Archive for June 1st, 2011

June 1, 2011

A note about quantities, as promised

You might have noticed that we’re not really giving accurate quantities in the ‘recipes’ that form the ‘Last Nights Dinner’ entries on this blog. There are a number of reasons for this.

The first relates to the initial inspiration for Earth to Plate, as outlined in the ‘About’ page. We’re writing this in an attempt to illustrate the kinds of things vegetarians eat – or, at least, what us vegetarians at ETP Towers regularly tuck into. The meal ideas we feature should act as inspiration – a starting point – but not as a set of rules that are meant to be followed to the letter.

Working on various magazines in the past where food has played an integral part of the content, we do also know a thing or two about what’s possible when writing about and photographing food. We’ve spent many hours at food shoots as photographers tweak lighting and stylists primp lettuce and fuss over the choice of plate. It’s a technical business. We’ve also spent long hours in recipe development meetings with nutritional advisors and food editors, ensuring that each recipe fulfils certain editorial and nutritional criteria. We’ve sent off recipes to experts who own specialist software that can crunch down on each specific amount of ingredient and suck out the exact amount of carbs, fat and sodium it contains. It’s an exact science – and time consuming.

At ETP we’re not trying to compete with all that expertise. We couldn’t. We’re just enjoying our home cooking and wanting to share it with you. Neither do we know how many you’re cooking for. We usually cook for two; others might prefer recipes that cater for six hungry mouths. Then again, sometimes we make larger portions and save some. You might prefer larger or smaller portions than us, or you might like it spicier, or milder, or want a soup thicker, or looser, or creamier, or more tangy. There are so many variations.

And so we’ve opted for the unscientific approach and we’re not measuring quantities. We hope it doesn’t hinder your enjoyment of the blog. And we hope it doesn’t stop you trying out some of the ideas. We think cooking is as much about experimenting with variations for yourself as it is about following a recipe. But if you do have any specific queries, let us know and we’ll try and answer them.

June 1, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Leek, Wild Rice and Potato Cakes with Flageolet Beans in a Cider Cream Sauce

Sunday 15 May

It might not look like it, but this dish came about by wanting to use up various bits and pieces from the fridge and store cupboard. Potatoes about to go soft? Tick. Leeks starting to yellow? Tick. Half a packet of wild and basmati rice plus a few handfuls of flageolet beans malingering on the shelf. Tick and tick. A bottle of cider and half a tub of single cream with nothing better to do than throw themselves into a pan? No less.

Every now and again we love to make a savoury cake. They’re so easy and you can stuff all kinds of ingredients into them. To make these I boiled some rice and left it to cool, did the same with a few potatoes and then mashed them, and fried some finely chopped leeks in a little olive oil. Combine the ingredients together in a bowl with an egg and some salt and pepper, shape into cakes/patties. Fry them for a few minutes either side until they’re golden and they’re done.

I soaked the beans during the afternoon and then simmered them in plenty of water until they were tender. Drain, then add a glass of dry cider to the pan and an equal amount of cream and heat on a low setting for a few minutes. Season as necessary and add a little chopped parsley, dill or tarragon even. Serve with the cakes on top of a pile of beans.