My Cooking Show Crush

Look at them. They are your friends.

I enjoy your Masterchef and your Ready Steady Cook as much as the next lass (although the latter, I must admit, only when I’m at home sick and too weak to change the channel after Oprah) but my cooking show heart belongs truly to the Cook and the Chef.

Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant. So enthusiastic. So endearing. So constantly delighted by food. From the awkwardness and slight tension of the first season, to the easy banter and teasing of the later episodes, I love them all. The cheesy opening credits. The slightly laboured segues. The way Simon will leave out the chilli so Maggie can try something, the way Maggie can’t keep her fingers out of her food. The way neither of them are very comfortable on TV, but very happy to be there.

And of course, the food. I thought I’d share a couple of great vegetarian recipes from their site: Leek and Cheese Tart and Moussaka.

Leek and Cheese Tart

(original recipe here, although as I made one main instead of five entrees, I’ve made some modifications)

  • 1 pre baked tart shell (I used short crust pasty)
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 20g butter
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 30g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 100g cheese, cubed (I used swiss, but I reckon it’d be better with goat’s)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 140ml cream
  • 2 eggs

First, if you’re using frozen pastry, blind bake it, and then leave oven at 180.

Heat butter and oil in a frypan, add the leeks and sauté for a few minutes. Season, add thyme, bay leaves and sliced potatoes. If you sliced your potatoes quite thinly, take off the heat after a minute. If they’re thicker, let them cook longer.

Arrange vegetables in tart shell, without the bay leaves.

Combine cream and eggs and pour over your veggies. Drop cubes of cheese on top, and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in oven until set, it took about 25 minutes for me. As tasty as this was for dinner, it was even nicer cold for lunch the next day. Thanks, Maggie and Simon!


(Recipe here)

I’ve never made moussaka before, but anything in which eggplant has a starring role is fine by me. Do go and check out the version on their website – it’s divine. I must admit, onion, lemon and thyme was a quiet revelation. Do make sure the fried eggplant rests on absorbent paper, though, this is quite an oil heavy dish and it can get a bit rich. To cut through the richness, I made a sweet and easy tomato sauce to have on the side. It really was a case of throwing anything that was closest into the pan, and it ended up quite a happy little accident.

Tomato and Portobello Sauce
  • 15 g butter
  • 3 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 400g tinned tomato (whole or diced, either will work)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp chilli seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Lemon

Heat the butter in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Throw in the chopped garlic, chili seeds and garam masala. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomato and cook down until thickened (about 10 minutes) and then stir through the red wine about 5 minutes before taking off the heat.

Give it a squeeze of lemon to finish, and serve with your moussaka and a light green salad. It ain't fancy, but it sure is tasty.

1 comment:

  1. I see what you mean, visiting our blog to find that you have blogged was a lovely surprise just now.

    Totally love Maggie & Simon, making Simon's thai pork/prawn eggnet thing for dinner tonight. Eggnet more likely to be big eggy round thing than actual net...