Saturday, July 31, 2010

This and That...

Having had to change today's topic from 'weigh before you buy' (foods sold at unit price, not by weight), have decided to lift another photo from my document file and have a chat about that.

This is, as you see, a bowl of halved, hard-boiled eggs with not a tinge of green around the yolk (as so often can happen). The secret to a good looking egg is to hard-boil it for only 8 minutes. Any longer and the outer part of the yolk will start to discolour.
Start the eggs off in cold water, bring to the simmer (no need to fast boil) and start timing. After 8 minutes immediately drain the eggs and plunge them into cold water (iced water if possible). Gently crack the shells all over, and as soon as the water warms up, remove eggs and place in more cold water. Remove shells when the egg has cooled down.

The age of the egg is all important if you want an unblemished egg once shelled. The fresher the egg the harder it is to remove the shell, so use eggs that are at least a week old.
Between the shell and the cooked white is a membrane, and the aim is to get the water between this and the white, and once this happens the shell slides off easily. So by taking care when removing the first bits of cracked eggshell, and lifting up the membrane as you do so, this makes the job so much easier.
Jamie Oliver once showed how he rolls a cracked egg over the work surface, pressing down gently with the palm of his hand while he does so. The really does crack the shell all over, and does make it easier to remove, however, pressing too hard and this can also split the white - something we don't always want to happen.

Nutritionally, it doesn't matter if the white of the egg looks a bit messy after shelling, and if being used to make egg mayonnaise, it is of no consequence. But if pickling eggs, or wishing for a good appearance, then care needs to be taken when shelling.
Whenever possible, always hard-boil eggs the day you intend using them, for shelled or unshelled - if left in water and chilled overnight, often the following day - the yolk will have started to discolour.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hamming it Up

Here are the results of comparison costing between bought v home-cooked ham. In this first picture (and sorry it is not that clear) the uncooked smoked gammon is on the scales and weighs in at 1.4kg - more than the 1.2kg printed on the pack. The price is clearly visible - £5. This is the first time I have bought gammon at full price, normally wait for it to be reduced (to£3.50 or less).

The sell by/use by date on the pack was 17th August, and so the gammons still had a reasonable shelf life when stored in the fridge uncooked. It could also have been frozen for a month.
After unwrapping the gammon, put it in my large casserole and covered it with cold water, then brought it slowly to the boil and simmered very gently for two and a half hours before turning off the heat and leaving to cool in the cooking liquid.
Could have added carrots, celery, leek to the water to give flavour (Nigella cooks her ham in Coca Cola!), but this would have added to the final cost so just cooked the gammon in water onlym knowing the flavour would still be good.
Incidentally, the cooking instructions on the pack were for roasting the joint, but I find this dries the meat out too much, and prefer the water bath.

After cooling, the ham was removed from the liquid, excess water drained off and the ham then chilled in the fridge (chilled meat slices more easily). Then the thin paper wrapped round the gammon (to hold it together when cooking) was removed and also the skin and underlying fat. You can see this on a plate at the side of the scales.

As you can (hopefully) read, the gammon (now called ham) - after being trimmed - now weighs in at just 1kg.

Slicing was done on my electric slicer, some thick sliced (for cold meat platter) and thinner ones for sarnies. For costing purposes it doesn't matter how few or how many slices are cut as although supermarket ham is sold in slices, the price is their weight and not number (although have noticed the thicker slices are dearer - as much as £2.25 per 100g due to it being 'proper' ham and not the (possibly) preformed thinner slices).

As normally done in the Goode kitchen, at least one third of the slices were carved more thickly as thicker slices are better when serving with other cold meats on my Cold Meat Platter. The rest were slightly thinner to use for sarnies.

The photo shows the ham after it had all been sliced - and every bit of the cooked gammon (after removing skin and fat) was able to be used. In the top left corner of the sliced ham can be seen a little pile of 'scraps' which tend to tear off slicing. Barely a handful, and these can be used either in sarnies, or an an ingredient in a pasta dish.

