Friday, 27 July 2018

Gooseberry Sorbet

A few years ago we had the most amazing gooseberry ice cream on a cliff top in Cornwall. I can't remember exactly where we were, or what company made it, just that it was after a blazing hot morning of walking with full packs along the coastal path, and that it was the best thing I'd ever tasted (it might have been the heat, but it was pretty darn tasty). So when an allotment friend gave us a bagful of super-ripe gooseberries the other day, we decided that was what we wanted to make with them. As we're trying to eat less dairy products, we went with sorbet rather than ice cream. This takes a while to make without an ice cream maker - several hours of stirring and freezing - but it's got such an intense flavour it's definitely worth it. It's super refreshing on its own, but it would go really well with some plain yoghurt for a creamier pudding, vegan or otherwise, whatever's your bag!

                                                                                                                                                          (c) Becca Thorne 2018

Gooseberry Sorbet

1kg ripe gooseberries, blossom and stalk removed
400g caster sugar (golden's best, but white will do)
400ml water

Find a saucepan big enough to fit everything in and, over a low-medium heat, gently stir the sugar and water together until the sugar's dissolved. Add the gooseberries, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for around 5 mins, or until the gooseberries are squishy and broken apart. It won't take long.

Using a blender, blitz up the gooseberry mixture until it's super smooth. Place a sieve over a good-size bowl and pour in the mixture, a bit at a time, gently pushing it through the sieve with a wooden spoon until you have just seeds and bits of skin left in the sieve. Discard these bits, and continue until it's all sieved through. If you taste it now, you'll probably find it's a little too sweet - this is because freezing dulls sweet flavours slightly, but the sugar also stops it turning into a solid block of ice in the freezer. Cover (to keep the fruit flies away - they go nuts for this stuff) and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, tip the puree into a freezer-proof tub with a lid, and place in the freezer - or, if you've got an ice cream maker, tip it in there, follow the machine's instructions and walk away, you lucky bugger. But if, like me, it's just you and your freezer, you'll need to check on it after about an hour, when you should find it's becoming icy around the edges of the mixture. Use a fork to stir and mash these bits into the mix. Do this approx once an hour until it's more solid than not, and then let it freeze completely. If you don't do all the mashing you'll still have a tasty sorbet, but it will be full of hard, jagged ice crystals, rather than the nice, smooth texture you want. So give it a go!


Monday, 9 July 2018

A Summer of Courgettes

It's been a whole two years since I last posted here, but the past few weeks' insane courgette production has forced me to come up with so many different things to do with them, that I thought I'd share a couple of super simple, quick little courgette recipes that I've been making. You'll notice they contain almost identical ingredients, because that's what's in season right now!

I love me some courgettes, and this year I've grown two varieties - the classic, green ones you can buy in supermarkets (I think we've got 'Ambassador'), and a beautiful Italian-style, yellow, globe variety ('Floridor') which not only look amazing, they taste it too. If you pick them when they're about the size of a cricket ball, you can use them exactly as you would a standard courgette, and they're ideal for the first recipe below. If you leave them to get a bit bigger, the seeds grow too, and they become a bit more squash-like, so they're perfect for scooping out and stuffing like a marrow (I did them with a vegan mushroom stuffing, which I might also share soon), but they're so much more flavoursome than a marrow, and they haven't got that gross wet texture that marrows have.

Griddled (or BBQ'd) summer veg with basil drizzle
This first recipe is a cooked dish, but as Rowan's been away this past week I've been making myself enough to have half warm for dinner and the rest cold for lunch the next day. It's best done on a griddle pan or BBQ, to get those tasty charred lines on the veg, but a frying pan will do fine. It's delicious either way. I've been using the globe courgettes for this one, but it's just as good with normal ones sliced lengthways. It looks like a lot of steps, but it's actually dead simple.
Serves 2

for the drizzle 
A good handful of basil leaves, (approx the amount in those little supermarket bags should do it, or around 40 leaves)
1 small clove garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
approx 1tsp sea salt

for the veg
1-2 globe courgettes, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
1 red pepper, cored and quartered, then cut in half horizontally to make chunks
Handful of french beans, topped and tailed
10-12 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
10-12 pitted olives, halved (kalamata or nocellara are my favourites, but use whatever you like)
Olive oil 
Sea salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the finely chopped garlic, a pinch of sea salt and a good grind of black pepper, and set aside to allow the garlic to infuse the oil a bit while you make the drizzle and prepare the veg (this will be the oil you use to cook the veg).

