What are You Eating?

This is the space where the Fife Diet staff team, volunteers and members share their own recipes.

So, what are you eating today? For lunch? For dinner? Share your menu with us, spill the beans…

Is it something fancy or plain? Is it a great example of Fife Dietery or has it all gone a bit pear-shaped? Here’s the space to share ideas, ‘fess up and ask for advice… ( you can go here to look back at the previous thread ‘What’s  for Tea?’)

Ideas about Oats by Elly

Are you trying to eat less dairy, reduce your food carbon emissions or just don’t like milk? I’m lactose intolerant – so here’s my alternative. It is so simple it almost seems daft sharing it with you but here goes! If I ever need a replacement for cold milk, for example on breakfast cereal, I whizz up a small cupful of oats with about a pint of water with a hand blender and then strain it through a sieve. It honestly tastes really good and has the advantage of being completely local, not costing you loads of money and traveling around the world in a tetra pak!

If you are looking for something even more luxurious (surely not!) then you can also use left over porridge as a replacement for cream. I discovered this through having made a crumble for tea and then having massive custard envy! We had some left over porridge from breakfast which I whizzed up with a little sunflower oil and sugar and vanilla essence and produced something (despite the dubious glances from the rest of my family) which really was lovely and did that cream-with-crumble job.

I hope these oaty insights bring someone joy! I think my next experiment will involve some oats (obviously) some brandy and a Christmas pudding!

Karen’s Shaken Hot Water Pastry Pie

For a long time now there has been a theoretical discussion in our house about whether or not you can make good pastry without butter. One person for, the other against. Well yipeee! I win! This is a fantastic recipe that is so easy and quick I can hardly believe it. I found it on Joannas Food Blog and she credits it to Geraldene Holt‘s French Country Kitchen.

Ingredients

225g flour
1 tbsp caster sugar (leave it out if you’re making something savoury)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
4 tbsp mild salad oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/2 beaten egg
3 tbsp hot water

Method

Put all the ingredients into a lidded plastic box and shake it for at least a minute. When you take off the lid, you will find a lumpy mixture; form it into a ball with your hands, and roll it out on a floured surface. The original recipe says this is enough for a 24cm tin, but Joanna suggests it is too much for a 24cm tin, better in the next size up, because this pastry is better when it is very thin. You can use this straight away, no need to rest it.

To turn it into the pie in the picture I just added some sliced cooking apples, sprinkled with sugar and baked for 30 minutes at 190.

Katya’s Wild Sorrel Soup

Preparation: 10 min, cooking 30 min or less.

Ingredients:

2 big onions, finely chopped

2 medium sized carrots, grated

5 medium sized potatoes with skin washed and chopped and bite size pieces

Big bunch of wild sorrel (can use domestic sorrel too), washed and roughly chopped

Vegetable stock or 2 stock cubes

2 bay leaves, salt, black pepper, allspice to taste

Preparation:

Fry onions until they are golden brown, add carrots and fry until carrots are soft. Add vegetable stock, bay leaves, pepper, allspice and bring it to the boil. Add potatoes and boil on medium heat. When potatoes are almost ready, add the sorrel and salt to taste. Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream, a half boiled egg and chopped parsley.

For the vegan variation, don’t add egg and sour cream.

Teresa’s Creamy Savoy Cabbage Soup with Smoked Fish

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found on the internet. This hearty soup is a filling Autumn warmer full of flavour.  Serves 4-6.

  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, cut into large dice (1/2 thumbs length). If using organic cabbage you don’t need to discard the outer leaves although they can be a bit bitter.
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, finely diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock, hot
  • 1 large pinch dried thyme
  • 300 ml double cream (or 500 more if you like it more creamy) . The cream will help to cover the bitterness of the cabbage
  • Salt and pepper to taste (although the fish and bacon will make it savoury enough)
  • A pinch of brown sugar
  • 100 g smoked mackerel shredded or other smoked fish
  • Variation: substitute the fish for potatoes for a milder flavour

Cook bacon in a large stockpot on medium heat 4 minutes, until crisp. Add onion and cook another 5 minutes or until tender, stirring. Add cabbage and thyme, stir for 3 minutes, add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer for about 20 minutes, add cream, simmer for 5 minutes more, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and top with the shredded smoked fish. Served with wholemeal brown bread.

Louises’s Homemade Gnocchi? Si! (serves 4)

Please don’t be put off by the thought of homemade gnocchi. I promise you I made this on back to school night. It’s ok if your gnocchi is a bit wider or longer than suggested, you just adapt the cooking times.  The sauce can be made beforehand and heated up to add to the freshly prepared gnocchi.

Don’t worry if your gnocchi is a bit wider or longer than suggested, you just need to adapt the cooking times. To speed up the process, you can make the sauce beforehand and heat it up whilst the gnocchi is cooking. Buon Appetito!

Gnocchi

500g potatoes

200g plain flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten.

salt and freshly ground black pepper.

