Caribbean Corn and Pea Curry

So, I paid a visit to the Afro-Caribbean store in Southside the other day and picked up a plantain (I love plantains, like whoa) and what I thought was a sweet potato.  It looked sort of like a sweet potato, but it wasn’t marked.  I figured the worst it could be was a yam, and I could roll with a yam.

But when I skinned it and cut it open, I was in for a traumatising result.  I thought, ‘Hm, this might be a yam.’  And in the time it took me to exit the kitchen, enter the living room, say to Red, ‘I’m not sure it’s a yam, either’, and make it back to the kitchen, the not-yam had sprouted what can only be described as root-vegetable blood which had promptly turned a mouldy colour.  Horrifying.

So, I was left with a plantain. Excellent.

Tonight’s dinner was a lesson in ingenuity and good-pantry keeping.  And, to my very pleasant surprise, it ended quite tastily.

Corn and Pea Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe plantain (yellow), sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • Half a small tin of sweet corn
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2-inch ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Half a bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50mL water, plus more as needed

Step One Heat oil in a big pot.  Add onion and sweat over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, and red chilli flakes and fry for an additional minute.

Step Two Add thyme, bay leaf and 50mL of water with a bit of salt.  Stir and cover the pot.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Three Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine.  Add water as necessary to make the consistency just barely on the soupy side of not-sticky.  (I know this probably makes no sense.  Basically, make sure that the mixture isn’t sticky and burning onto the bottom of the pot, but don’t add so much water that your curry turns into a stew/soup.)  Turn up the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for another 5-7 minutes.

Serve with/over brown rice.

Yields 2 servings

Next time I might make it with scotch bonnets instead of chilli flakes and call it Jamaican.

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Beans and Rice (part 1)

I had a ridonculous day today.  It started off well enough viewing flats in Wandsworth, but then when Red went to meet up with his brother who had come to London for the day, I resolved to get something done that I’d been putting off all week: taking back the fan we recently bought at Argos that stopped working.  Needless to say, it was no easy task, and I ended up carrying it for nearly a mile and then taking it on the Tube clear across London when the manager at the Argos near me was being an uber bitch.  For more detail about THAT situation, refer to my poetic rendition of the day already posted on Yelp.

So, after my day of intense aggravation and needless travel on London transportation, I thought to myself, ‘There is nothing I would like more now than an alcoholic beverage’.  So I picked up some cider on the way home and started drinking.  By myself.  After all the scornful walking and hauling ass up stairs on the Underground whilst carrying a cumbersome fan sticking out of its box and dodging tourists, I managed to burn off the paltry caloric intake I’d taken in earlier in the day, so the cider went right to my head.

But, being the kitchen warrior that I am, I perservered and managed to pull off a wonderful dinner in the slightly intoxicated state that I was (am) in.  I should add that I chop things a lot faster when I’m a bit drunk.  Although I do realise that I am lucky to have not lost a finger.

Down-South (American, that is) Beans and Rice of Delicious:

Yum-o-clock

Ingredients

  • 1 green pepper, chopped roughly
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 200g chopped tomatoes (I use a small tin or half a large tin)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste… I would recommend Tabasco, but I’ll be honest and admit that I used Nando’s Hot Peri Peri Sauce)
  • salt to taste
  • 70g firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp liquid aminos
  • water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • additional oil for deep frying

Step One A Press about 70g of firm tofu, then cut into little bits/strips (to simulate bacon bits).  Marinate for 30 minutes in some liquid aminos and water in a mug.  Deep fry for 3-4 minutes, until crispy.  You don’t need a deep-fat fryer for this, as the quantity is so small that you can just pour about 3 or 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small pot and fry the tofu up in that.  Drain and set aside.

Step One B Cook two servings’ worth of brown rice.  For the absolute best, foolproof way of cooking brown rice, click here.  (After you’ve read the instructions on that link, if you’re wondering the measurements I use for two perfect servings of brown rice, it’s 115g brown rice to 180mL water.)

Step Two Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pot.  Add your pepper, onion and garlic.  Saute for 4 minutes.  Add your tomatoes, cumin, thyme and bay leaf, cover the pot with a lid and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove lid and chuck in your hot sauce, salt and tofu bits.  Move everything around with your spatula to make it look like you’re doing something important.  Remove the bay leaf, while you’re at it.

Step Three Serve with rice.

Delicious time.

Red said that the tofu bits simulated bacon surprisingly well, which was the goal.  Score 15 for experimental vegetarian cooking.

Put a Bunch of Stuff in a Pot Curry

I was hungry.  I hadn’t planned anything for dinner.  Produce was starting to go downhill fast.  What did I do?  Throw a bunch of shit together, add spices and call it a curry. 

