Tag Archives: potato

Lentil stew with mash

31 May

I have posted recipes quite similar to this before – mainly in ‘pie’ style.  This one is a big thicker, and still has the typical shepherd’s/gardener’s pie mash and pie crust.  Think of it as a kind of an unbaked gardener’s pie in a bowl.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 big carrot, diced up how you like
  • 1 regular size onion
  • 2/3 cup peas
  • some form of vegetable gravy – either home made or gravy powder
  • some puff pastry (you could alternatively use filo or a regular shortcrust)
  • potatoes, about 4 medium sized

What to do:

In a pretty large pot, cover your lentils in water plus two or three ‘finger-widths’ extra.  Less is more here, as you can always add in more water if they’re getting a bit dry.  Put on the boil, and once you’ve had a rolling boil for a few minutes, crumble the stock cube over the top (alternatively, if you make your own stock you can just cook the lentils from the word go in half-and-half water and stock). While the lentils are coming up to the boil, get your potatoes in the steamer (or in a pot to boil).

While you’re waiting for the lentils to cook, time to do the pastry biscuit.  The easiest way (particularly with filo or puff) is to use frozen pastry.  If you wanted to make your own, my recipe is over here.  I like to cut out shapes, but you can easily just use a hand cut circle.  Pop them onto a well-oiled baking tray and throw them in the oven.  If you want to get your pastry into a nice little ‘hat’ shape, pop them into a shallow pie dish:

Remember to keep an eye on your pastry, and pull it out of the oven when it’s golden on top.

Once the lentils are starting to look as though they aren’t too far away from being done, throw in the carrots (and, if you’re so inclined maybe some parsnip and swede, diced to roughly the same size).  A few minutes later, stir though the peas and the gravy – either a few heaped tablespoons of pre-made gravy, or a tea spoon or so of gravy mix.  Let that cook down.

Now, your potatoes should be pretty much done so get them organised with mashing.  The thing I find about steaming your potatoes is that you don’t really need to add too much else to them to create a nice, creamy mash.  I usually just put a little bit of pepper in and that’s it.

So – everything is done.  Time to put it all together.  Fill the bottom of your bowl with the lentil mix, make a nice round ball of potato to plonk in the middle, and top with your pastry hat.  Viola!

And what to do with the left over lentil and mash?

Yep, not a very pretty photo but a damn fine sandwich.  And, some gratuitous shots of the new kitchen:

Also – let me tell you that as I write this, I’ve got some red wine braised tofu on the stove.  I’m going to serve it with some parsnip mash and carrots.  Fingers crossed, but so far it looks, tastes and smells pretty good.

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Veggie Burgers

23 Apr

I have a kitchen again!  A proper kitchen, with bench space and cupboard space.  A kitchen that is its own room and not a nook in the wall of another room.  A proper kitchen that can now be filled with deliciousness.  A kitchen which already has a ‘baking cupboard’ with four different types of flour in it.  Hooray!

And so, in honour of the new kitchen, here is the first real creation that’s come from it (yes, I know we’ve been here for ten days now – but what with the moving and organising and everything I haven’t really had the time to devote to culinary creation.)  So, here it is: veggie burgers.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 regular sized mashing potatoes
  • 1 regular sized sweet potato
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small-medium parsnip
  • 1/2 swede
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 5-6 button mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • cooking oil
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Peel all your veges, then roughly cut up and boil the potato and sweet potato, and put on to boil.  When they’re done, mash and set aside.

While they’re boiling, finely dice up your leek and onion and throw them into a frying pan with some oil.

Keep an eye on them – you want them really nicely browned.  While that’s going on dice up your other veggies (I actually did double, and set the other half aside for tomorrow night’s veggie soup!) and throw them in a pot to boil, with the peas.  Obviously, you want them cooked though – but not over cooked.

While that’s going on, your leek and onion mix should be done – tip it into the potato and sweet potato mash that you’ve set aside and keep your fry pan (no need to rinse) off the heat for a moment.  Peel and dice up your mushrooms, and throw them in the fry pan with a little bit more oil.  Peel you say?!?  If you don’t know how, there’s a handy tutorial at the end of the post.  Now, how much you cook these is really up to you.  I like them on the more well done side, but I know plenty of people who would quite happily throw them in the pan for 30 seconds and have them half-raw.  Go with what you feel.

Once the mushies and veggies are done, tip them into the mash and stir it all together, with some salt and pepper.  If you wanted to add some fresh herbs (rosemary would be my pick) do it here.  I haven’t because S likes simple food, and at the moment my taste buds are so whacked out with baby-related weirdness that I don’t want to risk adding things and then not being able to eat them.  There’s not need to be super precious about mixing – just get in there.

At this stage, you want to let the mix cool enough to handle, and then shape medium sized burger patties with your hands, and cover each one in breadcrumbs.  To be honest, I didn’t do it tonight.  For a number of reasons, which mainly had to do with not having any breadcrumbs on hand and still not having a food processor with with to make emergency breadcrumbs.  But – be assured that I’ve done it many times before and it will work out fine!  Finally, shallow fry each of the crumbed patties before draining them on some paper towel.  And then…

Devour.

