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Archive for the ‘Gluten-free’ Category

Chana masala

Meehra Sodha describes this as a Workers’ Curry variations of which are eaten all over India. We love the flavours and textures here and have eaten this part of a wider spread of dishes and also on its own with some naan bread from the local takeaway. It’s worth soaking your own chickpeas if you can as they have a better texture. Thi

Wine suggestion: a simple, medium-bodied and earthy red is required here, nothing fancy. We had a bottle of the Monfil Garnacha from Cariñena in Spain which is uncomplicated but satisfying.

Chana masala – serves 4

  • 200g dried chickpeas (or 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric

Put the dried chickpeas into a large bowl, cover with cold water, then add the bicarbonate of soda and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then cover with more cold water and boil for 30-45 minutes, until soft, keep spooning off any scum that rises to the surface. (If you are using tinned chickpeas you just need to rinse and drain them.)

Crush the ginger, garlic & green chilli together in a pestle and mortor with a pinch of salt to make a paste.

Put the oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir the ginger and chilli paste through the onions, then tip in the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Add the tomato puree, stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes or until you have a rich, thick sauce.

Add the garam masala, 1½ tsp of salt, cumin, chilli powder & turmeric, and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the drained chickpeas. You can add some water at this point to thin the sauce a bit, start with about 5 tbsp and add more if necessary. Taste and season.

Serve with naan breads or as alongside a few other Indian dishes.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2014.)

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Monkfish & saffron pilaf

The traditional fish used for this dish from Central Asia is sturgeon, which we don’t see so often in Dublin, so we substituted monkfish to very good effect. Don’t be shy with the pepper as this really informs the character of the dish providing a warm and distinctive flavour. We were really excited by the flavours here and have made this a few times now as we enjoy it a lot.

Wine Suggestion: Black pepper has it’s own umami-rich tannins which for some people means that it won’t work with wine very well. What you need to do, though, is work with this and use either a red with appropriate tannins or spices, or a white with pepper characteristics too. We chose a rich, dry F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Loibner Loibenberg which we picked up from our friend Gerard Maguire in Glasthule. A stunning wine that stood up magnificently to the bold pepper flavours; a lighter wine would have felt short and inadequate.

Fish & Saffron Pilaf – serves 4

  • 275g basmati rice
  • 4 onions (1 halved and 3 thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small bunch of flatleaf parsley
  • 4 sturgeon, monkfish or halibut fillets
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • a small handful of dill
  • 1 tsp dill seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • large pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 3 tbsp water
  • 120g sour cream
  • juice of 1 lemon

Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large pan and add the halved onion, crushed peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley stalks (keep the leaves aside for now). Season the water well with salt and gently lower in the fish fillets. Cook at a very gentle simmer until just opaque, about 10 minutes depending on how thick your fillets are. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Set the pan aside for using again later.

Heat a second large cooking pot for cooking the rice. Heat the sesame oil until almost smoking, then add the onions and carrots. Stir-fry until starting to soften. Drain the rice and add to the pot, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon. Pour over the fish broth until it covers the rice by about 1cm and add plenty of salt. Bring to the boil and cook on a high heat until the broth has boiled off. Poke a few steam holes in the rice with the end of a spoon to help it along. Cover with a lid or tight-fitting layer of foil and remove from the heat. Leave to steam for 20 minutes by which time the rice will be cooked through.

Chop the parsley and dill and add to the empty fish pan. Add the dill seeds (if using), ground black pepper, saffron and its soaking liquid and season with salt. Stir in the soured cream and set over a low heat to warm through. Carefully return the fish fillets to the pan to warm through before serving.

Turn the rice out onto a large platter and squeeze over the lemon. Spoon the fish and creamy sauce over the top.

(Original recipe from Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, Kyle Books, 2016.)

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Vegan Pie

Vegan Pie

Vegan recipes often get bad press, not helped by the poor offerings of restaurants. This dish has bags of flavour and doesn’t require any extras to make it a whole meal. A big splodge of ketchup on the side doesn’t go a miss if you’re that way inclined.

Wine Suggestion: not all wines are Vegan, but there are no standards on stating this on a bottle or to say what fining agents (which determines if it is Vegan friendly) have been used in making the wine.

