Every year Mr C convinces me to cook Burns Night supper for him, playing on his Scottish heritage. I’m always very happy to do so on the proviso that we have a veggie-friendly haggis. With only two of us, cooking a haggis each would seem […]
My mum had a special birthday on New Years Eve. I’m not going to tell you how old she was but it was the kind of birthday that you make a fuss over. Having a a birthday on New Year’s Eve isn’t as great as it might sound, yes you’re never short of a party to go to but none of those parties are just for you and if you want a party of your own then everybody’s already got other plans! This year we decided to get together and cook a fancy three course dinner for her and we kicked things off with this delicious, luxurious pate and some fresh bread, baked by my brother.
10g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 70ml of hot water
150g chestnut mushrooms
100g peeled, cooked chestnuts
3 tbsp whipping cream
few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
a few shavings of black truffle (optional and only if you’re feeling extravagant!)
Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms in the hot water and set them aside.
Finely dice the onion and gently fry it in the butter. You want it to be soft but not too coloured. Wipe the chestnut mushrooms with a piece of damp kitchen roll and then roughly chop them. Add them to the frying pan and gently cook them. Roughly chop the chestnuts and fry them for a few moments too. Pour in the porcini mushrooms, together with the soaking liquid but be careful to avoid any grit that may have collected at the bottom. Pour over the brandy and add the leaves from the thyme. Increase the heat a little and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blitz it together. Pour in the cream, season to taste and whizz it up again until you are happy with the texture, you can make it as smooth or course as you like. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins and then pop them in the fridge to chill and firm up a little until you are ready to serve them with some delicious warm bread.
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot […]
Before I lived in the States I only ever really thought of tacos as the hard, crunchy shells you buy from the supermarket and fill with chilli and cheese. I was utterly oblivious to the world of deliciousness which ‘proper’ tacos provide, there are so many possibilities. I think even when we travelled in Mexico I missed out by virtue of being a vegetarian.
Mr Colonial Cravings still lets out a wistful sigh upon recalling one particularly good taco al pastor purchased from a food truck in Austin TX (henceforth known as ‘the best taco ever’).
I’ll be the first to admit that these ones aren’t particularly conventional but that doesn’t make them any less tasty, and anyway, why should the meat eaters have all the fun!
serves 3-4 (depending on greed)
1/4 red onion
200g red cabbage
1 medium carrot
small bunch of fresh coriander
1 large ripe avocado
salt and pepper to taste
200g extra firm tofu (pressed for at least 20 mins and patted dry)
2 tbsp cornflour
pinch each of salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chipotle powder
oil for frying
flour tortillas (if you’re making this for vegans make sure these aren’t made with lard)
Slice the onion, as thinly as you can, and macerate it in the lime juice. Set this aside until later. Grate the carrot and shred the cabbage. Roughly chop the coriander and toss it together with the carrot and cabbage. Add the onion and lime juice. Blend the avocado flesh with the salt and pepper until it is really smooth and creamy and then use this as the dressing for the coleslaw.
Mix together the cornflour and spices in a shallow dish. Slice the tofu into bite sized cubes and toss it in the spiced cornflour blend. Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a large frying pan and carefully place the dusted tofu into it. Let the tofu sit for a few moments to become crispy and golden before turning it. Keep turning the tofu until it is nice and golden on all sides.
Warm the tortillas, either in a dry pan or just by microwaving them, and then pile them up with the coleslaw and top them with the spicy, crispy tofu.
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway. So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you […]
When other women go to New York they head to 5th Avenue to buy designer shoes and handbags. Not me. I head to The Bowery and trawl through the restaurant supply stores. When we went recently Mr Colonial Cravings treated me to a tortilla press (in my world this totally counts as a romantic gift!) I used to see these all the time in our local thrift store when we were living in Maryland but I never thought to buy one because ready-made tortillas were always pretty cheap and pretty good. Something I really regretted when we moved back to the UK.
I realise that I don’t actually need a tortilla press to make my own tortillas but it does make the process a bit more fun! I’ve also been using it to make some delicious flatbreads for summer picnics and barbecues.
Freshly made flat breads really are so much nicer than anything that you’ll buy in a supermarket and they really are so quick and easy to make, with or without a fancy-pants tortilla press.
makes about 8
225g plain flour
75g wholewheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp seasalt
2 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
30g butter, melted
Sift together the flours and baking powder. Whisk in the salt, crushed garlic and finely chopped herbs. Combine the melted butter, milk and water and then use this to bring the dry ingredients together to form a soft dough. Add it a little at a time, you may not need all of the liquid and you don’t want the dough to be sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead it. Divide it into eight equal chunks and then roll them into thin flat discs with a rolling-pin, or if you’re fancy like me then squish them into shape with a tortilla press!
Set a heavy based frying pan over a low heat and dry-fry the flat breads until the outsides are golden. It’s easiest to do this immediately after you’ve shaped them as they do tend to spring back a bit. Serve warm or cooled with your favourite dip, they’re especially good with this channa dal hummus!