You can probably see (slices at the bottom right) the thickness of the ham. In all the 1kg final weight gave 38 slices (the scraps put together would have made at least three more). Most of the ham was packed away (6 slices to a pack) and frozen. The rest I intend to enjoy over the next few days.

Now we come to the comparison costing. The way I cost is start with the price paid, and ignore the uncooked weight as some of this is lost in cooking. All cooked meats lose weight when cooked, so this needs to be taken into account when costing out cooked roast beef/turkey/chicken/lamb/tongue etc. Only cost AFTER meats have been cooked and (if necessary) trimmed and any bones removed. With the ham - ALL the meat was usable after trimming.

So we have 1kg ham (or 10 x 100g) that cost me £5 (or 500 pence) so 100g of home-cooked ham is 500p divided by 10. Which I hope works out at 50p. Quite a saving on the average £1.50 for pre-pack prices (per 100g) and home-cooked ham tastes much, much better, and comparison pricing has shown that £10 has been saved. This time! Next time will wait for the gammon to be sold at a reduced price and then buy. This way the savings will be several pounds more.

Most people don't own an electric slicer, and the one Lakeland sell now (where I bought mine some 10 years ago) is very slightly (but not a lot) different to the one we have. Slightly higher in price but at less than £40, I would have only to cook a gammon four times a year (three if on offer) and the money saved would have paid for it. As it is I DO cook gammon about four times a year, but not only that, also cook a big joint of boneless beef at least twice a year, and a turkey crown also for the purpose of stocking up the freezer with 'cold cooked meats'. The slicer will also slice bread - perfect for the home-baked bread - which means slices are neater and often thinner than when sliced by hand.

Electric slicers are one of the kitchen 'gadgets' that really are worth their weight in gold. There are not many that save more money than they cost and continue to 'pay their way' but this is one of them.

Thoughts of 'what to make next' are changing slightly, for I was intending to make lemon curd, ice-cream and chicken liver pate in a way to show how both yolks and whites of egg can be used in different dishes. However - with Beloved still on the high seas and not sure when he will return, no point in making lemon curd as it has a shorter shelf life than jam, and also no room in the freezer (yet) to put a tub of ice-cream). So will put that idea on hold until later.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Cookery Palette

Yet another photo from the past, but one that shows how small amounts of colourful raw vegetables (crudites) can make a bland-coloured dip (in this case hummous) look appetising.
At the time the photo was taken, I'd just used odds and ends of vegetables in my fridge drawer, and working clockwise from the bright red bell pepper are: strips of toasted crusts from a slice of bread, celery, carrots, green bell pepper, cauliflower, yellow bell pepper, and quartered mushrooms.
Had they been available, sugar snap peas would have been added to the platter (these being firmer than mange tout), and also strips of young courgettes.
You will notice how the peppers have been sliced so they each have a 'hook' (this being the base end of the peppers), as this makes a really good 'scoop' to lift up a good helping of dip. If mushrooms are firm, these too can be held by the stalk and the cap used as a 'spoon'.

The dip above would probably be enough to serve as a 'starter' for four people, yet - as I said - it is just oddments of veggies. About a third used of each colour pepper, one carrot, a few bread crusts, a handful of mushrooms, one 'rib' of celery, and a few cauliflower florets.

Take away the dip, and all the vegetables above could instead be cooked as a 'stir-fry', with or without added meat (chicken, pork) or prawns, and served with rice or noodles.
Or - if you wish - dice the vegetables and cook them in a chicken or vegetable stock to make a chunky (or creamy if blended) soup.
Whatever oddments we have in the 'fresh produce' section of our kitchen, there is more than one way to use these up.

We must get our heads together sometime and just talk foods we used to love and never seem to eat any more.
Then maybe the recipes for these will appear on this site.

