Archive for the ‘Special guests’ Category

Love Pasta?

Posted on: June 30th, 2009 by admin No Comments
  • Special guest- Lady Grey has graciously sent through another wonderful, efficient, healthy recipe direct from London. The beauty of her recipes are that they are for absolutely everyone, especially those who are a bit short on time or inspiration, isn’t that all of us sometimes?

Freestyle Pasta

Like too many of us, by the time I fall through the door in the evening* it is often more of a chore than a pleasure to put together something for dinner. However, being ruled by my stomach and aware that I should make some sort of concession to health, convenience foods are not welcome in my house. This is a super-easy, super-delicious meal that also packs a nutritional punch with loads of different vegetables, and better still, can be made with whatever random vegetables you have knocking around the place. Though it takes a while in the oven the amount of preparation time is teeny tiny, so while the meal is all but cooking itself you can be showering, drinking a nice cup of tea, watching telly, hoovering, going for a walk, painting your toenails, belly dancing round the living room, racing paper planes down the hallway, writing adventure stories, singing badly, loudly and unashamedly to AC/DC, with hair wildly fluffed out for authenticity… the possibilities are endless.

freestylepasta

Here is what you will need (all measurements being entirely approximate – this is meant to make life easier remember, so don’t worry too much about ‘the rules’):

  • 2-5 tomatoes, cut in big chunks (these melt down to make the sauciness, but if you don’t have any never fear, I have a trick that will take care of things)
  • Red (or white or brown) onion, quartered
  • Mixed vegetables – capsicum, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, fennel, cauliflower, aubergine, zucchini, green beans, beetroot, turnip, asparagus, leek etc.
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp dried herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil or marjoram)
  • 2-6 garlic cloves, peeled (alter amount to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked pasta or cous cous
  • Optional: spinach, chicory, rocket, corn, chopped fresh parsley, crumbled feta

First up, prepare your veg: wash everything, trim any beans and asparagus, scrub carrots and sweet potatoes (no need to peel), cut cauliflower into florets and everything else into chunks. Throw all the vegetables into a large baking dish and toss with olive oil and dried herbs to coat. Put into an oven heated to 180ºC (350ºF) and roast for about an hour. Add the garlic halfway through (it does not need as long to cook). It is nice to have a little charring on the vegetables, so if they are not coloured enough at the end of cooking time just put them under a very hot grill for 3-5 minutes.

At this stage you can toss through fresh herbs, crumbled cheese, spinach, salt and pepper, and finally cooked pasta or cous cous (or chickpeas, or white beans, or bulghur wheat or anything you like). Remember those tomatoes? If you don’t have any and the mix is a little too dry, just add a glug or so of olive oil to help things along.

And that is that, nothing left to do but eat and enjoy! This is also fantastic to have cold the next day for lunch, or if you only have a little left you could beat some eggs the next night and use it as a base for a frittata.

This is really meant to be a ‘freestyle’ meal that you can use with many different combinations, so using a basic principle you can come up with many different meals using whatever is in the cupboard that week. This said, there are a few vegetables I would not recommend using for this dish: potatoes are unnecessary as you will already be adding starch with your pasta, and they have much less nutritional value than most other vegetables. Cucumber, radish and cabbage will not roast well (though you could use Brussels sprouts). Other than that, most vegetables can be used either at the roasting stage, or mixed in at the end.

*Due to exhaustion from hard work, I hasten to add, not drunkenness. Well, not OFTEN.

(eatpress makes versions of this same recipe and at times, for all you meatatarians, we add left over sausage, chicken, chorizo, bacon etc, these cooked meaty leftovers work well, just add them about 5 minutes before the end!)

May Cocktails

Posted on: May 2nd, 2009 by admin 1 Comment
  • Time for another special guest post from the wonderful NYCase.

I love a good afternoon

Margarita!

margarita

1-2 shots tequila
1/4 cup of blood orange juice
1/4 cup of lime juice
1tbs sugar or sugar syrup

The best part about making a Margarita, I think, is salt-frosting the glass. Run a lime or lemon wedge around the edge of a cocktail glass and then dip it onto a plate of salt. Margaritas can be made with a drink shaker, or a blender or some vigorous stirring of all the ingredients at once with ice. This is a very versatile drink, with many combinations possible. Try coconut and pineapple, strawberry and kiwi, pomegranate, any juice that takes your fancy. It is also perfect frozen, just blend the juice with crushed ice, or half freeze the juice first.

This drink tastes better than its name:

Sex on the beach

1 1/2 shot of vodka
1 shot peach schnapps
1/4 cup of pineapple juice
1/4 cup cranberry juice

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain. Pour onto fresh crushed ice. Alternatively (if you don’t have fancy drink making equipment) try and make your own by covering a non-breakable cup with a plate to shake and strain. Or simply stir and serve over ice. Serve with a slice of peach or pineapple.

peach

And of course, hic, enjoy!

