Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Salad Series Part 2 - Plum Salsa

OK - well this one had an identifiable source of inspiration - here at the Zested blog. But my big problem with salsa is that it always has coriander in it, which makes me rather sicky. So at least this time, my recipe corruption had a good reason. I substituted parsley for coriander, and changed the proportions slightly based on what I had - so here's my version.

Parsley Plum Salsa (serves 6)
  • 6 Red Plums chopped (ripe but not too soft)
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced
  • 1 red chili finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • Juice of half a large fresh lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
Put the plums, spring onion, chili, garlic & parsley in a bowl. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and salt together, then pour over the plums and mix well. Ideally leave for the flavours to mingle for at least 3-4 hrs for serving. I made it the day before and it tasted great.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Salad Series Part 1 - Fennel, Chickpea & Chilli

We had folks round for tea on Sunday, and I made 7 salads and a puff pastry tart.... of which I managed to take a grand total of 3 pictures, all of 'in-progress' salads. So it's not really caking or making in the original way I intended my blog to be, centering around baking and crafts, but it's kinda take or leave it, since I've nothing else to post at the moment!

I decided it was a good opportunity to try out some recipes that have been lurking in my Safari bookmarks folder for a while, but as usual, my desire to experiment coupled with a lack of the right ingredients despite 3 trips to the supermarket over the weekend meant the end results bore no resemblance to what I was originally inspired by, nonetheless, they seemed to go down well, so I'm documenting the recipes here for future recreation or corruption by others!

Fennel, Chickpea & Chili Salad (serves 8ish)

  • 1 head of fennel thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped/minced
  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 300g tin of green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • Fennel fronds chopped if your fennel came with them attached
  • Juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan
I used a mandolin to slice my fennel which got it really nice and fine, although it always scares me a bit using it! The fennel, chickpeas, lentils, spring onion, chili, parsley, basil, & fennel fronds all went into a big mixing bowl. I whisked up the lemon juice and olive oil, then poured it over, mixed well and left to marinate in the fridge for a few hours. Just before serving I mixed through the Parmesan cheese. It tasted good on the day it was made, and even better leftover for lunch the next day!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Lekvar - Hungarian Style Fruit Butter

Well due to general hectic-ness, I've not posted anything for ages. But I'm back :o) The other week as I was tidying out some kitchen cupboards, I came across a bag of dried pears, a BIG bag of crystallised ginger, and a bag of prunes all approaching their use by within the next few months, and definitely ready to expire before I'd had a chance to use them up in normal baking practices!
So after a bit of googling, I came across this recipe for Hungarian Lekvar, which is a dried fruit butter, made with dried apricots or prunes.
Since I'm a pathological recipe corrupter, I did a bit of modification, and went for prune and dark chocolate butter, to make use of a small bar of Lindt 95% chocolate which was too bitter for me and had even escaped several emergency chocolate cupboard raiding attempts. Inspired by the successful result, I decided to get more experimental and went for spiced pear and ginger, with a vanilla pod, cloves and star anise to add a spicy sweetness.
So far the concoctions have proved to be a versatile pair, although the prune and chocolate one is possibly a little confused about its identity and is treading a fine line between sweet and savoury. Or perhaps it's just me and my husband that are confused - he's definitely of the sweet camp, but I'm convinced it's a relish/chutney savoury wannabe.

Anyway, here's a run down of the situations in which they've been consumed so far...
  1. Pear and ginger on warm out of the oven scones
  2. Prune and chocolate on toast (a grown-up Nutella substitute...?)
  3. Prune and chocolate on venison burgers
  4. Pear and ginger sandwiched in the middle of a Victoria sponge
  5. Prune and chocolate stirred into porridge
  6. And both varieties straight out of the jar on a spoon by the aforementioned husband!


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