Friday, January 25, 2013

Make One Turn into Eight!

Am very annoyed with myself.  Yesterday typed out several recipes for the Foodbank, then emailed them.  Somehow managed to lose the lot from 'word', but at least they had been sent, or so I thought until discovered when I read the email sent from that place that tells you they didn't recognise the email address, so the recipes never got set, and by then I'd lost them!!!  
What I appeared to have done was add a dot after a letter preceding the @ sign when there shouldn't have been one, so today will have another go, this time hoping to save the recipes in word - which I tried to do yesterday, but something went wrong.   Will also type them out so that I have copies, and these could be delivered by hand if they can't be emailed. 

So as now have to spend another few hours doing them all again, had better get on and write my blog. 
Only one comment to reply to, this from Becca - and welcome back.  Very kind of you to offer to send me the recipes from the Family Circle article, but (luckily)  a few years back had published them on this blog.  They may have disappeared (blogger deletes early pages from each month), but I still have them in my 'reference' section. 

With no more comments to reply to, now to the recipes for today.
Often, a slightly 'boring' meal can be greatly enhanced by adding a good sauce.  The French seem to serve a sauce with almost all of their classic dishes.  Here in the UK we tend to serve only 'gravy' (which is a type of sauce), and not a lot else - unless we count tomato ketchup and HP as a 'sauce' - which I feel is a pity, especially as a good sauce can help to disguise a rather unappetising dish, and as well as making it look good, will also make it taste better.

It is easy enough to make several different sauces using one basic white sauce as a 'base'.  Having said that we don't often make  white sauce correctly.  So am giving the recipe (the sauce can be frozen and flavoured after thawing), BUT there is no reason why we can't make up a batch of white sauce using Bisto granules and start from there (although this may not freeze)  It just won't taste as good as it could. But if you don't mind second-rate?...

Using this basic sauce, you can make 8 variations, and even if you would not need to use all, please have a go at making and using some of them.  Being able to freeze the sauce makes it worth making 'properly'.

Basic Bechamel Sauce: makes 4 x half pint (300ml)
2 pints (1.1ltr) milk
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
1 small onion, quartered
1 rib celery, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
4 oz (100g) butter
4 oz (100g) plain flour
salt and pepper
2 tblsp single cream (or 1 of double)
Put the milk, vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns into a saucepan.  Heat gently until just beginning to boil, then remove from heat.  Cover, and leave to stand for 30 minutes before straining (you can use the vegetables in another dish, discarding bay leaf and peppercorns).
Put the butter in a large pan and heat gently until melted, then stir in the flour.  Cook for one minute before slowly adding the milk. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth and has thickened.  Add seasoning to taste, then finally stir in the cream. 
To freeze: spoon into four half pint rigid containers or pots, leaving half inch head space.  Cover surface with greaseproof paper.  Cool completely, then seal and label. Use with 6 months.
To serve from frozen: thaw overnight in the fridge, then beat well and reheat gently.  It can be reheated from frozen in a double saucepan or non-stick pan, and keep stirring as it thaws/heats.
The variations below are made each using one batch (half pint) of Bechamel sauce.

cheese sauce: add 1 oz (25g) each finely grated Cheddar and Double Gloucester cheese, with pinch of cayenne pepper.
Serve with fish, eggs, vegetables, or pasta.

watercress sauce: add half small bunch of watercress, finely chopped, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve with fish, eggs, or poultry.

mustard sauce: add 1 - 2 tsp mustard powder mixed with 1 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp water, OR add a tsp made mustard (English or Dijon) or more according to taste.
Serve with oily fish: herrings, mackerel... also poultry.

curry sauce: add 1 teaspoon curry powder (or curry paste), 1 tblsp stewed apples, 1 tsp tomato puree, 1 shallot, finely chopped and lightly fried, 1 tblsp sultanas.
Serve with meat, poultry, hard-boiled eggs.

mushroom sauce: add 2 oz (50g) finely chopped and sauteed button mushrooms, a squeeze of lemon, and a quarter teaspoon of Marmite.
Serve with steaks, chops, vegetables, or fish.

tomato sauce: add 1 large tomato that has been skinned and finely chopped, 1 tblsp tomato puree, half small onion, chopped and sauteed, and basil to taste.
Serve with pasta, fish, meat, or vegetables.

green sauce: add 2 - 3 tblsp finely chopped mixed herbs (basil, chives, parsley, fennel, thyme, tarragon etc).
Serve with fish, eggs, or vegetables.

hot tartare sauce: add 1 - 2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley, 2 small gherkins, finely chopped, and 2 tsp chopped capers.
Serve with fried fish.

Whenever I come across a recipe such as the above, I try to find a way of using up the 'leftovers' - in this instance the vegetables that were used to flavour the basic Bechamel.   So here is a recipe that would make good use of these.  You could make these patties using fresh vegetables, but myself prefer to make the most of what have already been used!!  Just the thought of this being a way to save even more money brings a smile to my face.  The uncooked patties, and the yogurt sauce can be made a day ahead and kept covered and chilled (separately of course).  As the patties can be frozen, why not make extra of these?
Lentil Patties: makes 4
4 oz (100g) red lentils
1 carrot, finely chopped (see above)
1 rib celery, finely chopped (see above)
1 small onion, finely chopped (see above) but opt.
a bare half pint (500ml) water
half tsp each ground coriander and cumin
5 oz (150g) stale breadcrumbs
2 tblsp plain flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tblsp sunflower or olive oil
yogurt sauce:
5 fl oz (150ml) natural yogurt
1 good tblsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp lemon juice
Make the patties by first putting the lentils, carrot, celery, onion (if using), in a pan with the water and spices. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened, then remove from heat and leave to cool.
Stir in half the breadcrumbs, then shape the mixture into four patties.  Cover with flour, then dip into the egg white, then into the remaining breadcrumbs and the parsley (can be frozen at this point).
To cook: Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the patties for a few minutes on each side until browned and heated through. Drain on kitchen paper.  Serve with the yogurt sauce and green salad (if wished).
To make the yogurt sauce, combine all ingredients, mixing well together.

Better take my leave of you as have to retype out the Foodbank recipes AGAIN!  This time I will take more care.  Live and learn as they say.  
Am still waiting for the snow that they said we would get overnight, think this is another year we won't be getting any.  How fortunate we were to have the first two winters here in Morecambe when snow DID fall, and in quantity.  Just love seeing snow fall.  It's the child in me.

Cannot believe it is already Friday again, and how annoying how time speeds up the older we get.  At my age I want to have MORE time, not feel I have less.  So had better stop my rambling and use up the precious time I have remaining of this morning.  And this afternoon, and tomorrow I'll be back blogging again.  Hope to see you then.