Friday, August 27, 2010

Moroccan Meal

Here is that Moroccan dish again! (see here for the original post).

It consists of a Moroccan/Syrian bean dish I got from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. (Fabulous book!) with Moroccan carrot salad and couscous flavoured with preserved lemon and currants.

The recipe I am giving here is the bean dish. It is very yum, so I hope you try it
The carrot salad was delicious ~ eventually. I was disappointed with my recipe, but by the time I had done a lot of fiddling it was good, and I think next time I might make a beautiful salad straight off. I will post it when I perfect it!  But to give you an idea: garlic is fried, then the carrots and spices are added and gently cooked and then a sweet and acid dressing finishes it off.

I just made my usual couscous, but added some currants and finely chopped preserved lemon to make it more exciting.

225g /8oz black-eyed beans just cooked (I use one cupful cooked 8 mins in the pressure cooker), keep one cup or so of the cooking liquid.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium in a pan
Add a dried chili and let it puff up and turn dark
Add 3 finely chopped garlic cloves and stir.
Add the beans, liquid and:
3 bay leaves
1 tsp chopped oregano
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
Simmer gently for 20 minutes. The liquid will have reduced to a sauce. Serve hot.

I have been very flexible with the herbs, adding whatever I have on hand. One time I added heaps of spinach and that was good too. Today I added spring onion and parsley as well as oregano and thyme.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sorrel Soup

This is the soup selection for my Meatless Monday Menu for the YamDaisy Cafe.

I was so inspired (about 15 years ago!), by Jane Grigson writing about Sorrel Soup that I went out and bought a plant, and I have been growing it ever since, in a big pot right near the door. She spoke of the French country housewife with such a pot, and able to whip up this soup if a visitor called unexpectedly.
I have never lost the pleasurable feeling of this scene, even though I didn't particularly enjoy my first few attempts at sorrel soup.

Here is my sorrel. Snails love it, as you can see, but it is still a gorgeous pot full!

Sorrel tastes just wonderful, it is a bit like spinach but with a sharp lemony flavour. It does go grey when it is cooked, but it doesn't taste grey. The first sorrel soups I tried were blended, and it wasn't until I saw one in a book called Potager by Georgeanne Brennan that I was able to make a version that is just perfect for me!

This is the recipe of how I make it for that unexpected visitor and myself!

1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter, heated in a saucepan
Add a finely chopped small onion, or 1/2 a leek and
1 potato (a yellow fleshed one is my preference for this) in 1 cm dice
(like the littlest blocks in the cuisinaire we used at school!)

Saute until glistening 5 - 10 minutes
Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and simmer
In the meantime cut the stems off 6 - 8 leaves of sorrel and then roll them up and slice them finely.
Add half the leaves just a few minutes before the potato is tender, and season with salt and pepper.
When the potato is cooked, stir in the rest of the sorrel and serve.
This way you get the green of the sorrel, and it is tender enough to melt into the soup.

I often make this when there is nothing in the house but a potato, and onion and a bit of stock!
If I don't have that unexpected visitor I think I will have a bowl and then keep the rest for later. But I never do, I always have a second bowl straight away, because it is so lovely!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meatless Monday Menu

In my dream of YamDaisy Cafes in every neighbourhood, providing delicious, everyday food, the manager/chef will have as much leeway as possible to make the cafe suit the community and fulfil its mission.
One possibility would be to take on 'Meat Free Monday'
This is how it is descibed in the Wikipedia link:
Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Reducing meat consumption by 15% (the equivalent of one day a week) lessens the risk of chronic preventable illness and has a strong impact on the environment.

It is a good fit for the YamDaisy Cafe. Many people want to eat more healthily, want to do better by the environment, may even have their doctor telling them to cut down on meat ~ but they may have no idea how to go about it. A local YamDaisy Cafe could make it all easy: here is the meatless meal, cooked beautifully. The recipe could be in the YamDaisy Magazine or available on the phone app. The chef is there to give advice.

Even the meat eater who is scared of vegetarian meals can come and have a nibble and become familiar with the variety of things, and maybe find some meatless foods they like.

