Saturday, November 19, 2011

Glass Onion (part F)

Sainsbury's do this pre-packed tomato thing called Polpa Fine, which is essentially very finely chopped Italian tomatoes in their own juice and for 25p more than a plain old carton of chopped tomatoes, this doesn't have stalky bits or massive chunks you end up pushing to the side of the plate. I now use this virtually all the time now when doing tomato based food and it is absolutely perfect for...

Aubergine and Red Pepper Bake

I was thinking about how I could use egg plant in something that wasn't either Indian influenced or when it appears in almost unpalatable chunks in ratatouille or similar offerings. I came up with this - completely out of my own head and with little or no influences. This is for 2 people.

1 carton Polpa fine tomatoes
3 large cloves garlic
1 medium red onion
fresh basil
½ tsp chilli flakes
splash of red wine
salt and black pepper.

This is the basis for your sauce, which goes with:

4 round slices of aubergine (about 1-2cm) fried in olive oil until they start to feel cooked (season while cooking). Remove from the frying pan, add some more oil (if necessary) and fry either a couple of
Portabello mushrooms or some big chunky sliced across the centre rather in down the grain. Remove from heat and leave to stand and expel some of the juice (which you add to your sauce).
Fry (or oven roast) two large slices of red pepper until slightly charred and you are able, if you wish, to remove the skin.
You can also use sliced courgette, roasted onion, or some wilted large spinach leaves.

To build - place the aubergine slices in the bottom of a shallow dish; cut up mushrooms if necessary and place in places where the aubergine isn't covering; lay a slice of pepper onto it and season for some more black pepper. Add a few more fresh basil leaves, add two ladles of tomato sauce and distribute. grate on some hard cheese and then cover with mozzarella and bake in a hot oven until the cheese is beginning to brown.

Serve with crusty bread, to mop up the juices.

***

My mate Kelvin has been searching for a decent Thai Green Curry recipe and I have continually failed to find one or even invent one. However, a few weeks ago, inspired by Nigel Slater, I developed something that me and t'wife both really enjoyed.

Big chunk of ginger chopped roughly
handful of coriander chopped roughly
5 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of lemon grass
juice and zest of a lime
salt
oil
soya sauce.

Blitz this in a processor until it is well chopped, but not a mulch. Fry off in hot oil.

Add a tin of coconut milk and continue to combine and simmer.

Add a variety of vegetables (or chicken or prawns), I like cooked cassava, cauliflower, firm fresh mushrooms and baby sweetcorn. Cook until the cauliflower is just done; serve with sticky rice.

I don't choose to use things like fish sauce (natch), galangal or kaffir lime leaves mainly because these latter two are related to ginger, lemon grass and limes by virtue of their acidity and citrus like taste and aroma. When cooking chicken or fish with this, the extra citrus undertones are welcome, but if you're using just vegetables it can be almost too citrus.

***

Lastly for now, something that I invented on a kind of whim.

Leftover rice is useful if cooked properly. this is something I did with some basmati rice, chopped up peppers and mushrooms and a few other things.

2 cups of cooked rice
chopped shallot, mixed pepper and mushroom (some quorn chunks if that tickles your fancy or some chicken or prawns)
1 egg
seasoning
2 large peppers - preferably red or green, hollowed out, placed in a baking dish and covered in some olive oil and seasoning. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180. Take out and leave to cool down.

Fry your shallot, mushrooms and melange of whatever veggies you fancy, add the rice, seasoning - herby or hot, it works both ways and once combined, put to one side to cool a little. When cold enough, add the egg which has been beaten and combine it all together so it looks like a congealed mess. Spoon this mixture into the cooked peppers two-thirds of the way to the top. Mix the rest of the filler with some hard cheese or smoked cheddar (depending on whether it is herby or hot) and put this into the rest of the space left in the peppers. Put back into a baking tray and cook in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.

***

That's that.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that, I'll give it a try! I really like the green curries, but none of them are vegetarian friendly; I discovered that the Wagamama katsu sauce -- which is sold as vegetarian -- has beef stock in it!

    I forgot to mention that I made your tomato and sausage pie -- or something very like it anyway -- the other day, and I liked it a lot.

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