31 January 2012

Me and my Inner Greedy Pig!

~  Menu  ~

A lovely breakfast
Coffee
~ and then ~
Potato & Green Chilli Fritter with Salted Cashews
White Wine Spritzer

This morning I found a few little pieces of Stollen and 2 mince pies in a tin in the back of the cupboard, maybe the last of the Christmas leftovers!  I was going to make bread pudding with the stolen but then, having no particular breakfast in mind, decided to experiment and, to be frank, my experiment was based on something I read on the internet a while back on Good Food Shared   I chopped up the Stollen poured over some double cream and baked for about 15 minutes at 375ºF/190ºC/gas 5.  And the result?Gobsmackingly delicious (and rather naughty). 



Undeterred I also had a great lunch.  I have a tendency to cook too many potatoes for dinner and therefore, when wandering about the kitchen looking for lunch inspiration, I found 3 cold cooked potatoes in the fridge.   I nearly threw them out as I can’t remember when I put them in there but my inner greedy pig got the better of me and instead I heated them in the microwave, mashed them with mayo and green chillipickle, made a little cake, coated it in panko crumbs and fried it …




Then I ate it with, as is my wont, with a handful of cashew nuts.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll … I’m so, so, so glad I can cook.  Every day I eat food that is, for me at least, outstandingly delicious (not only can I cook,I also have a big head) yet it costs me very little and takes me hardly any time.  Anyone who doesn't learn this crucial skill is a daftie!


  
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26 January 2012

The Best Idea Ever for Bacon!

~  Menu  ~


Brie & Caramelised Onion Marmalade on Toast with …
Bacon Salt
Glass of Secret Red

This is a short post but a good one, or at least I think it is – hopefully you will be as delighted with this as I am.

I made something simply marvellous the other day!  Clearing out the fridge preparatory to filling it up again I found I had one single sad rasher of bacon left so I made …

Bacon Salt


1 rasher bacon
1 tsp crunchy sea salt

~   Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/170ºC fan/gas 5 or so.
~   Cook the bacon till it seems to have gone too far and looks yukky, like this …
crisp-bacon
~   Pat off any fat and let it cool and harden.
~   Break into pieces and crush together with the salt in a pestle and mortar.


making-bacon-salt

~ Store in a sealed jar in the fridge and sprinkle willy nilly on all sorts of things.


As mentioned above, today I had it for lunch sprinkled over Brie and caramelised onion marmalade on nubbly toast comme ça …


brie-on-toast-with-bacon-salt
Yesterday I sprinkled bacon salt on poached freshly laid eggs (see here for the easiest and best way to poach eggs) …

poached-eggs-with-bacon-salt


Tonight I plan on eating it with cod.

I have never made this before but am delighted with it; so much yumminess for so little effort and hardly any money, I shall certainly keep some by for the rest of my life!
This is just one of 35 ideas for leftover bacon included in The Leftovers Handbook ~ don't you wonder what ideas I have for the other 450 potential leftovers?


the-leftovers-handbook-suzy-bowler

A couple of Reviews ...


“Helps you create tasty loveliness from almost every possible leftover foodstuff you could think of (and possibly some that you couldn't....)”
 
“Cookery books are really very boring, but this one definitely isn't!” 








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24 January 2012

Abel & Cole's "Cooking Outside the Box" ~ a review


~  Menu  ~

Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
Croissant Croutons
The Merest Tad of Red Wine

I wish to review a rather lovely book I discovered in the library.  It is Abel & Cole’s “Cooking Outside the Box and I picked it up because I was already vaguely familiar with their informative website and it turns out their book is exactly my kind of thing. I really like and collude in their style of recipe writing “a dollop” or a “glug” and their list of food alternatives means that, in reality, using this book one can still be creating a dish all one’s own.

