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7 items found for "foraged"

  • Roasted Aubergine Soup with a modified Nettle Harissa

    In the new cookbook I got for Christmas, Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat, there is a double page of 10 vegetable soup recommendations with topping suggestions, but no recipes (or I'm simply blind and missed them). One of the suggestions was Aubergine Soup with Harissa. As Aubergines were on sale and we seemed to have an endless supply of them, and because it sounded good, I decided to try it. Somewhere along the way I wasn't sure I would be able to get what I needed for the Harissa though and noticed that I had a jar of frozen nettles, so I thought of trying to make a spicy nettle sauce to top the soup. I did end up finding what I needed for the Harissa in the end, but still added the nettles. And then I remembered that I had Queso Blanco left over from my cheese making efforts. I decided I would top the soup with some of this too, and at the last minute added some of this to the harissa too - although at this point I don't think it can any longer be called harissa, but I don't know what else to call it. The soup came out beautifully with a deep, rich flavour, offset but a dash of lemon and the not-too-spicy Nettle Harissa. I found that the queso blanco certainly added something to the soup, but it would have worked well without for anyone wanting to make it vegan or keto friendly. Ingredients: For the soup: 4 aubergines 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1/2 head garlic, minced 2 - 3 c vegetable stock 1 tsp sumac Juice of 1 lemon Salt and pepper to taste Queso Blanco (or other fresh cheese) to serve For the Harissa: 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 3 dried chilis, chopped 3 - 4 sundried tomatoes 2 tsp cumin seeds 2 tsp coriander seeds 3 - 4 tbsp olive oil 3 - 4 tbsp nettles (mine were briefly steamed then frozen) 1 tbsp queso blanco juice of 1 lemon 1) Roast the aubergines in the oven under the broil setting at 200°C, turning regularly, until they are soft on the inside and browning on the outside (you could even let them get some char marks) - about 45 minutes to an hour. Cool and then chop. 2) Heat oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Sauté onions and garlic until soft and translucent. 3) Add the aubergine and the remaining soup ingredients except the cheese and cook for about 10 minutes. Blitz until smooth and set aside. 4) In a small frying pan, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until the first few begin to pop. Stir the pan around a few times to ensure even roasting. Remove from the heat. 5) In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the nettles and the queso blanco. Taste test, then add the nettles and blend again. Taste test, then add the cheese. 6) To serve, ladle soup into bowls. place dollops of the queso blanco around the perimeter of the soup then place briefly in a warm oven (100°C roughly) for a few minutes to encourage the cheese to melt a little. Remove and place a dollop of the harissa in the centre of the bowl. I loved this and will certainly be coming back to it! Hubby and Little Bit liked it too. Little Bit is getting better at using a spoon, but after a few spoonfuls he gave up and started stuffing soup into his mouth by the fistful. Not a bad endorsement! On a different note, I noticed recently that all of my cooking happens either while wrangling Little Bit, or while listening to and Audiobook. When linking the Broccoli and Cheese Scone recipe to the post about making mascarpone to pair with sweet scones, I suddenly had a vivid image in my head of a sedan chair being carried through rice paddies. It took me a second to place it, but then I realised that it was from WS Maugham's The Painted Veil which I had been listening to when I made the scones. After realising this, I scrolled back through older posts and for a fair number of the recipes I could effortlessly conjure up which part of which book I was listening to while making that recipe. This being the case, I have decided to start including a note on what I was listening to at the time on some posts. While making this soup, I was listening to an early part of The Bridge of Sighs by Olen Steinhauer. It is a gritty muder/spy mystery taking place in the late '40s in Eastern Europe. While playing around with my nettles and aubergines, our young beleaguered inspector is following clues in a prominent murder case which he realises he has been given to fail... It's been a while since my last crime book and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • Chicken Salad with a Rosehip Vinegar Mayo