Fining agents are used by winemakers to make a bright, clean coloured and tasting wine. Naturally most wines begin quite cloudy or hazy because of proteins, tannins, tartrates and phenolics. Winemakers traditionally add fining agents to rectify this and these include casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein) as well as others like various clays. These bind with the proteins etc which then fall out of the wine. So by the time it reaches the bottle and then your glass there are no traces of these products. However they have been used and part of Veganism is not only if the product is not in the food, but also the use in the production.

A lot of wines are potentially Vegan friendly, but quite often don’t say on the label and aren’t obliged to so don’t dismiss a wine for not being Vegan if it doesn’t say so, it may still be.

Look online on the winery sites if you are in doubt and even email the winemakers – they love to discuss their wines and are happy to answer questions on how each wine is made.

We drank some Domaine du Joncier Lirac Blanc from a wonderful, biodynamic and natural wine maker Marine Roussel. A blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Bourboulenc and fined naturally with time and gentle handling this is both round, fresh and full of depth.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – serves 8 (make in 2 dishes and freeze one for later)

  • 1.2kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 mins, then drained (reserve the liquid)
  • 2 large leeks, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • a handful of marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • a handful of thyme, leaves picked
  • a handful of sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 300g frozen spinach
  • 20ml olive oil
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • tomato ketchup, to serve (optional)

Put the unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins until the skins start to split. Drain and leave to cool a little.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large casserole dish. Add the mushrooms, leeks , onions, carrots and stock cube and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the garlic, tomato purée, paprika, squash and herbs. Stir and turn the heat up a bit, cook for 3 mins, then add the celery and continue to stir and cook for a few more mins.

Tip in the chickpeas along with the water in the can and reserved mushroom stock. Add the peas and spinach and stir well. Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, then season, turn off and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and discard the skin. Mash 200g with a fork and stir into the veg. Break the rest of the potatoes into chunks, mix with the olive oil and parsley and season.

Divide the filling into two pie dishes and top with the potatoes. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and bake the pies for 40-45 mins, until the top is golden and the filling is heated through.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spiced yoghurt roast chicken

Our local butcher, Brady’s, stocks excellent free-range chickens which are juicier and have more flavour than most super-market offerings. Being a very cheap meat overall we think it is worth spending a bit more as the benefits far outweigh the cost difference.

We never tire of roast chicken recipes as they’re usually straight forward and provide lots of leftovers. We challenge you to resist the skin on this one!

Wine Suggestion: we felt like a red so went for the Chateau de Beauregard Fleurie as it has a lighter body and a lower acidity than a Pinot Noir which matched this dish really well. The chicken was moist, but not fatty so the medium acidity was a perfect foil and neither wine nor food overwhelmed the other.

Spiced-yoghurt Roast Chicken with Potatoes – serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken, approximately 1.5kg
  • salad potatoes e.g. Charlotte
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the marinade:

  • small chunk of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, keep the squeezed out halves to put inside the chicken
  • 100g natural yoghurt

Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and season with some salt and pepper.

Put the chicken into a large roasting tray and rub the marinade all over the skin with your hands. Put the squeezed lemon halves inside the cavity and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, then rest for 20 minutes under some foil before carving.

Cut the potatoes in half and toss with the cumin seeds, chilli flakes, 2 tbsp olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Tip into a shallow roasting tray and put in the oven above the chicken for the last 20 minutes. Turn over once during cooking and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes while the chicken is resting.

Delicious served with some coleslaw on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, December 2016.)

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Cod in a tahini sauce

Our menus have featured a lot of meat recently so we’ve focused and had a few fishy weekends to redress the balance. This is another great recipe from Moro, really delicate and delicious. We followed their suggestion and served with a chickpea salad and saffron rice. A rare Saturday night treat for just the two of us; we made the full sauce but only used two cod fillets.

Get started early as the rice needs to soak for a few hours.

Wine Suggestion: a light, dry white wine with good flavour and texture is what we think goes best. We had a good Muscadet from Domaine de la Chauviniere which has a good depth of flavour despite it’s light body. Alternately a good Alvarinho/Albariño would be a good match too.

