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more from Morrisons

September 28th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in general

We returned to Morrisons on Sunday, and had a good wander about. Picked up some undyed smoked haddock, which we consumed with a mountain of cauliflower cheese last night (I’m trying to cut my carb intake considerably).

While checking out the meat counter, I spotted some packs of lamb bones at £0.57, and fell upon one with glee. I put them in the slow cooker with some water and left them in there (switched on, of course :) all day. Then this morning, I skimmed the stock and reboiled it in a pan, and rescued the quite surprising amount of lean meat from the bones.

Last night I chopped two carrots, a courgette and a leek into teeny tiny pieces, so I’ll sweat those off tonight, add the stock and some barley (and the last spoonfuls of last week’s lamb and lentil soup, which was itself a remnant from the lamb and lentil curry!), and voila – this week’s soup!

Currently, there is a whole chicken in the slow cooker – not sure how well it’ll work, but I’ll write it up later. And there are chickpeas and spinach for lunch – this low carbing ain’t all bad :)

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moussaka

September 27th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

moussakaLamb is so expensive, so when I see some on offer, I grab it. Sainsburys were doing 1kg of minced lamb for a fiver a few weeks ago, split into 500g packs, so I stowed a couple in the freezer. And then Friday was such a miserable damp day, we decided to construct a moussaka, not least to use up the aubergine lurking within the veg drawer in the fridge.

So … cut a couple of carrots, a courgette and a couple of celery stalks into small dice, chopped an onion and a few cloves of garlic, and set them to saute down.

Sliced the aubergine thinly, laid it on a baking tray lined with tin foil (saves washing up!), drizzled with olive oil, and set in a hot oven for about 30 minutes.

Browned the lamb mince off, and set it aside, draining off the fatty juice. Added some Ras el Hanout to the veg mix and cooked it down for a few minutes, then bunged in the lamb, a can of chopped tomatoes, a slosh of red wine, and some salt and pepper. Left that lot to simmer for about half an hour.

Made a white sauce with wholemeal flour (always do these days, as it’s better for us than white).

Then into the dish went meat/veg mix, then the sliced baked aubergine, then the white sauce, and finally some feta cheese, cubed small. This lot went into the oven at 200 for about 25 minutes.

It made four generous servings, so we had the rest yesterday. Om nom nom :)

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a quick almond sponge topping

September 21st, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

Greengages exotic?
Personally, I wouldn’t call greengages remotely exotic, but clearly Morrisons’ mileage varies. I picked these up at the weekend, and made an almond sponge topping for them.

I halved the greengages and poached them in a little water for about 10 minutes, turning about half way through. I didn’t bother with any sort of sweetening, but you might want to add a bit of honey – we don’t have a particularly sweet tooth. If I’m poaching plums, I often add star anise, or some cloves and cinnamon.

On to the topping: this is great if you’re trying to keep your carbs down, as ground almonds are far less carby than flour.

Whizz 5oz ground almonds, 5oz margarine and 4oz sugar (anything will do – last night I used a mix of granulated and demerara, as that’s what came to hand), and two eggs, in the food processor.

Ladle it on top of the fruit, smooth it out a bit, bung in the oven for 50 minutes at gas 4 / 180˚. If you have some, sprinkle the top with slivered almonds, as they give it a lovely texture.

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coconut and banana cake

September 20th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in general

coconut and banana cakes

We found a kilogram of desiccated coconut in the larder box – no idea why we bought such a huge amount, but it must be used up! There were four small, brown bananas in a box in the fridge  – I read somewhere that they will keep for ages like that, so was experimenting; seems to work!  So I did a bit of  Googling for ideas, and adapted a few recipes, and this is what I did:

4 brown bananas, peeled
2 medium eggs
120g margarine, melted
120g wholemeal flour
75g cane sugar
1.5 tsp. baking powder
125g dessicated coconut

Some dried cranberries as a last minute addition.

(I doubled this lot up to make two cakes. I also added some cream of tartar, but I don’t think it was needed, and it would have benefited from some vanilla extract).

I put the bananas in the food processor and blitzed them up. Then I just bunged in everything else and whizzed that up!

Put the mix in a loaf tin lined with a cake liner (I love these – so easy, no greasing, no sticking!), baked at gas 4 for 1 hour.  They’ve come out lovely – quite a heavy consistency, but none the worse for that. Might try dates in them next time.

And the coconut mountain is very slowly decreasing :)

Edited to add: best estimate of carbs per cake is about 250g, so about 20g per slice. I can live with that on an occasional basis!

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slow cooked lamb and lentils

September 19th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I picked up a half shoulder of lamb in Morrisons yesterday for £4.40, and we decided to slow cook it. As it happens, it was a horrible cold, rainy, Sunday and it was exactly the right way to approach it.

I browned the lamb and put it in the slow cooker with two peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, and half a squash that was lurking in the veg rack.  Then I heated more oil, added some black mustard seeds and cooked them till they popped, then added a thinly sliced onion.

Then into the frying pan went a paste of garlic and ginger, some cumin, coriander and chilli flakes, and I fried all that off for a bit, then added a carton of chopped tomatoes, a handful of dessicated coconut (we have somewhat of a glut of that right now), and some water. Added salt and black pepper, and brought that to a simmer and turfed it all into the slow cooker.  Then I hurled in some (loosely speaking) lentils, put the lid on and hoped for the best.

It cooked on high for about 6.5 hours; the meat fell off the bone, the sauce was beautiful,  there’s enough for at least one more meal, and some the sauce will go as a soup base. We have declared it to be A Success!

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wholemeal banana cake

September 7th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

a brace of banana cakes

I run a community recipe site called Nibblous, and if you Google for banana cake, you’ll find my friend Jaqui’s recipe is the number one hit, which I’m quite pleased about! I’ve long used a similar recipe to that myself for banana cake, but I’ve refined it quite a bit over the years, and I change it around almost every time I make it.

