Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sighs of Relief

Winter is the time for soups, and as so many of us now have freezers, it is worth making several kinds to store in there ready to thaw, heat 'n eat. We often have oddments of fresh produce that needs using up, so here is a recipe that might suit our needs. If space is limited, use less liquid when deciding to freezing, and add more after thawing.
Using it Up..Soup: (F)
1 onion, chopped
1 oz (25g) butter
1 lb (450g) pumpkin or butternut squash
8 oz (225g) carrots, grated
4 oz (100g) white cabbage, shredded
1 pint (600ml) chicken stock
2 tblsp sherry
Peel and remove seeds from pumpkin/squash and then grate. In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the butter until softened, then add the remaining prepared vegetables. Stir and cook for a few minutes, then pour in the stock and sherry. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Eat as-is or if you prefer a smoother soup, puree by using a stick blender or a liquidiser. Serve hot with croutons.
To freeze: leave to cool, then store in a container leaving half an inch (1 cm) headspace to allow for expansion.
To serve: thaw or reheat gently from frozen.

Having unearthed an old cookbook from one of our packing cases, discovered there are many - let's say interesting - recipes still worth trying today. It does seem that KISS (Les's reminder to 'keep it simple, stupid) applied very much in those days. Probably had to be, for many recipes were not written down, just handed down by the spoken word. Here are a few worth considering:

Mock Crab:
4 oz (100g) grated cheese
yolk of one hard-boiled egg
pinch each cayenne pepper and salt
little mustard
tablespoon each of vinegar and salad oil
Mix to a paste and spread on thin bread and butter or brown biscuits.

Banana Pudding:
8 ripe bananas
2 tblsp sugar
1 teacup of breadcrumbs
Place in a deep dish and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Mystery Pudding:
1 slice white bread
half a cup of water
1 egg
2 tblsp sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 pint of milk
1 oz (25g) butter
Break up the bread into chunks and boil with the water. Remove from heat and beat the egg into the bread pulp. Add the sugar, nutmeg, salt, then stir in the milk and butter. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Note: this is a dish suitable for an invalid.

Six Cup Pudding:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup currants or sultanas (or half of each)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup suet
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Mix everything together thoroughly, put into a basin, cover and steam for two and a half to three hours.
Note: this pudding is sufficient for 3 - 4 persons, is inexpensive and suitable for Christmas.

The recipe book also gives an idea of how life was in 'Granny's Day', and worth giving an extract from the chapter entitled The Modern Kitchen.
"Granny used to spend hours of her life scrubbing and polishing things which we today have merely to wipe over with a damp cloth or duster to restore them to sparkle and cleanliness. She used to spend further hours 'watching' her foods when she was cooking; we have cookers today that we can automatically control and leave to look after themselves.
Another large slice of her time was made in wasting journeys which would have been unnecessary if her kitchen equipment had been planned and placed with more intelligence.
Another way in which we have learned to avoid fatigue is by sitting down when we have 'stationary' jobs to do instead of stooping over them as Granny did. She would have thought it laziness to sit down while preparing vegetables, beating cake mixtures or ironing. "