Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thrifty or What?

There are time when the cupboard is bare of certain items, and possibly not the cash to fill the gaps. Of course we can eat something else, but here are a few recipes which are really useful for times like that.

Orange and Lemon Peel Marmalade:
The peel from 2 large sweet oranges (approx 6 oz)
1 bag (1 kg) granulated sugar
Peel and flesh of two medium lemons
Chop or mince both the citrus peels finely and put in a pan with 2 pints of water (1.1 ltr). Cover, and leave to soak overnight. Next day simmer slowly until the peel is soft, this takes about an hour and a half. Measure the amount of liquid and, if necessary, make up to 1 1/2pts
(900ml). Stir in the sugar, add the lemon flesh and juice and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 15 minutes until a set is obtained. Leave to stand for a further 15 minutes before potting up to prevent the peel rising to the top. Pot up in hot sterilised jars. Seal and store.
Tip: If you want to make half the amount and seek a firmer set, then dissolve one sachet of gelatine in a little water and stir this into the marmalade just before you pot it up. Eat up within a month.

Quick and Easy Mayonnaise:
1 level tsp mustard (dry or ready made)
pinch each salt and pepper
1 small can evaporated milk
4 fl. oz sunflower oil (or light olive oil)
2 -3 tblsp vinegar
Put the mustard and seasoning in a bowl. Add the evaporated milk and mix well. Slowly beat in the oil, followed by the vinegar. With continued beating the mixture will thicken.
Store in a screw-top jar in the fridge. This makes quite a lot, so unless you intend using it within a week, make half-quantities.
Tip: To turn this into 'salad cream', add 1 tsp sugar (pref. icing sugar) to the dry mix.

On a strict budget we usually allow a certain amount of eggs to last a week. So what can we do when they have always been used up? Make a cake of course!
Eggless Fruit Cake:
10 fl oz (275ml) cold strained tea (no milk or sugar)
8 oz (225g) mixed dried fruit with candied peel
4 oz (110g) margarine
4 oz (110g) caster sugar
1 tblsp. golden syrup
9 oz (250g) self-raising flour
1 level tsp. bicarb soda
1 tsp. mixed spice, pinch salt
Put the tea, fruit, margarine, sugar and syrup into a pan over a gentle heat and stir to dissolve the marg. and the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat and leave to cool.
Sift the flour with the bicarb. spice and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the cooled fruit mixture. Stir until well blended. Pour into a greased and lined 8" cake tin. Sprinkle over some demerara sugar (optional but worth it). Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 180C, 350F, gas 4.
After 30 minutes, cover with tented foil (shiny side up) , to prevent it getting too brown.

Despite me trying to make the perfect pickle, we still prefer a well-known brand. On the other hand, the following recipe is called a relish and one I always make when there is sweet-corn in the freezer and some white cabbage that needs using up. The one to eat with cold turkey or chicken.
Don't worry too much about using the correct quantities. The peppers are in it more for colour than anything else, but the appearance and flavour is not so good without them. As long as the vegetable weigh the total amount used in the recipe, then a little more of one and less of the other won't do any harm.
Sweetcorn Relish:
1 lb (450g) sweetcorn kernels
1/2 pint cider vinegar
6 oz (175g) red and green sweet peppers, diced
8 oz (225g) white cabbage, very finely chopped
1 large onion, finely diced or grated
1 tblsp brown sugar (demerara or soft brown).
Put all these ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook on for a further 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Meanwhile - sift together:
2 tblsp. plain flour
1 dessp. dry mustard, or 2 tsp. made mustard
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. turmeric
Stir this mixture into the pan of vegetables until the mixture thickens. Simmer for five minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and pot up into sterlized jars, using vinegar-proof lide. Leave for a few days to allow flavours to develop. Will keep for up to a month in the fridge or (in plastic containers) up to 6 months in the freezer.