Tag Archives: mushrooms

Recipe: Devilled Mushrooms

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I’m not sure why devilled kidneys came into my mind a couple of weeks ago, but they did. I’ve never actually eaten them, but they show up occasionally on tv programmes looking back to the ‘glories of the English country house breakfast’ or equivalent. I’m partial to strong flavours for breakfast and something hot and spicy appealed to me. Just not with the dead animals, obviously. Mushrooms, big chunks of juicy mushrooms seemed to fit the bill.

This is a version without cream or butter, which tend to show up in devilled recipes. Although it has a weekend breakfast/brunch feel to it, it is lightning quick to make and could be done for a weekday breakfast if you felt like it. You’re not trying to cook the mushrooms down, just heat them through so they stay firm and juicy.

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Ingredients
250g (or a pack) Chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder/flakes
2 tbsp mushroom ketchup or vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce

Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
Add the mushrooms, mustard powder and chilli and stir so that all the mushroom are coated in the spices.
Add a splash of water to the pan to help the mushrooms start to cook.
When that water has boiled off and the mushrooms are cooking, add the mushroom ketchup and mix thoroughly.
Season with pepper and taste for salt.
Serve over toast.

Serves 2

Recipe: Tofu Chasseur

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if you were on the Bakerloo Line one morning a few weeks ago and noticed a woman staring at you, if that woman was me, you needn’t have worried. I wasn’t staring at anyone. I was picturing a vision in my head and that vision was: Tofu Chasseur. I don’t know where the inspiration came from, but it arrived on the Bakerloo Line.

I’m not a huge fan of classic French cooking. A lot of it seems to consist of taking ordinary ingredients and adding butter and/or cream until they taste good. Chasseur sauce is the exception. There is no cream involved and you can swap out the butter for oil to make it vegan. The sauce is full-flavoured and great for a dinner party as you can make it in advance and reheat and the flavour will probably only improve.

I like this way of cooking tofu as well. I don’t often cook the kind of food that needs a direct replacement for a slab of meat, but this works very well. The garlic oil adds flavour and the frying means that you actually have something to cut into and its quite satisfying.

I’ll be making this again. And I’ll be looking for other French sauces I can adapt.

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Ingredients
400g firm tofu
6 closed cup or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
250ml white wine
75ml brandy
250ml vegetable stock
4 tbsp chopped tomatoes (from tin)
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
garlic infused olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

Half an hour before you’re ready to start cooking, wrap the tofu in kitchen towels and press under weights to remove the excess moisture.
Heat some oil in a medium saucepan and add the mushrooms and shallots.
Sweat for about five minutes until the mushrooms are browned slightly and the shallots are tender.
Add the thyme, white wine and brandy.
Simmer until reduced by a half to two thirds.
Add the stock, tomatoes, mushroom ketchup and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.
Remove from the heat.
Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with the garlic olive oil and put on a medium heat.
Unwrap the tofu and slice into 4 ‘steaks’.
When the oil is at temperature put the tofu steaks in the pan.
Fry until the bottom sides are golden brown.
Turn the tofu steaks over and repeat on the other side.
When cooked, drain any excess oil from the frying pan and pour the sauce over the tofu steaks.
Let it simmer and reduce for a minute or two.
Serve with the remaining chopped thyme sprinkled over.

Serves 4 with vegetables.

Book Review: Curry Easy Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey

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For a long time in the UK, if you wanted a book to show you how to cook Indian food, Madhur Jaffrey was the only choice. So it’s just as well that she knows what she’s talking about and can communicate successfully to a wide range of people.

This year I have bought three Indian cookery books, all of a high quality. Curry Easy Vegetarian is the third one of the three and I’m reviewing it first, because it is the best.

As a home cook, I tend to like books written by cooks rather than chefs. It may be the tone is friendlier, it may be the knowledge of what is achievable in a home kitchen, it may be because it’s written by someone who has to do their own washing up. I don’t what it is, but give me a book written by someone who doesn’t have a test kitchen. There are some unfamiliar recipes and techniques here, but Madhur Jaffrey has the tone of someone who is encouraging you to have a go, rather than someone setting a test.

The recipes are divided into eight chapters:
Soups, Appetizers and Snacks
Vegetables
Dals: Dried Beans and Legumes
Grains: Rice, Semolina and Quinoa
Grains: Breads, Pancakes, Savouries and Noodles
Eggs and Dairy
Chutneys, Relishes and Salads
Drinks, Sweets and Desserts

The recipes are well laid out, attractively photographed and carefully explained. When I was first going through it, I found so many recipes I wanted to try that I ran out of bookmarks. The vegetable section has one recipe more enticing than another. There are poriyals – stir-fries with indian flavours that I can’t wait to try and dals that make me glad cold weather is coming so I can curl up on a wet day with them. And there are unexpected flavours too – rice with dill and peas, fresh peach salad, cucumber salad.

In terms of ingredients most of them should be familiar and available in most supermarkets (for which Madhur Jaffrey should take a good deal of the credit). She explains the more unfamiliar ones. My only warning is that several of the recipes require fresh curry leaves which may not be that easy to get hold of.

I really like this book and I’ve been recommending it to friends. It has a recipe for turnip – what’s not to like?

