22/01/2007

Curried Carrot and Ginger Soup

(serves 6-8)

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5cm (2 inches) ginger root, peeled and grated
1 tblsp curry powder
900g (2lb) carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1.6 litres (about 2.5 UK pints or 3 American pints) stock or water and stock cube

Method:
Gently cook the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan, stirring, until softened. Stir in the ginger and curry powder, and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and a little of the stock, and cook for another minute or two. Add the rest of the stock, bring to the boil, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then blend in a liquidizer until it turns into a thick soup. Return to the heat and cook gently, stirring, until piping hot.

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This is a tasty soup which is quite spicy - if you don't like hot tastes, reduce the amount of the ginger and curry powder, or even leave the curry powder out. The ginger does give a pleasant tang to what would otherwise be quite a bland soup.

You can adjust other ingredients to taste - any kind of stock can be used, meat or vegetable, or even just water. If you have leftover wine that can be added too.

After the simmering, this looks most unappetising, with bits of vegetable floating in a sea of dark-coloured stock. Don't worry! The liquidizer turns it into a lovely orange soup that is excellent for a cold day, eaten with fresh bread.

15/01/2007

French stew

(serves 4)

750g stewing steak, chopped
150ml stock or water and marmite
1 large peeled, sliced carrot
1 cup french beans (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup water or wine
2 tblsp vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1 tsp mixed dried herbs

Method:
Mix all ingredients in a suitable-sized ovenproof dish with a lid. Bake in a slow oven (140C) for 4-6 hours, adding extra water if needed. Alternatively cook in a slow-cooker/crockpot for 8-10 hours on low. Excellent served with baked jacket potatoes and more veggies. Freezes well.

This can also be done in a slow-cooker (crockpot), doubling or trebling ingredients if necessary so the crockpot is at least half full. Place the carrots and onions at the bottom and the stewing steak on top, then the rest of the ingredients poured over. Cook for about an hour on high, then simmer on low all day. Even the cheapest stewing steak becomes tender with this method.

08/01/2007

Apple cake

(makes one large flat cake,can be cut into many pieces)

4 cups chopped apple (leave the skin on - just remove the core!)
1 1/2 cups sugar (or subst ½ cup honey)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 cups plain flour (can be half wholewheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons bicarb (baking soda)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Blend the sugar with the chopped apples and stand for a half hour. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Add the beaten egg, honey (if used), oil and vanilla essence to the apple/sugar mixture, and beat in with a wooden spoon. Then add all the dry ingredients and stir well. Pour in to a greased, lined roasting pan and put in the preheated oven. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool a bit, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely before cutting into pieces.

02/01/2007

Vegetable and Nut Cobbler

Vegetable nut cobbler
vegetable nut cobblerServes 3-4

Ingredients:
1 tblsp olive oil
1 small cauliflower in florets
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
180g green beans, sliced
1 tblsp curry powder
1 tblsp turmeric
200ml milk or almond milk

100g grated cheese (cow or goat)

For scone topping:
225g flour (can be half wholewheat)
3 tsp baking powder
100g butter or spread
120ml milk or almond milk
50g chopped walnuts
extra flour for rolling

Method:

Cook the vegetables in the oil, stirring, for about ten to fifteen minutes, until the onions are softened. minutes. Stir in the spices and milk. Put in a covered casserole and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200C.

Meanwhile mix the flour with the baking powder, rub in the fat, and add the nuts. Stir in the milk and mix to a soft dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes. It will be very soft and sticky, so use liberal amounts of extra flour, and roll on a work surface to about 1cm thick. Cut into 12-15 rounds.

Remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle the cheese over the vegetables, then place the scone rounds on top, overlapping as shown. Brush with milk (or keep some of the cheese to sprinkle on top). Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then lower heat to 180C and continue cooking until the scones are golden brown.

We like to serve this with roasted garlic tomatoes and braised red cabbage. For hungry teens, you could bake some potatoes too.