Continuing the economy theme, today am offering yet another 'burger' recipe, this time using store-cupboard ingredients ( 'store-cupboard' means all ingredients we normally keep in and around the kitchen). Do not chill the can of corned beef as when kept at room temperature it mashes very easily.
A slight feeling of deja vu with this recipe. If published in an earlier posting, my apologies.
Corned Beefburgers with Cheese: makes 4 - 6
12 oz (350g) corned beef
1 onion
1 egg, beaten
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 oz (50g) porridge oats
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
grated hard cheese
Put the corned beef in a basin and mash with a fork. Grate the onion over the beef , add the egg and W. sauce, the oats and parsley and mix well together. Add seasoning to taste. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then divide into four or six equal portions and form into burgers.
Fry the burgers in shallow oil for 2 - 3 minutes on each side until golden. Then drain on absorbent paper. Pile grated cheese on top of each burger and pop under a pre-heated grill and cook until the cheese is bubbling, then serve in a split bap, or without the bread - and with salad.

This next recipe is a type of hot savoury shortcake 'sandwich'. Included because only a small amount of the 'expensive' ingredients are used. No doubt readers can adapt this recipe to use different 'fillings', maybe left-over chilli con carne or spag bol meat sauce.
Savoury 'Shortwich':
4 oz (100g) streaky bacon or bacon bits
8 oz (250g) pork sausages
4 oz (100g) button mushrooms, sliced
4 oz (100g) porridge oats
4 oz (100g) self-raising flour
2 oz (100g) grated Parmesan cheese
pinch salt
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
4 oz (100g) margarine
5 fl 0z (150ml) milk (approx)
Remove rind from bacon (if any) and cut the rashers/bits into very small pieces. Using a dry pan, fry the bacon bits very gently until the fat begins to flow. Remove skin from sausages and slice the sausagemeat thinly, then stir these into the bacon along with the mushrooms. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes then allow to get completely cold.
Meanwhile, mix the oats, flour and HALF the cheese together, and add the salt and herbs. Rub in the margarine until the mixture is like breadcrumbs, then add just enough milk to make a fairly stiff dough.
Divide dough into two and roll each out on a floured board to form a circle about 8" (20cm) diameter. Place one half in the bottom of a well greased baking tin of the same size (a Victoria sponge tin would be about right), then spread the sausage mixture on top, covering with the second round of dough. Press the edges of the dough together down into the tin to contain the filling.
Brush the top with milk and sprinkle over the remaining cheese, then bake at 180C, 250F, gas 4 for half an hour or so until golden and the dough is cooked.

Here's another recipe that uses 'store-cupboard' ingredients - this time tuna-based, simple to make and quick to cook. If using tuna in oil, the oil can be added to the cheese sauce with the tuna, or if you prefer, add tuna only. Instead of potato crisps, crushed tortilla chips, or crushed cornflakes could be used.
Crispy 'corned' Tuna Bake:
1 oz (25g) butter
1 oz (25g) flour
half pint (300ml) milk
2 oz (25g) Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1 x 200g can tuna, drained and flaked
1 x 300g can sweet corn kernels, drained
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 x 25g packs potato crisps
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute then gradually whisk in the milk and bring to the boil. Stir/whisking all the time to prevent lumps. Simmer for 2 minutes then stir in the cheese, adding seasoning to taste, then stir in the flaked tuna, followed by the sweetcorn.
Line the base and sides of a greased, shallow ovenproof dish, and spoon in the tuna mixture, levelling the surface. Crumble the crisps over the surface. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with salad and slices of crusty bread.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making a Little Look a Lot More

Pleased that you are finding photos of my dishes inspiring. More on this later.

Today am showing another picture taken a couple or so years back (and put on the blog at that time), but many will not have seen it, and it does help to show how a little can go a long way.

