Ben Laurie blathering

31 Jan 2014

Pea Soup

Filed under: Food,Recipes — Ben @ 18:54

Olive oil
Smoked bacon (I don’t know why you’d ever used unsmoked for anything)
Frozen peas
Chicken stock
Sour cream

Dice the bacon, fry in the oil ’til slightly browned. Add sliced onion and fry until sweet. Add chicken stock and frozen peas (you want a pretty high pea-to-stock ratio), boil for a few minutes. Blitz to a pretty smooth puree (longer than you think, the peas’ outer coatings are quite chewy). Season (I didn’t need salt). Serve with a dollop of sour cream in the middle.

The whole thing only takes about 15 minutes, if that.

I’m sure it’d be great with fresh peas, too. Perhaps even better. Obviously you’ll need to boil it for longer.

24 Jan 2014

Parsnip Soup

Filed under: Food,Recipes — Ben @ 22:36

Very easy and very nice.

Garam Masala
Chicken stock

Dry fry the Cs (all curries are mostly made with spices that start with C … seriously), then grind them. In the meantime, or after, fry thinly sliced onions + ginger in olive oil. Once they’re slightly browned, add the spices (including garam masala) and some butter. Fry/stir for a little longer (maybe a couple of minutes). Add the diced parsnips and coat them, then add milk and chicken stock (1:2 ratio) to cover. Boil for about 30 mins, til the parsnips are somewhat soft, then blitz. You probably need some salt, too.

That gives a basic recipe. I added sliced grilled sausages.

I think shredded roast duck legs would also go well, but I haven’t tried yet.

Chilli, either fresh (which would look nice added at the end) or ground, would be good, too, but not necessary.

4 Jan 2014

Salmon Bhuna and Dry Cauliflower Curry

Filed under: Food,Recipes — Ben @ 22:13

These days, I spend a fair amount of time trying to dream up low calorie dishes (no, I am not on a low calorie diet). Today I tried a new one and an old favourite, combined. Probably about 250 calories a head, given enough to fill a plate. Calculate your own calories if you care.

Anyway, the bhuna:

Fish (I wanted to use cod, but all I had was salmon)
Tinned tomato

My fish had skin on, so first I fried the skin side to crisp it, then set aside. Fry thinly sliced onions in a small amount of ghee (or if you really are counting your calories, spray some oil) until sweet. Add crushed garlic, diced ginger and ground cumin, coriander, chilli and cloves. Cook them for a minute or two then add the tinned tomatoes and some salt, mash them up, cover and simmer for a while (say 15 minutes) stirring occasionally. Add water if needed to stop it drying out. After 15 minutes put the fish on top, re-cover and let it steam (or bury it in the sauce if you prefer). Leave that going for 10 minutes or so while you cook the cauliflower…

Black mustard seeds
Black onion seeds
Lemon juice

Cut the cauliflower up into florets. Fry the ginger, mustard and onion seeds in a little ghee (or a spray of oil), stirring, until the mustard seeds start to pop pretty vigorously. Add the cauliflower (I actually had some broccoli which I added too) and stir fry for a minute or so, then add a splash of water, which will, of course, fairly quickly boil off. Keep adding water a little at a time, stir frying, until the cauliflower is cooked to your liking (al dente is good!). Add salt and lemon juice (go easy, I used half a lemon for two people generously served). Stir once and serve.

If you don’t care about calories, saffron rice would go well with this. We had a spoonful of yoghurt each, which went well.

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