Sunday, September 23, 2007

Eat now, Freeze for Later.

A selection of dishes which can also be frozen.

Mediterranean Meatballs: (F)
handful of parsley and basil, stalks removed
1 lb (450g) pork mince
1 egg, beaten
1 slice bread, crumbed
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 tblsp light olive oil, or sunflower oil
Chop the herbs and mix together with the pork, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs and onion (this can be done by putting the lot in a food processor and giving a quick blitz), Season to taste. Shape into 20 balls, or more if you like them smaller. Put the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry, turning often for about 10-20 minutes, depending upon the size of the meatballs. They need to be cooked through if intending to freeze. Once cooked, drain, bag up, cool and freeze. If intending to make the meatballs to eat that day, then cook for five minutes, then pour over a tomato (passata type) sauce and simmer for 25 minutes longer. Serve with pasta. The complete pasta dish can also be frozen. Thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat gently until piping hot.

Beetie Burgers: makes 4 (F)
18 oz (500g) minced beef steak
4 oz (100g) cooked beetroot
1 onion, grated
1 tsp horseradish sauce (opt)
fresh breadcrumbs/ egg yolk
salt and pepper
Put the meat into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Grate the beetroot and mix into the beef together with the onion and horseradish. If the mixture is a bit slack, add a few breadcrumbs and an egg yolk to bind together. Divide into four (or more) and shape into burgers (they can be frozen at this stage).
To cook, thaw if frozen, then fry in a frying pan, or preferably a griddle pan, for 3 -4 minutes on each side, making sure they are cooked through. Serve on half a toasted bap with a slice of beetroot or onion, and a dollop of creme fraiche. Green salad on the side.

Parsnip Hash Browns: serves 6 (F) (V)
1 lb (450g) waxy (salad or new) potatoes
12 oz (350g) parsnips (or carrots)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 egg, beaten
4 tblsp sunflower oil
Peel and core the parsnips and coarsely grate. Peel the potatoes (only if you wish to) and also coarsely grate. Put into a clean tea cloth and wrap up, twisting the ends tightly to squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then tip the veggies into a bowl and add the onion, garlic and egg. Form into a circle which will fit a large frying pan and divide into six. Separate the triangles and flatten the pointed end to make a wedge shape (you can make them smaller and thicker if you wish). Heat half the oil in the frying pan and fry three of the wedges over a gentle heat for five minutes on each side until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and repeat - adding remaining oil to the pan. To freeze, cool the Hash Browns, interleave with foil, put into a bag and freeze for up to six weeks. To serve from frozen unwrap and place on a greased baking sheet, brush with a little oil and reheat at 190C, 375F, gas 6 for 15 minutes. Whether freshly made or reheated from frozen, serve as a breakfast dish with the usual: take your pick from fried eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, sausages, bacon (or the lot depending upon how greedy - sorry, I mean hungry - you are).

Cheddary Cheese Scones: makes 12 - 15 (F)
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
salt and pepper
2 oz (50g) butter, softened
1 oz (25g) porridge oats
3 oz (75g) grated cheddar cheese
5 fl oz (150ml) milk
Put the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, then rub in the butter. Stir in the oats and cheese, then stir in the milk. Don't use all the milk at once, if too dry add extra. The dough needs to be soft.
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and roll out to no thinner than 2 cm (roughly just under an inch). Use a 4 cm (1 1/2") cutter to stamp out the scones, resisting the urge to twist the cutter as this will make the scones rise unevenly. Any left-over bits can be gathered together, re-rolled to make more scones.
Place on a non-stick, or lightly greased and floured baking sheet, dust the top of the scones with a little more flour or give each a sprinkle of grated cheese and bake 220c, 435F, gas 7 for 12 - 15 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool before serving. Lovely spread with cream cheese, topped with ham, cucumber, or guacamole.
To freeze: put scones into a bag, freeze and store up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature, covered to prevent drying out. Can be refreshed in a microwave for a few seconds.

Fruity White Chocolate Tray-Bake: cuts into 16 (F)
1 x 375g pack shortcrust pastry
500g cream cheese (Philly type) or mascapone
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
4 oz (100g) ground almonds
2 large eggs
9 oz (250g) raspberries, blackberries or strawberries
4 oz (100g) white chocolate, roughly chopped
Roll out the pastry thinly and large enough to cover the base and sides of a Swiss roll type tin 12"x 8" (30 x 20cm). Bake this blind for 10 mins, then remove paper and beans (or whatever used) and return to the oven to dry out the base for a further five minutes. Beat the cheese, sugar and eggs together then finally beat in the ground almonds. Fold in the chosen fruit and chocolate (chop the strawberries if using), then pour the mixture into the pastry (which is still in the tin). Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (see note below) until just set and turning golden. Turn off the oven open the door a tiny bit (tuck in a tea-towel if a drop-down door), and leave to cook on in residual heat until cooled down naturally. Chill for one hour before serving. This keeps well in the fridge and can be frozen.
Note: this was adapted from a recipe which gives the baking temperature as 160C/gas 4
which is incorrect according to my charts. As it also gave a fan temperature of 140C, then presumably it is the gas temp. that is incorrect. I would play safe and bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 and check after 20 minutes.

Lemon Ice Cream Cake: serves 8 (F)
1 lemon drizzle cake, or madeira type
8 meringues, roughly crushed
1 x 500ml tub creme fraiche
jar lemon curd
Take an 8" (20cm) round cake tin and line it with clingfilm (if you have a springform tin line it with baking parchment). Cut the cake into 1" (2 cm) thick slices and line the base of the tin, use small pieces of cake to fill up any gaps. Put the broken pieces of meringue into a bowl and pour over the creme fraiche. Fold gently together. Add a couple of good dollops of lemon curd and stir slightly to give a ripple effect. Spoon this into the tin, level with a knife and lift the tin and bang back on the table to knock out any air and to help settle the mixture. If you wish you can cover the top with more cake slices but not essential. Cover with clingfilm and freeze for at least four hours before serving. If freezing for longer, allow to thaw slightly for about 20 minutes before serving. To serve, remove cake from tin and peel off the wrapping.

Mandarine Orange Parfait: (F) 8 - 10 slices
9 fl.oz (250ml) milk
5 oz (125g) caster sugar
4 eggs
1 orange, zest and juice
1 small can mandarin oranges
10 fl.oz (300ml) double cream
coarsely crushed meringue (optional)
Heat milk until not-quite boiling. Remove from heat. Whisk together the sugar and eggs until thick, then whisk in the milk. Return this to the pan and cook/stir until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Sieve, then leave to cool. When cold stir the orange zest and juice into the custard. Drain the can of mandarin oranges, and chop half finely (open freeze the rest if not wishing to eat the dessert within a day, then bag up, otherwise keep in the fridge), add these to the custard. Whip the cream until standing in peaks then fold into the mixture (along with any oddments of meringue if using). Pour into a cling-film lined 2lb (900ml) loaf tin and freeze for at least six hours before serving. It will keep in the freezer for at least a month. To serve remove from the tin and peel off the wrapping. Decorate with mandarin segments, make it more impressive by drizzling over melted chocolate. Leave to thaw slightly before slicing.