100g Anster cheese (optional)

Tomato and Courgette sauce

A tablespoon or so of oil

2 small courgettes, roughly 300g, chopped into chunks

1 onion, halved and cut into chunks

300g, ripe tomatoes, halved and the larger ones quartered.

2 cloves of garlic, skins left on.

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

A teaspoon of sugar (optional)

A splash of balsamic vinegar (optional).

Turn on the oven to 200°C/ gas 6.  Scrub all the skin from the potatoes, removing any blemishes or ‘eyes’, and then cut the potatoes into similar sized chunks. Pop in a pan and salt well.

Whilst waiting for the potatoes to come to the boil, put your tomatoes, onions and courgettes into a roasting tin, drizzle with some oil and parsley (thyme, marjoram or basil are great too) Then season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for around 25 minutes.

Lower the heat of the potatoes and simmer for 8-12 minutes, until tender, then drain well. Next mash the potatoes, but only gently as the gnocchi should have some texture to them. Put the mash into a bowl and leave it to cool for 5 minutes until tepid, then add the flour, cheese (if using) and season well.

Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix well and bring together into a firm dough. Knead gently for a few minutes, then roll the dough into sausages, about 1.5cm in diameter. Cut each piece into roughly 2.5-3cm lengths. Then pop a large pan of water and bring to a simmer whilst checking on the veggies.

They should be looking nicely browned. The garlic skins will easily slip off and transfer the lot to a medium pan. Give the veggies a good blitz with a hand blender or masher. Then put on a low heat on the hob and add the tomato puree, sugar and balsamic vinegar (optional). Stir and season to taste.

Cook the gnocchi, in batches, for a minute or two in the large pan of simmering water. As they rise to the surface, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them into your serving bowl.

Take your roasted sauce off the heat and drizzle a couple of spoonfuls over your gnocchi. Sprinkle over the parsley or whatever herbs you are using, plenty of black pepper and some shaved cheese if you like.

Adaptations to the recipe

Pumpkin instead of potato to make the gnocchi. Boil or roast the pumpkin and add some grated nutmeg into the mixture.

Serve the gnocchi with butter, a sprinkling of your favourite herbs or a homemade pesto.

Try any combination of seasonal roasted veggies for your sauce.

Making it quicker…

You can also freeze the uncooked gnocchi in batches. Gnocchi has a tendency to stick together, so just like freezing berries, keep them spaced apart on a tray for initial freezing. Once they are frozen, you can pop them into a freezer bag or container together if you need to save space. The cooked sauce can be made in batches and frozen too.

 

Fergus’s Homemade Mayonnaise

It’s hot at last. You need fresh mayonnaise. Bought-mayo can get a bit bleugh so here’s a better, fresher, cheaper option.

290ml rapeseed or sunflower oil
2 free-range egg yolks
1 tsp powdered mustard
1 level tsp fine salt fresh black pepper
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Whisk the egg yolks, mustard and salt in a large bowl. Very slowly add the oil while continuing to whisk. This is the key stage – don’t be tempted to rush it. If you go too fast the mayonnaise will split. Once you’ve added the first trickle of oil and whisked well, the mixture should start to emulsify – it will turn thick and opaque. Now add the vinegar to loosen it up, and keep whisking. You’re now past the critical stage and can add the rest of the oil in, continuing at a thin trickle and, again, whisking as you go. Once all the oil is added, season to taste. You now have your fresh mayonnaise base. It’s delicious as it is but don’t stop there – stir in some extras and take it to the next level.

There are very few hard and fast rules here – if you have some fresh herbs, throw them in and they’ll probably work – but here are three ofavourites:

Zesty tarragon: perfect for those blackened barbecued chicken breasts. Add the zest of half a lemon and 2 fresh tsp tarragon.

Mustard and dill: best on burgers and bangers. Stir in 2 tsp wholegrain mustard and 2 tsp finely shopped fresh dill .

The herby combo: great with any fish. Throw in  1 tsp basil, 1 tsp chives, 1 tsp tarragon and a squeeze of lemon.

Karen’s Moroccan Carrot Soup

What to do with all those carrots? Carrots are a veg box perennial but sometimes you need something to jou-jou them up a bit. Here it is. (Serves 6)

1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
750g carrots, chopped
30g butter
80g rice
1 pint milk
1.2 litres of chicken stock (or veg)
2 egg yolks
Handful of chopped mint
A sprinkle of paprika

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan then crush them down. Wash and chop the carrots to dice then sweat them in butter for 10 minutes on a low to medium heat. Cook the rice in boiling slated water for 12 minutes, then drain.

Once the carrots are going golden  cover with the milk and the stock, then bring to the boil.

As soon as they have come to the boil turn it right down and simmer till tender. This should take about 10 minutes. Hand blend.

Then add the rice and cumin to the pot and simmer.

Take off the heat then add in the egg yolks, the chopped mint and season to taste.

