Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Less Is More

When wanting to make a small amount go further - grate it. Half a small white cabbage, a couple of carrots, one onion, all coarsely grated, seasoned and bound with a little dressing (and to cut calories make that dressing with half mayo and half yogurt) - well, it can make quite a bowlful. Try grating part-cooked (even raw) potato to top a cottage or fish pie instead of using mash (grated frozen pastry also works well), pile it on loosely, drizzle with butter, and it will cook through in the time it takes to brown.

To your request - I've hnted out some make-ahead 'tracklements' (one of my favourite words) for your barbeque this weekend as I am sure you will have enough to do on the day. If you can't be bothered to make the 'special ' ones or you haven't all the ingredients, then go for the simpler versions, not quite as tasty, and won't keep so long, but still worth making. Once you have assembled the ingredients, in most cases all you do is sling the lot in the pan and let it get on with it, giving the occasional stir to help it on its way.
BBQ Sauce:
1 tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 oz (75g) brown sugar
3 tblsp malt vinegar
2 tblsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tblsp. tomato puree
Fry the onion in the oil until softend. Add the rest of the ingredients, season to taste and simmer until thickened. If you want it smooth, whizz in a food processor. Will keep chilled for up to two weeks.

Maple Syrup and Mustard Marinade/ Dressing:
4 tblsp cider vinegar
6 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tblsp mustard
Put all in a screwtop jar and give a good shake. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.
Tip: If you haven't any maple syrup, substitute honey

Orange, Mustard and Yogurt Dressing:
Into a screwtop jar put
2 tblsp each oil and orange juice, plus 1 tsp wholegrain mustard and 4 tblsp natural yogurt. Shake well and season to taste. Best made of the day of using.

QuickTzatziki: best made on the day of using
Put 2 heaped tblsp bottle mint jelly or mint sauce into a tub of Greek yogurt. add a handful of finely diced cucumber. Season to taste. Chill and serve.

Rhubarb and Onion Marmalade:
An American recipe so given in cup measurements. But almost any measure would do.
4 cups chopped rhubarb
4 cups chopped onions
2 cup cider vinegar
4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp each ground cloves, allspice and cinnamon
2 tsp salt
up to 1 tsp cayenne pepper - the more you add the hotter it will taste.
Put everything into a pan and cook until thickened. Pour whilst hot into clean sterilised hot jar and seal.
Keeps for two or more weeks in the fridge.

The following recipe will make a 'marmalade' which keeps up to 3 months. Hence the ingredients are quite lavish. It could, however, but made in smaller quantities. Worth making.
Red Onion Marmalade :
4 lb 8oz (2 kg) red onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
5 oz (140g) butter
4 tblsp olive oil
5 os (140g) caster sugar
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves
75 cl bottle red wine
12 fl oz (350ml) red wine vinegar
7 fl oz port
Melt the butter with the oil in a large pan. Over a medium to high heat stir in the onions so they are coated with the butter/oil, cook for 3 minutes then reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered for 40-50 minutes, stirring from time to time. The onions will be ready when they have become soft and sticky and smell caramelised. Pour in the wine, vinegar and port and simmer for a further 30 minutes until the liquid has been reduced by two thirds. Cool in the pan, pot up into clean jars, seal. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Peanut and Cheese Sauce:
Melt 3 tblsp peanut butter with an equal amount of grated cheese. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. Spoon over grilled vegetables.

Tofu and Ginger Topping: for salads and vegetables
Mash half a block of plain tofu with 2 tsp freshly grated ginger and 2 tblsp soy sauce.

Beetroot Salsa/Chutney:
1 pack cooked beetroot, finely diced
grated zest of 1 orange (optional)
2 eating apples cooking apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 tblsp wine vinegar (or orange juice)
1 tsp sugar
Put the apples into a pan with the sugar, vinegar (or orange juice and zest. Simmer until just softened. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Stir in the prepared beetroot. Spoon into a serving bowl and chill.
Note: to make this a salsa, use the orange zest and juice and omit the vinegar. To make it more a chutney or 'marmalade' use the vinegar instead of the orange juice/zest.

All the above salsas and marmalades can be turned into pouring or dipping sauces by whizzing the finished product in a blender or processor.

Walnut, Pepper and Celery Samosas: makes 16 small samosas
2 tblsp oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 large rib celery, finely chopped
1 small red (bell) pepper, deseeded and finely diced
1 tsp curry powder or to taste
2 oz (50g) frozen peas, cooked
2 oz (50g) walnut pieces, chopped
8 sheets filo pastry
2 oz (50g) melted butter
Heat the oil and saute the onion, celery and pepper for five minutes, stirring all the time. Add the curry powder and stir and cook for a further 4 minutes, then adding the drained peas and the prepared walnuts.
Stir well to blend then remove from the heat.
Cut each sheet of pastry in half lengthways, brush one sheet with butter. Drop a spoonful of mixture at one end then carefully fold the pastry over (corner to side, then up, then corner to side, keeping the triangle shape, until you reach the end of the pastry strip. Seal the ends with water. Repeat until all the pastry has been used.
These can either be baked in the oven (200C) for 10 minutes, or deep fried in hot oil for a few minutes until crisp and brown.
Tip: Keep the samosas covered with a tent of foil, clingfilm or cover with a towel as they are made, this will prevent the filo drying up and cracking.