Sunday, 12 November 2017

Leek and potato soup in Thermione

I love leek and potato soup, especially home made.  Wonderful stuff.  I always make soups in my Thermomix but always have a bit of a problem with this one because to zizz it to the smoothness I like brings out the starchiness of the potatoes which makes the soup 'gloopy'. 

So I had a think and this is what I came up with
It makes enough for two very hungry people or four if you just want a smaller portion

Ingredients
one starchy potato (I used a 'jacket' potato), about 350g - ish
half a leek.  I used the top half as I think the greener leaves have more flavour than the whiter leaves in a soup.
half a medium onion
a chicken stock cube (or make it veg if you want a vegetarian friendly soup)
about 750 mls water, more or less - I'm afraid this is the one thing I failed to remember the measurement of.
a bay leaf (from the garden)
a good grating of black pepper
a sprinkle of salt
a heaped tsp marigold bouillon powder
about an eighth of a pack of lower fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs (Morrisons do it)

What I did
I peeled and chopped the potato and put it in the simmering basket
I cut the leek in half and ran it under the tap to clean, peeled and chopped the onion and placed both in the bowl with the water, the stock cube, bay leaf, black pepper and a sprinkle of salt.  I placed the simmering basket on top and boiled the lot at 100 for 20 mins, reverse speed 3 (because I didn't want to chop the bay leaf to pieces) until the potato was cooked.

Then I removed the potato cubes and mashed them really well using my ricer.  This was instead of a thermo-zizz which makes it gloopy.

Then I did something very stupid.  I forgot the bay leaf and gave the bowl contents a good zizz to puree the onion and leek.  Doh!

After that, I added the smoothly mashed potato and the soft cheese and mixed it in before tasting.  It just seemed to be lacking a little something so I added the marigold powder, mixed it in and tasted again and it was lovely.  Then I remembered the bay leaf so I poured the lot into a sieve and pushed it all through and I'm glad I did because I think the bay leaf did add to the flavour in a way that it wouldn't have done had I removed it after the boiling.

That was it really - I just reheated to 95C, served and enjoyed.  I shall do it just like that again, mistake and all.  Great, spicy flavour, lovely smooth and 'creamy' texture without a hint of gloop and really low in fat.



Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Smoked salmon pate

The idea came from a Readers Digest book, Low Fat: No Fat and I adapted it.  It's jolly nice and a great way to use up bits and bobs.


a few 'white beans' (e.g. cannelloni, haricot)
a bit of smoked salmon
lemon juice (from a bottle is fine)
titchy bit of light mayo - as little as you can get away with to get the texture
pepper and a bit of salt (maybe)

It also helps to have a mini chopper/blender

In the bowl put the beans, smoked salmon and some lemon juice.  Zizz it up together.  Add just a little bit of light mayo as it helps the texture.  Zizz and taste, adding more lemon juice if you like and a bit of pepper and, possibly, salt.  It depends on how salty the salmon is really.

If you have some fennel fronds or similar, that would be nice but I didn't.

Heap into a bowl and serve.  I had it with watercress and a couple of small slices of bread I baked in a coolish oven until crisp and crunchy.  It was delicious!



Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Apple meringue

Not a pie, nothing so complicated, but I had an egg white to use up.

I stewed apple with just enough sugar until it was soft.  This can be done earlier.

I whisked up the egg white with a hand held electric whisk until it was white and soft peak-ish.  I added two tbsp caster sugar in small amounts while continuing to whisk.  Last of all I whisked in half tsp cornflour.  It took almost no time at all.

I put the apple in an ovenproof dish and spooned over the meringue, teasing it into peaks.
I baked it at 180C for about 30 mins-ish, turning the oven right down after about 20 mins.

Lovely!  Low fat (not low sugar though) and one of my five a day.



Saturday, 7 October 2017

Creamy mushroom soup

I think I've posted about this before but it's worth another mention.

