How to turn a cooking disaster into a triumph

Breakfast

Maple & pecan crisp cereal, soya milk, apple

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Lunch

Celery and sultana bagel, crisps, fruit, peanut bar

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Celery and sultana is a great filling for a sesame bagel. I doubt it would travel that well, but it’s great for a home lunch with a toasted bagel. The peanut bars can be bought from AMT coffee and are basically just bars of peanut brittle. It’s great to know you can get something animal free and satisfyingly sticky to go with your coffee.

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Dinner

Sweet potato and carrot crumble with lemon and basil sauce, asparagus salad, nuts. Dessert: watermelon and biscuits

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The plan for tonight was to do a parsnip flan. Tesco slightly spoiled this idea though by failing to provide any parsnips. Having decided that sweet potatoes and carrots would do much the same job, I put the base of the flan in the oven and prepared the topping. When I removed the base from the oven though, reality dawned and I realised that it would simply crumble when I tried to cut it. If that was the case, I thought it may as well get on with it and turned the dish into a crumble. This new version was actually a great success, so I’ve included the recipe below. It goes really well with lemon and basil sauce, so the recipe’s there for that too.

Ingredients for sweet potato and carrot crumble (serves 3):

– 3 packs of oatcakes (i.e. 3 of the individually wrapped packets)

– 2 tbsp sunflower oil

– 3 medium sweet potatoes

– 4 large carrots

– 400 ml veggie stock

– A good handful of parsley

– 1tbsp brown sugar

Ingredients for lemon and basil sauce:

– 1 small carton of soya cream

– A good handful of basil

– Zest of 3 lemons

Method:

1.Crush the oatcakes (put them in a bowl and use a rolling pin) then stir in 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp water. Set aside.

2. Peel and slice the veg. Place in a pan with the water, stock and parsley. The veg won’t be covered, but it cooks nicely like this and develops a great flavour.

3. Simmer the veg until tender (about 20 mins) with the lid on. Stir regularly.

4. Meanwhile, spread the oatcake mixture out in a dish and bake on gas 6 (200 C)  for about 15 mins.

6. If preparing the sauce, pour the soya cream into a pan. Add a good handful of chopped basil along with the lemon zest, but don’t heat it up yet.

5. When the veg is nearly ready, stir in the sugar and put the sauce on to simmer for about 5 mins.

6. When the veg is cooked, place in a dish and top with the oaty crumble. Garnish with some parsley.

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Digestive biscuits don’t seem like the most natural partner for watermelon but they go surprisingly well together. Just take care not to get the biscuit too near the melon or it will turn offputtingly soggy!

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