Newest Review: ... are in EVERYTHING. I've even bought foods before that didn't previously have onions in them and they change the recipe to include them ... more
A Five Star idea + Three Courses + Two = One Great Evening Meal
Member Name: luigi0778
Advantages: Often healthier, lighter on the digestive system, economical
Disadvantages: Meals can lack Iron, poor image,
I know Vegetarians get alot of flack sometimes, but there is alot to be said for cutting out the carnivorous proteins once in a while, even if it isn't going to be a life long lifestyle change, or for animal welfare reasons, its worth it.
It often makes for a lighter meal, and can be far quicker to cook and prepare than when meats are involved.
Also as you will see below, it need not be a very different alien meal to what your used too, or for that matter taste particularly bland. Like the infamous 'nut roast' unfortunately sometimes can!
As is often the case on a Sunday evening, I invariably get one or two of my friends (or neighbours) dropping in for a chat, and generally a catch up. As I had been to a BBQ that lunchtime, I didn't have the stomach to face another big meal, or a meat onslaught, but as happens when I have friends round, I usually feel obliged to cook something. So this is how I avoided meat, without avoiding taste.
CHARGRILLED VEGETABLES - With a Rosemary, Mint and Garlic Dressing.
Optional: 1 Chicory (Radicchio, Tardivo di Treviso)
Optional: 1 Florence Fennel Bulb (Finoccio)
1 Sprig or two of fresh Rosemary (pull of stalks, and chop)
A few leaves of fresh Mint (chopped up),
50ml Extra Virgin Olive oil (to coat, and for drizzling)
2 cloves of Garlic (crushed up, then removed from oil)
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
This is actually one of my favourite starters, and despite it being ridiculously easy to make, it seems to impress most times. It would actually be great as a lunch, or light supper dish by itself.
Basically all you need is a few Courgettes (Zucchini), and an Aubergine or two. But if your like me, you can be more flashy and add a few bitter Chicory leaves, and Florence Fennel bulbs as well.
So you take your vegetables, and slice them thinly lengthwise using a knife or a mandolin (if you dare). Aim for around a 2-3 mm thickness, and no more.
Next you drizzle extra virgin oil onto them, and massage some chopped Mint and Rosemary over all the slices before seasoning with salt and pepper.
Next you plunge them into a HOT griddle pan. Cook for a few minutes each side, until you get griddle lines, and then place onto a serving platter. Not hard really.
Note: The Griddle pan, needs to be hot. Don't be scared of leaving it over maximum heat for a few minutes first.
Next squish some garlic into some olive oil, stir, leave to sit for a while, then strain the garlic off, and drizzle this flavoured oil over the griddled vegetables, along with a squeeze of lemon juice to finish, and you can serve! Obviously between making the griddled vegetables, and the flavoured oil, things will cool down, thats is fine! This is actually best served when cooled down a bit.
VEGETABLE CURRY - Served with Mango Chutney, and Fennel Seed Chapattis.
1/4 teaspoon of Fennel Seeds
1/4 teaspoon of Cumin
1/8 teaspoon of Chilli (a pinch)
300g of Wholewheat flour
50g butter (melted)
Salt and Pepper,
150ml Water (add as needed)
Fennel Seed Chapattis are really easy to make. Yes they take a bit of fiddling around, but after you have tasted your own, you really won't want to keep buying the readymade efforts from the shops. I recommend making these in bulk, you can freeze them for ages and ages! You can then just defrost them under a grill when you want to use some. They cost less than a penny to make, if you hate fennel, you could use poppy seeds, mustard seeds, or even nothing at all.
To make them, you basically take some seasoned wholewheat flour, add some fennel seeds, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of chilli, mix with water and a drop of melted butter, and blend into a paste, let sit for a while. Then flatten into chapatti shapes with your palm, and blast them a few minutes each side in a hot heavy bottomed fry pan, until they colour up almost like pancakes.
2 Ripe Mangoes, skinned and diced,
2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar,
2-3 Tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar,
1/2 teaspoon of All Spice
3/4 teaspoon of white mustard seeds,
Mango Chutney, is another great standby to make ahead for future use. Its not only great to serve with a curry, but also a great snack standby. You can eat it on toast, and that kind of thing too.
All you need is a couple of ripe Mango, dice them up. Then throw them into a pan with some brown sugar, white wine vinegar (tablespoon of each per Mango used), a half teaspoon of "all spice", a teaspoon(ish) of white mustard seeds and cover and simmer for 30 or so minutes. Adjust the liquidity often till you get the consistency your looking for. Cool down, and put into Jars. This will keep for weeks on end in the fridge.
