The Great Unveiling

Some of my recipes are quite complex. Some others just look complex when I write them. They are actually much simpler when cooking than they are to read.

It’s for these recipes that I have attempted to create a new format for recipes. It is inspired by various sources. Visually by the London Underground map, and conceptually by a great deal of things, most notably by the work of Edward R. Tufte.

I will be publishing diagrams for the recipes already out, and will be adding new recipes too. But now, I’d like to unveil my first recipe diagram. It’s been under covers for months, and, fittingly, is a diagram for the very first recipe published here.

This is the recipe diagram for Firstborn’s Carrot Muffins:

CarrotMuffins-0.5

That’s it. Looks much simpler, doesn’t it?

 

A Second (all new) Onion Tart – Savoury Pie Crust Pie

This is an all new onion tart recipe I came up with yesterday. I really wanted an onion tart, but was drawn to a different set of ingredients, except the onions of course.

I’ve been meaning to experiment with nutritional yeast for a while, so this was a good chance. Also, I decided that I have to use up the white wine I had left in the fridge.

The result was a huge success, I had to dictate the recipe to someone at a party I brought the tart to. It’s a much richer flavour, with a good balance to it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Savoury Pie Crust
  • 5 large onions (2 red onions and three yellow ones works nicely, but any onions will do)
  • 7-8 dried tomatoes
  • 100 ml (half a cup) white wine (I had a fumé blanc, but it shouldn’t really matter in this case)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (smoked paprika is even more fun)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • some olive oil for sautéing

What to do:

  1. Peel the onions, then finely slice them and cut the slices in to quarters.
  2. Put some olive oil in a saucepan, and chuck the onions on a medium-high flame to start the onions going.
  3. Chop the dried tomatoes into small bits and add to the saucepan with the onions. Stir a little and then leave with the lid on. This will help the onions soften and the tomatoes hydrate a little.
  4. Go and make the Savoury Pie Crust, stirring the stuff in the pan every few minutes as you work.
  5. After about 15 minutes, add the wine and mix again.
  6. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Turn off the stove and add the nutritional yeast and flour. Stir in so that the ingredients mix and thicken nicely.
  8. Arrange the crust in the dish, and pour the mixture into the crust. Once it’s spread nice and evenly, bake it in the oven at 190ºC for about 17 minutes.

That’s it.

The Spinachy Tart – Another Savoury Pie Crust Pie

This recipe is for a spinach (and other things) filling for a Savoury Pie Crust. I’m experimenting with some new ingredients, and this is my first recipe with nutritional yeast in it. The roast peppers on the top have a natural mild sour hint that balances the sweetness of the onions nicely.

The recipe doesn’t include the crust. For timing, it’s best to put the crust together after the onions are frying nicely, as it needs about 20 minutes rest. After that, the crust can just wait for the filling to be ready.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Savoury Pie Crust
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 1-1.5 kg of fresh spinach
  • 7-8 dried tomatoes (or 5-6  tablespoons of chopped dried tomatoes in oil)
  • 1-2 roast peppers (I use roast peppers in brine that comes in a jar from the shop, because I am far too lazy to roast my own peppers)
  • Some olive oil for sautéing
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (smoked paprika is even more fun)
  • Salt and pepper

What to do:

  1. Peel the onions and finely chop them, holding back your tears.
  2. Put some olive oil in a big saucepan on medium-high heat and add the onions.
  3. Fry the onions for about 25 minutes, stirring every minute or two, until they are nicely browned. Turn the heat down after the first few minutes, and add water occasionally if needed.
  4. Go and make the Savoury Pie Crust, stirring the stuff in the pan every few minutes as you work
  5. Chop the dried tomatoes into small bits and add to the saucepan with the onions.
  6. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and chop the tops into small pieces and add to the pan.
  7. Wash the spinach, and discard stems, then add the spinach to the pan.
  8. Keep mixing and cooking until the spinach wilts. It will lose about two thirds of its volume, which is normal.
  9. Add the nutritional yeast, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.
  10. Add the flour, and turn off the heat, mixing the flour in slowly.
  11. Arrange the crust in the dish, and pour the mixture into the crust. Once it’s spread nice and evenly, arrange slices of roast pepper as spokes from the centre outward.
  12. Bake in the oven at 190ºC for about 30 minutes.

That’s it. Enjoy.

Quick Pasta with Broccoli

This is another one of the recipes that is beloved of the daughters. They both love broccoli, and everybody loves a good unadulterated pasta alio olio (with olive oil).

It doesn’t really matter which shape of pasta you use, but our favourite is a short shape like fusilli or penne.

There isn’t much else to say, except that it’s high summer, and far too hot for anything but a relatively light meal. Not even a rant about the quality of olive oil. It’s just too hot and sticky.

Quick Pasta with Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 500g packet of pasta (fusilli or penne work for me, but it is fine with spaghetti or any other shape too)
  • 3 Broccoli flowers
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

  1. Cut the broccoli into small (bite-sized) florets.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
  3. Steam the broccoli for about 12 minutes, so that it’s starting to soften.
  4. Drain the pasta in a colander, and then drain the broccoli.
  5. In a bowl, mix cooked pasta and broccoli, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Just before serving, add the pine nuts and mix into the bowl.

That’s it. Incredibly simple, quick and easy.

Almost a Traditional Paella

I really like this recipe, with its delicate flavours (saffron) and vibrant colours (peas, cherry tomatoes and saffron again). Happily, the daughters like it too. It also has a nice balance to it, and is really quite simple to make.

There are two good reasons why I don’t call this a traditional Paella. First, there’s no seafood in it, as obviously it’s completely vegan. The second reason is that a proper Paella is prepared as in this recipe, and then baked in the oven for a while to give it a crispy top. Since I like my rice squishy, I don’t take that last step, and this doesn’t quite qualify as being Paella.

Which Rice?

To be honest, I don’t usually make a big deal about rice types and traditions. Considering the thought I give to choosing the right pasta shape, that’s fairly surprising. That being said, Paella is usually done with a rice that is short-grain and white. The first time I decided to try making a Paella was when I noticed that our Sushi rice was from Spain.

Soup Stock?

This recipe calls for vegetable soup stock. At “worst”, you can just use boiling water instead. At the highest end of the scale, you can make a proper vegetable soup and use the liquid from that.

Personally, I am incredibly lazy. Therefore, I buy a soup stock powder that is of high quality, and only has dried vegetables and seasonings in it and use that to make stock. In my case, it’s one teaspoon per cup of boiling water. i also use frozen crushed garlic, as a testament to my laziness. Continue reading

The Apparently Very Chocolatey Cake

I have a small confession to make: I don’t like chocolate. I can eat the occasional chocolate confection, but that’s because I have a massive sweet-tooth. I don’t really like anything that smacks of proper, quality chocolate.

My lovely wife, however, loves the stuff. And it was on the occasion of her birthday that I wanted to make her a cake. It took a lot of research (on YouTube with firstborn), but I finally collated about four different recipes into something I could try.

It’s not too much work, but isn’t actually easy. It is, of course, very highly chocolatey. I am also told it was very tasty, so I’m publishing the recipe here.

Continue reading