh sage, and then adding the frozen peas and water/vegie stock cube, but this turns it into a bit more of a production. The original version produces lovely soup in less than ten minutes – not much longer than it takes to open a tin and heat it.

You can also (if you have a slow cooker) make mushy peas: half a kilo dry split peas, two or three onions, as much garlic as you like, vegie stock cube, dried sage, salt, pepper: chop the onions and the garlic, add them and the split peas to the slow cooker, crumble in the stock cube and a teaspoon or so of dried sage and just a bit of salt and black pepper – and then cover the mix with water, and cook for about half an hour at a high heat and then for six to ten hours at a slow heat. Ridiculously delicious.

September 30, 2008

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: All About Chilli

Well, okay: not all about chilli.

I first made a pot of chilli about four years ago. Curries I was used to, but the theory and practice of chilli had passed me by. But, here, for what it’s worth, is all I know about making a big pot of hot, comforting, wonderful vegetarian chilli.

You need: beans, tomatoes, chillies. You will want, when the chilli is ready to eat, at least one of the following accompaniments: grated cheese, sour cream or thick plain yoghurt, guacamole, salsa, bread or tortillas or rice.

You can make very good use of: vegetable stock, garlic, paprika, tabasco sauce.

You may find goes well: smoked tofu, nuts, mushrooms, soy sauce, beer, wine.
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September 23, 2008

Tuesday Recipe blogging: mushroom roast

Apologies for taking so long to find this. It’s been years since I made mushroom roast: it works best (in my opinion) as the main dish in a festive dinner. It’s a considerable amount of work to make, unless you have a food processor, and even if you do – don’t try to process the mushrooms in it. Slice them properly. I’m not just being pickily low-tech: you can make the breadcrumbs any way that suits you (my parents used to use child labour), you can slice the onions perfectly well in a food processor: but mushrooms turn to mush too easily if they’re fed through a processor.

The basic ingredients are: mushrooms, breadcrumb, onions, and cheese. You may also want: garlic, herbs, vegetable stock, and an egg or two.

The basic process is: cook onions in butter to a savoury, soft mess (with herbs and garlic). Add mushrooms, and cook over a low heat until the mushrooms are cooked enough to suit you. You want a fairly soft and semi-liquid paste of onions and mushrooms. Stir in the breadcrumb. If it’s too dry, add some vegetable stock – you want a fairly moist mixture. Stir in grated cheese. When you are ready to bake the roast, add an egg or two (depending on the size of the roast) and put the whole mixture in a deep, greased casserole dish and bake until it’s crusty on top.

Proportions are important.

For every kilo of mushrooms, you want a kilo of breadcrumb, 500-750 grammes of onions, and 500-750 grammes of hard cheese. This size of roast will take about 90 minutes to bake in a medium hot oven. [Update: Yes, this is a LOT of mushrooms: it makes a big savoury for a festive meal. You can always halve or even quarter the amount for a smaller dish… just keep the proportions, by weight, the same.]

I like garlic… lots of garlic… and do the obvious: subtract the weight of the garlic from the weight of the onions. See the nut roast recipe for thoughts about herbs. (There is also the foodpairing website, though I find it more fun than useful.) Instead of regular vegetable stock, you can use Marmite, a couple of teaspoonfuls in about 150ml of boiling water – do not add the whole quantity, just mix it up and stir it in until the texture looks right: you’re after a glopping consistency, soft and moist, not liquid).

This is not a vegan recipe. The cheese in the mushroom roast isn’t just there to make it coherent: the combination of cheese and mushroom is what makes this a rich, glorious dish. Figure on about one egg to every half-kilo of breadcrumb – but add the eggs one at a time, to make sure the texture stays right. You don’t want to over-egg the pudding.

August 19, 2008

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: nut roast

This is the quintessential dish of Sixties vegetarianism. (Which is when my parents became vegetarians. Yes, I have been a nutcase from birth.)

Nevertheless, nut roast is quite tasty. It is also an excellent dish to serve as the “vegetarian alternative” for a main meal where most of the diners will be tucking into the meat dish, because first of all, nut roast can be happily served with any side dish you would serve with meat, and second, you can make the basic mixture the day before, refrigerate it, and stir in an egg (if you’re using an egg, see discussion below) at the last minute before you pop it in the oven to bake it, so that it inconveniences you-the-host less than many a vegetarian alternative.

As someone who has been the sole vegetarian guest at many meals, I appreciate all the hosts who went to some trouble to ensure that I could eat my fill.


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