Flaming Pie

Vegetarian Recipes with Attitude: The site that elevates tofu to a foodstuff.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Little tongues and big beans.

Linguine with broad beans.

Take some podded broad beans - fresh or frozen. Peel off the outer skin (you needn't bother if using young, fresh ones).
Sweat them gently in a little olive oil, with the addition of a couple of sprigs of freshy thyme and a couple of whole garlic cloves. (one day I'm planning to write a book about herbs called 'Its About Thyme').
Remove the garlic and tyme and add a squeeze of lemon juice and a shredded mint leaf or two.
Toss with cooked linguine and some crumbled ricotta. (Actually...instead of ricotta I've been using a mild, soft Welsh goat's cheese).

Philosophical Poser #1: If Paris Hilton had sex and there was nobody around to film her...would she make a sound?

Philosophical Poser #2: Two penguins meet on an iceberg. One says to the other, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo." The other one says, "Maybe I am!"

Penguin walks into a bar, asks the barman, "Has my brother been in?" "Dunno," says the barman, "What does he look like?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Stretch out and wait.

They were making fresh pasta in Laa-Laa's tummy, and Poop fancied trying his hand at it. So I dug out the pasta mangle, strapped it to a table in the gazebo and we got busy with a bag of tipo 00. For Poop, we made delicate, thin noodles (Linguinette? Linguinine?) and served them with Razzle Dazzle Sauce*. I prefer my pasta a bit chewier, so I made some tagliatelle on the No. 5 setting and served them with:

Tagliatelle with Potatoes and Asparagus

First mangle your tagliatelle.
Steam some good, fully-flavoured, waxy potatoes (I used Charlottes) until not quite done.
When cool enough to handle, slice. Not too thin - say 3mm.
Cook the spuds gently in plenty of butter with salt and pepper.
Slice some asparagus thinly, diagonally. When the spuds are cooked, add the slices to the pan.
Have a big pot of water on a rapid boil. Toss in the tagliatelle. When it resurfaces, drain.
Top with the spuds/asparagus and some coarsely-grated parmesan.

I'm wondering...might a couple of sage leaves be beneficial?
Coming Soon
The Mad Bag Special Edition
The word 'haunel'.

*Our generic name for tomato sauce. This time, I simply fried up some cherry tomatoes and added fresh basil.

“We all have different ideas of when it’s the best time to make fun of a public figure who’s died. We all have our own Dead Princess Diana jokes, but I got into a lot of trouble for what I did, which was to do a whole stand-up comedy routine consisting entirely of Dead Diana jokes, five minutes after the crash. While in Paris. Going through an underpass. In a white Fiat Uno.”
(Armando Ianucci)

Monday, March 05, 2007

I'm the strudel doodle man!

Jaysus, but isn’t immigration just fucking great? Definitely the best thing to have happened to Britain in the last millennium plus. Suddenly there’s all these dynamic people with the guts to make a new life in a strange, unwelcoming people and bringing their foodstuffs with them. Not to mention the fact that restaurants and cafés are now staffed by attractive, young East European women. And doesn’t the hijab set off a pretty face nicely? Ooooh, and Somali women with their high cheekbones, bright eyes, succulent lips and gorgeous skin tones. Mammmmmma!…

Ahem. Better stick to foodstuffs. So. On Friday I discovered a new Turkish/Kurdish shop, which gave me an opportunity to practice my rudimentary Turkish. I bought

  • Pickled Vegetables (Turşu)
  • Sigari Börekler - long, thin filo pastry rolls containing feta-ish cheese (beyaz paynir)
  • Salep – the powdered root of an orchid, used for making a milky drink.
  • Portion-sized cartons of Ayran – salted yoghurt drink, similar to salt lassi, but never spiced.
  • A set of six tea glasses.
  • Herbal teas – Lemon verbena with mint and aniseed and Yerba Maté. Much cheaper than in health food-y places.
  • Pine honey (with a smokey, resiney flavour)
  • Jars of jam: Bergamot, Sour Cherry and Carrot. (As we citizens of the EU know, carrots are a fruit. Just like rhubarb!)

