Saturday, 24 February 2018

Pork Lasagne

Having used pork one day because it turned out I had no minced beef, pork lasagne is now middle daughter's (Sprout) preferred lasagne.  There is just something about pork. It is light and aromatic...

Serves a greedy 4

500g pork mince
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 large stick of celery, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 glass of white wine
1 carton of passata or chopped tomatoes
Pepper & salt

White Sauce
750ml milk
2 heated tbsp plain flour
Large knob of butter  or 1 tbsp olive oil
1 large bay leaf
A pinch of nutmeg
Pepper & salt

Large handful of mature cheddar
12-16 lasagne sheets

Start by making the the ragu.  Soften the onion, carrot, & celery in the olive oil for about 5 minutes over a medium heat.  Add the rest of the ingredients, breaking up the lumps of mince.  Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer with the lid on whilst you make the white sauce.

In a separate saucepan add all the sauce ingredients over a medium heat. Incorporate everything by whisking gently every minute or so.  As soon as you feel the sauce thickening on the bottom of the pan, change from the whisk to a wooden spoon and dislodge all the thickening sauce from the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat down to low and stir pretty constantly still you have a smooth sauce.  Season to taste then turn off the heat.  Season the ragú to taste and turn the heat off that too, taking the pan lid off to let some of heat out.

In my experience, layering the lasagne takes a degree of skill/experience.  We like quite a lot of pasta so I am for 3 layers of 4 sheets, but it is still guess work trying to divide a pan's worth of ragú and white sauce into 4/5.

Start with a layer of ragú in your lasagne dish,  I've worked out that 4 small ladles is roughly 1/4 of sauce.  Then 2 ladles of white sauce, and a layer of pasta sheets.  Repeat two more times.  Ideally finish with a layer of pasta sheets covered in a thick layer white sauce, but often don't have enough white sauce left so just pile more white sauce on top of your last meat layer, topped with cheese.

Bake at 200C until lightly browned on top and bubbling.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Thai Noodle Soup

The kids are all the scampi & oven chips between them that I bought for a treat for last night's tea.  So, as Dad was out, I rummaged through the fridge and freezer and ended up making myself a very filling Thai Noodle Soup.

Serves 1

1/2 can coconut milk
1 rice noodle nest or a large handful of cooked rice
1/2 tsp green Thai curry paste
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 handfuls frozen soya beans or peas
1 kaffir lime leaf, shredded or zest of half a lemon
1 handful cooked chicken (optional)

Cook the noodles according to the packet's instructions. If using cooked rice skip this stage and just put everything in a pan together, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes until the peas/beans are cooked (Thai Curry Soup with Leftover Rice)

In a separate pan heat the coconut milk with the curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, beans/peas, kaffir lime leaves/lemon zest, and chicken.

When the noodles are cooked, fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with the coconut milk.  Add a little of the noodle cooking water (about a mugful) to make more soup to fill your bowl.

Tuck in.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Squid, Prawn & Chorizo Pasta

My kids don't know how lucky they are.  After an afternoon's ice skating,  Dad decided to stop off at a supermarket on the way home to make a fishy pasta sauce.  They hate the idea of fish, but to their delight he bought squid and prawns.  Only the preteen had a slight grumble, "oh, why didn't you get octopus?".  He also made fresh pasta, but that is an art only known to him and his little helpers, so I won't detail that here.

500g cleaned squid
300g prawns
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g chorizo
400g dry pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped (optional)
1 lemon, zest and juice

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

Cut the squid bodies into rounds about ½cm thick, and cut the tentacles in half (check there is not a hard plasticy beak right in the middle where all the legs join - cut this out and discard if there is). Slice the chorizo into thin half-moon slices.

5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, heat the 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the garlic and chorizo and gently fry for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the squid and stir around for another minute.  Add the prawns, lemon zest, and parsley and stir through.  Fry for a minute or so until the prawns are cooked, or warmed through if using pre-cooked.

Drain the pasta when ready.  Return to the pan and stir through the remaining olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, then the cooked seafood.

Serve piping hot with lemon wedges.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Kimchi Style Carrot & Celery Salad

Knocked a quick salad together for lunch today.  Probably will be making another one later as it was so damn tasty.