Next, combine basil, garlic and lemon juice in a different bowl with the pinch of salt, and add a good slug of the nicest olive oil you've got (better olive oil = better flavour) and blitz it all up with a stick blender (or blend them in whatever manner works for you). Test the consistency - you want it wet enough to drizzle, so if it's too thick or dry, add a little more oil or even a little cold water. Cover and leave to get all delicious while you prepare and cook the vegetables.

Cut up your veg as suggested, then use a pastry brush to apply a little of your garlicky oil (try to get some of the garlic bits on there too) to one side of the courgette slices before placing each on your hot griddle pan in one layer - they all need to be touching the griddle, so you probably won't fit all the slices in at once. They should sizzle as soon as you set them down. Allow them to cook for a couple of minutes on this side, until you can turn them over and see good, dark char lines and the flesh is looking softer. You want them to be almost burned. Brush the top sides with more oil and flip them over to cook on the other side. Remove cooked slices to a  large dish or plate, and do the same with the pepper, leaving some of the oil mix to toss the beans in. You can really burn the pepper skin to get it super tasty. Cook the beans in the same way, allowing the last of the garlic bits to cook in the pan with them, until they're softened but retain just a little bite - I find shaking the pan, or stirring them, rather than trying to turn each individual bean makes things easier!

Chuck (or nicely arrange, depending on how fancy you're feeling) it all in the same dish, with all the cooked, blackened garlic bits from the pan, and add the tomatoes and olives, before drizzling with plenty of the basil dressing. Serve hot or cold with good bread to mop up the juices, or on a bed of quinoa or brown rice.


Courgettes in lemon marinade
This simple little number came about when I really had to eat some of the courgette glut while Rowan was away, but I needed something I could prepare in the evening before going to yoga, so I could eat as soon as I got back. It was a super hot day and I really didn't want to be standing over the cooker or using the oven, so I decided this might be a good way to have the courgettes raw. It's dead easy, and can be served as a courgette-only side, but I've added some suggestions to make a full meal and use up some more allotment gluts!
Serves 2

2 courgettes, thinly sliced into discs
Zest and juice of one lemon
Sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Lay your courgette slices out on a wide dish or plate, then use the fine side of a grater, or a lemon zester, to grate the lemon zest all over them. Now squeeze on the juice, ensuring you cover as much of the courgettes as you can, and sprinkle all over with a pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Cover with a pan lid or foil to keep in the moisture and keep out the fruit flies, and leave for an hour or two (no longer or it will get soggy).

When you're ready, drizzle over a little good olive oil, stir it all up and serve as is for a side dish, or wilt some spinach/chard/beet tops in a pan with olive oil, finely chopped spring onion, a pinch of salt, nutmeg and black pepper and mix together with the courgettes, some steamed broad and/or French beans, some halved cherry tomatoes and some torn basil leaves. The veg is so fresh tasting that it goes well with roasted, skin-on new potatoes - I recommend cooking them with rosemary and garlic for extra tastiness!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tree of Life Salad

An American friend recently suggested we have a two woman International Cook-Off - she sent me some salad recipes from The New American Cooking by Joan Nathan and asked me to pick one for us both to make. I chose Tree of Life Salad, a recipe inspired by a spicy dressing made at Tree of Life wellness centre in Arizona, which uses red pepper, tahini, garlic and oranges.  

