Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Menu: 25-2-14

B;  toast and pate
D:  Lasagne with garlic bread and salad followed by yoghurt
S:  roasted soup

Monday, 24 February 2014

Menu: 24-2-14

B:  Granola with yoghurt and honey
D: chicken pie, peas and beans followed by yogurt
S:  French onion soup with bread and butter, tea loaf.

Playtime fruit

Recipe: tea loaf

This is a golden oldie but I dug some out of the freezer for lunch yesterday and it was so nice I thought I'd share.  It's a doddle and, as it has no fat, one can fool oneself although I'm afraid the sugar places it in the 'not terribly healthy' category!

340g/12 oz mixed dried fruit, washed.
229mls/7 1/2 fl oz strained cold tea (quite strong)
114g/4 oz demerara sugar
230g/8 oz self raising flour
1 egg

Place sugar, tea and fruit in a bowl, mix well, cover and leave overnight.
Next day, add flour and egg, mix well and place in 2 lb loaf tin.
Bake at 350 F / 180C for 1 1/4 hours or until well done.  If necessary, cover during the last part of baking.
Turn out onto cooling tray.

Freezes well.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Recipe: roasted red pepper, tomato and vegetable soup with lentils (roasted soup for short): reasonably frugal

. . . using what I had in the fridge and garden

Ingredients to make at least five portions:
1 leek, washed, topped and tailed and cut into chunks.
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters
1 sweet potato, peeled and chunked
1 medium carrot, topped and tailed and cut into chunks.
some celery (I guess it was about one rib but I cut it across the top)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
some olive oil (or other oil)
some herbs (whatever you fancy) and/or spices (ditto).  I used smoked paprika and mixed herbs
vegetable stock
a handful of lentils

I also added sun dried tomatoes in oil and some sun dried tomato paste because I had some but I wouldn't have otherwise.  It does make it taste nice though.

Put all the veg into a roasting dish, add a good glug of oil, mix well and pop into the oven to roast.  You want some charry bits for flavour.
When the veg is all soft, add some hot veg stock and let it soak to lift off all the lovely roasted bits, then scrape into a saucepan.  Add the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, ground pepper and lentils with some seasonings, herbs, spices, etc.  Heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked, then blitz well until really smooth.  Add more water if it's too thick  (I also added some milk to make it 'creamy'), check seasonings and adjust if necessary.
Reheat, serve and enjoy.

Really, really delicious!

Recipe: sort of French onion soup

I've never made French onion soup, not ever.  There's a confession for you.  However, I had a load of onions that needed using before they sprouted so I thought I'd have a go.  There's a whole lot of recipes out there, all saying different things but basically it's onions, fat, stock, maybe some wine and flour, plus cheese melted on bread as a topping.

I had all those things but not necessarily authentic versions but you know me - have a go regardless is my motto.

So I sliced up a lot of onions, browned them off in oil and butter and then popped the pan into the oven on a low heat to simmer and soften for ages because I couldn't be bothered to keep stirring them on the hob.  Somehow you don't seem to need to stir so much in the oven.  At first they tasted bitter but as they slowly 'roasted' the sweetness started developing.

Then the pan went back on the hob for a bit more heat.  I think that's to caramelise although I reckon there's a very fine line between that and burning - a line I didn't cross yesterday, thank goodness.

I've had some chicken bones simmering in the slow cooker for several days now and the resulting stock is delicious so I used that.  Some recipes say beef stock, some say any stock, one says use Marigold stock, so I reckoned that as this was my version, chicken stock would be fine.  It was.  Unfortunately and idiotically, I added too much flour so had to add some water and then a bit of 'stock pot' stock (the bought, commercial kind) - darn it!

So I stirred in (too much) flour and cooked it out before adding stock and some white wine (left over from yesterday) and the extra water and flavouring, stirring madly until it came to a simmer.  Then I popped on the lid and let it continue simmering for a while, just like the recipes said.  Then I tasted it.

You know, for an ad hoc effort with a bit of a disaster in the middle, it didn't half taste good.  It wasn't dark, of course, it was light in colour and I didn't do the cheese on toast I just popped in some grated cheese but - wow!  Accompanied by a glass of white wine it really tasted rather wonderful.

