Monday, February 8, 2016

Stuffed Peppers

Well today I got some cheap red/green peppers and decided to make one of my favorite meals of stuffed pepper.

I make the stuffing out of diced green pepper, onion, grated carrot, finely chopped vegetarian sausage, bread crumbs and sage. I made double quantities of the stuffing and froze 1/2 for another day.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
3 peppers
3 vegetarian sausages
1 large garlic clove
120g of bread crumbs  (you can use a sachet of sage and onion stuffing)
A vegetable stock cube
Dried sage to taste (omit if using bought S&O stuffing)
Table spoon of veg oil
Salt and pepper to season

Method

De-seed and finely chop one of the peppers, the onion and garlic and the sausages. Grate the carrot and add all to the prepared ingredients with the sage (if using), to a frying pan with the oil and fry until the veg have softened. Add the bread crumbs or stuffing mix and 1/2 pint of stock made with the stock cube.

Cook until the liquid has absorbed then leave to cool while you prepare the 2 other peppers. Cut the tops off and retain as a lid, discard the seeds and pith from inside the pepper. Now cut the base of the pepper flat (being careful not to cut the whole base off) so they sit flat on a baking sheet.

Fill peppers with half the stuffing reserving the rest for another meal, pack the stuffing quite tightly, put the tops back on as a lid.

Bake at 180 degrees centigrade (gas mark 5) for 45-60 mins until pepper is soft and easily peirced with a sharp knife. I serve mine with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Potato Cakes (or tatty scones as my better half calls them)

Well its been a while since I posted here but today I made some potato cakes with some leftover mashed potatoes. These are easy and cheap to make and very good as part of a cooked breakfast, warm with butter and a bit of cheese or even with a bit of your favourite jam.

Ingredients

Leftover mashed potatoes approx 250 grams
Self raising flour  approx 125 grams (enough to form a dough and a bit for dusting while rolling out)
1-2 eggs depending on amount of potato
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Mix the eggs into the potato and season with salt and pepper. Add the flour untill you have a dough that is still a little tacky but workable with floured hands.

Either roll the dough out to about 4-5 mm thick and use cutters to cut into cakes of your desired size, or you can hand shape small pieces of the dough into cakes the desired size.

I then dry fry theses in a non stick frying pan on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side untill golden brown. You could put on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 3 or 160 Celsius for 12-15 minutes untill golden.

After cooking allow to cool on a wire rack. These freeze well or keep for a few days in the fridge.

They can be reheated in a frying pan or toaster prior to serving.

Tip, if you want you can add a little grated cheese when making the dough to add a little extra flavor

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mushroom soup

This week I had a large amount of mushrooms that I got reduced at the end of the day at my local supermarket so I decided to make soup with some of them. Home made soup is good at any time and this mushroom recipie is one of my favorites.

I've never been a slave to recipes and quantities but this is a rough guide to how I made it. I had some Wild Garlic pesto left so used this up in the recipe.

1-2 large onions
Aprox 2 large table spoons of wild garlic pesto (or minced Garlic and some oil)
Aprox 500g button mushroom
500g diced potato  (I used raw but you could used leftovers)
1 1/2 ltrs of water
200mls milk
Veggie stock powder (amount will depend on brand and your taste but don't over do as these can be very salty)
1 table spoon Soy sauce
Black pepper

Chop the onion and fry them with the pesto until soft, roughly chop the mushrooms and potato add to pan with the soy sauce, and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the water and stock powder bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes. I then use a stick blender to blend the soup but you can allow to cool and blend in a food processor or blender, if the latter return to pan and add the milk. Check the seasoning and season with black pepper to taste, and salt if needed.

Serve hot with nice crusty bread.

As I said I'm not a slave to recipe's you can use onion, carrot and celery as the base for the soup if wanted and you have them. Leave out the milk if you want, the potato will give a creamy texture any way, or substitute with a soya, rice or nut alternative if that's your choice.

