Gastronomically Terrific

June 10, 2015

Lamb skewers

Filed under: Easter, lunch, meat — Tags: , , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:24 pm
Ready for the oven...

Ready for the oven…

Something I thought it might be nice to try making myself for lunch, these lamb skewers were actually really easy to make. The evening before I mixed together the (really rather tasty) marinade of olive oil, sherry and garlic, cut up the lamb and soaked it in the marinade.

The next day all I needed to do was cut up some pepper and courgette, peel a couple of shallots, and thread all of this (along with some button mushrooms and apricots) onto some skewers, interspersing the vegetables with chunks of marinaded meat. It took ten minutes to cook it all under the grill, and (along with some leftover rice and peas) I had a really tasty, if rather large, lunch ready really rather quickly.

... and ready to eat

… and ready to eat

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter, by Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 32-33


August 29, 2010

Mushroom and Sherry Soup

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:12 pm

This soup provided our starter for our monthly three course meal.

A small parsley forest was filled for this meal.

This soup promises an awful lot.  Butter fried onion, garlic provide the base, whilst a whole medley of different mushrooms (ceps, porcini and chestnut) are reduced into a stock, padded out with vegetable stock.  Then it is flavoured with sherry and parsley, a little milk and some soured cream.  All the mushroom flavouring should come out into the sauce and there are a lot of whole pieces for texture.  With all that intense flavouring in there, it came as a surprise that the end result was somewhat bland.  Not dull per se, just not as perky as we’d hoped.

We had a second portion the for lunch the following day and blended it – for me, this was better, because the mushroom flavour was more intense and I’m not too fond of mushroom texture in large doses anyway.  The soured cream really helped, and I think a good dose more of that and something flavoursome (more sherry?  Or perhaps a complimentary herb or spice?) would benefit it a lot.  This was not bad, and we may try it again, but with modifications.

Who made it: A joint effort by Anna and Dan.

Recipe: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, for “September 30th”.

March 16, 2010

Mushroom and stilton pie

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:46 pm

I’m proud of this pie for two reasons.  Firstly, it is basically my own recipe; well, at least, I modified this recipe by guessing what might work and getting it right.  Secondly, it was in competition with a meaty pie, and whilst I obviously didn’t try the meat Anna confessed that the veggie was nicer…

Pie. Mmm, pie.

Its not all that complicated, nor all that different from the BBC recipe, but since the details are not anywhere I’m going to give my first proper recipe.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the pastry (150g of pre-made pastry would do fine):

  • 125 g plain flour
  • 60g butter/margarine
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of water

For the filling:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • garlic clove
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms
  • 125 ml vegetable stock
  • 75g stilton cheese
  • 50g mixed nuts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (ground cumin would do, but definitely isn’t as tasty)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (ground cinnamon would do, and is probably just the same)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds


  • Make the pastry by sieving the flour, adding the butter and a pinch of salt and kneading it into tiny breadcrumbs.  Then add the water slowly, kneading it in each time, until it no longer cracks (but isn’t sticky).  Its supposed to be put in the fridge before being rolled out on a flat surface sprinkled with flour.
  • “Meanwhile” crush the cinnamon, fennel seeds and cumin seeds (the cinnamon needs quite a lot of work – you’ll need a pestle).  Then dry fry them for about 5 minutes – this makes the room smell great!  (actually it probably doesn’t change the taste all that much over ground spices, but I like the smell..)
  • Fry the garlic, onion and carrot in oil until soft.
  • Add the mushrooms and fry until soft.  Then add the tomato purée and nuts and fry for another few minutes.  Then add the soy sauce and stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Butter a pie dish and roll out the pastry quite thinly. Cut it to the right size to line the bottom and sides of the dish, put in the pastry and add the mushroom mixture on top.  Crumble the Stilton over it, then add the lid.  Brush the top with egg or milk, and bake at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes – don’t let the top brown until the bottom layer of pastry is cooked through.  (We have to put a tray above whatever we’re cooking to stop it being burnt…)

OK, so its not all that different to the recipe on the BBC website – I just added spice (a lot of spice) and nuts.  But it is extremely tasty!  And next time I hope to have time to make the presentation a little neater, and get some good photos!

We had it with a “potato and leek boulangere” (complete vegetarian cookbook page 262) which was a huge disappointment.  It spent about 2 hours in the oven then tasted of unflavoured potato, despite having smoked cheese and cream in it.  In the interests of fairness, I aught to give a whole post over to it, but I don’t have a photo and it was simply too dull to bother. Not to be recommended.

Who made it: it was a joint effort in a hectic kitchen, but the vegetarian flourishes were me trying to make my own dinner tasty!

Recipe: My own!  Well, mostly…

February 28, 2010

Giant mushrooms with rice and roasted onions

Filed under: side — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 3:59 pm

This was the starter to our three course meal this weekend.  The recipe calls for wild rice (which is very long, thin, black, and looks nothing like normal rice) but we couldn’t get hold of it so we used brown rice.

Giant Mushroom

Like an ordinary sized mushroom, only bigger, and filled with rice and roasted onions.

Basically, all you do here is roast some onions, shallots and leeks, roast  the mushrooms (separately, to get them to cook properly), whilst boiling the rice.  Then pile everything on the mushroom and throw it back in the oven.

The end result is… a bit dull.  The only flavour here is coming from the vegetables themselves, which are good roasted but not enough on their own.  As a starter we thought this was just OK.  However, we had some of the rice and vegetable mixture left over and had it with our main course, and it tasted amazing – a really flavoursome rice dish.  I think the general idea would make an excellent alternative to risotto, but the poor mushroom doesn’t have enough flavour on its own for this recipe.

We will definitely be trying something like this again, but will be tweaking the recipe beyond recognition.  This would have gone well as part of a main course.

Who made it: Dan and Anna jointly.

Recipe: “the Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 173.

January 22, 2010

Let us bow our head for the pies.

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:39 pm

Dear reader,

It is with great regret that I inform you of the tragic passing of one of the most interesting and yet mistreated members of this gastronomic experiment: the pie.

Chestnut and cep pie

Sadly, no records have remained of this valiant stalwart of the oven.  It shall be remembered for its chestnuts, naturally; but also its mushrooms; and pastry was here aplenty.  But there is no photograph to recall the salivation that passed my lips as I bit into its tender and delicate body.

This pie is an interesting vegetarian recipe, cleverly designed to hide its vegetarian-ness without resorting to fake meat wanna-bes.  A very mincelike texture was achieved in the chestnuts, being chopped roughly and baked to create something meaty, yet still unique.  Dried cep mushrooms provided a strong flavour, being re-hydrated and the intense liquid forming the base of a red wine gravy.  We even made our own pastry, and felt all the morally superior for doing so.  (It doesn’t change the taste, but it is easy and cheap!)

Served with cheesy potato cakes it was a rather pleasing, though subtle main meal.  Next time I would probably increase the amount of herbs, yet I would certainly hope there was a next time.

Who made it: Dan did most of the pie making, with Anna doing the potatoes and helping with many of the flaky pastry details.

Recipe: “The complete Vegetarian Cookbook”, page 257.

Blog at