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Summer Breakfasts

My six week holiday is coming to an end as I go back to work on Monday (and become a student again!) I have had such a brilliant holiday and seen so many friends, so thank you to everyone! I have surprised myself with how busy I’ve been, and so I have to apologise to all my followers for disappearing from Eat Now Talk Later recently. I’m sorry!

But now I’m back! It’s really hard to get back into blogging when you get out the habit and I wasn’t really sure where to start! So I’m just starting with a few photos of some of my favourite breakfasts from this summer.

Those of you who know me well, know I am NOT a morning person. I treasure my sleep greatly so I always resent the mornings. But, if you invite me out to brunch, I suddenly become all sociable! Ooh I do love a cooked breakfast!

Apologies for the quality of these photos, they were taken on my phone. 

Huevos rancheros at Banners, Crouch End. A lovely brunch with my darling friend Dasha. In the background you see gingerbread pancakes with bacon and eggs.

Toasted bagel with wilted spinach and a poached egg. Homemade brunch with my sister Danya-Zohar.

Birthday pancakes I made for Mr L, topped with nutella and banana.

Birthday pancakes for Mr L, this one with cottage cheese and honey.

Okay, I admit it. I love houmous and baked beans together!

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Cornish Delights

I’ve just come back from a lovely, relaxing, mini holiday in Cornwall; a beautiful place with its own fascinating history.

My particular interest in Cornwall, (as you may have guessed) was in its delicious and unique foods! I successfully stuffed myself for 4 days, eating fish, cooked breakfasts, pasties, scones and much more. The delicious choices are endless, there are so many places to eat, and snack. Definitely do not go there on a diet!

Here’s a few of my favourites from our little indulgent trip:

Fresh Fish

Having a long coastline and plenty of fishing villages means that there is a substantial selection of fresh fish and seafood restaurants. Rick Stein has even opened 4 restaurants in Padstow, Cornwall, as well as a fish & chips restaurant and seafood bar in Falmouth. The flavour of the fresh fish was absolutely delicious, the tastiest I have ever had in England.

From top left cockwise: fish pie at Polpear cafe, The Lizard. Rick Stein's fish & chips in Falmouth. Fresh fish sign at The Lizard. Traditional English Breakfast of smoked haddock and poached egg at the Camilla House, Penzance. Crab, prawn and smoked salmon risotto, East Looe.

Cornish Pasties

Although there are some earlier mentions of pasties (dating as far back as 1200), the most known history of pasties is that they were designed for the tin miners to eat at work, so that their dirty hands would not touch the food. The delicious beef, onion, potato and swede filling and main pastry casing would be eaten and the hard crimped pastry crust would be discarded. The traditional Cornish pasty even has Protected Geographical Indication in Europe, so that you cannot label it Cornish if it hasn’t been made there. These days you can get all sorts of fillings, I had a chicken and vegetable pasty in Falmouth, but there are also vegetarian, wholemeal, and cheese ones. As a tourist in Cornwall, the pasty is pretty exciting! I passed many pasty shops in every town, even the small villages seem to cater for the pasty craving visitor!

A selection of pasties from all around Cornwall

Clotted Cream

Clotted cream is made from the fat from full fat milk, boiled off and then cooled. For my non British friends – it is a delicious, thick, sweet cream which is traditionally eaten on a scone as part of a cream tea, with jam and tea. If you haven’t tried this yet, it really is the most scrumptious English treat in existence! There’s plenty of recipes online if you want to try and make it yourself.

In Devon, they spread the clotted cream first and then the jam, however in Cornwall they do it the other way around! I have to agree with the Cornish way!

Selection of cream tea from all around Cornwall

Other

And here’s a few extras I just couldn’t resist posting, plus a few pictures of the beautiful Cornish scenery.

Left: Summer fruit brioche pudding with Cornish ginger ale custard. Right: Beetroot and pear bruschetta with feta and pine nut salad. Both at the Old Sail Loft, East Looe

From top left clockwise: The Lizard, the Lizard cliffs, East Looe at night, St Michael's Mount, East Looe at sunset, The Lizard blackberry bushes, The Lizard cliffs, East Looe boats.

The Peels, Seeds and Stalks.

