Tag Archives: black pepper

Mushrooms to kill for

12 Mar

Wow. Some dishes are just knock-out. Our supper tonight was one of those. Knock-out delicious, and knock-out for any passing vampires – the garlic content must be driving every vampire out of Romania, and every flu bug out of existence. Vegetarians, say huzzah – this is a dish worthy of a celebration.

Mushrooms, cauliflower, garlic, vampires, healthy food, veggie gourmet, vegan option, breadcrumbs, super supper, Transylania food

Mushroom crumble with a cheese lattice, served with cauliflower in white sauce

I had a box of field mushrooms (half a kilo @ 12 lei per kilo) demanding to be eaten, and a fat bulb of garlic sitting by a tub of sour cream. What was I to do? Could I neglect a whining mushroom any longer? Was the garlic to be denied? Not to mention a bag of crumbs made this morning from a belly of crusty brown bread and four lebanese flatbreads whose hey-day was past.

I wasn’t sure what would result, although I was confident of the ingredients – just wondered how it would all emerge from the burning fiery furnace of my oven.

By the way, I’ve swallowed half a litre of  organic pear cider (we used to call it perry), hence the purple prose. I shan’t apologise, but shall get on with the recipe.

This serves between 4 and 6 people, depending on their level of hunger. I served the mushrooms with barely-boiled cauliflower in a white sauce made with the stalks of the mushrooms.

What

500g large (field or Portobello) mushrooms

4 or 5 big cloves of garlic

1 heaped teaspoon of sour cream per mushroom

lots of breadcrumbs

fresh black pepper, mixed herbs, salt

50-100g grated cheese, for topping

How

Pull the stalks out of the mushrooms. Give the mushrooms a wipe and put them gills up in an oiled gratin dish, and wedge the stalks in amongst them. Two or three mushrooms per person is more than enough (depending on the size of fungi and appetites).

Crush or chop the garlic and put a bit in each mushroom; add the herbs and seasoning, then the dollop of sour cream.

Scatter the breadcrumbs liberally over the mushrooms till they’re well covered, then grate the cheese over the top.

Hurl it into a medium-hot oven for 30-40 minutes until the cheese melts into a lattice and the breadcrumbs are dark gold.

Serve with caufliflower in white sauce. (I chopped the four remaining mushroom stalks into the white sauce.)

This is a seriously good supper dish, and if presented with more care than I bothered with this evening, it would make a stunning meal for the most exacting of veggie gourmets. With the cauli, it is a triumph.

Vegans – substitute hummus or nut butter for the sour cream.

Cheap – yes. Easy – certainly. Delicious – unutterably.

 

 

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Scrumptious = health for breakfast

10 Jun
fruit with yoghurt

fruit with yoghurt (Photo credit: Peet Sneekes)

Today, at last, summer is here. Over 30C but fresh, with a light breeze. Sunday, so extra quiet – no work today with everyone at church (except heathens like me). Time for breakfast outside under the mirabel tree. Feed cats, next door’s dog, horse and chickens first, or you’ll have no peace.

What: yoghurt (preferably home-made from organic full cream raw milk but Greek style is the next best); whatever fruit is in season or in the fridge (today I had a banana and an apricot), seeds and nuts to hand (I had toasted sesame, organic coconut flakes, almond flakes, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds (linseed); black pepper, cinnamon and if you like, a bit of cayenne.

How: chop the fruit into a bowl, shake and scatter the seeds, nuts and spices, dollop the yoghurt on top and mix. Eat slowly, relishing every texture and taste. Seriously good start to the day – and never boring because of the almost limitless variations, even in winter.

When it’s cold, I sometimes toast a bit of muesli or just oats, gently, in a frying pan (no oil) and tip on top of the fruit/yoghurt as an extra bit of warmth and crunch.

Zingy porridge

20 May

Image

I was in Vienna, and had just said goodbye to my kind chum who’d put me up en route from Romania to England; she worked in the Naschmarkt and had to start work, and I had to drive to London. But before I left I wanted a decent breakfast, and in one of the many eateries in the market I ordered a Swiss breakfast. Warm, soft oats and other grains, fresh fruit, creamy yoghurt – and black pepper. That was a surprise, and one that I’ve repeated with every bowl of porridge at home since. The pepper adds a spicy warmth and that glorious aromatic flavour to the creamy oats, with the fruit adding crunch, tang and sweetness.

I now add a bit of cayenne and a good shake of cinammon as well as the black pepper, and switch between my neighbour’s raw organic full cream milk, oat or rice milk, or when I have it, the cream skimmed from the same milk. I’ve found great German coarse rolled oats, to which I add a spoonful of flaxseeds, water (about 5mm above the oats in the saucepan) and the spices, and leave it all to soak while I have my shower. Then I cook over a gentle heat for about five minutes and serve with milk, cream, flaked almonds, some coconut, maybe some sliced apple or whatever’s in season. Quick, easy, very satisfying, aromatic, complex and healthy. A pretty damn’ good start to the day, if you ask me.

How do you do your porridge?