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two caulis, two bunches of asparagus

May 22nd, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

cauliflowers and asparagus

We were in Norfolk last weekend, to celebrate the 7th birthday of our grandson. A very nice time was had by all, and on our way home on Sunday afternoon, we kept an eye out for roadside stalls, looking for asparagus and strawberries. Nothing on the roadside, but we stopped at a huge farm shop somewhere … in the South Holland district in Lincolnshire, according to Foursquare.

Two bunches of asparagus at £1.50 each, and two caulis for a quid. So all that lot for £4.00!

One bunch of asparagus went into a quiche, with three eggs, some milk and some rather elderly brie, chopped up. Also a shallot fried off in a little butter, and some chopped chives. That did supper with some Jersey Royals, and lunch the following day.

The second bunch was stir fried with chilli and ginger, one of our absolutely favourite dishes.

One cauli was last night made into a veg curry, which will do at least two more days (if I can find some freezer space!), and the other will be enrobed in cheese sauce for tonight’s supper.

No strawberries (just a little bit too early, I guess), but all the same – that’s really cheap living (although I suppose it’s rather far to go if we weren’t passing …)

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supermarkets

May 12th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

Morrisons

Regular readers will know that I don’t much care for supermarkets, and generally patronise Aldi (or, occasionally, Lidl). However, we had to sally forth to Anlaby on Saturday for cat bikkit, and we needed some shallots. Inexplicably, shallots are unavailable in my usual emporia – not carried by the Indian and Continental, Aldi, Lidl or any of the local greengrocer’s (I meant to do that), although the latter have occasionally tried to sell me pickling onions, which are not the same thing *at all*.

And as we were in Anlaby, and needed shallots, we thought we’d do the shop in Morrisons. And I reckon I spent about 40% more than I usually do. To be fair, I’m not usually tempted by raw tiger prawns due to my usual shopping places, and I bought rhubarb and bok choi (but they were on the reduced shelf so not outrageous). And I bought two packs of mince for a ragu sauce, and two packs of frozen veg (but only a quid each), and a sourdough loaf for an outrageous £1.65, but I don’t think there was much more than that extra, and in fact we left some things till the next GermanShop. So no cold meat for luncheon, no sliced cheese (an abomination, I know, but nicely portion controlled for an elderly old bat with suspicious cholesterol levels), no butter.

Some of the increased bill was just temptation (which is another good reason not to patronise these stores), but I’m pretty sure they are quite a lot more expensive on the sort of stuff we buy every week.

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chicken and coconut curry

April 7th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I had a yen for a chicken curry at the weekend; we make (and eat) a lot of chicken and coriander, but I wanted something different, dammit. So I trundled up to the Jacksons at the top of t’rerd, and came home with two packs of mixed thighs and drumsticks for a fiver, which Pete manfully deskinned for me; it’s a horrible job, and my arthriticy fingers really don’t enjoy it. We put them on a roasting tray, seasoned, drizzled with a little olive oil, and bunged them in the oven while the pizza was cooking. (Well, browning chicken is a boring task, and the oven was on …)

So, there was lots of skinned and part cooked chicken on Sunday morning. Looking at us. I skimmed through various books, but nothing quite appealed, so we winged it, pretty much.

Into the big slow cooker went, variously:

two tablespoons each of  ground almonds and dessicated coconut,

two onions fried in some groundnut oil until they were just starting to catch

a paste of garlic and ginger, and a little water, fried off, then spices added: cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili, fenugreek, cardamon, black pepper, and a little salt. All fried down into a paste

a can of coconut milk, and about a third? a half? can of water

a bunch of coriander

And then we just left it alone for about 7 hours. It was really, really nice, except it lacked … something. Not sure what. We’re going to have some more tonight, with some saag aloo, to see if that helps.

That fiver’s worth of chicken made 10 portions, by the way. Plus £0.80 for the coriander, and £1.25 for coconut milk, and maybe another couple of quid’s worth of ingredients. Well under £1 per portion.

p.s. we always cook chicken pieces on the bone – the flavour is better, and the meat falls off when it’s cooked anyway.

 

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kudos to Sainsburys

February 25th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

We normally buy our bacon from the inestimable T L Normans on Princes Ave (I have enthused about them many a time), but we were in the Sainsburys mini supermarket on Spring Bank the other Saturday afternoon on our way home (after Normans had shut), and spotted bacon, and thought “ooooh … bacon”, as you do. We paid the extra for the Dry Cured stuff.

And it was, in truth, a bit disappointing – didn’t seem dry cured at all, but instead rather full of water. So I tweeted it to them, and within about an hour they’d credited a fiver to my Nectar card.

I call that pretty good service, so thanks, Sainsburys!

