Baking and stuff, Peachy Buns

Peachy Buns

Oooooh peaches! Beautiful peaches! I bought two packs, And the very next day, I wake up to see them turning to mush before my very eyes. I am determined not to throw them out!

I start flicking through my cookery books – peach salsa, chilli and peach jam, peach jam. They all sound delightful but require ingredients I don’t have and am not bothered to go to the shops to buy.

I’ll make buns. I know the flavour I want and work backwards from that. I wonder ‘Will they be too sweet?’ ‘Will they be too wet?’ Will they rise?’ I persevere and they turn out delicious.

I cooked some in paper bun cases and some in a traditional muffin tin. The ones in the paper cases rose beautifully, the ones in the tin not so much. They all tasted the same – yum!

Ingredients
3 soft peaches, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
4 oz, soft unsalted butter
6 oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
8 oz self-raising flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
4 tablespoons, almond flakes

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (Fan)
2. Set out 16 paper bun cases
3. Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt together
4. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale
5. Add in the beaten eggs until combined
6. Add in the peaches and nuts
7. Fold in the flour in three stages
8. Divide into the bun cases
9. Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven
10. Test with a skewer to see if they are cooked through
11. Remove from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack

Standard
Vegan, Vegetarian

Chana Masala with Roasted Pepper

We’re at that time of the week when the fridge is bare! Time to conjure up something with the softening red pepper and larder staples of onions, garlic and chilli. In the press are tins of tomatoes, chickpeas and my collection of spices. I decide to put that pepper spicesout of its misery by roasting it in the oven to bring out its sweetness and to give it a slightly charred taste. And with the tomatoes and chickpeas, I make my version of Chana Masala. I add mango powder to the spice mix – yes, it does make a difference but it can be left out. I have to admit that I only bought it at the Asian Market as I was curious and then had to go looking for recipes to use it in!

It’s not traditional as I have no tamarind to add to the mix but the Teen declares it to be ‘unreal’ so that is praise enough for me!

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 red pepper, whole
3 tbsp, sunflower oil
I medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp, cumin seeds
1 tsp, chopped chilli from jar or 2-3 fresh chilis, chopped finely
1 tsp, ground cumin
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tsp, mango powder (optional)
1 tsp, garam masala
1 tsp, turmeric
¼ – ½ tsp, salt
2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
6 dried curry leaves
1 tbsp, lemon juice

Method
1. Heat the oven to 200 C degrees
2. Place red pepper on the rack and roast for 20-25 minutes, turning twice through the roasting process
3. While the pepper is roasting, heat the oil in a large saucepan
4. Fry cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes
5. Add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes until soft
6. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
7. Add the chilli and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes
8. Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, mango powder, garam masala, turmeric, salt and combine thoroughly with the onion mix
9. Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, curry leaves and lemon juice
10. Slice the roasted pepper into thin strips and add to the mix
11. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes
12. Serve with flat breads or rice

Standard
Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

‘Masak Merah’ Vegetables

I promised I’d cook the Teen something spicy for dinner. When I looked at my recipes and on line, I knew I wanted to try something different – not the usual coriander-cumin mix or something with coconut milk. After much searching, I came up with a veganpic version of ‘Ayam Masak Merah’ – without the Ayam! Quite simply, it is a recipe with roasted vegetables served with a spiced tomato sauce from Malaysia.

This recipe is a milder version than the traditional ones. It is still not for the faint hearted! I decided to make the sauce in advance and let it stand so that the spice could cook out and come through more evenly. In keeping with the style of cooking the original chicken component, I roasted the vegetables before adding to the sauce. All of this was served up with boiled Jasmine rice.

I used whatever vegetables I found in the fridge and larder. I cut them into sizes so they would cook at the same time. Putting them in a large bowl, I drizzled them in enough sunflower to coat them lightly and seasoned with sea salt. Placing them on a pre-heated baking tray, I roasted them in an oven pre-heated to 180c for about 20 minutes. I give the selection I used plus I threw in some spinach at the end of the cooking time.