The leftovers from this formed the base for a delicious pasta bake later in the week, so don't be afraid to make too much.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Carrot spaghetti and wild garlic pesto

This weekend I purchased a julienne peeler and the first meal I made with it was Carrot spaghetti with this I used some Wild Garlic pesto this was a very simple but tasty meal with the advantage of being vegan and gluten free.

Pesto

Handful of wild garlic leaves
Enough Olive oil (or good quality rapeseed oil) to make the pesto slack but not too runny
50g Toasted pine nuts (I didn't have any so used sunflower seeds) you can use other nuts if preferred
I-2 table spoons of Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Place the garlic leaves in a food processor/blender with the toasted nuts.  Blend and gradually add the oil until you get a consistency you like. Put into a bowl and add lemon juice and season to taste. 
You can add cheese to this for a more traditional pesto but I like this without. If you want a less garlicky tang use half garlic and half spinach leaves.

Carrot Spaghetti

Top and tail carrots 75 - 100 grams per portion

Using a julienne peeler shred the carrots forming long thin strips. These can be kept fresh in a bowl of cold water while you are preparing what you need.

To Cook

Boil a large pan of salted water and blanch the carrot spaghetti for 30 - 60 seconds untill aldenti  (cooked but still with a bit of crunch)

Drain and add enough of the pesto to coat the carrot spaghetti with the sauce. Plate and enjoy.

A good starter or a side dish with a main course.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Orange Marmalade

The other day I was looking in the reduced section of a local supermarket and came upon a bag of 4 oranges for 10p. Having recently made an OK batch of Marmalade but a bit too sweet I bought them with the idea of having another go.

The original recipe I used was a James Martin one which I liked as it didn’t insist on Seville oranges but he used twice the weight of sugar to fruit which made it very sweet with a little hint of caramel flavour, which while not unpleasant was not what I wanted to achieve. 

So this is my version of his recipe which I have to say proves you don't need Seville oranges to make a nice bitter marmalade.

I had 750g of fruit which was more than the recipe and you can make as big or small amount as you wish (although you will need a large preserving pan if planning to use 2kg of Oranges or more. 
 



For each 500g of fruit you will need: (Makes 2-3lb of Marmalade)

500g Oranges
500g Sugar (I use regular white sugar)
1 small/medium Lemon
1300mls   Water

Jars and lids for storing finished product.

Method

Peel the fruit with a speed peeler or knife and retain the peel for shedding later. try to get the skin but leave as much of the pith behind as you can.

Chop the remaining flesh into pieces keeping all the juices and put it all (pips included) into a food processor. Process until fairly smooth.

Line a sieve with a muslin cloth, place it over your (non reactive*) preserving pan and pour the processed flesh into it  (do this in batches if needed) and strain the liquid out of the pulp until you have as much of the liquid out as possible. If doing batches retain the leftover pulp for later.    

Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pan with the orange juice retain the shell of the lemon as this goes in the pan and is boiled with the fruit to release its pectin. Wrap the remaining Orange pulp in the muslin cloth and tie with caterers string. place in the pan with the lemon shell and the water and the finely shredded orange peel.

Put the pan on the heat and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and simmer for between 45-90 minutes until the peel is tender and the liquid reduced by about 1/2.

Remove the Lemon shell and the muslin Bag of pulp and place on a plate to cool, once cool squeeze the bag to get out all the remaining juice and a white gooey pulp which is rich in pectin which you add back to the pan. This will require a little patience but getting this goo into the mixture will ensure you get a good set on the finished Marmalade.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the sugar, stir until dissolved. Now bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. At this stage put a small plate in the freezer to cool, and put your clean jars in the oven 130 centigrade for at least 15mins to sterilise them. After 15 minutes test the marmalade by putting a teaspoon full on the cold plate and leave for about a minute, if after a minute you can push the marmalade with you finger and it crinkles up the marmalade is ready, if not cook for 5-10 minutes more and test again, repeat until ready. 

Once ready allow to cool for about 10 minutes as this will allow the peel to be evenly distributed. While waiting take the jars out of the oven and prepare you equipment for filling the jars. 