How to peel a mushroom:

A few years ago my wonderful mum taught me about peeling mushrooms.  Maybe everyone already knows how to do it and I was just a bit slow on the mushroom-peeling uptake.  But, just in case – this is how:

1. Break the stem off.

From here, you’ll be able to see that the outer skin of the mushroom forms a kind of lip over the bottom edge:

And you’ll find that you can just grap little bits of the skin that’s folded over and pull it off:

And that when you pull, a strip will come off from the lip to the middle of the top:

Move all the way around the lip, and hey presto – a perfectly peeled mushroom!

Potato and Leek Croquettes

6 Jun

Last night was the great-tapas dinner party, which was a huge success!  We had so, so much food and a fair amount of it didn’t even get assembled (I think that had something to do with the huge amount of wine that was consumed).  Two of the dishes that I offered into the mix were arancini (risotto balls) and leek and potato croquettes.

What you’ll need for Croquettes:

  • 3-4 decent sized potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • a spoonful of Nuttelex
  • 1/2 cup water
  • rice crumbs or bread crumbs
  • vegetable oil (for frying)

Peel and cut up the potato into rough chunks and put on to steam (or boil).  While that’s going on, cut up the white part of the leek into small squares.  The easiest way to do this is to cut the leek in half lengthways, pull out the center and flatten the rest of the leek out into ‘sheets’ and cut into thirds lenghtways, then cut those long strips of leek into squares.

In a small saucepan, melt a decent spoonful of Nuttelex.  On a fairly hot heat, put the leek squares into the melted Nuttelex and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Be careful to scrape the sides down and get all the leek into the mix.  Don’t let the leek brown off.  Once all the leek is coated in Nuttelex, and are starting to look translucent, turn the heat right down, add the water and briefly stir around.  Leave on the head, stirring or shaking intermittently, for about seven minutes.  Once it’s down, take off the heat and set aside.

Mash the potatoes.  Do this however you like to mash potato.  My new method is in a food processor, with the plastic ‘S’ blade.  The good thing about ‘mashing’ like this is it creates smooth, creamy potato without any additives – so because it’s not laden with Nuttelex it’s a little healthier.

Combine the potatoes and the leek and stir until the leek is evenly distributed through the potato.  If you’ve done your potato in the food processor, you can just throw the leek in and give it another small wizz around.

Spread your crumbs onto a plate and, either using a spoon or your hands, roll your potato and leek mix into little balls, and then in the crumbs.  Once you’re all ready to go, heat up the oil in a medium sized saucepan.  If you’ve got a candy thermometer it can be handy to use it, and keep an eye on the temperature.  Your oil should be between 175 and 190 degrees c.  Fry the potato balls a few at a time until the outside is crispy and brown, rest them on some paper towel.  You can serve these either hot or cold – they’re really good with some fresh homemade salsa, and (as seems to be my constant suggestion) a glass of a big, bold, or slightly spicy red wine.

Stew, stew, and fly away…

1 Jun

Yesterday, S and I booked our flights to London, via Doha where we will spend a few days, including his birthday.  It means that there is a lot of work ahead of me over the next few weeks and months.

I haven’t had the time to do much of anything – beyond working on my thesis – for the last few days (and I fully expect that to continue) so when S said this afternoon that he wanted a stew I breathed in relief that it was really something I could just throw on the stove and leave to simmer away.  As S has Scottish heritage, and as were exactly one hundred days until we leave, I thought I’d do something a bit Scottish-inspired.  While I’m not really sure how well I did with that, it was one big pot of tasty, tasty stew that S absolutely devoured (and that’s always a good thing!)

I started by soaking

  • 1/2 a cup of pearl barley,
  • 1/2 a cup of split green peas and
  • 1/2 a cup of red lentils.

Cover them with just enough water and soak for about an hour.  I had to refill the water twice.

While they were soaking I cut up (honestly, very very roughly):

  • 9 potatoes (for some reason my mum gave me a huge pile of absolutely tiny potatoes – this really would have been 4 alright sized potatoes)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 huge onion
  • 1 huge leek (but, I love leek and I have instilled S with a love of leek – so if you’re not as bit a leek fan, maybe just a small one)
  • 2 medium sized parsnips
  • 3 decent sized potatoes

Once the peas/lentils/barley were ready, and S was on the way home, I heated a big stew-pot with a tiny bit of oil in the bottom, threw the onion and leek in first for a few minutes, before putting in the rest of the veges in for a few minutes, before about a liter of vegetable stock, and the now-soaked-and-rinsed peas/lentils/barley mix.  I like thick stew, so if you wanted something a bit more soupy – you could add up to 1 3/4 liters if you wanted to.  At this stage add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the whole thing up to the boil, then down to a simmer and throw the lid on – with the occasional stir – until the veges are ready and the whole thing is delicious!  Spoon into a bowls, sprinkle a bit of fresh parsley over the top.

Now, look – this is not the most awesome looking dish you’ll ever see, but seriously, what stew is?  (That’s why you got a photo of S enjoying the stew, rather than the stew itself.)  This has made a HUGE pot – enough for us both to stuff ourselves silly and we’re looking at lunches tomorrow and another four serves (probably) in the freezer.  That’s the great thing about stew, though!

This weekend S and I are hosting a dinner party – Tapas style.  While I doubt the entire affair will be vegan (as its us and three other couples, and everyone is bringing food, and we’re the only veg*ns) obviously everything that I make will be – so, now I need some amazing Spanish inspiration!  (My first, and currently only, idea is bean-balls).  So – any ideas, please, please let me know!