The original recipe requires cream which isn't something I keep in my fridge.  This is simple, dead easy and tasty, especially as I use chestnut mushrooms for more flavour.  It's not extremely frugal as chestnut mushrooms aren't the cheapest option but it's not too bad and if you use savers mushrooms, it becomes extremely frugal indeed (and they often have more flavour than the neat and tidy button mushrooms too)

If you have the knowledge and confidence to go mushroom foraging, it would be very cheap.  I don't!



Ingredients to make enough for one.
100g mushrooms, chopped
170g water
60g milk (whole is nicest)
12g flour
pinch of salt
1/4 veg stock cube or 1/4 tsp stock powder such as marigold
30g soft cheese
pepper if wanted

Method. 
In a saucepan, add everything but the soft cheese, whisk it all together so that the flour is incorporated, bring to a boil, stirring regularly and simmer for about ten mins until the mushroom is cooked and the 'floury' taster has been cooked out, stirring now and again.
Add the soft cheese and stir it in.
Zizz to smooth using a stick blender.
Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.  I add some pepper at this stage.
Serve piping hot.

For those of us with a Thermomix, the recipe can be found in the Basic Cookbook.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Home made potato wedges

These are a doddle.  In fact, they are so easy, so tasty and so frugal, I don't know why I ever bother buying frozen ones.  Well, I do, it's idleness, but I really shouldn't.

You need a floury potato, I think.  Anything that makes a good roastie will be fine for wedges.  One medium sized spud is fine, a large one will make far too many for me.

I just scrub the skin, if necessary, I don't peel, as I like the skin.  However, you can peel it, if you like.  Some like to par-boil the wedges.  Again, I don't, but you can.

So, the simplest way is to wash the potato, cut into wedges (long, triangular shapes - my chips are just the same but are rectangular shaped instead and they are also very tasty).  I then soak them in cold water for a little while.

When ready to cook them, I drain them and dry them thoroughly on a tea towel or a muslin.  Then I pop them in a poly bag and add some veg oil, squidging them around to completely coat them.  This is quite good because you can control how much oil you add: a little does go a long way when you use this method.  Sometimes I add herbs and/or spices too (see below).

Then I tip them onto a non-stick baking tray with parchment inserted (the parchment stops any sticking whatsoever and the tray has sides, in case the oil runs off), spread them out and pop them into a preheated oven at 180C fan or 200C if not fan.

Then just bake them, turning once or twice, until they are cooked through and lovely and brown all over.  It takes around half an hour so not much longer than cooking from frozen.
I don't have one of those air fryers, but I bet they'd be fine done that way too.  Or in a halogen oven, come to that.

Serve straight away with a sprinkle of salt if you haven't already added some.  Delicious!


Some nice spice ideas are . . .
tandoori curry powder
jerk seasoning
garlic and onion powders/granules with dried herbs
garlic granules and smoked paprika
salt and black pepper

. . . in fact, any mixture of herbs and/or spices that you fancy!

Ham and lentil soup

Another soup, made with the water I boiled an unsmoked ham in.  I think a smoked ham would make a stock that would be too salty for this soup.

Ingredients for one filling portion
half a smallish onion, peeled and chopped
half a medium carrot, washed and chopped
some celery, chopped - I cut across the top and used two thin 'slices'
250mls ham stock - make sure it is not too salty and don't add any more salt.
20g red lentils
(I don't add any other flavourings to this but you could - herbs or spices)

some milk
any seasoning needed - I added a bit of pepper when serving
some shreds of ham

Method.
Place the vegetables, stock and lentils in a pan, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until everything is soft.
Zizz either in a blender or using a stick blender until it is how you want it.

Before serving, add some milk and reheat to just under boiling.  The milk works well with the earthy flavour of the lentils and gives it a 'creamy' feel.  Add some shreds of ham, if you have any.  Taste and season as needed.

Or you could cut up your veg really small and not zizz it as the lentils will cook to mush.  Adding some finely chopped potato would be good.  In fact, I might do that tomorrow as I have stock left.

