Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fast Food

The suggestion of serving 3 courses instead of two works well when it comes to feeding a hungry family economically, but it can take a little more time than preparing just 2 courses. To time-save, make soups in bulk and freeze away the surplus for other days. Some pudding can also be made in large amounts and frozen away - my Ticket Office Pudding (aka Sticky Toffee pud) is one that - because of its richness of flavour - needs only small portions served (one 9" square will serve at least 6), and freezes extremely well. Crumbles can also be made, cooked and frozen.

Short cuts, such as making a bulk amount of crumble mix and storing it in the fridge or freezer means that a fruit crumble can be assembled quite rapidly and baked in the oven along with something else. Slow-cookers are ideal for working mums as they will cook a main course all day without it coming to harm and tenderise the cheapest cuts of meat to 'melt in the mouth' stage.

Extend meat by serving it with more vegetables, be it mince in a Shepherd's pie, or chunky meat and poultry in a casserole or curry. Many spicy dishes improve in flavour by standing overnight in the fridge after cooking, so the next day's meal can be cooked in advance if time is at a premium, and although we don't usually care to eat the same dish two days running, we can eat a casserole one day, and use any surplus cooked under pastry as a 'meat pie' one or two days later.

'Filling' foods help to fill hungry tums, and the best foods to do this is something like a bowl of porridge or a jacket potato. But not just the potato flesh, eat the skin as well as this is the bit that fills us up the most. Thick slices of bread can also be filling, ideally home-made and brown (even better, granary), and when toasted with a topping can make an ideal snack, or light lunch/supper. Go one step further and make French Onion soup, topped with slices of 'cheese on toast'. Now that IS a filling starter.