Sunday, 14 December 2014

Leek Fritters

The biggest challenge I face when cooking anything in my kitchen, is the fact I don't actually have a cooker!! 

I have always wanted a "Free standing" kitchen, so when we move into this rambling Old Manse (the Methodist version of a Rectory) 8 years ago, my dream became a reality. It came with its own old school oil-fired Rayburn that keeps the kitchen cosy, and can boil a pan of pasta at a push! 

For everything else I have a 2 plate portable hob that I drag out of the pantry, there's just no appropriate space left in my kitchen for an actual cooker! Unfortunately my trusty portable hob broke this week, so for tonights Leek Fritters, I'm already stressing!!

 I had never realised so much went in to fritters to be honest! Who knew you had to whip up egg whites into soft peaks!!! This recipe has a lovely mix of spices - turmeric, cumin and cinnamon with a little ground coriander, very subtle, but enough to bring the leeks to life. 

Liberty, our 9 year old helped me with the chopping, washing and measuring of all the ingredients, she is really starting to enjoy cooking. It did add a bit of chaos to the proceedings, but my kitchen doesn't seem right with out some chaos - I've got used to that with 4 daughters!

The only problem I came up against was when I actually had to fry the Fritters!! The book suggests that we fry each Fritter for 2 - 3 minutes on each side - that was a 'laugh out loud' moment for the Rayburn - bless it - it simply does not do frying!! So it did it's best, 15 minutes a side, and we finally had some golden Fritters! 

Everyone loved them apart from Raphaella, our 7 year old, it was just one step too far for her!! Will I cook them again? YES!! I'm determined to find a combo that my youngest will enjoy - perhaps carrot and broccoli might do the job! I'll keep you posted!

This is the recipe and method for the Leek Fritters - Ieft the chilli out and I made the sauce first. You could actually make the sauce and the fritter mix in advance and just fry up the fritters when needed.

3 leeks (450g in total, trimmed weight)
5 shallots, finely chopped
150ml olive oil
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced
25g parsley (leaves and fine stalks), finely chopped
¾ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 free-range egg white (Whipped into soft peaks)
120g self-raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 free-range egg
150ml milk
55g unsalted butter, melted

Fry the leeks, shallots and chili in oilve oil until soft. Put in a bowl and add the chopped parsley, spices and salt. Leave to cool. In a second bowl, add the flour and baking powder and mix together. Add in the egg, milk and butter and whisk until smooth. Stir the egg whites into the vegetable mixture and then add the batter mixture that you just made and mix all these ingredients together.
Add the remaining oil to a frying pan and, with a spoon, dollop the batter into a pan and fry on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.

100g Greek yoghurt
100g soured cream
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
20g parsley leaves, chopped
30g coriander leaves, chopped

Add all the above sauce ingredients to your food processor and whizz until a lovely green colour - pop in the fridge to chill.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Home & Hearth: Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup.

We have begun!

The three of us gathered in Jacquie's warm kitchen, bums against the Aga, Christmas tunes on the stereo, wine on ice… what better place to start than with a hearty soup.

Page 218… Ok, so we're not going to work through Plenty chronologically! Chickpea, tomato and bread soup, this is a little Italian number with a slightly Moroccan vibe with the chickpeas. We used stale ciabatta instead of sourdough and we veganised the pesto for Jo the Vegan, by substituting the Parmesan with yeast flakes and we challenge any cheese eater to tell the difference!

It was a lovely vibe, us all sitting around the table, chopping the vegetables, whizzing up pesto, toasting pine nuts, burning pine nuts, toasting more pine nuts, and drinking rather a lot of wine!!

And the resulting soupy stew was delicious, filling, wholesome and healthy - we also had Jo's spectacular hummus, bread crisps made with the ciabatta crusts, brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven, rainbow carrot crudities and lots of olives - fabulous.

The next morning (we had a sleepover) some of us woke a little worse for wear… slowly rehydrated with water and copious cups of tea, we were ready for soupy stew round two. And it was YUM! Now that's what we call Hair of the Dog!!

Try out this soup yourself and let us know what you think :-)

Yotam Ottolenghi: Chickpea, Tomato & Bread Soup