Given the lentils, the veg and the ham, this really is the equivalent of a meal in soup form.  Definitely some of your five a day in this and frugal as well.  Win-win.

(I used Thermione.  I bunged in the first lot of ingredients, cooked on 100/speed 3/20 mins, then zizzed.

When reheating, I added the milk and heated it to 95.  I added the ham shreds right at the end so they weren't bashed up by the blades.)

Tomato and lentil soup

This was jolly nice, jolly filling and made enough for three.

Ingredients
half a medium onion
half a smallish carrot
a squeeze of garlic puree
a can of chopped tomatoes (or plum tomatoes)
some dried herbs
a stock cube
water
20g red/orange lentils
some sun dried tomato in oil (optional but recommended, especially if using value chopped tomatoes)

milk
soft cheese (optional but nice)

Chop up the onion and carrot and add to a saucepan with the garlic, chopped tomatoes and a can full of water, dried herbs, stock cube (I used a vegetable cube), lentils and a few bits of sundried tomato.  I didn't add salt and pepper because of the stock.

Bring to a boil, cover and let it summer until the carrot is soft and the lentils cooked (15 to 20 mins).

Blend to a smooth consistency using a blender or a stick blender.  Return it to the pan, add some milk and some soft cheese, stir it in and reheat to just under boiling.  Taste, season if necessary and serve.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Soup



Today I made the first home made soup of the season.  It felt right after such a blowy night.  It's a very casual recipe.

Bung some onion and celery, chopped, in a pan.  Add the main ingredient (mine was carrot and lentil).  Add some water, some herbs and some stock.  Add seasoning (go easy with the salt).  Boil it all up, covered.  Check veg is cooked.  Zizz until smooth.  Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.  Add more water if it's too thick.

Heat until piping hot and enjoy with crusty bread or some croutons.

(or bung it all in Thermione, cook for 20 mins at 100, speed 2, then blend at speed 10 for around 30 seconds until it's all smooth)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Dead easy naan bread

A whike agoI made a lovely curry (with the help of a Spice Tailor kit!) so today I had the left-overs from the freezer.  Instead of rice, I rather fancied some naan bread

I searched via a cook's best friend (i.e. Google) and found that there are endless recipes out there.  Posh ones, slummy ones, ones that use yeast, ones that use baking powder, ones that use SR flour, flavoured ones, plain ones, dry fried ones, baked ones . . .

I reckoned that any home made one, fresh and still warm, is going to taste good, however it is made.  I'm no expert and my palate is not that 'refined'.  So this is what I did.

For the dough I used SR flour (please don't shudder, it was fine) and natural yogurt - 100g flour and about 50g natural yogurt (probably a bit more than that but I didn't really measure.  I seasoned with salt and pepper.

I 'cheated' and used Thermione but it would be simple by hand, just taking a bit longer.  Mix together the flour, yogurt and seasonings and knead, aiming for a dough that is just on the dry side of being sticky.  If it's too sticky, add more flour; if it's too dry, add more yogurt.

That's it really.  Wrap the dough and pop it in the fridge for about an hour.  Then take it out, break off portions, shape and roll out.  I went for sort of circles after trying to shape the first one (in the photo below) which ended up more like a square with rounded corners! because that's easiest

There are differing opinions about the cooking.  I just dry fried  and kept the first one warm, covered with a clean cloth, until the second one was made and so on.  They puff up quite a lot, as you can see, before going down again.


They were 'basic', I know, but very tasty with the chicken curry!  I suppose one could brush them over with garlic butter and that would be nice too but I didn't, not this time.

That's it.  I made four, far too much really, but I ate the lot because there was a lot of gravy.  That's my excuse

Very delicious!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Apple curd

A friend gave me some cooking apples from her tree, beautiful, sound cooking apples, a pleasure to look at and handle.  Kilos of them too which was so generous.

I've been looking for some recipes I haven't tried before and I found this one which is a River Cottage recipe (which are always good for a try) on the Guardian site.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2008/jul/21/foodanddrink.recipe
I converted it to a Thermomix recipe because I know Thermione does lemon curd beautifully and with a lot less hassle.

