Sausage, haggis and bean pie

 

Now calm down, don’t get excited. There is no meat in this recipe whatsoever. Occasionally I eat veggie sausages. I don’t know why as I can never get them to taste as nice as the ones in pubs. I sometimes suspect the ones in the pubs aren’t veggie at all 😦

I usually boil the sausages in gravy then eat them with a huge mound of mash. And there it is… the real reason for the meal….an excuse to have a huge plateful of buttery, creamy, yummy, cheese-y mash.

Today that all changed. I am now converted to veggie sausages and the reason is the Cauldron sausage and bean pie recipe. I only had a tiny tin of beans 120g, so made up the bulk with half a Halls veggie haggis frozen on  Burns night and a quarter can of chopped tomatoes.  I used a packet of Cauldron Lincolnshire sausages.

My goodness the result was delicious. Even meat eating Mr Plummy Mummy enjoyed it enough to have two helpings. I was grinning with full belly smug satisfaction which was only slightly marred when he said it would taste really good with meat sausages and meat haggis. Silently, in my mind and under my breath I blow giant  raspberries at his love of meat – I’ll stick to this pie from now on!

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A finished neck warmer

I haven’t done a Chains post in a while. It’s not for lack of knitting/crochet as my hands have been busy. Sometimes to the point of pain. But I haven’t finished any objects in a while … I run out of yarn and have to order more, I frog a piece because it’s just not right then frog again and again. Or I just put it down as I cannot be bothered to finish it. But once in a while, I sneak in a quick one night job. And this Saturday, I did a one night job for myself. A new neckwarmer to match the walking jacket hubby gave me for Christmas. It’s not a scarf as I only had one ball of purple. I was going to make it all different colours but decided plain purple was best. The stitch is diagonal box stitch which is explained very well on the Crochet Cabana site

I’m pretty damn chuffed especially as the ball of yarn only cost me £1

 

 

Kitchenalia and books

It’s a dangerous thing internet shopping. Too easy to look around and way too easy to enter your details and spend spend spend. Luckily, I don’t have a lot of dosh so spending is limited. That is until I discovered the “vintage kitchenlia” category on Ebay. In truth, I’m trying to get hold of equipment my mum used to use. Stuff from the 60’s which I’m surprised to see labelled vintage. Anyway one thing leads to another and I have bought some cookbooks on the cheap. I’ve given Amazon links below but some of the books are much cheaper on Ebay. None of the books are purely vegetarian.

Indian superfood by Gurpareet Bains – a nice glossy book which tries to show how good some Asian ingredients are. I’m a bit surprised that he hasn’t included okra and kerala which are both known for health giving properties. However, there are some intriguing recipes – I need to figure out how to make the chocolate and chicken curry into a vegetarian dish.

The Curry Secret by Kris Dhillon – How to cook real Indian restaurant meals at home. Most of the restaurants in the UK are Bengali rather than Indian. There are of course restaurants for other areas of Indian including Gujarati, Punjabi and South Indian restaurants but your bog standard curry house is usually Bengali. In our house we never use terms such as madras, dopiaza, vindaloo etc. It’s one of the reasons I like eating in curry houses as the taste is very different from what I cook. However, if you eat out often you might suspect that the sauce is all the same. And reading this book you would be partly right – there is a base Curry sauce which the cook then adds to. I guess this is similar to my vagar which often consists of onion, garlic, ginger and chili base. I’m going to try out the base sauce from the book as soon as I figure out what green ginger is. Also again, many of the dishes here are meaty ones….who knows maybe hubby will pick it up and cook for himself!

Indian Regional Cooking by Sumana Ray – a bit of a happy mistake this one. I had a Sumana Ray book which was lost as part of a horrendous house move. I mourned the loss of that book as I referred to it often as it showed how to make so many foods easily. I thought I was ordering a replacement for that book but what arrived was not the same. The book I got includes meat and fish recipes but on looking through many of the recipes (and indeed the photos) from my old one are there. So this is the old book plus more. I love the sidebars which show step by step how to make things which helpful text and photos. There are loads that I want to try from this book so look out for future recipe reviews.

 

Stuffed mini peppers

A bit of a variation this as I’ve made stuffed peppers before. However, the slight change in the recipe has elevated these to a new level as far as hubby was concerned since he polished them off quickly and kept mentioning them all evening. The major changes are to use curry leaves and mini peppers. The mini peppers are so so cute!