Small amounts of assorted and prepared fruit were plated up with slices of melon crossing the plate and segments of orange crossing in the other direction, alongside these were thin slices taken from only HALF a red apple (skin left on) and the gaps between filled with,green and black grapes, half a banana, and 9 halved strawberries. The platter itself was the turntable plate used in our microwave. A tub of yogurt (or cream) at the side.

Any seasonal fruit could be served in this way, as long as there is a good selection and the colour is varied (slices of Kiwi fruit would look lovely). Normally we serve fruit salad in a bowl, but this presentation (first seen in a Turkish restaurant in Lancaster, now sadly closed), was so unusual and attractive that I felt it was worth copying and took notes at the time of the fruits used.

Feel again that this is dish that can make use of small amounts of fruit we might have around the house - and one worth of serving when entertaining.

Another way (not shown) of serving a few fruits to a number of people is to cut large oranges in half (preferably cut zig-zag fashion through the skin) and - after removing the flesh and membranes - fill the shells with small pieces of assorted fruits, piled high. With a little kirsch-flavoured syrup poured over and possibly served with a 'tuile' biscuit, these also look very good and make a little go a long way. Am lucky enough to have several two-pronged small 'forks' which make eating the fruits slightly easier than using a teaspoon. These forks (mainly made of plastic, although I do have a few with metal prongs and black handles) are also good for spearing olives etc.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cost Cutting by Choice

Today am hoping to explain how inexpensive a curry can be to make. With the side dishes (optional) shown in the second photo, it certainly makes a dish worth serving to guests.

Obviously the least expensive curry is one made with vegetables, and these can be varied, but for economy we should use what we have. My curries tend to be made with potato, cauliflower, carrots and onions (as shown here), adding butternut squash if there is a bit needing using up. On close inspection of the picture I may even have added a few cooked chickpeas. The chunkier the vegetables are diced, the more there appears to be, and the better they look (but only in my opinion).

However, a more classic (and maybe even less costly) curry could be made such as Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potato), Saag Aloo (spinach and potato), or Bombay Aloo (potatoes, onion and tomatoes). To name but a few.

The easiest way to make 'my' vegetable curry is to part-cook the vegetables, and then finish them off in a curry sauce. The sauce itself is another way we can save (or spend) money. We can either make it from scratch (an easy recipe will be given today), or we can open a can or jar of pre-made sauce which can either cost as much as £1 or more, or - on a good day - as low as 4p (yes four pee), which is the cheap and cheerful curry sauce that many supermarkets are selling at this time as a loss leader. To this real 'cheapie' of a sauce, we can also add more ingredients if we wish (see recipe below for ideas).

We now come to the 'carbohydrate' part of the meal. Generally we serve curry with rice (as shown in the above photo to which I have added a few snippets of red and yellow bell peppers just to add colour). Again we have to take cost into consideration. Go for the expensive microwave 2 minute pilau rice, or cook rice from scratch. However, as raw rice has risen in price, we can cut the cost even further by omitting rice altogether and serving naan bread, or even puris - a puffy type of bread. Some people serve rice AND the breads, but it is not really necessary or even traditional to do this. Most of the breads are for sale in the supermarkets (at a price) but always very low cost when made home from very inexpensive ingredients (often just flour and water).

For personal meals we would probably stop there. We have the vegetables, the curry sauce and maybe rice or some naan bread. Put together we can be sure of having a good meal. But when it comes to serving guests, then we can go one step further and serve a tray of side dishes, such as this second picture (not the best selection as it is a photo I took some years ago but it gives an idea).

Starting at the top and working clockwise, the top bowl holds mango chutney, followed by bowls of raita, lime pickle, dessicated coconut, raisins, and flaked almonds. In the centre there are halved hard-boiled eggs.

The choice of side dishes depends much upon the type of curry to be served. If this was chicken based there would be a bowl of sliced bananas included, yet with beef or lamb there would be no banana or coconut served, instead maybe a bowl of sliced onion with sliced tomatoes and a dish of lentil dhal instead of the eggs. All these can be made/prepared with ingredients that many of us keep in our larders so there should be no need to go out and 'buy extra'.

