Coal, Crock & Cabinet

Blog Archive

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Spudz In The Mud

Finally! It's time to get some food growing! Potatoes aren't normally the first thing that goes into a veg plot, but I wont be around for the later part of summer so need to get my 'first earlies' in ASAP. My spuds have been chitting for about 2 weeks and have good green/purple shoots ranging from an inch to 3 inches long. This weekend I made a few furrows in Vegeton Upon Trickle and buried 2 rows of six potatoes. In the past this variety have produced about 6-8 potatoes per plant so I'm going to need a few good spud recipes come early summer!

Also popping up are my beetroot, radishes and rocket. I had an amazing salad on saturday made entirely from home grown rocket, poly-cress, and beetroot leaves. Roll on summer!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Quiche Pastiche

As this post title suggests, I stole the idea for these mini crustless quiches from another blog; Bread and Honey. Actually, it's my favourite blog, and just about the first food blog I started to read. It is WELL worth a look. I used the same egg mixture as on Bread and Honey but used some different veggies for the filling. In these pics I served them up with some hot, buttered rounds of date and maple bread from my local bakery. They tasted amazing and went particularly well with this sweet-ish bread. They are almost like tiny, oven-baked, omelets.

Miniature Crustless Quiches

(As on Bread and Honey) 4 Large eggs
3/4 cup milk

About 250g mixed, woodland mushrooms
2 large shallots
1 large clove of garlic
1 large thyme sprig
1 tbsp olive oil
A handful of wild rocket, chopped finely
About 100g grated cheese (I used extra mature cheddar, I imagine blue cheese would be gorgeous though)
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Pre-heat the oven to around 175 celsius. Grease REALLY WELL a muffin tin or cupcake tray. Whisk together the eggs, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put aside.

Heat a frying pan and add the oil. Fry the shallots until soft, then add the garlic and mushrooms. Strip the thyme leaves from the sprig and add to the mushrooms. Fry for about 5 mins or until the mushrooms are slightly browned and have released some of their juices. Remove from the heat.

Place about a dessert spoon of the mushrooms in each section of the muffin tin. Top with the chopped rocket then fill each section up just over half way with the egg mix. Sprinkle the quiches with the cheese and bake until puffed up and golden on top (about 25 mins).

Listen: Jenny Lewis: Pretty Bird

Friday, 27 March 2009

Burger Me Senseless!

Some vegetarians feel funny about making mock-meat. I Don't. Meaty classics like burgers are classics for a reason; because they taste good, simple. Recipes like these, in my opinion, don't deface the splendour of the vegetable, they give it a bit of a wake-up call. In this recipe I love the spicy beans contrasted with the tangy lemon, smooth yogurt and the crusty bread.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! These aubergine tempura chips are the perfect little best friends to eat with this burger! I stole the idea from another blog but edited it a bit to make them a little more crispy. The aubergine has a really deep smokey taste which seems to have been preserved by the batter and they literally melted in your mouth from the inside out. I'll be honest, they were pretty damn good.

To make, follow the instructions on the above blog until the coating/pre-frying stage. Whisk together an egg (per full aubergine) with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and black pepper each. Once coated in the flour mixture, dip the aubergine in the egg. For a second time, coat in the flour and then fry straight away as instructed on the above blog. I served both with some of my beef tomato and balsamic vinegar ketchup (recipe soon to be posted).

Hot Cayenne Bean Burger
(Makes 4 burgers)

Half a tin of borlotti, black and pinto beans each
2 medium white onions, finely diced
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
25g finely grated vegetarian parmesan
25g bread crumbs (stale focaccia works best)
25g plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper
A handful of fresh coriander

Heat the olive oil in a big pan. Throw in the onion and sauté until soft. Add the dry spices and sauté for a minute or so longer. The ingredients may get a little dry at this point, so don't let them burn. Add a few tsp of water if you need to.

Drain the beans and throw them in with the onion and spices. Fry for a few minutes, the skins of the beans should start to split gradually. Add the tomato puree, the water and the vinegar to moisten things up, this will further soften the beans and they should start to break down leaving a dark coloured paste around the edge of the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated cheese, flour and bread crumbs. The mix should start to hold together. At the last minute, add the chopped coriander. It will get messy, but once the beans have cooled down, form them into balls and flatten them out with the palm of your hands.

Heat up another tbsp of oil in a frying pan and shallow fry two burgers at a time for a few minutes on each side. Alternatively, lightly grease some tin foil to line a baking dish. Place the burgers on the foil and grill for five minutes per side.

Serve with fresh yogurt, sliced avocado some sliced shallots and more fresh coriander.
I used this recipe for the buns!

Listen: Little Joy: No One's Better Sake

Monday, 23 March 2009

Ramson Note

Wild rocket, wild strawberries, wild mushrooms, wild boar; chances are you've eaten "wild" food. But, I often ask myself, why all this wild-ness in a product destined for the supermarket shelf, forever to be next-door-neighbours with its domesticated/cultivated cousin? It's like Brie Vandecamp and the Sasquatch sharing adjacent semis.

I'm glad, personally, that such ingredients are so readily available but, given the option, shouldn't wild food be...well..wild? In Pompeii, about 4 years ago, I spotted a hoarde of ancient Italian women harvesting an unknown crop which was sprouting from the side of an equally ancient ampitheatre to eat with their packed-lunch ciabatta. It turned out to be wild rocket. The taste was like nothing I've ever had from a supermarket (or farmers market, for that matter!) and I was amazed that something so strong tasting could grow, unaided, from between two 2,000 year old bricks.

A British equivalent, which is currently screaming to be picked, is wild garlic or "Ramson". It's in just about every woodland at the moment and, by summer, it will be responsible for a blanket of white flowers almost nationwide. If you fancy a forage, stick to the leaves. The bulb is tough and VERY strong flavoured, plus we want some to grow back next year. Finely chop 2-3 leaves and sprinkle over sliced, olive oil-drenched ciabatta along with some sea salt and black pepper. Grill for a few minutes for a garlic bread like no other. Chopped ramson adds a unique taste to an onion soup recipe when added at the same time as the onions, or, simply add it to a tomato sauce recipe in the place of crushed garlic. I add a handfull to a scone recipe along with some grated parmesan. Minus the sugar, add some salt and you have my favourite cobler dough for atop a root veg stew.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Growing Solo

With the loss of a friend (to the south) I have gained an allotment. My well-turned, inherited plot has been waiting patiently through winter for someone to crack its soil like a muddy creme brulée, and now, with the arrival of spring, I'm getting my hands dirty. The allotment, (or Vegeton upon Trickle as it appears on the Ordinance Survey) is only about 3x4 meters so don't hold your breath on my self-sufficiency. However, I am giving it a go.

For now Vegeton is only producing a few tulips and daffodils but soon the food goes in. You'll soon be bombarded by pictures of my home-grown radishes, beetroot, potatoes, carrots and spring onions. So, this post marks the start of a new feature here, posts-about-my-allotment, to be labelled under Vegeton upon Trickle henceforth.