Thursday, January 31, 2008

Which comes first?

Having bought, some times ago, a bag of small onions, I was happy to find a recipe in which they can be used. They go very well with liver and bacon (another favourite dish which I normally serve with shredded steamed cabbage), with roast chicken, chops and steak of course.
Creamed Button Onions: serves 6
2 lb (1kg) button onions
5 fl.oz (150ml) chicken stock
2 oz (50g) butter, softened
1 tbls plain flour
half a pint (275ml) milk
5 fl.oz (150ml) double cream
salt, pepper,
chopped parsley
Boil the onions in a pan of water for five minutes, then drain, While still hot, remove their skins. Return to the same (now dry pan) and add the stock (you could, if you wish, substitute white wine for the stock, or some of each). Cover and simmer for half an hour.
Meanwhile make the sauce by melting half the butter in a pan, stirring in the flour then adding the milk and cream. Heat gently, stirring all the time until thickened. If too thick, add more milk. Season to taste.
Drain the cooked onions, adding the remaining ounce of butter and toss to coat. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, putting them into a dish. Pour over the sauce, drizzle over any butter from the pan, sprinkle with nutmeg (to taste), and the chopped parsley. Serve hot.

Parsnips are a very under-rated vegetable. Some people really dislike the flavour. But we love them in the Goode Household. This is a particularly good recipes and children will eat them in great amounts especially if coated with a mixture or crumbs and crushed crisps.
Parsnip Patties: serves 4 - 6
2 lb (1kg) large parsnips
3 oz (75g) butter
2 tblsp double cream
salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
3 oz (75g) dried breadcrumbs
oil for frying
creme fraiche (opt)
3 (75 grated cheese (opt)
After peeling and removing the core from the parsnips, cut them into small chunks. Boil them in salted water until softened (about 10 - 15 minutes). Drain well. Melt the butter in a pan and add the parsnips. Stir in the cream and season to taste. Mash well. Cool, then stir in a couple of teaspoons of the egg. Using wetted or floured hands, form the mixture into balls, then flatten them into patties. Dip into the remaining egg and then into the breadcrumbs. Shallow fry for 3 - 5 minutes until golden on each side, keep warm until all the patties have been cooked. Serve hot with grilled or roasted meats.
As an optional extra, for brunch, lunch or a light supper, blend 2 oz (50g) of the grated cheese into a small tub of creme fraiche, pour over a dish of the hot patties , sprinkling over the remaining cheese, and grill under the cheese has melted and the sauce bubbling.

Suet puddings (both sweet and savoury) are normally steamed, but for today's dessert I give you a baked version.
Jam Roly-Poly: serves 6
6 oz (175g) suet pastry (recipe below)
6 oz (175g) jam, any kind
Roll out the pastry to an oblong 12" x 8" (30 x 20cm). Spread thickly with jam to within 1" (2.5cm) of the edges. Wet the edges with water and roll up from the short end. Pinch the edges together to seal.
Place on a greased baking sheet, with the join underneath. Bake at 20oC, 4ooF, gas 6 for 40 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with custard.

This recipe for suet pastry makes enough for the above pudding, you would need twice as much to line a one and a half pint pudding basin if making a savoury pudding etc. It can also be made using self-raising flour, but if so, omit the raising agent. If possible use plain flour and raising agent as it makes for a lighter pastry. The same recipe, plus the addition of a tsp mixed dried herbs, and making the dough quite soft, can be used for making dumplings to add to a stew.
Suet Pastry:
4 oz (100g) plain flour
pinch salt
1 level tsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) shredded suet
approx 2 fl.oz (50ml) water
Sieve together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the suet and gradually pour in the water, mixing with a knife until the dough is soft and leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Turn out onto a floured board, knead lightly until free of cracks, then roll out to the thickness required. (For lining a basin the thickness is usually a quarter of an inch (5mm) thick.

If you fancy something different, then try this bread pudding, so named because it seems to stem from areas where this famous sailor lived. It can be eaten hot as a pudding or cold as a cake. Incidentally, The Lord Nelson is the name of the Tall Ship that my Beloved is crewing at this very moment. Let us hope the weather is warmer where he is. It should be.
Nelson's Cake: makes 12 squares
8 thick slices of day-old bread
half a pint (275ml) milk
1 - 2 eating apples
8 oz (225g) mixed dried fruit
2 oz (50g) chopped candied peel
3 tblsp soft dark sugar
2 tblsp orange marmalade
2 oz (50g) self-raising flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
40z (100g) butter, melted
Tear the bread into small pieces and put into a bowl. Pour over the milk and leave to soak for at least half an hour, then beat with a fork until smooth and lump-free.
Grate the apples, including their peel, down to the core and stir into the bread mixture, together 2 oz of the melted butter and the rest of the remaining ingredients. Beat well together then spoon the mixture into a greased 11" x 8" (28 x 20cm) roasting tin, smoothing it flat. Pour the remaining butter over the surface. Bakeat 150C, 350F, gas 2, for 2 hours, then increase the heat to 180C, 350F, gas 4, and bake for a further half hour. Cut into portions and serve with custard or sprinkle surface with demerara sugar, leave to get cold and cut into squares to serve as a cake.