But I’m not going to tell you how to make stuff with them. I’m going to tell you about strudel. I lie and say I bought the filo pastry for it from the Turkish shop…but I didn’t.

Take some butter and melt it in a microwave.
Cover a tray with baking parchment.
Lay down a sheet of filo pasty and brush it with the butter. Repeat until the pastry is used up. If your pastry is in small sheets, overlap two sheets, inna spliff style, alternating direction between layers.

Now…there are various good things you can put in this:

  • Sliced Apples, cinnamon, a few sultanas (obviously).
  • Mix some ground almonds, butter and sugar. Layer this on the pastry and top with slices of pear. It’s a good idea to add some lemon juice to the pears as you slice them. It stops them discolouring – and besides, the sharpness is good.
  • This is the one – based on a strudel I had in Budapest years ago. The famous place for cakes in Budapest is Café Gerbeaud – stunningly good cakes, ornate surroundings, and waitresses in these really cool orthopaedic boots with cutout toes and heels. But the best cake I had in Budapest was also the cheapest, from a wee caff. And you can now recreate it using the bottled Polish sour cherries or cherry compote that we can now find in these parts. Anyway…Take some ricotta and sweeten to taste. A layer of ricotta, a layer of cherries, a layer of ricotta. (Trust me! The ricotta is transformed by cooking and doesn’t turn out all creamy).

Now fold your strudel. You’ll want to have put your filling on so that it occupies no more than ¼ of the width and isn’t piled too high. Plus stop a few cm from the ends. Fold over one side of the pastry. Brush its edge with butter. Fold over the other side so that it overlaps generously. Brush each end and fold them over too. Now very carefully (and possibly with the help of an extra pair of hands) turn the strudel over so that the joins are on the bottom. Brush with more butter. Bake. Dust with icing sugar. Serve sliced.

There was a break in at my local police station. The thieves stole a toilet. Detectives say they've nothing to go on...

Then there was the robbery at the pharmacy when thieves got away with their entire tock of Viagra. Police are looking for a gang of hardened criminals...

A man goes into the doctor's wearing clingfilm trousers. The doctor says, "I can clearly see your nuts!"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Curried Eggs

Boil some eggs. Cool them. Peel them.

Get some fresh tomatoes, an onion, lots of garlic, lots of ginger, a chilli or two. Do the zizz thing with a blender.

Heat up some oil in a pan. Add salt, asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, some star anises and a few bits of cinnamon bark. When the seeds start popping, throw in some curry leaves, stir a few times, then add the blended mix.

Cook it for a few minutes. Then add the eggs, halved, cut sides up. Cook a little longer.

Serve garnished with fresh coriander, with chapattis, yoghurt, pickle.

It's said that all the best blues musicians have names that comprise:

a) an infirmity (eg Blind)

b) a fruit (eg (Lemon)

c) a US president (eg Jefferson)

Step forward...Asthmatic Kumquat Eisenhower!

(my porn name is Jinx Mt. Pleasant, btw)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Miso hornee

I'm afraid this one veers rather into zen macrobiotic hippy shite territory, but bear with me. I suppose it would be just the thing for those wanting to 'detox'. I haven't a Scooby what all these 'toxins' are actually supposed to be when they're at home, but 'Dr' Gillian McKeith 'PhD' claims you can get them out by sticking a big tube up your ass and pumping yourself full of cappuccino. Diff'rnt strokes, an a' that. I suppose that if you really are what you eat, she must've swallowed a scary witch with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Anyway...

Miso Broth with broccoli and shitake mushrooms.This dish is packed with oovaafu. Oovaafu is the 'fifth taste', after salt, sweet, sour and bitter. Oh, no...wait...I mean umami.

For thems as has never met it, miso is a kind of Japanese savoury jam made from fermented soy beans and/or rice. You can buy instant miso broth in sachets, or buy jars or squidgy packets of the miso itself and turn it into broth by adding to hot water. If the latter, you'd probably want to add make it with stock. Or if turning Japanese doesn't give you the vapors (geddit?) you could even use dashi, the authentic Japanese stock made from seaweed and fishes' dandruff. Not to be confused with dashiki.

