Friday, 31 January 2014

Menu: 31-1-14

B Granola with yogurt and pineapple  (that's the pineapple finished now)
D:  Cheese and ham pizza, salad, chips followed by yogurt or pizza
S:  home made soup.

Our school dinners are largely made in the school kitchen.  For instance, the pizza will be made from scratch this morning, as will the carrot cake, which is one of the dessert choices (yogurt or fruit is always available).

We're lucky!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Menu: 30-1-14

B:  Granola with yogurt and pineapple (have to use up the pineapple, that's my excuse)
D:  Fish fingers (I know - better than veg nuggets though), salad, herby diced potatoes and I might be naughty and have the apple and raspberry crumble!
S:  soup!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Menu: 29-1-14

B:  Granola with yogurt and pineapple
D:  Roast gammon, broccoli, carrots, yorkshire and roast potatoes, followed by yogurt or fruit
S:  Roasted carrot and lentil soup.

Having school dinners (free - yay - because I eat with the children) is fantastic.  I am often way too tired to cook properly in the evening anyway.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Recipe: roasted carrot and lentil soup: frugal

This is frugal because the onion and carrots were close to needing to be chucked, the celery was gotting on too, the cooking bacon is really cheap (it was value), and the remaining ingredients were storecupboard things

some oil or dripping
3 smallish carrots (slightly wizened ones are fine but cut off any manky bits!) cut into chunks
half a smallish onion, chunked
a bit of celery chunked
a garlic clove, peeled
a small amount of cooking bacon, chopped
a pinch cumin and a pinch ground coriander
one tbsp lentils
half tbsp marigold stock

Heat up the oven.  Melt the dripping if using.  Toss the carrots, onion, celery and garlic in the dripping and roast for about half an hour.  After twenty minutes of roasting, add the bacon and the spices, mix well and finish roasting.  The carrots won't be soft by then but they should be fragrant.

If you're doing it the normal way . . .
In a saucepan, place the lentils and the stock powder, pour in the roasted veg, scraping the dish to get all the gorgeous flavour out.  Add enough water to cover, place the lid on, bring to a simmer and cook until everything is soft.

Zizz with a blender of some kind and check for salt.  It may not need much what with the marigold and the bacon.  You will very likely need to add more water or you could make it creamy by adding milk instead - just be careful not to reboil.

If you're using a Thermomix . . .
Place everything in the Tmx, cover with water and cook on 100, speed 2 for about 15 mins or until everything is cooked.
Zizz for a minute if you want a very smooth texture, less if you want it slightly 'chunky'.
Check seasonings and thickness as above and adjust to own taste as above.  Reheat to 90 if you have added milk

Or - cool and chill until needed.

Menu: 28-1-14

B:  Jack's granola with yoghurt and pineapple
D: lasagne, salad and garlic bread followed by yoghurt or fruit
S:  roasted carrot and lentil soup, bread and butter

Snack:  playtime fruit

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Menu: 27-1-14

B:  granola with yoghurt and pineapple
D: chicken pie, peas, french beans, mash, followed by fruit or yoghurt
T:  salmon fishcake, wedges, sprouts

Snack: playtime fruit

I know it looks a lot.  I have some salmon fishcakes to use up that I rather thoughtlessly bought the other day, that's why.  I shall have to go lightly on the chicken pie!

Menu: 26-1-14

B:  As yesterday - I can't believe how frugally delicious it it.  Granola with yoghurt and pineapple (value, tinned variety)

L:  Beans on toast topped with grated cheese.  It sounds so very simple but it is incredibly delicious.  I'm going round to Beth's to see the kittens and am contributing the beans and bread (home made, naturally!) while Beth is providing the butter and the grated cheese.  It's one of our favourite simple, trouble free meals.

D:  Pork, sage and apple burgers (home made), cheese and onion drop scones (Jack's recipe), runner beans, sprouts and a nice (hopefully) gravy.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Recipe: peanut butter hot chocolate

Not mine, not particularly frugal, not particularly 'healthy', certainly not low calorie, but absolutely gorgeous.  That's Jack Monroe's latest 'how on earth does she discover these things' recipe for peanut butter hot chocolate.