Even the above can be 'extended' by including a dish of freshly made onion bhajis, mushroom pakoras and a plate of spiced samosas. Again, cheap enough to prepare and easy enough to make and cook, especially as the the samosas are able to be made and frozen prior to frying. So when we wish to serve a curry we should always be able offer something that looks good, but costs little.

Now we come to a home-made curry sauce to serve with 2 lb assorted vegetables. Much cheaper than the quality sauces sold in jars/cans, but more expensive that the cheapest sold (in all honesty we can NEVER make a curry sauce at home that costs only 4p) . We have to make our own choice of how little money we wish to spend. But always worth making the following curry sauce if we have the ingredients.

Curry Sauce: to serve four

1 tblsp sunflower oil

1 onion, finely chopped or grated

1 tblsp curry powder

1 tsp paprika pepper

2 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tblsp apricot jam or redcurrant jelly

half pint (300ml) milk

2 oz (50g) raisins or sultanas

Put the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes, then stir in the curry powder and paprika abd cook for a further 3 minutes, then stir in the remaining ingredients, mixing well together so they are well combined. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

To use: cook your chosen vegetables in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain thoroughly and add to the curry sauce. Continue cooking over a low heat until the vegetables are tender (takes approx 10 - 15 mins).

Spoon into a warmed dish and serve with rice and/or naan bread, and any accompaniments you wish.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Start the Week!

This photo was taken as I dished up lunch yesterday, mainly because I wish to show how colourful a bowl of roasted vegetables can look. Having used only half of each a red/yellow/and orange bell pepper, one onion, and four small courgettes (freshly picked from the garden), these still made a good bowlful that was enough to serve up to four. Normally I would include butternut squash, a red onion, and a green bell pepper, but yesterday could only use what I had.

But more on that meal later for must first apologise for not writing yesterday as the Broadband had the collywobbles, but thanks to Steve it was back by mid-morning, but as I had already asked him to let you know I would be absent, and as it was slightly too late for me to write as we had guests coming for lunch (as it happened they arrived early), never did get a chance to sit down and have my relaxing chat with you.

vegetables to brighten up the meal. Hence the photo above.

Often when cauliflower is on my 'menu', this would be served in a cheese sauce, but as yesterday was planning to serve a creamy peppercorn sauce with the steak, was reluctant to serve two different sauces, yet was concerned that cauliflower on its own would be too bland. At one point nearly included it with the roasted veg, but decided to ring the changes slightly and serve the cauliflower folded into the peppercorn sauce.

This sauce was made from a packet (which as you know I do from time to time), in fact used only half a pack that I had saved from a previous steak meal.( When this was made it seemed too thick for the cauliflower, so poured in double cream to thin it down, this also made the sauce more creamy and less 'peppery hot'. When made the folded in the cooked cauliflower florets.

Believe me when served- everyone - and I do mean EVERYONE - exclaimed how good the cauliflower tasted and how well it went with the meat. It was the sauce that was the right one for the steaks, it just happened (perhaps because of the extra cream) that it also went well with the cauliflower, so perhaps a marriage made in heaven. Next time cauliflower is served with or without beef, will use that sauce again.

Surprisingly the roasted vegetables were also enjoyed (as not everyone likes peppers and courgettes), and - as ever - so were the small home-grown potatoes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Taste of Things to Come...

Many of us joint fresh chickens and simmer the carcase with veggies to make stock. From there most of us take time out to pick any remaining flesh from the bones. So here is a recipe for those that bother to do this, and adding some scraps of home-cooked ham turns this dish into something very inexpensive to make. If you haven't pasta noodles (aka tagliatelle) use pasta shapes.

