UK Food Bloggers Badge

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Veg Soup

It being a nice, misty kind of day, I decided to take a break from the little 'pot boiler' I am writing to put something up on here.

I was nudged into doing so by meeting a couple of people, one from Finsbury Park Transition, I local group dedicated to sustainable living and HarringayOnline, our local community website.

Now, the 'pot boiler' I am referring to has nothing to do with cooking, but rather the grubby world of crime. "Camp Fire's Burning' is a 20,000 word story I wrote about three years ago in response to a series of events at the place I was living at the time. I am currently re-working parts of the story and should be able to publish it as an ebook fairly soon.

I haven't forgotten about "The Food Shops of Green Lanes" either. I'd originally planned to do that in August, but a trashed foot meant I could hardly walk during that month, but I will return to it soon.

So, whats for tea tonight? Well, how about some vegetable soup? The fantastic thing about living round here is that the ingredients are readily available 24/7 and cheaply too. As you can see from above, this is what I put in mine. The only thing missing from the picture is a can of butter beans and a couple of cloves of garlic.

Now, for once, I am not going to say much more, but rather I am going to let the pictures tell the story. I am sure you will get the idea.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4
Stage 5
And Finally,,,,

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Polenta, Stilton and Beans

The Italians love their polenta, but I have always found it to be rather a curious thing. This is an interesting way to prepare it. You could have small portions of it as a starter or make it a bit larger to do as a main as part of a meal. This will do two.

Pour a ladleful of polenta into a pan with some salt. Pour in about half a dozen ladles of cold water. Bring to the boil, constantly stirring it with a whisk or fork to stop it turning lumpy. Then, turn the heat right down and cover slightly and let it bubble away for about 25 – 30 minutes.

Next, take a teaspoon of extra virgin oil and warm it gently before stirring in a pinch of chilli powder. Let it fizz for a second or two, then take it off the heat. Stir a heaped tablespoon of a hard Italian cheese (not Parmesan, its not vegetarian) and some pepper. Alternatively, use strong cheddar, but half the amount.

Stick a pan of water on with some salt and bring it to the boil. Top, tail and halve a couple of good handfuls of green beans and drop them into the water.

Ladle half the cooked polenta into a pasta bowl and put a large thin slice or two of Stilton or other blue cheese on top. Pour over another ladle of polenta and let the cheese melt. Top with the green beans and then pour over the chilli oil.

What you get is the smoothness of the polenta, the strength of the cheese and heat of the chilli oil, all of which is cut through nicely by the beans, which will be slightly undercooked to give them a bit of a crunch.

Bog Standard Cafes

Though there are plenty of specialist vegetarian restaurants about, the one thing we do miss out on is the ‘bog standard’ café. In these places, you get either egg or cheese, and you can’t always be sure that any cooked dish has been kept away from meat products.

Because of that, I was very pleasantly surprised to come across the Manhattan Bagel Company in Holloway.

In addition to the usual choice between ‘egg or cheese’ they had a number of proper vegetarian savouries. The spinach borek was very tasty as were the vegetable pasties and somosas. Their cakes are nice too and all are made with vegetable oil.

Price wise, they were about right for a standard café and its just the sort of place you’d want to go for to buy a few snacks for lunch or to have a quick bite to eat on your way somewhere.

As you would expect from such a place, the décor is pure working class, but hey, that’s all you need when you need a meal and a drink in a hurry. Nice place.