I had to use white chocolate (because that's what I had in the fridge) and I also added a bit of cinnamon.  I only had crunchy peanut butter so I seived the bits out at the end.

I know it sounds unlikely but it's a real winner.  The only thing I would dispute is making another one.  It's rich, creamy and one mugful is just perfect.

Go on - treat yourself.

Menu: 25-1-14

B:  granola with pineapple and yoghurt - so delicious.
L:  grandson is here so I'm making pizza, although I have to confess that I have bought a couple of pizza bases.
T:  probably scrambled eggs on toast, yum!

Later addition:
I had some yummy tomato sauce left over from the pizza so instead of scrambled eggs I am going to make bacon and veg pasta.  The tomato sauce was passata I made from tomatoes from the garden so it's full of flavour.  Can't waste a single morsel of it.  The main problem will be braving the wind and rain to get some of the no-egg pasta I made last week from the freezer!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Menu: 24-1-14

A nice one today!

B:  Jack's granola (I still love it and will be making some more over the weekend) with pineapple and yohgurt
D:  tomato and red pepper quiche with peas and chips (naughty!), followed by a raising oat cookie or yoghurt or fruit, depending on how I feel.
S:  turkey soup (still delicious)

Tomorrow will be interesting as I have grandson for the day.  I rather think I fancy making a pizza for him.  He likes pizza.  That means wandering in to Morrisons to see what they have in the 'scrap meat' pot.  That's all the offcuts of their cold meat that they sell at a reduced price.  Somethings it's a right mix, sometimes there's loads of ham or turkey.  It all just depends.
Must remember to wear my blinkers though!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Menu: 23-1-14

B:  porridge with maple syrup and yoghurt
D: sausage roll with beans and mash (not so sure about that!), yoghurt or fruit
S: turkey soup, banana bread

Snack: playtime fruit

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Menu: 22-1-14

B:  bit of soup left over from last night, then a gap, then Jack's honey and peanut butter granola with pineapple and yoghurt

D:  roast turkey, yourkshires roasties, carrot and cabbage followed by yoghurt

S:  potted turkey on toast, banana bread

Snack: playtime fruit

There's an awful lot of turkey there.  That what happens when turkey is your bedrock ingredient for the week and it's also on the sc hool dinner menu!

The turkey soup worked as well as the chicken soup did - it was really delicious and all I added was some shreds (OK, chunks) of the turkey meat.  Really satisfying and filling.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Menu: 21-1-14

B:   Toast and dripping, yoghurt and fruit
D:  Spag bol, salad, garlic bread followed by yoghurt or fruit (I'll decide when I see what fruit they have in the bowl)
S:  Turkey soup, banana bread

Snack:  Playtime fruit

And just to confirm that Jack's granola was/is absolutely scrummy.  I had it with some yoghurt and a small apple chopped up.  Mmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Menu: 20-1-14

Planning my menu is so much easier now I'm having school lunches.  The evening meal will be smaller portions so although it looks as if I am having two dinners sometimes, I'm not really.

B:  Jack's honey and peanut butter granola with yoghurt and apple
D:  chicken goujons, salad, yoghurt  (that's my choice, there's a lot more than that on offer)
S:  turkey pasta (I shall make a sauce with onion, mushroom and red pepper with philly and dijon mustard, then add some shredded turkey.  The pasta will be one of the portions I made yesterday

Snack: playtime fruit

I've not made granola before but Jack posted the recipe on her blog and it's so easy and I had all the ingredients so I gave it a go.  It's delicious, a bit honey nut cluster-ish - well, it would be, wouldn't it?  I also added some mixed spice and a very few raisins I had left over.

There's about four portions in the jar according to the recipe.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A frugal day

My word, I am being so frugal and domesticated today

First of all, the turkey.  Being a full leg - drumstick and thigh - it has yielded loads and loads and loads of meat which more or less dropped off the bone.  Enough to keep me going for many days.  At the moment I am thinking of turkey in gravy with veg etc, the conventional way (with one or two of the ten yorkshires I am currently cooling with a view to popping in the freezer).  Then there's soup - nice, chunky, vegetable packed turkey soup, turkey curry, turkey pate, turkey pancakes, turkey pasta . . . and so on.

