Saturday, May 04, 2013

For this coming Weekend?...

Couldn't get onto this site at first, but via various routes managed to do so.  Am hoping that our grandson will visit soon so that he can sort out the many gremlins in this computer.  In any case, I'd planned - as it is a Bank Holiday - to take tomorrow and Monday off from writing.  This will give me more time to catch up with the chores not yet done and get myself on track for the several different things I'll be doing this month.

A welcome to Claire (Evans), who is working her way (with the help of youngsters) through the National Trust's "Fifty Things to do before the age of 11 and 3/4).  Am so pleased that there are people who believe that children should still had the freedom to do all these things, and allow them to do it.  There is a new series (not particularly good), think it is called 'The Wright Stuff', on BBC1, set in an 'elf and safety place where they are continually trying to prevent people doing things in that particular area of the country.  Last night (repeat) it was about the need to wear safety goggles when playing conkers!!

Was about to ask what 'geoaching' was, but think Eileen has given the meaning, I take it as exploring parts of the country normally not visited?

A welcome also to an 'Anonymous', who is familiar with my cost-cutting, got my books, stores food in glass jars as I do.  Would love to have a 'real' name (or made-up if you prefer) to reply to, so hope you will write in again so you can become a regular member of our happy band of 'survivors'.

Thanks again to Eileen for reminding us of the proportions of butter and cream needed (equal quantities of each) for the Bel cream maker (re Pam's request).  It sounds as though that gadget was used in many homes.  My mother also had one, and she always asked me to make the cream for her, and not surprised as it took AGES to pump the cream through, a drop at a time.   Kept the Bel cream maker (still with box and instructions) until we moved here four years ago.  Think I gave it to my son to sell on eBay, as by now it must be a collector's item.

At least the recipe for the chocolate spread given below is speedier to make than the cream (above), as made in the microwave (800W microwave oven, adjust times if yours has a different wattage - and older ovens may lose a little power (like old people I suppose).
When made, keep this spread in the fridge and serve on toast or scones, with pancakes, or a filling for cakes.  A bit like home-made 'Nutella' without the nuts.
Chocolate Spread:
2 oz (50g) butter
8 oz (225g) soft brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 oz (25g) cocoa powder
1 tblsp evaporated milk
1 large egg, beaten
Put the butter and sugar into a large microwavable bowl and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes.  Mix well, then add the lemon juice, cocoa powder, evap. milk and the egg.  Whisk together until well combined, then return bowl to oven and cook on LOW (25%) for 2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to boil.  Stir, cool then chill until ready to use (see above for suggestions).

Canned sardines are baby pilchards, yet for some reason far more expensive than canned pilchards.  Perhaps this is because pilchards seem canned only in tomato sauce, this being not to everyone's taste.  Both my Beloved and myself prefer sardines canned in oil.  However, occasionally we do eat pilchards, and considering how much more we get for our money, think that pilchards will now be eaten more often in the Goode household, as a good source of that necessary omega-3.

Here is a very good dish that makes good use of a can of this expensive fish.  Any of the smaller pasta shapes (penne, fusilli etc) could be used instead of macaroni. 
Large (older) carrots are not as tender as young ones, so I tend to boil the carrot 'matchstics' for a couple or so minutes to make them easier to 'crunch', probably not necessary with young teeth!!

Pilchard and Pasta Salad: serves 6
1 x 425g can Pilchards in Tomato Sauce
7 oz (200g) macaroni
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 red or green bell  pepper, seeded and diced
handful baby spinach leaves, shredded
salt and pepper
4 tblsp oil (pref olive)
3 tblsp white wine vinegar
tomato sauce from the canned pilchards
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp made mustard (or half tsp mustard powder)
Drain the pilchards over a bowl and reserve the sauce. If wishing to 'rinse' off sauce still clinging to the fish, then pour over the vinegar use for the dressing, then let this drain down into the bowl. Roughly flake the fish then set aside.
Cook the macaroni in plenty of salted, boiling water until tender but still has a bit of 'bite' (al dente). This takes about 6 - 7 minutes.  Drain well, then tip into a large bowl.  Mix in the carrots, onion, pepper and spinach, adding seasoning to taste.  Add the flaked pilchards.
Make the dressing by mixing together the dressing ingredients, also adding seasoning to taste, then pour this over the salad, and toss well.

We don't have to be vegetarian to eat meatless 'burgers' as it makes a great deal of sense to serve less expensive meat and more of the cheaper protein.  We can save even more money if we buy dried butter beans then soak them overnight then boil until tender.  I cook a pack at a time and - after draining and cooling - freeze them in small amounts.   The recipe below uses canned beans, but allowing for the drained weight, we can use the home-cooked beans. 
Coating the burgers in flour, egg and breadcrumbs makes a crispy coating, and even better if 'egg and crumbed' twice.  Instead of flour we could finish the burgers by dipping them in crushed cornflakes or any-flavour-you-choose crushed potato crisps.
We can of course use any easily crumbled cheese that we have in our fridge, or - if using a harder cheese - use this grated.