It's a dream - totally, deliciously wonderful and I'm so going to make it again!


OK, so the recipe itself can be found via the link above.  Here's the thermo way.

Put five spotlessly clean, medium sized jars into a cool oven to warm up.  Wash and dry the lids.

Crack 4 or 5 eggs into the bowl and zizz until smooth and 'light.  You need about 200 mls beaten egg.  Tip into a container and wash out the bowl.

450g bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped, added straight away to 100ml water and the finely grated zest of two lemons (I only had one and it's still nice) in the bowl.

Cook at 95C, speed 2 for about 10 mins or until the apple is soft.  If the mix hasn't gone light, fluffy and pureed, give it a zizz for luck!

Add 125g butter (it says unsalted, I only had salted), 450g granulated sugar and 100mls strained lemon juice (the juice from the lemon made up to 100mls with lemon juice from a bottle)
Mix on 2 for around two minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.  You get a lovely, light mixture.

Make sure the mixture is below 50C (check the temp dial).  It should be but do check because if it's too hot, the curd might split when you add it.

Take off the measuring cup, start mixing at about 2 and pour the beaten eggs into the mixture.  Continue mixing until it is all incorporated.

Cook at speed 2, 95C for around ten minutes.  If it thickens before then, it doesn't matter as it won't boil and scramble.  That's the delight of a Thermomix!

Pour into the jars immediately and put on the lids.  Scrape out the bowl and enjoy!  Label the jars when they are cold.

Keep in fridge once opened and use within 4 weeks.  I don't think there is any danger whatsoever of it lasting that long.  It is gorgeous!


Thursday, 31 August 2017

Bread: soft crust sandwich bread

Looky-look!  Doesn't it look great?


It smells great too and I can't wait to taste it!

Made the usual bread way but with 5 to 10 minutes hydration time between mixing in the wet ingredients and starting to knead.

325g milk
25g unsalted butter
1 tsp golden syrup
500g strong white flour plus a little more for dusting
heaped tsp salt
heaped tsp fast-action dried yeast.

Melt the butter into the golden syrup, add the milk, mix well and heat to warm.  I used the microwave for this.
The rest is normal bread method with 15 mins at 180C and 20 mins at 160C

The shiny look comes from rubbing some butter over the top when it comes out of the oven.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bread: basic cob loaf

I have copied this from my main blog because it belongs in here too.

I found this book on the 'reduced' shelf of a local 'sell everything cheap' type shop and pounced on it with glee!
My goodness, it is a treasure chest of recipes.  Each one I have looked at so far I want to make and I can see it's going to be a 'make a new one each week' situation.  I can't do more as I don't get through enough bread to justify more.

Today, I started working through, leaving the first recipe, which is soda bread, for when my friend (who can't have yeast) comes to stay, and going on to the second, a very basic cob   More or less the recipe I use but without the sugar and oil so just water, yeast, salt and water.  I'm always amazed that such very simple ingredients can produce something so tasty and mouthwatering.

It's just finishing off in the oven as I'm typing so by the end of this entry it should be out and I can take a photo.  The only problem is that it seems to be coming out a bit flat and that, I am sure, is down to my shaping.  You create the tension in the loaf by shaping and, as I usually use a tin, I'm not great at it.  Much do better and I will work on it!

And here it is, hot and fresh out of the oven.  Not bad for before 8:00 am, eh?  But I will definitely work on my shaping technique and the slashes need to be deeper and much more even.

