Food: Umami rice balls

So, recently I felt like absolute death and didn’t fancy cooking anything elaborate. But during a window of not feeling quite as bad I rattled together this little beauty with leftover rice.

You’ll need:

  • 300-500g of leftover cooked rice,
  • 1 medium onion, chopped,
  • A handful of spring greens,
  • 3-4 mushrooms,
  • 1 tsp tomato pureé,
  • 1 tbsp Suma mushroom pâté,
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary,
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs,
  • 2-3 aubergines slices (in oil), chopped,
  • Salt for sprinkling (I used Saltverk Birch smoked salt)

For the Tomato umami drizzle:

  • 1tbs Kecap manis
  • 1tsp tomato pureé
  • 1tbs tomato ketchup
  • Splash of water to thin

For the Rosemary, garlic & smoked paprika mayo:

  • 4tbs vegan mayo
  • 1tbs Pimentón
  • 1tsp dried Rosemary, ground
  • 2tsp garlic infused oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan) and chop all the ingredients that need chopping. Fry the onion lightly in a little oil until soft, add the mushrooms and spring greens and continue to fry gently until they’ve softened down. Add the tomato puree and the pate and stir through.

In a big bowl stir all of the ingredients including the herbs into the rice and bring together with your hands into balls (roughly tennis ball sized). Place the balls onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven until they’re crispy on the outside for 15 to 20 minutes.

Whilst they are in the oven, mix together the ingredients for the umami drizzle & the punchy mayo in bowls. Take the balls out of the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. To serve, place in a bowl/ plate and cover them with the drizzle, sprinkle them with salt and serve the mayo on the side.

Enjoy!

 

Food: Pancetta, mushroom & pesto pasta

Here’s a recipe perfect for a quick meal on a weeknight and it gives you a variation on the famous Italian pesto.

You’ll need:

for the pesto:

  • A big handful of spinach
  • A handful of watercress
  • A handful of basil
  • 20g blanched almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 10g Parmesan, grated
  • Some Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • salt & pepper

 

For the meal:

  • A small pack of pancetta
  • 20g chestnut mushrooms
  • 200g penne pasta ( I usually work on 100g per person, so this serves 2)
  • Half a packet of Italian salad leaves/ wild rocket
  • salt & pepper

Before you start the meal I’d make the pesto, albeit not a traditional pesto, which includes pine nuts that can be expensive, any creamy nut will work and its fun to experiment with different leaves and nuts. To do this, all you have to do is use blender ( I use a stick blender) and  blend up the leaves, nuts and garlic until smooth, pouring in the oil little by little until its a runny paste. Next, add the Parmesan and season with salt & pepper and blend again. Keep aside. You can also freeze the pesto if you’ve made too much.

Next, Heat a shallow pan on low and fry the pancetta, until all of its smokey oil has been rendered. Now, add the mushrooms and fry them until soft. Whilst this is cooking you can boil the pasta in some salted water. When the mushrooms are done, add a big heaped spoonful (or two) of the pesto, to cook the raw garlic out. The pan by this point should be a vibrant green. Next, drain and add the pasta and stir. Then, add half a packet of Italian salad leaves and stir until the green oily sauce has covered everything. Serve and top with plenty of black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan. We served ours with some homemade garlic bread and a couple of crisp larger.

Buon Appetito!

Food: A big hug in a bowl!

Coming home from a rather arduous 9-5 shift on Bank Holiday Monday, (I know, “what a way to make a living”- it’s been in my head all day :/).  I needed a pick me up. Today hadn’t been the worst, but it really hadn’t been the best, and with the weather beaming outside, It made me long to finish sooner.

Thankfully, when I got home, Tom gave me the hug i needed, but he had also cooked us both dinner, a relieving surprise (as I didn’t feel like cooking tonight!) Major Brownie points won there.

Tonight’s dinner, (classic yet understated), the 80s classic carrot & coriander (cilantro) soup.

A simple, cheap, flavoursome dish that is exactly what I needed, a big hug in a bowl!

