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What's cooking?

SybillaSybilla LondonPosts: 503Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
Given the commotion over in the rants thread about tuna and its resting liquids, I thought it might be nice to start a recipe thread. Be it food you've cooked yourself, or interesting drink mixes, I'd love to hear what your go-to food comforts are. Also, feel free to suggest great recipe websites, I'm an avid cookbook collector, and online collections wouldn't go amiss.

I tend to find myself using the BBC Good Food website which is all right for pretty basic ingredients and last minute dinner ideas. For beautifully photographed, and more inspiring and/or ambitious recipes, I love Punchfork though I've just read an announcement that they're migrating to Pinterest.

Have any of you taken inspiration from Achaean food and drinks in real life? Sybilla's had @Amunet's vodka-drenched oysters twice now, and they look absolutely divine. I'd love to try making it IRL, but on a student budget it might need to wait! I'm also in love with almost all of Dagon's drinks in Fire and Spice, and as a lover of sloe gin, the Selene Dream looks like something I might try my hand at on a special date (Selene Dream: One ounce of sloe gin, half an ounce of tonic water, and a few drops of cherry juice served in a lightly tinted pink shot glass, with a slice of passion fruit on the side).

It will likely be a while before I share my mother's sugo recipe, or my dad's parmigiana, so instead I'll offer my version of Spaghetti alla puttanesca: (ingredient quantities vary depending on how many you're serving. I tend to cook this by eye, so I'll leave it vague to adjust to your tastes)

  • Spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes (great if they're ripe and flavoursome, otherwise use a tin of chopped ones)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Black olives, pitted
  • Capers
  • Anchovies
  • Chilli (fresh, or dried flakes if not)
  • Parsley (curly is traditional)
  1. Roughly chop all your ingredients, save for the pasta. If it helps with preparation, start bringing a pot of water to the boil.
  2. If you're using fresh tomatoes, cut an X into their top, drop them in boiling water for a minute so their peel softens, then peel and roughly dice them in 2cm cubes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic, onions, chilli and anchovies, until the onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the olives and capers, stirring it through to absorb the flavours.
  5. Finally, add the chopped tomatoes and season. If it comes up acidic, add a little bit of sugar and stir through. Let it cook on low heat for 10~ minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add a few drops of oil, and put the pasta in. It will take about 10-12 minutes to cook.
  7. By this time, the spaghetti should be cooked and al dente. Taste the sauce, adjust seasoning as necessary, and add the chopped parsley.
  8. Drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the puttanesca sauce, with a few spoonfuls of the water it boiled in.
  9. Toss all the ingredients together, to heat through and colour the pasta.
  10. Serve immediately, sprinkling any remaining parsley on the top for decoration.

Hope you enjoy. What're you cooking for dinner?


  • AveriAveri Posts: 555Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Can you make that for me? It sounds delicious. 

    Now I'm hungry
    Commission List: Aesi, Kenway, Shimi, Kythra, Trey, Sholen .... 5/5 CLOSED
    I will not draw them in the order that they are requested... rather in the order that I get inspiration/artist block.
  • SybillaSybilla LondonPosts: 503Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Averi if you ever find yourself in London, sure! I'd post a picture of the finished product, but I ended up having some leftover mishmash of things instead tonight!
  • AveriAveri Posts: 555Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    @Sybilla you're my favouritest person ever.
    Commission List: Aesi, Kenway, Shimi, Kythra, Trey, Sholen .... 5/5 CLOSED
    I will not draw them in the order that they are requested... rather in the order that I get inspiration/artist block.
  • RyukishiRyukishi Posts: 38Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    baking chicken, making risotto, and stuff.
  • BlujixapugBlujixapug Posts: 1,833Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Infusing vodka with chocolate atm. The internet's advice on the subject was fairly crap so I got scientific and am trying some different methods. Half a bottle is infusing with grated 70% dark chocolate and some sugar. The other has some melted mars bars dissolved into it.
  • SienaSiena Posts: 202Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I usually make various curries using yellow curry base sauce and a can of coconut milk as the staples. I use chicken or pork as the meat. Then I throw whatever vegetable I have around the house in. Fennel surprisingly helps make a yummy curry with it's licorice flavor.


