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November 5th, 2014
03:55 pm
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Meals out of packets and jars
Hello! I'm trying to get back into cooking after a long period of builder- and illness-related disruption, so I thought I'd start using this comm again to try to motivate myself and have a record of things I try. In the meantime, everyone in the household has been diagnosed with new physical and/or mental health conditions, and I've taken up triathlon training, so my time is even more at a premium than before. There are definitely going to be times when all I want to do is throw things together out of packets and jars, so I'm making a running list of options (that I know I like) for ease of reference and shopping:

*Pasta with quorn meatballs, Seeds of Change Bolognese Sauce and parmesan
*Waitrose Makhani sauce with quorn chicken pieces and frozen chopped spinach (in the Waitrose bags, 2 "medallions" of spinach per person is about right), with rice
*Pizza bases/dough mix with pizza sauce, mozzarella, other toppings
*Soup with brown ciabatta
*Quorn chicken and green beans in Seeds of Change Tikka Masala Sauce with rice
*Quorn chicken and veg in Blue Dragon Satay Sauce
*Chilli made with Cooks Ingredients mole sauce, onion, Quorn mince or Quorn steak pieces, 1 can tomatoes, 1 can kidney beans, sour cream, rice
*Schwartz Chilli Con Carne mix with rice (needs 1 can tomatoes, 1 pack quorn mince, 1 tin kidney beans, sour cream)
*Quorn chicken and veg in Chicken Tonight Honey & Mustard sauce with rice or pasta
*Linda McCartney pies with mash and peas
*Quorn steak or Tivali vegetarian schnitzel with potato wedges and peas
*Schwartz Sausage Casserole mix with mash and frozen parsnips (needs 1 onion, 1 pack quorn sausages, and 1 tin peppers & sweetcorn)
*Schwartz Somerset Pork Casserole mix with mash (needs an onion, 1 pack quorn sausages, 1 cooking apple and apple juice)
*Hairy Dieters cassoulet mix with tofu grill sausages
*Hairy Dieters paprika sauce with quorn chicken and peas

Feel free to add your own in the comments!

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August 29th, 2013
08:56 pm
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Spicy, baked tofu with lentils
Takes some preparation at least a couple of hours before (but could be done the previous evening). Serves 2.

1 big block of firm(ish) tofu - I used Cauldron's 396g (?!) pack.
Tomato ketchup (or tomato puree and a splash of some kind of nice cooking vinegar)
Dark soy sauce
Nutritional yeast flakes (or a tiny bit of Marmite if you don't have them)
Dried chilli flakes

1 cup dried green lentils
vegetable stock

Press the tofu on a plate, under a chopping board and a heavy book, for an hour.
After the hour, pour away the liquid that's squeezed out, slice the tofu through the middle to make two big, thin slabs (like cutting a teacake) and cut each of them in half.

Mix a couple of tablespoons of ketchup with one of soy sauce, plus a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes (or a tiny bit of Marmite if you don't have them) and a teaspoon of chilli flakes. Spread both sides of each piece of tofu with this, then cover the plate and leave for an hour (or in the fridge for up to 24 hours).

Preheat the oven to 200˚C, then bake the tofu on oiled baking parchment for 30 minutes.

Simmer the lentils in 3 cups of vegetable stock for 15-25 minutes until tender. I added some frozen peas and some fresh basil at the last minute.

Serve two tofu slabs per person, on a bed of lentils, with rice or bread.

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July 7th, 2013
10:54 am
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Glazed squash with tofu
This is essentially a recipe that came with my organic veg box, but I vegetarianised it and added rice and tofu to turn it into a meal. It made good comfort food.

8 oz brown rice
600 ml water
1 winter squash
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
150 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp sesame oil
1 pack sesame and almond tofu
Black pepper

Put rice in a saucepan with water and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 mins without stirring or removing the lid (both of these are important.) While it's cooking, cut squash into quarters, remove seeds and peel, and cut into fork-sized chunks. Peel and chop the garlic. Put squash and garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil, soy sauce, stock and sesame oil. Stir well, bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 8 mins or until softened. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat and leave it to sit with the lid still on (don't peek). Meanwhile, once the squash is soft, remove the lid from the squash pan, stir in the tofu, turn the heat up and boil with the lid off until the liquid is gone and the squash looks glazed. Serve the squash mixture over the rice with a grinding of black pepper. Serves 4, takes about 35 mins from start to finish.

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June 5th, 2013
01:58 pm
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Tofu sausage pasta
This was just a quick improvised thing, not much different from many others I've made, but apparently I hit just the right combination of flavours for aegidian, so I thought I'd better write it up.

8 oz wholewheat fusilli
4 tofu sausages
1/2 red and 1/2 green pepper (one whole one of any colour would be fine, I'm sure - these just happened to be left over from R's Food Technology class)
1 large celery stick
8 cloves garlic
100g smoky garlic cheddar (from these lovely people, bought on holiday - again, substitutes should work okay)
Enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your frying pan
black pepper

Cook pasta according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, slice sausages, chop peppers, celery and garlic and cube cheese. Fry the veg and sausages together in the olive oil for 4-5 mins. Combine everything and serve with freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4, takes 25 mins from start to finish.

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June 2nd, 2013
08:28 pm
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Spiced aubergine, halloumi and green things
This is what djm4 and I improvised for dinner; written up at sashajwolf's request. This served five.

We podded two big bags of broad beans and put them in a bowl with boiling water poured over them to loosen the skins.

Cubed and salted two small aubergines and left them to stand in a colander while we took the tough skins off the beans.

I chopped four cloves of garlic, softened them in olive oil in a big saucepan and added spices: about half a teaspoon each of black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ground coriander, ground black pepper and garam masala. I stirred the spices and garlic together and added the aubergine after rinsing the salt off. Stirred over high heat for a minute until well coated with spices, then turned the heat down and put the lid on the pan.

