Saturday, January 22, 2011

Frugal Fare

Have discovered a few old recipes that are frugal enough to fit into my cost-cutting style of cooking, and worth eating today. Where possible have included 'the metrics' as these were not in use at the time of printing.

Here is an example, given mainly because of the oats used - seeing that oats seem to be the flavour of the month at the moment. The oats used in this recipe probably took longer to cook than the 'quick-cook' porridge oats of today, so if using the latter you may need a little less water and not need to cook them for so long. Play it by ear.
Oatmeal and Herb 'Sausages':
15 fl oz (425ml) salted water
half pint measure flaked oatmeal
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
tomato ketchup (opt)
1 egg
Boil the water and stir in the oats. Simmer for half an hour, stirring frequently. Put the onion, herbs, parsley in a bowl, adding seasoning to taste and a little ketchup if wishes, then pour the oatmeal mixture over, adding the egg and enough breadcrumbs to make a stiff dough. Flour your hands and form the mixture into sausage shapes (aka 'rissoles'). Dip into flour, egg and then breadcrumbs, then fry to a golden brown. Serve with a hot sauce.

In the same book is a recipe for making self-raising flour. Most of us keep both plain flour and self-raising as well as the raising agents, but is it really necessary to make our own? Maybe not - when the price is the same - but sometimes we cooks can run short of the S.R. so worth keeping this recipe to hand. Just in case. Obviously we don't have to make this in such large amounts as the recipe suggests, just adjust the proportions accordingly.
"special flour for making Cakes, Scones, etc...:
4 lbs plain flour
2 oz cream of tartar
1 oz bicarbonate of soda
Sieve all together, this makes an excellent self-raising flour, easy to prepare at home. "

One more recipe from the book, this for cheese biscuits. Reading the ingredients it is not a million miles away from a recipe for short-crust pastry, so this mixture could have a dual purpose. Either use for biscuits or to as a pastry case for a savoury flan, or pie topping. If using as pastry, may need to be rolled slightly thicker and will therefore take longer to cook.
Cheese Biscuits:
6 oz (175g) plain flour
4 oz (100g) butter
2 oz (50g) finely grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste
milk or water for mixing
Rub the fat into the flour, add the cheese and seasoning to taste. Mix to a stiff paste with a little milk or water and roll out to about 1/8" thickness. Cut into rounds about the size of a top of a tumbler, prick with a fork to prevent rising and bake in a hot oven (200C, 400F, gas 6) for 7 - 10 minutes. The biscuits should be light golden brown when done.