Monday, October 12, 2009

Loafing Around

No brandy or rum is included with this recipe, but you could add a spoonful if you wish at the 'maturing' stage, and before freezing.
Freezer Mincemeat: makes 2.75lb (125kg) (F)
8 oz (225g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chipped
3 fl.oz (75ml) dry cider
1 1/2 lbs (675g) mixed dried fruit
3 oz (75g) shredded suet
1/2 tsp mixed spice
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
8 oz (225g) soft brown sugar
Cook the prepared apples in the cider until soft, then mash to a pulp. Set aside to cool.
Put the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well together, then stir in the cold apple. Pack into freezer boxes or bags and leave in the fridge to 'mature' (allowing the fruit to soak up the juices) for 3 - 4 days, then use to make mince pies and tarts or freeze.
To freeze: seal bags, label and use within 3 months.
To serve: thaw at room temperature 3 - 4 hours, then use as above. After being removed from the freezer, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Now for a savoury loaf for those meat-eaters who wish to cut down their intake. Not strictly vegetarian as a ham-stock cube is used, but 'veggies' could use an alternative stock, maybe one made with Marmite.
Lentil Loaf: serves 6 - 8
8 oz (225g) split red lentils, washed
15 fl oz (425ml) ham stock (made from a cube)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, deseeded, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 tblsp sunflower oil
2 eggs
4 oz (100g) nuts, finely ground
1 tblsp wheat bran
1 tblsp tomato puree
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
pinch each salt and pepper
(1 oz/25g Cheddar cheese, grated)
Simmer lentils in the stock until tender and all liquid absorbed.
Gently fry the prepared vegetables in the oil until soft, but do not let them get brown.
Beat remaining ingredients (except the cheese) into the lentils, then fold in the fried vegetables.
Put mixture into a greased 2 lb (900g) loaf tin, and top with the grated cheese. Bake for 50 minutes (or until firm) at 180C, 350F, gas 4.
Serve hot with tomato sauce and jacket potatoes, or cold with salad.
To Freeze: cool in tin, turn out and wrap in foil, seal and use within one month.
To serve from Freezer: if eating cold thaw in wrappings for 4 - 6 hours at room temperature.
Or replace in tin and reheat at 200C etc for 30 - 40 mins or until hot.

Some supermarket breads are now being sold remarkably cheaply. B brought in a loaf the other day, "was 79p, now 37p". Not the best of bread, but certainly not the worst. Bread such as this is very good for making croutons or Melba Toast - the crispy, curled slices of bread served with soup or pate in the top restaurants. To make this remove the crusts from thin slices of white bread, then toast on both sides, split through the middle to make even thinner slices then toast the cut side. If this is bit fiddly, then cut a stale (whole) loaf into very thin slices and dry these off on a tray on the bottom of a turned-out oven until golden and crisp.
Crush any left-over toast to crumbs to make a coating for foods that will be fried, or mix with grated cheese to sprinkle on gratin dishes to make a crisp topping.

Here is a version of Queen's Pudding that makes the most of the cheaper bread, and don't forget there are many versions of the Bread and Butter Pudding that can also be made.
Pomme-Pomme Pudding: serves 4 -5
1 oz (25g) butter
15 fl oz (425ml) milk
3 oz (75g) fresh white breadcrumbs
4 oz (100g) granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 lb (450g) cooking apples, peeled, cored, chopped
2 tblsp water
3 - 4 tblsp blackberry jam or jelly
3 oz (75g) caster sugar
Put the butter in a pan with the milk and heat gently until the butter has melted and the milk ALMOST at boiling point. Remove from heat, stir in the breadcrumbs and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
Beat 1 oz (25g) of the sugar and the 2 egg yolks into the soaked breadcrumbs and pour this into a lightly buttered 2 pt ( 1.1ltr) shallow baking dish. Bake at 160C, 325F, gas 3 for half an hour until set. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the apples in the water in a covered pan until very soft, then beat to a puree. Stir in the jam/jelly and when melted pour this over the cooled base.
Whisk egg whites until stiff, then whisk in half the remaining sugar, folding in the other half. Spoon this over the top of the apples in the dish, and and bake at the same temperature as above for 15 - 20 minutes or until the topping is golden and crisp. Serve warm.