While I was doing that, David was starting to cook giant wholemeal couscous and dividing a head of broccoli into florets which we steamed for about ten minutes, adding the beans for the second half of that time.

I cubed one and a half blocks of halloumi, fried it over high heat until golden, then added it and the steamed green vegetables to the now-mushy aubergines and mixed it all together to spread out the flavour.

We served the vegetable and halloumi mixture on a bed of giant couscous.

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April 3rd, 2013
08:05 pm
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Shuri Pentu's Orzoree version 1.0
This recipe is still being developed, but after weeks of testing it is out of beta and ready to face the public!

Serves ~5


1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
some olive oil
200g pearl barley
1L chicken stock
2 fillets smoked haddock
1 bay leaf
1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
250g frozen peas
250g frozen sliced green beans
4 eggs
1 sous-chef
salt and possibly pepper to taste


Chop the onion and garlic as finely as you can be bothered. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and gently fry until the onion begins to soften. Add the pearl barley and continue to fry until the onion turns translucent or you become bored.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, then add the bay leaf and haddock – the fillets should sit in the stock but do not need to be completely submerged in it. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then lift out the haddock and set aside. Get your sous-chef to flake the haddock.

Continue simmering the barley and stock, covered, on a low heat for about 40 minutes. By then, the barley should have absorbed most but not all of the liquid, and the mixture in the pot should have a thick soupy consistency. Add the garam masala, stir through, and continue to simmer, covered, on a low heat.

Put the eggs in a small pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then get your sous-chef to cool, peel, and chop the eggs into smallish chunks.

Meanwhile, add the frozen vegetables to the barley, stir, and leave until the vegetables have heated through. Return the flaked haddock to the pan and stir gently until it has also heated through. Season to taste, then add the chopped eggs.



This is essentially an orzotto with kedgeree ingredients, hence the (terrible) name. >.>

Barley is quite a forgiving grain, and unlike a risotto, an orzotto doesn't need much monitoring or stirring until very close to the end when it's absorbed almost all the liquid and starts to develop a potentially unhealthy fondness for the bottom of the pan. In total, it takes about an hour to cook.

I use frozen vegetables because they're easy, and am utterly unapologetic about this. ^_^

I tried smoked mackerel but found it far too strong for this dish. Other smoked fish may also work, but I find smoked haddock about right.

Spicing has been the most difficult thing for me to get right. I started off trying literally everything in the kitchen cupboard, then after weeks of iterations finally concluded that less is better. When seasoning at the end, I don't even add pepper anymore.

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March 29th, 2013
10:31 am
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Brussels sprout and tofu stirfry
No, really, trust me on this. Inspired by a recipe in Ottolenghi's Plenty, but considerably simplified.

Rice to serve
1 pack Taifun basil tofu
1 lb brussels sprouts
1 bunch spring onions
1 punnet mushrooms (I used shiitake, but I think any kind would do)
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp soy sauce

Cook the rice by your usual method. Meanwhile, trim the bases off the sprouts and cut each one horizontally into three slices. Chop the spring onions and slice the mushrooms. Cut the tofu into small cubes. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Saute all the veg together until the sprouts start to brown. Stir in the chilli flakes and saute for another 1-2 mins. Add the tofu pieces and heat through. Stir in soy sauce. Serve with the rice. Serves 4, takes about 35 mins from start to finish.

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March 16th, 2013
11:20 pm
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Split pea soup
Adapted from The Yoga Cookbook, published by the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Easy, simple, and very tasty.

8 oz split peas
1.5l vegetable stock
4 sweet potatoes
2 stalks celery
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice

Wash the split peas and put them in a large saucepan with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the split peas are soft (about 45 mins). Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop them and the celery into small pieces. Heat the olive oil in another large saucepan with the basil, ginger paste and cumin. Add the sweet potatoes and celery and saute for about 5 mins, then transfer them to the other pan with the split peas for the rest of their cooking time. Season to taste and check that both the split peas and the vegetables are soft - if not, simmer a little longer. Mash lightly with a potato masher, then add the honey and lemon juice and stir well. Heat through if necessary, then serve. Good with fresh wholemeal bread. Serves 4-6, takes about an hour from start to finish.

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February 16th, 2013
10:03 pm
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Lazy lentil soup
Lazy because, as you'll see, I took some shortcuts :-) It was absolutely delicious, too. I served it with homemade rye bread.

1 small sweet potato
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery
2 cups vegetable stock
1 pack Merchant Gourmet pre-cooked puy lentils
Large pinch hing
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp squeezy garlic

Peel the sweet potato and scrub the carrot. Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins. Serve. Makes 2 portions, takes about 40 mins from start to finish.

Current Mood: accomplished
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February 12th, 2013
09:04 pm
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Cauliflower and spinach dal
I made this the other night for aegidian, sfred and djm4, and it seemed to meet with general approval, so here it is. You could replace the squeezy ginger and coriander with fresh - I just happened to have some free samples.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp hing
8 cloves garlic
2 tsp squeezy ginger
1 tsp curry powder
150g red lentils
500 ml water
1 cauliflower
1 small pack baby spinach
1/2 a lime
2 tsp squeezy coriander
Brown basmati rice to serve

Cook rice by your usual method. Heat oil over a medium heat. Add the hing, ginger, garlic and curry powder and cook for 1-2 mins. Add the lentils and water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 mins. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into florets. When the 10 mins is up, add it to the pot and stir well. Replace the lid and cook for another 10 mins. Meanwhile, juice the lime. Add the spinach and stir till wilted. Stir in the lime juice and coriander. Serve over rice. Serves 4, takes about 45 mins from start to finish.

Current Mood: accomplished
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