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up to my elbows in vegetables, and some venison

February 24th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

vegetables ready to be roasted

 

We seemed a bit overrun with veg, for some reason, so something had to be done.

So into the medium slow cooker, diced small, went:

2 leeks
4 carrots
½ swede
2 (manky) courgettes

They were cooked off with a little olive oil, on a low setting, and made two big tubs of veg for soup.

Into the Remoska went:

2 onions, cut into wedges
3 sweet potatoes
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
2 decent courgettes

I had also slow cooked a butternut squash on Saturday – means no peeling – and added that in towards the end.

That made 8 servings of  roast veg – 3 tubs for the freezer, and one for tonight.

And then, I cut into large dice:

4 potatoes with their skin on
1 onion, cut in half, and sliced
4 carrots

These went into the bottom of a big roasting tray. And on top of that went a small (750g) piece of roasting venison that has been languishing in the meat drawer in the freezer for some time. I marinated the venison in olive oil, lemon juice, chopped rosemary, and sea salt and black pepper, and I stirred the marinade through the veg.

Into the oven at 235C for 15 minutes, then I added about 300ml of beef stock and a slosh of red wine, and turned the oven down to 200C for another 25. I took the meat out and gave it a foil hat, and let it rest for 15 minutes, and continued to cook off the veg.

I’m going to use that method again to cook a small joint – the potatoes were sort of roasted, and there was enough of the veg left to eat with something else. We’re going to have cold venison and roast veg tonight, but I think those veg would go very well with sausages, don’t you?

Oh, and I found a tin of plums in the pantry cupboard, best before 2006(!). Opened it, they smelled fine. They were in syrup, so I gave them a good rinse under the tap, and put them in a bowl. 100g flour, 50g walnuts, 60g sugar and 60g marg made a nice crumble topping. Rude not to, really.

And I’d like to say that I chopped every one of those vegetables by hand. It took bloody ages.

 

 

 

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meatballs and tomato sauce

February 18th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

The mystery butcher’s bag in the freezer turned out to contain about 150g of sausagemeat, clearly bought for sossidge rolls for the festering season. Hmm … what to do?

I added some chopped mix herbs to the meat, and mixed it all together. Into the slow cooker went onions, garlic, a diced courgette and some mushrooms, and I formed the sausagemeat into eight small balls, and laid them on the top. The last of the tomato paste had a slosh of red wine, and some water, added and went on top. Into the slow cooker for six hours, and very nice indeed.

There’s a fair bit of the sauce left, which we shall have tonight with the addition of some Matessons* sausage (no, not gourmet, I know, but dead handy as a standby!).

* or Aldi equivalent

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home made pizza

February 18th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

For some reason, we hardly ever have pizza, and I’m not sure we’ve ever made it. So we decided to remedy that on Saturday.

There was a small tub of tomato purée in the freezer, and some pork and duck stuffing balls (from Waitrose, no less!), and it seemed a good way to deal with them. There was also a couple of packets of pizza mix in the pantry; I think I bought them to do something from the Hairy Bikers’ book, and never got round to it.

So, I roasted off the stuffing balls in the Remoska, and then Pete did the rest. He cooked down the tomato with some garlic and onion, then spread it on the pizza dough, added salami, the meatballs, and some mozzarella. It wasn’t bad at all, but next time I’ll make my own dough, thank you.

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an inventory of the freezer

February 15th, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted in general

We decided to do a *long* overdue audit of the freezer this morning. And here are the results:

  • home made baked beans x 1
  • Italian meatballs small x 1
  • beef, beans, red wine x 2
  • cauliflower and lentils x 1
  • Moroccan meatballs small x 1
  • chicken tagine x 2
  • Moroccan meatballs medium x 1
  • chilli x 1
  • beef and orange x 1
  • Thai veg lentils curry x 1
  • red cabbage medium x 1
  • gram flour dumplings x 1
  • lentil bake x 2
  • yeast x 4 (in door)
  • tarka dhal small x 3
  • coriander chickie x 1
  • shepherds pie filling large x 1
  • scone dough x 1
  • stuffing balls x 1
  • pork chops x 2
  • venison joint x 2
  • lamb neck joint
  • pork shoulder x 2
  • pork fillet x 1
  • molasses soda bread x ½
  • stir fry beef steak x 1
  • lamb mince x 2
  • chicken thigh pack x 1
  • chicken breast x 2
  • pack small sossidge x 1
  • pack pork and leek sossidge x 1
  • cream of veg soup carton x 1
  • assorted vodkas
  • frozen peas
  • frozen spinach
  • sliced wholemeal bread for when toast is required

Some unlabeled stuff, all now identified except one bag, clearly from the local butcher. That’s gone in the fridge, and whatever is is will be cooked in the next couple of days. 