So make your stock and keep it hot ready. Meanwhile, steam some broccoli - the long sort, 'flowering broccoli', with the thin, tender stems. In the steaming vessel, add some cubed tofu (yeah, sorry about that) so that it warms.

Meanwhile, take your shitake mushrooms, halved. Heat a wok very, very hot, with the minimum amount of oil. Stir fry the mushrooms until they're begining to brown (you're after a slightly charred around the edges effect).

Now assemble the soup. In a big bowl...broccoli, tofu, shitakes, big handful of fresh coriander. Pour on the soup. Top with a finely-sliced de-seeded red chilli and a few thin slices of mild onion.

Serve with brown rice, if you insist.

Thought for the day

Never take Ecstacy before visting a Holocaust museum.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cabbage ears.

The Italians have a really cute kind of pasta called 'orechiette' - little ears - 'coz they look like mouse ears (awww!). The packet I bought says that they were 'traditionally made in brass moulds'. But of course the traditional way of making them involves a mustachioed widow's thumb.

The traditional thing to eat with orechiette is some kind of greens - broccoli, cime di rapa, that sort of thing. In my case, I used cavolo nero. This is a kind of dark, crinkly, loose-leaf cabbage. You could substitute savoy or kale. Don't embarass yourself by asking for caballo nero, though, or else you'll be given a black horse. (A bit like that time I asked for a peccary at the pharmacist's).

So. Cook some orechiette until al dente.

Meanwhile, shred your cabbage finely.

Put some olive oil and a little salt in a skillet-y, wok-y type pan. Heat until the garlic just begins to colour yellow (no more! careful not to burn it).

Throw in the cabbage and stir fry.

Add just a little crushed chilli.

Drain the orechiette.

Toss with the cabbage.

Decant onto a plate, and while doing so, add in bits of crumbled, soft goat's cheese - not the rindy kind.

Top with coarsely grated parmesan and black pepper.

You'll have heard of the Rolling Stones tribute band whose most popular number was 'Hey! MacLeod! Get Off My Ewe!'

Then there's the Oasis tribute band. They stole all their riffs from The Bootleg Beatles.

BREAKING NEWS: And The Incredibly Bearded Man has just informed me of a new Glasgow tribute band - The Partick Monkeys.

Have you heard of an Aussie Kiss? It's like a French Kiss, only it's given down under...

So batman came up to me, hit me over the head with a vase and says "T'PAU!"
So I says, "Don't you mean 'KAPOW!'?"
And he says "No...I've got china in my hand."

Then there was the cowboy who walked into a German car dealer and said "Audi, pardner!"

Monday, January 22, 2007

You can't make an omelette without breaking wind.

I got a stack of classic cookbooks for my birthday recently, including a couple by the great Elizabeth David. Inspired by her classic 'An Omelette and a Glass of Wine', I decided to make an...

Omelette aux fine herbes

Take a handful of herbs per person - I used a mixture of parsley, tarragon, mint (don't overdo it with the mint - but don't underdo it either) and lemon time. Other combinations would work - chervil sounds like a good idea. David says don't use tarragon and basil. (She's never wrong.)

Chop finely.

Beat two eggs well. Add the herbs and some pepper.

Put wee dash of olive oil in your omelette pan over a medium heat and a big lump of butter. When the butter stops bubbling, pour in the mixture. It should be thick enough with herbs that it doesn't spread out too much. When set on one side, flip. Don't overcook it.

Serve with good bread and a simple salad. And a glass of wine, obviously.

Jaysus - so simple yet so fucking good. That's what food should be about.

Clarissa Dixon-Wright used to run 'Books for Cooks' in London. One day she answered the phone to hear,
"Hello. This is Elizabeth David here."
She responded,
"That's a little like being told that God's on the phone."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mushroom and Barley soup.

An easy one, this. I believe that in East European/ Jewish cuisine, it lurks under the name of ‘Krupnik’.

Take some pearl barley. Boil it in a lot of water until nice and soft.