Cod Baked with Tahini Sauce & Saffron Rice – serves 4

  • 4 thick cod fillets with skin, about 200g each
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Tahini Sauce

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp water

Saffron Rice

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamom pods, cracked
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 200g basmati rice, washed and soaked in salted water for 3 hours
  • a good pinch of saffron threads infused in 4 tbsp boiling water

To Serve: 

  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Start by making the tahini sauce and the rice as the fish won’t take long at the end.

For the Tahini Sauce:

Crush the garlic cloves with a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and whisk in the tahini and lemon juice. Add the water until you get a sauce the consistency of double cream. Taste and season.

For the Saffron Rice:

Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and black peppercorns and fry gently for about 4 minute or until aromatic.

Drain the rice and add to the butter, stirring to coat in the butter. Turn the heat up to medium-high and pour over enough water to cover by about 1cm, season with salt.

Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the surface of the water, then cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and paper and drizzle the saffron water evenly over the rice. Cover again with the paper and the lid, turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

For the Cod: 

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

You need to cook the cod on the hob first ideally in an ovenproof frying pan or failing that a roasting tray that can go on the hob.

Add the olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Season the cod generously with salt and pepper, then place in the pan with the skin side up, keep shaking the pan all the time to prevent sticking. Cook for a couple of minutes to seal. Turn the fish over carefully and put the pan in the oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. The fish is cooked when it is easy to flake and looks completely white inside.

Pour the tahini sauce into the pan with the fish to warm for 30 seconds, then transfer to hot plates. Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with the parsley and pomegranate seeds.

Serve with the chickpea salad, saffron rice & lemon.

(Original recipe from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Chicken tikka with mint chutney

From Meera Sodha’s fabulous book, Made in India, we continue to make very successful dishes. We made this for a Christmas party alongside Meera’s Cinnamon lamb curry,  and coconut fish curry. All very straightforward particularly if you get the lamb cooked the night before and serve with a load of rice (cooked and kept warm in a rice cooker if you have one) and a simple salad.

We used small green birds-eye chillies with their seeds removed and while these were hot on their own they gave the right amount of background heat to each dish: think of it as a mild curry with a tiny, perfect kick.

If you prefer you can thread the chicken pieces onto kebab sticks before roasting. You will need to soak wooden sticks in water for about 20 minutes before using to stop them burning in the oven.

The Mint chutney was amazing and not only works with the chicken tikka but is also great with a roast or grilled lamb instead of the usual mint sauce/jelly.

Oven-roasted Chicken Tikka (Murghi na tikka) – serves 4-6 as a starter or with other dishes

  • rapeseed oil
  • 600g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of any fat
  • 4cm ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh green chilli, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • 130ml whole-milk yoghurt
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Line 2 oven trays and brush with a very light layer of oil.

Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put into a bowl.

Pound the ginger, garlic and green chilli with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar, until it turns into a paste. Add the paste to the chicken, then add the remaining ingredients to the bowl along with 1¼ tsp salt. Mix well and cover. Leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes or in the fridge for a a few hours if you can.

Shake the excess marinade from the chicken and divide between the lined trays. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning once.

Serve with salad and the Mint & Yoghurt Chutney below.

Mint & Yoghurt Chutney (Fodina anna dahi nu chatni) – makes a small jar

  • 5 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 20g fresh mint
  • 1 fresh green chili, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • a pinch of salt

Put the ingredients into a blender and whizz until mixed. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

The chutney will keep for a day in the fridge if you want to make it in advance.

(Original recipes from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

 

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Red pepper paste

This red pepper paste is used in loads of Turkish dishes. It’s a very useful paste to have in the fridge and is particular good on a pizza instead of tomato sauce. You can buy Turkish pepper paste in specialist shops but it’s very easy to make and will keep for about a week in the fridge.

Turkish Red Pepper Paste

  • 660g red peppers
  • 50g tomato purée
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 30ml olive oil

Roast the peppers for about 30 minutes at 220ºC/gas 7 until charred & soft. Put in a bowl and cover with cling film, then leave until cool enough to peel. Remove the charred skins, stalks and seeds. Blitz the roasted peppers with the other ingredients in a blender. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

(Original recipe from Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2015.)

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