Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Looking Back....

It was the comment from Kate (in Australia) that gave me food for thought.  The Australian spring heat is causing her parsley to grow past its best.  "Ah", I thought "perfect for making parsley honey".  So I looked up my (personal) recipe index that my son had done for me (not everything remains on the blog due to necessary editing), and the recipe for this was shown as being published in Sept. 1007 and also 3rd May 2007. 

Checking the publications for the Sept 2007 it seems as though the recipe for parsley honey had been deleted, but - as ever - I found plenty of recipes in that month that I was very pleased to rediscover (and had forgotten about).  So it's worth scrolling down just to have a look-see.   For instance, on the 14th Sept 2007 there was a mention of 'egg substitutes' - very useful when you haven't enough eggs when baking (or even no eggs). Not to mention some absolutely gorgeous recipes.  Even made my mouth water.
The month of May 2007 DID have the recipe for parsley honey on the 3rd, as well as other very useful recipes that have tempted/inspired me to make many of them again (and again, and again....).  So it is always worth looking back through the Archives for I feel the oldest ones have the best recipes and also very useful hints and tips.

From the 'flyers' that come through our letterbox  (and also on Tesco's website), it does seem that there are now a lot of Hallow'een type sweets on sale.  Give the manufacturers a reason to prise more money from our purses and they will do their very best to make us feel we are being mean if we don't provide 'the necessary' for the children.

Hallow'een celebrations are now much more common in the UK  than they used to be, and the 'Trick or Treat' knocking on the door is a fairly recent thing - and being my age a lot of things are 'new' that didn't happen when I was younger.  Not that I mind the children calling, but they can often be more than a nuisance and it has got to the point that I now pray for rain so the children will stay. Normally we just carve out a pumpkin (face) and put a candle in it to celebrate the occasion, but of course (thanks to the US) this has gone from strength to strength and maybe some families in the UK do decorate their homes - causing more expense. 
Here in the UK, less than a week later we have Bonfire Night.  Really we don't need both, and if it was me I'd stick to the fireworks and 'penny for the guy'.  Come to think of it, 3 weeks after Hallow'een is the American Thanksgiving'  Then comes Christmas.  Seems there are a lot more reasons to celebrate in the US than here in the UK.
Normally, the only time we decorate our homes is at Christmas.  Long may that continue.

Good to hear Margie that reorganising you pantry you find relaxing. Me too.  It gives me a feeling of security to know I have foods that will help me last through the winter months, without being too clever about the dishes we make.  There is often nothing better than starting the day with a warming bowl of porridge, and later in the day a good bowl of chunky home-made soup to satisfy our appetites. 
It's not always how much we eat, more about what we eat.  Nature has provided us with the right foods for each season of the year, and the root vegetables store so well, these also perfect for stews, casseroles, soups....

A welcome to livecheaperdaybyday  who is another reader from Australia.   Kate says it is 26C in Oz at the moment, and our new 'commenteer' mentions 40C - this probably being the mid-summer heat.  Certainly too hot for us in the UK.   Think 30C is the most I remember it being this last summer and that only in the London area. We are now down into the low teens, and will soon get colder.  By the end of this week it will be November, hard to believe.

Sorry to hear your freezer switches had 'tripped' Cheesepare.  Wonder what caused that?  If the contents were still cool, then probably re-freezing will 'hold' them safely until they are (thoroughly) cooked.  I have read that as long as there are some ice-crystals still in the foods (probably meat/fish) then these are safe to refreeze.  Not sure how it would affect the texture thought.
Yes, it would be good to meet up at the (repaired) Eric Morecambe statue when it has been replaced. Had not heard of any other statues being damaged in this way, but you did mention some had been in Cumbria, so maybe there is one person who is inclined to do damage in this direction.  Let us hope they find out who.

Many years ago a neighbour (in Leeds) used to tell me how she went to the wholesale market to buy sacks of carrots/potatoes/onions etc, as they were so cheap bought this way.  Trouble was, the market was open in the wee small hours (like 4.00am) so that the greengrocers could go and buy their daily produce for their shops.  Wholesalers are the very best place to get the cheapest prices, but expect to buy by the sack or crate. 
If able to share with family, friends or neighbours, then buying almost anything in bulk can make a saving.   This can be done small-scale even in a supermarket.  Buy the largest cauliflower, or white cabbage etc, then share between one or two friends.  Do the same with Bogofs. 

Also when living in Leeds, a friend and I used to use the same supermarket and go shopping together.  We'd see what was on offer, and work out which Bogofs we would share, what fresh produce we both wanted but that we could divide etc, and end up saving ££££s this way.