 

Mike’s Amazing Black Kale Sauce

You need a good bunch of Black Kale (or Cavolo Nero to give it it’s posh name). It’s growing great this time of year and seems to have survived the dreadful summer. It’s pretty resilient. But some people find it a bit chewy and run out of things to do with it. This is super easy, super quick and very cheap.

450g (1 lb) kale
5/6 cloves of garlic
1/2 pint of cream (double or single depending on how fat you want to get)
A splodge of olive oil or rapeseed
A chunk of cheese (Anster or parmesan)
salt and pepper

Chop out the tough stalks, then blanch the leaves in boiling water for five minutes.

Meanwhile peel the garlic and fork them all over before dropping them into the cream on a pan on the hob. Simmer on low for another 5 / 10  minutes.

Drain the kale leaves and then add the cream. Whizz with a food processor then add seasoning, oil and cheese (grated).

This sauce is fabulous with fish, or to jazz up other veg – like steamed carrots or cauliflower, or you can use it with pasta.

You can adjust the cream and the garliciness of this sauce according to taste. Maybe a richer one for a fancier meal and a less strong one  for the kids?

* Kale is mega-healthy. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and also rich in calcium.

 

Meg’s Frittata with Spring Veg

This is an adapted Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe, taken from his book River Cottage Veg Every Day! I changed the quantities and a few ingredients, as I used only veg from our allotment.

The volume of rain we’ve had in recent months has affected our yield, the staples of onions and potatoes are not looking so good. So you can imagine my bursting pride whilst preparing this simple dish. Now imagine my glee when I realise one less mouth to feed than usual means there is enough for my lunch the next day. I am impossibly smug.

Here is what I used:

About 10 new potatoes – cut into 5mm slices
Kale (picked in error but still tasty) and spinach (about 300g altogether), washed and shredded
Broad beans – still on the small side but lovely just the same
Two shallots and and onion – roughly chopped, Hugh said spring onions I said, “Hugh, darling, our spring onions have gone rotten in a pool of mud”
Box of eggs – Hugh states 7-8 large, I only had 6, it was OK but I would have preferred more
75g cheese – Hugh says goats cheese but I used a cheddar due to the absence of goats in Fife
Two glugs of olive oil
seasonings

Here is roughly what I did:
Boil the potato slices in salted water – these were as fresh from the earth as can be and so took half the usual cooking time – put the beans in alongside and cook for about four minutes. The kale and spinach go on top, pan lid on, for another few minutes until just wilted. Then drain. Beat the eggs with salt, pepper and smoked paprika if you like it. In a large frying pan, gently fry the alliums in the oil. Stir the other veg through the onions, then pour the beaten egg into the pan.

Cook over a low heat whilst preheating the grill. When the eggs look cooked but still retain a bit of wobble, sprinkle over the roughly chopped cheese and finish under the grill until everything looks suitably melted and browned.

We ate with freshly picked lettuce and beetroot leaves dressed in a mixture of oil, mustard and white wine vinegar.

Mike’s Chanterrele Risotto

Came across these wild mushrooms on sale at Muddy Boots (Balmalcolm) after setting up for the Big Tent 2012.

This is a really easy simple dinner served with Bellfield salad. Don’t over-clean chanterelle or they’ll go soggy. Here’s my recipe (feeds 6) …

10 ounces of fresh chanterelles
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, finely chopped
500g of Arborio rice
glass of white wine
2 pints of vegetable stock
2 ounces grated Anster, Grana Padano or Reggiano Parmesano cheese
A few grinds of black pepper
Fresh parsley

You need three pans, one for the mushrooms, one for the rice and one for the stock.

Finely chop the onion and cook in olive oil and butter on a low heat. Cook the mushrooms in a pan in some of the butter for no more than five minutes, and set aside.

Get your stock on and keep it hot on the back burner.

In a new heavy-based pan stir the rice into the onion and oil until it’s well coated (not longer than a minute) and add the white wine.

You should only have 20 minutes now till people are actually eating.

Add in the stock a cup at a time and season.

Stir for 10 minutes, then add in the mushrooms and grate in some cheese.

Black pepper, more cheese and some parsley complete the dish.

Serve quickly and hot.

Elly and Meg’s Very Green Soup

Yesterday we had some fantastic soup which I would like to share with you!

I love all the leafy-greens that are so abundant at this time of year and this soup is a celebration of them. The soup was made up of a whole bag of Pillars spinach and one of coriander with a few potatoes, an onion and a bit of garlic from my veg bag.

I also put in a courgette which I had in the fridge but I’m not sure it contributed much to the overall picture!

So I fried the onions and the garlic in some olive oil, put in the potatoes and courgette with some stock and cooked them til they were done and then put in all the greens, cooked them for a few minutes and whizzed it all up.

And there it is, brilliant bright green soup. Really tasty, fresh and healthy. We had it on day 2 with some yoghurt mixed in which was lovely.