Saturday, 28 November 2009

thai satay wraps.

the picture isn't great on this one because gem was home from work and we were more concerned with eating it. this was an experimental idea that popped into my head and worked to a certain degree, but definitely needs some fine tuning. this works essentially the same as a basic stir fry and with my generous measurements probably feeds about three people. aside from the sauce, practically everything can be changed to your own preference.


the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (whole earth is best)
- 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 100ml water

the stirfry:
- 200g brown rice
- 1/2 bag of quorn pieces (this can be changed to a vegan alternative)
- 3/4ths a red onion
- 1/2 a red pepper
- 1/2 a yellow pepper
- 1 standard can of kidney beans
- 30g roasted peanuts

also, don't forget the tortillas/flatbread for wraps!


firstly, get that sauce ready. mix all the ingredients together until it's thin (you can do this with a spoon just fine, no need for a blender) and it's to your desired taste. next up, boil and drain the rice to however the instructions say. once you're near the end of doing that, commence usual stirfry routine by frying your veg and additional ingredients (make sure to time it all right so you aren't overdoing the quorn/veg/rice/etc) throwing in the satay with the peanuts. if you've never wrapped a burrito before, it takes some practise (above picture proves this) so i'll leave you in the able hands of the aptly-named then EAT!

i only planned this about 5 hours before gem got home, so it was a little rushed (not soaking my own kidney beans and only using standard brown rice). however, i can't argue with using peanut butter in a main meal kicking the ass of every tastebud i have. i definitely need to sort out making my own spanish rice, and it probably could've used a bit more sauce. aside from that, a solid meal which is easily interpreted however you want.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


i maintain that people only buy houmous in a supermarket because they don't realise it costs about 50p to make a metric ton of the stuff at home (currently topping the giraffalafel's list on "rip-offs" is sainsbury's charging extra for chunky houmous WHEN YOU JUST AREN'T BLENDING IT AS MUCH WHAT THE HELL). ideally, you need a blender, but i've seen it made with some vigorous stir action before. this is a super quick one, assuming you aren't doing your own chickpeas. for the amount pictured above i just doubled the recipe and managed to feed me, gem and all four of the cut ups (i also made about 600g of pasta with this for well under £20)! this easily serves two people. god damn, i love houmous.


- 1 can of chickpeas
- 60ml liquid from the can (this stuff never smells too hot, but trust me)
- 3 to 5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste, i barely use 3)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon tahini
- 2 cloves garlic (crush 'em up)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil


drain the chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. blend all this in to personal preference thickness-wise, then add salt and pepper to taste (no more than a tablespoon of salt, for me). i always add i little more liquid and olive oil than the recipe just to stop it being really dry. i would also recommend throwing in chilli (my chilli/hot sauce addiction will be written about another time), red pepper, and whatever else you think would work! my friend brooke tells me jalapeno peppers are amazing to blend in, but i'm yet to try this. get creative with it!

Monday, 23 November 2009

wild mushroom tartlets.


375g block puff pastry
flour, for dusting
25g butter
300g mixed wild mushrooms (i just used button and chestnut mushrooms)
25g vegetarian cheese (veggie parmesan is ideal)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten


1. roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut out two or four circles (depending on how many you are cooking for). leave these to chill in the fridge on a baking tray.

2. heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/gas mark 6. heat a large frying pan until hot, add the butter, and fry the mushrooms for five or so minutes, until there is no liquid left in the pan. season with black pepper, then take them off the heat and mix them in with the cheese and garlic. you can add parsley at this stage too, if you are a fan of it.

3. score a 1cm border around the edge of each pastry circle. this is what makes it puff up round the edge! be careful not to cut all the way through the pastry, though. brush the edges with the beaten egg, then spoon the mushrooms equally into the centre of the pastry circles.

4. bake the tarts for 20 minutes until they are puffed up and golden, and serve immediately.

my verdict.

these were simple to make but looked pretty impressive (according to my standards, anyway!). the pastry was a good accompaniment to the mushrooms, however, i found that it was quite a dry dish. when i make it next time, i think i'll make a sauce or gravy to go with it. i served them with salted mange tout. lovely.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

caramel slices.


230g plain flour
115g dessicated coconut
115g brown sugar
125g butter
75g golden syrup
125g butter
2 x 400g cans condensed milk
185g dark chocolate
3 tbsp sunflower oil


1. preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/gas mark 6. line a 20x30 cm slice tin with greaseproof paper.

2. melt the butter. stir the flour, coconut, butter and sugar together in a bowl to form the base. i found it a little easier to use a food processor to get an even mixture! press firmly down into the the tin, in an even layer.

3. bake the base for around 15 minutes, or until it has become slightly golden.

4. meanwhile, mix the caramel ingredients together in a saucepan, and simmer for ten minutes. make sure you stir the mixture continuously as the caramel is easily burnt!

5. the caramel should be of a thick consistency. pour the mixture over the base, and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the caramel starts to bubble and brown. i found it only needed around 10 minutes all in!

6. once removed from the oven, chill the tray in the fridge for an hour or so. once the caramel has hardened, combine the chocolate and sunflower oil in a saucepan, and heat over a low setting until it has melted together. pour the chocolate over the slice and chill again. once set, cut into pieces!

my verdict.

although i was skeptical of this being an easy recipe to make, it did turn out to be true. the one downfall to my slices was that i burnt the bottom of the base, as our oven gets a bit over excited at times! this did add some more crunch to them though, and so they weren't ruined in any way.




a recently discovered love of food and animal related puns spurred me on to create this.