Then there's the stock.  The drumstick was too long to fit into the slow cooker so I dug out my strongest big knife and my tenderising hammer, lay the knife across the bone and whacked at it with the hammer until it had cut through.  It took a while but now not only does it fit in the slow cooker, it will also yield all the lovely tasty insides as well.  It's going to slowly simmer away for ages and ages.

As well as the stock there will be dripping.  You can do a lot with good turkey dripping and I intend to use it, not throw it out.  Not the healthiest thing in the world but fine in small amounts

All that for £4.50 and some effort.

I was musing on LBTL this year and thought I'd have a go at making pasta without egg.  Not so nice, I know, but let's face it, most cheaper pasta is egg-free and anything I can concoct is likely to be nicer than cheap pasta (says she, crossing her fingers).  So there's now a number of portions, coiled into helpings and in the freezer.  I shall have some this week for tea.

And last of all, I made some granola.  More about that in my next post.

Frugal tip

Don't, just don't ever throw away a broccoli stem.  if you don't eat it as part of the boiled/steamed veg you can either use it to make soup or finely chop or grate it and add it to savoury mince/casserole dishes.  It adds great flavour.
Not waste!

Menu: 19-1-14

B:  porridge followed by some turkey dripping toast  - I think I'm making up for last week!
D:  roast turkey, roasted root veg, runner beans, yorkshires followed by yoghurt and pineapple
T:  soup, bread to dunk, banana bread, fruit

No snacks

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Recipe: very simple chicken soup: frugal

Earlier on this week Jack Monroe posted this recipe/entry on her blog.

It just so happened that I had some chicken thighs thawed.  Cheap, value, been in the freezer for far too long, not 'welfare', I fear.  I wasn't going to waste them by throwing them out, however, so I roasted them, used the meat from three of them (not an awful lot, I'm afraid) and then popped the last two plus leftover bones, skin, etc, in my slow cooker with some hot water with which I swilled out the roasting dish, some salt and a pinch of mixed herbs.  It then simmered away on low for  - well, it must have been about 36 hours altogether.

This morning I strained the stock through a fine sieve and separated the bits of chicken from the residual bones and so on.  The stock went in the fridge and later, when it was chilled, I strained off the fat which I will use for chicken based dishes when needed.  Then I ladled some of the stock into a pan and added the small shreds of chicken, keeping the bigger bits for another dish.  I just heated it up to boiling, checked the salt (it needed a little bit more) and drank it as soup.

And you know what - Jack is right - it was absolutely delicious.  So, so simple, so few ingredients and yet it was wonderful.  Warm, intensely savoury, comforting and gentle on my still slightly iffy tum.  And satisfying, very satisfying.  So I'm sharing it with my blog readers.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Menu: 18-1-14

Yesterday's eating stayed put.  No up, no down.  Thank goodness!.
So here's today's plan.

B:  Bacon and banana pancakes with maple syrup
L:  Soup, glorious soup, banana bread
D:  chicken risotto (sort of), yoghurt

Hopefully no snacks (one can always hope).

During the week I got out what was left in a bag of value chicken thighs, defrosted them and roasted them.  I had some of the meat when I felt the old tum would cope and popped the rest in the slow cooker, together with the leftover bones, some herbs, a bit of pepper and some water, leaving it in there to slowly gloop away for ages.
I now have some lovely chicken stock and that's what I am using for the soup and for the risotto tonight.  And the house is smelling extremely flavoursome.

And I've started planning for LBTL again.  Yay!!  There's a while to go so plenty of time.

Menu: 17-1-14

Yesterday didn't go according to plan but never mind!  I think things are more or less back to normal now.

B:  toast
D:  the lunch is sausage and chips which sounds wonderful but . . . well, let's see how I feel.  Dessert is yoghurt.
S:  Chicken sarnie, fruit

Yesterday I got an email from Living Below The Line, which is coming up in the next few months.  I think I'm going to do it again, it was a very worthwhile experience last time.  I'm hoping Beth will join me or it will be a much harder thing.  It's going to be much harder anyway, as it is still only a pound a day and things have increased in price rather a lot.  I suppose that's the point!
Perhaps it is cheating, but I'm going to start to look round for bargains now!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Menu: 16-1-14

The tum is still not right so yesterday's plans went by the way, especially in the evening.   I'm being very careful today.