There are, obviously, things to improve.  I think the onions need longer; they were mostly soft but there was the occasional harder bit that might not have been there with another 15 mins.  I might  try using Thermione for that next time.  The goof up with the flour was silly and unnecessary.  Maybe, next time, I shall try to do it properly - I have some beef bones in the freezer to make some stock.   And at some point I ought to make it with vegetable stock, just to see, because Beth can't have any otherwise.

In the meanwhile, I have another bowlful to either enjoy today or maybe tomorrow for tea.

I think I shall have to call it Chelmsford Onion Soup!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Delia's Chicken Basque

I know it's a very old recipe, I know it's not new to many people, but I made this yesterday (again) and it's wonderful.
I won't post the recipe itself as it can be found on Delia's brilliant site but it is well worth making.  It's so easy.  I has some chorizo in the freezer and some sun dried tomatoes in the fridge so it was half way to being a store cupboard recipe.  I thought I had chicken in the freezer but couldn't find it, which was somewhat annoying, so I bought some chicken thighs (good value and tastier than breasts)
I did add some mushroom and some peas (just because I could and they are tasty) and I used smoked paprika.  The rest was really just following the recipe.

I made half the amount, a friend and I ate ourselves silly with it, she took a portion home for her other half and there's still a portion (sans chicken) for me for today.  I might have it with some ham as I have ham in the fridge.

Anyway, here's the link and a picture borrowed from Delia.  Well worth looking at.

 Chicken Basque

Monday, 17 February 2014

Recipe: Cheese and paprika rolls

250g flour - I used up the remains of a bag of plain flour and topped it up with strong flour about 150g and 100g
a heaped half tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
a very good pinch smoked paprika
some oil (not as much as usual because oul will come out of the cheese)
160mls water

a good handful of grated strong cheese - I've worked out that I used about 80g.

Method - the usual way:
Mix up all the ingredients apart from the cheese and kneed until the dough is stretchy.
Rise in an oiled bowl, covered, until doubled in size.
Knock back, folding in the cheese as you do so until it is well distributed.
shape into rolls.  I rolled them into 'sausages' and coiled them round, like a tear and share.  Place on an oiled baking sheet or cover the sheet with parchment first
Cover and prove until risen again.

Bake in the oven on in a halogen oven at around 180C.  About halfway through, sprinkle some more grated cheese over the top.
Just before the end, you may need to turn the rolls over to avoid the breadmaker's equivalent of a soggy bum, especially if you use a halogen oven.

They're lovely and I must experiment with different flavours.  Goodness knows, I've been baking for long enough, I ought to be more experimental.

I actually used Thermione and next time I will try adding the cheese at the beginning so it gets chopped and thoroughly incorporated into the dough.  I think that will work well.

This isn't extremely frugal as such because of the cheese, although I used some that had been reduced in Morrison's so it cost 50p.  The plain flour was value and I already had the smoked paprika.  It made about 11 very little rolls so I would say about five proper sized rolls.  Actually, that's not so bad, is it, given that they were highly superior to those cheese rolls you get in supermarkets!

And - sorry - I forgot to take a photo of the finished product!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

B:  apple crumble granola with yogurt
D:  spag bol with salad and garlic bread, followed by yogurt
S:  not sure, probably ryvita and cheese!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Menu: 10-2-14

B:  apple crumble granola with natural yogurt
D:  tomato and red pepper quiche, chips and salad, followed by yogurt
S:  crispbread with peanut butter. fresh fruit

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Recipe: Jack's apple crumble granola: frugal

I said I would be catching up a bit over the weekend, didn't I?

This recipe is on Jack's site, here.  I won't reproduce it here, so please do go over and look, but will just say that I reduced the cinnamon a bit (about 3/4 tsp instead of a whole tsp) and I added a good drizzle of maple syrup because I wanted to.

The aroma in the house is wonderful, mixing as it does with freshly baked bread and I can see I will just HAVE to buy a bigger kilner jar to hold the granola I make.  It just looks so good in a kilner jar - wholesome, countryish and farm kitchen.  Luckily Morrisons have them at not an incredibly outrageous price.