Farmer's Wife's Way with Noodles:
2 tblsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 oz (100g) button mushrooms, chopped
1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper
4 oz (100g) cooked chicken scraps, chopped if large
4 oz (100g) scraps of cooked ham, chopped
12 oz (350g) noodles
Put the oil in a saucepan and saute the onion for 5 minutes, then stir in the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree, garlic, rosemary and seasoning to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened, then stir in the chicken and ham and heat through.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling salted water, drain thoroughly, then place in a serving dish and spoon over the chicken and ham 'sauce'. Best served in deep soup bowls and if using small pasta shapes can be eaten using a dessert spoon. Served on plates, use a spoon and fork.

Even 'posh' food can be economical, especially when attractively presented (which makes it look five time more costly), so next time you have surplus lemons, remove some lemon flesh and freeze it. Remove any pith and membranes left in the lemon shells, and freeze the shells. Bag up when frozen and use the shells as containers for the following dish (or perhaps to hold smoked mackerel pate). Otherwise use fresh lemons. To make lemon shelves sit on a plate without toppling, remove a thin slice from the base.
Pauper's Pate for Posh Parties:
1 can sardines in oil, drained
flesh from six lemons
six lemon shells
pinch paprika pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
6 tblsp mayonnaise
1 egg white, stiffly beaten
Put the sardines into a bowl and mash with a fork to a smooth paste. Season with the paprika, pepper and mustard,, the stir in the lemon flesh and mayo. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Fold in the beaten egg white and spoon into the lemon shells. Chill before serving in small bowls - the lemon shells sitting on a bed of shredded lettuce.

Perhaps, due to the inexpensive ingredients, Treacle Tart is becoming one of the now fashionable 'retro' desserts that restaurants are including in their menus. This has always been a favourite pudding, but until now not 'posh' enough to serve in top restaurants. We can thank the Credit Crunch for this.
Although slightly more expensive due to marmalade and lemon juice as ingredients in this tart (normally it would be just syrup and breadcrumbs in a pastry case), if we have marmalade and lemons to hand, then why not make this version which has quite a 'toffee' flavour when eaten, and a lot more upmarket. One to serve to guests perhaps?

Orange Treacle Tart:
12 oz (350g) shortcrust pastry
8 oz (225g) golden syrup
4 oz (100g) orange marmalade
juice of 1 small lemon
8 oz (350g) fresh white breadcrumbs
Roll out the pastry to line an 8" (20cm) sandwich tin or flan ring/dish, and place on a baking sheet.
Put the syrup, marmalade and lemon juice into a bowl and mix well together, then stir in the breadcrumbs until well coated, then spoon the mixture into the pastry case and level the surface.
Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4, for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

In the few 'blind-tastings' that I've arranged myself over the years, it has always been a cheaper product that ended up is most favoured. Not normally the cheapest, but the ones the highest priced always turned out to be middle of the 'taste' range - or even lower. Worth thinking about.

Even if members of a family refuse point blank to change from their favourite brand, it is always easy to cheat and mix a cheaper product in with it (cornflakes/coffee/baked beans for example) and as long as they see it come from the 'original' pack or jar, they will keep thinking it is 'the real thing'. Every week or so increase the amount of the cheaper product, until half and half, and by then they will have got used to what they eat and still not notice. Increasing it further they may suddenly wonder, but by then as they have eaten so much before, all you have to do is tell them they have done this, and you might just get away with serving only the cheaper product and none of the more expensive.
Mixing half milk and half reconstituted dried milk together and pouring it from a milk bottle (preferably) or jug, everyone believes it is all 'real' milk. Because it still tastes like it. But cheaper. And that is what matters at the moment.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Bloggers United!

Pancakes are cheap enough at the best of times, but these are particularly economical. Perhaps even cheaper if made with reconstituted dried milk and a little more water. "A penny saved is a penny earned" as it says on the top of my money-box. How true.

