Monday, March 08, 2010

It Pays to Experiment

This recipe caught my eye because the Goode kitchen has all the makings. It is unusual, but a very tasty way to make a snack or light lunch. If possible use slices of French bread or baguette to make the toast, or perhaps granary bread. Otherwise use what bread you have. If possible, use both red and green apples (for colour effect) but as some apples are tinged with red on one side, green on the other, use these instead. Or just use apples you have and forget the colour. Eat with your eyes shut.
Blue cheese works best, and it doesn't HAVE to be Stilton. Suppose at a pinch, ordinary grated Cheddar could take its place. But you get the idea - cheese and apple. Try different cheeses from time to time and choose your own favourite.

If preferring to use a grill instead of the oven, lightly toast the bread, then add topping as per recipe, do not place too close to the grill or the apples may burn. Alternatively, put the apples on the toast and the cheese on top of the apples, then these can be placed nearer the grill until the cheese melts.
Cheese and Apple Toasties: serves 4
8 slices chosen bread (see above) toasting thickness
2 tsp olive oil
butter or sunflower spread
1 large red apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 large green apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 good tsp wholegrain mustard
1 good tsp honey
5 oz (150g) Stilton cheese, crumbled
Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 mins at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until the slices are beginning to turn crunchy.
Meanwhile heat the oil and butter/spread in a small pan and fry the apple slices for 6 or so minutes until they begin to turn golden, stir in the mustard and honey and cook for another couple of minutes.
If you have your timing right, the bread will then be ready. Pile the crumbled Stilton on top of the toasties, then top with the apple mixture (some red skinned, some green) then return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has begun to melt. Serve at once.

At the bottom of our veggie drawer in the fridge will always be found a few vacuum packs of beetroot, and once opened we have to find a use for the beets not eaten, so here is a recipe for a version of 'borscht' (beetroot soup), the other ingredients being also part of my 'basic stores'. Because the idea is to use up odds and ends, this recipe makes only enough to serve one or two (depending upon appetite) but can easily be extended to make more. Traditionally, borscht is made using beef stock. Suggest using a stock cube (because most of us have them- some of mine are years old), and we can make the choice between using beef OR vegetable. If using canned potatoes (often we wish to find a use for them) the ingredients need less cooking time.
Beetroot Soup: serves 1 - 2
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 shallot (or piece of onion) chopped
finger length piece of celery, thinly sliced
3 oz (75g) potatoes, peeled and diced
5 oz (150g) cooked beetroot (more if you wish)
5 fl oz (150ml) vegetable stock (see above)
salt and pepper
(sour cream, creme fraiche or yogurt for serving)
Heat the oil in a pan and gently sauté the onion, celery, and potatoes (if raw) for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then stir in the diced beetroot and canned potatoes (if using). Add the stock and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about half an hour or until all the veggies are tender. Pour into a blender or food processor and blitz to a puree (or use a stick blender and puree in the pan itself), then return to the pan and heat through.
Season to taste and serve with a dollop of the soured cream and (optional) a sprig of dill (so budding gardeners, this is another useful herb we should be growing).