1 Potato, large (diced)
1/4 tin of Chopped Tomato
1 onion sliced
2 garlic cloves
50g diced fresh ginger (about one inch fingers worth)
100 ml Fresh Yoghurt
Handful of chopped up Coriander
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
3 Fresh Red/Green Chili'
30 ml of vegetable oil.
The Vegetable Curry, is also very easy, you fry some onions, the garlic, add some Garam Masala, some fresh chili, the diced ginger, some chopped tomatoes you cook this on a medium heat. Then, after about 10 minutes you blitz the lot in a food processor or with a hand blender, and put to one side.
The reason you blitz the sauce, is to make sure you get a smooth curry, without great big chunks of onion, and ginger making it unpalatable. It also gives the dish a "from the shop" look to it. Anyway...
In the same, but now rinsed pan, fry the potato, aubergine, and courgettes for a few minutes in a little oil, and then add the blitzed curry mixture made earlier. You then add a little water, and gently simmer until it is all cooked through.
APPLE AND BLACKCURRANT CRUMBLE - Served with fresh Egg Custard.
There is so much mystery, and nonsense spoken about decent egg custard. Shop purchased custard is NO substitute for the real McCoy. Few things which come out of tins, jars, or mass produced factories can taste anything other than artificial, and be filled with artificial sounding ingredients.
Even though todays labelling laws allow for alot of misleading claims like "No Artificial Flavourings, Colourings or Preservatives" to be commonplace. So far as I am concerned if food colours, stabilizers, fillers and emulsifiers are natural, im a Chinese man, call Lee Wong.
Sadly though alot of us, have grown up this way, so we know no difference.
It wasn't until a good friend of mine who is a Chef, actually showed me how easy it is, that I abandoned this ready-made madness.
Apple and blackberry crumble,
150g plain white flour
50-80g butter (softened)
50g white sugar,
4 apples, cored, peeled, small dice,
10 blackberries (approx),
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon,
In a pan add the apples, butter, water and sugar, and simmer until all the apples are softened, next throw in the blackberries and stir in the cinnamon, a few seconds and stirs later when your happy, pour the lot into a suitable oven proof dish. You should be looking for a fairly wet-ish mix, not bone dry.
The size of the dish? Well something 12-15 inches long, by about 6-8 wide, and 4 deep is an ideal target for this quantity.
Next in a bowl, do the usual 'crumble thing' by gently mixing the butter, flour, sugar together with your finger tips, until you get bread crumb type grains. Scatter this over the top of the apple mix, and throw the dish into a moderate oven for around 20 minutes, until golden, and nicely bubbling away.
3 egg yolks, (any medium sized eggs)
4 tablespoons Sugar (granulated is fine, despite what celeb chefs say)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence (make sure it has seeds in, or use a Vanilla Pod)
130ml Whole Milk (Jersey gold top, if being extravagant).
50ml Double Cream
So ok, let us get one thing straight. This is NOT going to turn into scrambled eggs! Unless you leave it unattended, or crazily increase the heat, this simply won't happen. SO take that false idea (and excuse) out of your mind. If you use common sense, and a degree of nous, you will find it impossible to mess up.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and the sugar until it becomes a lighter shade and noticeably thicker and creamier.
Meanwhile in a milk pan, over a medium setting, heat the cream, milk and vanilla to almost boiling point. You will notice it "shivers" slightly, and gives off a slight vapour.
Next SLOWLY add a little of this hot milk mixture, into the mixing bowl, while gently whisking the egg mix. Keep adding in a SLOW but steady stream unitl all the milk is in the bowl. Next transfer the whole lot back to the pan.
Lower the heat to minimum setting, on the smallest ring (if you have one) and place the pan back over this heat, and keep stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring, and occasionally lift the pan off the heat, this just avoids over-heating or heat spots to form. You will need to keep stirring for around 8 minutes, after this point, you will notice it thickens to the consistency of a pouring cream. After this you can turn off the heat, move the pan to a cool ring, it will thicken slightly more when its cooling.
Use before it goes cold, ideally, or you get a skin, although actually I like that.
THIS REVIEW IS WRITTEN EXLUSIVELY FOR DOOYOO'S USE, NO PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE THIS REVIEW IN WHOLE OR IN PART, WITHOUT MY CONSENT IS GRANTED. IF NOTICED ELSEWHERE PLEASE INFORM ME.
Summary: Just a few ideas, and definitely nothing unusual.