I ended up changing things quite a lot - the original recipe had raisins, which I didn't fancy, and as the dressing sounded a lot like harissa I decided to use that instead, adding ginger to keep it close to the Tree of Life version. I stupidly forgot to buy oranges, so I used white wine vinegar instead and it works well, but I'll have to try the orangey version someday! I also changed the ingredients of the salad itself to include things we had: I used rocket from the garden in place of red cabbage, a yellow instead of green pepper (because green peppers are just gross unripe other peppers) and I replaced the suggested endive with fennel - completely different flavours, but I had fennel and fennel be good. In the end I was enjoying the harissa too much to add tahini, so I omitted that too. Basically this is a completely different recipe, but I think it still counts!

(sort of) Tree Of Life Salad - UK edition

Serves 2 as a side
For the harissa dressing
1 whole red pepper
2-3 long red chillies, medium heat, stalks and seeds discarded
1 large clove garlic, peeled

1 tsp caster sugar
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 thumb-size piece root ginger, peeled and very finely grated
1 tbs olive oil
1tbs white wine vinegar 

If you've got a gas hob, set the smallest burner on a medium heat and sit the whole pepper directly into the flames. Turn the pepper as the skin blisters and pops, keeping it in the flames until the skin is blackened and the flesh is softened all over (alternatively, turn the oven up high, put the pepper directly on the top shelf and bake for 10-15 minutes, turning half way through, until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft). Leave to cool then remove the stalk and seeds and cut into quarters.

Put the pepper, chillies, garlic, sugar and smoked paprika into a bowl  or food processor, with a small amount of olive oil, and blitz up til smooth. This is the harissa.

Put 3tsp harissa in a small bowl with the grated ginger, white wine vinegar and olive oil and beat together well with a fork. Set aside.

For the salad
Half a red pepper
Half a yellow pepper
1 bulb fennel
Handful rocket leaves
1 small head little gem or similar lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes

Put the rocket and lettuce leaves in a salad bowl. Slice the pepper halves into long, thin strips and place in a salad bowl. Cut the fennel in half vertically, cut off the solid bottom end and remove the outer layer and the top stalks. Slice thinly and add to the bowl. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them too.

Add a tablespoon of the dressing to the salad and stir it up to ensure everything is well coated. Add a little at a time until it's dressed to your liking, but don't over do it, you want to still be able to taste the veg.

I served my Tree of Life salad with a polenta pizza. More on that another time.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Rhubarb, Almond and Polenta Cake (gluten free)

It's been a whole year since I last posted on here, and I feel rather guilty about that. My absence can be partly blamed on my having to change the way I cook and eat thanks to IBS. I've had to cut out gluten and dairy and thus lots of my favourite foods, but over the past year I've gradually tested things out to the point that I now know I can tolerate a small amount of spelt or rye bread, can occasionally treat myself to things made with plain flour (as opposed to strong bread flours) like pastry and cakes and - perhaps there is a god - halloumi. A lot of avocados have been consumed, gluten-free breads have been tasted and rejected while gluten free pasta has been embraced whole-heartedly. Rice has been eaten in all its myriad forms and has always been scrumptious. My new favourite thing is polenta, which I'll talk about more some other time, because the other reason for my absence is also the other reason for this recipe: we bought a house and got a new allotment which, aside from an abundance of bind weed and couch grass is also rich in rhubarb.

I love me some rhubarb. I've yet to make a savoury dish from it, though I've seen plenty of good recipes, but aside from the obvious crumbles it also makes excellent ice-cream and fool and is delicious roasted with brown sugar and served with a meringue nest and some frozen yoghurt. The Guardian has a great sounding recipe for rhubarb tiramisu in their '10 Best...' collection that I really need to try, but a good old cake is often all you really need, and the texture of the polenta makes this seem lighter but way moister than your average sponge. I don't think I made this recipe up entirely, I'm sure it's come together from lots of different sources, and those quantities probably came from somewhere other than my little noggin - but I'll be damned if I can remember where. But enough piffle, here it is, rhubarb polenta cake, with ground almonds for extra moistness and lemon zest to enhance the all round rhubarbiness.* You don't have to use the xanthan gum if you don't want to, but it does help bind things together a little better than just the eggs alone. If you do want to use it and you've never heard of it before, it's a powder that you'll find in a small tub in the free-from section of supermarkets or health food shops.
*definitely not a word