Leek and Tattie soup

Posted on: April 8th, 2009 by admin No Comments

This special guest recipe is courtesy of the lovely Lady Grey in London, a while ago we posted a leeky potato soup in our recession recipes, but this one is a beautiful creamy variation that makes you realize how easy it is to tweak recipes to suit your taste. Thanks M and enjoy!

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The French call it Potage Parmentier (named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, who popularised use of the potato in France in the 18th century), or Vichyssoise when pureed and chilled. If you are cooking for visitors from Scotland, however, it would be silly to call it anything other than Leek and Tattie Soup.

This soup is cheap, hot and filling (real stick-to-yer-ribs stuff, as our visitors said), ridiculously simple to make and most importantly, delicious. Tuck in.

Leek and Tattie Soup

Serves 4

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 4 leeks, sliced
  • 4-6 very large potatoes, or 8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • Chopped chives and crème fraiche, to serve

Heat a pan over a low heat and add a slug of olive oil and a knob of butter. When the butter has melted and is starting to foam, add the sliced leeks and cook down slowly, occasionally stirring, for about 5-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, then add the potatoes and boiling water to cover by about an inch. The potatoes should have been sliced quite thinly, so that as they cook through they will begin to gently break apart.

Add the stock cube and dried thyme, cover the pan, and allow the soup to simmer for around 45 minutes to an hour, checking that there is enough liquid and stirring occasionally. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add salt and pepper if needed, and pour in the milk – this gives the soup a lovely colour and creaminess.

Last thing, take a potato masher and mash the soup roughly – you could puree at this stage but I prefer it with some chunks. Ladle into bowls and add a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream to each bowl, with some chopped fresh chives sprinkled on top. Because you can’t ever have too much of a good thing, I also put extra chives and crème fraiche on the table for people to add as they like. Serve with hot crusty bread and real butter.

leektattie

Flourless Orange Cake

Posted on: March 26th, 2009 by admin No Comments

This recipe is well known among our circle of friends. It’s Jacqui’s famous recipe for the orange cake that is to die for. This recipe kindly comes from our friend Timothy in LA, who is spreading the flourless magic on the West coast! Good for gluten-free’s and anyone who loves cake really.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large oranges (pref. navel or type low in seeds) or 3 if small size
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 g (2 c) almond meal, if you can otherwise use blanched almonds
  • 250 g (1 1/4c) sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Boil whole oranges in adequate water (about halfway up the pot) for approx 30 mins or until soft when skewered. Remove from water and allow to cool. Quarter and remove any large seeds.

If you can’t get almond meal, place the blanched almonds in a food processor and grind until a coarse breadcrumb consistency (coarser or finer depending on your taste). Place in small bowl and mix in the baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF). Place oranges (skin and all) in a food processor and blend until they are all mashed up. Place in a large bowl and mix in the sugar.

Alternate adding some almond mix (to orange mix) then an egg until all used up, ie. add almond/egg /almond/egg etc. Mix well and place in a greased and lined springform tin. Different diameters of tin will change the height of the cake. You can even make cupcakes/friands from this recipe with wonderful results.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until firm to the touch in the center.

Serve with sweetened creme fraiche / double cream / orange syrup, whatever you fancy
*this cake looks pretty with a bit of powdered sugar dusted over top.

Thanks T!

Need something hearty? Pre-party?

Posted on: March 20th, 2009 by admin 1 Comment

Eatpress is really lucky to have wonderful friends in many countries. This post is compliments of our beautiful London correspondent, Lady Grey.

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Saturday Night Mexican Beans

Last Saturday we had friends over for afternoon tea, shortly followed by an evening out for another friend’s birthday drinks. With a gap between of only one and a half hours, we needed something quick to make, filling enough to line our stomachs before a night out, and preferably healthy. And the kicker? Only a few lonely carrots and a single red pepper rattling around in the bottom of the fridge. Here was my solution:

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, slicedbeans1
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 tin corn
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 4 sausages
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds*
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 red pepper (capsicum to Australians)
  • Olive oil
  • Natural yoghurt

Heat the olive oil in a large pan (this is a one pot meal). Fry the onion for a minute or so, then add the garlic and sausages. Fry for several minutes until the onions have started to soften, then add the spices and stir for a minute more to let the fragrance out. You can then begin whacking everything in – tinned tomatoes, beans, lentils, corn, carrots, and pepper. Crumble in a vegetable stock cube and top up with some water – enough to cook the lentils through and get everything else stewing together nicely. If you boil the water in the kettle first it will speed things up even more. Put a lid on top and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes – check a few times to stir, and if there appears to be too much liquid take the lid off to help it evaporate. In the last few minutes take out the sausages and cut into chunks, add them back in, stir in the fresh coriander, and check for seasoning – the stock cube should be enough but you may want to add salt or pepper.