Consigned to outer darkness: 1 rye bread, dated Nov 2011. 1 lone slice of bread. 

So will be cooking up in the next couple of weeks:

  • Gujerati lamb
  • venison stew
  • Indian lamb with peas
  • goulash 
  • pork with cider and leeks
  • more home made baked beans
Also removed this morning: lamb bones and previously diced and cooked veg, for this week’s soup, and some tomato paste for tonight’s home made pizza. 
 
We should probably catalogue the other cupboards too (Pete did the “spares” last week). But not today :)
 
 

turkey and moooose pie

January 6th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

Well, not really, but …

We went to my daughter’s house for Christmas, and it was lovely. But the downside of being away is you get no leftovers; thankfully, she offered us the turkey carcass to take home, and so we did, despite her protestations that there would be no meat left on it. As soon as we got home, I lobbed it in the big slow cooker with some water, and left it alone for about six hours.

The next morning, I surveyed the vegetable drawers. They contained sundry carrots, three courgettes on the edge of disaster, two fairly dried up leeks, four sweet potatoes in need of eating, and a rather soft swede.

I small-diced the courgettes (half of one of which I had to throw away – how I hate that), the leeks, and half the carrots, and put them in the medium slow cooker with a little olive oil to cook down. Then I peeled and larger-diced the rest of the carrots, the swede and the sweet potatoes, and put them in a big pot to cook for root mash later.

Then I turned to the turkey carcass – readers, there was loads of meat on it, so I picked it clean like a vulture. Then I foraged in the freezer for some puff pastry (yes, ready made – who makes puff pastry?).

Took a pack of bacon lardons from the fridge and set them to cook off slowly in their own fat. When they were crispy, I added about a tablespoon of flour and cooked it in, a good splash of white wine from a bottle that was going over a bit in the fridge, and then some milk, until I had a nice creamy constituency. Added some chopped garden herbs, most of the turkey meat. and enough of the slow cooked veg to make the mixture fill a pie dish. Then Pete obligingly dealt with the pastry side of stuff (he’s much better than me at the rolling out side of things), and made these charming pastry moosen with a cutter that friends brought us back from Norway.

We ate it with the root mash, and sprouts – there was enough of everything to repeat the performance the next day, which was fine by us.

The rest of the veg went into the soup pot, with the remaining turkey meat, the stock and some barley.

Not bad for “no meat”, eh?

And here’s a picture of my  Christmas cake, just because. As I said a few weeks ago, I made it in a ring mould, and covered it the weekend before Christmas with orange slices caramelised in water, sugar and a hefty glug of Cointreau. Rude not to, really. One of the eight or nine smaller cakes went in the middle, and I added fresh holly on Christmas Eve.

Untitled

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butternut squash, red pepper and feta quichelings

December 18th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

squash, pepper and onion quichelets

I had a party to go to last night, and wanted to make a contribution to the festive board. Looking at the ingredients in the fridge and freezer,  I settled on squash and red pepper filo parcels. There was no feta in the fridge, but no matter – I hurtled up to Jacksons to buy a block, to find that the normal budget one had been replaced with an oak-aged one, at over twice the price. Still, time beggars can’t be choosers, so I paid me money.

The squash went in the medium slow cooker for about 5 hours, with a heaped teaspoon of Ras el Hanout, and about half a glass of white wine. A brace of slightly wizened peppers (one red, one yellow), were sliced thinly, together with an onion similarly sliced, and placed in the baby slow cooker for about three hours. I added some olive oil and cumin seeds to these. The filo pastry was removed from the freezer.

At about 5.30, I descended to the frozen wastes of the kitchen to make the things; I mixed the ingredients together, with about half the block of the fairy dust feta cheese, diced into small cubes. I oiled a baking tray, opened the filo, and started. And darlings – a disaster. The pastry had been in the freezer a fair while (understatement), and had completely dried out. Pete hurtled back to Jacksons, but filo had they none. Indeed, ready made shortcrust had they none. By now it was 5.50 – scream.

So into the food processor went 8 oz plain white flour, a good pinch of salt, 2.5oz of baking marg and 1.5oz of Trex (I really do recommend Trex for pastry, it makes a lovely short crumb). Added a tiny dribble of cold water, then summoned Pete to roll it out. as he is much better than I at such things. In the meantime, I beat a couple of eggs and stirred them into the squash mixture, along with some black pepper.

Into the oven (preheated to 180C fan) went about 20 baby quiche, and we watched them with some trepidation. They had about 20 minutes, so I even got time to cool them a bit before our lift arrived. And readers – they were gorgeousI shall make them, or something similar, again.

Although they weren’t the filo parcels I was hoping for …

 

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