Rhubarb, Almond and Polenta cake

For the rhubarb
350g rhubarb, chopped into approx 2-4cm chunks
50g soft, light brown sugar

Toss the rhubarb and sugar together in a bowl and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

For the cake
225g caster sugar
225g butter
200g ground almonds
125g polenta
3 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Heat oven to 180C, and line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper (I always grease the paper but lots of recipes say to grease the pan, do what you will).
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamed then beat the eggs in one at a time with a little of the polenta to help prevent curdling.
Stir in the rest of the polenta, the ground almonds, lemon zest and xanthan gum if using.
Drain the liquid off the rhubarb - this can be retained to use as a drizzle later if you wish - and fold the rhubarb into the cake mixture.
Spoon the mix into your cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven. Check after 40 minutes and if the top looks a little dark cover it with foil, otherwise, replace as it is and cook for another 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for at least half an hour before turning out onto a wire rack.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Veggie Paella with Asparagus

Asparagus is the tease of the veg world - it needs heaps of growing space, takes three years from planting before you can harvest a few measly tips, and when it finally arrives the season is only 6 weeks long. I made the mistake, once, of trying out-of-season asparagus from Peru, and it did not taste good for its long journey. If you've only ever eaten out-of-season asparagus and decided you didn't like it then, I beg you, try UK asparagus now, while it's in season. It's sweet and tender and so, so much better than its poor, bitter, traveller cousin.

When asparagus season is on I use it as much as I can before it's all over for another year. One of my favourites is a vegetable and goat's cheese frittata, asparagus laid out on top like a wagon wheel, browned under the grill to finish the cooking and crisp the tips. It's also great steamed and tossed into a warm pasta salad with blackened peppers, sautéed mushrooms, olives and pan-fried halloumi. But, of course, the best way to eat it is the simplest: steamed or griddled asparagus with home-made oven chips, hollandaise sauce and poached eggs for dipping. Yum.

This paella is based on a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi, which you'll find in his wonderful book, Plenty, but it's gradually changed over the years until it's become a different beast. Last night it changed again as I discovered that I didn't have any white wine (which I always use in place of Ottolenghi's sherry) and decided to use Badger Beer's Poacher's Choice instead, because we've had a bottle sitting around for weeks, left over from a selection pack. It worked perfectly, but you could substitute it with any other berry-flavoured ale, or a sweet cider.

The first good cherry tomatoes are starting to appear in shops, and the plum-types work best for this because they tend to have slightly firmer, sweeter flesh than the round varieties (though if you can get your hands on Tesco's round Sugardrops, they're possibly the best supermarket cherry toms around). Whatever variety you go for, if they're not bright red and don't smell earthy and deeply tomatoey, then it might be worth leaving them out, because those sour, orangey, unripe chaps are no good here (or anywhere).

To prepare asparagus, hold it about halfway down the stem with one hand and, with the other, gently bend it from the bottom end until it snaps. Discard the bottom - this bit is usually woody and unpleasant.

                                                                   (c) Becca Thorne 2015

Vegetable 'Paella' with Asparagus

Serves 2 (or 4 with a big salad)