  • AmunetAmunet Spokane, Washington, USAPosts: 700Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I find myself making a lot of vegan manicotti - I think I posted the recipe here somewhere before, but I can't remember it. I never bother with measuring anything, anyway. Here's an approximation: 

    • 6-8 whole wheat manicotti shells (or manicotti shells in general, depending upon your preference.)
    • 15 ounces extra-firm tofu
    • Nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese, or the awesome non-dairy analogue of parmesan cheese put out by Galaxy Foods.)
    • A few large handfuls of fresh spinach (or dried, roasted seaweed, if you're going for that seafood manicotti taste.)
    • One jar (or can; whatever) of unseasoned tomato sauce.
    • Basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and a bit of parsley. Fresh is best, but I'm poor, so I tend to use dry herbs more often than not, and they work nearly as well.
    • Non-dairy mozzarella cheese. I prefer Daiya, but put whatever you want. Sometimes, when I'm feeling rebellious, I'll eschew the "vegan" and "mozzarella" parts and just cover the entire thing in sliced provolone.

    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Drain your tofu. This is going to take fifteen minutes or so; just wrap it in a wad of paper towels and put a phone book on top of it. 

    On the stove, bring water to a boil, and drop in your manicotti shells. Check them after 2-3 minutes. If they're still stiff, leave them for another minute. You want them pliable, but you don't want them so soft that they tear open when you're trying to fill them. The sauce and cheese will do a bit to moisten them further as they bake.

    Remove noodles from water, and put them into a bowl of cold water.

    By now, your tofu ought to be done draining. Unwrap it, toss it in a bowl, smash it up with some sort of kitchen utensil until it has the consistency of scrambled eggs. Sprinkle in your nutritional yeast (or parmesan) and your herbs, and then mix it up well - you can do this with a mixer or by hand - until the herbs are thoroughly dispersed, and the tofu has the consistency of ricotta. Whip out a tablespoon, fill it with the tofu, and start stuffing those shells - but be careful not to tear them.

    Once your shells are stuffed, crack open the tomato sauce. Season it with the same gusto with which you seasoned your tofu. Mix it thoroughly and taste - if it doesn't meet your expectations, then season it until it does. 

    Lightly brush the bottom of a cake pan - or similar apparatus - with olive oil. Carefully arrange your manicotti shells inside. On top of them, pour half of your tomato sauce. On top of that, carefully lay your spinach so that it evenly covers the noodles. Most people will tell you to stuff the spinach into the manicotti shells, but that is a thoroughly unnecessary pain in the ass. Just do it this way; it tastes the same. Over the top of the spinach, pour the other half of your tomato sauce. Then, dump on the cheese (or cheese analogue) to your tastes. 

    Bake for about a half an hour, or until the cheese melts. This should serve two to three people, but if you're like me, you're going to eat a third of it for dinner, eat a third of it for the next day's lunch, and then freeze the final third of it and eat it for lunch or dinner sometime in the next couple of weeks when you're feeling too lazy to actually cook.
    My avatar is an image created by this very talented gentleman, of whose work I am extremely jealous. It was not originally a picture of Amunet, but it certainly looks a great deal like how I envision her!
  • BereneneBerenene Posts: 1,892Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited February 2013
    Ahhh, a thread I can sink my teeth into/

    Here's a recipe I've been making a while now. It's become my signature and most requested item when I'm baking for friends. I actually found the recipe when I needed to make something that was gluten and lactose free for a friend who can't eat either.  They turned out really nice and I've even tampered with the original and added flavours to it to make them coffee flavoured, with some good, strong Italian coffee, nonno and nonna would be so proud of me, and mint flavoured. And best of all, they are dead easy to make!

    Pecan Clouds:

    Supposed to make 2 dozen, but will vary depending on the size.

    2 egg whites
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cups light brown sugar
    2 cups of pecan halves

    1. Preheat oven to 120 degrees C. Lay a sheet of wax baking paper on oven tray - as many as needed
    2. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks.
    3. Fold in vanilla and pecans.
    4. Drop mounded spoonfuls onto prepared trays - when baking meringue doesn't spread too much so you can put them somewhat close together, just leave enough room between them to allow airflow
    5. Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven. Turn off heat and allow to remain in over for at least another 30min - This allows the centers to dry out.

    The pecans in the meringue cut down on the sickly sweetness of the meringue while adding a nice flavour and crunch to them.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my hounds!
    Krenim: Hounds? How cliche.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my rape gorilla!
    Krenim: ...We'll show ourselves out.
  • SybillaSybilla LondonPosts: 503Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Blujixapug Is that a worldwide or US Mars bar you're using? I can imagine the caramel and nougaty bits would make your vodka really indulgent. Post pics if it's successful!

