Tag Archives: onion

Recipe: Crisp Vegetable Salad for Spring

I haven’t been doing much cooking recently, or at least, not much that is creative, but this little salad has been a nice change from the usual lettuce-cucumber-tomato-capsicum deal, and is a nice, fresh, crisp-tasting side-dish for spring.

Today’s version is brought to you by my friend A, who gave me a bag of baby carrots – really carrot thinnings, so even cuter – mint and other goodies from her garden when we went to pick her up for a freecycling trip.  The amounts are vague, because I am vague too, but the combination of small, sweet, crisp carrot with spicy radish, fragrant mint and aniseedy fennel is very tasty, and very easy to bring together on a plate.  You can use any light tasting vinegar – cider or white wine vinegar would work – but strawberry vinegar seemed to fit with the spring-like theme of this salad.

This recipe serves two as a side dish.

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Recipe: Cucumber Noodles with Gazpacho Sauce and Guacamole

I am the worst hostess ever for Pasta Please. No sooner do I set the Make Your Own Pasta challenge, but I acquire a Herman starter and become obsessed with him, and then disappear into my politics blog for a round of intensive pre-election blog-writing, pausing only to run out and sing in what feels like every church in Melbourne.  It’s a shocker.

But I am not a total failure, because here I am, a day before the end of the challenge, and I have made pasta! Or a kind of pasta anyway.  What with not being in my kitchen long enough to cook much of anything for the last couple of weeks, getting out the pasta machine was never going to be an option.  But my vegetable spiraliser is another story, and I had this random idea one one of the hot days recently about cucumber noodles, which would surely be an incredibly cooling thing to eat.  But what do you put with cucumber?  Well, I’m fairly sure cucumber gets used in Gazpacho, which is also lovely and cooling… at least until the lid falls off your bottle of hot sauce at the crucial moment and you accidentally add a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon.  My face is still tingling hours later…

Anyway, cucumber noodles with Gazpacho sauce it was, and very cooling and delicious it was too.  Alas, the weather was also quite cold, and not so auspicious for my purposes, so I’m calling this a trial run for the summer.  This is more of a light meal than a main, by the way – sort of a fancy salad, really.  But it’s very fast to make, and would be a beautiful starter for a long summer meal.
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3 roasted capsicums (from a jar is fine, you’re adding vinegar anyway)
6 roma tomatoes + 1 for the guacamole
2 tsp red wine vinegar (see?)
1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste, or however much you drop into the blender by accident
3 celery sticks
1 red onion
a handful of coriander, plus another handful for the guacamole
2 small avocados
1 clove garlic
1 tsp guacamole spice mix (sorry, I’m lazy today)
juice of 1 lime
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Recipe: Lamb, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry with Almonds and Saffron

I really don’t understand curries very well, which is why I’ve just bought myself a book all about curries from around the world.  You would think, then, that I’d follow the recipes in them, and indeed that was my intention, but basically I screwed up.  The curry I was going to make was a simple lamb curry with almonds and saffron, because I had diced lamb to use up, but it used twice the amount of lamb I had.  No worries – I would just halve the recipe.  Except that I forgot to do so, and once I had measured out the saffron water and started cooking all the onions and garlic and ginger – which I had accidentally doubled instead of halved anyway, hello, virus-brain! – and spices it was too late to go back without waste.

bowlside

So I decided to bulk out the curry with chickpeas and sweet potato.  After all, I don’t like stews of any kind that are just meat, meat and meat, sweet potato seemed like it would get along with all the sweet aromatic spices in this dish, and chickpeas are always a good random filler protein in my book.  Also, this lowers the glycemic index of the dish *and* makes it suddenly a lot closer to a one-pot meal (by which I mean that the ongoing Sickly Catherine feels empowered not to make a vegetable side dish now, which is a very good thing).  And then I looked at the cream added at the end of the recipe, and thought about the fact that I don’t like creamy sauces much and that I had this tin of coconut cream from goodness-knows-when sitting in my pantry waiting to be used, and…

I’m fairly sure we have lost any authenticity along the way (which is why I am not claiming that this is a Kashmiri curry, despite what the book says), but I have to say, it’s the best curry that I’ve ever made.  I strongly suspect that the slow cooker was an important part of this – the spices seemed to blend and work together rather than sitting awkwardly in different corners of the room, squinting sideways at each other.  That’s not what usually happens when I make a curry.  So, while a slow cooker is not a requirement for this recipe, I do recommend cooking it over the lowest heat possible for as long as possible if you don’t have one.

