Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheap and Cheerful

Yesterday, asked our butcher to give me his prices for the more unusual 'cuts' and was very intrigued to discover that pigs ears were only 10p each, pigs trotters 25p each. As both were used in dishes in the series 'The Great British Menu' we could follow the chefs example and cook them ourselves.
Here are the prices as given (note they will probably be dearer the more the time goes on).
Sweetbreads: £2.95 per pound
Heart: £1.15 per pound
Pigs Cheek: £3.45 lb
Pigs Trotters: 25p each
Pigs Ears: 10p each
Although not requested it could be interesting to find out how much the butcher would charge for a whole pig's head (used to be very cheap, like 50p). With this you would get 2 ears and two cheeks and it might work out much cheaper than buying those separately, especially as other bits of meat from the head could be used to make brawn, and there would be a small amount of fat (lard) that could be collected too. This would be perhaps going to extremes to have to handle this, but the butcher would chop the head in half for you. Half a head may be enough but you would only get one ear.

All Bran Cake:
half pint water or milk
4 oz All Bran
10 oz mixed dried fruit
5 oz demerara sugar
4 oz self-raising flour, sifted
Put everything but the flour into a bowl and leave to soak for one hour. Mix in the flour and pour into a greased and floured 1lb loaf tin. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for one hour.

As above, using a measure instead of scales- the recipe suggests using a teacup.
Easy-Measure All Bran Cake:
1 measure each: All Bran, sugar, dried fruit, milk (or other liquid), self-raising flour, plus pinch of salt. Method as above.

Speaking of bread, noticed that in the on-line supermarket listings there are some for 'tear 'n' share' breads. They sound very tempting and more than once had added them to my virtual basket, and then later, because they were expensive, removed them. So have never got around to trying them.
In my bread-making book there is a recipe for 'tear 'n share' made with a packet of bread mix so may have a go at this myself.
Cheese and herb 'tear 'n share:
500g packet of white bread mix
approx 11 fl.oz (325ml) warm water or as packet directs
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 oz (25g) grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
half tsp salt
2 tsp dried mixed herbs (de Provence)
freshly ground black pepper
Put the bread mix in a bowl with the water and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Divide into 12 equal portions then roll each into a ball.
Into another bowl put the melted butter, garlic, cheese, salt, herbs and a good grind of black pepper and mix together. Dip each ball of dough into this mixture, covering the entire surface, then place in a single layer in a greased 8" (20cm) cake tin. Drizzle over any remaining butter. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 45minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown at 190C, 375F, gas 5 then turn out and cool on a wire rack. To serve (warm or cold) pull the rolls apart and share.
using a bread machine: follow above adding water and bread mix in order as specified in instruction book. Use the dough cycle, then remove dough from pan and finish off by hand and bake in the oven as directions above. Instead of bread mix, use a machine-bread recipe using the dough setting.

When baking bread dough in the oven, make a change from the normal shaped loaf and plait the dough instead. The traditional plait for Challah (a Jewish bread) is to use four strands of encriched dough instead of the normal three we would use when plaiting. To make a Challah plait, working with a dough made with 500g flour, divide the dough into four equal portion and roll each into a rope about 16" (40cm) long . Place them side by side but not touching, and pinch the top ends together. Starting from the right, lift the first rope over the second, and the third rope over the fourth, then place the fourth rope between the seond and first ropes. Repeat and continue to form a plait, pinching the final ends together and tucking both ends under. Easier to understand when you see it done, so practise with pieces of string. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and leave to rise in the normal way. Brush with butter before baking.

Milk bread is said to keep fresher for longer, and so I give a recipe for this - again it could be made in a machine using the dough setting following the machine instructions as to what order the ingredients need to be placed in the pan, then continue by hand and baking it off in the oven. To cut costs, work out the amount of dried milk needed to make 3/4 pint milk, and mix this into the flour, adding warm water in place of the milk in the recipe.
Milk Loaf: makes 2 x 2lb loaves
1 lb 9oz( 700g) strong plain white flour
2 tsp salt
2 oz (50g) butter, diced
1 tsp caster sugar
1 sachet (7g) easy-blend dried yeast
15 fl.oz (425ml) warm milk
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and the yeast then add the milk to make a soft dough (if too soft add a little more flour). Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
Knock back and turn out onto a floured surface, divide in half and shape each into an oblong. Place in two greased 2lb loaf tins, cover and leave to rise again for about half an hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 30 - 40 minutes or until well risen and golden brown - sounding hollow when tapped underneath. Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Serve cold, sliced.
Note: if not loaf tins, the bread can be placed directly onto 2 greased baking sheets, covered, left to rise and then baked directly in the oven.