Serves 4

Ingredients
Paste
1 stick lemongrass, roughly chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 bulb garlic, chopped
3 hot chillies, chopped (with seeds in)
1½ inch, ginger, chopped finely
3 star anise
½ tsp, black cardamon seeds

Sauce
3 tbsp., sunflower or vegetable oil
1 stick, cinnamon
1 tsp, turmeric
1 tsp, fennel seeds
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tube, tomato puree
½ cup, tomato ketchup
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
6 kaffir leaves
1 tsp, sugar
1 tbsp., lime juice
Sea salt

Vegetables
Sunflower oil

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
2 large carrots, cut into batons
2 bell peppers
2 large handfuls of spinach (added 5 minutes before the end of cooking)

Method
1. With a pestle and mortar, crush the star anise with the cardamon seeds
2. Put in the blender with the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, onion and chillies
3. Blitz into a rough paste
4. Heat the oil and fry the paste for 2-3 minutes
5. Add the cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, coriander and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes
6. Add in the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, tomato ketchup, sugar, kaffir leaves and lime juice
7. Bring to the boil and simmer at a low heat for 30 minutes
8. Season with salt to taste
9. Add the roasted vegetables, coat in the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes

 

Standard
Vegan

Korma

This was an experiment! I knew what I wanted to make but I was shaky on the steps tospices get there! I should not have worried as it turned out very nicely. As a former colleague would say: “Tasty business. Very tasty indeed!”

The Teen was hankering after Korma. Being vegan, that is not readily available. Looking at a range of recipes, I wondered ‘What if I leave out the desiccated coconut and single cream and use coconut milk? And if I do this, how much would I use as a substitute?’ I added a bit, tasted. Then another bit. Tasted. Eventually, I chucked the whole tin in and it seemed I had thinned it out. I need not have worried. As it simmered, the taste deepened. Phew!

What vegetables did I use? Anything I found in the fridge and vegetable trays!

Substituting ingredients from traditional Kormas means that this can never be taken as authentic but in our opinion, it comes quite close in tastiness.

This took some time to make because I made the curry paste first but we think it was worth it. Due to the fact that there is a high concentration of onions, garlic and ginger in the paste, I did not add any into the Korma

Ingredients
2 tbsp, sunflower oil
Selection of vegetables, cut into pieces to cook at similar times
1/3 of homemade curry paste
1 heaped tbsp, tomato puree
1 tsp, sugar
1 tin, coconut milk
Black pepper and sea salt
Toasted blanched almonds to serve

Method
1. Heat the oil in a medium sized pan
2. Fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes
3. Add in the tomato puree, sugar, curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes to ensure all the vegetables are covered
4. Add in the coconut milk and season with salt and ground pepper
5. Simmer gently for thirty minutes
6. Serve with boiled basmati rice or naan bread

Standard
Gigantes, Vegan

Gigantes (or Posh Beans on Toast!)

There isn’t a cuisine we’ve encountered that we haven’t liked but we do have our favourites. The food of mediterranean countries would be one of them – bold flavours, fresh vegetables and delicious tastes. Another bonus is that such cuisine can often be made using cupboard staples.

On Sunday, we ate lunch at a local Greek Cypriot restaurant. And it was perfect. Oodles of garlic and totally yum. The Teen couldn’t finish hers so took the leftovers in a Doggy Bag.

I wanted to make something tasty for the Apres Teen to go with the leftovers. Something tasty, hearty and vegan. Based on what I had in the cupboard, I opted for Gigantes. These I served to her with slices of toasted sour dough bread drizzled with olive oil. Basically, a posh version of beans on toast!