Result?  F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

I call it Put a Bunch of Stuff in a Pot Cook What You’ve Got Curry.

See that steam rising off?

Ingredients

  • Sweet potato (large)
  • Courgette
  • Onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-inch ginger
  • 8-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Half a 16-oz can of reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1T vegetable oil
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T garam masala
  • 2t coriander
  • 2t turmeric
  • 1t crushed chillies
  • salt

(spice measurements are guesstimated.)

This went quite smoothly because I have a pressure cooker.  You see, step one involves a pressure cooker to significantly cut down cooking time.

Step one: Pressure cook sweet potato cut up into chunks for 4 minutes.  Depressurise.  Add cut-up courgette.  Pressure cook sweet potato and courgette for 2 more minutes.  Depressurise.

Step two: Cook chopped onion, minced garlic and minced ginger in hot oil for 2-3 minutes.  Dump in all your spices, stir well.  Don’t be afraid that it looks like the spices are sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Step three: Dump your sweet potato and courgette in.  Pour in half the can of coconut milk.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Add in some salt to taste.  Stir everything together and allow to simmer for a while.

Step four: Serve with rice.  Deem yourself a culinary genius.

 (Yields 2-3 servings)

Who knew sweet potato would create such an excellent curry base?

Disaster

 

So, I thought I’d make a vegan pizza tonight, after all this talk of documenting my cooking shenanigans on my blog.  

It perhaps wasn’t the best choice of places to start my culinary blogging adventures.  Because, you see, I’ve never made a pizza before.  And I’m not really good with pastry.  Or anything involving flour.  My first attempt at making seitan from scratch was an absolute failure and left my kitchen in shambles.  But, on I ploughed, thinking my cooking prowess was untouchable.  

And now here I am documenting my shame.

 

It didn’t start off well.

 

FAIL

FAIL

 Originally, I decided to ignore the recipe and make a flat-bread type crust before adding anything else.  Twenty minutes later, I discovered it wasn’t a good idea.  Still, it tasted all right.  I started over, this time following some online guidance.

 

 

 

pizza crust with courgette and red pepper

pizza crust with courgette and red pepper

 

Then I popped it in the oven, like someone on the internet told me to do.  I baked for twenty minutes and then took it out to add the vegan cheese, homemade tomato sauce, and nutritional yeast flakes.  It seemed all right coming out of the oven, despite the fact that the cheesly and tomato sauce blended together and turned pink.

Post cooking

 

Looking good.  

Then, I went to cut it.

 

Shit.

 

The edges were as hard as a rock.  I could not get it out of the pan.  I was hungry.  Oh no!!1!  What to do, what to do??

 

Result:

Eat pizza middle with spoon while husband watches, unfed.

Pizza eaten with spoon

 

I swear, I can cook.

Cooking

If the feeds on my Google Reader are any indicator, I’ve become obsessed with vegan cooking and baking.

 

Also, I’ve begun to notice that I’m a pretty damn good cook.  At least, my cooking intuition is definitely much better than it once was.  Yesterday I peered into our mini fridge and thought, ‘What on earth am I going to cook?’  Not much was there.  I didn’t feel I could be bothered to go downstairs to the Waitrose or Tesco Express down the street.  I looked again.  Contemplated.  

 

I had some kimchi sitting at the back that I had bought fresh a couple weeks ago.  Certainly it should be nice and fermented by this point.  I had some Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces.  I had some spring onions.  I had half an onion wrapped in cling film.  I had four new potatoes starting to grow roots in the pantry.  Kimchi Stew, it was.  I threw some garlic, ginger and half the onion in a pot along with some sesame oil.  Then I threw in the kimchi, Quorn and potatoes and covered with water.  I walked away but then thought I’d chuck some chilies in for good measure.  

 

I sent Red a text message that warned him dinner for the evening could either be fabulous or rancid, an email, upon reflection, I tend to send him a lot of the time.

 

Needless to say, it was of the former variety.  So much so that after I went out last night I came home to eat some of the leftovers.  

 

I find myself in the same predicament now.  I got home from doing productive stuff (i.e., school stuff) earlier but didn’t stop off at the grocery store on my way home, because I was feeling uninspired.  I have no more produce of which to speak in the pantry.  Not even a lone New Potato.  I must go to the store.  

 

I think I might start photo documenting some of my culinary endeavours here.  I mean, to return to the original thought of this post, I find myself voyeuristically reading with relish vegetarian cooking blogs out on the interwebs.  I might as well pepper my own blog with the same sort of shit I love reading on other people’s blogs.  It would probably also get me even more excited about cooking.  As if I needed a reason.

 

I’m just so goddamned domestic.