Friday, September 22, 2006

with carrot, cashew and tofu

2 carrots, sliced into batons
2 courgettes, sliced into batons
1 block tofu, diced
Handful cashew nuts
Groundnut oil (1tbsp)

Stir-fry the above in order of cooking time: start with the tofu and fry until starting to brown. Add the cashews and vegetables, and continue cooking until lightly crunchy.

Meanwhile, boil two portions of thick egg noodles. Set aside.

For the Sauce:
1.5tbsp soy sauce
1tsp tomato puree
1tsp sesame oil
2tbsp vegetable stock
0.5tbsp white wine vinegar
1tsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix together and pour over the vegetables in the pan. Add the noodles and heat through. Serve!

Friday, September 15, 2006

This is rather a prized recipe of mine, and I post it with some reluctance, having spent a lot of time perfecting it. Delicious hot with beans and equally good cold, with ketchup. It's a good use of the leeks that arrive all autumn, and I always keep a pot of sage in the garden.

Makes 6
1 leek, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped and boiled
1 handful spinach, shredded (optional)
0.5 tub of creme fraiche
2tbsp chopped sage
1tsp Marigold bouillon
2tsp wholegrain mustard

Pastry - either Delia's wholewheat shortcrust, or ready-made shortcrust or puff.

Put the leek and spinach in a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil, and leave to saute for a few minutes. Put the potatoes in a bowl with the creme fraiche, sage, bouillon and mustard, and mash together. Season generously.

Add the spinach and leeks to the potato mixture and set aside.

Roll out the pastry quite thinly and cut into rounds (using a saucer). Place on a baking sheet. Next, brush the edges with beaten egg, and put a tbsp of filling on each circle. Bring the sides together to form a half-moon pasty, and pinch the edges together firmly.

When they're ready, brush with the egg, and put into a preheated oven at about 180 degrees C for 20 minutes, until golden.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

As if you need them. Having undertaken comprehensive research, I'm pleased to present...

Five Excuses to Eat More Chocolate

Got a cough?
Take chocolate. Researchers at Imperial College, London discovered that chocolate is 30% more effective than codeine, which is the most common cough-medicine remedy. Theobromine, found in cocoa, was tested on volunteers with cough symptoms and didn’t show any of codeine’s side-effects, either.

Planning an adventure?
Take chocolate. Mountain-climbers, trekkers and serious adventurers are always advised to take chocolate. It’s been said to have saved the life of many a weak walker.

High blood pressure?
Take chocolate. Its polyphenols slow down the oxidation of cholesterol (which is what leads to blocked arteries) and it’s also suspected to prevent blood clotting. In fact, Mars is so convinced of its health-giving properties, it’s just launched CocoaVia: high-cocoa bars for people suffering with blood and heart problems. Mars claims the bars promote platelet activity (for good circulation) and improve blood flow.

Prone to anaemia?
Take chocolate. This trick is familiar to many women who suffer mild anaemic symptoms once a month. If you’re menstruating, dark chocolate is a useful iron supplement, and cheers you up too.

Need extra vitamins?
Ditch the pills and take chocolate. The humble cocoa bean is 3.5% vitamins, including calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Sunny herbs and lemon make courgettes ever-so-much-more interesting. Serve with potato salad and green things, plus a bottle of chilled rose - perfect!

2 courgettes, finely sliced
0.5tbsp olive oil
1tsp tarragon, chopped
Squeeze lemon juice (about 0.25 of a lemon)
Salt and pepper
Puff pastry - half a packet (won't catch me trying to make this)!

Slice the courgettes very thinly and leave in iced water, then drain, dry and soften gently in a large frying pan. Remove and toss with the olive oil, lemon and tarragon, then leave to infuse. Roll out the pastry and put onto a baking sheet. Score around the edge, leaving a 2cm gap. Now arrange the courgettes prettily over the pastry. Sprinkle the seasoning and remaining marinade over and add extra tarragon if you like it.

Bake for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and the courgettes are lightly tinged. Serve with new potatoes and rocket salad.
(for one)

One good (or bad) thing about working from home is having the time and space to whip up something interesting for lunch.

The River cafe recipes are always more amazing than they sound on paper. Beans, spinach and white wine - what's great about that? Try it and see.

You will need some prepared tomato sauce: I sometimes have a batch in the freezer (handy for pizzas), made by stewing tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil for up to an hour until dark red and mushy. The River Cafe's tomato sauce is much the same - made with tinned tomatoes, plus chopped onion - but in the absence of either, a jar of Italian tomato sauce will do fine. Make sure it's a concentrated one, with lots of tomato.

Cooked chickpeas or butter beans: about half a tin's worth (about 40g dry)
Swiss chard or spinach: 100g
Onion: a quarter
Carrot: a small one
Olive oil: 1tbsp
Tomato sauce: 0.5tbsp
White wine: 2floz
Pinch salt, pinch pepper, pinch dried chilli flakes (crushed together)

Warm the oil and soften the onion and carrot until both are tender (not brown). Add the seasonings and the white wine and reduce until almost all gone. Add the tomato sauce, the beans and the spinach or chard, cover, and simmer gently until the spinach/chard is cooked.

Cool slightly before serving (this is also scrumptious scooped cold from the fridge!) on toast, or with focaccia.