Spinach, Potato and Onion Curry (Saag Aloo??)

So I’m attempting to cut down the shopping bill by buying less meat and therefore eating more veg.  This is a quick veggie curry, it reminds me very much of Saag Aloo and I’m guessing it’s pretty close seeing as all that means is spinach and potato.  I’m upping my game here and diversifying with separate spices, I thought it was going to be tricky to get the balance right but turns out it’s pretty simple and you get a much more defined combination of flavours.  I served this with a version of my super quick raita, a mix of yoghurt, fresh coriander and a squirt of the ubiquitous sweet chilli sauce – you can’t take it away from me, it’s my friend!

Spinach, Potato and Onion Curry

Serves 2/3 with pitta or flat breads and the raita mentioned above

Ingredients:

  • About 500g of new potatoes
  • A couple of big handfuls of spinach
  • 2 onions
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds
  • some oil, I made this with that spray light stuff (I don’t really want to think about what goes into that stuff but it is diet friendly, if you don’t need to use it DON’T)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful of fresh coriander
  • Pitta or flat breads to serve with for pure carb on carb action – I ate this for lunch without so it’s not a necessary and obviously if you can make your own flat breads go you, but I couldn’t be arsed so got out a gluten free pitta and popped it in the toaster

Method:

Boil the potatoes until tender then drain and set aside.

Slice and soften the onions, I nuke mine in a covered bowl for 4 min, but you can stand over a pan on a low heat if you wish.  If nuking transfer to a hot frying pan and begin to brown the onions in a little oil.  When the onions are starting to brown add the spices and fry for a min or so.

Add the cooked potatoes and bash about a bit in the pan so that they break up and colour and mingle with the spices.  Add the spinach at the last minute, turn the heat of stir together so the spinach wilts and season generously.  This dish likes salt.

Chop up some fresh coriander, chuck some in your raita and some in your finished curry then serve with accompaniments suggested or what ever your heart desires!

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Simple Spanish Salad

I had this salad or a version of it a few years ago in a lovely Spanish restaurant in Fulham. Since then from time to time I make it. Seeing as the market appeared to be bursting with ripe figs today, I bought some then went in search of it’s partners in crime, Manchego and Serrano ham. I found some great Manchego reduced in the supermarket today so it seemed like the god of ingredients was on my side and on I trotted with my packet of ham happily dreaming of this yummy salad that would soon become my lunch!

This is super simple and you can make it all pretty with practically no effort at all.

Serves 1

Ingredients:
A handful of baby spinach or green leaves of your choice
2 slices of Serrano ham
2 ripe figs
10g of Manchego cheese
A couple of teaspoons of a good sherry vinegar
Half a teaspoon of agave syrup
Salt and pepper
Olive oil would be good here but I did without

Method:

Mix the vinegar, syrup, salt, pepper and oil, if using. Dress leaves and plate up. Cut the figs into four and arrange like a clock around the plate. Tear your slices of ham and pop in the centre then shave (potato peeler) the Manchego on top. Drizzle left over dressing over figs and serve. Bloody marvellous!

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Escabeche Sea Bream with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Escabeche Sea Bream with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

I made this two weeks ago but forgot to post about it.  Escabeche is a great sweet and sour type sauce to serve with and cook fish in.  To be honest I can’t remember the quantities I used so I’ll just be crap and say it involved white wine vinegar, sugar, water, celery, onion and carrots and the fish.  I sliced the veg very thinly and cooked them in the vinegar and sugar mixture then poached/steamed the fish  on top of it.  The end result should be light and fresh with the veg still crunchy and the fish delicate and soft.  I believe I scattered this with some basil at the end to lift it slightly.  And that’s about that folks, less a recipe more of a vague memory but give it a go, it’s good to experiment now and again!

Oh, yeah, the smashed potatoes, these are gorgeous and make a brilliant accompaniment to many a dish, boil your new potatoes until just cooked through.  Pre heat the oven then plop the potatoes into a baking a tray, break or smash with a fork, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper (or you could add spices or herbs) and whack in the oven at 220 degrees until golden and crispy. Bang! Spud heaven!

Baked Apples

This is my attempt to sate my crumble craving (this is all your blinking fault MathildeheartManech, your crumble muffins and links to beautiful crumble making blogs!).  This is not a crumble in any way but, in my diet addled brain, it seems to sit well as a lighter alternative that although lacking in the crumble still has that warm, spiced, sticky apple content that somehow fits so well in the beginning of Autumn.  Serve this with rich, creamy vanilla ice cream or  if like me that isn’t really an option, perhaps a crappy low fat version or some greek yoghurt spiked with vanilla and syrup.

Baked apples are something I often forget about then remember and become addicted once more.  This is the perfect time, British apples in season, temperatures cooling and leaves tumbling from the trees.  Wrap up, stick the oven on and relax with a bowl of baked apple and ice cream.

Baked Apples

Ingredients:

For 3 apples:

3 Apples

6 teaspoons of butter

half a teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons (? i just squirted) agave syrup (or brown sugar, golden syrup any sweet sticky goodness you have to hand)

A tablespoon of sultanas

Method:

Pre heat the oven to about 180 degrees.

Mix the butter, syrup, cinnamon and sultanas together. Core your apples and score a line with a sharp knife round the middle (i think this stops them exploding and also allows them to puff up like souffles as they cook).  Stuff the butter and sultana mix into the centres and place on a baking tray.  Cook in the oven for about 30/40 min or until golden, puffed and sticky.

Grandma’s Rock Cakes

Apple and Sultana Rock Cakes

I’ve been meaning to make Rock Cakes since I was given this little booklet made by Cousins and Grandma years ago, they had got her to type up her favourite recipes and then got the book bound for themselves and me.   She was a brilliant cake baker and cook and I’ll always remember tea time when out would come her teapot cuddled by it’s hand knitted teacosy.  Then, more importantly, with it would come the tin or tins of cakes.  There was always a selection of cakes and biscuits but the ones I always went for were the rock cakes, I guess it was predominantly greed that made my little eyes pop and ask for those as they were often the biggest cakes in the tin and I loved their crumbly, rocky fruit filled nature.

Grandma's recipe booklet

This recipe has been adapted from the one in the book.  I’ve made it gluten free and added some apple to it, mainly because it’s fruit and in my warped mind I thought it might make them a bit healthier but it also adds extra moist fruity bites.  When I make these again I might even chuck in a bit of cinnamon too but they are just lovely as they are.  The gluten free flour makes them finer and perhaps more crumbly in texture than Grandma’s but they are just as delicious and most importantly remind me of her.  I’d like to think she’d really be pleased that it’s a recipe that has lived on and one that I have been able to share with my daughter as she shared with me in her kitchen all those years ago.

Introduction by Grandma

So here we go:

Apple and Sultana Rock Cakes (Gluten Free)

Ingredients and Method:

As seen in picture below, for gluten free replace flour with gluten free self raising I used Dove’s) and add a chopped up apple in with sultanas instead of the stated dried fruits.

Original rock cake recipe

And here they are…(5 fat club points – I’m a sad bastard I know)

Apple and Sultana Rock Cakes