Serves 1

1 medium carrot
1 large stick of celery
1 small clove of garlic
1/8th tsp hot chilli flakes
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp maple syrup, honey, or sugar

Grate the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and crush the garlic.  Mix everything together.  Wait as long as you can tolerate.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Turkey Rogan Josh Curry

Another curry made with leftover turkey.  In this case it was a pack of minced turkey as we didn't buy a turkey this year.  It could be made with leftover roasts, mince or cubed meat. And I padded this out with a small butternut squash to feed a family of five.

I made a Rogan Josh curry paste off Jamie Oliver's website but was a little disappointed with the strength of flavour.  So if you can't be bothered to make a curry paste, just buy a commercial ready made one.

Serves 4-5

500g turkey mince
500g butternut squash, blitzed in a food processor to the size of the mince
1 onion, finely diced
1 carton of tomato puree
1/2 a carton of recently boiled water
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Jamie's Rogan Josh Paste 
2 cloves garlic
1 thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger
75 g jarred roasted peppers
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 fresh red chilli
1 small bunch fresh coriander
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Start by making the curry paste.  I cut a few corners in Jamie's recipe, not roasting spices, using a fresh pepper rather than roasted peppers, and not using fresh coriander, and just whizzed it all up in a mini food processor.

Gently fry the onion in the sunflower oil until it starts to look clear, then add half the curry paste, stir and fry until it sizzles.  Add the meat, breaking up the mince if using.  Add the butternut squash and the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the butternut squash is soft.  Season to taste and serve with basmati rice.

Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry
Instagram: sunhillmakesbakes

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Curried Stir Fry Noodles

Tonight I experimented with Curried Noodles.  It was inspired by Jamie Oliver's Ham & Egg Curried Noodles in his new book 5 Ingredients, and Singapore Noodles. It was also a chance to use up some leftover Brussel sprouts, carrots, and turkey.  But this dish could easily be done with just carrot and cabbage, the meat could be left out, replaced with egg, and vegans could leave out both egg and meat.

Serves 4
4 nests of medium egg noodles
1 large handful leftover roast turkey, chicken, beef or pork
1 large carrot, grated
1 handful of Brussel sprouts, cabbage or leafy greens
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cm root ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sunflower oil

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.  Once cooked, rinse in cold water and leave in a pan on cold water.

Thinly slice the Brussels, onion, garlic, grate the carrot, finely dice the ginger, and cube the meat if using.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat.  Add the garlic and ginger, stir, then add the onion, stir again, then add the rest of the vegetables.  Keep stirring and then add the meat when the vegetables look like they have started to wilt a little.

Add the noodles to the wok straight from the pan, reserving the cooking water, and the curry powder. Add half a mug of cooking water and the soy sauce.  Mix thoroughly and heat through.  Serve immediately.
Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry
Instagram: sunhillmakesbakes

Vegan Macaroni Cheese

Tried out this Vegan Mac n Cheese on the kids yesterday.  It wasn't a huge hit with them as they couldn't get past the word 'cheese' and the lack of cheese in it as they know it.  But Dad and I liked it. It's a heavy dish, just like Mac n Cheese.

Serves 6

500g macaroni
500g potato
1 large carrot
1 onion
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tbsp English Mustard
1 tsp sweet paprika
50ml olive oil
1 tbsp wine vinegar
Handful of breadcrumbs
1tsp dried sage or rosemary (optional)
150g cashews

The night before soak the cashews with just enough water to cover them.  If you forget this like I did, cover them in boiling water as soon as you remember.

Chop the vegetables into large chunks, counting how many pieces of each...

Boil the pasta according to the packet's instructions together with the chopped vegetables and garlic in it's skin. When the pasta is cooked fish out the garlic and leave to cool, whilst you count out all the vegetables into a food processor.  Drain the pasta, reserving a mug of the cooking water.  Return the pasta to the pan and stir through a tablespoon of olive oil.

Peel the garlic and add to the vegetables in the food processor, together with the cashews, soaking liquid, mustard, paprika, olive oil, vinegar, and some seasoning.  Blend until you have a loose porridge consistency, adding a little of the reserved water if you need it.

Stir the blended sauce through the pasta in the pan.  Pour out into a high sided baking dish.  Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and herbs if using, drizzle over some olive oil and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbling.  If the breadcrumbs are not suitably crisped, place under a grill for a few minutes watching it carefully!

Serve with a green salad.

Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry
Instagram: sunhillmakesbakes