Reading “Cooking Outside the Box” reminds me of when I was young; their Cheesy Woosty Eggs and Spinachio Pie recall our own dear Caribbean Banana Thingy and Toad in the Crevasse at our restaurant The House on the Strand. 

The Abel & Cole Cookbook is not brand new on the market, it was published by Collins in 2006 but if you haven’t already got a copy I really do recommend adding it to your collection.  Lots of good ideas in there including not one but two recipes for swede which I am tempted by even though I can’t abide the stuff!!! 

As I say “Cooking outside the Box” by Abel & Cole was published by Collins in September 2006.  It is an attractive hardcover book with some quirky illustrations that add to its charm  You can get it from Amazon  or Abel & Cole  will send you a free copy if you order a box of superb veg from them


Pumpkin and Apple Soup 

I decided to try this soup but in the very spirit of the book used butternut squash instead of pumpkin.  It is a simple but utterly delicious recipe involving roasting apple and pumpkin together with a little chilli till tender and yum and then puréeing it all together with some veg stock.  I couldn’t help trying the purée before adding the stock and it would make a very fine side dish.  The soup was gorgeous particularly served with croutons made from a rather stale croissant.


Leftover Croissants

Croissants, due to their flaky texture, lend themselves to some great interpretations of standard leftover bread usage.  For the croutons I just diced the croissant, tossed it with a little olive oil, sea salt and black pepper and bunged in a hot oven for a few minutes till crunchy and golden

I have posted before about Croissant French Toast in which I quite rightly said “The many layers of the cut side of the croissant go crunchy crisp; make sure to serve cut side up so that the layers trap all the gooey maple syrup and butter or what have you.”   I apologise that the picture is poor but if you’re tempted see here.

The other thing I have made with leftover croissants is bread pudding – I slice the croissant along its length and lay in the dish so that the when baked the cut edges att he top of the pudding go delicately crisp.  See recipe for Alcoholic Marmalade Bread Pudding here and adjust accordingly!

Breaking the Rules of Blogging!

On another matter I’d just like to break not one but two of "rules" of blogging:

1.   I understand one should not apologise for a large gap in posts and yet … I am so sorry I haven’t posted for a while; we have been moving my Father in Law into his own annexe – calloo callay – which has been time consuming and fraught.

2.   I intend to continue referring to my partner as “my real man” or other affectionate terms despite being informed that failing to refer to your spouse by his or her real name is a no no.  My real man (there I go now), on the other hand, is a private sort of chap and would prefer to keep his name to himself.
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14 January 2012

Lovely Lunch from Leftovers ~ again!

~  Menu  ~

Turkey, Tomato & Coconut Curry
A Few Cashews
Naan Bread
White Wine Spritzer
Brandied Peach Ice Cream
Cornish Coffee
Pretty good lunch innit!  Last night my real men had their last roast turkey dinner from Christmas (its OK, I froze it in between) and I made myself a delicious and too big turkey curry.  I have a very quick and easy curry “recipe” which is ….

Quick and Easy Curry Sauce - for one

 good handful of cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp of curry paste
1 sachet creamed coconut – coarsely chopped

~   Cook the tomatoes and oil together in a small covered pan over low heat till they burst.
~   Add the curry paste and the coconut plus a splash of hot water, replace the lid and cook till the coconut has melted and you have a sauce situation in the pan.  Add more hot water to achieve your ideal consistency.
~   Add what you like – I added turkey.  I’d have added fresh coriander as well if I’d had any.

Anyhoo, I couldn’t eat it all so today toasted a little naan bread from the freezer and made a sarnie.  I enjoyed it even more than last night which is saying something.


