Vegetable Bhajis.

Tuesday 24th January 2012

I’ve just counted all the cookbooks I have on the shelf behind the kitchen door. There are 42. With a healthy spattering of all genres from Moosewood Cookbook to Nose to tail eating. Of those, I regularly use 2 for one recipe in each. 1) Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook to refresh my memory on how to make boeuf
Bourguignon (Pg 220) & 2) Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef for his chilli con carne (Pg 31) recipe.

It seems criminal to have a plethora of culinary information at my disposal & still I make the same 20 or 30 dishes. It’s not because I think I’m already a genius in the kitchen nor that I can’t take direction from someone. Quite the opposite, I’m a very good student. If I’m totally honest, it’s because I’m a lazy cook. (I know, hard to believe, isn’t it?) I might flick through the pages of these beautiful books & look at the pictures but if I have to put too much effort into sourcing ingredients or have to spend too long prepping, I’m out. A much easier solution is to look at the photo & make something that looks like the picture in the book. It might not taste the same, but it’ll do.

I have, however, found out over the course of this year that using a recipe makes a huge difference to the result of the dish. Adding the right spices or the correct amount of baking powder really does change the taste & so I’m trying to be a bit more consistent with following the rules.

I find cookbooks are a thing of beauty in themselves. From the design & the anecdotes of the author to the beautiful glossy photographs & the mouth watering recipes. They are the perfect birthday or christmas present for someone who is interested in cooking & being creative. In other words I’ve been bought most of mine by friends & family.

I’m a very lucky boy. 🙂

Rather predictably but not thoughtlessly, this Christmas I was presented with a new cookbook. Jamie’s Ministry of Food. Now, I love Jamie Oliver. I share his attitude towards food & simple scratch cooking. His books, of which I have many, are my go-to books for recipes, or photos in my case!

The book accompanies a successful tv series in the UK (Not so successful in The States) where he campaigns for families to get back in the kitchen & cook simple, healthy food instead of eating the prepackaged, processed stuff. It’s an idea I applaud. Even if he is preaching to the converted, as far as I’m concerned, I think it’s important for people to learn how to cook again & enjoy family mealtimes.

Part of the show, & the premise of the book, is about learning a new recipe & then passing that knowledge on.

“Go on,” Instructs Jamie on the sleeve notes. “learn a recipe today – and Pass it on!”

So I am.

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Vegetable bhajis.

2 lrg carrots
10cm fresh root ginger
2 medium red onions
2 – 3 fresh red chillies
bunch of fresh coriander
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teapsoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons sea salt
125g self raising flour
1 litre veg oil
a piece of potato
juice 1 lemon
2 limes

Peel and finely grate of shred the carrots, ginger and red onions and put them into a large bowl
Finely chop the chillies and add to bowl
Roughly chop the coriander leaves and stalks
Add the mustard seeds, tumeric, cumin seeds, salt and chopped coriander to the bowl
Add the flour and 125ml of cold water and scrunch together well, using your hands until you have a nice thick mixture

Its best to make these in a deep fat fryer, or you can put a large pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil
Drop in a piece of potato – when it floats to the surface and begins to sizzle, the oil is the right temp
Remove the potato using a slotted spoon
Pick up a tablespoon of bhaji mixture, press it together tightly and carefully lower ity into the hot oil
Repeat until you have several on the go
Cook for 5 mins until crispy and golden
Remove the cooked bhajis using your slotted spoon and put them on kitchen paper to drain
Sprinkle with a little sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice
Repeat for the remaining mixture

Serve with the lime cut into wedges and enjoy!

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About whatdidyouhavefordinnerlastnight

I started this blog to record the meals I make for my son. One of the many great memories I have of my childhood is the food I ate. The smell of boiling cauliflower on a Sunday morning that steamed up the windows, Lamb sandwiches for tea in front of the tele, cubes of raw jelly at nan’s house and of course mum’s homemade pizza (made with a short crust base) I hope my food creates good memories for my son but if nothing else this blog might jog his memory when he’s older! Enjoy.
This entry was posted in Dairy-Free, Starter, Vegetarian and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Vegetable Bhajis.

  1. rutheh says:

    My repertoire is more limited these days. You inspire me to count my cookbooks.

  2. I love cookbooks! I don’t even wait for them to be gifted, I gift myself regularly:) They are so inspiring and I love the photos… they’re kind of like “still life blogs”, eh? I also have the Moosewood, that one goes back a few years;) Your Bhajis is much more adventuresome than I’ve ever been! Wow!

  3. I use the Moosewood Cookbook all the time! Not sure about its cheese cake recipe though.

  4. Stef says:

    There is so much about this post I love. I, too, am a fan of easy recipes – and I balk at overly lengthy recipes that require an inordinate amount of prep work and/or call for exotic ingredients. Yet I *do* appreciate that when I follow those types of recipes, I tend to get very tasty results.

    I also agree with Jamie Oliver’s eat fresh/not processed philosophy – and I did follow his healh-focused show when it was on for a few episodes here.

    Finally, I love that you tried, then shared, a recipe. Cool! 🙂

  5. His kitchen, the one he cooks in on Jamie At Home, makes me covetous.
    I had a hard time learning to be precise when I started my blog, as well. Too many years of just throwing things together to get mouths fed. I’m enjoying being able to duplicate things I’ve made.

  6. roger edwards says:

    i think i ‘m a veggie now!!

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