See what I mean?  Kilners are the way to go!
It is scrummy, tastes a lot more expensive than it actually is (it's actually very reasonable, frugal, in fact) and is a very flexible recipe.  I might use pear next time and come the summer maybe some squished peach or apricot.
I think it would also be gorgeous as an apple crumble topping.

It's supposed to make six portions but I think for me it will be more like eight portions with yoghurt on top.

Thanks, Jack.  Your recipes are almost always wonderful and I can't wait for the book to arrive.

Halogen bread

After following up on Diane's idea (on Good Morning, Early Readers) about using the oven as a proving oven and finding mine was too hot, I tried her other idea of using my halogen oven and it worked a treat for both rising and proving.  I set it to halfway between off and 'defrost' which was just right.

I baked the loaf in the oven because I like to give the loaf a good blast of heat and then turn the oven down to 180 for the rest of the time.

However, it then occurred to me that perhaps I could leave the loaf in Handy Andy and just turn up the temperature (remembering to remove the cling film first!!).    Heating is extremely fast in a halogen oven, after all.  So I gave it a go using 1lb loaf amounts  as for above (250g flour, heaped half tsp yeast, ditto of salt, a splodge of oil and about 160 mls water), the reason being if it didn't work there would be minimal wastage.

Did it work?

Well yes.  I have a decent looking loaf (as decent as mine usually are), it's risen well, it's possibly a bit darker on the top than the one done in the oven but not unduly so.  I'm sure it was cheaper than having the oven on for just one loaf (or two loaves as I would normally do), especially if I did the rising and proving the normal way.

As for the taste and the crumb - I'll have to wait as I want them both to be cool.  I will add more later (if I remember).
And then they will be frozen with one bit cut off!

And by the way - those odd 'lines' are because I always use a paper liner nowadays.  The chances of anything sticking are about zero!

Edited just before 18:00 to say both are delicious, both have a great texture and I guess it is Handy Andy for me from now on unless the oven has to be on for something else as well!

Menu: Sunday

Sorry about the gaps.  I thought it was getting a bit dull but a friend has been most encouraging so I'm back with the menus!

B:  bacon.  Just bacon.
L:  I have bacon fat in the pan so, bad me, it's fried egg on fried bread, one of my all time faves.  Toast just doesn't wing it in the same way, unfortunately.
D:  has to be something comparatively virtuous to make up for bad lunch so as I have salad stuff in the fridge it has to be salad, probably with tuna.  And fresh bread!   Mmmmmmm  And yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup.  Double mmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Menu: 6-2-14

Heer we go with another day's eating.  I wish I had time for recipes and was hoping to try a few but we have all been loaded with rather a lot of weekend school work so I doubt I will have much time really.  Ah well, half term is coming.

B:  toast with dripping
D: salmon fish cakes with salad and wedges followed by yogurt or fruit
S:  Soup!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Menu: 5-2-14

B:  Bacon and fried bread.  Most unhealthy but somehow the weather demands it!  (that's my excuse anyway)
D:  Roast turkey, veg, yorkshire and roast pots followed by probaby jelly and fruit because it sounds lovely!
S:  Soup (again)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Menu: 4-2-14

B:  chicken sarnie.  Odd, I know, but I have chicken left over from the weekend roast..
D: Jacket potato with cheese and salad followed by yogurt.
D:  Soup (yum)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Recipe: Jack's slow cooker Romesco sauce: pretty frugal

Well, I made it and it's delish so I'm sharing.

Image copied from Jack's Blog, see link below.
I won't reproduce the recipe here because it's Jacks and here's the link, but I will say that I added a squirt of tomato puree and I zizzed it to smooth because I fancied it like that.  It was dead easy, I used some frozen pepper as well as one I had fresh.  Eight portions are now in single portion pots ready for freezing and one portion is waiting for dinner tonight

Menu: 1-2-14

B:  probably bacon and tomato as I have tomatoes that need using up.
L:  soup, delicious soup
D:  I'm having a go at making Jack Monroe's version of Romesco sauce in my slow cooker so, assuming it works, I will get out some of my pasta and have that.

No snacks if I can help it!