Sunday, June 13, 2010

Easy Roast Vegetables and Couscous

An honourable mention must go to today's lunch. Since I'm trying to up our vegetable intake and stop relying so much on bread products, I'm now aiming to cook lunch at least three times a week. Today, I roasted a couple of pans full of sweet potato, potato, carrot, onion and cauliflower, all tossed in olive oil. I served it over couscous made with a knob of butter, and 1/4 tsp each of cumin and coriander just to warm the flavour up a bit, and the leftover pickled red cabbage from the other night. I originally contemplated making gravy, since my family used to do the full sit-down roast beast, gravy and veges every Sunday lunch and I had a hankering for it, but in the end decided to go with half a jar of tomato chutney which nobody liked very much on sandwiches, heated up with a handful of sultanas and a tablespoon or two of water to make it more of a sauce. Oh my, was it good, and beautifully simple to prepare, too - just what I want from a lunch!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pickled Red Cabbage

Another one of my winter comfort foods. Tonight I served it with sausages and mashed potatoes for a quick meal, but it's delicious with quiche or cottage pie or lots of other vegetarian options.

Pickled Red Cabbage

1 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1/4 smallish red cabbage
1 red apple, diced
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Melt the butter and saute the onion. When it's tender, add the cabbage and saute gently til it starts to soften. Chuck in the apple, then stir through the vinegars and sugar. Cover and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cabbage and apple are tender - but not limp - and the onions and apple have taken on a rich purple colour.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hunza Pie

Tonight's dinner was so magnificent I have to write down the particular variation on the recipe so I can hopefully recreate it. Hunza Pie is one of my mother's old standbys, and one of my favourite winter comfort foods. I've seen a number of variations using potatoes in the filling or pastry above or below, but my mother's was always a quiche-like combination of brown rice, silverbeet, cheese and eggs in a pastry shell, topped with sliced tomatoes and more grated cheese. Nom.

Today's effort at recreating it achieved an amazing flavour by gently cooking down the shredded silverbeet in melted butter and olive oil, together with onion and garlic, and with a slug of balsamic vinegar added. The pastry was dead easy, done in the food processor and crisp despite not bothering with blind-baking - in fact, if you have a food processor you can do a lot of the prep in it and save washing up. I served the pie with baked potatoes for a perfect winter meal.

Hunza Pie

1c uncooked brown rice
1c wholemeal plain flour
3/4c plain flour
125g butter, chilled and diced
3-4 tbsp cold water
1 bunch silverbeet
3-4 small onions
2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced
~1tbsp butter
~1-2 tsp olive oil
~1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
~1 tsp oregano
freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
~1c grated cheese
2 tomatoes, sliced

Cook the rice in two cups of water in a covered saucepan. While it's burbling gently away, put the flours and butter in the food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. With motor running, add tablespoons of water down the tube until the pastry comes together. Give it to your daughter so she can roll it into a ball and stash it in the freezer to cool (you can stick it in the fridge, but we don't have one, hence the freezer).

After the pastry has rested a bit, flour a work surface and roll it out to fit a large deep pie dish*. Meanwhile, ask your offspring to rip up the silverbeet and cram it into the food processor. Add a couple of roughly chopped onions, and whizz briefly (don't pulverise it). Melt a hunk o' butter (depending on how nervous you feel about the amount of butter in the pastry) in a big frypan, and add enough olive oil to stop it from burning. Gently fry the garlic for a minute or two, then add the silverbeet and onion and cook til the silverbeet reduces a bit. Slosh in some balsamic vinegar and add the oregano and pepper. When the silverbeet is starting to darken and wilt, add the rice and stir to combine, then quickly toss through half of the cheese and turn into the pastry case. Whizz up the eggs in the food processor and pour over, then top the pie with tomato slices and the rest of the cheese. Cook for around 35-45 minutes.

 * Mine was 25cms across and 4cms deep - if yours is smaller reduce the amount of filling, and you'll have some leftovers from the pastry unless you reserve a third of it for topping the pie, as in the original recipe I adapted this from.