Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Thai mushroom and peanut noodles

May 8, 2021

Thai mushroom and peanut noodles Riverford vegan recipe box.

Ingredients: bunch of spring onions, garlic clove, 200ml can of coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, star anise, Thai red curry power, red pepper, chestnut mushrooms, spring greens, cherry tomatoes, peanut butter, noodles, optional red chilli pepper.

I will often substitute. For the red pepper a Romano red pepper from last week, for the cherry tomatoes overripe cherry tomatoes. I also substituted crunchy peanut butter as already had.

One medium, one large saucepan required.

Slice red pepper, mushrooms, garlic clove, red chilli pepper (deseed if too hot), slice spring onions, (green ends save for decoration of finished dish).

Water set to boil in the medium saucepan, to later add the noodles.

The method I changed. Instead of adding to large saucepan and frying, which I find ruins a saucepan, splosh of extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil, add dollop of coconut milk, half of the spring onions, garlic, Thai curry paste, curry powder, fry for about a minute, add remaining coconut milk.

Empty contents of frying pan into large saucepan.

Add star anise.

Add empty tin full of hot water to frying pan, swill around then empty into large saucepan.

Add large dollop of crunchy peanut butter to the large saucepan, stir.

Add the sliced mushrooms, tomatoes and red pepper to the large saucepan.

Add noodles to boiling water in medium saucepan.

Three minutes later add the spring greens.

After a further three minutes, add contents of medium saucepan to the large saucepan.

Serve, add green of spring onions for decorations.

Very tasty, goes well with a glass of red wine.

If I was to modify, add florets of broccoli instead of spring greens, add half a handful of raw peanuts.

Cautionary note: Despite my precautions, contents stuck and burnt to the bottom of the large saucepan. Essential to stir periodically.

Riverford delivery

May 8, 2021

Each Riverford delivery has proved to be different.

Order a recipe box late Wednesday at the latest and delivered Friday morning.

Order more than one recipe box and receive a discount.

I learnt recently, can also order fruit and vegetables, not restricted to a veg box, but a minimum £15 order.

More recently I learnt, can add to existing order for a recipe box, thus not limited by the £15 minimum order.

My first order, two recipe boxes to obtain a discount. One large box, partitioned in two. Top half the meat to go straight into the fridge, the bottom half two more boxes containing vegetables and other ingredients.

My delivery of fruit and vegetables, an open box with the fruit and vegetables inside.

My next delivery, an open box with fruit and vegetables, a smaller box with side by side, meat and a box with the vegetable and ingredients.

Overnight, leave out empty boxes, these are collected when delivery arrives in the morning.

Thursday night I did not leave out empty boxes due to heavy rain.

Friday morning, an open box with vegetable order, a bag containing a recipe box for a meal, Thai mushroom and peanut noodles.

Sirloin steak beef stroganoff

May 2, 2021

Two sirloin steaks, sliced into strips by the butcher.

Prepare everything, new potatoes scraped, sugar snap peas topped and tail,ed, mushrooms, red onion, yellow pepper sliced.

Cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil in a hot pan, strips of sirloin steal added. Salt and pepper and paprika. I did in two batches, thinking would not fit in the pan, would have. Brown each side, remove from pan and keep warm.

Splash of oil, add mushrooms, yellow pepper, red onion. a few minutes.

Return the strips of sirloin steak.

After a few minutes, splosh of red wine.

Then add creme fraiche and butter.

Simmer whilst waiting for new potatoes.

Pod peas, cook for five minutes.

Add to plates.

Hunter’s chicken stir-fry

April 16, 2021

In France a chicken chasseur, in Italy chicken cacciatore. The names as varied as the ingredients and method of preparation, strips of chicken breast or whole chickens thighs, but in essence saute the chicken, then it morphs into a hot pot or stew with the addition of mushrooms, vegetables, spices and wine.

The French explanation, hunting in the forest for chickens (sounds implausible hunting for chickens, wild boar yes, chickens no), whilst out in the forest, forage for mushrooms, when arrive back home, hand to the chef who will pop in a pot with whatever is available.

In this recipe, we start as stir-fry, then simmer in wine and a little water. Served with brown basmati rice.

Brown basmati rice simmer for twenty minutes.

Slice cherry tomatoes in half, slice one red onion, slice chestnut mushrooms.

Slosh of extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil in a large flying pan, add strips of chicken breast, sear both sides.

