Monday, January 03, 2011

The Saving Starts Here!

Over the next few days (maybe even weeks) will attempt to give recipes that ARE both economical and easy to make. We start with a satisfying soup, perfect for these cold days. It is also one of the traditional Scottish broths, and good enough to have stood the test of time. As with most root vegetables, and the allium family, extra onion (or shallot) can take the place of leeks, swede instead of turnips, add potato if you wish. Instead of the oatmeal, use pearl barley (but oats are cheaper which is why this recipe is being given).
All recipes make enough for four good servings. Even enough for six smaller appetites.

Scottish Oaty Soup:
small knob of butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and chopped
1 leek, white and pale green part only, chopped
1 oz (25g) medium oatmeal or porridge oats
1 pints stock (chicken or vegetable)
salt and pepper
half a pint (300ml) milk
Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onions for a few minutes until softened, then add the other vegetables, cover the pan and saute these also for a few minutes. Stir in the oats and continue cooking over moderate heat for 3 -4 minutes, then add the stick, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Season to taste.
Heat the milk separately until almost boiling, then stir this into the soup, adjusting seasoning if necessary, then serve immediately.

This next dish again uses 'store-cupboard' ingredients. If you have no crisps, use roughly crushed cornflakes instead. If you have no cornflakes, then use breadcrumbs mixed with a little butter and grated cheese. If you have no breadcrumbs....use your imagination!
Cost-cutting Corned Tuna: serves 4
1 oz (25g) butter
1 oz (25g) flour
half pint (300ml) milk
2 oz (50g) hard cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1 x 7oz (200g) tuna
12 oz (350g) sweetcorn kernels (canned or frozen)
1 x 30g (or thereabouts) pack of salted potato crisps
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute then slowly add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the cheese and seasoning to taste. Flake the tuna and add to the sauce with the liquid from the tuna can, then fold in the sweetcorn (drained if canned).
Spoon into a greased ovenproof dish and sprinkle crumbled potato crisps on top. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about 20 minutes until the top is brown and crispy. Good served with a green salad and tomato wedges.

Final recipe today uses peanut butter and this - together with other store-cupboard ingredients - makes a lovely sauce that can be used with any pasta of your choosing. Ideally to be eaten with meatballs, sausages, beefburgers etc., but equally good eaten just as-is for a light lunch or supper dish.

Barbecue flavour Pasta:
2 tblsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 - 2 tblsp curry powder (or mild curry paste)
3 tblsp peanut butter
2 tsp tomato puree
strips of lemon peel (opt)
half pint (300ml) chicken stock
salt and pepper
8 oz (225g) spaghetti or pasta of your choice
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until just turning golden, then stir in the curry powder/paste and cook for a few seconds more. Stir in the peanut butter, tomato puree, lemon rind (if using) stock, and seasoning to taste, then bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lemon rind.
While the above is simmering, using another pan, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well, then add the pasta to the cooked sauce, mixing/tossing well until fully coated. Serve hot, alone or with above suggestions (or what you will).