Ingredients
½ lb, dry butter beans (soaked overnight)*
Olive oil
Vegetable stock cube
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
½-¾ tsp, sweet paprika**
½-¾ tsp, ground cinnamon**
2 tbsp, tomato puree
1 tbsp, dried parsley
1/2 tsp, dried oregano (optional)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
Sea salt and black pepper

Method
1. Cover the pre-soaked butter beans with water, crumble in the stock cube and boil gently for 50 minutes
2. While the beans are boiling, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan
3. Add the chopped onions, cover so they soften rather than brown and cook for 6-8 minutes
4. Add chopped garlic and cook for a further two minutes
5. Add the paprika, cinnamon, tomato puree, dried parsley, oregano (optional) and tinned tomatoes
6. Season with salt and a good grind of black pepper
7. Drain the beans and add the sauce
8. Simmer for 40-50 minutes until the tomato sauce is semi absorbed***
9. To serve, drizzle a little olive oil over the top

*Can use two tins of butter beans instead of the dry variety
**We like more rather than less spice. You may, however, like to start at 1/2 teaspoon of each. This can be increased once the sauce is made and tasted.
***Reduce cooking time if using canned beans (30 minutes)

Standard
Vegetarian

Spiced roast potatoes with chickpeas

I’m always buying bags of baby potatoes and coming up with different ways to use them beyond steaming and boiling. It can bepotatoes roasting them with garlic, rosemary, sea salt and olive oil – in their skins until golden brown – or steaming them to use cold in a chunky potato salad (made with any one of four mayonnaises: ordinary, garlic, ordinary mixed with chive or curried).

In the winter, the Teen likes one bowl dinners that can be eaten without cooking anything else like rice or vegetables to accompany them. With a bag of baby roasters available, I decided to make a hearty spiced potato and chickpea dish. I roasted the potatoes separately – in their skins – and added in at the end just before serving. It turned out to be rather delicious and a welcome change from older potatoes as these small ones retained their sweet taste.

Method
1lb, baby roaster potatoes cut into chunks
Sunflower oil
Sea salt
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp, grated fresh ginger
1 chilli, chopped finely
1 tsp, cumin seeds
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tsp, ground cumin
½ tsp, turmeric
½ tsp, garam masala
½ tsp, mango powder
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
1 tin, chick peas, drained
½ cup water

Method
1. Pre-heat fan oven to 200C degrees
2. Rinse the starch off the potatoes, dry, put into a bowl adding just enough sunflower oil to coat them and a sprinkling of sea salt
3. Heat a baking tray in the oven and when hot, tip the potatoes on to roast for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
4. While the potatoes are roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan
5. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes until soft
6. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
7. Add the ginger and cook for minute
8. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute
9. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin, mango powder, garam masala and turmeric until combined with the onion mix
10. Add the tomatoes, water and chickpeas
11. Simmer over a gentle heat for 15 minutes
12. Using a slotted spoon, add the roast potatoes to the mix
13. Serve immediately*

* Although this is a vegan recipe, I enjoyed a dollop of greek yoghurt on the top of mine

 

Standard
Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Saag Aloo

Spinach arrived late into my life. I think I was in my early twenties before I tasted fresh spinach. Instantly, I knew what all the fuss was about and it has been a firm favouritespinach ever since – cooked or raw. Up until then, the only spinach I knew came in a tin or a frozen block – neither of which I found particularly palatable.

Saag Aloo is made regularly in this home. This is not my recipe, however, so thanks is due to another. I only which I knew who! It is yet another list of ingredients scribbled on a scrap of paper wedged in a cookery book. To whoever came up with it, we thank-you as we have enjoyed eating this many, many, many times!

This can be served as a side dish or as a main dish with naan bread or rice.

Ingredients
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tbsp, sunflower oil
½ tsp, coriander seeds
½ tsp, cumin seeds
¼ tsp, cayenne pepper
½ tsp, ground coriander
2lb, spinach, washed and roughly shredded
1lb potatoes, peeled and cute into bite size cubes
½ tsp, salt
2 tsp,  ground fenugreek
Tin, chopped tomatoes

Method
1. Parboil the potatoes
2. Heat the oil and gently fry the onions for about 8 minutes until soft
3. Add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes
4. Add the potatoes, cayenne pepper, coriander power, salt, fenugreek and tomatoes
5. Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked
6. Add the spinach, cover and allow stand for 5 minutes until the spinach has wilted

 

Standard