Archive for November, 2007

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Egg, mayonnaise & cress sandwich

November 30, 2007

The humble egg sandwich. It is often remembered less than fondly as the nightmare packed lunch on school trips. Some poor little blighter’s mum had packed them the smelliest, most pungent egg butties, and no sooner than was one corner of the unfortunate lunch lifted box would the cry go up ‘Aaarrrrgghhhh! Who’s got egg?!’

But there is a lot more to an egg sandwich than grey hard boiled eggs, mixed with cheap mayonnaise and slathered onto white sliced bread. The ingredients by themselves all the have the potential to be delicious or dire – it really depends what you use.

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Recipe for the perfect egg, mayonnaise and cress sandwich
2 slices seeded batch wholemeal bread (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference is used here)
2 free range, organic eggs
3 tbsp French mayonnaise
organic cress
salt & pepper to taste
organic butter (optional)

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then remove from the water and run under cold water – this prevents them from continuing to cook and from the yolks from turning grey. When they are cool, peel and slice them in two directions in an egg slicer, to give you thin strips. Add them to a small bowl with the mayonnaise, salt and pepper and carefully fold until all is combined.

Butter the two slices of bread if you wish, then carefully spread the mixture onto one slice. Top this with carefully chopped cress, which might need pressing down gently.

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Then spread another layer of egg on the other slice, and then sandwich both slices together.

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Cut diagonally and serve immediately.

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I use French mayonnaise because it has a stronger flavour that really brings out the flavour of the eggs. The cress also adds a tangy dimension of its own. The bread is not just there to hold it all together – if you choose a really good quality, brown seedy loaf it will bring all the other flavours together too.

©  Katheryn Rice 2007

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Banana and chocolate chip cakes

November 27, 2007

I was in a bit of a quandry about how to approach this recipe. There are quite a few healthy cake recipes on She Likes Her Food, such as courgette and ginger muffins and healthy chocolate brownies. So, do I add to that collection or go the way of the sticky ginger cake instead? I decided to meet in the middle. Brown flour (good), ground seeds (good), bananas (quite good) and chocolate chips (not so good). There are definitely enough good ingredients in these cakes for you enjoy them without feeling too guilty.

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Recipe for Banana and chocolate chip cakes
50g wholemeal plain flour
150g ground almonds
3 medium bananas, mashed*
120ml vegetable oil
240ml honey
2 eggs, beaten
100g white chocolate drops
10g dark chocolate drops
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp linseeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder

Icing
200g cream cheese
1 banana, mashed
50g icing sugar

Grind the seeds together to a chunky consistency in a spice grinder or food blender. In a medium sized bowl mix together the seeds, flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. In larger bowl, combine the vegetable oil, honey and eggs and stir thoroughly until combined, then add the mashed bananas and mix well, then add to the flour mixture. Stir carefully until everything is properly combined, and transfer straight to your cooking tins. These quantities make a fair amount of mixture, and it’s up to you what kind of tins you use. I use a combination of large and small muffin tins, and a flat tray-bake style tin as well.

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Cook in the oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until golden and a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool for a while before removing them from the tins to a cooling rack.

Whilst the muffins are cooking, make the icing. Mix all the ingredients together, using an electric whisk, until the mixture is pale and fluffy, then cool in the fridge until needed. Smooth the icing generously over the muffins and chill until the icing is set. They are lovely and moist, so will not dry out in the fridge or freezer, in fact the cakes actually end up even more moist if they have been frozen.

* You can freeze bananas if you have a surplus, and frozen bananas work really well in this recipe. When frozen the skins go dark brown, but the flesh retains its pale yellow colour. They need about 30 minutes to defrost, and when you peel them you will find soft, glossy flesh that is slightly mushy and allows very easy mashing. You never have to let bananas go brown again – just freeze them! Read more about freezing bananas.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Potato and Kale Soup

November 18, 2007

Another interesting vegetable came from Abel & Cole this week: Kale.

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Soup’s a real comfort on a cold day, and making on a chilly afternoon is soothing and satisfying. I’ve made potato and leek soup many times, so what’s to stop it working with kale?

Mr Rice can be a little suspicious of my vegetable soups, but he loved this one as much as me, and I think it’s the best soup I’ve made.

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Recipe for Potato and Kale Soup
3 medium potatoes
300g kale
1 stick of celery
½ onion
500 ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 pint of milk

Heat a dash of olive oil and a knob of butter in a large pan, then finely chop the onion and add to the pan, cooking until the onions are turning translucent, then finely chop the garlic and cook with the onions for a few minutes. Chop the celery into thin slices and add to the pan, and cook for another five minutes. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes (peeling is optional) and cut into 5mm slices, then add these to the pan, stir it all together, then cover and cook for ten minutes.

Roughly chop the kale and add this and the bay leaf to the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good stir, then cover for five minutes, then add the stock, bring to the boil, and cover and cook for 40 minutes.

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Once everything has softened, remove the bay leaf, add the creme fraiche and half the milk and stir roughly, to begin breaking everything up. Next, you have to blend it all together, so remove the pan from the heat. I use a hand blender and gradually work my way round the pan until it is all liquidised and smooth. You can also transfer it into a blender in batches and then back into the pan, but this takes a little bit longer.

Once you’re happy with the texture, return the soup to the heat, and stir in the rest of the milk until you get a thickness you are happy with. If you want a thinner soup, or want to make it go further, add more milk. Just keep tasting it to make sure you don’t dilute the flavour too much.

