Monday, July 23, 2007

Meme Mut8nt-R4

The 8 things Meme Mutated at Andrea's Buzzing About and Andrea (the index case) passed this virulent strain onto me. New genome for Mut8nt-R4:

1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 4 recipes they especially like (ethnic or regional recipes and quick meals are especially nice).
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 4 recipes.
4. Players should tag 4 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

I'm afraid I'm not very good at this for two reasons. One is that I don't do that much cooking, and with the stuff I make in my own way (i.e. not just lifting a recipe from elsewhere), I'm rather vague about quantities and timing (frankly, it's really difficult for me to imagine doing without the things in front of me). The second is that I'm pretty bad at writing instructions in any case.

However, when I saw this, I immediately thought of the four people I wanted to tag because they'll each be so much better at it than I will. And that's Seahorse, Bunnyman, Sara and S.. Which may be ever so slightly mean to Seahorse as she already provided a comprehensive week's menu on the Ouch! Blog and Sara gives us lots of recipes anyway, such as Blueberry Pie.

But I have to do this anyway...

1. Onion Gravy.

One of my favourite meals to make (I don't make many) is curly kale, sausages and onion gravy. Curly Kale is a really good lazy vegetable; often you can buy it in a bag and you can just eat heat the bag in the microwave. Ideally, we would prepare our veg from scratch all covered in dirt, but this is not an ideal life. Kale is good with sausages, any kinds of sausages, which are also easy to prepare (I make a foil tray for the grill; a waste of foil, but it saves washing up the grill). And to make this more interesting, I like to cook proper onion gravy.

Unfortunately, my onion gravy is not suitable for vegetarians as it contains Worcester Sauce (which has anchovies in it). But frankly, the anchovy is only a tiny little fish and... no, never mind. Enough to serve two adults. Requires one saucepan and somewhere to chop the onion (see suggestion below).
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Some oil - I use rapeseed oil for this purpose.
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon (this stuff)
  • 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
Chop the onion. It doesn't have to be very finely chopped, it's up to you. My top onion-chopping tip - do it in a flat-bottomed bowl, under water. If you have to work as slowly and precariously as I do, this will stop your eyes watering. Also, as we're making gravy, it doesn't matter so much if blood is spilt - it merely adds to the flavour!

Using the saucepan you're going to make the gravy in, add the sugar and oil to the onion and fry for a bit. Meanwhile make some stock using the vegetable bouillon and some water... uh, about a teacup worth? Add to this the Worcester sauce.

When the onion is cooked, add the flour and stir well. Then slowly add the stock liquid, stirring constantly. Then let it simmer for a bit. Probably.

I'm really not very good at this, am I? I'll try harder.

2. Orangey Tofu Noodly Surprise (which is suitable for vegetarians)

This is fairly healthy and interesting, something that started off as a proper recipe but which I made my own with several adjustments.

Serves two adults. Requires 2 saucepans, a chopping board, some means to juice an orange and somewhere to put the orange juice.
  • Some tofu (I don't know - as much as is in the packet).
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Some ginger root, roughly the same size as a clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil (again, I use rapeseed oil for this purpose)
  • Juice of an orange
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (clear is best I guess)
  • About 3 spring onions
  • Some brocolli
  • Some babycorn (um... some.... you can guess how much you need I'm sure)
  • Enough noodles for two people.
  • A good handful of sesame seeds
Slice the tofu best you can and put it in a saucepan. Chop up or crush the garlic and ginger, add this and the oil to the tofu. Stir all this together and leave it alone for a bit to llow the tofu a chance to absorb a bit of flavour. Meanwhile the orange juice with the honey and soy sauce. Cut up the vegetables into thin shreds, or at least small pieces, the best you can.

You can do all this before you do any cooking, so you can chip away at it during the afternoon. At some point, spread some sesame seeds over a flat surface under the grill and toast them. Do watch them carefully because they do nothing, go golden brown for all of a few seconds before going black such that even the birds won't have them.