I’m a fairly recentlly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic, and I try to avoid white flour, so I thought I’d have a bash at a wholemeal banana cake.

6oz wholemeal flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
4 ripe bananas – the riper, the better
4oz butter or margarine
4.5oz granulated sugar
a good grate of nutmeg
2 eggs
a generous teaspoon of vanilla essence

Now, I’m lazy – I do this in a food processor. I start with the bananas and whizz them up till they’re all mashed, then I bung in everything else, whizz some more, and it’s done. If you don’t have a food processor, or want to do it the long way round, see Jacqi’s recipe above for mashing and creaming and folding :)

Decant into a well greased 2lb loaf tin (I always cheat and use those pan liners which I get from Lakeland – less trouble) and bake for 40 minutes at gas 4, then 30 minutes at gas 2. Leave to cool in the tin, or if you’ve used a liner, then it comes straight out with no hassle and you can cut a test slice pretty quickly :)

I always double it up and make two cakes, as they freeze remarkably well.

I was really pleased with this wholemeal version – it’s slightly nutty, and the nutmeg was a new addition this evening, and it worked really well.

You can bung anything in this – chocolate pieces, mixed spice, currants, chopped apple, walnuts; it’s a really great basic cake recipe.

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the weather outside is frightful …

September 7th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in general

Here’s the forecast for Kingston-upon-Hull for the next few days – not really what you might call an Indian Summer, is it? Pete and I both have a Lurgy, so soup is called for.

Last night I Magimix’d four carrots, a courgette and a leek; the food processor does well with the first two veg with its chopping blade, but it really doesn’t like leeks, so I had to fish out the big bits and chop them by hand. Dumped all the veg in the slow cooker with some olive oil and left them on low for a few hours.

Pete then had to get out of bed to turn the slow cooker off, as we’d forgotten it …

This morning, I dumped in about 1.5 pints of goulash stock from the weekend, together with assorted bits of veg and beans and pork, about 2.5 pints of boiling water, and a mug of lentils, and hopefully it will make a rather nice soup by lunchtime.

This is what’s known in this household as mongrel soup, and generally is far finer than any contrived soup recipe I’ve tried :)

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a sort of goulash

September 6th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

goulash-ishWe had friends coming for supper on Sunday evening – lovely, as I love cooking for people, and don’t do nearly enough of it since we moved! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to cook, but I went to the butcher and bought some beautiful lean pork, and there was a big bag of mixed peppers in the fridge, so that was a start. I wanted to use some beans too, to pad it out, so found some dried butter beans on the pantry shelf on Saturday morning, stuck them in to soak, then cooked them in the slow cooker overnight.

I started off by deseeding and slicing thinly four peppers, red and yellow, and a huge spanish onion, and cooking them down in some olive oil. I added some cumin seeds and a splash of honey and some garlic, and it was heading towards Middle Eastern. Then in went some paprika, and we were off with goulash. More paprika followed, some fennel seeds, some caraway and then a jar of roasted peppers, sliced up. These give a lovely depth to a dish, and when cooked in the slow cooker, they sort of melt into the sauce. A carton of chopped tomatoes, some rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and seasoning, and the sauce was done.

This all went in the slow cooker (now devoid of its butter beans), and I diced and browned the pork, hurled it in the cooker, and then we just left it completely alone apart from the odd stir for about seven hours. The butter beans must have been very old – I know they accompanied us from Somerset – because they needed another 40 minutes on the boil, so they were added a bit later.

The dish was gorgeous – it made six servings, and four have gone in the freezer, as unfortunately our friends had to cry off due to illness.

supper 5 sept 2010We followed it with Molten chocolate cakes with raspberries and cream. There’s two of them left too. <parp>.

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butchery

September 4th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in general

It’s so nice to have a good, old-fashioned butcher within walking distance. Our local, Norman, is the sort of place where they keep most of the stuff out the back, and you ask for what you want.

I popped in this morning for some pork to casserole; explained what I wanted to do, discussed the various merits of different cuts, and was then presented with three different slabs of pig to choose from. I appear to have bought 8 rashers of local green bacon and 4 butcher-made sausages too – oops.

Total cost: £7.60 (and the pork will feed four). Can’t grumble at that.

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supper 2 Sept 2010 – lentil bake

September 3rd, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

supper 2/9/10

We eat a lot of this sort of thing – cheap and tasty. This one started with a tub of lentils from the freezer – no point in cooking just one meals’ worth. I finely diced carrot, red pepper and onion, and some garlic, fried them off, then added some ras el hanouh, and cooked it all through for a couple more minutes.

Then about a mugful of red lentils, and probably three mugs of water (although start with two and check as it goes). Sometimes I put a splash of red wine in; it’s a remarkably versatile base recipe. Bring to a slow boil, and cook for about 40 minutes. That will do us at least four servings, and probably six, depending on how much veg went in it. So that was the lentils.

I sliced an aubergine, put it on a tray covered in tin foil (saves washing up), drizzled with olive oil, and bunged in a gas 8 oven for about half an hour. Made a white sauce (with wholemeal flour – always use that for pretty much everything) while that was going on.

Then into an ovenproof dish: half the lentils, half the aubergines, a layer of spinach, half the white sauce, then the rest of lentils, aubergines, white sauce, and topped with grated parmesan. At least it should have been topped, but I got a bit confused :) and put the parmesan on before the last bit of white sauce. No matter. Baked in a hot oven for about 25 minutes.

This was using up a wrinkly aubergine, some spinach that doesn’t look as though it’s going to last long, and some grated parmesan I bought for our camping trip – I’d normally put feta on top of this.

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