I swear I took pictures of the finished article but I cannot find them in my phone or camera. So again, you will have to imagine what it looked like. I absolutely hate when recipes don’t show you what the results are supposed to look like so I apologise…next time I’ll take lots of photos and update here. The filling is cooked before hand in a saucepan, then the filled peppers are roasted in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 mini peppers
  • 200g potatoes – This is the washed and peeled weight.
  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 medium onion (dhungri) – peeled, diced very finely
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (adu) – washed, peeled and grated
  • 7-8 curry leaves (limda), central stalk of each leaf removed and then all chopped finely
  • 1 fresh green chili (lilly murchu)
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (lal murcha)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 2/3 tbs olive oil

Preparation:

  • Wash the peppers, then slice off the stalk end and scoop out the innards
  • When I cooked them, I found the filling was oozing out of all the peppers except the one I had slit down the side by mistake. So slit each on down one side

 

  • Have the  roasting dish ready with the olive oil smeared over the bottom
  • Dice the potatoes and them boil to the point a knife goes through them easily but they aren’t too watery. Mash in a bowl and set aside to cool.

Cooking:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan oven)
  • In a heavy based pan, heat oil. Once warm add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle
  • Add onions and cook until they are golden brown (about 5 minutes on med heat, stir often)
  • Add the curry leaves, ginger and chopped chili to the mix and cook for a minute or so
  • Add the spices, cook for another minute or two stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  • Take off the heat and mix into the mash. At this point taste the mixture to check seasoning. Add more salt if necessary
  • Fill each pepper with 2/3 tsp of the mix and lay flat in the roasting dish. I had a few spoons left over so just rolled them into small balls and put into the roasting dish too
  • Place in oven to cook. I cooked until the peppers skin starting to char but not so they were too soft (about 20 minutes in my oven). Turn each pepper half way through cooking so that both sides get charred slightly.
  • Serve with rice or a salad.

 

Curry leaves

Just a quick post about one of my favourite ingredients – curry leaves (limda in Gujarati). A wonderful aromatic herb which add a distinctive flavour to dhals and when fried to bombay mix type concotions. I’m hoping to grow some and have tracked down two nurseries that supply plants in the UK: Old hall plants and Poyntzfield herb nursery.

Now before we go on, let’s get one thing clear – I am not talking about the curry plants that are sold in some garden centres which have a very strong curry like smell Heichrysum italicum. I bought a bunch of these to keep the cats out of my garden. The plants that grew very well only succeeded in being cat barriers when they had grown so big the cats couldn’t get in. As far as I know, the leaves aren’t edible.

I am talking about Murraya koenigii. If you go to an asian supermarket, they are easy to find. They will be in the fresh herb section next to the coriander (another fave). The leaves should be glossy green and attached to their branches. You can pick each one off individually, or be lazy like me and just run your fingers down the stalk and just pull them all off in one go. Wash them well in cold water. Chuck out any bruised/black ones and freeze the rest. They last for ages (which is my way of saying, I don’t know how long you can freeze them but it’s ages)

 

 

Chocolate covered bretton biscuits

Pah to Valentines. I don’t need a Hallmark holiday to tell me when to tell my loved one that he is loved. He gets told regularly enough thank you. And he gets fed with lots of love on a daily basis. So I say, “don’t buy me a card”, “we won’t be doing silly gifts will we dear” and such stuff. But what I say, is not what I do. I cannot resist buying a silly card and showing him my love through food. This year, the treat was chocolate biscuits using a recipe from the Green and Black’s Chocolate Recipes book which was a Christmas gift from the sister-in-law and has been sat on my shelf unused for a couple of years. Most of the recipes need too many ingredients for an inpromptu bit of baking. But today, I was lucky to have a choice of a cake or a biscuit. The little one chose Breton Butter Biscuits which are an easy biscuit made of butter, flour, sugar and egg. I added in a teaspoon of powdered ginger and topped the lot of with melted Green and Black’s Chocolate with ginger. Hope that he appreciates the burnt fingers as I dipped lovingly into the hot choc sauce. The results – well spicy, just like my other half loves!

  

London’s best Asian supermarkets

This is an article from last year but I’m sure many of the shops mentioned are still there. I like how the distinguish the different types of food.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/05/londons-asian-supermarkets

Generally, if you are looking for a specific type of food e.g. Gujarati, then head to an area that has many Gujaratis. Wikipedia supplies this breakdown of where each different group are mostly found.

If you are looking for Gujarati vegetarian sweets and snacks (like chevda, ghatia etc) then I wholeheartedly recommend Gayatri which is in Kingsbury – be prepared to queue on festival days. Oh damn, now I’m hungry and missing London :S