For lunch pudding we all had some ice cream that I’d made out of leftovers.  We recently bought an almost out of date brandied cream from Tesco for 25p and also had an open but hardly used can of peach slices in juice in the fridge so this is what I did …


Brandied Peach Ice Cream (from leftovers) – serves 3-4

410g can of sliced peaches – drained
250ml extra thick cream with Courvoisier in it OR
250ml double cream and a tablespoon brandy
100g condensed milk

~   Purée the peaches.
~   Whisk the cream and brandy together till thick
~   Fold in the peaches and the condensed milk.
~   Freeze

NOTE:  if using extra thick cream it will go runny at first when whisked and it is easiest then to whisk in the condensed milk and keep whisking till thick again.  If using normal double cream and brandy follow the above instructions.


Just a a few more shots of Padstow in winter ...








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12 January 2012

5 Unusual Salad Dressings to keep in your Handbag!

Yesterday I had a wander around Padstow – it was closed!!!  Almost all the restaurant and about half of the shops said they would not be open in January.  Luckily it was a incredibly lovely day, January 11th but more like late March, and Padstow was in bloom – I took all these pictures.

11th January 2012 - Padstow, Cornwall

I met up with my friend Carol and we went to The Cornish Arms, an old pub in the nearby village of St. Merryn which has two claims to fame; 1) I used to work there, and 2) it is now one of Rick Stein’s places.  Lunch was very good, I had a Colston Basset Stilton and Tomato Tart with lots of rocket.  Tomatoes and blue cheese don’t immediately spring to my mind as a great flavour pairing but it worked really well.  Carol had a homemade burger which she said was excellent and ordered salad instead of chips.  We both, however, were vexed about the same thing which often irritates us when eating out in the UK – why in this country are salads not dressed, dressing not offered and the makings not available on the table???   Here’s a good idea …


A couple of weeks ago eating I can’t remember where, somewhere in Truro, I had just bought some Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise so we resorted to that to cheer up our salads.  I am seriously thinking of making myself a little Travelling Seasoning Kit to keep with me when I go out; vinaigrette, chilli flakes, sea salt, black garlic, smoked black pepper, vanilla sugar, that sort of thing.

Here are a few dressing recipes you might like to keep in your handbag!!!  Please Click to Tweet this.

Caramelised Red Wine Vinaigrette ~ a good way to use up leftover wine if you really, really  can’t drink it!

~   Boil together 60ml of (leftover) red wine, 60 ml of water and 60g of sugar till it caramelises. 
~   Add 240ml of red wine and reduce the whole lot down to 60ml. 
~   Whisk in 120ml good olive oil, taste and season – black pepper would be good.

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

~   Whisk together the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp of poppyseeds, ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest and a generous grinding of black pepper.
~   Whisk in 180ml good olive oil.
~   Add crunchy sea salt to taste.

Sweet Chilli Dressing

~   Whisk together Thai sweet chilli sauce and lime juice.
~   Whisk in 2 tsp sesame oil and 4 tbsp light olive oil.
~   Taste and season.
  
Burnt Orange Dressing  ~ thank you Benny! (long story)

~   Simply boil down pure orange juice till it is reduced to a syrup 
~   Whisk in a little Dijon mustard and 2 parts of olive oil for one part of reduced orange juice.

Balsamic Honey Mustard Dressing  ~ see here for recipe

West Indian Pepper Wine

I used to serve this traditional condiment with Seafood Chowder for drizzling purposes, it contains no wine nor any pepper!   It is very simple, however:

~   Put a dried chilli or two into a sealable bottle (small enough to go in your handbag) and top up with rum.
~   Seal tightly and leave for a day or so but as long as you like before using.
Garlic, onions, anchovies, herbs, cheese and other fresh ingredients. can be added to these dressings to some advantage, eg. blue cheese crumbled into the Balsamic Dressing is very good, but please do consider the ambient temperature of your handbag.  

By the Way ...

If you haven’t already got it don’t forget to download your Free Copy of ...


 ... with a link to get another free book;

“Easy Ways to Pimp you Food”




Can’t say fairer than that, can I?



