This weeks recipe was based on one from the Hairy Bikers European Baking book and was a savoury onion muffin. The originals were topped with poppy seeds but I didn't have any of those so I made a few variations, topping some with onion seeds, some with grated cheese, and others weren't topped but had some chilli cheese mixed into the muffin batter before cooking.
I used red onions and one thing I noticed was that they turned green after cooking. The recipe contained baking soda, which is alkaline, so it is likely that this reacted with the anthocyanins in the onion to turn them green.
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I had another go at making a tofu based dip, this time cheese and onion flavoured. The first thing I did was put some cheese in the food processor and blitz until it was broken down breadcrumb sized pieces. I used a mixture of pecorino and strong mature cheddar.
Next I cooked a couple of small onions and 2 garlic cloves and added them to the food processor, along with a block of tofu. I blitzed it until everything mixed together to a smooth paste. I added a couple of grinds of black pepper and a dash of vinegar, since the original River Cottage recipe had vinegar in it too.
The dip needed more cheese and onion adding than I expected but the end result was ok.
Some of the fruit and veg stalls at Coventry market sell bowls of fruit and veg for £1. We occasionally buy things like bowls of peppers but this morning we decided to also get a bowl of fennel. Now this is a vegetable which we occasionally buy from the supermarket but then it's only 1 bulb at a time. This time we have 5 bulbs of the stuff to use so we're going to need to be a bit creative.
We have a pizza book which has dozens of different recipes for toppings and sauces. One was a fennel sauce which has diced onion, fennel and garlic which is fried then simmered in tomato sauce. We gave that a go and topped it with salmon, anchovies and capers. And cheese of course. I might try it again if we find ourselves with excess fennel again.
I cooked a couple of new recipes this week. The first was a Chicken and Paneer satay-style curry.
The sauce was equal volumes of milk and chicken stock to which I added:
- 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala
- 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
I fried 2 chicken breast and one red onion and added them to the sauce, leaving them to simmer for a few minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, I diced the paneer and gently fried it in a small amount of oil, adding it to the pan just before serving.
The next recipe was a Cheese and Sausage Spatzle.
The Spatzle came from Lidl - we bought it because it was a bit different and we hadn't cooked with it before. While it was boiling, I fried a couple of red onions and a few sausages, and added a pinch each of salt, chilli flakes and thyme leaves. I also grated the cheese.
I placed half of the spatzle in the bottom of an oven-proof dish followed by a layer of the onion and sausage mixture, then a layer of cheese, then repeated the layers. I baked it in the oven for about 30 minutes at gas mark 4, until it had heated through and the cheese had melted.
It worked well for such a simple recipe. The rough texture of the spatzle would work better than a traditional italian pasta, which tends to be smoother, and wouldn't have held together as well.
We bought some gram flour with the intention of trying some onion bhajis. We actually made gram flour pancakes first, basing it on a normal pancake batter recipe. We made a chicken korma filling by finely dicing and frying some vegetables then adding a packet of ready made curry (I know that's cheating but we usually buy that sort of thing if we see it cheap in the supermarket. They're handy to have in when you need to make something in a hurry).
We made the Onion Bhajis tonight. The batter was made using 2oz of gram flour, 2fl oz of water, a pinch of salt, a pinch of crushed chillies, a pinch of ground ginger, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, and a heaped teaspoon of curry powder. I chopped 2 small-ish onions, mixed them in the batter and shallow fried them, turning them over when they started to look cooked on one side.
This is a recipe my Dad emailed me a few years ago which I found again recently while I was sorting out some old emails. It takes a bit of work to make but it's worth it:
The recipe makes 300 g of the marmalade
1 kg peeled red onions
100ml olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
150g caster or soft brown sugar - we used the latter
100ml dry white wine
75ml red wine vinegar
Cut onions in half and slice finely and cook in the oil for approx 5 mins or until soft.
Add salt,pepper,bay and rosemary ,cover and cook over gentle heat for approx 20 mins until wilted and soft stirring occasionally Add sugar,wine and vinegar and bring to the boil,stirring.Reduce the heat and cook uncovered for 20/30 minsuntil soft and sticky and most of liquid absorbed.need to stir fairly constantly at the end to avoid sticking.Pick out the bay and the rosemary and discard.Spoon into 2 150ml jars and leave to cool,then seal tightly.Jars should be sterilised.your mum put them in microwave 3/4 full of water and allow to boil for a while. Empty and leave to dry. Your mum dries them in a low oven on gentle heat.
Ideally the marmalade should be left for a week before use for best results but not essential. Once open can store in fridge for 3 weeks.
My Dad's email continued to say that it works really well with cheese on toast.