Now when you're getting hungry, put the heat under the saucepan and fry the tofu in the oil, ginger and garlic for a while. When you feel it's the right time (?), cook the noodles.

Add the as yet uncooked vegetables to the tofu, give them a stir, then add the cooked noodles and the orange/ honey/ soy sauce mixture. Stir it all about. Yum yum yum. It might even help if you chant "Yum yum yum!" as you do this. You never know.

Now put it all onto plates or into bowls or whatever it is you like to do with noodly things (in the bath, if that's your thing). Then sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds all over the place.

This is actually quite nice. Honest. And it is really very healthy. Unlike...

3. Fanny Pasta

That's what it's called. [...]'s grandmother, Fanny - whose name he has been known to use as an alias on occasion - was a very old-fashioned lady who survived into the 1990s without a telephone. But when [...] and his sister would come to stay, she was prepared to make an exotic dish especially for them; macaroni cheese. She wouldn't eat any herself, what with it being foreign food, but she'd do it for the little ones. This is what she imagined macaroni cheese to be.

Requires a chopping board to slice cheese on and a saucepan. It is not very nutritious, but it's a good food in emergencies when you have nothing in the cupboard except for
  • Some pasta (macaroni was the original, fusilli or farfalle are our favourites)
  • Some cheddar cheese.
Cook the pasta and spread it flat on a heat-proof plate. Thinly slice some cheese and place it on top of the pasta. Grill until the cheese beings to brown.

See, that was very easy, wasn't it? Now for something sweet...

4. Crispy Cake (which may or may not be suitable for vegetarians)

This is one of my Granny's, who is an excellent cook. This is very easy to prepare. It isn't any good for you of course, but what with being made out of Rice Krispies (or similar), most of it is air anyway. That and sugar, of course. Hmm, never mind. Marshmallow is supposed to be good for some things, as a medicinal herb, but I'm not sure you have enough of it in the confection.

Requires some sort of microwave-proof dish.
  • Marshmallows (usually contain gelatin but you can get vegan ones)
  • Knob of butter or margarine
  • Rice Krispies (or cheaper own-brand alternative)
Get your dish, put a knob of butter in it and melt this in the microwave. Add some marshmallows, stir them about so that the butter covers them and then put the dish back in the microwave. You can watch the marshmallows expanding, which is good fun, but once they're going sloppy, whip the dish out and stir. You should have a thick pink liquid, into which you add your Rice Krispies. Add quantities of Krispies such that they are all covered and there's no pink stuff to spare. Leave to cool, ideally transferring to fridge when cool enough.

Later on, cut it up and gobble.


Maddy said...

I don't think I would cook the Fanny Pasta, just on principle!

I certainly like the sound of the onion gravy, the problem is getting hold a good packet of bangers! [I'll leave you to translate that one]

Katie said...

I make Fanny Pasta all the time! It saw me through to my MA deadline. And various wobbly days - steady with the boiling water, though.

My other wobbly day staple is chickpeas. De-can. Heat. If feeling energetic add halloumi. Add pesto. Or whatever you happen to have around the house. Eat. Put saucepan in dishwasher 3 days later, or wait for your mum to come and visit.

I believe Fanny Pasta to work on the same principle.

S. said...

Thanks for the tag! I just did the Random-8 meme, though, and I'm not sure I have anyone left to tag. I'll think about it....

seahorse said...

I may, just may, be going to a cottage if the floods subside, so I'll get back to this at the weekend. Thanks! I love writing about food, so am never short of ideas :-) On the tagging front, I think there's nothing wrong with finding some new people if current circles have been exhausted. It's a hello there!