B:  scrambled eggs
L:  I'll see if I can put together a little bit of soup by cooking some chicken and using the stock.
D:  Chicken with something.  I'll see how the tum is by then.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Menu: 15-1-14

Sort of back and trying to plan again.  At least the last few days have been frugal which kind of makes up for the fact that I had food in the fridge that needed to go into the freezer if it didn't get used but I wasn't feeling up to it.  So it now needs chucking.  Ah, well!

B:  Toast with marmite, fruit
D:  The menu says roast turkey with cauliflower, carrots, roast potatoes and yorkshires followed by jelly and fruit, fresh fruit or yoghurt.  Yes, this is the school dinner and we get what the children get only a bit more of it!  I'm not sure how much of this feast I will want but that's what's on offer.
T:  Really not sure but it will probably involve bacon and egg.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

No menu

. . . as the bug that has more than decimated my class this week has landed, finally, on me too.  Bleurgh!

I'll be back.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Menu: 11-1-14

It's the weekend!

B:  bacon and cheese fritters.  Ooops, yes, but they needed eating up!
L:  soup and bread, yoghurt and fruit
D:  chicken goujons and salad.  Possibly a small jacket potato, depending on how I feel.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Menu: 10-1-14

B:  beans on toast (have to use up the beans, that's my excuse!)
D:  cheese and ham pizza with chips and salad, fruit/yoghurt (haven't decided yet)
S:  leek and potato soup, fruit and yoghurt

I've changed the meal names.  Seeing as I'm taking advantage of the ability to have free meals at lunchtime (very sensible), I shall call that dinner and the evening meal is suppor.

And, most appropriately, I have discovered that sauce I made for the left over beef the other day is called 'sauce Diane' or 'Diane sauce'.
Most appropriate, don't you think, Diane?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Menu: 9-1-14

B:  Beans on toast (how I do love beans on toast)
L:  School dinner (may as well seeing as I have discovered that if I eat with the children it is free): Fish fingers, herby diced potatoes, salad, fruit
D:  leek and potato soup with bread and butter.  Yoghurt with fruit

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Menu: 8-1-14

B:  marmite on toast (and very nice it was too)
L:  I think I will have the school dinner today so that's roast gammon, broccoli, carrots, torkshire pud and roast pots
D:  Beans on toast, yoghurt and honey

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Recipe: a way of using left over roast beef: leftovers

I don't know what to call this.  It's certainly not a stroganoff, but it is jolly tasty for some very simple ingredients.
All the ingredients are leftovers apart from the mustard, the salt and the pepper.  Oh, and the butter.

Ingredients to serve 1
A dollop (small) of butter
A small wedge of onion, thinly slices
A bit of yellow pepper (about an eighth)  sliced
three or four mushrooms
Some leftover sliced roast beef, shredded
Some cream
Some Dijon mustard
Some salt and pepper

Melt the butter and gently saute the onion, pepper and mushroom until soft.  Add the beef and continue sauteing
Add the butter, a dollop of mustard to taste and the salt and pepper.  Stir well and leave to heat slowly.


I ate it just as it was, no other carbs.  You could use rice or pasta or mash.

Whatever it is called, it's tasty!

Menus: 6 and 7-1-14

So sorry, I forgot about yesterday.

B:  beans on toast
L:  leek and potato soup, bread and butter, pear
D:  roast beef, roasted potatoes and roasted sprouts, broccoli, custard (but not all together, obviously!)

B:  beans on toast (the other half of the tin I opened yesterday)
L:  Soup, bread and butter, 2 satsumas
D:  I have the lest bit of beef left so I am going to try to make some sort of stroganoff type thingy which will be far from authentic but which will taste good, I am sure.  Yoghurt and pineapple for afters.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Recipe: slow cooker beef

I have a very old slow cooker but I reckon it's still working as well as any of these youthful, new fangled things you get today.  It has three 'speeds' - low, high and auto (which starts off high and then switches to low after a while - or so it says).

