Friday, November 30, 2007

Use Not Lose

I managed to get onto the site, which needs closer attention when I have time, but inspired me enough to be even more diligent as to what I keep and what I throw.

Before I move onto the food, here is a 'recipe' to make up your own scented soap using those scraps of soap so often discarded. Just collect them up and when you have enough, turn them into soap balls. If the soap was originally scented, then just substitute water for the rose water, and 1 tsp olive oil for the lavender oil.
Soap Balls:
7 oz (200g) soap scraps
2 fl.oz (50ml) rose water
2 - 4 drops lavender oil
more rose water
Grate or chop the soap and put into a basin. Heat the rose water to almost boiling and pour this over the soap. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes then mix well. Using a wire whisk, beat in one drop of oil at a time (or this can be done in a slow running blender), leave to cool slightly before pouring into a round container. Leave in a cool place (not the fridge) for three days. Once it has begun to set and dry out, then remove and - if you wish - roll it into smaller balls. Allow to dry out in the sun or on a window ledge above a radiator. When almost dry, dampen hands with rosewater and rolld the balls until shiny and smooth.

Moving on to the recipes. Again, using up oddments, left-overs, or foods from the stores. The first being an unusual way to use up yesterday's rice and scraps of cheese. Not to mention the crusts from a loaf.
Indian Cheese and Rice:
1 oz (25g) butter
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped*
salt and pepper
2 tsp curry powder
4 - 5 oz (120g) grated cheese
8 oz (250g) cooked rice
Toasted bread
Melt the butter in a pan and add the tomatoes and curry powder. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and rice, and heat until the cheese has melted. Serve on a hot dish surrounded by triangles of toast. Serve immediately.
Note: instead of fresh tomatoes, canned could be used. If not needed to use a whole can of tomatoes, always removed the surplus from the can and store in a glass or plastic container. Use within 3 days if kept in the fridge, or they can be frozen.
Tip: empty a whole tin of plum tomatoes into a fine sieve and rub through, discarding any seeds or skin. This puree is now passata, and works out much, much cheaper than buying it ready made.

During the war, the MOF used to issue Cookery Leaflets, and the following adaptation comes from one of these. Don't think of this dish as less than the best. It is full of nutrition and by today's standards (and the name I have given it) would fit happily into the recipe section of any foodie mag. Use the water in which the root veggies have been cooked as the stock.
Vegetarian Pie with a Thatched Top:
1 1/2 lbs (750g) cooked, mixed root vegetables
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
10 fl.oz (half pint/300ml) vegetable stock
2 oz (50g) oatmeal
2 oz (50g) mashed potatoes
2 oz (50g) grated cheese
salt and pepper
4 oz (100g) flour
1 oz (25g) fat (butter, marg, lard or oil)
Place the cooked vegetables in a pie dish and sprinkle over the parsley. Pour in the stock and season to taste.
To make the 'thatch' top, mash the potato with the fat and mix in the oats, flour and cheese, adding a little salt to taste. Mix to a stiff dough with the water. Place on a floured board and roll out. Cover the pie with this, trimming the edges. (f you wish, run a fork over the pastry to make ridges. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about half an hour or until the thatch is cooked.
Variation: Instead of adding water to make pastry, use the potato mixture as a type of crumble, or forking it up as you would topping for a Cottage Pie.

Getting children to eat vegetables can sometimes be difficult, so here is a very good dessert recipe, based on a wartime speciality. The original was made using wholewheat pastry, but I'm suggesting you keep the oddments of shortcrust in your freezer until you have enough to make this. Eating carrots is supposed to help to prevent night blindness, hence the name I have given this dish. Although the carrots can be boiled, steaming retains all their vitamins. You could use freshly cooked carrots, or sieve/process/blend leftovers to make the carrot puree.
See in the Dark, Chocolate Tart:
12 oz (350g) shortcrust pastry
half a pint measure of carrot puree
1 tblsp sugar
few drops vanilla extract
2 tblsp cocoa
Roll out the pastry thinly to line a greased sandwich tin. Mix together the carrots with the rest of the ingredients and spread this over the pastry. Decorate with criss-crossed strips of pastry and bake for about half an hour at 220C, 425F, gas 5 or until the pastry is cooked.

Another wartime favourite, but popular long before the wars and again coming into fashion. Purists will make it using crustless bread, crumbed, but for a more rustic version use those end crusts from a loaf.
Treacle Tart:
shortcrust pastry
2 tblsp golden syrup or black treacle (or half of each)
2 tblsp breadcrumbs
quarter tsp ground ginger
Roll out the pastry and line a sandwich tin, mix the breadcrumbs with the ginger, stir in the sticky stuff (whichever you have chosen to use) and spoon into the tin, smooth to flatten top and bake at 220C, 425F, gas 5 for 20 minutes. Cool. Eat warm or cold with or without cream.