Since I started watching Jamie Oliver's Money Saving Meals, I really have been getting ideas above my station. I've got it into my head that I can experiment with all kinds of things. This month I'm economically challenged, but I haven't wanted that to stop my social life. So rather than go to the pub and drink tap water in the corner, I've been inviting people round.
Yesterday, I opened my cupboards and thought - veggie stew...with dumplings. Perfect for a lovely autumn evening. I looked up the recipe for the dumplings and of course, I had to muck about with it. It seems I am incapable of following instructions. Like that's news to you, Ladies and Gentlemen. There was some interest expressed last night on Facebook, so people here it is:
Moroccan(ish) Veggie Stew with Dumplings
You will need:
1 tsp paprika (heaped)
1 tsp turmeric (heaped)
1 tsp ground coriander (heaped)
quarter of preserved lemon*
1 red onion
1 red pepper
2 small sweet potatoes
1 tin green lentils
1 tin haricot beans
1 carton chopped tomatoes
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp dried mustard
pinch of salt
1 handful grated parmesan
I chopped everything up, drained the tinned pulses. I got a heavy casserole dish and sweated the onion, pepper and carrots until soft, I then threw in the dried spices to toast for a bit and then added some water to stop it sticking to the pan. In went the chopped tomatoes and everything else including the garlic, ginger and preserved lemon. I brought it to the boil, and topped with boiling water so the veggies were covered. It was then left to simmer uncovered, while I did the dumplings.
Easey peasey. Measure your ingredients. Jamie suggests grating cold butter into the flour. Ain't nobody got time for that. I used a fork to mix flour, butter and dried mustard together until it looked like fine breadcrumbs, added in the cheese and then dribbled iced water in until the mixture formed a dough. I squished it around for a bit and then made little balls of dough. I did not play with it. Once it was done, I stirred the stew made sure there was enough liquid in it (the dumplings are thirsty), popped the little balls onto the top with some space for them to spread out and then put the lid on and left the stew on simmer for about 35 minutes.
I served in bowls with garlic bread and it was damned tasty.
* I had some homemade preserved lemon and I've found you don't need very much at all. I know you can get them ready made, but they are expensive.
** Chilli oil was also homemade. I filled a clean jar with dried bird's eye chillies, covered them with oil and left them to soak for a few weeks. I just dip a teaspoon in every now and then to warm up a dish.
The garlic and ginger are frozen. Another tip from Jamie. You can get frozen herbs in little plastic trays from Sainsbury's. Just squeeze out however much you want: a cube = a clove of garlic or a tsp of fresh ginger. I don't know whether there's the equivalent in other supermarkets. If you aren't like me, use fresh. I just got fed up of desiccated ginger and squidgy garlic in the bottom of my fridge.
I used tinned pulses that were in my cupboard. They are quick and easy. I have no patience anymore for boiling the hell out of things any more. Been there, done that.
If you do have a go, let me know what you think.