So here is the Meatless Monday Menu
Soup: Sorrel and Potato Soup with Bread and Butter
Main 1: Moroccan Meal of Black-eyed Beans and Carrot Salad accompanied by Couscous made with Currants and Preserved Lemon.
Main 2: Egg Noodles with Cabbage, Mushroom, and fried Tempeh
Dessert: Muhallabia with Raspberries

In coming days (health permitting) I will put these up in full because they are all so yummy! The Moroccan dish is pictured at the top and here is the Muhallabia!

Cheers everyone!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The ABC for the YamDaisy Cafe

I am beginning to think that there isn't one person who wouldn't find a YamDaisy Cafe useful sometime! But I began this list to show the times where making good meals at home can be just too hard.
I put them up on the YamDaisy Cafe facebook page, but here they are, all together. I expect you can think of more!

Mr A has been diagnosed with Diabetes, he is really confused by the diet. He would love a YamDaisy Café so that he could eat there, the chef will help him find meals he likes, and he can grab some takeaway when he needs to.

Mrs B needs a YamDaisy cafe. Her mum is in hospital, her work is busy, her sisters family is down to see the mum in hospital and two of her kids have allergies, they all need sustaining home style food!

Ms C is a single mum. Life is chaos with 2 young children and study and part time work. She needs the YamDaisy cafe for an early family tea a couple of times a week, and some takeaway available to make the day easier but still to have delicious healthy family food.

Mark D is recovering from radiation therapy and trying to get back to work. He needs the Yam Daisy cafe so he can drop in on the way home and pick up a good meal that will help him recover his health by its good nutrition and by making life so much easier.

Ms E wants a YamDaisy Cafe. She picks up a frozen packaged meal twice a week to take to her housebound neighbour, but it isn't the delicious fresh cooked food YamDaisy would provide.

Mr F is lying in hospital dispairing about hospital food and thinking what a good idea it would be for a YamDaisy Cafe to open in every hospital.

Lindy G wants a YamDaisy Cafe. She is 14 but her mum has MS so she has to do the cooking. She knows her mum needs good meals and her mum says Lindy needs good meals. They don't like the local Meals on Wheels more than once a week. They really need the YD café.

Dr H would love to recommend her diabetes patients to a YamDaisy Cafe. They could walk there and eat well: diet and exercise just like that! This week is National Diabetes week.

The I family want a once a week no cooking, no washing up delicious seasonal meal they can afford. No junk food. Bring on the YamDaisy Cafe!

Mr J looks after his kids every weekend, but he finds it hard to cook for them. He wishes there was a YamDaisy Cafe to take them to.

Sue K has been homeless for 5 months. She has just got a flat and is working hard to manage her new life. She wants a YamDaisy Cafe for good meals and to feel part of her community.

Tim L is perfectly healthy and not a bad cook, but with his new job and sports commitments he would like to get meals from YamDaisy a few times a week to make life manageable.

M is moving out of home. Her parents would be so relieved if there was a YamDaisy Cafe nearby.

N has moved to a new address and is gradually working out how to negotiate everywhere with his wheelchair. He would like a YD cafe to just make life a bit easier!

Ambulance driver O has long difficult shifts and organising meals is difficult. She wishes for YamDasiy Cafes so she can get a good meal when she needs it.

P has broken her arm. Everything is hard. O for a YamDaisy Cafe down the road!

Quentin is moving to independent living after five decades of institutions. He would like to eat at a YamDaisy Cafe every day.

Ms R is learning to cook. She finds help and inspiration and a welcome day off at the YamDaisy Cafe!

S has just begun night shift and the hours are making everything hard. He wants a YamDaisy cafe to make good meals easy while he settles in.

T has 4 children and is a great cook, but just one night a week she wants a break and regular dinner at a YamDaisy Cafe would be perfect!

Jen U is organising help for her neighbour who has had a tragedy in the family. She would love to bring them food from a YamDaisy Cafe.

V is looking for work! It takes longer and is more stressful than working full time! She would like a YamDaisy Cafe to get her meals from during this hard time!

W is looking after his elderly mother. He needs a YamDaisy Cafe to help them eat good food every day.

X burnt the rice and then dropped the casserole on the floor. She wishes a YamDaisy Cafe was there for emergencies!

Y can't cook, and has no interest to learn. But he would like to eat well on his small income. He would like a YamDaisy Cafe nearby.

Z is isolated, not exercising, and eating poorly. A walk to a YamDaisy Cafe each day, to eat good food and be with other people, would be the perfect solution.