Sunday, November 09, 2008

News from the Kitchen Front

Many of us make our own chutneys and pickles, possibly piccalilli among the selection. However - if you normally buy these ready-made, here is an almost-instant version of piccalilli that eats well with not only cold meats, terrines and pates, but also smoked fish.
Salad of pickled Vegetables: serves 4
8 oz (225g) frozen string (French) beans, thawed
2 small carrots, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
8 radishes, thinly sliced
1 small cauliflower, florets only
1 tblsp English mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tblsp sunflower oil
2 tblsp creme fraiche
salt and pepper
2 bunches (or bags) of watercress.
Cut the longer beans in half, then blanch all the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain. Add to a bowl with the other prepared vegetables.
Whisk together the mustard, vinegar and oil together, then fold in the creme fraiche adding seasoning to taste. Fold this into the vegetables. Remove most of the long stems from the watercress, and when ready to serve the salad, fold in the watercress leaves and tops.

Boston baked beans must have been the forerunner to the canned baked beans as we know them today, and to make them again, traditionally they would need quite an amount of slow cooking. Here is a speedier version that would eat well with a ham or gammon joint, the meat being either hot or cold. They could even be served up on toast as we do with baked beans. Although always having canned baked beans in store, this is another way to make use of the dried haricot and cannellini beans that we may have soaked, cooked and frozen.
Boston-type Baked Beans: serves 4 (F)
1 tblsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp tomato puree
2 tblsp golden syrup
1 tblsp black treacle
2 tsp English mustard
pinch ground cinnamon
2 x 400g cans haricot or cannellini beans, rinsed
half pint (300ml) ham, chicken or vegetable stock
black pepper
Put the oil in a saucepan, and gently fry the onion until softened, then stir in the tomato puree, the syrup, treacle,mustard and cinnamon. Cook/stir for a couple of minutes then add the beans and stock, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the lid, raise the heat to medium and bubble away some of the liquid until reduced to a thick sauce. Season with the pepper and serve with chosen meat and a veg such as broccoli or cauliflower. To freeze. Cool, pack in rigid containers and freeze for up to 6 weeks. To serve, thaw and reheat in a covered pan or in the oven (170C, 325F, gas 5) for 20 minutes. Season and serve as above.