Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuscan Bean Soup


Tuscan Bean Soup

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups vegetable stock
14 oz. Cannelloni beans, drained, liquid reserved
6 oz Savoy cabbage
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion, leeks, potato and garlic for 4-5 minutes
  2. Pour the stock and the reserved liquid from the beans into the saucepan. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cabbage and beans, and half of the herbs. Season, and cook for 10 minutes more. Spoon about one-third of the soup into a food processor or blender and process until fairly smooth. Return to the soup in the pan, taste for seasoning and heat through for 5 minutes.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and shavings of Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil and serve with toast.

Tips: Also add fresh basil.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cameroon Suya - Africa

1 lb frying steak
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of chili powder
2 tsp onion salt
1/2 cup peanuts, finely crushed
vegetable oil, for brushing

1. Trim the steak of any fat and then cut into 1 in wide strips. Place in a bowl or a shallow dish.
2. Mix the sugar, garlic, spices, and onion salt together in a small bowl. Add the crushed peanuts and then scatter over the steak, mixing well so that the spices are worked into the meat.
3. Thread the steak on to six satay sticks, pushing the meat close together. Place in a shallow dish, cover loosely with foil and leave to marinate in a cool place for a few hours or overnight.
4. Preheat a grill or barbecue. Brush the meat with a little oil and then cook on a moderate heat for about 15 minutes, until evenly browned.

Akkras - Africa

1 1/4 cups dried black-eyed beans
1 onion, chopped
1 red chili, halved, with seeds removed (optional)
2/3 cup water
oil, for deep frying

1. Soak the black-eyed beans in plenty of cold water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain. Liquidize in a food processor or blender (you may have to add some water).
2. Add the onion, chili, if using, and extra water to the liquidized beans. Blend to make a thick paste. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and whisk for a few minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan and fry spoonfuls of the mixture for 4 minutes until golden brown.

Stars: 5
Thoughts: These little things were a lot better than I imagined. The pre-cooked paste tasted terrible, but the finished product was great. Think of french fries, African style. Instead of using water, I added chicken broth to add some more flavor.
Date made: 2/23/2011

Banana and Melon in Orange Vanilla Sauce - Africa

Serves 4
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 vanilla pod or a few drops vanilla essence (or vanilla extract)
1 tsp orange rind
1 tbsp sugar
4 bananas
1 honeydew melon
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place the orange juice in a small saucepan with the vanilla pod, orange rind and sugar and gently bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the suffice is syrupy. Remove from the heat and leave it to cool. If using vanilla essence, stir into the sauce once it has cooled.

3. Roughly chop the bananas melon, place in a large serving bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

4. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit and chill before serving.

Stars: 2 1/2
Thoughts: This wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I think there's a better fruit salad recipe out there. I couldn't get the liquid to turn to a syrup so it was really runny.
Date made: 2/23/2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chick-pea and Okra Fry - Africa

1 lb. okra
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 green chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 slices fresh root ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
15 oz can chick-peas, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash and dry the okra, remove the tops and tails and chop roughly
2. Heat the vegetable and mustard oils and the butter or margarine in a large frying pan
3. Fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until the onion is slightly softened. Add the chopped tomatoes, chili and ginger and stir will, then add the okra, cumin, and coriander. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently then stir in the chick-peas.
4. Cook gently for a few minutes for the chick-peas to heat through, then spoon into a serving bowl and serve at once.