Sauté a small diced onion in a little olive oil and butter. Add a couple of big mushrooms to it, finely chopped (the black gilled ones that the Germans call ‘Pilzen’ – to distinguish them from the smaller ‘Champignons’ or button mushrooms*. They’re both Agaricus bisporus at different stages of growth, of course), and a couple of garlic cloves, chopped coarsely but not crushed.

Sweat the whole lot together. Then add the barley with its water, enough extra water to bring it up to volume and a stock cube or two. Boil it all together for a soup-like length of time (remember – soup always tastes best on the second day.)

Season to taste. Just before serving, add a huge handful of finely chopped dill and parsley.

* Interestingly, in French, le champignon is the generic name for ‘fungus’ – including athletes foot. And the same goes in German for der Pilz.
Lieber Pils vom Faß als Pilz am Fuß! – Better a draft beer than athlete’s foot.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Crème Mont Blanc

'bout time I posted here, no?

This is an overlooked classic.

Take a tin of chestnut purée. Combine with caster sugar to taste and either a little vanilla essence or Masala wine. (Yes, they're totally different flavours, but either works).

Spoon the mixture into an icing bag and pipe* into some meringue shells/nests**. Top with whipped cream*** and some shavings of dark chocolate.

* Or just spoon it in.

**Or layer meringue bits and chestnut mixture in a glass. Or if you don't have any meringues, just pipe/spoon the mixture into a glass.

***Don't you dare use that crappy 'whipped' cream exuded from an arsehole aerosol. Get that wrist working!

My all-time favourite joke only works in a Scots accent:

A man walks into a cake shop and asks,
'Is that a macaroon or a meringue'. The lassie behind the counter replies, 'No, you're right. It's a macaroon'.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm the noodle doodle man!

Rrrrr, me hearties! Here's one for all you Pastafarians:

Pad Thai

I noticed that supermarkets have started selling squidgy packets of ready-to-cook pad thai noodles - ie the flat rice noodles used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Here's what I've been doing with them:

First, make some very thin omlettes. In a large frying pan/ skillet...lightly oil...pour in the beaten egg and make sure it coats the whole thing...cook, flip, cook, out. You need two or three for two people. Stack them one on top of another. Roll them up together. Then slice into 0.5cm strips. Et viola. You have 'egg strips'.

Next, get some stir frying shit together. It doesn't really matter what - one of those supermarket beansprouts+ combos will do fine (although usually like to make sure it has stuff like baby corn, sugarsnaps/mangtouts (mangetous?) and chinese cabbage). Stick it to one side a minute...

Heat your wok up nice and smokin', with a little oil. First throw in some salt and some shredded ginger. Then some sliced shitake mushrooms. I like these when they're fried intensely and start to brown - ot develops their flavour. Then throw in a thinly-sliced red chilli or two. Now the stir-fry veg. Again - intensity is the key with beansprouts. At around this time, add more shredded ginger and lotsandlots of thinly-sliced garlic (about 4 cloves). Keep on stirring and add some soy sauce - the sweet kind is best (eg ketjap manis) and (optionally) a sprinkle of the dreaded 'Flavour Powder'.

Next, toss in your eggs strips and noodles and throw it all around.

Finally...and this is The Big Important Trick...this blog talks a lot about the central role of 'shrubbery' in Vietnamese food. He's spot on! The secret is to throw in, at the very last minute before serving, great big handfuls of slightly-chopped coriander, basil and mint. How much? Take more than you'd think, then double it.

Serve garnished with lots of wedges of lime.

I can't think of an Italic bit at the end today, so I'll just shut up.

No I won't. Having nothing to say has never stopped me before. I've been reading 'Fermat's Last Theorem' by Simon Singh, so I'll tell you about The Catalogue Paradox:
A librarian is re-cataloguing all the books in the library. At the
end, he's left with a pile of catalogues, so he starts to catalogue them.
He notices that they can be subdivided into two types: thosen that list
themselves within their pages and those that don't. So he lists the first
lot and makes a catalog of them. Then he does the second lot...but he has
a problem. Should his 'Catalogue Of All The Catalogues That Don't List
Themselves' also list itself? If it doesn't, it's incomplete.
But...if it does...then obviously it's a catalogue that
does list
itself, so by definition it shouldn't be listed. On the other hand...

My brain hurts.