As it is a very basic loaf and the recipe is already out there, I see no problems with listing the ingredients.  The method is what you do with all bread so I won't post it here.
I made half amounts so . . .
350g strong white flour
extra flour for dusting
5g fine sea salt (I used ordinary salt)
a scant tsp fast action yeast (around 4 to 5 g)
around 225 mls/g lukewarm water



Thursday, 3 August 2017

Bits and bobs bake

I call it this because really you can use whatever you like as long as it's roastable.  I'll detail what I used but you don't have to stick with that.  Amounts are also variable - just think of what you would normally do for the number of people for which you are cooking

Ingredients
Oil
new potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into chunks
courgettes, onions, red or yellow pepper, small tomatoes, all prepped and chunked to same size as spuds
(I would also have used a few cloves of garlic if I'd had any)
some herbs from the garden (I used rosemary and thyme) or dried herbs
salt and pepper

some passata (not much) or make a tomatoey sauce from puree with water.
cooked meat - leftovers are perfect - or some pulses if you want to go vegetarian

grated cheese

Method
In a roasting dish, add the vegetables, seasonings and herbs, pour over some oil (you don't need a lot) and mix to  'ensure maximum retention'  (I've been reading Harry Potter!).  I use my hands for this.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven (about 170 C) until all the veg is soft.
Remove the foil, turn up the heat, stir and pop back in so that they can start browning.  It doesn't take long.
Add the cooked meat and the tomato passata/sauce and mix.
Pop back in the oven until the liquid is bubbling and everything is hot.
Sprinkle over grated cheddar and bake for around ten minutes more.
Serve immediately while bubbly hot.

With what I had, I went all Mediterranean-ish but you could use so many other veg, depending on availability.  A good way to finish off those odds and ends.  Also, really filling.

walnut and mixed seed wholemeal bread

https://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/recipes/mixed-seed-and-nut-wholemeal-loaf


I've just used the recipe above to make THE most delicious 'posh' bread.  It's the recipe I always use for my breads but with the added nuts and mixed seeds.

I did half amounts to make a 1 lb loaf and it's just as well really because I'm eating it like it's the last loaf on earth.

The halved amounts are:
250g strong wholemeal flour
half tsp fast acting yeast
half tsp each of salt and sugar
a splash of oil
175 mls warm water

45g chopped walnuts and 30g mixed seeds (it looks quite a lot but it is just right)

The method is as in the link except that I cheated and used Thermione for the kneading and the knocking back.

It's so scrummy I can't stop going at it . . . which rather defeats the frugality of it all but never mind.

The basic loaf is very frugal anyway and while the additions take it out of extreme frugality, when you think of what you have to pay for a loaf of that type and quality, it's extremely good value.
Next time I will use half and half wholemeal and granary.

Rhubarb jam

It's been a long time, so sorry.

I had sticks and stacks of rhubarb after we sorted out the rhubarb patch at the allotment.  I froze some but I made some gorgeous rhubarb jam which is very frugal despite the jam sugar because the rhubarb itself was free so I'm sharing it with a clear conscience.




Trim, wipe and chop the rhubarb. Weigh it (important so don't forget)

Stew the rhubarb in a little water in a large pan until soft. I'm lucky enough to have a maslin pan but any large pan would do.
Remove from heat and add the same weight of jam sugar as the rhubarb weighed. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice (from a bottle is fine). Stir well and leave for the sugar to dissolve into the fruit.

While that's doing or when you're ready, whichever is later, thoroughly wash your jam jars and lids. Put the jars on an oven tray in a cool oven (about 80 to 100 C fan) and place two saucers in the fridge to check for set.

Put the fruit/sugar on a lot heat , stirring regularly, until it starts bubbling. Turn up the heat and cook it (still stirring) for about five minutes and then take it off the heat and check for set. If it hasn't reached setting point, boil for another five minutes and check again.  Mine set first time, despite the low pectin.

Rhubarb is low in pectin, but the jam sugar and the lemon juice should sort that one out.

This link is the best article on setting point that I have seen - point 4, the wrinkle test, is what I use and it always works.

http://www.kilnerjar.co.uk/setting-points

Once set, ladle into the warm jars, screw on the clean lids and allow to cool before labelling.


Basically, this is how you make all jam although if the fruit is high pectin I use ordinary granulated (a lot cheaper), not jam sugar.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chorizo and bean stew

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/simple_chorizo_and_bean_62033

Above is the inspiration for this, taken from the helpful'Eat Well For Less' site.  I really enjoyed those programmes, even if I did get a bit 'frustrated' with the participants at time!  I've taken the recipe and adapted it to match what I have available.

