Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fake Freestyle Friday #22?

I have been lucky enough to recieve two invitations for tea; one to go out tomrrow night, and another round the house of some friends on Friday. Hence why I am doing my Freestyle Friday today!

It is a little bit fake for another reason as well. Let me explain. I have many jars of nut butters in my cupboard, including pumpkin seed butter. When I was putting it away the other day, I noticed some serving suggestions on the side, including the suggestion to stir it into pasta or rice. So that is where I got the idea from. The rest of the ideas are entirely my own. When I saw this, I immediately thought of stirring it into some brown rice. I thought it would look quite nice (pumpkin seed butter is a lovely green colour), as well as hopefully tasting nice as well! Sticking with my colour theme, I decided to add some goldenberries, which are a deep reddish-brown colour. I got a little bag of goldenberries for Christmas, and I have to say, I am quite a fan! They are dried physallis, and are slightly sweet but also sour and tangy. If you like sour sweets, I'm fairly certain you would like goldenberries. And then, as you can never have enough dried fruit in anything (well, I can't anyway!) I added some sultanas as well.

The light in our dining area isn't the best, as you can probably tell, but I think it still looks pretty good. I realy liked this, all the flavours, in my opinion, complimented each other very well. Sweet sultanas, slightly sweet but tangy goldenberries, nutty brown rice... and pumpkin seedy pumpkin seed butter! I really don't have any other way of describing it. The only ingredient is roasted pumpkin seeds, so the taste really comes through, as it does with most nuts when you toast/roast them. I'm glad I took the time to read the side of the jar, because if I hadn't, I would have missed out on a very good tea.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Freestyle Friday #21

If you take a trawl back through my posts, you'll see that there is a lot of curries dotted about. Which is no great surprise seeing how much I like Indian food! And this post will add to the curry pile.

I had a surprise ingredient added to my pile on Thursday. I had bought a pack of two fish fillets when I went shopping and frozen them, with the intention of having one on Thursday and keeping the other for another time. But. When I got the fish out to defrost, the two fillets were stuck together! I have seen people try to prize apart frozen meat pieces with a knife, but I quite like having all ten fingers really... so I decided to cook both and somehow use one Friday.

I steamed both of them together. I wasn't sure how much time I would have Friday, so I thought that if the fish was already cooked then it would cut time by about 15 minutes, which may not seem like a lot but to me, a very impatient person, it is!

I can't really explain my thought process behind how I came up with this, I rarely can with my Freestyle dishes... but what I ended up with was mixed vegetables and the fish fillet (which I first flaked) quickly saute├ęd in curry powder with some brown rice (I also added curry powder to the cooking water) I was a little concerned that the delicate river cobbler would be overpowered by the spice, but the sweetness of it actually went very well. If I made this again, I would probably try to make the spice of the rice different to that of the fish and veg, purely for variety, but in actual fact there was nothing wrong with this as it was. And of course, the fact that it filled me up was a bonus.

I just couldn't get rid of the steam! And I obviously didn't want to let it go cold... but here it is!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Charming Chachouka and Top Treacle Bread

As I got a steamer for Christmas, I have't been doing my one meal a week as much. I ususally do steamed fish and vegetables, but last time I had steamed duck breast, which worked just as well. It only takes 10-15 minutes so it is really quick as well, which of course I like. For several meals this week I am having Chachouka, which is a North African dish made with peppers, paprika, cumin and eggs. It is very similar to the Italian Peperonnata if you remove the spices and eggs.

Not the prettiest dish in the world, but it is good!
Last weekend, I also made treacle bread. I got a loaf tin for my birthday last week, which I was also excited about as I have quite a few things I wanted one for. I chose to make treacle bread over other breads because I have treacle I bought for my 2012  Christmas cake that I want to use! I didn't use any for my 2013 cake so I really wanted to find a use for it. I liked the method for the bread as well, because it doesn't involve kneading, just mixing the ingredient, rising and baking. Quite easy to fit in around work. The treacle taste isn't overly strong, it just gives the bread a nice earthy kind of taste. The texture is somewhat chewier than a normal bread... well not chewy chewy... it is hard to explain! Like a normal textured load with a bit of rye bread texture thrown in. I'm sorry, it's the best I can do! I will definetly be making it again. I love homemade bread, it is so satisfying to make- if you've ever made some you'll know what I mean.
I got a good bake on it as well, because it springs back when you squeeze it. I am very happy with the first attempt, so like I said, it will definitely be reappearig in the kitchen when this loaf has gone!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Freestyle Friday #20

Hello! I have been super busy with university work and Christmas over the past month. I'll try to post more regularly... I'm still busy but I'll try! This is quite a good post to come back on I think; a very successful Freestyl Friday.

The most experimental part of this really was the pancake type things you see under the poached egg. Instead of flour I used polenta/cornmeal (finely ground), and just added two egg whites and a splash of milk. When I first started mixing the egg whites and polenta, it just clumped and I thought it wasn't going to work. I stuck with it though and a few seconds of vigorous whisking later, I had a nice batter. I just added a splash of milk to loosen it a bit, although I'm pretty sure it would have been fine without. The buffalo mozzarella and serrano ham, I originally bought to make a salad to recreate an absolutely amazing one I had in Belgium last year. I did have the salad, but there were some left over... shame! Yes, buffalo mozzarella is a little more expensive, but I honestly think it is worth the price. It has much more flavour than other mozzarella, and it is so soft you can spread it. As it is so flavoursome, you don't need to use as much, so really, the price isn't that bad. The same goes for serrano ham, a little dearer than normal ham, but I think it is worth the price, and again, it is very flavoursome so you don't need a lot. And, I personally feel mroe satisfied by a smaller amount of something more flavoursome. Both are a case of quality over quantity. The egg, I poached as I would poach any other egg, and the only thing I did to the avocado was to dice it. A fairly simple tea, but it seems so much more than what it is, due to the quality of the ingredients I think! Just imagine if you had made this with a supermarket pack of ham and supermarket own brand mozzarella and you'll know what I mean... both have their place of course, and I'm not knocking either, but in a dish as simple as this where the individual components speak for themselves, you really do need the 'good stuff!'