Remove chicken, pop on a plate.

Slosh more oil, add tomatoes, onion, chopped up ginger, mushrooms, stir-fry.

Add thyme and bay leaf.

Add the seared chicken.

Sir fry for a few minutes.

Add wine, chicken bouillon, tomato puree, tarragon, parsley, water if needed, simmer for several minutes.

Serve with the basmati rice.


One change I would make, once in season, new potatoes to replace the rice.

Examples of variations of the dish, Italian and French. 

Spinach tomato and butterbean curry

April 15, 2021

Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, cut side upwards in roasting tray, slosh of extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil, oven fan 200C for twenty minutes.

Peel and slice garlic and ginger, deseed and slice red chilli pepper, chop coriander, in pot with with oil, simmer for about a minute.

Add to the pot contents of curry spice pot.

Note: Contents of curry pot spices not curry powder.

  • 1/2 tbsp dried turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

Add to the pot, rinsed butterbeans.

Add to the pot, coconut milk. Rinse tin, add a little water.

Simmer for around ten minutes.

In small saucepan half a mug of basmati rice, a mug of water, add cinnamon stick and two star anise, a pinch of salt, simmer for around ten minutes.

Remove from oven, add tomatoes to curry saucepan.

Rinse and add handfuls of spinach to the curry saucepan.

Remove cinnamon stick and the two star anise, drain the rice and serve.

Add contents of curry pot to the rice.

Tasty, but and a big but, somewhat bland and insipid. I think mistake was to add water to the curry.

A vegan dish, but I felt missing something. Maybe meat.

Paprika beef with wild garlic and mushrooms

April 14, 2021

Potatoes scrubbed, cut smaller, pan of slightly salted boiling water, simmer for 20 minutes

Mushrooms sliced, popped in a frying pan with slosh of extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil and chopped thyme.

Escalopes of beef thinly sliced, mushrooms removed from the pan, beef added, another slosh of oil.

Beef seared both sides, paprika added, a little salt, once seared and brown, mushrooms back in the pan.

Add to pan, wild garlic, thyme.

Add to pan, crème fraiche.

Simmer for around five minutes, then ready to serve.


Suggestions: Wait until new potatoes and fresh peas in season, for the cream could add Greek yoghurt, sirloin steak cut into strips.

Jamie Oliver a useful guide (though not the same).

Beef mushroom and creme fraiche stroganoff

March 24, 2021

Slightly followed the Riverford recipe but guided by Jamie Oliver.

Splash of cold-pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil, sliced mushrooms, added to hot pan.

Then take out of the pan, add strips of beef.

Brown both sides of the strips of beef, return to the pan the mushrooms, then add the other ingresses, white wine splosh of hot water, simmer, add creme fraiche.

For the mashed potatoes I cheated. Colcannon mashed potatoes from M&S.

Plate the mash potatoes, add contents of the pan.

No resemblance to beef or mushroom stroganoff nevertheless tasty.

I only used about half of the cabbage, the creme fraiche, together with the potatoes, save for another dish.

Green Thai Pork and Lemongrass

March 22, 2021

One of two dishes from Riverford

Opening the box, no lemongrass. I decided to go ahead anyway.

More complicated than I anticipated, though by no means difficult. More a case of unfamiliarity.

Prepped everything before cooking.

Basmati rice, about two-thirds of a mug, added a mug and a half of boiling water, brought to the boil and left to simmer for twenty minutes.

Medium hot pan, splash of extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil. Add minced pork, brown.

Slowly add the remainder of ingredients, all finely chopped. But first add the Thai paste. Only one sachet. Two were in the box.

Required only half a tin of coconut milk, but what to do with half a can? Added the whole can.

Slowly simmer.

Drain the rice, add to plate, add everything from the pan.

I expected a disaster, turned out quite well. Very tasty.

The absence of lemongrass? The difference I do not know.

I have to admit, no resemblance to any Thai dish I have eaten.


March 19, 2021

Riverford is a collective of organic farmers and growers, originally a veg box scheme, now also deliver recipe boxes.

The first thing notice with Riverford is the level of professionalism, cf amateurish Mindful Chef.

Order before 2345 Wednesday night, will be delivered Friday. When on Friday depends on the route taken. What is on offer changes each week.

