Friday, December 05, 2008

Using Left-overs

Below is a favourite recipe of mine for making economy marzipan and am also giving a recipe for economy fondant icing. If you have a blender/liquidiser, then use this to grind granulated sugar down to caster, then continue grinding small amounts of the caster down to make icing sugar (cheaper than buying icing sugar). For fine icing (not necessary for marzipan) sift before using, and regrind the larger bits.

economy marzipan:
8 oz (225g) icing sugar
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
2 oz (50g) ground almonds
1 tsp golden syrup
1 egg white
2 drops almond essence
Mix everything together in a bowl, and knead well until smooth. Store in a polybag until needed to prevent it drying out.

economy fondant icing:
1 lb (450g) icing sugar, sieved
2 tsp golden syrup
1 egg white
Put 12 oz (350g) of the sugar into a bowl, add the egg white and syrup and mix well. Put the remaining sugar on a work surface, tip the mixture out onto it, and knead until all the sugar has been taken up and the fondant is smooth. Add more sugar if necessary. Wrap in greaseproof paper, then foil, until ready to use.

When icing a cake with fondant icing, bought or home-made, once the cake has been covered, sift a very little cornflour over the top of the cake and lightly smooth this over the top/sides of the cake with the flat of your hand (fingers only), this will 'polish' the surface of the icing and give a slight sheen to the icing.

Ham (pork) Hash: serves 2 - 4
1.2 lb (500g) potatoes
salt and pepper
8 oz (225g) cooked ham or pork
1 onion, quartered
half green bell pepper, de-seeded
pinch dried thyme or sage
2 tblsp butter
1 tblsp olive oil
Boil potatoes in salted water until just cooked (but not too soft), then drain thoroughly, return to the pan and place over a moderate heat, tossing potato until any excess moisture has evaporated.
Very finely chop the potatoes, ham/pork, onion and pepper together. Even better mince them together. Or even give a quick pulse or three in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the chosen herb and mix well.
Put the butter and oil in an 8" (20cm) frying pan, then add the hash mixture and shape into a even cake using a spatula or palette knife to flatten surface. Fry over moderate heat for 5 minutes or until the 'cake' is crisp and golden underneath. Remove from hob and finish off toasting the top under a hot grill for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately, cut into wedges.

Leftovers Pie: serves 5 - 6
5 tblsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 tblsp flour
1 pint of lamb or vegetable stock
12 oz (350g) cold cooked lamb, cut into chunks
12 oz (350g) mixed cooked vegetables
2 - 3 tblsp red wine
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
6 oz shortcrust pastry
Melt the butter in a pan and saute the onion and celery over medium heat for 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and continue to cook for 10 minutes until the flour has changed to a deep golden colour. Gradually add the stock stirring it in quickly to prevent lumps, the simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meat and vegetables, then stir in the wine, Worcestershire and soy sauces, adding seasoning to taste. Pour mixture into a 1.75 pint (1 ltr) pie dish, cover and leave to cool.
Meanwhile prepare the pastry by rolling out to a size 2" (5cm) larger than the top of the pie dish. Cut a half inch (1 cm) wide strip from around edge of pastry. Brush rim of pie dish with water and press the pastry strip around the rim, brushing the pastry with water, then lift remaining pastry over the top of the pie, lightly pressing edges of pastry and pastry rim together, trimming off any excess from around the edges. Pinch edges together to seal well, and - if you wish - decorate with leaves made from the pastry trimmings.
Brush the pastry all over with beaten egg, then make a hole in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape, place on a baking sheet and bake for 30- 40 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6 or until golden brown on top and heated through inside. Serve immediately.