Monthly Archives: April 2013

Recipe: Tikka Mushrooms


I’m making no apology for posting another mushroom recipe. These are so good with a satisfying kick of chilli. I had them first at Woodlands Restaurant. There are two version of this – an ovo-lacto version and a vegan one. They both taste great. I suggest serving them with the Asian Spiced Coleslaw I posted a while back.

Mushroom tikka - vegan photo IMG_0370_zps7b3335b9.jpg

Ovo-Lacto Ingredients
Small pot of natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 closed cup mushrooms

Vegan Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 closed cup mushrooms

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the mushrooms and stir until they are well coated in the spice paste.
Leave for at least 30 minutes.
Put them on a foil-lined tray and grill them under a hot flame for 5 minutes each side.

Serves 2 as a starter


Recipe: Mushrooms a la Grecque


I was looking for an alternative to garlic mushrooms and came upon the retro classic mushrooms a la grecque. Just because something was done to death in the 70s doesn’t mean to say it’s not worth another look at 40 years later, and that’s the case with these slightly sour mushrooms, fragrant with thyme and glistening with olive oil. They make a great starter that benefits from being made hours in advance. Time for a revival I think!

Mushrooms ala Grecque photo DSCN0689_zps34236537.jpg

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
200g button mushrooms, stalks removed
1 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp vinegar, white wine or cider
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
100ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Soften the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a saucepan.
When they’re translucent add the mushrooms, white wine, vinegar, thyme and vegetable stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has all but disappeared.
Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Leave to cool.
Just before serving, stir in the finely chopped parsley.

Serves 2 as a starter, with some crusty bread to mop up the oily juices.

Recipe: Paneer in Softly Spiced Tomato Sauce


This is based on a Nigel Slater recipe. It’s rather more loosely based than I was planning. I watched a video of him cooking it and made a quick note of the ingredients. Unfortunately I wish I could link to the recipe or video, but I didn’t take a note of the link. Or (more importantly) the proportions of the ingredients. So, this is my guesswork version! The original recipe didn’t have any chilli in it, I do remember that much. It also didn’t have paneer or nigella seeds, but they seemed to be a good idea.

Paneer is a traditional Indian cheese. It’s a lovely ingredient, quite firm and closest to Halloumi in taste, but not as salty (and not as squeaky!). It holds together in cooking and doesn’t melt and go gooey, so it is excellent in sauces. Quite a lot of supermarkets stock it, but if you can’t find it, tofu would be a good substitution.

The spicing is subtle in this sauce, but it is far from insipid. It’s like a pasta sauce but with indian spices instead of italian herbs.

 photo DSCN0693_zps086c108d.jpg

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
200g paneer, cubed
1/2 tsp nigella seeds

Brown the onions in a little oil.
Add the chopped garlic, cumin and mustard seeds and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the turmeric powder, stir thoroughly and then add the chopped tomatoes followed by enough water to fill half the tin.
Season with salt.
Stir it thoroughly, bring to the simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the paneer, stirring carefully so it doesn’t break up.
Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened a little.
Serve, sprinkled with the nigella seeds.

Serves 2, with some naan bread to soak up the juices.

Recipe: Courgette, pea and mint soup


This is a spring soup, in lieu of spring weather. This is very quick and simple to make, but tastes like you’ve spent ages on it. It’s also one of the best uses for the fairly bland courgette. Courgettes are not my favourite vegetable, but they add a wonderful texture to soups when they’re blended. This soup is also fat-free for those who care about that kind of thing.

Courgette and pea soup photo DSCN0681_zpsb7445aa1.jpg

2 courgettes, roughly chopped
150g frozen peas
2 cloves garlic
500ml vegetable stock
6 mint leaves

For the garnish
Leaves from 2 stalks of mint
Zest of half a lemon

Put the soup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the courgettes are cooked.
Blend until smooth.
Season with salt & pepper.
Chop the mint and lemon zest together.
Serve the soup, hot or cold, sprinkled with the lemon and mint garnish.

Serves 2

Recipe: Pasta with Vegan Pesto


This is a great way of using one fresh ingredient with some from the store cupboard to create something fresh and delicious. I’ve used parsley here, but a mixture of herbs would do, or some green salad vegetable like spinach or watercress. If I can’t be bothered getting the little food processor out, I do a deconstructed version of this by just roughly chopping everything and tossing it into the pasta.

Pasta with vegan pesto photo DSCN0673_zps63491c04.jpg

1 clove garlic
8 black olives
1 1/2 tbsp capers
1 small pack of parsley (or other herbs to equivalent amount)
3 sundried tomato halves + 2 tbsp of the oil

While the pasta of your choice is cooking, put the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and then put back in the pan.
Stir in the sauce until the pasta is properly coated.
Serve on warmed dishes.

Serves 2