    Served up as a chicken melt. About a year ago, I made some of my own vinegars. After leaving them to age for a while to allow the flavours to develop, I started trying to think of ways to use them. I've used a number of them in different things (I used my apple and rosehip vinegar in my Black Pudding and Pumpkin Pie, and I used some of my lemon vinegar in the Creamy Lemon Pasta for example). An idea I had a while back was to use the rosehip vinegar in a homemade mayo and then to use that mayo as the flavour base for a chicken salad. It took a while but I finally got around to it. And I'm glad I did, too. It was nice to make my own mayo again after a bit of a hiatus since making my other ones. You could use apple cider vinegar instead of the rosehip vinegar for an easy swap. Recipe Cook Time: approx. 1 hour -- Portions: 4-6 -- Cooking Level: Easy Ingredients: for the mayo: 1 egg yolk 3/4 c rapeseed oil 3 tbsp rosehip vinegar 1 tsp mustard (preferably whole grain) pinch of sumac salt to taste For the chicken salad: 2 c shredded leftover roast chicken 2 celery sticks, diced 2 1/2- 3 tbsp rosehip mayo 3-4 tbsp yoghurt 1 tsp mustard 1 spring onion, dicced 1/2c raisins For the melts: butter, toast, grated cheese to top, urfa biber 1) Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and beat with a whisk. Then, very gradually, whisk in the oil, a few drops at a time to begin with. You can go a bit faster once it begins to emulsify. As it thickens, add the vinegar. Once all the oil is incorporated, stir in the mustard (I used some of my homemade wholegrain mustard) and the salt and sumac. Set aside. 2) In a large bowl, place the shredded chicken, then mix in the other ingredients. For the Chicken melts: Butter a cast iron skillet, then arrange pieces of toast on the bottom. Spoon chicken salad on top, sprinkle with grated cheese and urfa biber. Bake at 180°C until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes. I was really pleased with these. They made a relatively quick and very easy dinner to assemble. Trying to juggle Little Bit and Littler Bit's schedules, I made the mayo and the chicken salad ahead of time, then the melts were extremely quick and easy when we got home. The flavour of the rosehip vinegar worked in the mayo, but was less pronounced than I would have liked it, and even less so in the chicken salad. As a whole though, the flavours were delightfully balanced. The mayo, yoghurt and cheese do produce a rather rich meal, but in my defence, temperatures outside were decidedly negative and we had been out rolling in the snow. Swaps and substitutions: If need be, it would work equally well with leftover turkey. Use apple cider vinegar instead of the homemade one, or in a pinch, use a pre-made mayo. Skip the raisins and toast to make it keto-friendly, or use gluten-free toast for a gluten-free meal. Instead of Urfa Biber, use your favourite tandoori or paprika to sprinkle over the top. Leftover cabbage in the fridge? Slice some thinly and use that instead of the celery. Book Pairing: While mixing the mayo, I was listening to Adam Kay's This is Going to Hurt, all about his time in the NHS. Having worked in the NHS just after he left, it did bring back some memories, some good, some bad. Nurses had it easier than junior doctors at that point, so my experiences were quite different, but many experiences resonated, from idiots in A&E, especially on a Friday night (looking at you Glasgow), to the unavoidable, or even worse, the avoidable deaths. It was entertainingly written for the most part, and I did enjoy it, but it was bittersweet. I do definitely recommend it if you feel you don't understand why nurses and doctors have been striking in UK.