TIP:- if you don't have a Jam funnel make one from an empty 4pint Milk container, cut off the top third retaining part of the handle, give it a good rinse and you have an excellent funnel which is wide enough to let most Jams, chutney and Marmalade go into the jar with a nice wide opening for you to ladle the hot liquid into.

After 10 minutes stir the marmalade and ladle into the jars, put the lids on and tighten, if you have them those with the pop up to indicate the jar has been opened are great as they will pop down as the Marmalade cools and indicate you have a good seal on the jar.

Allow to cool, then label and enjoy over the coming weeks or give away as gifts.


* When making Jams and chutneys use a good heavy bottom pan and preferably stainless steel or ceramic, as the acids can leach metal into the product if you use aluminium or copper pans.     














Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 16th 2013

I've decided to resurrect this blog by sharing my food diary and what I cook and eat over the next 12 months.

Yesterday (16th March) I decided that I would make a hearty veggie soup for our supper. After looking at the fresh veg at my local supermarket I decided on Winter root Veg as the base for the soup so I bought some Carrots, a medium Turnip and some onions. I had the other ingredients for the soup in my store cupboard.










 

Ingredients for the soup
  • 2 Large Carrots
  • Medium Turnip (Purple variety, may be called a swede depending on locality)  
  • 2 Medium Onions
  • 3 medium Potatoes
  • 2 Large Garlic cloves
  • 2-3 Large sticks of Celery
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (any veggie oil is OK I use olive)
  • 1 Desert spoon of good Quality Veggie bouillon powder
  • Salt and Black pepper 
  • Soy Sauce or Yeast extract
Cooking Method
  • Chop all the vegetables to a dice (about 1cm / ½”) but don’t worry if a little larger or smaller as the soup is going to be blended later. Chop the garlic, the finer it is chopped/minced the more intense the flavour will be.
  • Place the vegetables in a pan with the garlic and oil and soften them for 5 – 10 minutes until they start to release some of their water and flavour. Add 1ltr of water and the vegetable bouillon powder (or a vegetable stock cube) soy sauce (or yeast extract) and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook until all the vegetables are soft, then either blend with a stick blender (or liquidiser) or use a potato masher to crush the vegetables if a less puréed soup is wanted. If a thinner constancy is required add a little more water at this stage, adjust the seasoning and cook for a further few minutes to ensure the soup is piping hot.  
  • Serve with a crusty bread roll and butter. 

This is a perfect meal (or starter) on a cold winters day.





Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cauliflower and Potato Soup

This soup is a rich and hearty winter warmer, it's also very good value for money, costing about 30 pence a portion.

Ingredients - Makes a large pan (about 5 ltrs) serves 12-16 large portions

1 Medium Cauliflower (6-8 inches diameter)
2-3 Potatoes (about the same weight of potato as Cauliflower or a little less)
2 medium carrots
2-3ltrs vegetable stock (or water and a good Vegetable stock powder)
2-3 table spoons Vegetable Oil
4-5 large garlic cloves (or 4-5 tea spoons of lazy Garlic)
2-3 table spoons Soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Roughly Chop the onion, carrot and potato and gently fry off in the pan with the chopped garlic. You can also add the chopped outer leaves and stalk from the Cauliflower, It's all edible and as it's going to be blended you get the taste boost without the cabbage like texture, (and why waste perfectly good food)

When the vegetables have started to soften add the broken up Cauliflower, Stock (water and stock powder) and bring to the boil. Add the soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put the lid on the pan and turn down to simmer for 20-30 mins or until all the vegetables have cooked. Blend the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor/blender, check the seasoning and adjust to taste.

This soup is good served with crusty whole wheat bread and a good sprinkle of grated mature cheese of your choice, for a totally Vegan meal leave out the cheese.   

This is my base recipe but you can adjust the herbs and spices to your own taste, I like to add a little grated ginger in with the garlic, it gives a little different taste and adds a touch of heat.    
  
 The images in this blog have been obtained from: http://openclipart.org and are all public domain.