Posts Tagged With: paneer

CCC Week 3

One of the unexpectedly useful things about writing these posts is that they help keep track of how long this whole strange situation has been on the go. Sometime it feels like there’s some kind of weird time dilation field over everything so that things simultaneously feel like it’s been forever and no time at all. Writing what essentially amounts to a lockdown food diary helps keep track of things. We’re now into the fourth week.

Week three of lockdown didn’t really produce much in the way of exciting cooking. I did, however, manage to cook the two meals I’d planned for at the end of last week. I made some slight tweaks to the recipe for Matar Paneer to suit my own tastes but it turned out delicious, exactly what I wanted to eat at the start of last week. Towards the end of the week I made my sweet potato and kale bubble and squeak, even though I had to pick up more sweet potatoes as it turns out to not actually be a ‘use up your leftovers’ sweet potatoes recipe as you need pretty much a whole bag of them. On previous occasions that I’ve made this recipe I’ve always felt I had either too much or too little for the oven dishes that I have, but I now have one of my gran’s old pyrex casserole dishes which is both the perfect size and has a lid. No need to faff around with cling film for the leftovers! In an unusual point of connection between the two dishes, hot paprika was the hero of the hour ensuring that both dishes were the correct amount of spicy.

The weather is now mild enough that soup feels excessive, so realistically unless I need to break into my freezer stash, that’s it for soup for the next few months. (I don’t think I mentioned it in the previous blog entries, but at the start of this whole situation, I made several pots of soup and frozen a couple of portions of each kind for emergency, mostly in case I got ill. Most of the top drawer of my freezer is now given over to tubs of soup.)

Several of my cooking plans lately have been scuppered by the newest thing to be in short supply in the shops – eggs. There are over-ripe bananas in the bowl, I could make banana bread – no eggs. I’m not really eating soup so no point making soda bread, I could use up that buttermilk in pancakes – no eggs. I’ve got spinach and feta needing used up, could make those egg and spinach breakfast muffins – no eggs. I was so pleased that I’d succeeded in getting chopped tomatoes – and passata – at a reasonable price, only to be stymied by no eggs.

I suspect that the packet of flour tortilla wraps that are currently the sole occupant of my bread bin might be this week’s lunch-time heroes. So far they’ve already housed the last of my mini potato waffles – I’m trying to make space in the freezer – on a bed of cream cheese and spinach. A pot of chilli is almost always a good shout, there could be burritos, or quesadillas or even enchiladas quite easily, and that would definitely lend itself to freezable leftovers.

This week has started off well, with the yoghurt-maker doing it’s thing and veggie sushi for tea tonight, I usually make far too much rice but I made enough for three rolls of maki – one pepper, one carrot and one mixed – which seems much more manageable. I don’t remember now what I opened the Ketjap Manis for but it’s that much thicker than soy sauce so it’s ideal for dipping sushi into.

So while I’m on a roll, this coming week I also want to make, bao buns with mushroom filling – I found pre-made bao buns in the reduced chiller and I’ve a recipe for a tasty sounding filling – English muffins, as I may not have eggs but I do have plenty of flour and banana pancakes, because Jack Monroe to the rescue I’ve found a way to make pancakes with buttermilk but without eggs, all while using up my over-ripe bananas – victory!

Categories: being veggie, challenges, covid cookup | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cooking the Book – October Edition

If my cooking in October had a theme, it was leftovers. I felt like I was constantly eating leftovers, that my ability to cook anything was being ham strung by endless little containers of ingredients and portions of previous meals. Normally this would be smashing but when you’re trying to cook up your cupboards, it is less than ideal. (I made curry last night – Keralan Quorn Curry – and didn’t bother cooking rice with it, as I’m still using up the polenta…)

Butter Chicken (well, Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces if we’re being accurate) because I love a curry. I’m sure none of you had the least suspicion that that was the case. Because the take away of choice for my childhood was Chinese food, I never really encountered the classics of British-Indian take away food until I was an adult. And while I’ve eaten a fair few regrettable Chicken Tikka Masalas over the years – when I still ate meat I was much more at the Korma/Pasanda end of the spice scale – I’ve never actually had Butter Chicken. I’ve no idea if what I made was remotely accurate, but I would certainly make it again. Although I would make sure I had plain yoghurt next time. I realised halfway through that I’d forgotten to get plain yoghurt, but courtesy of my yoghurt maker I had a big tub of mango yoghurt in the fridge. Lots of curries use amchoor, and I really like them, so I figured, what the heck, it was worth a shot. And it does work, it makes it a very fruity curry, but it works, though I don’t know that I’d recommend it unless you’re similarly caught short.

It did also lead, as part of my cupboard cookup, to my making Curry Quesadillas. By means of toasting a couple of left-over tortilla wraps in the frying pan, filling them with left over curry, chucking in some paneer – to go with the theme – and some shredded mozzarella. It was actually really good. Not a fusion food combination I imagine showing up on a menu anywhere any time soon, but surprisingly good, quick easy food to make after a back shift.

Mini Chestnut, Apple and Spinach Wellingtons. Which are not, I would contest, particularly ‘mini’. I made them as a sort of test run, as a possible Christmas food dish. I think I’m more disappointed in them because I actually watched Lorraine cook these on the tele a couple of years ago. (While staying with a friend in Belfast almost exactly two years to the day before I made them.) They looked delicious at the time and when I saw them in this book I was really excited and I’ve been looking forward to making them ever since. They’re alright. Not horrible, not brilliant, just alright. I found them very dry, both in filing and entirety. I do wonder if they might be rather better made with puff pastry, if that might make them lighter in a way. However, because I ended up with too much filing – I was using up dried green lentils rather than canned ones, and I over estimated the conversion rate and ended up with cooked green lentils coming out of my ears – and I used it up by means of stirring it up with some passata and sticking it in a baked potato. Which was delicious – really, really good. So I’ll be trying this recipe again at some point but with added passata in the filling as I think that might solve the problem entirely.

Actually I ended up making a third recipe out of the book this month, as I made Shallot and mushroom gravy to go with my Wellingtons one day. Which was…fine. I tried to scale it down to just have enough for one person, but didn’t cut down the shallot enough – they were quite sizeable shallots which didn’t help, I suspect that if they’d been the little round ones it would have been fine – so it didn’t really break down enough during cooking so I ended up with a weird lumpy gravy – I should have stuck to my usual mushroom sauce, that’s considerably nicer.

Categories: challenges, cooking the book, nablopomo, October cook-up | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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