Am I the only person who thinks vegetable waste is really beautiful? I love the mixtures of colours and textures that comes from the remains of your cooking; the bits you would throw in the bin or compost.

Cookies and Cream Fudge Brownies


Mmm what’s better than a delicious chocolate brownie warm from the oven and a glass of milk?

As it’s the last day of chocolate week, here’s my contribution! This is a yummy brownie I made recently with Oreo biscuits, from Lorraine Pascale’s cookbook ‘Baking Made Easy’. I bought this cookbook straight after watching her BBC series last year and I’ve tried many of the recipes. Baking is really the only type of cooking that I do follow recipes and hers are very simple and easy. I’m pretty confident with my cooking normally, I like to experiment with different ingredients and make up new dishes, but I would never do that with baking because it really is a complicated science and I wouldn’t know where to start. I can’t wait to try her new wheat free peanut butter brownie recipe.

This cookies and cream brownie recipe is nice and easy, and I like the use of oreos instead of nuts. However, I really need to invest in an electric whisk to speed things up! I tend to use less sugar than the 165g stated because I don’t like them too sweet. They always turn out delicious! Chewy and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I recommend eating them straight from the oven with a glass of cold milk!

If you have a foolproof brownie recipe I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you recommend any other recipes from this book let me know.

Quorn Chilli Con Carne

No I’m not vegetarian. But I like to experiment with different ingredients and health is very important to me. It is commonly said that too much meat is bad for you, and I am personally quite happy eating vegetarian meals a lot of the time. However, I will definitely eat meat when I go home for Friday night dinner and my mum has made her roast chicken!

A quick, easy and cheap beef substitute is quorn mince. It is high in protein and fibre and low in fat. If you feel like you’ve had a bit too much meat recently, or you want to try out quorn, then here is a quick recipe for veggie chilli con carne. The only difference between this and a meaty chilli is the quorn and stock, so this recipe would work fine with beef mince as well, just leave it to cook for a bit longer.

If you haven’t eaten quorn before, or didn’t like it last time, I dare you to give this a go. Let me know what you think. Similarly, if you often cook with quorn and have any comments or tips, I’d love to hear from you. So far, the biggest thing I’ve learnt about quorn is just that it needs just a bit more spice and flavour than cooking with meat.

Quorn Chilli Con Carne

Start to finish time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
500g quorn mince
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
1 tin kidney beans
1 vegetable stock cube
1 red pepper, sliced
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1tsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Spices:
2 tbsps cumin powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander powder

1. Heat the oil in the pan and add the onion and garlic. Gently fry until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes and stock cube and cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat.

2. Heat the spices in a separate pan and then add to the pot.

3. Add the quorn, coriander, sliced pepper, lemon juice and the kidney beans and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with rice, a tortilla and sour cream.

The spices that I’ve used make a delicious combination for any Mexican dish, whether it’s fajitas or burrito, or anything else. I like to make extra and keep it in a jar in the spice cupboard to save time next time!

Do you like quorn? What’s your favourite way to cook it? Are you also a non-veggie who eats veggie food?

Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Soup

This morning on my walk back from the gym I was reminded why Finsbury Park is awesome. On my route I pass a grocery stall where a friendly man sells fruit and vegetables in £1 quantity bowls. Amongst other things, I bought 4 red peppers for only £1, a bargain compared to the supermarkets.

So walking back with my heaving blue plastic bags I got the idea into my head that I wanted to make roasted red pepper soup and I’ve been excited all day planning it. Although this is a fairly simply recipe, the roasting takes some time in order to get the best flavours from the peppers and tomatoes. If you’re really rushed for time you could add them to the pot raw and boil them, but I hope I can persuade you that the roasting is worth the wait.

I have a love/hate relationship with cooked peppers, so this is quite an unusual meal for me to cook. I wouldn’t normally eat them except when my parents make peperonata (an Italian dish of sliced roasted peppers with olive oil, garlic, and sometimes olives and capers; also known as peperoni in Italy). However, over a year ago I went to a sweet little tea house with my friend Sophie and we had red pepper soup which was absolutely delicious. I have no idea what they put it in but it was scrumptious. Since then, I don’t think I’ve eaten it again and certainly never made it until now, but I was so excited to try.

