Archive | Cooking & Recipes

Lemon & Garlic Wholegrain Rice with Kale, Raisins & Pinenuts

Garlic & Lemon Wholegrain Rice with Kale, Raisins and Pinenuts

Garlic & Lemon Wholegrain Rice with Kale, Raisins and Pinenuts

Myself and Mrs. Any Given Food have been following some of The Vegetarian Society’s recipes for National Vegetarian Week and Thursday came with a slight exception. Not realising it, the Thursday option was for a series of sides to go along with a pie, presuming of course that pies are your thing. While I’ll happily digest one, the pastry end isn’t totally herself’s cup of tea and with it being my night to cook, it needed a shakeup. Continue Reading →

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Refried Beans

Refried Beans for National Vegetarian Week

Refried Beans for National Vegetarian Week

Refried Beans – a staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, so easy to prepare, crammed full of flavour and rather filling whatever way you serve them up. We were at the midway point of the working week last night and next up on the menu, this time from the Vegetarian Society in the UK, was this treat of a refried beans recipe which also doubled out as lunch for today (the leftover Bombay Dosa made for a fine breakfast too).

This dish comes together in under five minutes for your prep and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes in total. It makes for a great quick lunch, is an ideal way to use up any kidney beans you may have knocking around in the kitchen larder and give you a nice injection of Tex-Mex style cuisine in your week. Read on for the recipe… Continue Reading →

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Bombay Dosas: Vegetarian & Vegan Goodness

Bombay Dosa for National Vegetarian Week

Bombay Dosa for National Vegetarian Week

Tuesday night was round 2 for 2014′s National Vegetarian Week (running in both Ireland and the UK – see yesterday’s recipe here) and it brought about some Bombay dosas, for all the world, pancake made with green curry paste in the batter, filled with bombay style baby potatoes, tomato and onion and served with a chickpea korma sauce on the side. Continue Reading →

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Wholewheat Aubergine Lasagne

Aubergine Lasagne with a tomato, black olive and beetroot salad

Aubergine Lasagne with a tomato, black olive and beetroot salad

Seeing herself (Mrs. Any Given Food) post to Facebook yesterday that – and this a very public statement, mind – she would have dinner ready on and waiting when I got home from work, and that I would eat every bit of it, was a rare treat to behold. Not that she would be cooking, but to make a statement like that is a bold move.

It was in comment to the post yesterday on National Vegetarian Week which is running in Ireland and the UK until this coming Sunday. Driving ourselves to cook at home for the week and wind up with a dinner and lunch for the following day, the good lady took up the challenge last night, starting things off with a wholewheat aubergine lasagne accompanied by a tomato, black olive and beetroot salad. Continue Reading →

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Japanese Week Part 1: Vegetable Tempura

It started as an offer to cook for a week, which of course I took as a challenge, relieving Mrs. Any Given Food of kitchen duties for a few days. We’ve been on a fine roll of home cooking for the past few weeks that have largely been driven by herself that I thought it right not to just sit back and take advantage.

Having tried a few dishes from Japanese Soul Cooking recently, I suggested I’d cook Japanese dishes for a week, not paying any attention to the calendar until it got to Sunday evening gone.

The requirements are simple – the dishes need to be Japanese in nature, I’ve got to be able to source the ingredients locally and I’ve got to produce lunch and dinner until Friday, or at the very least, dinner. Having just required a small pro fryer for the kitchen, I decided that Monday’s dinner should be vegetable tempura.

What Is Vegetable Tempura?

To put the Irish slant on it, if you were to walk into a chipper, it would be like asking for battered vegetables. There’s a slight difference in making the tempura batter to making regular batter in that

  1. You keep the wet (water and eggs) and dry (plain flour) parts of your batter separate until you’re ready to fry
  2. You keep the wet part of your batter extra cold by adding ice cubes to keep the temperature down
Sliced Vegetables

Sliced Vegetables

Parsnip, carrot, red peppers, courgette, mushrooms, onions and potato were all sliced in a variety of lengths, angles and bite-size pieces, dredged through flour, dipped into the tempura batter and fried in batches for 2-3 minutes at a time. The result is a lovely light golden batter with crunchy vegetable slice, served up all the better with some soy sauce for dipping.