It makes enough for six of my portions

Ingredients:
1 tbsp veg oil* 
72g chorizo, sliced lengthways and each half then sliced thinly (I had some left over which needed using up, hence the odd amount - 70g-100g would be fine, just adjust the cost) 
some onion, roughly chopped (I had half to use up plus one small 'wonky' one) 
100g cooking bacon, chopped 
a squeeze of garlic puree 
1 chicken stock cube 
1 can chopped tomatoes plus half the can of water 
20g drained sundried tomato, chopped (an optional extra but I love the flavour they impart) 
2/3 tin baked beans, rinsed (I had this in the fridge to use up but a whole can would be fine.  I drained them because I didn't want the baked bean sauce taste) 
45g chopped mushrooms 
some dried parsley
some tomato puree 
seasonings, if needed


(*I missed a trick here as I have some sundried tomato oil to use up.  Don't ever throw this away, it is packed with sunshine flavour.)

Method:
Gently saute the onion and chorizo in the oil until the oil runs from the chorizo and everything is a lovely orange shade.  Add the cooking bacon, and continue frying it gently for about five mins, stirring now and again.  Add the garlic puree and cook for another minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and extra water, the stock cube, the sundried tomato and the rinsed beans with a little grating of black pepper.  Mix well, bring to a boil, cover, turn down the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for about half an hour, stirring it now and again to stop any sticking.
Then add the mushroom, parsley and tomato puree, stir well, increase the heat a little and let it bubble, uncovered, so that the mixture thickens a bit, stirring now and again.


Taste, adjust seasonings if necessary (I didn't need to) and it's finished.  Eat with pasta, rice or , maybe, mash. or use as a filling for cannelloni or even on top of a pizza base.  You could do lots of things with it.


I shared it into 6 portions which are, as I type, cooling ready for freezing.  Very flavoursome and very frugal.   I wanted every mouthful to be a real burst of flavour and this certainly fits the bill in that respect!


Friday, 17 February 2017

Pork meatballs in a tomato sauce: frugal

Ingredients for one portion

For the meatballs
cooking bacon, very finely chopped 
1 sausage (I used a higher meat version from Lidl) 
20g dry stuffing mix (I used Morrisons Savers stuffing) 
spray oil 
a little flour

For the sauce
spray oil 
quarter of an onion, thinly sliced 
25g peppers (I used frozen ones from Morrisons because I waste less that way) 
1 or 2 mushrooms, thinly sliced 
squidge of garlic puree 
passata made from last year's tomatoes (or you could use about half a can of chopped tomatoes)  
a squeeze of tomato puree
herbs as liked

Method
The meatballs and sauce can be made in the same pan without needing to wash the pan in between.

Meatballs (start beforehand to allow the bacon and stuffing to cool before mixing with the sausagemeat)

In a pan, gently dry fry the chopped cooking bacon until it is cooked - it won't take very long at all.
Reconstitute the stuffing with a sufficient amount of boiling water - don't make it too sloppy.  No need for salt - the meats are already salty enough
Allow the stuffing and the bacon to cool until just warm.

Remove the skin from the sausage and discard.  In a bowl, mix together the bacon, sausage meat and stuffing.  With floured hands, shape the mix into little meatballs.  I made them big marble sized using a 10ml measuring spoon as they cook faster and it looks as if you have more!

(they're on a tea plate - they're not as huge as they look!)

Spray the pan with oil, pop in the meatballs and gently fry until they are colouring, turning them now and again.
Remove from the pan and keep warm.


Sauce
Before you start the sauce, pop on the spaghetti to cook, then drain and keep warm.

While the spaghetti is cooking, spray oil into the pan, add the onions and fry for a few minutes until they start to soften and change colour.  Then add the peppers, mushroom and squidge of garlic and fry for a bit longer.