4 good-sized banana shallots, halved and finely sliced
1 aubergine, quartered and cut into roughly 0.5cm slices
approx 10 chestnut mushrooms, roughly sliced
1 red pepper, cored and cut into strips
1 large clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
10 plum-type cherry tomatoes
10-12 pitted olives, halved
8 asparagus tips
1 cup paella rice (I often use arborio if it's all I've got)
1/3 bottle Badger Poacher's choice (or other fruity ruby beer)
1 pint hot veg stock, made with 2 tsp Bouillon powder, or 1 veg stock cube
2 generous tsp smoked paprika
sprinkling of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/3 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat approx 1tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan (or a paella pan, if you've got one - you lucky devil), over a low-medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened and starting to brown.
2.Turn the heat up to medium and add the aubergines, with a pinch of salt, and cook for a few more minutes until just stating to soften and soak up oil, then add the mushrooms, pepper and garlic. Add more oil if the pan is starting to look too dry, and allow the veg to cook down, stirring every so often to prevent burning.
3. Once the veg is mostly cooked, tip in the rice and stir to combine and coat it in oil. Add the Poacher's Choice and allow to bubble and reduce away.
4. When the liquid is almost all gone, stir in the spices and pour in all the stock. Turn the heat down a little to prevent the stock boiling off too quickly, and check every couple of minutes to ensure the bottom's not burning.
5. After about 5 minutes the liquid should be thickened and the rice nearly cooked (to test the rice, bite one of the grains. It's at the right point when the rice is fat and swollen, soft on the outside but the inside is still just firm enough to get stuck in your teeth). Space the asparagus out evenly across the top of the paella. Sprinkle over the tomatoes and olives, turn the heat down and cover with a lid, a large plate or some foil. Leave for another 2-5 minutes or until the liquid is almost completely gone, the rice is soft and you can easily slide the point of a sharp knife into the asparagus stems.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, with lemon wedges if you wish, making sure everyone gets a fair share of asparagus.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Creamy Vegan Korma

All that sunshine last week tricked me into turning off the heating and had me seriously considering putting my slippers away for summer. These last couple of days though, I'm exceedingly glad I kept them out - my little tootsies are freezing! I'm rather worried about my poor tomato plants out there in the cold and rain too, but hopefully they've toughened up enough to cope (be strong, little guys!).

I've recently developed a very inconvenient intolerance to lactose that has to be ignored whenever there's halloumi around, but I'm being much more sensible with the rest of my diet and this korma is a prime example. Korma's traditionally made with yoghurt or cream, but this vegan version uses coconut milk instead. Not only is it far easier to make (no worrying about curdling) and healthier, but personally I think it creates a richer, deeper flavour too - hoorah!

                                                                                                                                                                   (c) Becca Thorne 2015

Many of these spices can be found in the 'world foods' sections of larger supermarkets, and you'll find the more common spices there too, at a cheaper price and larger quantity than in the regular herbs & spices aisles, but I've added substitutions for those things you might not be able to get hold of. Cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, is a larger, rougher, more obviously bark-like type of cinnamon than is commonly used in the UK. It smells like my late-grandad's old pipe cabinet - woody, a bit like an old spirit barrel and ever-so slightly tobacco-y. It's got a deeper, less sweet and less obvious flavour than true cinnamon, and if you've ever unwittingly bitten into a piece of bark in a South Indian meal, it was probably cassia. If you can't find it you can substitute regular cinnamon, but be aware that it's got a much stronger, sweeter flavour than cassia, so use less. You could replace the ground almonds with flaked, or with cashew nuts if you prefer, or omit them entirely, but I think they add a little extra depth and richness to the sauce.

Creamy Vegan Korma

serves 2-4

for tempering:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds (use yellow if you can't find black)
3" stick cassia bark, broken (or a 1-2" stick regular cinnamon)
5 green cardamom pods

for the korma:
1 large onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 aubergine, diced into 1-2cm cubes
2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Bouillon powder (or half a veggie stock cube, crumbled)
1 tin coconut milk
2-3 tsp ground almonds
good handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
boiling water

In a large, heavy bottomed pan, heat approx 1 tbs oil (eg. olive, groundnut, coconut) over a med-high heat. Add the tempering ingredients and shake gently to distribute. Temper until the seeds start popping, then add the onion and cook until beginning to soften. Add the aubergine and cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until it's obviously absorbing oil and changing colour. Add the cauliflower, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric and garam masala and continue cooking, stirring every so often, for a few more minutes until everything is well coated in the spices. Add a little more oil if necessary, to help create a very slight paste. Next add the Bouillon/stock and enough boiling water to reach about half way up the veg; don't completely cover it with water. Allow to bubble away vigorously for approx 5 mins, or until the cauliflower is becoming soft and the water is mostly gone, then add the coconut milk and ground almonds, turn down the heat a little, and cook until the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove the bark and as many of the cardamom pods as you can find. Season with salt to taste, stir in the chopped coriander and serve with brown basmati, pilau or some flatbreads to soak up all the lovely sauce.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Thai-Style Coconut Curry

