Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kitchen Diary #2

This has been a quiet week in the kitchen as I have been home alone for much of it and the fridge was full of leftovers that just needed eating up, rather than cooking. I had mysteriously acquired  three packages of carrots so I made a huge batch of carrot, ginger and chilli soup which lasted several days. I am sneaking chilli peppers into whatever I can as I have just harvested all of my remaining chillies and there are quite a few.
The shopping highlight of the week was to find a gorgeous slab of halibut at the fishmonger in Torrington's Pannier market on Thursday. I couldn't resist and cooked it quite plainly and served it with pasta in a fresh tomato sauce.
I have also picked my pumpkin and brought it home from the allotment. For now I am just admiring it, as this is the largest one I have ever grown. Sooner or later though, I am going to have to decide what to do with it.
My bread bake this week was rye, walnut and raisin rolls but they came out a little on the heavy side. I think this was down to trying to cut back too much on the amount of yeast and then not giving the dough long enough to develop. None the less they were very tasty.
At the weekend I made a calvados and apple cake which again, tasted good, but was a bit soggy in the middle. I can never judge when apple cakes are ready and as the cake came out more like pudding it will be served with custard.
Recipe:  Lebanese rice with vermicelli noodles 
I recently discovered Lebanese rice with vermicelli noodles on a visit to Comptoir Libanais in London, and have been making it at home regularly since. I'm not sure why adding noodles to rice makes such a difference to the flavour, and perhaps it is just the browning of the butter, whatever,  I am rather taken by this way of cooking rice.
Serves 2
70g thin vermicelli noodles broken into small ~ 3cm long pieces
140g long grain rice washed
1 tsp butter
approx 300ml water or vegetable stock/bouillon
salt to taste
chopped pistachios to garnish (optional)

  • Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and add the vermicelli.
  • Gently cook the vermicelli noodles in the butter until they turn golden brown.
  • Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.
  • Add the stock or water and add any additional salt to taste.
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked, adding any additional liquid if needed. The liquid should be completely absorbed by the rice and noodles when completely cooked.
  • Allow the pan to sit covered for a few minutes and then serve.
  • Serve plain or garnished with chopped pistachios.

This week is London Chocolate week, I cannot get to any of the events but I am compensating by munching on some rather handsome Michel Cluizel Neapolitans. This coming weekend, October 17th-19th is the London Salon du Chocolat where a huge range of international chocolatiers will be exhibiting.
Happy Chocolate Week!

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