Pauper's Pancakes: makes 8
4 oz (100g) plain flour
1 egg
5 fl oz (150ml) milk
5 fl oz (150ml) water
1 tblsp sunflower oil
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
To cook, put a little oil into a pan and when hot pour in 2 tblsp of the batter, tipping and swirling the pan so the batter coats the base evenly. When the top is set, flip the pancake over and cook until the underside is golden. Slide onto a warmed plate and keep hot while cooking the remaining pancakes. Add a little more oil to the pan before cooking each pancake.
Repeat (adding a little oil to the pan each time) until the batter is used up.
Note: for a richer pancake use two eggs and all milk (no water).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What Works for One...

This recipe today is a 'fuel-saver'. In a few weeks we may be wishing to find a use for green tomatoes and thinking chutney. Most chutney recipes take quite a time to cook and thicken, but the following recipe makes a chutney that does not need cooking at all. It can be frozen for a long 'shelf-life', but and (it is said) can also be stored in the fridge for 3 months, and once a jar is opened the chutney should be eaten within a week.

No Cook Green Tomato Chutney: makes approx 4 lb.
2 lb (1kg) green tomatoes, quartered
1.5 lb (675g) mild onions, finely chopped
4 oz (100g) sultanas
4 oz (100g) raisins
5 oz (125g) soft brown sugar
1 tblsp salt
1 tblsp dry mustard
half tsp each ground ginger and cayenne pepper
malt vinegar
Mince (or pulse-process) the tomatoes and onion together and place in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the vinegar) and mix together thoroughly, then cover and leave to stand in a cool place for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to develop.
Pack the mixture into clean sterilized jars, leaving 1 inch (2.5cm) headspace. Use this space to cover the contents of the jar with the vinegar, then seal with cling-wrap covers/vinegar proof lids, and store in the fridge where it should keep for up to three months. Once opened, use within a week.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Making it Easy

For those who are fed up with weighing anything, here is a recipe that uses a measure rather than scales. The recipes given uses a tea-cup (200ml/7fl oz if you wish to be exact) but as long as the same measure is used for each ingredient, it could be a standard sized mug, or something smaller or even larger.
Being a hot pudding and best made during the cooler months of the year, this is nevertheless a recipe worth filing away to use later.
Five Measure Pudding:
1 measure self-raising flour
1 measure currants, sultanas or raisins
1 measure soft brown sugar
1 measure shredded suet
1 measure milk
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice (optional)
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, then mix in the milk. Pour into a well-greased 1 litre/1.75pt pudding basin leaving an inch space at the top. Cover with pleated greased greaseproof paper or foil and tie with string around the rim.
Steam over simmering water for 3 hours, then remove from pan, peel away the paper and invert the pudding onto a hot serving dish. Serve hot with custard.

Found another recipe that would suit those who keep a tin of corned beef in the cupboard. Makes a change from the normal beefburger, and one we normally have the makings to hand anyway. After watching a programme that contained references to how sliced processed cheese was made, feel that thin slices of 'real' cheese, or grated cheese could be used instead of the processed. As ever, up to you to decide which to use.
Canned corned beef mashes more easily if left at room temperature. If wishing to slice corned beef, this is more easily done if the can is first chilled.
Storecupboard Burgers:
15 oz (35og) corned beef
1 onion
1 egg, beaten
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 oz (50g) porridge oats
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
1 tomato
4 slices processed cheese (see above)
Put the corned beef into a bowl and mash with a fork until completely broken up. Grate the onion into the corned beef and add the egg, W.sauce, oats, parsley and seasoning to taste. Mix together until well combined, then leave the mixture to stand for 10 minutes.
Divide mixture into four and shape into four rounds about 1" (2.5cm) thick. Fry in shallow oil for 3 minutes or so on each side until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Top each burger with a slice of tomato and cover this with a slice of processed cheese. Pop under a hot grill until the cheese melts, then tuck into a bap (adding pickle if you wish), eat and enjoy!