Goo for You: Mushroom and beans casserole

When life is hectic, there is little time to ponder over meals and as a result I tend to cook "Goos".
Definition of a Goo: take what ever (usually left overs) is the fridge/ pantry/else place throw the ingredients together in a pan or a gratin dish, cook or bake. Tip for a good Goo: cross fingers.

Now there is another strata to Goo: the sophisticated Goos where by I get a recipe off the net and eliminate all the ingredients which I don't have replacing them with left overs.

It is what happened to the Black-eyed bean Bourguignonne (picture from the wonderful Mushroom bureau).

It is a very tasty recipe and I would recommend that you give it a go when you don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen, the cooking time is rather long but that does not need you.

My version had no carrots, black eyed beans were replaced by white chili beans, sadly no red wine either, ah and I forgot the bay leaves but I don't think that the particular omission was noticed.

Problem with goos they are very shy as they know that they are not photogenic after all they may taste fantastic but they are only humble and ugly goos.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible

After three great weeks in Kerala, it is back to the daily non-routine, because it is a little difficult to slide back in the box, I have plugged out a book review for you. It appeared on the now defunct Paper Palate.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible is a book of best. Best curry recipes from India but also best selection for best curries from around the world. And because of that (+ an untimely computer crash) my review almost did not see the light of the day. Let me explain: my partner got hold of this book and it has been a battle to get it back. Yes, yes I hear you think: “Lucky her, he must have cooked lovely curries nonstop.” Well, wrong. He was reading it from cover to cover. Now you are as puzzled as I was, so let me enlighten you over the reason for this infatuation.

Madhur Jaffrey is a legend, an authority in the world of Indian food. Her books spell quality, her research is meticulous, her recipes are tried and tested many, many times. In this book she traces the origins and history of curry. There are as many curries as there have been destinations for generations of Indian immigrants. “This curry trail” leads us from Fiji to Trinidad via England, Kenya, the whole of South East Asia, and Japan.

But curries are not alone here, mouthwatering rice, breads, chutneys, relishes, and sweets recipes interwoven with pages of history, old illustrations and modern photographs and much more make for the 6 pages of the index. That explains why I could not put my hands on it when I wanted it most and also why this comprehensive book made the top 50 best.

Let me leave you with a taste of a Pakistani recipe and its introductory paragraph: Red Lentils from the Khyber Pass:

“In the brown hills of the Khyber Pass, Saika, the woman of the house, cooked red lentils, round squash and wholemeal breads for lunch. It was the once-a-week “no meat” day, declared so by the Pakistani government worried buy the nation’s excessive meat-eating habits. While butchers are not allowed to sell meat that day, most families get around the restriction by buying their meat a day in advance and freezing it. Not so Saika. She was an observer.”

180g/ 6 oz red lentils
half to one teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ghee or corn oil
1-2 whole dried hot red chillies
2 gloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
Put the lentils in a lidded pan with 1 litre water and bring to the boil. Do not let the pot boil over. Skim off the scum that comes to the surface with a slotted spoon. Partially cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Sir in the cayenne pepper and about 1 teaspoon salt. Taste, adding more salt as needed.

In a small pan, heat the ghee or oil until very hot. Put in the red chillies. As soon as they darken, put in the garlic. When the garlic pieces turn golden-brown on both sides, pour the oil and seasonings int the pan of lentils. Cover the pan quickly to trap the aromas.

Puff Pastry Dough, a Daring Bakers' September Challenge

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

following the instructions here are my efforts, sorry I did not make it as far as the Vols au vent just yet as I was interrupted

Mixing the Dough:

Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:
Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10" square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears," or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8" square.

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:
Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24" (don't worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24", everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24" and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.
Chilling the Dough:

If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.

Kerrymaid Garlic Butter Competition

To launch their new Garlic Butter, Kerrymaid has opened a competition. Best recipe idea using garlic butter will win this rather desirable hamper.

It is open to everyone why not try your luck by posting a comment on Kitchen Delights.
This competition is quite opportune, really so I can tell you about a whole meal plan which I concocted just before going away. Next door neighbour has a false acacia in their garden. This kind of tree grows big, sometimes bigger than a house. In fact, this one is bigger than our house, it is an overshadowing monstrosity.

To confront the neighbour with the reality of living with their tree so near to our windows, I invited her for dinner and cooked new potatoes with Garlic butter and pork fillet in puff pastry. Cunning plan? we don't know, maybe there is magic in garlic butter.

New Potatoes with Garlic Butter

Cook Time: 15 mins
175g (6oz) per person
2 sachets of garlic butter

For the potatoes choose one of the following variety either

•Maris Bard

New potatoes are delicious cooked in their skins, scrub them gently, place them in a pan and cover with boiling water. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for approximately 15-20 minutes until just tender. Once cooked, drain immediately, using a coring knife make a hole in the middle without getting through the spud.
Place a dollop of garlic butter in the centre and bake in a hot oven for 5 minutes serve pipping hot.


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