Tag Archives: turmeric

Fridge supper 1 – hammy cabbage

30 May

crunchy and tender spring cabbage

Are you one of those organised people who shops for a week of planned meals? So you know what you’re going to be eating that week?

I admire you, but I’m FAR too lazy and disorganised for that. So I buy what catches my eye, or what’s being flogged off as cheapo bargains, and the usual things I like to have in the fridge… and then see what I fancy when hunger strikes.

Sometimes I have a hankering for, er, chicken with beetroot in white sauce, so I buy what’s needed. Or my lurgy-ridden body is screaming for Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, so I yield to the demand for a truck-load of fruit.

But usually, it’s make it up as aI go along. Last night’s fridge supper was as follows.

What?

1 fresh drumhead (early green) cabbage [the kind that squeaks when you cut it, and is almost as tender as lettuce. Needs very little cooking.]

Chunk of ham and/or salami

Spoonful or two of garlicky cream cheese OR sour cream OR fresh double cream

Paprika and (if desired) a bit of cayenne

How?

Chop ham and/or salami into little chunks (about 1cm cubes. ish.) Throw them in a deep saucepan with a bit of olive oil, a heaped teaspoon of paprika, a shake or two of cayenne (depending on your chilli tolerance) and may be a half teaspoon of turmeric if you fancy it.

Let the ham sizzle for about five mins on a gentle heat, while you chop the cabbage.

In the spring, new cabbages are fabulous – all crisp and tender and bright green and flavoursome. You can do this perfectly well all year with different kinds of green, white, red, savoy, sweetheart cabbage, kale, sprout tops, turnip tops, etc – experiment!

Anyway – I’ll eat half a small one, because they wilt down quite a lot (not as much as spinach). Chop into little slivers (say, two inches by quarter of an inch, or 4cm by half a cm. You don’t have to be precise! But easily eatable, anyway.

Dump cabbage into saucepan on top of sizzling ham, add a tiny bit of salt (less than half a teaspoon), and stir well to mix the spices, ham and cabbage. Put the lid on and leave it for 5 mins. Stir, taste, and if still too crunchy for your taste, put the lid back on for another minute or two. When happy with crunch/soft balance, tip into bowl and eat with dollop of cream cheese, sour cream etc on top, with crusty rye bread.

Healthy bulletin: What’s good about this, apart from the taste? The sulphur in the cabbage (we western folk don’t get enough sulphur in our diets, on the whole), the fibre, anti-oxidants, all the goodies in cruciferous veg, the calcium etc etc in green leafy veg, the lutein and lubricants in the extra virgin olive oil, the vits and mins in the spices (turmeric, cayenne and paprika all stuffed with good phytochemicals). The low-carb GI index is pretty good, too. Downside – the preserved pork and the shop-bought cream/cheese aren’t so healthy, but you’re only eating a little bit, and the flavours are delicious.

Vegetarian/vegan option: instead of the meat, you could sizzle mushrooms and/or peanut or cashews, perhaps.

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Pink peanut pasta

19 May

This is a very old favourite from student days. A skint* store-cupboard supper, quick, easy, vegan – and scrummy.

Ingredients:

Pasta

Onion & garlic (1 med onion per person & as much garlic as you like)

Tinned chopped tomatoes (half a tin per person)

Generous spoonful of good peanut butter (NO added sugar!) per person

Spice mix of choice [see herb & spice page]

juice of quarter of a lemon per person, or to taste

Herbs of choice

Salt & fresh black pepper

Don’t worry about the length of these instructions – I’m dotting t’s and crossing i’s for the inexperienced, but the only thing you have to watch out for is keeping the sauce from burning, so don’t leave it!

Pick your preferred pasta shape and cook as directed on the packet (or sling it in boiling salted water and test it till it’s done to your satisfaction).

In another pan, slosh in some olive oil [NB see store-cupboard/healthy pages]. Chop up a mid-sized onion per person and some garlic (more or less, according to your taste. I love it, so three cloves for me); hurl them into the pan and fry gently (or sauté if you’re posh) over a low heat, stirring now and then to stop them burning, until they go soft and transparent. At Keep an eye on the pasta.

Scoop out the peanut butter and push it off the spoon into the onion mixture. (NB it melts quickly and then burns easily, so from now on, keep stirring.) Pour in a teacup-ful of water to keep the peanut butter from sticking to the pan, and keep it all moving. Static peanut butter is stuck peanut butter.

Open as many tins of tomatoes as you need and slosh them into the onion pan, with your herbs and spices (turmeric is good, btw) and a bit of salt. Stir thoroughly, then let it mix itself with the spices and herbs for a while.

Is the pasta done? Turn the heat off, drain it and put it back in its pan with a lid on to keep warm.

Tomato & peanut mix: it doesn’t take long to do – maybe 15 minutes. Keep stirring it off the bottom of the pan, and check the flavour. Add a bit more salt if it needs it; adjust everything to your taste.

Squeeze your lemon juice into the tomato mix and stir well. It adds a bit of zing and freshness, and makes the flavour a bit more complex and delish. The tomato & peanut sauce should be a salmony-pink now, but don’t worry about the colour. It’s the flavour that matters most.

You choose: serve the pasta and pour the sauce on top of it; OR turn the pasta into the sauce and stir it through before serving. Put some chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, or parsley, maybe?) on top of each serving and let them wolf it down.

Vegan, as is; with a shot of sour cream or grated cheese on top, vegetarian.

[* skint – for unBritish English speakers: skint, boracic, broke, cashless, poverty-stricken]