Still, next time, I *promise* I will follow the recipe properly.

I can do that, you know.

Your Shopping List

2 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cup hot water
8 green cardamom pods
2 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
3 onions
3 cloves of garlic
about 2 cubic inches of ginger root
2 dried chillis
500 g cubed lamb shoulder or other stewing lamb
salt and pepper which I entirely forgot to put in, but you might want to
500 g sweet potato
Either 1 cup of dried chickpeas, partly cooked (of which more later) or 1 tin of chickpeas, which you will add at the end of the recipe
120 g blanched almonds
270 ml (a medium-sized tin – don’t get too hung up on measuring this) coconut cream

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Not a proper recipe for not entirely Greek Salad

I think I may have to start a section of this journal for recipes that aren’t proper recipes but which people ask me for. You know, for recipes like pasta bolognese or fruit crumble, which are a handful of this, and one of those, and a sprinkle of that, and a whole tin of the other, and actually, maybe we need another handful of this after allThese kind of recipes are only ever going to be recordable by weighing all the ingredients you might possible want to use before you start cooking, and then weighing the packets again after you finish and calculating the difference.  Which is something I never think of until it’s too late. 

Inevitably, recipes like this are also the ones people ask for.  And this is very sad, because I have so many recipes I can describe, but when it comes to these ones, all I can do is wail “I don’t know what I put in there!”.  Because it changes every time.

Anyway, my mother in law asked for this recipe, so here it is.  Sort of.   I’m totally guessing at the quantities, especially for the dressing, so use your best judgment.  On the bright side, it’s a salad, so it’s pretty hard to go wrong on.  And sometime soon I really will figure out what I put in my fruit crumbles, too.  Promise.

Your shopping list

100g persian feta (the soft creamy kind that usually comes marinated)
100g marinated green olives (inauthentic, but I like them more than the black ones), stoned and halved
half a small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil infused with blood orange, or plain extra virgin olive oil and a little blood orange juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt, black pepper
250g of good cherry or mini Roma tomatoes, or whatever little tomatoes you have in your garden that have not been eaten by the very hungry caterpillar, cut in half
one largeish lebanese cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthways, and chopped into thick chunks
one red or yellow or orange capsicum, cut into thick slices and the slices halved
leaves from about half a small lettuce (I like butter lettuce for this), gently torn
a handful each of fresh mint and fresh oregano or marjoram leaves, gently shredded, and if you have some nasturtium petals or other herb flowers, why not add them too?
 

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Recipe: Onion Soup for a Sick Day

Beautiful onions!

The Christopher Robinish breakfast didn’t work, so  it’s time to resort to my ultimate virus-fighting weapon: onion soup.  What what could be stronger, heartier, or more pungent? No virus would dare colonise a body with this many allicins in it, or at least, that’s my theory.  Plus,  hot liquids are fabulous  for soothing a sore throat. 

I’ve based this soup on a beef stock, but you can also use the vegetable stock from my Three Roasted Vegetable Soups post – but add a few dried mushrooms, or a spoonful or two of porcini powder if you have it; you want your stock to have a good, strong, ‘brown’ flavour. 

Best of all, you can make this soup in steps, with long rests in between, during which you can stagger back to bed: first the stock, which needs to simmer for an hour, and is even better if it simmers for two; then the sliced onions, which need to cook, slowly for another hour or so without much attention from you; then the combination of both, which simmers on the stove until you are ready to eat.  That virus won’t even want to enter the *house

Your Shopping List

For the stock
1kg beef bones, with some meat on them
1 onion, peeled and cut in quarters
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 celery sticks, with their leaves, chopped into large chunks
4 cloves garlic
a few black peppercorns
a teaspoon or two of dried rosemary
salt, to taste
porcini mushroom powder, if you have it, or throw in a few dried mushrooms
125ml white wine
 
For the soup
50g butter
75g brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 kg of onions, approximately – use a mix of red, white and yellow,  and maybe some shallots if you can find them
2 leeks
6 cloves garlic
salt, pepper and porcini powder (optional, but yummy) to taste

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