To make it he softened a large, chopped onion and two large cloves of garlic, then he chopped up four/five carrots; three/four sticks of celery and half a bag of new potatoes.

He added all that to the pot and covered with water (using boiling from the kettle).

He seasoned it with with bouillon, lots of black pepper and a generous handful of fresh coriander.

Then he covered it and let it simmer until the carrots and veg fell off the fork. Finally, he blitzed it down with a hand whisk and checked the seasoning.

I finished it off with a dollop of sour cream and some more fresh coriander – 80s-tastic I know 😉

(You can omit the sour cream, and it would be suitable for Vegans 🙂 )

We served it with fresh bread on my Iittala Solaris side plates, and devoured quickly!

Food: Skyr for breakfast!

Skyr, the Icelandic-super food, has been on my radar for a while. It is one of many reasons why the Icelandic diet, topped the Channel 4 documentary The World’s Best Diet, in November last year. I have wanted to try it, but it has proven to be very elusive within the UK,with there being only places in London, where they sell the white gold. Even America has Skyr with products like Siggi’s Skyr. C’mon!

The first place you can get it is at the Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street, one of my favourite places to go in London – to eat, Fika, and stock up on Scandi products. They even have a skyr mailing list, it’s that popular, notifying all skyr-lovers when it’s in stock. Sadly I am never in London when it is in stock there – understandably it vanishes quickly!

The next is the Icelandic/European Michellin Starred Restauraunt Texture, Portman Street, Mayfair. My wanting of skyr was so intense that for my 21st, Tom took us both to Texture for an amazing meal and to finish we had the skyr. Yum! So rich, like liquid cheesecake. I would want an IV of this! In any case, my hopes of finding anything even remotely skyr related beyond London were, naturally, set quite low. Until! The other day, in Asda something happened to catch my eye, it was skyr! Or, to be more precise, an Arla brand skyr-style yogurt. (Its skyr-style as only skyr made in Iceland can be called true skyr). But that’s good enough for me!

So, this morning (and for every morning until I”m completely sick of it), I had a breakfast of skyr with fresh blueberries and topped with rye bread crumbs (taken the idea from the skyr I had in Texture). All served in my Iittala Ultima Thule berry bowl by Tapio Wirkkala.

One minor craving, for the time being, satisfied!

Food: Tonight’s dinner

Since lunch was a Northern European affair, I wanted to continue with the European theme, only a bit more eastern.

A couple of weeks ago it had been Polish week in Lidl, and being that every time I had tried pierogi in places like London, I adored them, so I bought a bagful.

Not knowing what to do with them, I Googled what to traditionally serve them with (which is usually a beet soup), and being as Tom hates beetroot, (yet I love it 😉 ) I came up with an alternative.

This is what I came up with:

Pierogis topped with fried onion, bacon, sour cream and chives, served along side some Bratwurst and caraway sour cabbage.

It was delicious and SO hearty! It matched perfectly with a German Pilsner.

I made the sour cabbage, by frying off some bacon, rendering down the fat, then added a cheeky knob of unsalted butter and a cupful of water until they amalgamated into a big fatty goodness. I then added the cabbage along with a cup of white wine vinegar, sugar and caraway seeds. Cook until tender, strain, season, and serve. Sour, yet not enough to take the enamel off your teeth ;)!

This food wasn’t going to win any beauty contests, but I hope I’ve presented them at their best. One thing I know, now I know how delicious they are, next time I’m totally going to make them from scratch.

Food: Tonight’s dinner

Felt like pigging out tonight, so I made a nacho bake out of a chorizo and butterbean stew we had in the freezer. Added some piquant olives and fresh rosemary to pep it up a bit – and plenty of tangy cheese 😉 All made in a vintage Dansk casserole pan by Jens Quistgaard that Tom, picked up from America for me.

Served with a dressed rocket and tomato salad.

And in the Iittala Essence tumblers is a simple but pleasing cocktail made from ABSOLUT Citron, sparkling water and mint. Very refreshing!