Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Have a Hearty Party

Garlic bread often finds its way onto a buffet table, and this is a savoury version. The more commonly used French stick will flake on thawing, so if wishing to freeze, use the softer baguettes or bloomers.
Hot and Savoury Slices: allow two slices per person
spicy tomato:
1 loaf (as chosen)
2 level tblsp chilli and tomato relish
3 oz (75g) butter, softened
herby topping:
1 loaf (as chosen)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp lemon juice
2 level tblsp chopped fresh parsley
2 level tsp chopped fresh sage
2 level tsp chopped fresh dill
ground black pepper
3 oz (75g) butter, softened
For both loaves, choose the topping, the blend together the ingredients. Make 12 cuts in each loaf, slicing almost through to base. Spread savoury butter on each slice, pushing the loaf back into shape, and wrap in foil so the join is at the top.*
To serve now, bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 25 minutes, then open up the foil to allow the crust to brown, and bake for 5 - 10 minutes more.
To freeze: Prepare the bread up to *, and wrap the preformed and unbaked loaf in foil as given. Freeze and use within 3 months.
To Serve from frozen: bake as "to serve now" allowing 10 minutes extra.

This next is a rice salad that eats really well with cold meats, especially turkey. It freezes well, but add the cheese and apple after thawing. This could be packed into individual containers to take for a packed lunch.
All Good Things Rice Salad: serves 8 - 10
8 oz (225g) brown rice, cooked
4 oz (100g) frozen peas, cooked
4 oz (100g) sweetcorn kernels (cooked if frozen)
1 small onion, finely chopped (opt)
4 oz (100g) chopped walnuts
4 oz (100g) raisins or sultana
4 level tblsp mayonnaise
1 tblsp creamed horseradish
salt and pepper
to finish:
4 oz (100g) chosen hard cheese, cubed
2 red eating apples, peeled, cored and diced
Put rice, vegetables, nuts and raisins in a large bowl. Blend the mayo with the horseradish cream and add seasoning to taste. Stir this into the rice mixture.*
To serve now, add cheese and apple to the rice salad, and chill.
To Freeze: prepare up to * and bag up or put into a rigid container. Seal and label and use within 3 months.
To Serve from Freezer: Thaw for 3 - 4 hours in the fridge. Complete as from "to serve now".

Quiches are always a party favourite, so here are two fillings, each enough to fill an 11"(25.5cm) flan case with each serve 10 - 12 people. The pastry cases are always best first baked blind, to prevent the base crust going soggy. Then add the chosen filling and bake on. Gruyere is used in the first filling as this melts easily, otherwise choose a firmer, but grated cheese.

Traditionally a quiche is made in a round tin, the party size being 11" in diameter (25.5cm), and with something that large, always best to cut through the centre once cooked (using a scone cutter), this then gives an extra portion, and slices cut round this then are wedge shaped, so no pointed tip to break off - as they do. Alternatively, bake the quiches in an oblong shallow roasting tin, and cut the portions into fingers or squares.
Cheese and Asparagus filling: (F) as a quiche
1 x 350g can asparagus, drained and cut into 1" lengths
5 oz (125g) Gruyere cheese, cubed
3 eggs, beaten
half pint (300ml) milk
salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together until well blended, adding seasoning to taste. Pour into prepared flan case and bake for 40 - 50 minutes at 2ooC, 400F, gas 6 until firm and golden.

Cream Cheese and Spinach filling: (F) as a quiche
1 oz (25g) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 x 227g (8oz) pack frozen chopped spinach
8 oz (225g) cream cheese
3 eggs, beaten
half pint (300ml) milk
salt and pepper
grating of nutmeg
1 oz (25g) Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a pan and saute the onion for 1 minutes, then add the spinach and cook until thawed and heated through. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese, a little at a time, until well blended. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, milk, nutmeg and seasoning to taste. Pour into a prepared flan case and sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese. Cook as for previous recipe.
To serve now (preferably still warm), cut into slices and arrange on a plate.
To freeze: open freeze until solid, then wrap in clear film and overwrap in foil. Seal and label and use within 3 months/
To serve from freezer: unwrap and thaw for 4 hours at room temperature. Then from "to serve now".

This next is a cold dip, but sitting round a bonfire with a jacket potato aching to be filled, why not add a dollop of this in the centre of your spud or provide a big bowl of tortilla chips and breadsticks to dip into it as you watch the pretty fireworks. Omit the curry paste if you want a milder version, or why not make a dish of each? Any hard cheese could be used, so a good way to use up the odds and ends.
Spicy Corn Dip: serves 8 - 10
10 oz (275g) Cheddar cheese, grated
3 fl oz (75ml) creme fraiche (or sour cream)
3 fl oz (75ml) mayonnaise
1 shallot, finely chopped (opt)
2 tsp mild curry paste (opt)
pinch salt
1 x 350g (12oz) can sweetcorn kernels, drained
Put everything into a bowl and mix well together. Chill for 1 - 2 hours before serving.
To freeze: put into rigid container after mixing, cover, seal and label. Use within 2 months.
To serve from frozen: thaw 4 hours at room temperature, then beat with a fork. Serve as suggested.

Although the above is used as a cold and quick filling for the hot potatoes, here are a few more suggestions, with the filling mixed with the hot potato flesh to be piled back into the shells to be finished off in the oven. They can be prepared a short time in advance of the final cooking (and also frozen after stuffing. Each filling will be enough to stuff 4 potatoes.
Mexicana filling: (F after stuffing the spuds)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tblsp sunflower or olive oil
4 oz (100g) minced steak
3 tblsp tomato and chilli relish
2 oz (50g) grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Fry onion in the hot oil until just beginning to brown. Stir in the minced steak and cook over high heat for 2 minutes until also browned. Stir in the relish and seasoning. Mix with cooked potato flesh and spoon back into the shells. Bake as given below.

Tuna filling: (F after stuffing the spuds)
3 tblsp hot milk
salt and pepper
1 x 218g (7.5 oz) canned tuna, drained and flaked
2 level tlsp chopped fresh parsley
Add hot milk to the potato flesh and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in seasoning to taste, and finally the flaked tuna and parsley. Spoon into potato shells. Bake on as given below.

Cheese 'n Chive filling: (F after stuffing)
1 small pack cream cheese and chives
salt and pepper
Mash the herby cream cheese with potato flesh and season to taste. Spoon into prepared shells and bake on (see below).

to bake/serve/freeze filled potatoes:
place stuffed potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 25-30 minutes until heated through and browned. Serve immediately, with a salad such as coleslaw.
To freeze: cool completely after stuffing (but before baking), open-freeze until solid, and bag, seal and label. Use within 2 months.
To serve from freezer: thaw 4 hours at room temperature, unwrap and and complete as "to bake/serve....".