CHEAP & SUMPTUOUS EATS – \”CASEATS\”

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Sweet potato-mash with quince reduction

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Ingredients

Sweet potato
Milk
Butter
Mushrooms
Quince paste
Veg. stock
Basil
Garlic

So, I had a few vegetarians over the other night for a very spontaneous dinner. We had one hours time till they had to leave, this is what errupted from my fridge.

Boil water and add chopped, peeled sweet potato. Boil for 8 minutes or until you can easily stick a knife into one of the potatos. While this is taking place, you have heated the oven for the mushrooms. (see mushrooms with basil and garlic recipe).

The reduction sauce (sometimes called a jus but normally only when meat is involved) is easy. I used quince jam but you could use any jam/jelly you want, it's just that quince like cranberry is a little tarter than strawberry eg. SO heat a pot, chuck in 2 thumbs worth of jam, heat a little then add 300ml of stock a garlic clove, a bay leaf and bring to a boil while stiring/ whisking the jam so that it incorperates into the stock. Let this boil away for 5 minutes then add a dash of beer or wine and now boil for another 10 minutes until sauce starts to get a thicker consistancy, till it sticks to your finger. Once the sauce has reduced to your satisfaction i added a few pieces of pickled pepper, you could add what ever you like or nothing at all.

Once the potatos are boiled, strain off the water add a 60ml of milk and a thumbs worth of butter and a good pinch of salt and butter. Turn the heat right down and begin to mash the potatos. if they are to dry to get into a nice puree, add more milk but be carefull cause you don't want to serve up slop! I added a little nutmeg and fresh coriander leaves but parsely alone would be fine or any of the dried Italian herbs like oregano, thyme or Marjoram. Throw this all together like it is in the pic above and voila you got your self dinner for 5 vegetarians in less than an hour.

-James

Taste ★★★★★

Price ★★★★★

Ease ★★★★

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May 23, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | 2 Comments

Lupe’s enchilada

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Ingredients

Tortillas
Eggplant
Onion
Garlic
Coriander
Tomatoes
Mozarella cheese
Your favourite chilli-pepper
Lemon

So, this is a little platter that a friend (Lupe) cooked up for me and some other friends. She is from Mexico. If you want to know how to make the chilli-rillenos just email me and I'll pass on the age-old secrets…(maybe!).

Back to the enchilada. So first things first, get your salsa on the go. Take 5 tomatoes, half an onion, as many chillis as you like and a few cloves of garlic and throw this directly into the blender. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Once blended add to a hot pot with a little oil and bring to a boil with and then turn back the heat till just a few, bubbles appear every now and then (simmer). While all this is going on roughly chop up half an eggplant per enchilada and throw these into a hot oven (400F, 220C) oven (pealed) for 25 minutes. Once they begin to brown, heat up a larage pan and fry off 1/4 of an onion in hot oil per enchilada. Once this has sweated (gets clear) and the eggplant that should be already nice and brown add the eggplant to the pan with a little chopped garlic (half a clove per enchilada) and fry at a medium heat until the onion takes on a little colour. Now add mozarella (about the same amount of mozarella as the onion you added), turn off the heat and stir until the mozarella melts. Next step – find a nice, baking dish. Now the tortilla prep. If you like your tortillas soft, don't brown them off first however, i like mine crispy so i heat them over a direct flame (if you have one, otherwise put them in the oven for a few minutes) until they get a little crispy but still meldable. Now fill the tortilla with the eggplant mix, roll and place this into you baking dish. Repeat this until you have all the tortillas you have prepared for filled, rolled and in the baking dish. Last step, cover them with the salsa you prepared earlier and a sprinkle of mozarella. Throw this into the oven at around that should still be at 400F and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown. Serve and swoon…..Thanks Lupe

