Saturday, October 20, 2007

Take Your Pick

In recent week pulses and grains have been mentioned as (when eaten together) they are a great source of cheaper protein, so here is a worthy soup recipe, full of nourishment and cheap with it. Instead of weighing, a mug (holding 6 fl oz) is used as a measure.
Lentil and Barley Soup: serves 5 (V)
6 fl.oz (175ml) measure of chopped onion
6 fl.oz (175ml) measure of chopped celery
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 oz (50g) butter or margarine
2 pints (900ml) vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
6 fl.oz (175ml) measure dried red lentils (rinsed)
6 fl.oz (175g) measure pearl barley
half tsp dried rosemary
half tsp. dried marjoram/oregano
freshly ground black pepper
8 fl.oz (225ml) measure of grated carrots
8 fl.oz (225g) measure grated Cheddar cheese
Put the butter into a large saucepan with the onion and celery and saute until tender. Add the stock, tomatoes, lentils, barley, and herbs. Season with pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes adding up to 8fl.oz (225g) more water if needed. Add the carrots and cook for 15 minutes longer. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle over the grated cheese.

This recipe is a way to use up canned fish. Although the recipe uses canned salmon, it will work perfectly well using canned mackerel, sardines, pilchards. Intended to make a certain number of fish balls, the mixture can also be formed into flattened fishcakes. They can be frozen, in which case I would probably use an instant mash rather than 'proper' potato as it does freeze so well.
Salmon Fish Balls: serves 4
3 medium potatoes, peeled, and boiled
1 x 200g can salmon, drained
1 oz (25g) each peas and sweetcorn
1 egg, beaten
Mash the cooked potatoes with a little milk until smooth, but not too soft. Flake the salmon and mix this into the potato with the peas and sweetcorn. Roll into balls and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or make a day ahead and keep chilled (or open freeze then bag up).
When ready to serve, roll the balls in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and fry in shallow oil for 5 - 6 minutes until golden all over and heated through. Drain in kitchen paper and serve with what you will. Especially good eaten with dips: tomato ketchup, plain mayo, or a blend of both.

The following sandwich spread makes use of the ends of roast beef - or if you use a slicer to cut the beef with the intention of freezing, it makes good use of the small scraps that always seem to collect up near the slicing blade. Although the recipe uses beef, it could be made with almost any cooked meats, adjust flavourings and seasonings to taste. As the recipe is given in cup measurements, again I am going to alter this to fluid ounces so that you can use a glass measuring jug that all cooks have in their kitchens.
Leftover Roast Sandwich Spread: makes nine sandwiches
4 x 8fl.oz (225ml) measures of cubed cooked roast beef*
8 fl.oz (225ml) measure of sweet pickle
1 small onion, quartered
4 fl.oz (125ml) tomato ketchup
2 fl.oz (50ml) mayonnaise
2 tsp vinegar
good pinch salt
1 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper
18 slices bread
Put the beef, pickle and onion into a food processor and blitz until coarsely chopped. Into a large bowl put the ketchup, mayo, vinegar, salt and sugar and add pepper to taste. Mix together and stir in the beef mixture. Blend together well, cover and chill for one hour. Spread on 9 slices of bread, cover with remaining slices.

Deep Pan Stilton and Ham Omelette: serves 4
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 oz (100g) cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz (100g) chunky ham, finely diced
6 egg, beaten
4 tblsp milk
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
2 oz (50g) Stilton cheese, crumbled
Brush a frying pan with the oil and place in the tomatoes. Scatter over the ham. Beat together the eggs and milk, stir in the parsley, season to taste and pour over the ham and tomatoes. Top with the cheese and fry gently for 15 minutes until crusty on the base and the egg is just about set. Remove from the hob, place under a pre-heated grill and finish off heating the top of the omelette for about 5 minutes, by which time the egg should be fully set and the top golden. Serve in wedgeswith hot new potatoes and a good dollop of caramelized onions. Or if you prefer (and the day is warm), serve hot or cold with a salad.

Hot and Spicy Nuts:
1 oz butter
1 lb (450g) whole nuts, shelled (brazil, almond, hazle, peanuts)
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp English mustard powder
1 - 2 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
Melt the butter in a frying pan and put in the nuts, fry gently for five minutes until the nuts are golden. Mix together the remaining ingredients, sprinkle over the nuts and toss until coated with the spicy mix. Cool then store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.

For chocolate lovers here is my final dish of the day. Cake makers will realise the cake batter weights are the ones used when making basic cakes (same weight of butter, sugar, flour and eggs):
Two-Tone Chocolate Steamed Pudding: serves 8
3 oz (75g) dark chocolate
3 oz (75g) white chocolate
6 oz (175g) butter, softened
6 oz (175g) light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
Melt the dark chocolate and the white separately in bowls standing over simmering water. Beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the flour, then divide the mixture into two halves. Stir the dark chocolate into one half, the white into another. Have ready a well greased and base-lined 2 pint (1 ltr) pudding basin and spoon alternate dark and light mixtures into the basin. Swirl together with a skewer and smooth the top. Cover with pleated greaseproof and then foil and steam for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, checking water level, adding more boiling water if necessary. (To microwave: do not overwrap in foil. Cook on High for 5 minutes, then stand for 5 minutes). To serve, turn out onto a shallow serving dish and pour over the following sauce:
chocolate sauce:
4 oz (100g) dark or white chocolate
5 fl.oz (150ml) double cream
1 tbslp brandy (optional)
Put the chocolate and the cream in a pan and heat gently until smooth and glossy. Stir in brandy if using. Serve hot, poured over the steamed sponge.
Variation: Instead of spooning and swirling the two chocolate mixtures together, place alternately in layers to give a stripy effect when cut.
Tip: Steamed puddings can also be cooked in the oven. Place in a roasting tin, adding enough boiling water to come halfway up the basin. Make sure no paper or foil is touching the water. Overwrap the lot (basin and tin) with a double thickness of foil, sealing tightly. Cook at 160C, 325F, gas 3 for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Serve as above.