Sunday, 12 June 2011

Yummy Lentil Mush

So, remember when I said in my first post that before about two months ago I only knew how to make two things? Well, this is one of them. This was a meal that my mum has made for me since I was old enough to eat solids. Eventually I learned to make it myself, and we do sometimes eat it an obscene amount (It was once the only thing we had for a whole week). The main reason is that it's not only lovely, it's also really cheap once you've amassed all the ingredients.

Yummy Lentil Mush
Family Recipe!

Cooking oil
Red split lentils (honestly no idea how much. 1cm up the pans worth)
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons cinammon (I probably put in more than that to be honest)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Penne pasta (again, up to you how much you use. Spaghetti also works)
Grated Cheddar cheese (optional) 

1. Heat some cooking oil in a small pan. Put in the chopped onions and fry until cooked through but not brown

2. While the onions are cooking, put the lentils into a second pan. Pour water over them until they are covered. 

3. Mix the chopped tomato, basil, cinnamon and garlic in with the lentils and turn on the heat

4. Pour the onions in with the rest of the mixture and bring to the boil

5. When the lentils have boiled, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cover the lentils. Heat them for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

6. As the lentils are cooking, bring a pan of water to the boil and begin to heat up the pasta.

7. The lentil mix should now look something like the picture below. If it looks like the mixture is drying out or the lentils aren't mushy enough, put some more boiled water in from the kettle.

8. Serve the whole thing with a generous helping of pasta. If you're like me, grating some cheddar over the top is a great addition, but this is still really yummy without it, and not having it makes this dish vegan!

So that is the dish of my childhood! It is a bit weird really, as my family have always been big meat-eaters, but this was one dish that we always went back to. I really could eat this forever, and we have it at least once every couple of weeks. You don't have to make as much as I do, John and I are just massive piggies.

One thing though, if anyone can tell me how to stop the lentils securing themselves to the bottom of the pan no matter what I'd be greatful! I know my mum recently started reading so mum, if you know, please tell me! John doesn't like scrubbing it off after I'm done cooking (that's the deal, I cook, he cleans)

If any of you have any suggestions of meals to cook I'm all ears! I have a big long list of things to try but I'm happy to add to it.


Roisi x

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Spicy Pork Quesadillas

So, day number two and I'm back again! I actually managed to remember to take photos all the way through (although have you ever tried to take photos while also trying to cook three things? Neither have I, which is why we have some steamy and blurry photos).

I do also want to apologise for my apparent lack of prowess in the English language. The last two posts don't scan too well. To be honest I've been so preoccupied with work that I've barely written a thing in months. Hopefully my writing skills will re-appear. If not, well, at least the food is tasty!

Spicy Pork Quesadillas  
Another adaptation from Beyond Baked Beans, I do get recipes from other places though, honest!

Ingredients - Serves 2
Chilli sauce
200g minced pork (not pictured, explanation below)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 spring onions (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin (I probably put closer to 2 tsps of each in)
1/2 a 400g can of chopped or whole tomatoes
1 x 400g can of red kidney beans
1 tsp coriander leaf (I barely used even that. Coriander, bleugh)
6 small tortilla wraps
small bowl of grated cheddar cheese

(So I was going to make this more faithful to the original, but then John reminded me that I did in fact have half a pack of pork mince left over from last night. To be honest, I'm usually terrible at using half packs/cans of things and we throw out more than we should as a result. Consider this my first step in changing that!)

1. Heat a little olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Throw in the chopped spring onion and fry for about a minute

2. Add the cumin, chilli powder and garlic. Then stir in the chopped tomatoes and pour in the tin of kidney beans. (drain them first, I almost didn't and there was way too much liquid as I also didn't drain the tomatoes). Cover and leave on the hob.

3. While the bean mixture is cooking, heat some more olive oil in another pan and brown the pork mince. As it is browning, add a little more cumin, chilli powder and chilli sauce to taste (I also stuck some tomato puree in there but I don't think this was really needed, I just felt like I wanted it to look colourful?)

4. After the mince is cooked through, take it off the heat and put aside. Check your bean mixture. Most of the juices should have evaporated and you can now take it off the heat and roughly mash it with a fork or potato masher.
 (This actually isn't how it should look, it should be less...wet? It was still really yummy though so I wouldn't worry if this is what it looks like)

5. Get out a frying pan, and get all your toppings organised in order to make the quesadillas
6. Heat up the frying pan (no oil!) and put a tortilla on flat for a second then flip it over. Once the tortilla is warm, place the pork, beans and cheese on one side leaving a gap around the edge.
 (Or y'know, chuck it all over the place like I do)

7. Fold the tortilla in half and heat until the cheese is melted and the rest of the filling is warm. Flip over a couple times to ensure it is cooked evenly.
8. Serve and enjoy!