Title: Curry Easy Vegetarian
Author: Madhur Jaffrey
Publisher: Ebury Press
Year: 2014
Pages: 352
Recipes: 194 all vegetarian (including 132 vegan)
Price: £26 (hardback)
ISBN 9780091949471

In the introduction Madhur talks about how a lot of the recipes are from homes throughout India and won’t have appeared on restaurant menus. One of those she mentions is Kodava Mushroom Curry. I decided to give it a try. I stuck to the recipe, apart from using low-fat coconut milk, so I omitted the stage of letting it settle as it would have had no effect. I don’t know if that made a huge difference, this was hot, creamy and delicious anyway.

Kodava Mushroom Curry with Coconut

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Ingredients
1 400ml tin coconut milk left undisturbed for 24 hours to allow the cream to rise to the top
450g button mushrooms, halved
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
4tbsp vegetable oil
6 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2-3 fresh chillies, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice

Open the tin of coconut milk and spoon the thick cream at the top into a bowl. Leave the thinner milk in the tin.
Put the mushrooms in another bowl, sprinkle over the salt and turmeric and stir until all the mushrooms are coated.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
Put the oil in a medium hot frying pan or wok.
Add the shallots and fry until they are just starting to turn brown.
Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander and chilli powder.
Return to the heat and add the chillies, and then the mushrooms and their accumulated liquid.
Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the thin coconut milk and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Add the coconut cream and simmer on a very low heat for a minute.
Add the lime juice and serve

Serves 4

Recipe: Summer pasta

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My brother Jon and my sister-in-law Maria are both excellent cooks. They’re not vegetarian, but I always get fed well when I go to stay. And one of my brother’s pasta recipes reminded me of summer, so let’s pretend that autumn’s not sneaking up on us rapidly.

First time around, both Jon and I put mushrooms in, as we happened to have some lurking around and outstaying their welcome. Jon adds parsley as well. I made the recipe again and replaced the mushrooms with feta cheese, and the parsley with basil. This one had a lighter, less earthy taste. But you might want to dial back on the capers and/or olives if you don’t like dishes too salty.

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Ingredients

Clove of garlic, crushed

Couple of spring onions, finely chopped

Half a chilli, finely chopped

Handful of small tomatoes, halved

A dozen small black olives, finely chopped

1tsp of capers

Feta cheese

Fresh basil

While the pasta is cooking (penne or fafalle is probably best), sweat the garlic, chilli and spring onions very gently in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, olives and caper, and warm through. Drain the pasta and mix the topping through it. Add plenty of torn basil leaves and ground black pepper. If you’re veggie rather than vegan, it benefits from feta cheese crumbled on the mushroom-free version or some hard pasta cheese (Tesco’s is very good) on the original. Parsley works better than basil on the mushroom dish.

Recipe: Cambodian Mushroom Dip

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This is a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from Everyday Veg. This simple recipe produces a rich, creamy, spicy dip with a complex flavour. This could well be making a permanent addition to my dip repertoire.

The mushrooms should be chopped to a medium-fine texture at first. Not duxelles fine, but not coarse either. They should still retain some texture after cooking.

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Ingredients
250g mushrooms, chopped
1/2 birds eye chilli, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp curry powder or paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
200ml coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry until the liquid has reduced down to very little.
Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute.
Stir in the curry powder, peanut butter and then add the coconut milk.
Stir to mix thoroughly.
Lower the heat and simmer slowly for 15-20 minutes until it has reduced to a soft but not soupy consistency.
Add the soy sauce and lime juice.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over.

Recipe: Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

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Mushroom Stroganoff is one of those dishes that define an era, much in the same way that black forest gateau and prawn cocktail do. In the days before goats cheese, mushroom stroganoff was a perennial vegetarian option on menus. But, in common with its menu mates, when it’s done well it’s a dish worth eating.

The secret to this is the stock you use – Italian porcini mushroom stock. You can find it in some supermarkets and delicatessens. It’s worth your time seeking it out and buying it when you find it. It adds an intense mushroom flavour to stroganoff and, indeed, mushroom risotto as well. If you can’t get it, then vegetable stock will do.

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Ingredients
1 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp white wine
1/4 tsp english mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
few rasps of nutmeg
150ml mushroom stock
100ml coconut milk
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Sweat the onion and garlic in a large frying pan.
When they have softened, add the mushrooms and turn up the heat a little.
When the mushrooms have taken on a little colour, add the white wine and let it bubble down.
Then stir in the mustard, paprika and nutmeg.
Cook the mushrooms in the spices for a minute and then add the stock and coconut milk.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the stock has reduced by at least half.
Season with salt and pepper and serve with the parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 2 with rice

Recipe: Mushroom and Pea Curry

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I wanted to try a creamy curry but without the dairy in this recipe. There are simple ingredients in this dish, but they are packed with flavour. The mushrooms, too, add a satisfying mouthfeel that means this is a vegan curry you’ll want to eat again and again.

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Ingredients
For the spice paste
1 green chilli
15g coriander leaves
1 clove garlic
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1/4tsp turmeric powder
4tbsp water

For the cashew cream
50g cashew nuts
4tbsp water

1/2tsp cumin seeds
200g mushrooms, sliced
150g peas

Put the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a little oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop add the spice paste.
Stir for a minute and then add the mushrooms.
Cook for a couple of minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking put the cashew nuts and water into the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the peas to the pan, followed by the cashew cream.
Stir to mix and then cover.
Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice or naan bread.

Serves 2