Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And Yet Another Version

This is a vegetarian version of Beef Wellington, with a bonus it can be prepared a day before, up to the point of baking, then kept in the fridge until needed. Am tempted to call this Gourmet Galoshes (you know me and my names), but perhaps better stick to my alternative:
Veggie Wellies: serves 4 - 6
1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
10 oz (300g) risotto rice, cooked *
handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp basil pesto
1 egg, beaten
3 tblsp double cream
salt and pepper
1 x 125g jar roasted red peppers, drained **
1 x 200g jar aubergines, drained **
125g mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Roll out the pastry to a square, approx. 14" x 14" (35 x 35cm) and use to line a 9" x 5" (22 x 12cm) loaf tin, making sure it fits well into the corners and there is extra overlapping the sides.
Mix together the cold cooked rice with the egg, cream, pesto and parsley. Season to taste.

Spoon half the mixture into the pastry-lined tin, and press down to flatten slightly. Arrange the remaining ingredients over the rice and then spoon in the rest of the rice. Fold the pastry over the top, removing any excess. Dampen edges of pastry and seal firmly (this is the point where it can be chilled for 24 hours). To cook, place the tin on a heated baking tray and bake for 50 - 60mins at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until the pastry is risen and golden. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a serving plate. Serve sliced (a serrated knife is best).
Note: *For a speedy risotto rice you can't do better than use one of those microwave pouches which cook the rice in 2 minutes. If using this you don't even need to go as far as this as the rice cooks in the oven.
** Instead of jars of roasted peppers, do your own in the oven or on a grill pan, likewise the aubergines.

Beef 'n Mushroom Hot-Pot Haggerty: feeds 4
12 oz (350g) lean minced beef (or beef substitute)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 oz (50g) mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp Marmite
1 tblsp gravy granules
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tblsp oil
knob butter
another large onion, thinly sliced
1lb 2 oz (1 kg) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 oz (50g) Wensleydale or Lancashire cheese
Using a 10" non-stick deep frying pan, fry the mince, chopped onions and mushrooms until browned. Add the Marmite and stir in the gravy granules. Sprinkle over the herbs. Remove from heat and spoon into a dish. Using the same pan, heat together the oil and the butter. Place half the potates and half the sliced onions over the base of the pan, then add the minced meat mixture, top with half the grated cheese, cover this with remainder of the mince, the rest of the sliced onion, and finally with overlapping slices of potato. Cover with a lid, bakingsheet, plate or foil, and cook over a medium heat for half an hour or until the potatoes are soft. Uncover, sprinkle over remaining cheese and place under a pre-heated grill for 5 - 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately with a green vegetable and plenty of gravy.
Economy Tip: use less meat and include a can of cooked beans (butterbeans or red beans).
Note: As this dish eats well with beetroot, either serve some hot beetroot as a vegetable side dish, or slice up cooked (could be vacuum packed) beetroot and put these in the centre of the dish along with the potatoes and onions.

Here is an easy recipe for cheesecake, and according to the flavours of the jelly and fruits you choose, umpteen (well perhaps six) different versions can easily be made.
The Lazy Person's Cheesecake: serves 6
5 oz (150g) digestive biscuits, crushed
2 oz (50g) butter, melted
1 pack orange jelly
1 large banana
1/2 lemon, juice only
250g pack (9 oz) ricotta or other cream cheese
1 x 425g can apricot halves
1 pack Quickjel
Mix together the biscuit crumbs and the butter and press into the base of a 7" (17.5cm) pref. loose-bottomed* flan tin, then put in the fridge to chill. Make up the jelly with only half the recommended amout of water (or use the juice from the can of apricots), and puree together with the banana, lemon juice and cheese. Pour this on top of the biscuit crumbs, give the tin a shake to settle and return to the fridge until set. Arrange the drained apricots on the top and make up the Quickjel with water (or canned juice), and when ready pour this over the apricots. When fully set, push up base and place cheesecake and base onto a serving plate.
Note: if tins have fixed bases, then line the tin with foil then clingfilm which then makes it easy to lift the contents from the tin, lift away the foil and carefully peel off the clingfilm before placing onto a plate.

