Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Using up Oddments - Part 2

Yesterday's blog showed a gathering of oddments from the fridge/freezer/larder that together made a very creditable supper dish, chicken stock, and plenty of leftovers. Today we continue using the 'leftovers' to turn into yet another good meal. Explanation more by way of pictures than anything else.

First we start with a photo of
the Value pack of mushrooms
bought recently. The weight
is 750g and costs £1.79p.
Half the mushrooms were
large, the remaining ones half
the size, and allowing that one
large = 2 small, these are equal
to 36 'smaller' ones.

The reason for showing the mushrooms before the meal 'prep' is that it is far easier for me to cost each mushroom 'individually' (or carrot, tomato, onion, shallot....) rather than by weight. Luckily, yesterday the mushroom were two sizes only, one large = two small, and (as said above) equivalent to 36 'small' mushrooms in the box which then worked out at 5p each (or 10p each for the larger mushrooms if you wish me to be more exact). As mushrooms were included in yesterday's supper dish (along with a few other ingredients other than the leftovers), this helped me to keep the cost down to no more than 25p for mushrooms used.

In the next picture you see the
ingredients to make a 'not quite'
chicken fricassee.
From the left - chicken stock,
5 small mushrooms, twoheaped
tsp of creme fraiche, a bowl of
cooked veg, chicken scraps,
a small bowl of rice, and two

When correctly made, Chicken Fricassee would be made by first frying some onions in butter, and then adding sliced mushrooms. Floured strips of raw chicken breast are then fried to golden, some chicken stock and white wine added, simmered down, then sour cream stirred in. This is then served with rice.

My version was as near to this as I could get using up the leftovers from the preceding day. As the meal was just intended for Beloved (at that time did not expect any surplus), the amounts of 'freshly added' were minimal. Two shallots, 25p worth of mushrooms, creme fraiche, rice - none being 'leftovers', but neither were these costly.
The chicken stock, chicken scraps, cooked vegetables were leftovers from the preceding day so by my way of reckoning - absolutely 'free'.

One extra 'additive' not shown was some (free) white wine - this came from an empty box of wine that I found on the 'discard pile. I knew (B thought he had tapped every last drop out) there would still be some dregs left that could not run through the tap, so cut off one corner of the inside foil container and through that poured out - guess what - a glass and a half of Chardonnay. B had the glassful, the half went into the fricassee. If I hadn't discovered the empty box, this 'free' wine would have ended up in the bin.

The shallots were peeled, and thinly sliced, fried in a little butter for a few minutes. Mushrooms also sliced and added to the pan and cooked for 2 minutes. The stock was then poured in and left to simmer down, the wine then added together with the cooked chicken scraps and heated through. When the liquid had reduced down, stirred in the creme fraiche. Unfortunately the 'sauce' ended up thinner than I wished for, so slaked half a teaspoon of cornflour in a little water, adding it to the pan where it thickened perfectly to make the 'sauce'.

Meanwhile I had been cooking the rice on the hob, and heating the vegetables in the microwave. And because I needed to work at speed so the food stayed hot the next couple of photos do not show the meal presented well or looking as good as it really was (due to me still not getting the lighting right when I take the photos) , and - after realising there was enough food for both Beloved and myself - decided to do a more elaborate presentation for B's meal, putting hot cooked rice into one greased ramekin dish, the vegetables in another, before turning each out onto a large oval plate, and spooning the 'fricasse' round.

Although the plate looks round
it is oval, and what is called a
' meat platter'. Above this can
be seen part of the smaller
dish on which my meal
was served.
The meal really did look more
appetising than this.

The final picture shows my
plateful - this in itself a good
portion, proving that it is
always worth using up every
scrap rather than throwing
away food that appears to be
past its best, or might normally
be thrown away.

Even the serving plates in the above photos were 'free'. The large meat plate given to us, and the blue edged shallow dish (soup plate?) Beloved found on the sea bed when diving some decades ago. If you look carefully you can see on the blue rim close to the spoon some faint white 'sqiggles'. These are calcified 'remains' left by sea creatures that had once attached themselves to the plate and made it their home. These 'ridgy bits' are so tighly 'fossilised' onto the plate that they are impossible to remove/chip away, even after countless washings. So they remain.
We have other plates that B also found on the sea bed - possibly being thrown out from a ferry by mistake along with the food scraps. Would like to boast they came from the Titanic, but as they were found in the Sound of Mull - hardly think so.

With half the cooked vegetables still not used, seems like minestrone soup will be my lunch for today, and then will start all over again - seeing what other 'leftovers' can be put to good use. In the fridge do have four small bananas - skins now gone black - that will be made into some sort of cake/pudding today.
Normally bananas should not be put in the fridge, but when my daughter came to stay recently she put four she brought with her in the fridge and they appeared to stay perfect until she took them with her when she left. So I tried it with four not-quite-ripe bananas, and for me - it didn't work. But to be fair, they have been in the fridge a lot longer than my daughter's.

Some time back gave a list of foods that can be substitute for egg when making a cake. Banana being one of them, and yesterday thought I might have a go at making a banana bread/cake using less eggs than normal. The Quaker booklet does give a recipe of this type,, so will have a go at making this today. Here is the recipe if you too feel so inclined.

Banana Bread:
3 oz (75g) margarine
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
3 bananas
1 egg, beaten
4 oz (100ml) golden syrup
12 oz (350g) flour
1 level tsp mixed spice
2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 oz (100g) one-minute Quaker Oats
quarter pint (5fl.oz/150ml) milk
Cream together the margarine and sugar. Slice (or mash) bananas, and add to the creamed mixture together with the egg and syrup. Beat for a few seconds.
Sieve together the flour, spice and bicarb, and the stir in the oats. Fold this into the creamed ingredients together with the milk.
This mixture above can either be baked in one 2 lb (1kg) loaf tin or 2 x 1lb (500kg) loaf tins, but will require different cooking times (as given below).
For the larger sized tin bake at 170C, 425F, gas 3 for one and a half - one and threequarter hours.
For the smaller size tin bake at 190c, 375F, gas 5 for 40 - 50 minutes.