Order more than one recipe, and a discount kicks in. Free delivery. Mindful Chef no discount for additional dishes, obliged to order at least three, with Riverford can order a single dish and still get free delivery.

Unlike Mindful Chef, Riverford does not default to subscription scam.

Riverford delivery is by their own drivers from a local farm, the route determined to minimise fuel consumption.

Today, it was drizzling with rain all morning. Delivery instructions followed, leave on a bench at the rear of the property. A neat touch, enclosed in a plastic bag to keep dry. Contrast Mindful Chef, cowboy courier service DPD, delivery instructions ignored, dumped on back doorstep in the pouring rain during Storm Christoph, then lied where left. Found four hours later, one soggy box.

The Riverford box impressive, clearly a lot of thought has gone into its design. Holes in the side to enable easy to lift and carry. Lid tucked in, no sticky plastic tape. Inside, at the top the cool items, wrapped in sheep’s wool, not until I looked later, ice to keep contents cool, below a separate area with a card partition, vegetables and dried goods neatly packed. Contrast with Mindful Chef, stuck down with plastic tape, everything appeared to be tossed in, overpackaging, obscene use of plastic.

Riverford a couple of items, for example the meat, plastic packaging, but since January, plant-based biodegradable plastic for their vegetables, but in my box, spring greens and cabbage loose.

The quality of what was inside the box excellent, organic, fresh and locally sourced. The meat details of source, when packed, when slaughtered, with tracking codes. Mindful Chef, not organic, not locally sourced, not quality and too often substitution with inferior produce.

Inside two recipes for the two dishes ordered. Clear instructions, also mention of what you may need from the kitchen. What I would like to see, the recipe before ordering, though having said that, far more information provided than by Mindful Chef. Contrast with Mindful Chef, instruction are not at all clear have to read several times, and often plain wrong.

Cost wise, more or less the same for a meal for two, the big difference, Riverford far better value for money, organic fresh quality produce.

The packaging will be collected when Riverford next deliver. I only wish I had taken more care when opening the box.

The proof of the pudding is in the cooking and eating. But so far very impressed.

Two dishes ordered

  • Green Thai Pork & Lemongrass
  • Beef, Mushroom & Creme Fraiche Stroganoff

I have never before attempted either a Thai dish or stroganoff, it is going to be very interesting if not challenging.

The one minor criticism, a tiny bottle, cf a miniature, of white wine. I would rather have gone out and bought a bottle of wine wine, or paid extra and received half a bottle of white wine.

A veg box scheme I think an excellent concept, though I can never justify the demand. A recipe box I find hard to justify, if cannot get out, then maybe, but for me, the opportunity to try something new.

Riverford B Corp Certified, probably not necessary but well deserved. Mindful Chef B Corp Certified, which makes a mockery of B Corp Certification and renders it yet another worthless certification scam to greenwash Big Business.

Riverford a collective of organic farmers and growers that sustains the planet, Mindful Chef owned by a rapacious global corporation that trashes the planet and tramples over local communities.

— to be continued —-

Chicken thighs on skewers

March 11, 2021

From family butcher, ask to wrap four chicken thighs in streaky bacon.

Potatoes dug out from the garden.

Mixed vegetables, red, yellow and green peppers, red onion, courgette.

Overripe cherry tomatoes.

The potatoes, par boil. for ten minutes, cut into slices.

The vegetables, can buy individually. Easier buy prepackaged Mediterranean roast vegetables from M%S. Remove cherry tomatoes, save for a salad. Slice everything in half.

Place vegetables and par boiled potatoes in a roasting pot. A dash of cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil or extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. Add a tangerine (or similar).

Push two skewers through two of the chicken thighs. Repeat with the other two chicken thighs.

Place skewered chicken thighs over the pot. Ideally will be suspended over the veg and potatoes.

Place in a fan assisted oven at 200C. Cook for an hour. Turn the chicken thighs half way through, ie after 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken thighs from the skewers. One from each pair of skewers, save to eat cold another day.

Plate the vegetables and potatoes. From the pan, pour the juices over the vegetables and potatoes.

The chicken should be cooked, the bacon crispy.

Third variation,  the best by far.

First attempt, Cooked the chicken for 45 minutes. Not long enough. A mix of potatoes and over-ripe cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes dropped in boiling water for a minute, popped out of their skins.

Second attempt. Chicken cooked for an hour. Tomatoes sliced in half.

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