Vegetable Tempura
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
For the batter
  1. 450ml cold water
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 250g plain flour
For the vegetables
  1. Selection of your favourite vegetables (recommended 450g), sliced at angles. I opted for carrot, parsnip, baby potato, red pepper, mushroom (just stalk removed), courgette (cut lengthways)
  2. Approx 2L vegetable oil (in pan or fryer)
  3. 2 heaped tablespoons of flour in a separate bowl or plate
Heating your oil
  1. Heat your in a pan or a fryer up to 182 degrees celcius, optimal temperature for tempura cooking. Some fryers may regulate heat by automating the thermostat; if cooking in a deep pan, keep a sugar thermometer handy as you may need to regulate heat manually.
For the vegetables
  1. While your oil is heating, slice and prepare your vegetables. Use kitchen paper to wipe or pad down any extra liquid or moisture from your vegetable selection (you want that batter to stick).
For the batter
  1. Pour cold water into a mixing bowl, add 2 eggs and beat
  2. Add 3-4 ice cubes to keep cool
  3. In a separate bowl place your 250g plain flour
  4. Only when you are ready to start frying, you add water & eggs to your flour, mixing loosely with chopsticks for around 30 seconds or so. You're not looking for a fine batter, instead going for a lumpy style.
Putting it all together
  1. Coat your sliced vegetables in the extra flour, dip into the batter and add to the pan / fryer, leaving for 2-3 minutes max.
  2. Remove vegetables from pan / fryer and place on a rack or kitchen paper to drain off excess oil, and serve.
Notes
  1. You could, just before frying, top up your vegetable oil with a little sesame oil just before frying for that extra flavour.
  2. Also, the more you put in the pan / fryer at one time, the more you will reduce the temperature of your oil. To counter this, just cook them off in small batches, either serving straight away or preserve the heat in an oven.
Adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking
Any Given Food http://anygivenfood.com/

The Verdict

The illusion of something healthy and something dirty all at the one time which could satisfy one’s cravings for a takeaway. By itself, a vegetable tempura dish is lovely, but I’d say it’s a must to add a dipping sauce of some description, even if it’s just a pouring of soy sauce to really bring out the flavours.

Got your own tips or tricks on cooking vegetable tempura? Let me know below or tweet @anygivenfood with your own suggestions.

This is part one of a five part planned blog series on cooking Japanese dishes for the week.

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Perfect St. Patrick’s Day Poached Egg

How do you start your St. Patrick’s Day? With the perfect poached egg on a toasted half brown bagel, topped with some chopped fresh parsley, that’s how. Oh, and drizzle some Highbank organic orchard syrup over that bad boy too.

Get your water to boiling point, add some white wine vinegar, stir, add your egg and turn off the heat, letting the egg cook on reducing heat over 2.5 minutes.

The perfect St. Patrick's Day poached egg, with parsley. All of the Ps covered.

The perfect St. Patrick’s Day poached egg, with parsley. All of the Ps covered.

The result? One hell of a quick and quality breakfast for a bank holiday Monday.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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Some Linwoods Goodies & Sweet Flapjacks

So, in the post during the week landed one almighty crate-load of Linwoods goodies and a handy recipe book with suggestions for use other than cereal toppings (which would be pretty much my token use of the Linwoods Milled goods range).

The Linwoods range focuses on ‘superfood’ combinations including chia, flaxseed, cocoa, berries, almonds, goji berries, shelled hemp and the likes, the cold milled range designed to boost digestion, increase energy levels, and promote good health and a good diet. Continue Reading →

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2 Ingredients: Ken’s No Fail Pancakes

Six heaped tablespoons of flour. 350ml milk.

Say it again.

Six heaped tablespoons of flour. 350ml milk.

Today is Pancake Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday. If you’re shy on ingredients, out of eggs, haven’t a clue how to make pancakes – whatever the case may be – if you can manage these two ingredients you’re laughing.

The Nitty Gritty

Add six heaped tablespoons of flour (plain flour or tritamyl if you’re going the gluten-free route) to a bowl, top up with 350ml milk and beat or whisk until you’ve got a fine pancake batter. Some people reckon you can’t make pancakes without eggs, I beg to differ.

Ken's No Fail 2 Ingredient Pancakes

Ken’s No Fail 2 Ingredient Pancakes

Get your pancake pan (flat based frying pan) up good and hot adding a little oil or butter if you like but if your mix is done right and your pan good enough, you won’t need it. Pour enough of the mix onto the pan for your preferred pancake size, letting it cook to the point with the mix visible on top starts to recede, bubble and dry. Then it’s time to flip, usual a spatula or some of your acrobatic pancake flipping skills you may have.

A minute either side should be more than enough on a high heat though this can vary depending on the flour used and how thick your pancake batter is – let the colour of your pancake dictate things, go for the golden colour as opposed to deep brown.

Can’t Eat It All

The mix should make about 8 reasonably sized pancakes but if you can’t eat them all in one sitting, don’t cook them all. Just cook what you want from the batter, store the rest in the fridge until later and crack them open again this evening.

Pancake Toppings

If you’re in the mood for toppings, go nuts. My preference for the day that’s in it is some cinnamon (sprinkle it into the batter), some nutmeg, some Highbank Orchard Syrup or, go a little fancy and try some raspberry jam and coconut in there too.

Simples.

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Chinese New Year Recipes

Chinese New Year is upon (tomorrow as it happens) and with it comes heaps of supermarket promos, ads and recipes popping up all over the web. You’ll get your discounts on sauces, free woks with a few packets of rice and (as it has already started here), the cursory text messages from your local Chinese takeaway touting offers on starters, four-in-ones and other dishes to mark the occasion.

It’s also the year of the horse, but you won’t see me tracking down horse recipes. What I have gathered are a bunch of starters and mains from a handful of recipe websites that might give you some inspiration to cook at home, also giving you something to do with the free wok you may have picked up in certain supermarkets this week. Continue Reading →

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