Sunday, January 09, 2011

Times They Are 'a Changing

Two economical recipes today, both made with similar ingredients, one a savoury pudding, the other savoury 'pasties'. The pudding is more 'nourishing' in that it contains more protein (eggs and milk) so a substantial meal in its own right, but this doesn't mean the pasties aren't worth the effort as these can be eaten both hot or cold and make good picnic fare or taken (with a salad) as a packed lunch. These are the type of recipes where we can include other ingredients if we wish (as long as common sense prevails).

Cheese and Onion Pudding:
1 oz (25g) butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 pint milk
4 oz (100g) white breadcrumbs
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Melt the butter in a pan over low heat, and fry the onions for several minutes until just turning golden. Stir in the milk and bring to just boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, cheese, seasoning to taste, and the beaten eggs. Spoon out into a greased pie dish and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for half an hour or until golden and well risen. Serve immediately with green veggies or salad.

Cheese and Onion Pasties:
12 oz (350g) short-crust pastry
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, grated
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
pinch of dried sage or mixed herbs (opt)
Roll the pastry on a floured surface large enough to cut four saucer or tea-plate shaped circles. Mix the remaining ingredients together and divide into four. Place a portion in the centre of each pastry circle, dampen the edges, then either fold over to make a half moon, or pick up sides of pastry and draw together over the top, pinching edges firmly together to seal.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for half an hour. Serve hot or cold.

Final recipe today uses chicken livers. These really are one of the most economical 'meats' we can buy, and usually cheaper from the supermarket than the local butcher. Shortfalls in weight can always be made up using more of the less costly ingredients
Chicken Liver Risotto:
3 oz (75g) butter
1 tblsp sunflower oil
4 oz (100g) long-grain rice
6 oz (175g) chicken livers (more or less)
6 oz (175g) closed cap mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tblsp tomato puree
15 fl oz (450ml) hot chicken stock
grated Parmesan cheese
Melt 2 oz (50g) of the butter in a pan with the oil, then stir in the rice and stir-cook until the rice becomes transparent.
In a separate pan melt the remaining butter and add the mushrooms and livers and toss until the livers have firmed up. Remove from heat and - using scissors - cut the livers into bite-sized pieces. Stir back into the mushrooms, then add the contents of the pan into the rice.
Dissolve the tomato puree in the hot stock, pour over the rice and bring to the boil. Give it on stir, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed. Fluff up the rice/mushrooms/livers with a fork, pile into a heated dish and serve immediately, with a side dish of Parmesan to be sprinkled over each portion.