The smell of peppers and tomatoes roasting in the oven is absolutely delicious. I was tapping my feet and staring into the oven for a large part of the afternoon!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Soup

Start to finish time: 2.5 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients

5 red peppers
15 cherry tomatoes (on the vine is best)
2 red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
2 tbsp tomato puree
500ml vegetable stock/500ml water and 1 stock cube
handful of basil leaves
A few parsley stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried tarragon*
1/2 tsp paprika*
75ml cream
salt & pepper

* optional

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. In a large tray, add the olive oil, garlic cloves and the peppers, whole and washed. Roast for about an hour in the middle of the oven, checking once or twice and turning the peppers.

2. Add the cherry tomatoes and bay leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for another half an hour. Then, add the basil and turn the tomatoes and peppers.

3. In a large pot, heat the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the red onion and cook on a low heat with the lid on until soft. Add everything from the oven tray into the pot, except the bay leaves and peppers. Put the lid on and let it cook slowly while you prepare the peppers. Don’t worry about all the liquid from the roasting tray, the cherry tomatoes release a lot of water in the oven which adds a beautiful flavour.

4. Pull off the pepper stalks and discard. Slice each pepper down the middle and scoop out all the seeds. Then, peel off the pepper skins. Add the soft cooked peppers to the pot and stir in. Add the stock, chopped parsley, tomato puree and dried herbs. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat. Blend the soup, and then pass through a sieve to get rid of any rogue pepper seeds and to smooth. Return to the pot and add the cream, salt and pepper (to taste). You should now have a rich orange coloured creamy and smooth soup which tastes absolutely divine.

Serve with your favourite bread as a starter or main. It should last a few days in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

All written content and photographs copyright Vered © 2011. All rights reserved.

2 Paneer Recipes For The Price Of Yum!

Paneer is a totally vegetarian Indian white cheese. I would say it has a texture similar to halloumi, (but without the salty flavour) and is delicious in Indian cooking.

Although I am half Indian, I can’t remember eating much paneer at home. Strangely enough, I fell in love with paneer in Vietnam. When I was travelling around South East Asia with my boyfriend, we met an interesting guy in a guest house in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We discussed books, the best hotels and places to eat. He had been living in Ho Chi Minh City and drew us a map on the back on a receipt. He recommended an Indian restaurant called Mumtaz on Bui Vien (road) and said we had to order the paneer tikka (grilled paneer). So of course, a week later, after we took the $10 bus crossing over from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, Lewis and I went to try out this personally recommended restaurant. The food was absolutely delicious, especially the paneer tikka which was coated in spices, skewered and grilled.

Since then, I often choose the vegetarian option in Indian restaurants simply to eat paneer. I understand that the slightly rubbery texture is not for everyone, but if you haven’t tried it then here are two recipes for you to try. I can only hope that you like at least one of them!

You can buy paneer at most supermarkets (in the cheese aisle) and it is very easy to cook. Here are my two favourite ways.

Both my recipes are designed as side dishes. They are perfect served hot with rice, a chapatti and any curry or a lentil dahl.

Fried Paneer

Start to finish time: 15 minutes
Serves: 5

Ingredients:
250g cubed paneer
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil

For the coating:
3 tbsps plain flour
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder

1. Mix all the coating ingredients in a bowl. Add the cubed paneer and stir it up so that all the paneer is covered in the mix.

2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the paneer. Fry on a high heat and keep tossing the paneer so that is doesn’t burn.

3. When the coating looks golden and crispy, move the paneer to a plate covered with a napkin and dry off any excess oil.

Yum no. 1, done!

Paneer with Spinach and Peas

Start to finish time: 40 minutes
Serves: 5

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
250g paneer, cubed
5 blocks frozen spinach
75g frozen peas
1 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp water
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
salt & pepper

Spices:
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander

1. Gently fry the onion, ginger and garlic in the oil until softened. Heat the spices in a separate pan and then add to the onion pan.

2. Add the frozen spinach and peas and stir through. When the spinach has started to cook, add the water, coriander and tomato puree. Stir through.

3. In a separate pan, dry fry the paneer until golden and then add to the main pot. Keep stirring on medium heat for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle. Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can also experiment with other vegetables, such as: cauliflower, tinned tomatoes, and cubed potato.

What is your favourite paneer recipe? Did you try my recipe? I’d love to hear from you.