Cheesy Bean Burgers: makes 8 (serves 4)
2 x 400g cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
3 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
5 oz (150g) Wensleydale cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
2 tblsp plain flour
1 egg, beaten
4 oz (100g) fresh white breadcrumbs
Put the drained butter beans into a bowl and mash with a fork to make a rough puree, then set aside.
Heat 1 tblsp of the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over gentle heat for 4 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and fry for a further minute.  Stir this into the butter beans, then add the cheese and seasoning to taste.  Shape into 8 patties/burgers, then cover and chill for 15 minutes.
Put the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate shallow dishes, then dredge each burger with flour, dusting off any excess, then coat with egg, again draining off excess, finally coating in the breadcrumbs.  Repeat the egg and crumbing if you wish for a crunchier crust.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and cook the burgers in two batches. Fry burgers for 8 - 10 minutes, turning half-way, until golden.  Keep warm whilst the second batch is being fried.
If you keep the first batch of burgers warm under a low grill, or in the oven (180C/gas 4) they will carry on cooking, so will need only 5 - 6 minutes (total) frying,  the second batch takes longer as they then won't need keeping warm in the oven.
Serve the hot burgers with a cool crisp salad and tomatoes.

Penultimate recipe today is similar to a quiche but without the pastry, also meant to be eaten hot, served straight from the dish, as above - with a crisp salad.  This is a good recipe to use up oddments of cheese (any kinds), bacon bits, and spring onions (or shallots).  Instead of bacon (or as well as) use sliced, cooked mushrooms.  
This type of 'not-quite-a-souffle' opens its arms to almost any 'bits and bobs' you may wish to use, maybe a bit of diced bell pepper, a few peas, sweetcorn kernels.  As ever, the cook's choice.

Cheesy Bacon and Egg 'Puff': serves 4
5 oz (150g) plain flour
4 eggs
7 fl oz (200ml) milk
2 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
4 spring onions (or 2 shallots) thinly sliced
5 oz (150g) cheddar cheese, grated
Beat together the flour, eggs, and milk until smooth and lump free.  Grease a large round oven-proof dish (about 9"/23cm wide) with butter, then dust this with the Parmesan.  Heat a small knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the bacon for about 5 minutes until crispy, then leave to cool.
Add the bacon, onions and cheddar cheese into the batter and mix until combined.  Pour into the dish so it comes almost to the top, then bake a 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 30-35 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.  Serve immediately with a crisp green salad.

Final recipe today is one probably given before but worth repeating.  Although ordinary milk chocolate can be used to make this, it is much tastier when an orange or ginger flavoured chocolate is used.
Don't be put off by the appearance of this pudding when ready to bake.  It will look a right mess, but during the cooking sorts itself out and you end up with a lovely crusty top with lots of gorgeous chocolate sauce hiding underneath.
Unfortunately this is said 'not suitable for freezing', so if cooking for four, reduce amounts by half.

Chocolate Pudding: serves 8
4 oz (100g) butter (melted), plus extra for greasing
9 oz (250g) self-raising flour
5 oz (150g) caster sugar
3 oz (75g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
pinch of salt
3 eggs
5 fl oz (150ml) milk
4 oz (100g) milk chocolate , broken into chunks
half a pint (300ml) boiling water
(7 oz (200g) light muscovado sugar
Butter a 2 ltr baking dish ready for the mix. Heat oven to 180C, 350F, gas 4
Put the flour, sugar, 2 oz/50g of the cocoa, the baking powder, orange zest, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Using another bowl, whisk together the orange juice (and any orange pulp), the eggs, milk, the melted butter, then pour this onto the dry ingredients, then spoon into the prepared dish.
Put the sugar into a jug with the remaining 25g of cocoa and stir in the boiling water (direct from the kettle).  Stir well then pour this over the pudding mixture.  It will look strange, but ignore this. Place the baking dish in the middle of the oven and bake for half an hour or until the surface has risen, and is firm and 'crispy'.   Lovely served hot with ice-cream, creme fraiche, or just - cream!

Hope you might find time to make one or more of the above this weekend, and hoping you are having better weather for the holiday than we have at the moment as the skies are overcast and it has turned very windy again.  But whether indoors or out, make sure you enjoy yourselves.  I'll be back here again on Tuesday (comp permitting). Hope you can join me then.  TTFN.