Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Stirrings of Spring

Mindful of the oddments of cheese many of us have in our fridge, here are a few thrifty recipes to use up what we've got. Any hard cheese will do - it doesn't HAVE to be Cheddar.

Beany Crisp: snack meal for 3 0r 4
1 large can (1lb/450g) baked beans
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz (50g) cornflakes
1 oz (25g) margarine or butter
Pour the beans into a shallow casserole dish. Mix the cheese with the cornflakes and sprinkle this over the beans. Dot with marg. or butter. Bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for about half an hour. Serve hot.

Cheese Pudding: serves 3 - 4
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, grated
5 slices toasting bread, crusts removed
made mustard
softened butter
2 eggs
half pint (300ml) milk
salt and pepper
Spread 3 slices of the bread with mustard, and remaining two slices with butter. Cut each slice into four fingers.
Spread a quarter (1 oz/25g) of the cheese on the base of an oblong ovenproof dish, then top this with a layer of the mustard-spread fingers. Continue with another layer of cheese, then mustardy bread, and continue layering, finishing with a final layer of the buttered fingers with the remaining cheese on top.
Beat the eggs and milk together, adding seasoning to taste, then pour this over the 'bread 'n cheese'. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 35 - 45 minutes. Serve hot with crispy salad or what you will.

This next recipe is very adaptable. Use left0ver cooked vegetables in preference to canned veggies, and you could also include canned chickpeas if you so wish.
Cheese Curry: serves 4
8 oz (225g) long-grain rice
1 large onion, chopped
1 oz (25g) butter (or marg)
1 oz (25g) plain flour
1 tblsp curry powder (or curry paste)
1 large can mixed vegetables (see above)
1 tblsp black treacle
1 tblsp lemon juice
good pinch salt
1 oz (25g) sultanas
8 oz (225g) Cheddar cheese, grated
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
1 banana, sliced
serve with: mango chutney and salad
Cook rice for 12 minutes, then drain. Rinse with boiling water and keep warm. Meanwhile make the curry.
Fry the onion in the butter then - when tender - stir in the flour and curry powder/paste and continue frying gently for 2 minutes. Drain the canned vegetables and make up the liquid to half pint (300ml) with water, then gradually add this liquid to the pan, stirring continuously until it boils, then continue to stir boiling for 3 minutes. Time then to add the treacle, lemon juice, salt, sultanas and mixed vegetables. Bring back to the simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Serve with the hot, cooked rice, and garnish with the sliced banana and egg. Serve with chutney and salad.

This next is a savoury version of 'Chelsea Buns' - made without yeast. Eat - with the tomato 'sauce' base as a lunch or supper dish with salad, or - if you prefer not to bother with the tomatoes - just make the savoury pinwheels (maybe with some sundried tomatoes included in the filling) to eat warm 'at the wander' as a savoury snack.
Cheese 'Pinwheels': enough for 4
2 rashers smoked streaky bacon
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp sugar
1 x 14 oz/400g can plum tomatoes
scone dough:
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
good pinch salt
2 oz (50g) margarine
milk to mix
Cut the bacon into strips and fry until fairly crisp. Strain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Use some of this liquid to blend the cornflour and sugar together, pour into a pan, add the tomatoes - chopping them up with a knife or scissors whilst in the pan, then bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Add more tomato liquid if becoming too thick (it needs to make a thickish sauce). When ready, pour this into a 9" (23cm) glass pie dish.
Make the scone dough by mixing together the flour and salt, then rubbing in the marg until like breadcrumbs. Stir in enough milk (approx 5 fl oz/150ml) and mix with a fork to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board and roll out to an oblong 12" x 6". Cover with the bacon and cheese and roll up - Swiss roll fashion - from the long side. Then slice into 1" pieces.
Place these, cut side down (and facing up) on top of the tomato 'sauce', brushing with milk and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 25 - 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. Serve hot.