Sunday, March 24, 2013

Leek and potato soup

We had a veggie dinner tonight. On the menu we had leek and potato soup followed by rice pilaf and peas cooked Turkish way.

Leek and potato soup
Serves 6
3 leeks (weighing about 250 grams) - chopped
3 medium potatoes (weighing about 250 grams) - chopped
1 medium onion - chopped
500 ml veg stock
100 ml milk
100 ml whipping cream
Vegetable oil

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan and add chopped leeks, potatoes and onions.
Stir them in until they are all covered in the oil. Add salt and black pepper.
then cover with a wet kitchen paper towel that is soaked in water and then wrung before putting on the vegetables.
Leave to cook on slow heat for 10 minutes.
Do not over cook otherwise you will lose the flavour of the vegetables.
Get rid of the paper towel and add veg stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Puree in a blender until it is smooth, then put back onto the heat and add the milk and cream.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serves 6
500 gr peas
2 carrots - diced
1 bell pepper -chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium potato - diced
3 tomatoes - chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
200 ml water
1 teaspoon sugar
Olive oil

Put a pan on the heat and put 3 table spoons of olive oil.
Add onions and peppers and cook for a minute on high heat.
Add peas, followed by carrots and potatoes. Stir well.
Add tomato paste and stir.
Add chopped tomatoes, water seasoning and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Bring all to boil.
Simmer about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked.
Serve with rice pilaf.

Rice pilaf
Serves 6
200 gr rice (I use Turkish baldo rice)
50 gr pastina (I use turkish tel sehriye, or orzo)
50 gr butter
about 250 ml water or chicken or veg stock

It is best to measure the rice with a cup which you can then use to measure the water.
Measure and weigh the rice and wash.
Put boiled water enough to cover the rice and leave to soak for 30 minutes then strain.

Melt the butter in a pan with a lid, add the pastina and cook until they begin to change colour about 2 minutes.
Add the strained rice and stir and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the same amount of water/stock using the same measuring cup you used to measure the rice. i.e. 2 cups rice then 2 cups water/stock.
Add salt and bring to simmer. Simmer until there is no water left.
Take off the heat and cover with the lead well. And leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Artichokes hearts

My lovely husband brought home 15 artichoke hearts from his trip to Turkey. We can hardly find them in London and they are far difficult to prepare I usually end up with a very big bag of leaves and six of the littlest artichoke harts. Here is a good video showing how to clean them.
In Turkey artichoke hearts are sold all cleaned and in clear bags full of lemon juice and water which makes it much easier to cook and they are huge when compared to the ones you can get here. So 10 of the hearts went into the freezer, I just froze them in the lemon-water bag they came in, and cooked 5 of them. Here is the recipe;

5 artichoke hearts, cleaned and waiting in the water with lemon juice
2 carrots diced
100 gr peas
8 pearl onions left whole or quartered or a medium onion chopped finely
50ml olive oil
100ml water
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon plain flour
Bunch of dill tied up with one of the stems
2 small or 1 medium potato diced

Place the artichoke hearts in a pan and put the onions, peas, carrots and the tied up bunch of dill to the pan. Add the olive oil, water, lemon juice, sugar and salt and bring it to simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.
Add the potatoes and simmer for an other 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
Turn off the heat and in a small bowl mix the flour in 2 tablespoons of water and add this to the pan.
Leave it to cool completely, it is much better when it is cold or in room temperature. I usually refrigirate it and take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle with chopped dill and enjoy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

1 large cabbage or 2 small or you can use savoy cabbages, spring greens anything with large enough leaves

300gr beef mince
1 large onion diced
100gr rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped (about 25g)
1 teaspoon of dried mint
100 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
200 ml water + 1 teaspoon tomato paste

Take the leaves off the cabbages one by one carefully not to tear them and keep them whole.
Steam the leaves for 10 minutes (if using a big cabbage like mine you need to do this in batches, I have done 3 batches). Let the leaves cool.

In the meantime mix the filling mince, onions, rice, tomato paste, parsley, olive oil, drien mint and season with salt and black pepper.

Take a steamed cabbage leaf and cut it in to two lengthwise taking the big fat vein in the middle out from the bigger leaves, you can leave the softer veins on the smaller leaves. Put a tablespoon full of the filling and wrap it by rolling the leaf over it. Place the wraps in a pan and continue until you finish all the leaved or the filling.

Mix 200 ml of water with 1 teaspoon of tomato paste and add it to pan cover and cook in high until it starts bailing, then put it on low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with yogurt on the side.