-James

Taste ★★★★★

Price ★★★★

Ease ★★★

May 23, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | Leave a comment

Cold shredded coconut and bean salad

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Ingredients 

French beans
Shredded Coconut
Bean sprouts
Mint
Ginger
Limes
Your favourite chili pepper
Place some beans in boiling water for 4 minutes until they are soft but definately still crunchy. Cool them under running, cold water until they are cold.
While they are boiling, slice upyour favourite chilli pepper into very small chunks and add it to a bowl with a hand-full of shredded coconut. Peel half a thumb worth of fresh ginger and cut into very small chunks, then take a around 10 leaves of fresh mint and rip these with your hands and add these and the ginger to the coconut as well. Now take a handfull of bean sprouts and add them to the mix together with the squeezed juice of a lime. If the limes do not have a lot of juice, use two! Finally, add the cold, boiled beans to this mix, add a pinch of salt and stir. This dish should be served cold. Before serving taste that it is to your liking by adding more of any of the ingrediants you choose, e.g. I love a lot of lime and chili while my grandma wants a lot of ginger.

-James

Taste ★★★★★

Price ★★★★★

Ease ★★★★

May 22, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | Leave a comment

BABA GANOUSH & APRICOT WANTONS

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Ingredients
Whole eggplant
Fresh apricots
Wanton wrappers (potstickers)
Cumin
1 Lemon
1 egg
Thyme

So, this one obviously takes a little more work but it's a hit.

The two ears sitting on the fried, slice of eggplant are wantons filled with apricot puree and baba ganoush (egg plant puree). You can make this yourselves if you have a blender or a ba-mix or buy it from the shop as a pre-made dip.
To make your own baba ganoush, pre heat your oven to 200 C / 390 F. Chop up 3 eggplants for 20ish wantons. Peel and chop up garlic. Place the garlic and eggplant into the hot oven with some rosemary and olive oil. After 10 minutes take the tray out and mix everything around. Roast for another 10 minutes. How long to roast depends on your oven but you know when to stop when the eggplant starts to get a bit mushy and the garlic good brown (caramalised) colour. Now puree the eggplant and the garlic and add a little salt, say three pinches, taste to see if you want to add more Now add Cumin, say two pinches for 3 eggplants, have a taste and see if you want to add any more. I add a squeeze of lemon too! Bingo, Baba.

Now for the apricot puree. Find some nice ripe apricots but any fruit will do, peel them, remove the seeds and chop them up finely and sprinkle a little bit of thyme in with the mix, (fresh preferably but up to you). Easy

Now take the wanton wrappers and lay them out on slightly, flower dusted table. Crack and egg into a bowl and mix well with a fork, this is what will keep the wantons together.
take a teaspoon of baba and of apricot puree and place this in the centre of the wanton, don’t use too much…you may need to try a few different amounts depending on the size of your wantons. The wantons ideally should be shaped like a diamond on the bench so that you can fold two points together to make a triangle. Now take a little egg on your finger and follow the top, triangle rim of the wanton. Lift and fold the bottom half over the filling and press down, crimping using your fingernail to create little triangles. these are now ready to be cooked in hot oil. get vegetable oil nice and hot in a pan or deep fryer (but not boiling!!!!!) say 150 C and then fry the wantons off in the oil just until they have a nice gold colour. you can test the temp of the oil by throwing in a wanton wrapper piece to see if it frys. Once you have cooked off your wantons, you can put them in the oven on low heat while you prepare some plates to serve on.

In the photo above I served the wantons on an eggplant slice that had been roasted with a little olive oil and salt in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes. I then used a little of the baba for one of the wantons to stick onto the eggplant and a little of the apricot / thyme puree for the other. BUT you could just serve the wantons straight up with a little dollop of the baba and apricot on the plate so that people know what is in the wantons.

-James

Price ★★★★
Taste ★★★★.5
Ease ★★

April 18, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | 3 Comments

MISO SOUP

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Every one loves Miso but how do you make it? Easy, buy the miso paste and get with it.

