Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food

24/12/2010

Savoury Strudel

I was attempting to make apple strudel last night and had five sheets of pastry left over. I was also hungry, so decided to experiment and make a mushroom strudel. Except I only had three mushrooms left, so had to add the potatoes.

5 sheets filo pastry, defrosted.
at least a cup vegetable ghee
Approximately a dozen small new potatoes
3 mushrooms
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic, or to taste
¼ cup ground almonds
2 tbl sesame seed
2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl flour
1 cup vegetable stock
Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180°C, maybe 200°C if not fan-assisted.

Slice the potatoes very thinly and parboil. Set to one side.

Slice the mushrooms and onion thinly. Crush or chop the garlic finely. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the mushrooms, onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the ground almonds and the flour and fry for a minute or so more or until the flour darkens. Turn the heat down, and gradually add the stock, stirring all the time, until you get a thick creamy sauce. Bring to the boil – it should thicken slightly – then add the cooked potatoes and black pepper to taste and set to one side.

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan and leave on the lowest heat.

Place a clean tea towel on a flat surface. Put the first sheet of filo on top of this and brush it all over with the melted ghee. Place your next sheet of filo on top of this and repeat, until all the sheets of filo are used up. Sprinkle about 1½ tablespoons of sesame seed all over the top sheet. Allowing about 5cm (2″) at the end, and about half that at the edges, spread the filling in a rectangle at one narrow end of your pastry. It should cover about a third to a half of the surface area. Using the tea towel like a sushi mat, lift up the narrow end and gently roll the pastry into a large Swiss roll. Place onto a greased baking sheet with the “join” underneath.

Brush the top with more melted ghee and sprinkle over the remaining sesame seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until it is nicely browned. Don’t forget to switch off the heat under the remaining ghee!

Notes
I used vegetable ghee for this, but you could use a baking margarine. The fat level is important to make this recipe work, so it needs to be a hard margarine such as Tomor Hard Block. I liked how this recipe turned out, but am thinking of experimenting with olive oil next time. To slightly reduce the fat content, the top could be brushed with soya milk instead of ghee.

Use a flavoursome stock. I used a Kosher parve beef-style consommé, sprinkled onto the sauce at the boil, and stirred in. I would also have used more mushrooms and fewer potatoes, but that’s what I had.

25/10/2010

11/12/2009

Latkes

Filed under: Jewish, Recipes and techniques — Tags: , , , , — Feòrag @ 12:53

Latkes in the pan

Latkes in progress.

It is, apparently, That Time of Year and this morning Neil Gaiman lamented on Twitter Alas I will not get to cook latkes until I get home on Weds, when I’ll try to solve the world latke shortage singlehandedly. I don’t have that problem, and they’re one of my partner’s favourite comfort foods. They’re a complete pain if you don’t have a food processor with a grater attachment, but that’s what spouses are for! Most recipes contain egg, but it’s a really straightforward substitution. I do not bother peeling the potatoes and use wholemeal flour, but still, latkes are only good for your mental health.

3 or 4 medium or large potatoes (you need about half a kilo, or just over a pound in old money)
1 medium onion
2 tbl plain wholemeal flour
2 tbl gram flour (chick pea flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
black pepper to taste
frying oil

Grate the potatoes reasonably finely into a bowl – I used a Microplane “coarse” grater for this (or rather, my partner is volunteered for this task). Do not discard the liquid that comes off. Grate or mince the onion and add to the potato. I also mince the bits of potato that didn’t get grated and add that to the mixture. Mix the flours, sugar and pepper together well, making sure to be rid of all the lumps, then add to the potato and onion. Mix it all up well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Traditionally olive oil is used, allegedly in memory of the miracle at the centre of Chanukah – the day’s oil lasting 8 days. My Reform mother-in-law uses butter, (she also makes her latkes quite coarse and large, more like hash browns – heretic!); I use a blend of olive oil and margarine because it tastes good.

Drop tablespoonsful of the mixture into the oil — you should get four in an average pan — and cook the latkes over a low to medium heat until they are a lovely golden colour. Remove, drain and eat promptly. The quantities given make about 12 – you will probably need to stir the mix again between batches.

Appelmoes (UK English seems to lack a word for this stuff, but Americans call it “applesauce”. I mostly see it in the Netherlands though, where it’s really popular, and the Dutch word is the one I know) is a traditional accompaniment. I like them with a bit of black pepper, and yuzu is really good on latkes. Himself is trying to convince me that Omnomnomnom is some kind of traditional invocation, but I don’t believe him.

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