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9 January 2012

Easy Peasy Duck Rillettes

~  Menu  ~

Rillettes of Duck with Smoked Black Pepper & Cognac
(Bought in) Plum & Balsamic Chutney
Nubbly Bread
Glass of Red
Pear & Ginger Sorbet

I have done myself proud with leftovers today.

With the scraps of a most delicious roast duck I made me some rillettes,  comme ça:

Easy Peasy Duck Rillettes

approx 60g cooked duck meat
approx 60g duck fat
½ tbsp brandy
salt and pepper
a smidge of garlic
maybe a little finely grated orange zest – up to you!

~   Cook the duck meat in the fat very, very gently for quite a long while, 45-60 minutes plus, till meltingly tender.
~   Shred the meat into the fat.
~   Add the cognac, taste and season.
~   Put the whole lot in a little dish, pushing the meat under the surface of the fat.
~   Chill till needed.

Supposedly this keeps very well as the fat seals the dish and also, apparently, it is better after a couple of days wait as this helps the flavours meld.  I have tested neither of these suppositions.


We have had a tin of pears hanging about the place for a while so today I thought I ought to deal with it so made …

Pear & Ginger Sorbet

~   Strain the pears (drink the juice with some fizzy water).
~   Coarsely chop the pears and partially freeze.  Actually I wholly froze and had to partially defrost!
~   Run through the food processor with a spoonful of syrup from the Stem Ginger jar till smooth.
~   Freeze (again).


Hint, hinty, hint hint ...

"... who is your favourite Food Blogger of 2011? email taste@quadrille.co.uk by 31/1/2012 - Prizes to be won! #QuadrilleFoodAwards"

... I cut and pasted that from Twitter.


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4 January 2012

"Live Well for Less" with an "Affordable Budget"!


~  Menu  ~

Sautéed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic and Blue Cheese on Toast
Glass of Secret Red
Cornish Dark Coffee
Marzipan Cookies

I see that the Government is trying to convince people that they can eat well on an affordable budget and that Sainsbury’s are running a campaign entitled “Live Well for Less” an entirely admirable sentiment and something that is very close to my heart.  Much of this blog has been concerned with the delicious, creative AND economical use of leftovers (here’s a list of leftovers covered so far) – perhaps you've noticed!  I wish Sainsbury and the Government the best of luck in their endeavours.

My lunch today is, in fact, a humble example of using leftovers creatively.  When preparing the vegetables for last night’s dinner I couldn’t be bothered put the last few florets of cauli back into the fridge so cooked the lot.  I was thinking “cauliflower cheese” at the time but today decided instead to sauté the cooked cauliflower with roasted garlic and then stir in my new favourite blue cheese – Saint Agur.  Guess what?  It worked really well.  I added a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper and a couple of slices of toast and the meal ended up having a lot going for it being crunchy, creamy and nubbly, spicy and salty, hot and satisfying.  Also fairly good for me I think – fresh veggies, wholegrain toast, just a little cholesterol and a healthy swig of red wine.  Well done me.  Again.    


Of course there are lots of other ways to use Leftover Cauliflower
~   Add raw or just cooked florets to salad or use as crudités with a dip.
~   Toss in hot cheese sauce, sprinkle with more cheese and breadcrumbs and bake till hot, bubbling, crisp and golden. 
~   Toss hot just tender florets in vinaigrette and chill till needed.  Maybe wait till warmer weather for that one!
~   Reheat in a little cream with a grating of nutmeg.
~   Coat in batter and deep fry.


I can’t believe it is a whole year since I was going to lose weight using a cunning plan   I actually did quite well on the regime but then lapsed so I think I’ll have another go.  This being the case yesterday I ate very little; just dry toast and fat free coleslaw and water; that kind of thing.  I did however have some good coffee ...


A Christmas gift (thanks Carol) and just the sort of thing to make me feel like I’d actually partaken of something!  I had another one today with a marzipan cookie garnish - recipe here.


I have to keep my strength up, you know – tomorrow is another down day!





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