I found a silverside joint in the freezer and as there will be four of us for lunch tomorrow (three meat eaters), I decided to use it.
This is what I did.

one medium onion, peeled and cut into 8
1 medium carrot, chunked
2 small ribs of celery, chunked
A little bit of swede (leftovers alert!!)
some beef stock
a dollop of grain mustard
a good splash of white wine
2 bay leaves

Method: (in the evening)
Tip the veg into the bowl, add the wine, stock (I used granules and one little pot of that jelly-ish stock), herbs, mustard and pepper.  No salt because I reckon the granules are likely to be salty enough.
Place the joint on the top and sort of wriggle it down a bit.  Add water until it's about one inch from the top.  Put the lid on and set to auto.
Leave to slowly cook overnight and next morning.

In the morning, when you're ready, remove the meat and leave to stand, covered.
Strain the stock and make gravy your usual way.

Really simple but very delicious!

What I did was took out the meat and let it stand, covered for a while.  I strained some of the stock and, as it had a good strong flavour already, just thickened it with Thickening Granules.
I carved slices off the joint and twenty minutes before serving time warmed up the slices in the gravy which was just simmering.
Gorgeous, melt in the mouth, flavoursome meat!

Now I have left over enough meat for two dinners with gravy to go with it, a big bowl of stock for gravy in the future and some vegetables that were in the slow cooker.  I'm not sure how much flavour they have but I can make some bubble and squeak for sure.  Brilliant!

I can't really call it frugal but it's certainly much better value than one would at first think.  

Recipe: butter bean burgers: fairly frugal

I made this for DD for lunch today as the rest of us were having slow roast beef.

Butter bean burgers (makes three medium burgers or two larger burgers)
1 small can butterbeans, drained and mashed well
a little bit of onion, finely chopped
a little bit of celery ditto
a little bit of yellow pepper, ditto
1 chestnut mushroom, ditto
a small knob of butter
a squidge of garlic
some herbs/seasonings (I used mixed herbs, some mustard powder to go with the cheese, salt and pepper)
some finely grated cheddar

flour and oil

Melt the butter in a small pan and saute the onion, celery, pepper and mushroom until soft.  Try not to brown anything.  Add the squidge of garlic and saute for one more minute.  Tip into a bowl but keep the pan, don't dunk it in water or anything.

Add the mashed butterbeans, the seasoningsd and the grated cheese and mix well.  Test a little bit by frying it in the pan before tasting and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Form into patties and dust in flour.  Place on a plate, cover and chill until needed.
When needed, fry in a little oil or butter until cooked through and golden on each side.

Very tasty!

Menu: 5-1-14

B:  Scrambled eggs on toast
D:  slow roast beef, Yorkshires, roast potatoes, runner beans (from the garden, frozen), broccoli.  Leftover Christmas pudding with custard
T:  Leek and potato soup, fresh fruit

It's not a large joint of beef but I am really hoping that there will be enough left over to do me tomorrow and, possibly, Tuesday (fingers crossed).  The rest is fairly frugal, I think.
Off to make the batter now so it's standing for a nice long time!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Menu: 4-1-14

B:  porridge with cranberries and yogurt - I've got the yogurt maker working again!! -  piece of fruit.
L:  leek and potato soup, bread and butter, yoghurt and pineapple
D:  I got some turkey stew (old!) out of the freezer but it seems fine.  I shall have some of it thickened with thikening granules and a small jacket potato (it already has some potato in it).  I think the rest I will push through a sieve, some of it anyway, to make a semi-chunky soup.  Nice!

