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Main Meals

Main Meals

Corn and rice there is a wide choice of wholegrain cereals available in health food shops. From millet, barley, spelt, amaranth, quinoa and many other grains such as bulgur and couscous, as well as the delicious oriental grains from hard wheat, e.g. semolina, all extend the palette. The preparation of grains is simpler than those who do not use them believe. As a general rule for grains and rice: put one part grain + two parts liquid (always by volume, not by weight!) into cold water, leave to cook, covered, on a low heat until it begins to swell. Never lift the lid! If the lowest heat on the cooker is still too hot, put the grains in the oven to swell at 100 °C. Buckwheat is cooked in the same way as rice. Drying the grains intensifies their favour. In the drying process, a proportion of the starch in the types of sugar is converted making it slightly sweet to taste and easier to digest. To dry, the grains are dampened slightly and on a low heat in a non-stick frying pan, are once more slowly dried for half to one hour.

Natural rice (wholegrain rice) is superior to white, i.e. polished rice, the vitamin content being two to three times higher. This is due to the nutritional fibres, mineral substances and B-vitamins that are contained in the hard husks and silver skins that surround the grain. Both are, however, far removed from polished rice.

Bouillons, juices and wine For the preparation of juicy pot roasts and fine sauces, liquid is needed to finish off the roast or for the cooking of vegetables, meat and fish. You may like to use wine to extract the delicate favours from the ingredients and from the bottom of the pot. The alcohol in wine is mostly absorbed during cooking. If you do not wish to use alcohol, you can avoid it in recipes marked with ‘according to taste’ or use a substitute. In place of white wine, you could use alcohol free cider or Verjus. Apple juice, white or red grape juice offers a liquid substitute for port wine. Red wine is more difficult to substitute because in most cases undesirable sweetness remains when red grape juice is used. In all cases, simply increase the amount of bouillon used.

A good vegetable bouillon such as A.Vogel Plantaforce is an excellent base for soups, stews and braising recipes. It is also useful for cooking rice such as in risotto and dough products as well as in the preparation of vinaigrettes, cold and warm sauces. In more refined cooking, above all for sauces of particular depth and sophistication e.g. the recipe ‘Braised Mushrooms’, you need an intense, dark vegetable stock that can be made in bulk and frozen in portions.

Basic Recipe for Dark Vegetable Stock: Dice 200 g carrots, 200 g celery, 100 g leek and 100 g onions and mix with olive oil. Roast for approximately 20 minutes on moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to colour. Add 1 tbsp tomato puree and cook briefy. Add 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves, 1 tbsp peppercorns. Add 200 ml red wine and leave to cook. Add 1.5 litres water and with lid on, leave to simmer gently for about 2 hours. Drain and measure liquid. Add 1 tsp Herbamare per litre. Makes approximately 1 litre stock.

Spicy flans and quiches There is even a dough that provides a base suitable for savoury cuisine. It is easy to make, and no butter, eggs or milk are required for it. Instead cheese and wine are used. The cheese, depending on its age, gives the dough a more distinctive favour and in doing so, gives the fan or quiche that certain something. Depending on the season, other ingredients can be used as a topping in place of the pumpkin and chestnut, e.g. beetroot and pecan nuts or leek and sweet potatoes. Fine combinations can be made from radishes, pears and Gorgonzola or Swiss chard, apple and chestnuts.

Basic recipe for cheese-olive oil dough: For a 28 cm dish, mix 50 ml white wine with ¼ tsp Herbamare Original and 80 ml of olive oil in a shaker; wine can be replaced by water. Add 175 g wholegrain four and 50 g finely grated Gruyère and combine to form a soft dough. If necessary, add more four. Cover in clingflm and put into the refrigerator for an hour to cool. For a smaller 20 cm dish, reckon on about half the amount of ingredients.

Salt, herbal salt and kelp Salt is a taste enhancer that can in some ways make the taste nerves addictive, in that it can increase the desire for salt. However, it is sensible to keep an eye on salt consumption, for example by increasing the use of fresh herbs or spicy seasoning in order to keep the amount of salt down. Tasty and good in content, natural, unrefined and unbleached sea salt is far superior to industrially manufactured salt since it is has more minerals and trace elements (calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc.). A.Vogel Herbamare is made from such natural sea salt and, due to its proportion of freshly harvested herbs and vegetables, is an ideal way to reduce salt consumption.

It is particularly tasty and, in addition, contains the sea alga, kelp, which provides a natural source of iodine. Kelp is an iodine and potassium rich seaweed, which belongs to the brown or large algae and grows in the underwater forests, provided that the water is clear, cold, shallow and rich in nutrients. Kelp is also available as a liquid seasoning (A.Vogel Kelpamare and resembles a dark soy sauce in appearance. It surpasses soy sauce both in taste and quality. Herbamare is also available as a low sodium diet salt based on potassium and magnesium chloride instead of sea salt; it is also available in several forms from mild to spicy.

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