Potato, Chickpea and Tomato Casserole
Living in the middle of town has changed what and how I eat. It’s too easy to go out and buy yummy seafood mee goreng from KK or visit a cafe for coffee and a toasted panini. While it’s very pleasant it costs a bit more and isn’t always so good for the whole “healthy eating” thing.
Tonight I resolved to cook something, anything, using just the ingredients that I had on hand. This was complicated by the fact that we’re house sitting at the moment and don’t have a well-stocked larder. I came up with the following and it was damn good.
Potato, Chickpea and Tomato Casserole
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 3 tbsp extra light olive oil
- 3 medium potatoes
- 3 tsp ‘cajun spices’
- 1 medium onion
- 1 can chickpeas (drained)
- 1 can tomatoes in juice (not drained)
- 1 cube vegetable stock and a little hot water
- A bit of grated Parmesan to go on top
1. Wash and chop up the potatoes into small chunks (I am a fan of leaving the skin on)
2. Put the olive oil into a large frying pan and bring to a medium-hot temp
3. Add in the potatoes and then sprinkle the spices over them
4. Turn occasionally and cook until fried golden and worth snacking on
5. Drain any excess oil and turn down the heat to medium
6. Chop the onion and add it
7. Stir the potatoes and onions until the onion is just done
8. Drain the chickpeas and add them
9. Chuck in the tomatoes
10. Dissolve the stock cube in a little bit of hot water and add it
11. Put the plates in the oven to warm up, and simmer the dish for 10 minutes or so
12. Add salt to taste
13. Serve and sprinkle some parmesan on top
14. Get the person who didn’t cook to wash the dishes
New Improved Mushrooms on Toast
You might have seen my earlier post about the problems I have with cooking mushrooms. Things had improved, but I knew there was room to do better…and today I found it (with the help of a little pointer from a magazine).
For this technique you need:
- mushrooms (say 20 brown caps)
- a good non-stick frying pan
- a little bit of butter (about 1tsp)
And for serving/eating I I also suggest having:
- salt and
- hot buttered toast
1. Remove any obvious grit from the mushrooms and chop into thick slices.
2. Put the frying pan on to a high heat (don’t leave it there too long, they tend to buckle).
3. Put the mushrooms in and stir occasionally.They’ll heat up and generate their own juice.
4. When they look a bit browner/smaller and nearly cooked, add in the butter. You’ll need less than you think.
5. Quickly stir the mushrooms around to absorb the melted butter.
6. Leave in for another minute or two, stirring.
Serve on hot buttered toast and sprinkle with shaved parmesan.
Now is the time, Now is the season. It is the fresh scallop time of year.
For our first scallop dish we made a fettucine, aioli and dill pasta. We made it the easy way, just added a bit of “Cotterill and Rouse” aioli and dill sauce (4 tablespoons) to the pasta before serving.
The scallops were fried lightly in oil and a little bit of butter.
It took about 10 minutes and worked really well, the light sauce was a nice highlight without being so strong that it overwhelmed the subtle scallop flavours.
Scallops are still expensive though. This meal cost $7 per person (7 scallops each).
Vegetarian Hash Stack
A vegetarian hash stack is a great Sunday brunch idea, especially when you’re trying to find the middle ground between fruit salad and a full on heart attack producing traditional big breakfast.
Ingredients (per person)
Layer the ingredients, trail a line of pesto and aioli sauce across the stack. Serve with avocado pieces on the side.
Potato and Leek Pizza
Potato Pizza is a simple way of combining both major food groups into one delicious meal.
In the past I’ve always had problems getting the potatoes just how I want them. Either they’re too leathery, or too hard and underdone, or … just not as good as they should be. Indeed, I would say that I generally have problems with frying things and it’s my worst cooking method (although I seem to have finally got the hang of frying eggs).
Tonight I decided to take a different approach and decided to roast/fry the potatoes in the oven – and it worked just great and the pizza was delicious. Here’s how I did it.
Potato and Leek Pizza
(serves 1-2 depending on desired belly fullness)
– One small pizza base (yes, I’m lazy, feel free to make your own)
– 2 tbsp basil pesto
– One large potato
– 1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 1-2 tsp dry rosemary (inferior, less classy, easier)
– Extra light olive oil, or other cooking oil
– One leek (or about four spring onions)
– 30gm grated mozzarella cheese
– 30gm grated cheddar cheese
– salt grinder
1. Heat oven to 200c
2. Scrub the potato and cut into thin slices. Cut the slices in half if they’re too big.
3. Pour a little oil into a baking dish and make sure the bottom is covered.
4. Put in the potatoes, drizzle over the rest of the oil.
5. Sprinkle the rosemary over it.
6. Cook until half-done (5-10 minutes) and then turn. Complete cooking.
While waiting for the potatoes:
7. Spread the pesto on the pizza base
8. Chop the leeks. They can be small to large depending on your whim.
9. Nibble on some of the cheese (we call this “emergency cheese” as we’re normally pretty hungry by the time we start cooking).
And now the potatoes are done:
8. Put the potatoes in a single layer on the pizza. Eat the rest.
9. Arrange the leeks over the potatoes.
10. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese.
11. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese (yes, the order is important).
12. Put on a baking tray at the top of the oven, cook until golden and bubbly (5-10 minutes)
13. Grind some salt over it, cut it up and serve. Don’t be too hasty and burn the roof of your mouth.
Versatile Red Lentil Pasta Sauce
If you’re afraid of lentils but intrigued by them at the same time, then now might be the time to give cooking them a go.
Red lentils give this pasta sauce a nice thick, smooth taste. Best of all it’s extremely quick and simple to make.
(Thanks to Healthy Food Magazine for the recipe).
Red Lentil Pasta Sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
- red lentils, 1 mug, uncooked
- one onion
- oil, 2 tablespoons
- garlic, 2 cloves, chopped
- tinned tomatoes, 2 x 400g tins, chopped
- tomato paste, 2 tablespoons
- sugar, 1 teaspoon
- dried basil, 2 teaspoons – add more or less to your taste
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Pour in the lentils and stir to ensure they do not stick to the base of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 minutes or until soft.
Heat the oil in a medium pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and herbs. Stir in the lentils.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until flavours develop, around 15 minutes.