Yet another 'Jaffa' cake recipe, although not sure if I have already posted it earlier. However, I know the previous 'Jaffa' recipes have been much appreciated, so better give twice than miss this altogether. Extremely easy to make, it will also freeze.
Jaffa Orange Drizzle Cake: 8 -10 slices (F)
5 oz (140g) butter, softened
8 oz (200g) self-raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
8 oz (200g) caster sugar
3 large eggs
6 tblsp milk
finely grated zest 1 orange (preferably Jaffa)
for the drizzle:
3 tblsp orange juice
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
2 oz (50g) dark chocolate
Put all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat for 3 - 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Then spoon into a greased and lined 1.2ltr loaf tin (*see note below). Level the top, then bake for 40 - 50 minutes at 180c, 350F, gas 4 until golden and firm to the touch.
While the cake is cooking, put the sugar and orange juice into a small pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. When the cake is cooked, leave it in the tin, and pour over the orange syrup. Leave to cool for a while, then remove from the tin and finish cooling on a cake airer.
Break up the chocolate and melt in a bowl which is standing over simmering water, then drizzle from side to side along the cake (and back again if enough chocolate). Leave to set.
To freeze, wrap tightly in foil and freeze for up to three months.
Note: Often the problem with a 'heavy' sponge cake is that the creaming process has not been given enough time. The longer you beat, the lighter and fluffier this becomes, so the lighter the cooked cake will be. I know that many cooks believe in creaming together butter and sugar (by hand) for as long as 20 minutes before adding remaining ingredients (and having sampled some I do know that their cakes are as light as a feather). In this age of gadgets, sometimes the old ways are best. But even if using a little 'plug-in' help, do whip for longer - the butter/sugar should double in bulk and be almost white in colour and very light in texture.
* No idea what size a 1.2ltr loaf tin, but as the ingredients weigh over 1 lb, am assuming it is a 2lb loaf tin. A tin measured in litres will hold that amount in water, so if in doubt get out your jug, fill the tin then measure the capacity.
As to loaf tins, is there a standard? I have six different sized loaf tins, all obviously the same shape, the largest I know will bake the 2lb loave, the smallest the 1 lb loaf, but why the others inbetween? At least they are useful for baking cakes.

Two recipes using bananas. One for Brownies, and a good way to use up those over-ripe fruits, the other destined for the freezer.Tightly wrapped in foil the Brownies will keep for up to a week. Probably would also freeze, but then Brownies are rarely around long enough to bother. Far better to use the freezer space for the second recipe.
Nutty Banana Brownies: makes 15 squares
6 oz (175g) butter
10 oz (300g) light muscovado sugar
6 oz (175g) plain chocolate
4 oz (100g) toasted chopped nuts
3 eggs, beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 oz (100g) self-raising flour
2 tblsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
Into a large pan put the butter, sugar and chocolate and heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved, the chocolate and butter melted and all is lovely and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, the beaten eggs, the very well mashed bananas. Into a bowl sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder then add this to the mixture in the saucepan and stir to combine. Pour this into a greased and lined Swiss Roll tin 7" x 11" (18 x 28cm) and bake for half an hour at 180C x 350F x gas 4 until firm in the centre. Cool in the tin then cut into squares. Wrap tightly in foil they will keep for a week.

Frozen Banana-on-a-Stick: makes about 12 (F)
4 large ripe (but firm) bananas
8 oz (225g) dark or milk chocolate
2 oz (50g) butter
5 oz (140g) toasted nuts, chopped
Peel the bananas, cutting each across into four (or more) portions. Push a cocktail stick up through the cut end. Cover a tray with baking parchment or greaseproof paper, lay on the bananas and put them in the freezer for one hour or until frozen.
Meanwhile, put the butter and chocolate into a bowl placed over simmering water and heat gently until both are melted, then stir together. Spread out the nuts into a shallow dish. Remove the frozen bananas, quickly dip each into the chocolate then roll in the nuts, then return to the freezer. After half an hour they can be put into bags or a box. Best eaten within a few days, if not instantly.