    @Siena Curries are great! I've just realised I have a whole spice cupboard to bring along with me when I move out. What's the base sauce you use? Past few times I've made curry it's been mostly dry spices mixed with oil, then coconut milk and tomatoes most often.

    @Amunet I've never tried cooking with tofu, and wouldn't have thought of using it in a pasta dish! It sounds great though, might be one for the weekend.

    @Berenene That. Sounds. Heavenly. It's basically all of my favourite things in one dish. I can't believe I've never encountered it before. Cari saluti from a fellow Italian, then! ;)

    I've been requested to make something spicy for tonight, and keep fluctuating between recipes. I'm thinking of making some form of Asian noodle dish, but I made this Spicy African chicken stew a few weeks back which turned out great and had plenty for leftovers. Hmm. Might have to see.

    Maybe I could get some of you to give me advice. I'm moving flats soon, and we don't really have a kitchen (there's one that's shared in the corridor, but it means I can't really store my things in it). Within the flat itself we have a microwave and a plug-in hob, but very little counter space. I was thinking of getting a slow-cooker (I think Americans call it crock pot?) so it would minimise the space I need to prepare things, throw all ingredients in the cooker, and not have to worry about it during the day, and come home to a warm dinner.

    Do any of you own one? Would you recommend it? What recipes do you use for it? The recipes I've looked for thus far seem pretty insipid and uninspiring, and some seem too good to be true
  • SilasSilas Posts: 2,542Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I imagine any sort of braised meat/stew dish would be fine in a slow cooker (like the pulled pork and stuff from your link) but anything else seems like it'd be pretty heathen. You also just don't need a slow cooker to cook things slow and low.

  • SenaSena Posts: 3,945Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    A slow-cooker is wonderful. I usually don't use them often, but recently my oven was broken for a month or so and I did almost all of my cooking with a slow-cooker, and often ended up with even better meals than usual with less effort.

    There's a much larger variety of slow-cooker recipes than I expected (that "50 slow cooker recipes" link is a good start, but there's a ton more), I even found a way to make a loaf of bread with it.

    I have a few slow-cooker recipe books, but I mostly just search Google with whatever ingredients I have, to get ideas.
  • ExelethrilExelethril Posts: 3,334Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    • Tuna
    • Vegetable Oil
    1. Buy a can of tuna with vegetable oil.
    2. Open with a can opener.

    [ SnB PvP Guide | Link ]

    [ Runewarden Sparring Videos | Link ]
  • AmunetAmunet Spokane, Washington, USAPosts: 700Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Sybilla: Pretty much any soup recipe begs for a slow cooker, or, at the very least, can be easily adapted for one. I have a wonton soup recipe, a pumpkin soup recipe, and a kale and white bean soup recipe that I'll post when I get home. Oh, and my favourite - a tofu-noodle that has replaced chicken noodle since I cut out meat. It's the best with grilled provolone (don't mind me; I have a provolone obsession).
    My avatar is an image created by this very talented gentleman, of whose work I am extremely jealous. It was not originally a picture of Amunet, but it certainly looks a great deal like how I envision her!
  • AlcinaeAlcinae AFKPosts: 627Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    • 1 Package Maruchan Ramen/Okinawan Soba
    • Water
    You're set. In all seriousness though, there's a lot of ways to customize ramen... I've been trying to perfect the art.
  • SybillaSybilla LondonPosts: 503Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Exelethril Over in Italy we have ring-pulls on our tins of tuna, and they come in olive oil, which makes it great to easily dress salads with it. I think some tinned tuna (that sounds awesome) in England also have ring-pulls, I'm not sure though, I tend to buy the cheap options :(

    Which reminds me, my godmother makes these incredible stuffed (romano?) peppers and uses the oil from the tuna to mix the stuffing. I've not done them or had them in a long long while, because they're so rich (read: make me feel fat) but here's what I remember if it's of use:

