Monthly Archives: November 2014

Recipe: Spicy Sprouts

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I had a first last week. I sent a dish back at a restaurant. The first time in my life that I’ve ever had to do that. I’m not going to name the restaurant because they didn’t quibble and took the dish off the bill so I have no complaints about the service. The dish was a mexican take on brussels sprouts. The problem was that sprouts aren’t a traditional mexican dish and in any case the chef cooking them didn’t know how to cook sprouts. For anyone reading this, rolling whole sprouts around in a hot pan for a few minutes will not cook them. They were warm, but like bullets.

This irritated me, because it could have been a nice dish. I determined to try my own version with heat and citrus notes but where the sprouts were actually cooked. I’m pretty pleased with it. And, considering that sprouts aren’t as strong-flavoured as they used to be, you could also make this with shredded spring greens to get that slightly bitter tang.

This is a side-dish, but if you wanted to make it more substantial, a bit of feta wouldn’t go amiss. You could also swap out the pine nuts for chopped hazelnuts as well.

spicy sprouts photo DSCN1736_zps4c0788d4.jpg

Ingredients
250g brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 green chilli, chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Juice 1/2 lemon

Blanch the sprouts in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
Drain and set to one side.
Heat some oil in a medium hot frying pan.
Add the chilli and garlic and fry for a minute.
Add the sprouts to the pan and cook until the sprouts take on some colour and are tender.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the pine nuts and lemon juice sprinkled over.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Recipe: Carrot and Star Anise Soup

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I have a recipe for Vichy carrots, where the carrots are cooked in water, butter and sugar, that calls for the addition of star anise. It’s a pleasing flavour combination, but I though to use it in a soup rather than as a side dish. As I’m not creating a glaze, the butter and the sugar can go, but I’ve added potatoes to give the soup more body.

I’ve used chilli oil to add a kick to this fragrant, warming soup, but a drizzle of cream would do nicely. A sprinkled of chopped parsley would be a good colour contrast too.

Carrot & star anise soup photo IMG_0093_zps23be49c7.jpg

Ingredients
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
300g carrots, chopped
300g potatoes, chopped
2 star anise
750ml vegetable stock
chilli oil for garnish

Soften the garlic and onion in a little oil in a saucepan until they go translucent.
Add the carrots, potatoes, star anise and vegetable stock.
Bring to the simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the star anise and blend until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a drizzle of chilli oil.

Serves 2

Book Review: Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel

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Prashad is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Bradford that got to the finals of the 2010 TV show (Gordon) Ramsay’s Best Restaurant. This is their recipe book, including some dishes from the restaurant and some from their home.

The recipes are divided into: Starters; Street Snacks and Nasto; Main Dishes; Rice and Breads; Soups, Pickles, Side Dishes, Chutneys and Dips; Drinks, Desserts and Sweets.
There are also sections to explain the spices and ingredients that may be unfamiliar to the average reader.

The book is well laid out, with clear instructions and many full page, colour pictures of the finished dishes. The recipes are about evenly split between the sections, which means the rice and breads section is a bit overbalanced for me. I can’t see me making many of breads, so I would have preferred more recipes in the soups side. There are only three soups listed, which is a bit disappointing, but I suppose soups don’t sell that well in restaurants.

And this is my main comment about the book. It is clearly written by someone who runs a restaurant. I always find there is a different feel to recipe books written by chefs to those written by cooks. The chef books always seem to have more complicated recipes with more ingredients, more steps and more utensils needed (someone else does the washing up!) This book definitely falls into that category. There’s also an unwillingness to compromise over ingredients. There are many specialist ingredients in this book some of which you will be able to find in the world food shelves of a big supermarket and some you’re going to have to track down an Indian grocer for. Having said that, the book does explain what you need, what it looks like and how to prepare it.

Grumbles aside, there are some great recipes in this book. There are dhals and vegetable curries a plenty, with rice dishes and pickles to serve with them. The recipe I made below, corn on the cob curry, is delicious hot and spicy with the sweetness of the corn coming through. I will certainly be making it again.

Title: Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Author: Kaushy Patel
Publisher: Saltyard Bookes
Year: 2012
Pages: 263
Recipes: 110 all vegetarian (including 66 vegan)
Price: £25 hardback
ISBN: 9781444734713

Corn on the Cob Curry

Corn on the cob curry photo DSCN1698_zps200fd885.jpg

Ingredients
4 corn on the cobs, cut into four pieces each
2 medium onions, 1 blended to a fine paste, the other chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp medium red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
2-4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp garam masala

For the masala
2-4 green chillies, seeds left in
8cm root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Pinch of salt

Make the masala paste by blending the chillies, ginger and salt in a blender.
Heat some oil in a large pan and add the onion paste.
Cover and leave to fry gently for 3 minutes until the paste is starting to brown.
Stir in the chopped onion.
Cover the pan and fry for two minutes and then stir.
Repeat until the onions have turned a rich dark brown.
Add the masala paste, tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and half the fresh coriander.
Stir thoroughly and then cover and leave to simmer for 2 minutes.
Add 175ml of boiling water and the corn on the cob pieces.
Make sure the corn pieces are covered in the sauce, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
When the corn is tender, remove from the heat.
Stir in the garam masala and the rest of the fresh coriander.
Cover and let sit for 20 minutes to let the flavours develop (and for the corn to cool down to be held by fingers!)
Serve with flat bread to hold the corn and mop up the juices.

Serves 4