Anonymous said...

mmm i love boullion too. i chuck it into everything that's savory/wet (like a chilli, spagbol, thai green curry etc.) just to add extra flavour. and of course it makes *smashing* soups. one of my favorite is leek & potato soup: cut up an onion, 2 leeks, 2 potatoes (quite small). saute in a little butter/olive oil (the oil stops the butter burning). add 2 pints of boullion made up with boiling water. leave to cook for half an hour. Whizz with a blending stick thingie. Add cream, lots and lots of black pepper and whizz again. Serve with lots of crunchy french bread and feel decadent.


Anonymous said...

I know that really, this is just your round about way of having me clean away all those half-eaten oatcakes and empty tins of baked beans.
Still, it is a bit of a mess and I am quite looking forward to dusting off my old recipe notebook ... just have to remember which box of Christmas decorations I left it in.
Um, perhaps the three S's could keep you nutritionally entertained in the meantime? Or if you're feeling really nibbly, you could help me finish off these oatcakes?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha -- yum yum yum, indeed! That tofu dish sounds delightful. Also, I admit to having done Fanny-style rice, not to mention Fanny-style toast, on more than one occasion. I didn't know it was "Fanny-style," of course.

There are vegetarian worcestershire sauces, incidentally, as well as vegetarian sausages.

Okay, the challenge is on. I shall think of some things to post. I may use this opportunity to discuss my practice of doctoring organic, all-natural convenience foods in order to achieve maximum pleasure through minimum effort.


The Goldfish said...

Mcewen - don't they call sausages faggots in the states? AJ sometimes calls them squealers. In Suffolk, there are more pigs than people, so there are all variety of pork sausages. But Quorn ones are pretty good.

Katie - I'll have to try the chickpea and pesto thing. Mmm.

S. - no worries. A tag is never an obligation. ;-)

Seahorse - I hope you do manage to go to the cottage and have a pleasant break.

Kethry - if you like, you can consider yourself tagged (this Meme is evolving) as I'm sure you'll come up with nice recipes too.

Bouillon is great stuff, very useful. Also good for adding to pastry if you make any kind of quiche - really scrummy.

Bunny - again, no obligation and certainly you don't have to use the oatcakes and the bakedbeans. In fact, I'd really rather you didn't - not both at the same time, anyway. ;-)

Sara - Sounds excellent. Can't wait!

Philip. said...

Now I'm hungry!!

Mary said...

Just wondered if you'd seen this, the BBC showing a positive attitude towards mobility aids (Warning: contains cute dog. Requires RealPlayer or equivalent due to BBC-ness).

Sally said...

Looking forward to trying the onion gravy recipe, if I dare brave sausages again.

Have you ever considered deleting soya in all its forms from your diet for a month, just in case its something that is slightly toxic to you .. I know, I hate getting advice like that too, after years of knowing for myself what is good for me and what is not, and my Bump absolutely yells at me these days if I have the temerity to suggest anything ... but it is toxic to many people, which is why soya lecithin is such a problem as an emulsifier, especially in chocolate.

I haven't put this up anonymously; I am happy to take any resulting flack.

The Goldfish said...

Thanks folks.

Mary - that is a great little story, thank you. :-)

Sally - I don't mind the suggestion from you and you never know; sometimes someone can suggest something and it's the missing piece of a puzzle. However, my father is a blandetarian with a very uninteresting diet, so whenever I have stayed with my folks, I probably have cut out all soya products (and I mean that; I know it's in lots of stuff, but still). Also, I do go through phases of eating a lot of soya stuff, a lot of chinese food and veggie food, and things don't get worse.

A lot of people with chronic illness, especially immune system problems, seem to have lists of foods that have different effects but I've never had this. There are one or two things which, when I have a lot of them, I see some effect, like sugar and caffeine. And at one point, I bizarrely became allergic to citric acid of all things; got a very severe rash, took me weeks to work out what it was, but after a few months without I was fine again.

Sally said...

Glad you CAN eat soya, as chocolate essential chocolate, is such an essential. :-}

Magpie said...

"fanny pasta" slays me.