  • Spinach and Mozzarella Baked Apple and Potato Gnocchi

    Appologies for the break since the last recipe. A travelling husband and sick kiddies really put a hole in my schedule! (hurray for scarlet fever!) All better now though so I'm hoping to be able to post a bit more regularly again. Here's another winter warmer for those cold nights! It was snowing out when I made this, and it was the perfect dinner to feed everyone before Little Bit and my sister "kicked" the rest of us out of the house for the evening (We had a reception to go to, and they got an auntie and nephew date night). I've got to say, using the expression "kicking out" around a not quite 3 year old was not my best ever parenting decision... Not that he didn't like it. Quite the opposite! He loved it, but takes it rather too literally... Anyway, gnocchi are a bit of a labour of love to make, as it does take a little while to roll them out and cook them, but it is so worth it! I do it every once in a while and am always so happy with the result!I had made a load of apple sauce with my sister earlier in autumn when apples were in season and wanted to try apple sauce gnocchi. I must say, they came out delightfully! Recipe Cook Time: approx 2 hours -- Portions: 4 -- Cooking difficulty: Medium Ingredients: 3 c potatoes, chopped 1/2 c apple sauce 1 egg 2 tsp thyme 2 tsp sage salt and pepper to taste 3 1/4 c flour 1/2 c semolina 2 tbsp butter 2 onions, chopped 1/2 head garlic, minced 3 big cubes of frozen spinach (or 3 c spinach) 2 balls of Mozzarella, grated 2 tsp sumac 1) Boil the potatoes until soft. Drain well and mash. Incorporate the apple sauce, the egg and the herbs, and season to taste. Mix in the flour, kneading for a few minutes until you get a soft dough. 2) Sprinkle semolina on the counter. Cut off a fist-sized piece of dough and roll it out into a snake about a finger thick (just like with playdoh!). Cut off inch long pieces from the snake. If you want to get fancy, roll them off the tines of a fork to mark them. 3) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Plop in a few gnocchi at a time and boil them until they float to the top. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly. Toss them in semolina to coat. 4) Meanwhile, place the butter in a shallow baking dish and put it in the oven at 180°c. When the butter is melted, stir in the onion and garlic. (If you're using fresh spinach wilt it briefly in boiling water at this point.) Using frozen spinach, I popped it in the baking dish once the onions and garlic were fragrant to allow it to melt while the gnocchi finished cooking. 5) When all of the gnocchi have been boiled and coated in semolina, remove the baking dish from the oven and add the gnocchi and mozzarella to it. Stir to mix thoroughly, breaking up the spinahc cubes as you go. Sprinkle with sumac and pepper, and place back in the oven for a further 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melty and crisping a little on top. This went down a treat! it took a little while in the making, but was quick and easy to serve up. and wash up afterwards. It hit the spot and was a very satisfying dinner. I would however add a little more cheese next time, and maybe a little broth in the bottom of the baking dish. This would bake off in the oven, but keep everything moist and provide just the tiniest bit of sauce. Maybe apple sauce instead of broth, to reinforce the apple flavour from the gnocchi themselves? Swaps and substitutions: Instead of apple sauce, an interesting variant of this recipe could use pumpkin purée for a seasonal twist, or tomato paste and a dollop of tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish. This recipe was great vegetarian but would also work very well with little bits of bacon or sausage stirred in when the gnocchi and cheese are, before being popped back in the oven. To vary the flavouring a little, or to suit your own fridge and tastes, try it with different vegetables baked in - broccoli, carrots, peppers or tomatoes would work great. Instead of plain white flour, I have used bread flour with seeds in for ghocchi before. The seeds add a beautiful textural variation to the gnocchi, and adding them, whether in the flour or separately could be a tasty way to add some more nutrients. For some extra crunch, try sprinkling some chopped walnuts over the top for the last 10 minutes of baking? If you have leftover nettles, try swapping them in instead of the spinach? (I blanch mine and keep them in the freezer until I'm ready to use them) Book pairing: With cold dark, snowy nights, my impression from when I made this is unavoidably accompanied by images of wooden ships caught in polar ice. My sister and I were reading Icebound together about William Barrents' polar expeditions. It is amazing to me how slow the men on those expeditions were to learn! They knew they were going North, and that there was a likelihood of encountering freezing temperatures, but the clothing they packed was totally inappropriate. They prioritised saving merchandise over themselves and surprisingly, saw polar bears that they killed as trophies only, rather than using the fur or the meat to help them survive. It was a very interesting read, if a little overly dramatic in places. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • First Forays into Cultured Cheese: Cream Cheese and Halloumi

