Tag Archives: tapas

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!