Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Das Abendessen

This week has been packed full of culinary adventures, with more tasty curries served up to friends, now I'm getting into the swing of having people round for dinner. But cooking for others is nowhere near as fun as combining our cooking skills and helping to make dinner together. It then becomes more of a social activity, rather than an essential part of eating, and is exactly what we did on Monday.

We set off to make two meals, but in the end, the first one was enough for us - wild mushrooms in a cream sauce, with cous cous. This is the first time I've ever used soya cream in cooking, and I've got to say I was impressed! It deserved a photo, but I'm still without my camera. I would've also liked to post the recipe, but it came out of a German cookbook, and I only got a rough translation! It went something like this:

Roast some cashew nuts
Fry wild mushrooms in oil
In a separate pan, fry some garlic
Make a basil paste with fresh basil, olive oil and water, then add this to the garlic
Add the cooked mushrooms to the basil
Add a carton of soya cream and 1 tbsp english mustard, and simmer till reduced
Season, and serve on cous cous, topped with cashews

It was delicious! Hopefully later this week we'll have a go at the main meal that we were going to do, and this time I'll try and get a proper translation, and some pics.

Okay, here's five things you probably never knew about me:

1. I make computer games for the Xbox 360 and PS3, which is a long way away from where I started out programming, on a graphical calculator in my maths lessons.

2. I have always wanted to move to Japan - their culture fascinates me, although their food does not.

3. I've never been to a hairdresser. (This might change soon though - it really is getting too long).

4. Broccoli and aubergine are amongst my favourite vegetables; okra and bitter melon are my worst.

5. Me and my sister once made experimental ice cubes with milk, marmite and black pepper. They were pretty gross, but apparently not quite bad enough to chuck in the bin - we had to have them in our tea...!

Thanks to DJ (The Skint Vegan) for the tag.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Well, I've had some mega down time in the blogging world, and indeed the internet in general, on account of some extremely inconvenient moving of house. On top of that, I've only got my mobile phone to take photos on at the moment, so my photos don't really do the food justice! I'm going to buy a shiny new Canon G9 to replace my beloved 1 megapixel A10 (RIP!).

So there are my poor excuses for not keeping up to date! I've only cooked a few meals at my new house, but a very welcome addition of a gas stove to the kitchen has put a lot of excitement into cooking with my cast iron pan! I'm convinced food tastes better if cooked on a gas stove.

I've had a pretty busy couple of week, but one particular day was notable in the food department, as one of my good friends made me dinner. Not many non-veggie people know how to cook up something tasty and vegan, and so having friends cook for me is quite a rare experience. I think she did a pretty good job of cooking up a pasta bake - she'd even gone to the trouble of buying some "super melting" vegan cheese to put on top, but as you can imagine, it refused to melt, as is the tradition with pseudo cheese. For dessert, we had strawberries and grapes, with some soy yoghurt, which I think proved that not all vegan alternatives are as bad as soya cheese!

The following day, I returned the favour, and made us a curry. Curry is my speciality - I live on curries!


1 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
1/2 Red Chilli
1 Onion
1 Carrot
1 Potato
1/4 inch Ginger, peeled
1 tbsp Garam Masala
5 Brussel Sprouts
1 cup of Broccoli
1/2 Courgette
3 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 tsp Dark Miso
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
1/4 Red Bell Pepper
1 cup of Spinach
Small Pinch of salt

Heat up large cast iron pan, and dry roast the coriander, fenugreek and cumin seeds for about 2 minutes, until they start releasing their aroma, then transfer seeds to pestle and mortar for a good bashing.

Heat up oil in pan, and add onions and chilli, and cook for 3 minutes, with powdered seeds. Add root vegetables and finely chopped ginger, Garam Masala, and sprouts (quartered). Carry on cooking on a fairly high heat. If it gets a bit dry (which it will) add a 1/2 cup of water, and carry on stirring; as its a cast iron pan, you don't have to worry much about things sticking. If it dries out again, add a few more splashes of water. Continue cooking for 5 mins.

Add the broccoli and courgette, tomato puree and a few more splashes of water if needed, along with the Miso, which should help thicken up the curry. Simmer for another 15 mins, adding more water if necessary to get the right consistency. Add the peas, spinach and garlic, and season if needed.

Serve and enjoy!

I love how dark this curry gets, all the iron-y goodness going into the food, but you can't taste it. I managed to find some suitable naan bread in the local supermarket to accompany the meal, which turned out to be really nice! I also cooked up a pot of rice, but I'm so used to cooking for one, that I forgot to double the quantity of water...! Oops! I wish I had have got a photo of the smoothie that she made whilst I was doing the curry - it was so green! Spinach, ice, orange juice, tomatoes and cucumber. It tasted healthy :)