    • Romano peppers (the long, red, thinnish ones)
    • Old bread, better if it's an artisanal type loaf, but wholewheat sliced breads work too
    • Tuna in oil
    • Olives, whichever you prefer, they all work - pitted though! (I prefer black)
    • Capers
    • Garlic, finely chopped
    • Walnuts, roughly chopped. Hazelnuts make a nice substitute.
    • Origano
    • Curly parsley
    • Basil
    1. Cut the 'lid' off the peppers, removing the green bit at the top and allowing them a clean cylindrical opening. To clean the seeds, roll the peppers gently on a chopping board, so they dislodge, then rinse them well.
    2. In a large bowl, break off the old bread crumb (the inside), so that it would roughly fill half the peppers.
    3. Add the tuna and its oils and mix together well, so that the bread absorbs the oil, and becomes soft and ... doughy? (I'm not doing well!)
    4. Now add the rest of the ingredients, breaking bigger bits with your hands, and season to taste. You're trying to get the consistency of mince-meat before you make meatballs, so if your ingredients are falling apart, add more olive oil until they stick together. Try not to eat it all now.
    5. Gently! stuff the peppers with the mixture, making sure you fill it evenly. You'll want a bit of stuffing to cover the rim of the peppers.
    6. Now, you can either heat a pan of oil, hold the peppers opening-side-down to seal the mixture, and then lay them on their side to soften and colour.
    7. Or you can put them in an oven dish, with a little oil in the bottom and drizzled over the top (oil sprays work well), and put them in a 180° C oven, for about 30 minutes. You might want to turn them once through cooking.
    8. Pepper skin can and does turn black during cooking, this is absolutely fine (and even desirable, as it tells you they're done), because you can peel it off more easily and have a lovely soft and flavoursome pepper beneath it.
    9. If you have leftover stuffing, you could fry it or bake it as meatballs along with the peppers, if you like. Or be greedy and eat it as it is.
    10. They're even nice to eat when they've cooled down, so serve as you please.

    @Amunet: All of those sound wonderful, and exactly the sort of things I enjoy. Pass the recipes along if you have them please! And no need to be shy about provolone, it begs to be smothered over most everything...

  • BereneneBerenene Posts: 1,892Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Yeah, I remember nonna's pantry stacked with the tins of tuna in olive oil.  Also, I miss her pasta fagioli.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my hounds!
    Krenim: Hounds? How cliche.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my rape gorilla!
    Krenim: ...We'll show ourselves out.
  • TaniaTania Posts: 257Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited February 2013
    @Sybilla: I've been using http://www.reddit.com/r/slowcooking/ for inspiration lately. I love my slow cooker, but I rarely use it. I'm trying to fix that! At the moment, I've just been putting in chicken and pre-made curry mixes, even though I like homemade curries better. With the exception of Thai green curry, everyone I know uses too much fish sauce.

    Also, I'll add the salad dressing I made recently. All measurements are approximate.
    -1/2 cup balsamic
    -1 tbsp dijon mustard
    -2 tbsp honey (mine is local, raw honey with little bits of bee in it. I would recommend buying local for flavour, but trying to get a strained one. Finding a bee thorax on your toast can be a little off-putting)
    -1 clove raw garlic/lots of cloves roast garlic (roast is way milder in flavour, and makes an already tasty dressing even better)
    -1 tbsp olive oil
    -black pepper and salt to taste

    Stick it all in a blender/food processer/something to turn the garlic from a clove into mush and mix everything together and serve with pretty much anything because it was so damn good. Meat, salad, steamed veggies, etc.
  • BereneneBerenene Posts: 1,892Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I found this recipe for cooking just some plain rice, and it comes out perfectly every time. I don't use my rice cooker anymore. It makes for a quick bed for something like butter chicken, or a quick meal after a long day with some steamed vegies and/or some seared chicken/beef.  I've even had it as a side dish with spring onion, parsley and dill diced up and mixed through it.

    This serves 2

    1 cup rice
    1 and 1/3 cup water
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    1. Put all in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on high until boiling.
    2. Stir once, reduce heat until low and cover tight with a lid.
    3. Cook on low heat for 15 mins - I find I have to move the pot onto half the burner for this and just rotate it every couple of minutes.
    4. Turn off heat and stand for 5 minutes while still covered.
    5. Fluff with fork and serve.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my hounds!
    Krenim: Hounds? How cliche.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my rape gorilla!
    Krenim: ...We'll show ourselves out.
  • SienaSiena Posts: 202Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    @sybilla The coconut curry sauce that I liked to use isn't sold anymore sadly....I use this rule for curries. If it is a white meat, use yellow curry. If it is beef, use a red type curry sauce. I usually go to Trader Joes to look at the curry sauces. I'm sure any type of base sauce should do really. If it is not hot enough just add more curry powder or if it is too hot, add more coconut milk.


  • LiancaLianca Fire and SpicePosts: 428Member
    edited February 2013
    I make my red curry from scratch, and while a bit of a hassle, it is really hard to beat and simple. Just takes some prep.