I'd planned to post here a lot more frequently than I have been so far. Other projects, and a nasty case of illustrator's-block, have been getting the better of me. In the run-up to, and just after, Christmas, I was preparing new work for a joint-show with my brother at Dean Heritage Centre in the Forest of Dean. That work is now on sale at DUKKI in the Broadmarsh Centre here in Nottingham, along with my handprinted cotton totes and lots of mounted original prints. It's up there for one more week, so if you're in the area please do go and check it out. They also sell the work of local artist Ian Jones, and the shop is a treasure trove of Nottingham-themed fun. I've been trying to devote the rest of my time to getting my children's book going, but my brain seems to be shutting down on that right now, so I thought it might be time to do something a little different to get the old creative juices flowing. And that, of course, means food.

This Thai style curry is incredibly simple and very quick to make and can be quite convenient too, if you keep the staple ingredients on-hand. Ginger and chillies, for example, can be bought in bulk from the market (you can often find bowlsful for £1 each) and then frozen. Ginger should be broken or cut into thumb-size pieces before freezing, so you don't need to defrost it before use; the skin slices off easily and much more thinly than from fresh, and the naked root can then be grated finely. Chilli juice gets onto your fingers far less when the fruit is cut frozen, so there's much less risk of rubbing it into your eyes, and the seeds are easier to remove that way too, if that's your bag. Lemongrass is quite easy to come by these days, but for convenience you can buy it as a puree in jars, which can then be kept in the fridge. My top-tip for coconut milk? Buy it from the 'world foods' section of the supermarket (or from a specialist Asian-food shop), where you'll often see it far cheaper than on the 'standard' aisles. The same goes for spices, rice, lentils, tinned pulses, noodles and non-wheat flours like gram and rice.

                                                                                                                                                                   (c) Becca Thorne 2015

The veg I've used here are just what I had on hand the other night, but you can use pretty much anything depending on what's available or what you want to use up. Other veg that work: Celeriac, finely sliced; frozen peas (add these with the coconut milk towards the end); sugar snap or mange touts; french beans; carrots, julienned; courgette; pretty much any brassica..... I wouldn't recommend tomatoes or parsnips, but if you can stir-fry it you can chuck it in here. If you're not using a 'harder' veg, like sprouts/cauli/broccoli that might require a bit of extra cooking, you can skip the water.

Thai-Style Coconut Curry

Serves 2-3

For the puree
2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves discarded, stalks roughly chopped (or 2 heaped teaspoons lemongrass puree)
1 red chilli, roughly chopped (pick the right spice level for you. I use medium hot and leave the seeds in)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Stalks and half the leaves of 1 bunch coriander (standard supermarket pack)
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Tablespoon light soy sauce

For the curry
1 aubergine, cubed
approx 1/2 pack chestnut mushrooms, halved
8-10 sprouts, halved
Half a cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 red pepper, cored, quartered and finely sliced
4 spring onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 tin coconut milk

Place all puree ingredients in a bowl, along with a little of the coconut milk (liquid only, but reserve the cream) and blitz to a smooth paste. Set aside.

In a good-sized wok, heat approx 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive, you could use any other oil of not-too strong a flavour - groundnut, rapeseed, coconut) and add the cauliflower and sprouts. Fry on a high heat, tossing frequently, for a couple of minutes until they start to brown a little, then add water to about 1cm deep. Keep over a high heat and allow the water to vigorously boil off until the veg is almost soft. Pour off any left-over water, add a little extra oil if needed and throw in all the rest of the veg except the spring onions. Toss or stir frequently until everything is just cooked and then turn down the heat to med-low and stir in the puree. Allow to cook briefly, stirring frequently to prevent burning, and then pour in the remaining coconut milk, including any solid cream, and the spring onions. Allow to bubble gently for a few minutes while you finely chop the remaining coriander leaves, then stir that in too. Remove from the heat. It should still be quite wet and very fragrant. Taste the sauce and add a touch more soy sauce if you feel it's necessary, but maintain the freshness of the puree flavours.

Serve immediately over noodles.