Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Mushroom Sheperd's Pie

I wish I could shepherd mushrooms. I'd wander through the highlands whistling to keep the flock steady and stand watch to protect against  the mushrooms natural enemy, hippies.
But I'm just an office drown. Copy making, pencil pusher, spending company money the best way I know how. Lunch was the best opportunity to spend time daydreaming of being a wandering sole while I chowed down on mushroom shepherd pie.

1 onion chopped                        3 cloves garlic
2 carrots small chopped            2 stalks of celery
3 cups brown mushrooms         1 cup shitaki mushrooms
1/2 c.  cooked pearly barley     1/2 c. lentils
2 c. shredded cabbage
Gravy    1/4 c. powdered mushroom      1.5 c stock
              1/2 bottle of dark beer              1 TBSP cornstarch
              1/4 c. cream             Rosemary, thyme, oregano
Mashed taters

  • Fry the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and remove from the pan 
  • Fry the mushrooms on high heat, 
  • Add the cabbage and allow to cook for a few minutes 
  • Add the veggies back in along with the cooked barley lentil mix
  • Gravy - Add the beer and allow to deglaze
  • Add stock, the herbs and mushroom powder
  • Bring to a low boil
  • Mix the cornstarch with a little water to make a slurry and add, stir to incorporate
  • Lastly top up with a little cream
  • Slop all of that into a WARM casserole dish and top with some yummy mashed taters. 
  • Bake at 400 until the potatoes get a sun tan. 

Serve with Gulden Draak - Belgian strong Ale and get tipsy on one bottle of beer. Good times.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Thai Peanut Satay, Multi Purpose Peanut Buster

Interested in a time saver? Who isn't - this will help make a least a couple of meals quick and easy. Here's the list so far
1. Coconut Curry             2. Chicken Satay
3. Curry Soup                  4. Peanut Satay Dip
5. Spicy Rice

Thai Peanut Satay (TPS)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
Cilantro - chopped stems and leaves, about a cup, eyeball it.
1 lime rind and juice
1 large clove of garlic
1 thumb size piece of peeled ginger
3 bird's eye chiles - or less depending on your heat tolerance
3 TBSP Honey or similar sweet flavouring (teriyaki, brown rice     syrup)
1/2 tsp fish sauce

how to make this delicious:
1. place all the ingredients in a food process
2. blend until smooth

how to use:
Coconut Curry
 add 2 TBSP of TPS with a can of coconut milk
 + veggies & meat or tofu + rice

Chicken Satay
skewer boneless chicken and coat with peanut satay
broil, bake or bar-b-que the chicken satay and service with steamed veggies and extra peanut sauce dip

Coconut Soup
3 TBSP TSP + 1/2 can coconut + 500 mils water or veggie stock and tamarind sauce if you got it.
add extra fish sauce and sugar. add fresh veggies and fish or tofu, boil until just barely cooked. Finish with lime juice & rind.

Peanut Sauce Dip
4 TBSP TPS + splash of fish sauce + lime juice + honey + water to thin to a reasonable dip. Serve with raw veggies, grilled meat or spring rolls.

Spicy Rice
Fry onions, ginger, garlic. Stir fry eggs. Toss in frozen peas left over jasmine rice and 2 TBSP TPS. stir well and top with fresh cilantro and lime.

I stored this in the fridge for a week and we ate like kings.  Pictures to come

Brains with nachos - 7 layer brains dip

Is there nothing as fun as playing with your food?
Admit it.
You make mash potato mountains with gravy lava,
put little blueberry happy faces in your pancakes
and jam a quarter section of an orange in your gob and make groaning sounds cause it's plain good fun. No context, pretext, or subtext necessary - just imagination land for kids and adults.

Here's my kick at the fun zone
7 layer brain dip

Here's what you'll need:
1 halloween brain jello mould
Spray oil
radish eyeballs
7 layer dip in this order
      1. mashed black bean layer - spiced appropriately
      2. shredded cheese           3. warmed cream cheese  
      4. avocado slices                           5. salsa
      6. chopped tomatoes                     7. black olives
      8. cap off with another layer of mashed black beans
Eyeballs - wash the radish, ensure to leave the radish root on, it looks like an optic nerve. Use a paring knife to remove some of but not all of red skin.  Carve out a hollow and slip in a pitted black olive.  Cut a thin slice of red or green olive and slip it in the hollow of the black olive, these were so creepy not a single colleague of mine wanted to eat them!

How to build a brain:
1. Generously spray the mould with oil
2. Carefully smash the mashed black beans into your greased mould
3. begin layering the remaining ingredients - use just enough to create a stable layer.
4. Leave dip moulded to set overnight in the fridge
5. place a serving plate on top of the mould and quickly flip
6. you may need to tease the brains away from the mould
7. cram the eyeballs in the frontal cortex for optimal braininess

When I plopped this on the table for my colleagues, a heard a chirp from the back, "What goes on in your brain?". Wonder no longer, hairless cats in top hats and monocles singing Gilbert and Sullivan show tunes while slapping each other with trouts.  Nah, just enough imagination to enjoy playing with my food - just like you.