Tag Archives: cheese

Recipe: Stuffed baked potatoes

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I like baked potatoes. I really, really like baked potatoes. I was always the one first in the queue for the baked potato stalls at music festivals (followed by a swift rush over to the crepes one for afters!) If you’re vegetarian, though, you get a bit bored with cheese and beans, or cheese and coleslaw, or cheese and onion (guaranteed bad breath, that one) or the dreaded cottage cheese and pineapple. If you’re vegan, it seems to be beans, beans, beans or hummus.

So here’s one vegetarian and one vegan suggestion for when you want a comfort supper with minimal effort.

I think the original recipe for stuffed baked potatoes came from Delia Smith, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Whatever, it’s dead easy to make and I’m sure you can think of variations on a theme. When the potato is baked to your satisfaction, scoop out the insides and mix with Boursin or whichever soft cheese you prefer. I always use garlic and herbs variety, but I’m sure the others would work (well, dunno about the fig one …) Loosen the mix with a drop of milk, add salt and black pepper, then pile back into the skins. I chop some leeks for the top, then put the potatoes back in the oven for ten or 15 minutes to warm the filling through and turn the leeks slightly crispy.

You can eat it as it is, or with a side salad. Rocket and watercress are nice, sharp counterblasts to the creamy filling.

The vegan filling is mushrooms and beans (not the baked variety). It came via my sister-in-law, Maria, and may be from Weightwatchers originally. She did it with tinned kidney beans and tinned mushrooms. I’ve never used tinned mushrooms in my life and don’t intend to start now, so I just fried some mushrooms (olive oil or low-cal spray, depending on your weight-watching status!), warmed through a tin of mixed beans (the ones in a slightly spicy tomato sauce are best, or it’s all a bit bland) and then added the lot to the baked potato. A knob of butter might have sneaked in there as well. And it’s extra tasty served with either cranberry or apple sauce.

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Recipe: Quesadilla/Sincronizada

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Loads of food cultures have a variation of cheese and bread heated together. We have the cheese toastie. In Mexico they have the quesadilla, using corn or flour tortillas. There are two variations, the quesadilla where one tortilla is filled and folded in half and the sincronizada where the filling is sandwiched between two tortillas. In both cases the tortilla is dry fried (or fried) on a frying pan or griddle. You’ll tend to find sincronizadas called quesadillas if you see them in restaurants and having started writing this blog entry I think that’s because quesadilla is easier to spell.

They’re a great and easy snack/lunch to make. Once you have the technique down pat, then there are a wide variety of versions you can make. I’ve listed some ideas at the bottom. In my experiments with this I’ve found flour tortillas slightly easier to handle, although the corn ones have more flavour. I would also warn people to keep the filling fairly frugal to be sure that it cooks through properly and to make it easier to eat.

I’ve done two recipes in this entry, a cheese based one and a vegan option. To be authentic for the vegan one, I should be using refried beans, which you can find in some supermarkets now, but in fairly large tins. As I’m giving the recipe for two people, I’m going to use baked beans. If anyone wants to report me to the Mexican Embassy over this, their number is 020 7499 8586.

Quesadilla photo DSCN0725_zps381529f6.jpg

Ingredients – cheese
50g cheese, grated
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
4 small flour or corn tortillas

Ingredients – baked beans
1 small tin baked beans
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
4 small flour or corn tortillas

Add the filling ingredients to a bowl and mix well. If you’re doing the baked beans version, try and mush the beans together a little as you mix.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put a small frying pan on a medium to high heat.
When it’s hot add the first tortilla and spread half the filling over it.
Heat until the bottom of the tortilla is looking a little browned and crispy.
Cover the lower tortilla and filling with a second tortilla and press down.
Using a fish slice or a spatula, carefully turn the tortilla sandwich over.
Heat the tortilla until it is now toasted.
Remove from the pan and cut into quarters.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Serves 2 as a light lunch or snack.

Once you have mastered this technique then the variations are only limited by imagination and taste. Off the top of my head you could try tapenade and mozzarella; hummus and chopped green olives; mozzarella, tomato and basil; crumbled falafel and tapenade. You could even try a sweet version with peanut butter and grated chocolate or Nutella. Cheese on toast was never this good.

Recipe: Himmel and Haggerty

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I have a suspicion that the notes about how I came up with this recipe are going to be longer than the recipe itself, but here goes.

This is a mashing together of two classic recipes – Pan Haggerty and Himmel und Erde. Pan Haggerty is a Tyneside & Northumbrian dish of potatoes, onions & cheese cooked in a frying pan on top of the stove. Himmel und Erde is a German dish of apples and potatoes. I can’t say I grew up with either recipe – I grew up with the Wearside & Durham dish of Panackulty, which is potatoes and corned beef layered and cooked in the oven – but I looked at a recipe of Pan Haggerty, remembered Himmel und Erde and thought ‘Apples would do nicely in this’.

It makes a great supper or lunch dish and it’s a great way of using up the end bits of blocks of cheese if you want something more substantial than a cheese toastie. For a vegan version, this would be great just leaving the cheese out. It’s also great cold for a lunchbox the next day.

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Ingredients
2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
100g cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp dried sage

Put a small amount of oil in a small frying pan. Starting and ending with a layer of potatoes, build up layers of potatoes, onion, apple and two thirds of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper as you go and sprinkle in the sage as you do.
If your frying pan has a lid you can use that to cover, otherwise kitchen foil or a plate work just as well.
Heat over a low to medium heat for 20 minutes.
When you can slip the point of a knife easily to the bottom, the potatoes are cooked.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and put under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling and browned.
Serve with a crisp green salad.

Serves 2