Ingrediants
Miso paste from your local supermarket
Noodles of your choice
Baked Tofu
Seaweed strips (Nori; what you roll sushi rolls in) or fresh seaweed / kelp from a packet

Ok, might sound a bit crazy but you can supplement any of the above ingrediants with what ever you prefer, eg. tofu to chickem or prawns, seaweed to zuchini etc…
Fill and start heating a pot with as much water as you would like to have soup. Once it starts to get a bit of steam coming off, pour 300mls (a coke can) into another bowl. To this bowl add a large, desert spoon of Miso paste. Note don't boil miso paste, it splits and goes bitter, that's why you have poured a little of the water off into another bowl.
Be carefull to mix the misopaste well with the warm water using a fork, whisk or chopsticks.
Add your baked tofu and noodles to the pot that is now boiling and let the noodles cook as long as is suggested on the packet. Turn the heat off, add the seaweed and stir. Wait till the soup cools down a little and add the miso you mixed in the bowl. Now tate the soup, if you like add some soy or mirin or fish sauce and Voila you've got miso in under 10 minutes. Takashi N. Sandiego

-James

Taste ★★★★ 

Price ★★★★.5

Ease ★★★★

April 18, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes, Japanese | 3 Comments

OMLETTE

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Ingredients

2 eggs
1 garlic clove
finely chopped cilantro / coriander (handful)
Cucumber
tomato

Whisk eggs in a bowl with a fork until the yolk and whites are integrated. Add a splash of whatever flavour or flavour combinations you like, eg sweat chilli sauce, soy, A1, tapatio salsa hot sauce etc + a little pepper. Heat olive oil in a fry pan and add garlic. Fry the garlic till it becomes slightly translucent (sweats), then add the eggs. Don't stir the eggs just let them set till the edges become firm and you can run a spoon around the edges of the omelette that is forming in the pan. Now, throw in some chopped cucumber and tomato and the cilantro (or what ever combination of goodies you would like to see in the omelette, like tuna or ham etc). Once the omelette starts to become solid but still very much runny in the centre, lift up one side of the omelette with you largest spoon / fork and fold the top over to the other side as is shown in the picture above. Slide the omelette carefully out of the pan and onto a plate. I threw some sunflower seeds into this one too cause they needed eating.  Tuck in.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–>FYI – Traditionally omlettes are served still runny in the centre so that they are not too dry. Up to you!

-James

Taste ★★★.5

Price ★★★★★

Ease ★★★★★ (though you might need some practise folding the omlette over!

April 18, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | 1 Comment

BAKED EGGS & TOMATO

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If you want easy and delicious eggs, this is your dish.

3 eggs
1 small can,peeled, whole tomatoes
1 garlic clove (optional)
Find a dish that you can bake in the oven. Preheat oven to 360 F / 180 C.
Peel garlic and with your hands rub it into the inside of the baking dish so that the garlic breaks up a bit,do this until there is a smear of garlic oil around the whole dish. You can either save the rest of the garlic for another dish or dispose. Crack eggs carefully so as not to break their yolks into dish. Open canned tomatoes and take out as much as you like and chop this into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the dish and put this in the oven and bak for 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking, i.e. soft, hard, runny

-James

Taste ★★★.5

Price ★★★★★

Ease ★★★★★

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | 3 Comments

ROASTED MUSHROOM WITH BASIL AND GARLIC

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Ingredients

Fresh mushrooms we used portabello
Olive oil
Basil-1 hand full
Garlic-4 cloves cut into cubes
This is just a kick butt dish that will knock anyone to the ground

Pre heat oven to 400F / 200C. Wipe any dirt from the muhrooms with a paper towl. Chop them into quatersif you want. Put them into a an ovenproof dish. Add chopped garlic evenly over mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. 1 pinch pf per large mushroom should be adequate. Pour olive oil over mushrooms so they have a light, oil cover. Put into hot oven for five minutes, remove stir the garlic and then oil around the mushrooms (baste) and put back into oven for another 10 minutes but now turn the heat down to 300F. After 10minutes remove the dish, rip the basil roughly in half with your hands and stir into mushrooms. Let this sit for 3minutes then serve, this will allow the aroma compounds of the basil to be released Now you've got yourself one mean dish or side dish. JDE

-James

Taste ★★★★★

Price ★★★★

Ease ★★★★★

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Anything goes | Leave a comment