Friday, 23 November 2007

French Onion Soup - The soup that tries your patience

Serves 3


2 Large onion finely chopped
50gm organic butter
2 cubes of organic Vegetable Stock
750ml boiling hot Water
2 tablespoons of honey/maple syrup

For topping
2-3 slices of Baugette
Grated Emental Cheese

Melt butter in a large pan.
Add onion to butter.
Keep stirring every 2 mins.
Add honey/maple syrup, keep stirring for another 45 minutes until the onions start looking golden brown and completely caramelised. It takes very long and gets very boring, keep spare nibbles with you, and keep stirring. Wait for the onions to shrink to about 1/3rd of their initial size. Yes, it takes forever. But its worth the wait.
Once you are sure that the onions are golden brown add two spoons of flour.
Mix well, and let the mixture cook for another 2 minutes. In the meantime, make one litre of vegetable stock using the two stock cubes and 1 litre of boiling water.
While stirring, add the stock to the sizzling golden brown onion.
Keep stirring every two minutes or so, and boil for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Toast the baguette slices in a toaster or under the grill. Spread the grated cheese on top and let them sizzle for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour hot soup in a bowl, and place this cheesy bread on top of the soup in bowl. Let it soak a bit.
Enjoy the flavours of onion, butter and cheese with yum soup! Its all worth the wait!

This soup tastes better if eaten the next day, so its name suggests 'The soup that tries your patience.'

Monday, 19 November 2007

Cauliflower Cheese


1 large Cauliflower / Romanesco
1 small onion finely chopped
300ml (½ pint) Milk
110g (4oz) Cheddar Cheese
3 tbsp Plain Flour
50g (2oz) Butter
25g (1oz) Fresh Breadcrumbs
Two pinches of powdered Nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper

1. Trim the cauliflower / romanesco and boil in water for 10-15 minutes or until just tender.
2. Drain and place in a flameproof dish.
3. Add butter to a hot saucepan, let it sizzle. Add the onion, and let it soften for 4 minutes.

4. Add the flour and stir continuously.

5. After the flour is equally clinged to the onion and butter, start adding milk little by little.
Heat, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth.
6. Allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, a pinch of nutmeg and seasoning.

7. Cook for further minute stirring well.

8. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.

9. Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together, sprinkle over the top.

10. Place under a hot oven (190deg.) and let it sizzle for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

11. Serve immediately.

Enjoy Yummy scrumptios Cauliflower cheese.

P.S. Romanesco is a type of cauliflower with a stronger taste. It looks like this:

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Sardines on Toast

Serves 2

A can of sardines (120gm) in spring water
Three slices of Brown/Seeded bread
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (rapeseed oil based is better for your health)
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce

Empty the sardines in a bowl after throwing the water away from the can.
Using a fork, mix mayonnaise, Worcester sauce and Tomato sauce with sardines.
Toast the slices of bread in a toaster/under the grill till golden brown.
Spread a thick layer of mixture on the toasted toast, and keep under the grill for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown.

Ready to eat. Fantastic breakfast. Full of Omega3!

Crunchy Nuts about Eggy Toast

Serves 2

3 organic free range eggs
2 tbspn of organic milk
10 gm organic butter (optional)
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
4 slices of white bread
3 tbspns of Crunchy nut cornflakes

In a bowl, mix 3 eggs, with the remaining ingredients apart from butter and bread.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Grease the pan with butter, and wait for the butter to sizzle slightly.
Dip one slice of bread at a time in the eggy mixture and let it slightly soak this mixture. Transfer this eggy bread onto the hot pan, and wait for it to cook. Flip the toast and wait for the golden brown colour.

Serve on a warm plate with cruchy nut cornflakes crushed on the top of this toast. Perfect breakfast!

Enjoy the Eggy toast with a twist!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Tomo Tomato Salad

This is a salad for people who don't really like salads, plus its really good for salad lovers too.

Serves 2


12 - 15 cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
A few torn basil leaves

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. About 0.5 - 1cm in size but it doesn't need to be precise. Put in a small bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix it all up gently with your hands, and hey presto, its ready to serve as a great accompaniment to a quiche, tart or whatever you like.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Perfect English Pancakes

This recipe makes superb English pancakes without any oil or butter. They'd be really healthy if I didn't fill them chocolate and jam.

