Posts tagged ‘cumin’

January 29, 2012

Last Night’s Dinner: Greens and Noodles with Citrus Broth

We have already documented our feelings about Nigel Slater’s TV series and, judging by the amount of people who find themselves reading this blog after searching for the words ‘Nigel Slater creepy’, then many of you are of a similar opinion. Poor soul.

He doesn’t always help himself, however. In a recent Guardian newspaper feature he advocated using fresh, lighter flavours to accompany an Asian-inflenced dish of greens, instead of ‘the dark, almost sinister spicing of the past’.

‘Sinister’? What, cumin? Ginger? C’mon Nige. Did you a recipe backwards and find some hidden meaning in it?

Well, it didn’t stop us from trying his suggestion, although we pimped the recipe by leaving out the fish sauce, adding a dessert spoon of tamarind paste and throwing in some oyster mushrooms and rice noodles for four minutes at the end to make a more substantial stew. And very nice it was too. Fiery, fresh and fragrant. And definitely not sinister in any way.

Nigel’s recipe is here.

January 11, 2012

Last night’s dinner: Cauliflower, green bean and tomato salad

After yesterday’s hearty plate of potato, something a little lighter – a nutritious, lightly warm winter salad.

I had the idea for this after half watching, and half remembering, a similar dish being made on a TV cookery programme. The essential ingredients are cauliflower and tomatoes, along with a warming dressing (for that read mustard). As a salad it felt right to add some greens – we added French beans. Broccoli could work, but might conflict in texture and shape with the cauliflower. Peppery rocket would make for a lighter, perhaps more summer salad. I could even be tempted to try some cucumber with this – especially in summer.

First step was to roughly chop some ripe tomatoes, season them with a little salt and pepper, and a splash of olive oil, and set aside.

Next, make a quick dressing with some olive oil, a little sherry vinegar (white wine vinegar or lemon juice will suffice), a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a clove of finely chopped garlic.

Break the cauliflower into florets and steam until just tender (don’t for the love of veg overdo it). While the cauli is steaming, plunge some green beans into boiling water for around 4-5 minutes. That should be enough to just about cook them but leave them a little crunchy.

In a large salad bowl combine the cauliflower, beans and tomatoes. Pour the dressing over and mix well – it’s important to do this while the cooked veg is still warm. Finally, add a small handful of chopped coriander, spring onion or flat-leaf parsley and serve.

Feel free to experiment with the recipe. Just remember that the finished salad should have a bit of a crunch and a slight spiciness – almost as if it wanted to mature to be a piccalilli.

We had a big bowl of this as a main course, but it would be a good accompaniment to all kinds of pies, quiches and pasties etc etc. Happy eating.

May 6, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Mee Goreng

Sunday 1 May

Having been so busy at work and not getting home until late, Ella was keen to do some cooking. Sunday afternoon saw her turn to Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty for inspiration – where she found this recipe for Mee Goreng.

Mee Goreng is Indonesian (and Malaysian) street food: noodles with fried shallots, chilli and topped with shredded lettuce leaves. There are plenty of meaty versions but we had it with green beans and tofu. A quick web search will give you an indication of just how many versions of mee goreng there are out there – it’s a make-it-up-as-you-go-along kind of thing really. Ottolenghi adds sambal olek (chilli sauce) and some ground cumin and coriander to the cooked noodles as they’re frying in the wok with with the tofu and beans. This coats them and makes them sticky – stopping it from being a straightforward common or garden stir fry. I’ve often wondered how you achieve the kind of sticky noodle that you get with, say, a good Pad Thai, and I have a feeling that, more than just the sauce, it’s the adding of the dry spice that does the trick. Any thoughts?

In any case, sometimes you make a dish that’s so easy and yet also expands your repertoire. This was one of those.

April 18, 2011

Filling a hole

Regular visitors to this blog will have spotted that we don’t post our ‘Last Night’s Dinner’ entries each and every day. This isn’t because we haven’t had dinner, or because what we cooked ended up in the bin. No no no.

It’s just that sometimes, for example, we eat out. Luckily, while we’re here in the City of London, we can grab Bangladeshi, Italian, Vietnamese, Mexican, Japanese – even Portuguese – around the corner. Not that we’re always so cosmopolitan – we’ve also been known to grab a bag of chips from Whitecross Street.

Usually however, and more prosaically too, it’s that we either forget to take a picture or that what we’ve eaten closely resembles something that’s been posted before. Or that it’s leftovers from the previous night.

Such was the case with this Monday and Tuesday’s dinner of a Cauliflower curry spiced with lots of chilli, cumin, cardamom and fennel seeds. It was pretty good on Monday and even better on Tuesday – a thoroughly enjoyable two days of eating, all made in one big pot. That kind of thing is standard issue at ETP Towers. It fills a hole and it’s just the kind of thing that we’re eating in the holes where Last Night’s Dinner doesn’t appear.

April 4, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Muttar paneer

Tuesday 29 March

Well, I say. The last time we made muttar paneer (yep, that really does kind of mean ‘cheesy peas’, doesn’t it?) I was utterly disappointed. I think they had changed the recipe for the shop-bought paneer and I felt that one of my favourite Indian dishes was ruined.

I shouldn’t have worried. This dish really is so simple it’s ridiculous and it can be so substantial too. After my previous failure, I lightly fried the cubes of chopped paneer before adding to the sauce this time. Not too sure whether that’s normal, but one recipe website said it was okay. In any case, if you can do it for tofu…

For the sauce I just sautee a sliced onion until softened, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for a little more, then add some chopped chillis, or maybe a few whole chillis, or maybe a little chilli powder. Whatever… then add a tin of tomatoes plus an inch of grated fresh ginger, 2 good tsp of ground cumin, 1 heaped tsp of ground coriander, 1 tsp of turmeric, and… hmm, that’s about it. I think. I then tend to add 500ml of water and let it simmer down. As it thickens you can add the paneer (although if you’ve fried the paneer like me, add it last, a couple of minutes before serving, so the crisp edges don’t go too soggy). When the sauce looks done, add a small bag of frozen garden peas or petit pois, stir through and heat for four minutes. Job done.