    Moving forward with my cheese making turned out to be something of a challenge. Despite Switzerland being a cheese-making country (like no other I know! There is a dairy and local cheese shop in every village around here!), it proved surprisingly difficult to order cheese cultures. I asked a neighbour who used to make goat's cheese and got a website. I contacted them and looked through the catalogue but the numbers of the cultures didn't correspond to the ones in my cheese making book. I later discovered that this was a wide-spread problem and have struggled to find most of the cultures from the book, being on the other side of the Atlantic from that in which it was written. I didn't know this at that point though. I asked at my local dairy if they knew where I could order cultures and equipment. They did not, but suggested I ask at the local pharmacy. The pharmacist said she could order rennet for me, but had no idea about cultures. A colleague of hers piped up though to say that she knew of a website. That one, and one more I found on the internet, proved helpful, but yet another couldn't sell to me as I am not a dairy and am making cheese only for myself. For more of the cultures, I may have to order from the US, but for now, I have succeeded in getting my hands on 4 cultures whose numbers correspond to those in the book. There is an additional wrinkle in that the cheese culture compositions can be the same for say, MA 4001, MA 4002, MA 4003, but the proportions of each bacterial strain in each culture is different, producing a different result. I did find some culture numbers close to what I was looking for, but not being experienced enough, I don't know what effect this will have on the cheeses so I haven't tried trading them out yet. And then there is the fact that cultures are measured in DCUs, which is a measure of the bacterial strength for cheese making, but it does not correspond to weight or volume measures. The book does not mention DCUs at all, but only instructs me to use 1/4 tsp of X culture. The cultures came with no information beyond their expiry date, so I had to try to find their product sheets online for that particular DCU (I am not sure exactly how the DCUs translate across. Does 25 DCU for 100l mean that 50DCU is for 200l or is it twice as strong and so only half as much is necessary for 100l, but both packets, in their entirety are for 100l of milk?). Once I found them, I found myself doing fun back of the envelope calculations. About 1 tbsp of culture is for 100l of milk. I have 2l of milk. So 1/50 of 1 tbsp is... Let's see, 1 tsp is a third of a tbsp therefore 1tsp = 33l, 1/2 tsp= 16.5l, 1/4 tsp=8.25l, 1/8tsp=4.125 l, therefore I need about 1/16 tsp. I think. If I got this all right. That's for the ones that I could find the product sheets for. The others are pure guess work. And then the rennet! The directions in the book call for liquid rennet but it never defines the concentration of the liquid rennet. I have tablets for now and have stuck with those. According to the directions on the packet, one tablet is good for about 4l of milk. I have found though, for example in making mozzarella, that I actually needed a little more rennet than that. So in a recipe with a different from of rennet, for a cheese I haven't made before? Who knows. Guess work again. Making the cream cheese, I followed the directions (although due to calculations of DCUs in my head and some rounding up, I used twice as much culture as I needed). I let the inoculated milk and cream sit over night and was going to set it all up to drain in the morning before heading to work, but there was no clear division of curds and whey. It merely looked like the cream had risen to the top and separated. So I left it for the day. I worried at the problem all day while at work. Should I try heating the milk back up and adding more rennet? More culture? Should I strain it? When I got home it looked no different but I decided to go with it anyway and drain it over night and see what happened. And it worked! I poured it into my draining bag, hung as usual from a kitchen cabinet, and it was actually thick and tasted of sharp cream cheese! It drained through the day, and when I got home in the evening, I tried it out. It was beautiful! 1l of milk and 1l of cream made almost 1kg of cream cheese, which I feel is a pretty good return. There was so much, that I used some of my home made cream cheese to make a cheese cake for my birthday. It tasted a little sharper than usual but not bad! Making halloumi, which I include here despite not being cultured as I needed to order the lipase for it, I was excited to be able to make it using half sheep's milk and half cow's milk. Who knew the local grocery store sold sheep's milk?! The halloumi is a bit of a multi step process. As with the cream cheese, I initially doubted whether it was coming together properly. It did, and then I had to drain it and ladle the curds into a mould. I didn't have one, so I sliced the bottom off a bucket (I probably needed to punch holes in the sides too, but I didn't). I put the curds, in their cheese cloth, in the bucket. Very well. The mould needed to go on a rack over a tray. My oven shelf over a baking sheet? Ok. And then I needed to place a 3.5kg/8lb weight on the cheese for 3 hours, then flip the cheese and press it for a further 3 hours. We don't have weights or dumbbells in the house, much less ones I could find on a Saturday evening at short notice. Even less ones that would fit within the mouth of my mould to press the cheese itself. Stones? I have some pretty stones and shells.... Not enough of them and not heavy enough. Hmmm. The I thought of the sand on the balcony for Little One's sand box. So I found myself squatting on a rainy balcony shovelling sand into two yogurt buckets with a small plastic sandbox scoop. Jury-rigged maybe, but it worked. The combined weight of the buckets of sand came to what I needed (the sand buckets are still on my counter, too). Right. Now for the balancing act. Two buckets of sand on top of the cheese curds in the make-shift mould. The stack held for just long enough for me to walk away and sit on the couch. In the end, I had to replace the oven shelf with my steamer as a rack, in the bottom of a tall soup pot, with the three buckets (curds +sand + sand) on top, and cutting boards to either side in the soup pot to balance it all. Anyway, it worked. We made veggie burgers to try them it out and the grilled halloumi worked great. I forgot to take pictures then, but used the last of the halloumi on regular burgers last night which we made to test out my new ketchup recipes. Lots of fun, but also lots of jury rigging and make shift solutions! And now for cultured goat's cheese! Book Pairing: Making both of these I was listening to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. I enjoyed them both very much, but the Odyssey more so. I read the Iliad a while ago when in University, and enjoyed it but not enough to go on to the Odyssey. Instead I read the Aeneid By Virgil and enjoyed that more. I regret now that I didn't push on and read the Odyssey and then the Aeneid afterwards. Oh well. Better late than never. It all made for excellent listening now!

  • Nettles

    I have enjoyed getting to know this plant in the last year, and have been out foraging for it while on

  • Yellow Carrot Tart with Nettle and Dandelion Pesto, and Ricotta with Wild Flowers

    Everything , or very nearly, was locally sourced from local farmers or foraged by Little One and I.

  • Watermelon Rind Jam

    My second foray into using watermelon rind as an ingredient went well.

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