Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Growing Up.

It is possible to make meringues without using an oven, the aim being to dry them out rather than cook them. So use any warm space (by a central heating boiler, on top of an Aga, in the airing cupboard), protecting them from dust, and just leave them until bone dry. Then pack them away either in tightly tied polybags, or airtight containers. They can be sandwiched together with some cream, on the normal way, or crumbled to be added to ice-cream or a dish such as Eton Mess, or maybe used crushed as a topping for trifle. Endless uses.

This 'baked bean' recipe can be very flexible, as almost any canned beans could be used. As it requires no cooking, this makes good party food, as the topping can be prepared ahead and kept chilled in the fridge. Piled on slices cut from a French loaf, they are almost 'finger food'. For an everyday hot lunch or supper snack use normal sized toasting bread, first heating the beans, fold in the tuna and herbs, pop onto the hot toast, cover with grated cheese (or slices of processed cheese) then finish off under the grill.
Tuna Beans on Toast: makes enough for 12 'fingers'
12 thin slices of French bread
1 can (410g) can baked beans (or other) drained
1 can (150g) can tuna in oil
1 - 2 sliced tomatoes
half a red onion, finely sliced
chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Drain the tuna, keeping the oil, and flake the fish. Set both aside.
Mash the beans with a little of the saved tuna oil, and add the flaked tuna. Mix in a little chopped parsley, and season to taste.
Toast the bread lightly on both sides, and when ready, brush each with the remaining oil from the can of tuna. Place a slice of tomato on top, cover this with the bean mixure, and finish off with a little sliced onion and a sprinkle of parsley.

As it is only the base that is different, any pizza toppings can be used. As always, make your own choice, using ingredients you already have. Use this recipe only as a guide:
Potato base Pizzas: serves 4
4 medium baking potatoes
1 x 200g tuna, drained
1 tsp tomato puree
1 shallot, or small onion, finely chopped
1 x 198g can sweetcorn, drained
half a red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
8 oz (225g) cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
Microwave the potatoes until cooked. Meanwhile, mix together the tuna, tomato puree, shallot, sweetcorn and peppers, then add 4 oz (100g) of the cheese. Season to taste.
Cut the potatoes in half, lengthways and arrange in a circle, packing as closely together as you can. They can be flattened slightly as their skins will help to keep them intact.
Spread the tuna mixture on top and cover with remaining cheese. Place under a pre-heated grill and cook for 5 or so minutes until the cheese has melted and turning brown. Remove from the tin using a fish slice, serving two halves per person. Good eaten with a side salad.

Today is the perfect day for me to give a recipe which first appeared in 'Have a Goode Year', and I quote:
..."It took April Fools' Day to inspire me to invent another concoction, and this turned out well enough to serve at dinner parties. If you need to make it in a hurry, use no-soak-apricots and a little less water, but still give them time to soak up some honey flavour:
Fools' Gold: serves 4
3 fl.oz (85ml) water
2 tsp runny honey
1 tblsp orange liqueur (optional)
4 oz (100g) dried apricots
5 fl.oz (150ml)double or whipping cream
1 - 2 drops yellow food colouring (opt)
5 fl.oz (150ml) apricot or peach flavoured yogurt
Heat the water and stir in the honey and orange liqueur. Pour over the apricots and leave to soak overnight. Put the apricots and the liquid into a blender and whizz to a puree. Beat the cream until thick, adding food colouring to the shade you prefer. Fold in the puree, then finally the yogurt. Serve chilled in individual serving dishes.