Add the passata/chopped tomato and whatever herbs you want to use plus a tiny bit of salt.  Bring up to a simmer, add the meatballs and let it all simmer gently away until the passata has reduced a bit and thickened.  Taste and season if needed.  If you want to add a squidge of tomato puree, do so.  I did.


Taste and adjust seasoning.
Toss in the spaghetti.  Serve.


(a bit of hard Italian cheese (called Not Parmesan in my home) would be nice grated over - or some of the genuine stuff)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Home made spicy wedges

I made these yesterday, some to eat and some to freeze.  Really nice so I'm sharing.

Ingredients
some floury potatoes, suitable for roasting - mine were Maris Pipers
spray oil

For the spicy coating
equal amounts of smoked paprika, garam masala and garlic salt, mixed together

Method:
I didn't peel the potatoes as they were sound apart from a few sprouts which I rubbed off.

Cut the potatoes into wedges.
Steam cook them for about seven minutes.  I prefer to steam than to boil as they don't end up so wet.  It's like par-boiling them.

Spread them out to steam dry and cool.

When they are cooler, put them in a bag with the spice mix and gently toss them in the mix until coated.

Spread them out on a tray that will fit into your freezer with parchment underneath tp prevent them sticking.  Cover with cling film and open freeze until hard.  Then pop them into a labelled bag.

To cook, preheat the oven to about 180C (fan) and spread out what you want on an oven tray (I do it on parchment as it makes the tray a lot easier to clean afterwards and prevents sticking.
Spray with oil - I have a spray oil gizmo that I find incredibly useful - see below.
Bake until cooked and nice and brown and crisp on the outside.
Serve immediately.

They really are tasty and so much better value than the ones you buy.  You can do a whole lot at a time and you can ring the changes with the spices.  I might do a bit of research and pick up some other ideas

And here's the oil gizmo with a link, although I am sure you can buy them elsewhere too.  I'm going to get another one for my olive oil as the one I have is for veg oil.  There's no excess use of the oil, making it a frugal and health aid.

http://www.lakeland.co.uk/70289/Misto-Oil-Sprayer

I ought to add that I'm a great fan of Lakeland produce but I have no commercial links with them.  I haven't been asked to do any kind of review and I bought my own sprayer quite a while ago now.



Thursday, 12 January 2017

Tomato and lentil soup

Tomato and lentil soup

Ingredients to make two portions
half a smallish onion, chopped
about 25g celery, chopped
a small carrot, chopped (no need to peel unless the peel is manky)
a splash of oil (I used some oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes that needs using up)
a squidge of garlic puree (or a small clove, crushed)
a can of chopped tomatoes and half a can full of water (use the water to wash around the can so none is wasted)
some vegetable stock  (a stock pot, stock powder, whatever you have)
a couple of pieces of sundried tomato (optional – see above)
20g dried red lentils
a grinding of pepper (I don’t add salt until the end because the stock usually makes it salty enough for me)
a pinch of dried herbs (I use mixed herbs)
a good splash of milk
A squidge of chopped tomatoes

Method.
You can bung everything in together except for the milk), simmer it all gently until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are soft, then zizz it down, add the milk and tomato puree (if using) and push it through a sieve if you want to, before bringing back to just under a boil and serving.  See below for other adjustments.

Or this is what I do.
Put the three veg in a saucepan with the oil and saute until they are softening and just turning golden.  Add the garlic right at the end, in the last few minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and water, the stock, the sundried tomatoes (if using), the lentils, pepper and herbs.  Bring up to a gentle boil, cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked and the veg is soft (15 to 20 mins).

Zizz the soup until it is all blended, add the milk and water if the texture is too thick and taste.  If there’s a slight bitterness, add a pinch of sugar.  If it needs salt, add some.  I didn’t need either but you never know.

It is fine to eat now, re-heated, but I like a very smooth tomato soup so I then push the lot through a sieve.  It just traps the bits that haven’t zizzed and I prefer it that way but you don’t have to.