    Marinade chicken/beef in yoghurt with grated ginger, crushed garlic and curry powder. (1 cup yoghurt, 3 cloves garlic, 1tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1-2 pounds of chicken/beef/lamb/shrimp.) At least 3 hours in the fridge does the trick.

    - Saute onion in way too much butter.
    - Once onions are soft add .5 tsp crushed peppers, .5 tsp ginger, .5 tsp garlic, saute until everyone in house is drooling.
    - Add 2 tbsp tomato paste, cook for about 5 minutes on medium. Don't want it to burn.
    - Add 1tsp garam masala, 2 tsp paprika, saute a little longer (3-5 minutes), stirring here and there.
    - Add a can/tin of tomatoes, diced not extra seasoned, .5 tsp salt and a cup of water.
    - Pull meat out of the marinade and broil/grill until just picking  up some colour, it'll finish cooking in the curry.
    - Add coconut milk .5 - 1 can depending on your fancy for burn.
    - Add your meat and simmer for 10 minutes.
    - Taste, add extra cumin/curry powder if you want it a little hotter, add more coconut milk for more mildness. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more after any flavour additions, then serve!

    Olive oil can be used in place of butter, and cream can be substituted for coconut milk, depending on how much you love your waistline.

    Serve over rice, with bhajis and naan bread!

    Editted to recognise the shrimp.
    The sweltering heat of the forge spills out across the land as the rumbling voice of Phaestus booms, "I want you to know, the Garden reaction to that one is: What?"
    The voice of Melantha, Goddess of the Seasons, echoes amid the rustle of leaves, "That's the censored version."
  • SybillaSybilla LondonPosts: 503Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Tania Awesome, didn't think to check reddit. I'll have to see if there's some slow cookers still in the sales. Is there anything honey-mustard-balsamic doesn't go with? Pretty sure I'd have it with strawberries as well.

    @Berenene I make rice exactly the same! Sometimes I add frozen peas to give it something more.

    @Lianca Have you ever used ghee? I personally haven't, but I'm always tempted to buy it when I see it in stores. I think I found my weekend meal recipe!
  • LiancaLianca Fire and SpicePosts: 428Member
    @Sybilla If you can get ghee, DO IT!

    It's what we replace with butter or oil because it's hard to get or really expensive.
    The sweltering heat of the forge spills out across the land as the rumbling voice of Phaestus booms, "I want you to know, the Garden reaction to that one is: What?"
    The voice of Melantha, Goddess of the Seasons, echoes amid the rustle of leaves, "That's the censored version."
  • EldEld Posts: 3,946Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Isn't ghee pretty easy to make from butter?
  • SybillaSybilla LondonPosts: 503Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I think so. It's basically clarified butter. I think that the one they sell here is spiced perhaps.

    The Wikipedia page on ghee says:

    To prepare ghee, butter is melted in a pot over medium heat. The butter begins to melt, forming a white froth on top. It is then simmered, while occasional stirring reduces the froth slowly and the color of the butter changes to pale yellow. Then it is cooked on low heat until it turns golden. The residue settles at the bottom and the ghee, which is now clear, golden, translucent and fragrant, is ready. The ghee is then filtered and it solidifies when completely cool. Ghee has a long shelf-life and needs no refrigeration if kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation. The texture, color and taste of ghee depends on the source of the milk obtained and the duration of boiling.

    So yes, seems pretty straight-forward, I suppose you could add cumin seeds to flavour it.
  • BereneneBerenene Posts: 1,892Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    We made that when I was studying hospitality. From what I remember, it was pretty easy, the hardest part being was to pour off top clearer liquid while leaving the milk, as that is what the white residue pretty much is, behind.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my hounds!
    Krenim: Hounds? How cliche.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my rape gorilla!
    Krenim: ...We'll show ourselves out.
  • EldEld Posts: 3,946Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Directions. Haven't tried it myself, but Alton Brown has yet to steer me wrong, recipe-wise.
  • RispokRispok Posts: 703Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    If you refuse to make ghee and refuse to buy it (it's sold at whole foods among other places) just use half oil and half butter. The point of ghee is that it has a high smoke point, and by mixing oil and butter you can get a similar effect.
  • EldEld Posts: 3,946Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Rispok said:
    If you refuse to make ghee and refuse to buy it (it's sold at whole foods among other places) just use half oil and half butter. The point of ghee is that it has a high smoke point, and by mixing oil and butter you can get a similar effect.
    Or just use oil with a high smoke point. Won't have the same flavor, but how much that matters depends on the application.
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