Tips

  • The butter and creme fraiche are both optional, but help to give the soup its rich taste
  • Leeks and cabbage can be substituted for the kale. Add the leeks after the onions, or the cabbage at the same time as the kale.
  • Skimmed, semi-skimmed or full fat milk can be used
  • Grate some cheese onto the soup when you serve it for extra richness

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Healthy Fish and Chips

November 14, 2007

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I love fish and chips but these days it feels so unhealthy to eat a whole battered, deep fried fish. In any case, I prefer to make it myself at home, because I know what’s going into it, and of course for the fun of it too.

This is a really delicious version of fish and chips that you can make yourself, safe in the knowledge that it is reasonably healthy. I made this for the other Mrs Rice, my gorgeous sister-in-law when she came over one evening and we had a lovely, chilled out time, free from the Rice brothers’ showing off.

Recipe for Health Fish and Chips
2 fish fillets (I used plaice, but choose whichever fish you like)
1 egg
100g breadcrumbs
1 tsp paprika (smoked or plain)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
50g wholemeal flour
100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
50g butter
2 potatoes

Preheat the oven to 200ºC and line 2 baking trays with foil, and a tiny bit of oil. Wash the potatoes thoroughly and cut into wedges. Separate the eggs and put the yolks to one side. Whisk up the eggs whites until they are light and fluffy, then quickly toss the potatoes in the eggs until they are all covered and pour it all onto one of the baking trays and put it into the oven immediately. This is a trick a friend told me about that I thought sounded barmy, but it really helps to give the chips a crunchy coating without having to deep fry them. They will take about an hour to cook, and make sure you turn them at least twice during this time to get the best coating.

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The fish takes about 7-10 minutes to cook, so when you think the chips have about 20 minutes to go, start preparing the fish. Gently beat the egg yolks and pour onto a medium-sized plate. Put the flour onto another plate, and mix the breadcrumbs, spices, seasoning and zest together and the stir in the melted butter.

Arrange them in this order: flour, egg, breadcrumbs. Take each piece of fish and coat the flesh side with flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture, and place it skin side down onto the baking tray. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden.

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© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Celeriac Dauphinoise

November 9, 2007

What would you do with this?

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Mr Rice and I asked ourselves that very question when he lifted this harsh looking vegetable from our Able & Cole box last week. After double-checking that it was a celeriac, we pondered on how to make it look and taste better than it does here. Underneath it has some ancient-looking roots that look more like something from Pan’s Labyrinth than something you would be able to eat.

How will we get into it? Will we even be able to peel it? And how will we eat it? These are all questions we would have to answer ourselves, using our own ingenuity and a bit of reading. So, an hour or so later I had a plan: Celeriac Dauphinoise.

It’s normally made with potatoes, and purely with cream, but I love my cheese, and wanted to make it slightly less painful on the calories, so I have used a combination of double cream and low fat creme fraiche, with cheese added to each layer too. It was difficult to peel, and chopping the tangle of roots off the bottom felt wrong – like I was killing a Mangrove root. But needs must, so I got on with it.

The finished result is almost as far removed from the original object as it could be. It looks creamy, cheesy, appetising and manageable. But by far the best thing for me was the taste. The celeriac has an amazing combination of sweetness and sharpness, and a hint of the familiar celery taste. Whereas normal celery veers towards savoury preparations, celeriac gets sweeter when cooked, so combining it with the cream and cheese was a master stroke. The texture was also rather lovely, being a little bit al dente, but still managing to melt in the mouth. Mr Rice loved it too, so hopefully next time Abel & Cole send us one of these unfortunate looking chaps, we will be a little less afraid.

Recipe for Celeriac Dauphinoise
1 whole celeriac
200ml double cream
200ml low fat creme fraiche
200g mature cheddar cheese, grated

Peel the celeriac, starting from the top, and slice the roots away, making sure all rooty bits have gone. This might mean slicing sections off with a knift, rather than just a peelet. The outer is quite tough, so it’s best to get rid of it. Slice the celeriac into 5mm pieces.

Butter a medium sized oven-proof dish, and add a layer of celeriac slices, then a drizzle of cream and a sprinkling of cheese, then repeat with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of cheese. Repeat this process until all ingredients are used up, and finish with a thin layer of cream and cheese. You can sprinkle each layer with a pinch of salt and pepper if you’re that way inclined, but I think the flavours are strong enough.

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Cook at 190ºC for 1 hour, until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling. If you have filled the dish quite full, make sure it’s on a baking tray to catch any overflow.

Celeriac Dauphinoise is a perfect, decadent side dish.

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©Katheryn Rice 2007

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Coconut Yoghurt Eton Mess

November 4, 2007

It’s amazing what you can do with storecupboard ingredients when you’ve got a real craving for something sweet. It definitely brings out my creative side. Maybe I’m making a virtue of necessity, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve discovered a wicked, reasonably low fat pudding, and of course it’s super-easy to make.

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Recipe for Coconut Yoghurt Eton Mess
2 meringues
5 tbsps coconut yoghurt
a sprinkling of chocolate coated seeds

Put one of the meringues into a bowl. Spoon the yoghurt into another bowl and crumble the meringues into it. Combine the mixture, then pile it on top of the first meringue and then sprinkle the chocolate seeds on top and eat. It might remind you of a certain exotic chocolate bar.

©Katheryn Rice 2007

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