This meal was AMAZING. Seriously, so so yummy. On the John-nom-o-meter it got top marks, as he was already planning to go and rebuy the ingredients tonight so I could make more.

I'm not making any more tonight but I'll probably whip up an uber batch of the bean mix tomorrow, as I'm pretty sure it would make an awesome lunchtime snack with some sour cream and guacamole.


Roisi x

Friday, 10 June 2011

Taiwanese Chilli Meatballs with Noodles

So, recipe number 1! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the finished product as my phone ran out of battery before I good take it, and I refused to wait for it to charge before chowing down. Next time, I will get a picture of what I've managed to make it look like. Also, I will take better quality pictures next time, because these ones are pretty cruddy.

Taiwanese Chilli Meatballs With Noodles  Originally adapted from Beyond Baked Beans

two nests of fine dried egg noodles
200g minced pork
½ teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

5 spring onions (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
50g shredded cabbage
1 medium carrot (thinly sliced)
2 teaspoons chilli pepper (mild or hot, depending on preference)
2 tablespoon chilli sauce
cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
Salt and pepper for seasoning

The original recipe tells you to do a bunch of stuff and put it aside. This is the way I did it, and I didn't like it. If you think you can do everything at once, I'd advise it. I ended up with dried noodles and lukewarm meatballs :\.

1. Cook the egg noodles in a large pan of boiling water till for about three minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.

2. Mix the minced pork, cornflour, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, half of the chopped spring onions, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

(Yes that is my thumb in the photo, what of it?)

3. Divide the meat mixture into small portions. Shape each portion into a little ball.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, enough to just cover the bottom. Fry the pork balls for 3 minutes till golden brown. Add the chilli sauce and 2 tablespoons of water. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the pork balls are cooked through. Set aside.
 (For the love of all that is holy PLEASE be more careful than I was when dumping in the water and chilli sauce. It will spit up at you, and you will get lovely little burns on you if you are as dumb as I am. This is where the camera battery went :( )

5. Heat some more oil in a wok or a large frying pan. Fry the garlic, chilli powder and spring onions for about a minute. Add in carrot and cabbage and stir fry for 2 minutes.

6. Add in the noodles. Stir for 2 minutes. Add in the cooked meat balls and stir in the dark soy sauce. Stir and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy.

And there you have it, the first meal on my blog. I'm not going to score any recipes, because I'd be scoring myself, and what I hate and what other people hate are different things. But I will tell you how successful it was.

I'd say this meal went down moderately well. My boyfriend, John, said he loved it and finished it all, but that doesnt necesarily mean that it's awesome. I always know when I've done good if he asks me to make another lot right after he finished. It would not be the first time I find myself making the same dinner twice.

If anything, I'd say it needed more chilli sauce, and the whole thing felt too noodly and not enough other stuffy. It's on the ever growing cook again list though.


Roisi x

Once again it begins

So, hi there.

I'm re-re-rejoining the blogging world, and this time, I'm thinking it'll stick. And why is that you ask?

Well, the first time, I was blogging about personal stuff, and sometimes, personal stuff is just too personal for the internet, so I stopped.

Then, I blogged about gaming. I love gaming, I still game regularly and some of the content on here may end up being game related. BUT, I also work in the games industry, and you shouldn't really shit where you eat (speaking of which, my first game as a designer, Operation Flashpoint: Red River, is out now, go take a look ;))

So, here I am again. This time, I'm blogging about something I can't possibly lose interest in. FOOD. yummy, glorious food.

A bit of background. Before about two months ago, I could cook two meals from scratch. I loved food, but I didn't really understand it. So, I decided to learn. No I didn't take cookery classes, or indeed ask anyone. I just started googling ingredients I knew I liked, followed some recipes, edited some others, and dug right in.

So I figured, wouldn't it be cool if some other people could come along with me while I learn how to prepare food for myself? And that brings us here, to Food: It's What's for Dinner.

Because I'm learning, and figuring out my limits, I generally cook about four new things a week at the moment. Every time I cook a new thing, up the recipe goes. Along with how it tastes, the mistakes I made, and some pictures of what non photographer prepared cooking looks like. As it goes, I figure I will learn what I enjoy and cook less new stuff. My mission is this: to cook at least one new dish ever week for a year. So that's from now until June 2012.

Which means this blog has a shelf-life of at least a year, which isn't too shabby for me! As I go, I want to hear anything you have to say, things you'd like me to try, or even what I'm doing wrong. Yes I'm doing this for my own benefit (if only to have all the recipes in one place), but I also want it to be interesting for other people to read.

First dish coming up, first one I managed to photograph anyway. And welcome! Hope you enjoy

Roisi x