The recipe makes enough to feed about 4 people, but the exact number depends on the size of your pan. In a normal 8inch (20cm) pan it probably makes about 10 pancakes, but in my 12inch mega pan it doesn't make that many.

110g plain flour
2 large eggs (organic eggs give a richer batter, plus the usual benefits)
200ml milk mixed with 75ml water

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and break in the eggs. Use a whisk to mix the egg into the flour until its all fairly well combined.

Stir in the milk, a little bit at a time until you have a smooth batter with a consistency similar to single cream.

Heat your pan really hot (oil it only if its not non-stick, by wiping a little oil on with kitchen paper). Now pour in a ladleful of batter (use your judgment according to the size of the pan). Pick the pan up and quickly rotate it around so that the batter runs to all sides of the pan. If there is any excess, quickly tip the remainder back into the bowl of batter.

Put it back on the heat. After a minute, loosen the edges with a spatula. It should start to shrink slightly. Lift the edge with the spatula and look underneath. When it starts to go slightly golden brown, its time for the flip.

Don't be afraid! Its all down to practice so don't worry about losing a few the first time. Just make sure that no one is standing nearby, as a crazy chef whirling a hot pan around can be hazardous.

Now put it back on the heat and cook until you get nice brown spots underneath, like the surface of the moon.

Tip onto a plate, cover with your favourite filling (lemon & sugar, chocolate spread and jam are always good options). You can also make savoury fillings, recipes for which will be coming soon.

Caramelised Onion Tart with Camembert Cheese

For 4-5 people

This is a slow recipe. To get this one right, it takes 2 hours. Caramelising onions is a very slow process and takes around 45 minutes. Trust me, its worth the wait!

Shortcrust pastry (ready made)
1 red large onion finely chopped
1 white large onion finely chopped
2 eggs
1 pinch of nutmeg powder
1 pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 table spoons balsamic vinegar
200ml single cream/ creme fraiche
150 gm goat/camembert cheese

Melt butter in a large pan. Add all the onions, and then cover and cook gently for 35-45 minutes. Stir every 6-7 minutes. The onions start to caramelise soon after 25-35 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and let the onion cool slightly.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190degrees. Unroll the pastry onto a 20x20 in a loose bottom quiche tin. Line the pastry with a baking paper and fill it with baking beans. Bake it for 15 minutes and then remove the baking paper with the baking beans and allow another 5 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown.

Mix the creme fraiche/single cream, eggs, nutmeg and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the caramelised onions. Pour this mixture onto the pastry case. Scatter camembert slices on the top, or alternatively use goats cheese if you want a stronger flavour.

Bake for 30 minutes until the surface is golden and the filling is set. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes. Make slices, and serve with a tomato salad.

Spaghetti Tetrazzini alla Tomo

This is a really tasty pasta bake, but not as you know it. Rich, full of flavour and if you're anything like us, you won't be able to leave the leftovers for tomorrow.

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs cut into 2cm pieces
2 garlic cloves - grated or crushed
350g mushrooms
20g dried porcini mushrooms
300ml vegetable stock
400g creme fraiche
200g grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
A handful of basil leaves - torn into pieces

First preheat your oven to about 200degrees C.

Put the porcini in a cup and pour over just enough boiling water to cover them. Leave them to soak for a few minutes.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and start cooking your spaghetti according to packet instructions (usually 10-11mins).

At the same time, heat a little olive oil in a big saucepan and brown the chicken pieces. Once browned, drain the porcini (saving the now deep brown water) and add to the saucepan with the garlic and fresh mushrooms.

Now pour in the vegetable stock and the reserved water from the porcini and stir it all together. Turn the heat down a bit and simmer gently for about 5 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.

Add the creme fraiche to the pan, stir through and turn off the heat.

Your spaghetti should now be ready. Drain it and then stir it into the chicken mixture. Stir in three quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil leaves.

Now transfer into an oven-proof dish, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top and bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve onto plates and if its not delicious enough already, you can always sprinkle a bit more Parmesan and olive oil on top.