The whole mish mash of fresh and dried veg should have amalgamated into a rich spicy stew. I served it in bowls with a big dollop of natural yoghurt on top, but you could also top with sour cream, grated cheese, sliced avocado, or leave it as is.

The main thing with this meal is that it should be quick and easy, healthy and hearty, and utilise whatever you have in the house. No carrots? That’s fine, do without, or add grated sweet potato or pumpkin instead. Use white beans or chick peas in place of kidney beans, split peas or rice in place of lentils, and leave the sausages out entirely if you want it to be a veggie meal.

The beans were filling and delicious and just what we needed before heading out into the crisp London night air. And the best thing? No hangover the next morning…

*Grated carrots will cook much, much quicker than chopped or diced.

*Ground cumin is fine too, but I prefer the whole seeds as they keep their flavour for longer.

Mara’s Homemade

Posted on: March 18th, 2009 by admin No Comments

This weeks restaurant review is courtesy of NYCase, but we can back up everything mentioned here as Mara’s is one of eatpress’ fav places to eat in New York city too.

crabandcrayfish

Who ever thought of going out for great Louisiana Cajun in New York City? Well, if you crave giant servings and good old fashioned family service, then Mara’s Homemade is the place to go. Mara herself is usually working most nights, and if not her husband should be at the bar and her kids usually wait tables too. Mara loves to get your taste-buds tingling with a long list of specials for the night. She usually gives hints as to what seafood the kitchen just got in fresh so it’s good to listen to her. Be warned– she will try to make you overeat so embrace it or be strong and stick to one main as they are big portions. The very extensive menu ranges from pot pies to almost every kind of seafood, to great ribs and delicious desserts.

The decor is none too flash, but it has a warm, welcoming atmosphere and the cocktails are delightfully served in jam jars. I have had some delicious ribs at Mara’s, served on a tray with jalapeno corn bread and a choice of sides. I also partook in what I will always remember as the “Shrimp fest of 08″ where I ordered the Shrimp Special and proceeded to eat huge amounts of shrimp with my hands. I tasted shrimp cooked in ways I’ve never imagined before, some a bit spicy for my weakling mouth but nonetheless delicious. If you like oysters there are always fresh ones to be had.

If you have room you can’t go past the desserts, handmade by Mara. The peach cobbler is what I would call “perfect” and the strawberry pie is mouthwatering essence of strawberry delight.

This is ironically one of my favorite places to take people to who are visiting New York. I know it’s not traditional fare, but it definitely is unique and when it comes down to it the food is just so good I’d go anywhere to get it.

Address: Mara’s Homemade, 342 East 6th St. Between 1st & 2nd Ave

Phone: 212-598-1110

Hours: Open Mon,Wed, Thu 5pm-10:30pm; Fri 5pm-11pm; Weekends 4pm-11pm

Prices: Starters – $5 – $19, Mains – $8 – $24

The menu at Mara’s highlights Gluten free and Dairy free options too.

Moroccan Fish Salad via New Mexico

Posted on: March 16th, 2009 by admin 2 Comments

Thanks to the darling TH for this recipe, thought we’d post it right away for all to enjoy.

Moroccan Fish salad

  • 1 large piece salmon
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 c couscous
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • a few tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • watercress or rocket
  • handful of fresh mint
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • handful of almonds

Steam a nice piece of salmon on a bed of sliced lemon for 10 minutes. The lemon helps stop it sticking to the steamer (easier to clean up) and infuses flavor. (You can also steam in a pan or the oven if you don’t have a steamer by making a sealed ‘package’ out of tinfoil with the lemon and salmon in it, put the package in the pan or oven and cook moderately for 10 minutes- the liquid from the lemon will steam the fish).

Make couscous by adding to 2 cups of boiling water, a dash of olive oil, salt, simmer and stir for a couple of minutes, clap the lid on the pot and leave to swell.

Toast cumin in a pan till aromatic.

Chop spring onions, some red pepper, and a big bunch of fresh cress ( or rocket), some coriander, fresh mint, a handful of almonds. Chuck in a big bowl. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and add to bowl, break the fish into chunks, add to bowl. Add a good couple of lugs of olive oil. Juice of a lemon. Salt and pepper and the cumin. Give the whole thing a good toss. Serve immediately. Great for Sunday lunch. This should serve 2 comfortably.

Couscous is a brilliant side for so many dishes (originally North African, semolina wheat coated in wheat flour). It is really cheap, satisfying and incredibly tasty with different herbs and spices added, hot or cold, one box will go a long way.

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PS we made it tonight TH and it was deeelicious!

Thanks Timmy!