Yesterday was glorious, today by comparison is something of a dud. I’m fighting back at the weather with some comfort food.
A recent conversation got me to thinking and I realised that we are eating far too much meat – way more meat than I have ever before eaten in my life. It’s kind of become a habit. Well, I wish to break that bad habit and have been trawling over some of the recipes from the days when I cooked veggie mainly in the interests of economy. As our income has been reduced, and is set only to go down, it seems like a clever thing to be doing now.
First up is Lentil Burgers, or as Sarah Brown terms them, Lentil Croquettes. I have the lentils simmering as we speak. They were a regular staple in my 1980s kitchen. The recipe comes from the BBC book, The Vegetarian Kitchen (wish I had retained my old copy in The Great Divorce Debacle – I see it is currently selling at £49.99) Ms Brown serves her croquettes with Parsley Sauce – I always served my Burgers with a brown rice sauté of onion, lemon and mushroom, adding steamed courgettes or a green salad on the side and a nice home-made tomato sauce in plentiful quantity.
Lentils are ultra cheap, very nutritious and quite quick to cook, although this recipe takes a little time – due mainly to the need to cool the lentil paste before mixing in the other good things (peanut butter, Marmite, cheddar cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, lemon, parsley and seasonings.) The burgers benefit from a good chilling before frying, so we shall have these tomorrow.
Also on the go: mixed dried beans (mostly Cannellini, some Red Kidney and a fistful of Pinto – I seem to have run out of Flageolet and Black-eyes) are soaking ready for a big batch of home-made Baked Beans. (Gill, there will be some to spare if you bring a box round) I shall make up the rich spicy tomato sauce for those later on today and cook the beans tomorrow before putting the whole lot in the slow cooker for several hours. Now, if only the Ladies would provide an egg or four…
Today we shall have potato Gnocchi. I’ll make some kind of a sauce, most likely not tomato-ish, given what’s coming up later this week. Mushroom, maybe – then top with cheese and bake it. I’m out of salad greens unfortunately so I shall cobble together a salad of courgette ribbons as a side. I really must get into town…
When I wrote the other day in the Sanday Spinners blog how much I love this season, I may have failed to confess to my love of comfort food. Do you know what I like best of all once Autumn comes? That first serving of proper mashed potatoes. I do love New Potatoes but by the time the weather changes I seem always to have forgotten what a simple delight there is to be had from a tasty bowl of creamed potatoes. How about you? Sadly, Mash always seems to merit some meat – what kind of veggie dish, other than meat substitutes, really goes with a side of Mash? Oh, and Mash is foul with Fish, don’t you think. Far too little texture going on, it reminds one of nursery food.. or, worse, of being in hospital – Steamed Fish and Mashed potato Fridays. Yuck.
Oh. Glamorgan Sausages, of course! Quick – pass the Caerphilly!
Actually, I find Caerphilly difficult to source, which is sad because it is one of my favourite cheeses. On the other hand, I do have some ageing Lancashire in the fridge right now and some, like Jane Grigson, suggest using Lancashire in their Glamorgan Sausage recipe.
And how do you get the most out of lentils – dhal, soup, pies? I remember I used them often to replace mince in a nice Chili non Carne or a Spag LentilBol – if you use a mixture of three or more different types of lentil then a pleasing variety in the texture can be obtained. The big green flying saucer ones stay satisfyingly whole, the red ones break down to thicken the dish and Puy or whatever sort of fill in the middle ground.
So, how about an exploration of the humble Chick Pea next week? Ah… houmus! Or perhaps a nice Homity or Red Dragon pie?
Perhaps I can save enough housekeeping money to contemplate a trip in Brunhilde. My Tesco vouchers came today and I have £13.50 of the cashback ones. Apparently these can be tripled when used against Chunnel fares. We are instituting a savings jar and thinking thoughts of Antwerp and Amsterdam…
You know, I have been sitting here, rabbiting on, and I have completely forgotten to start the bread today.