Friday, 13 December 2013

Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry


Looking for something to do with the contents of our veg box we decided a curry would be a good idea.  Having searched online, we found this recipe.

The ingredients we used were:-

  • 1 butternut squash - peeled, de-seeded and cubed
  • 1 packet fresh spinach - washed and drained, stems removed 
  • 1 onion - sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger - peeled and diced finely
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 bruised cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 500 ml vegetable stock - we made ours up from Gluten Free Bouillon powder
  • tin coconut milk - we used about 100ml 
  • Sunflower oil for frying

The onion was fried until starting to soften in a little sunflower oil.  Once it was starting to caramelise, the spices and ginger were added and cooked for about a minute.

Then the prepared butternut squash was added and covered with the vegetable stock before being simmered until the squash was cooked.

At this point the coconut milk was added - we used about half a tin - and combined it through before returning to the heat.

Next, the spinach leaves were added and the curry was covered and heated over a moderate heat until the leaves were wilted.
Finally, after a few minutes and whilst the spinach remained a vibrant green, the curry was ready to serve.

Monday, 9 December 2013

P's Pheasant Stew

We were offered a pheasant by some pals... so were looking for a slow cooker recipe for a stew.  Surfing the internet brought us to this Jamie Oliver recipe which is for Pheasant Stew with Chestnut Dumplings.  Having carried out a fridge audit to see what ingredients Jamie lists as being required and, as is the norm in this kitchen, we figured we could make some suitable substitutions so the recipe was a go.
We used -
• One pheasant - portioned, on the bone
• Plain flour (we used Dove's Farm gluten free), for coating pheasant joints
• 2 onions, peeled and chopped
• 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
• 1 tbsp butter
• 140g pancetta cubes
• 3 dried bay leaves
• 300ml stock (we used vegetable)
• dash of sherry

The veg and pheasant were prepared.  It was going to be a rustic stew which meant leaving ingredients in large pieces.

We started by coating the pheasant in gluten free plain flour (in a bowl) before frying off until browned.  Then the pancetta cubes were added to the skillet, the lid was placed on and the heat was reduced to low to allow the fat to render down a little.

Whilst the meat and veg was being combined, the stock was made up using a Knorr Stock pot.

Adding the stock to the pan, we then brought the stew to the boil, covered and reduced the heat so that the pan simmered.   After half an hour, the stew was looking (and smelling) good.  For ease of eating (and to convince Sous Chef J to try it) the bones were taken out and the stew heated for a further five minutes before being served with sauteed potatoes, peas and sweetcorn.

Next time we make this, we will follow the same method as above to the point where the stock is added - the stew will then be added to our (heated) slow cooker and it will be cooked on low for a few hours.


If we'd have had some suet and chestnut flour, we'd have used Jamie's recipe for Chestnut Dumplings which requires 50g plain flour, 50g chestnut flour, 50g suet, pinch baking powder, 25g ready-cooked chestnuts.  Then, to make the chestnut dumplings, mix the ingredients in a bowl, crumbling in the chestnuts. Mix with your fingertips until the the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add a pinch of salt and pepper, and just enough cold water to bind everything. Dust your hands with flour and roll into about 25 brussels sprout-sized balls.  Add these to the stew once the stock is in the pan... and leave to cook.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Pear and Marzipan Tart

Having been given the chance to attend the Winter BBC Good Food Show at the NEC, we also got tickets to the SuperTheatre to see a show by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.  During the show, Mary was demonstrating a pie recipe using sweet pastry, marzipan and apricots.  As Mary's recipe used plain flour, we felt it would be something we could adapt to be gluten free by using Dove's Farm gluten free flour.

Ingredients we used are:-

For the pastry
300g Plain Flour
150g Butter, cubed and softened
150g icing sugar
one egg

For the filling
Marzipan, grated
400g Tin of pears, in juice, drained (Mary's recipe used tinned apricots)

Following Mary's demonstration, we placed all the dry ingredients for the pastry in our large hand blender jug and blitzed them to a breadcrumb consistency.

Then the egg was added and blitzed again.

Once the mix was coming together, we turned it out and brought it together into a ball.

We then halved the pastry, wrapped one half in greaseproof paper, placed it in a labelled plastic bag and froze for later use.  With the remaining pastry, we halved it again and rolled each part into a long rectangle (of about the size to fit the tart tin we have), using greasproof paper as a template.

After rolling out both pieces of pastry, they were placed on a baking sheet and put in the fridge to chill.
 Whilst the pastry was chilling, the marzipan was grated and the pears drained.

 Removing the pastry from the fridge, a line of marzipan gratings was placed down the middle.

The drained pears were then laid on top of the marzipan before placing the remaining pastry rectangle on top, sealing with a brush of water round the edges and cutting to shape using a tart tin.

 The tart was placed on a hot baking sheet and baked in a 180ÂȘC fan oven for about 20 minutes.

We checked after 15 minutes and covered the edges with foil in an attempt to stop them burning.

Once cooked through, the tart was divided into portions....

...the remainder was stored in an airtight container for another day.