Although the hour has now gone back Ali, and you sound as though you will not enjoy the first dark evenings, have to say I quite like them.  Certainly it is good to have the day start off a bit lighter, and myself find it cosy to draw the curtains late afternoon - this helping to keep in the heat from the central heating (the one window that isn't double glazed is the large bow window in our sitting room). 
I've still to order from Approved Foods, and whether I will or not remains to be seen - my larder is still overflowing in the 'dry goods' department, as these are the ones I tend to use least.  The other side (and end) of the larder contains all the canned and bottled foods, these used more often.

There is one 'food substitute' that I do use regularly, this being Bisto.  Not the ordinary Bisto, but 'Bisto Best' (stronger and better flavour, I keep both beef and chicken granules), and was very surprised the other day to see a well-known TV chef (forgotten which) using gravy granules in a meal he was making.  So if he can do it, then why should I feel guilty about doing it too?

This week happened to come across a small recipe booklet published by Bisto (many, many years ago). Perhaps this was a coincidence?  Myself like to think it was meant to be, for now I can give a few recipes from this book that will help us get through those first few months of the year when our stocks are running down, and maybe we haven't as much meat to use as we wish.  Less meat, less expense anyway. 

French Onion Soup: serves 4
4 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 oz (25g) butter or marg
3 heaped teaspoons Bisto (beef flavour)
1.25 pints (625ml) water
4 slices French bread
3 oz (75g) Cheddar cheese, grated
Fry the onion gently in the butter until soft and beginning to brown, add the garlic towards the end. Mix the Bisto to a smooth cream with a little of the water, then add remaining water and stir this into the onions/garlic.  Simmer for 45 minutes. 
Top the sliced bread with grated cheese and brown under the grill.  Float each slice on an individual bowl of soup before serving.

Second recipe uses a can of corned beef, so - in a way - it is still 'store-cupboard cookery'.  If you have canned cooked chicken, then use this instead of the beef and use the Bisto chicken granules.
Using more of the vegetables, you could then make five or six 'turnovers'.
When wishing to 'mash' corned beef (as for this recipe) then use the tin as stored in the larder (room temp).  When wishing to slice (for sarnies etc), then chill the can before opening, this prevents the meat breaking up when sliced.

Myself feel the 'turnovers' end up more like 'finger food' (in other words a bit small).  So suggest you make them larger - remembering you may then end up with only two.  If you prefer, use short-crust pastry and make them 'Cornish Pasty' shape.    Or - divide the mixture between small pie dishes, cover with pastry and bake as small pies.  You have the filling, you have the pastry, now it's up to you to make and bake in any way you choose.

Savoury Turnovers: makes 4
1 small potato, coarsely grated
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
1 small onion, grated
half oz (15g) butter
1 x 198g (7oz) corned beef, mashed
1 tablespoon Bisto Best Gravy Granules
5 fl oz (150ml) boiling water
1 small pack puff pastry
egg to glaze
Gently fry the vegetables in the butter until softened.  Stir in the corned beef.  Make up the Gravy Granules and pour this over the meat mixture then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board to a 12" (30cm) square.  Cut this into four squares (3"x 3"). Divide the mixture between the squares, dampen the edges and fold over to make a turnover. Seal well  Place on a baking sheet, glaze with egg, and bake for approz 20 minutes at 220C gas 7.

Last recipe today am including as it can make use of smaller amounts of raw or cooked pork or chicken (or even cooked beef/turkey) that are given in this dish.  Just add extra veg to make up the shortfall.  Basically, this is a stir-fry, so using cooked meat means several minutes of fuel saving.  Cooking raw meat means this HAS to be cooked through before being eaten.  Use the Bisto granules that are the correct flavour to go with the meat you have chosen to use.  If you have no meat, then suggest using chicken flavoured granules.

Sweet and Sour Pork (or whatever): serves 4
1 lb (450g) lean pork, cubed (see above)
1 tblsp sunflower oil
1 tblsp plain flour (or cornflour)
3 tsp Bisto (chicken or your choice)
1 x 225g (8oz) can pineapple chunks in syrup
5 fl oz (150ml) water
1 small green pepper, deseeded and sliced
2 tblsp brown sugar
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 tblsp soy sauce
2 tblsp vinegar
Quickly fry the pork in oil, then stir in the flour and the Bisto.  Cook gently for one minute.  Add the pineapple syrup and the water. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, then stir in all the remaining ingredients.   Cover and simmer gently until the meat is tender (up to 45mins for raw meat, 5 minutes if using cooked meat).  Serve with boiled rice.

Went and had my ultrasound scan this afternoon.  Successful up to a point. Have now to wait and see what the consultant has to say (if more tests needed etc).  Otherwise my pills seem to be working well and I now feel almost back to normal, although still taking it fairly easily (good excuse).
Hoping now to get back to writing more regularly, but am sure you will understand if I take a day off now and again.   Hope to be back blogging tomorrow (if not, then the day after). Hope to see you then.