Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Cheesy potato croquettes

I saw a version of this on Facebook this morning, had a look in the fridge and using what I have made them for dinner.

4 potatoes, 3 carrots and 1/4 of a swede, peel and cut into chunks.

Into salted water, bring to boil and simmer till soft, drain and mash.
Meanwhile take a smallish red onion, peel and dice, sweat in a pan with a good dollop of butter, when soft add 2 cloves of garlic sliced finely and cook on for 5 minutes or so, till it is all soft.

Drain the root veg and tip in the onion and garlic mix and the butter, mash well together, tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Take a pack of soft cheese with herbs and garlic, or plain if that is what you have, tip into a bowl and add a good handful of grated cheese, I used a strong Welsh cheddar, and mix well together, put into fridge to chill.

When the potato mix is cold take a scoop and press out into a rough round on the palm of your hand, add a teaspoon or so of the cheese mix.

Use the spoon to spread almost covering the veg mix, then fold round to enclose the cheeses.

These do not have to be this shape, there is no reason they could not be round or egg shaped if you like.

 I made 6 and put them onto a plate and then into the fridge to firm up.

I decided to flour, egg wash and breadcrumb these to help hold the cheese inside.

Then into a hot oven for 20-25 minutes, you can spray with oil for a crisper finish, and serve.

They came out perfect for me, slightly browned and crisp but not hard.

Served with 2 poached eggs and a spoonful of baked beans, they hit the spot I did have a dollop of my tomato and chilli chutney with them.

This was very good, but i like to be totally lazy sometimes so the next time that I fancy this I will be potting half the veg mix in a pyrex dish, then spreading the cheese and then top with the rest of the veg mix and into the oven. I am sure that it will be equally as good.

                         TTFN                                            Pam

Friday, 25 September 2015

Huge Baked Beans,

These are huge in size and in taste. 

Back in the mists of time when I lived in an old farmhouse I cooked on a solid fuel range. Because it heated the house and the water it was on constantly and I did all my cooking on and in it. Boston Baked Beans were in demand, I bought dried beans by the sack full.

Since then I have cooked my beans in a different way, sometimes dried, which I soaked and boiled and sometimes like this using tinned beans.

So, search through the fridge and find, 1/2 green pepper, 2 sticks of celery.Then take an onion, some garlic and some cherry toms, all from the garden.

Look in the pantry and extract peppercorns,spices of choice butter beans and passata. I also used salt and sugar and 2 dollops of date and apricot chutney for sweetness.

Dice the celery, onion and pepper, AKA the trinity in some cooking cultures. Sweat in a splash of oil, I use rapeseed. then peel and crush as much garlic as you want and throw in. Add the spices, I used a tsp each of smoked paprika, cumin and coriander, I thought about it for a moment and added a shake of dried basil and a bigger one of oregano. Then the cherry toms, passata and a good grinding ( about 10 turns) of pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir well and bring to simmer and cook for around 10 minutes, then drain and rinse the beans, I used 2 tins, and stir in. Bring back to boil and tip into preheated slow cooker. Cook on low for a few hours.

This is the leftovers, they will be layered with shredded cabbage or Kale and sliced sweet potato into a deep casserole dish and cooked in the mini oven. This dish will feed 3 next week.

While I was in the kitchen I dug the chicken carcass out of the fridge, added some chopped veg, a few peppercorns and allspice berries. A few sprigs of thyme, sage and oregano and 1 sprig of rosemary and cover with cold water.

Bring to boil, cover and simmer for a couple of hours, strain through a sieve and you have glorious stock. Far better than any cube or bottle from the supermarket.


Just a word about implements and ingredients.

I shop carefully, if I see a bargain (that I will use) I snap it up. I do buy short date RTC meat, fruit and veg. But I use my eyes, if it does not look good then I leave it. Then as soon as I get it home I deal with it. Meat is repacked into portion sizes and frozen, or it is cooked within a couple of hours. Likewise fruit and veg is repackaged or removed from unnecessary wrapping and goes into the fridge. 

When I buy my implements, the tools of my trade, I buy the best that I ca., I once saved for a year to buy a bread knife, that was almost 20 years ago and it is still as sharp and shiny as it was then.
Most of my knives come from Japan, most of them were either birthday or Christmas presents, often from the family as a combined gift. I treasure every single one, keep them clean and sharp.
For this I need a fine steel, a coarse one will ruin the knives . I looked at the Japanese ones, they were very good. But after trying several, I took my knives to the shop, I settled on this one from Germany.

This is more than 20 years old and will last my lifetime and beyond.

The message is buy the best that you can, I could have spent more than twice on other makes but they were not as good for me.
I have 2 Sheffield Steel knives, both were my Grannies and both are going strong. They were ones that she saved up for and at the time cost well over a weeks wages. I estimate that they are over 80 years old. and are in almost daily use.

I have a very good food processor and do use it but not every day or even every week. I rely on my knives, they are well balanced and sharp and I can cut fast enough.  If and when the processor dies I will probably not replace it. I could not manage without my knives.

That is the lecture for the day he he. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Surprise dinner

I do not write a detailed meal plan as I get distracted too readily. Instead I have a list of meals that I can make from what is in stock. That sometimes goes out the window, it did yesterday. I planned a fridge bottom omelette but was in Neath in the afternoon and while waiting for my passengers return I had a mooch round Morrisons.

Look what I picked up.

Just under half price, I see a tasty work free dinner for 2 and leftovers.

Well just a little work, half a green chilli and a small courgette chopped/sliced.
Oh I sliced up one of the pak choi as well.

A large dollop of my home made plum and chilli jam.

A slurp of rapeseed oil (from Norfolk) and into a hot wok.
Throw about and add a handful of chicken rescued from Sunday's roast, the jam and a glug of sherry vinegar. It was a little on the dry side so I popped in a couple of tablespoons of jellied chicken stock. Salt and pepper and a scattering of Coriander leaves once it was in the bowls.

I did not cook any carbs as (thanks to Mum) I had some awesome Apple cake and a little creammmmmmmmm.

There were no leftovers, it was far too good. I do have the biggest Pak Choi in the fridge and that will go into todays dinner.

A good meal for very little outlay in cash or energy (both gas and mine)

             TTFN                                                  Pam

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Spicy Sausage Parcels

Step one, find a pack of mid range sausages, these were from Lidl, Cumberland at £1.29. remove the skins and put into a bowl.

Step two, choose your spices, these are my favourite mix.

Oops, nearly forgot the garlic.

Step three, add a shake or so of each spice, to taste. i was heavy on the cumin and cinnamon this time.

Mix well together, use your hands, easier and faster than faffing with spoon or fork. Shape into balls and dredge with flour, I use gram, just because I like it.

Select your bacon, this is from Lidl and costs £1.50 a Kg.

Be sure to find a pack with thin rashers, you don't want chunky chops here.

Step four, wrap each ball in two rashers to cover.

Step five, place in a lined dish or tin so they do not touch and cook for around 25 minutes in a moderate to hot oven, mine go on the same shelf as the roasties.

Step six, place on dinner plate snuggled up to some roast chicken, roasties and veg.

I vary this, sometimes I use very good sausages and add some soft breadcrumbs and an egg. fresh sage leaves and or thyme are good.
Chopped onion and garlic softened in a little oil and mixed in when cool are yummy.
The whole finished ball can be wrapped in pastry and baked for 35 minutes and served as a main meal.