Sn:  crackers and philly

Friday, 3 January 2014

Recipe: savoury rice, aka 'sort of risotto': leftovers and frugal

Leftovers were ham, onion, baby corn, wine, dripping
The rest were storecupboard ingredients

Savoury rice/sort of risotto

Ingredients to make a very good single portion
some turkey dripping (or oil of some kind)
half a small onion, finely sliced
3 baby corn, chunked
1/4 yellow or red pepper (I used yellow)
2 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Some cooked meat (I used ham but any would do), cubed
a squidge of garlic puree and same of chilli puree
a splash of white wine (optional but it * does * taste nice)
half a pork stock cube dissolved in about 300 mls water (I'd have used turkey stock but it all got used)
about 40 to 50g rice - two handfuls.  I used ordinary long grained rice but other kinds would be fine, just not pudding rice.
pepper (no salt because of the stock cube)
pinch dried mustard

Melt the dripping, add the onion, corn and pepper and saute, stirring at times, until softening.  Add the ham and the mushrooms and saute for a short time longer.
Add the garlic, mustard and chilli and stir in.
Add a good splash of white wine and sizzle for a minute, stirring well.
Add some of the pork stock with some black pepper, bring to a gentle boil, stir and leave for five minutes.  Then check, add more stock if needed, stir well and leave for another five minutes.
Repeat until the rice is just about cooked.  Taste and season, if needed.

I then leave it for several hours, for the flavours to develop.
Reheat to piping hot, add some grated cheese if wanted (I won't be) and enjoy.

You can use any meat (or pulses) and many other veg - just adjust the stock to match.  I used what I had and what needed using up.  Amd that's the end of the Christmas ham!!

Menu: 3-1-14

I've decided to start this again, just for myself really.  I'll label them as menu so if you're not interestered, just skip past!  I won't be at all offended, there's no reason why anyone else should be interested in what I'm planning to eat but, for me, the accountability seems to help and with a holiday at Center Parcs come the summer I really, really need to do something fast.

B:  2 slices toast with dripping, apple, coffee
L:  cream of tomato and lentil soup, 1 slice bread and butter, piece of fruit
D:  sort of ham 'risotto', sprouts.
I've always called it 'savoury rice' until someone pointed out that really it's a sort of risotto.  Risotto sounds posher than savoury rice, so there you go!  I'm making it right now and if it is nice I will post the recipe
Sn:  satsuma

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Recipe: banana pancakes: leftovers: fairly frugal

I made this for breakfast this morning.  I've made something similar before, with bacon and yoghurt, but I didn't have any bacon defrosted (intentionally) and I didn't fancy using the remains of the ham.  The banana, grapes and cream are leftovers.  The rest are storecupboard ingredients.  Without the bacon it was quite sweet but very nice for an occasional breakfast treat.

Banana pancakes

Ingredients to serve 1 (two small pancakes)
1 small/medium banana (I only had large and it was too much banana)
20g SR flour
40g milk
tiny pinch salt
a small lump of butter, just enough to grease the pan
6 or 7 grapes
a drizzle of maple syrup
a drizzle of cream (or yoghurt)

Put the pan on the heat to warm up - you need quite a hot pan.
Break off about 6cms of banana and place in a bowl.  Mash thoroughly with a fork.
Add 20g SR flour and mix very well/
Add 40g milk and a tiny pinch salt and beat to a batter.
Into the hot pan, put the butter and spread around so that the bottom of the pan is greased.
Pour in the batter in two lots.  Fry.  When browned on one side, turn over to brown the other side, plessing down with a fish slice to heat and cook the inside.

Serve on a warm plate with the remaining banana sliced over, six or seven grapes and topped with a dirzzle of maple syrup and a drizzle of ream.  Eat immediately.

If you do have bacon as well, fry the bacon to crisp first, then use the bacon fat to cook the pancakes.  Scrummy!

Recipe: cheese, ham and potato bake: leftovers

Hmm - well, I don't think I could call this frugal in any way, nor is it particularly 'healthy', but it does use up leftovers and it's totally scrummy. Great for a wet, cold and windy day.
The leftovers in this case were the ham, the cheese and the cream.  Amounts are just to common sense really, they're not that crucial..

Cheese, Ham and Potato Bake
Baking in Handy Andy . . .
and on the plate. 

Ingredients: (to serve two)
one large cooked  potato (I jacketed it in Handy Andy (my halogen oven) until it was just soft, then took off the skin), sliced
half a small onion, thinly sliced
one or two mushrooms, finely chopped
some cooked ham, shredded or cut into strips
some cream, either single or double (I used double because that's what I had)
some salt and pepper
some finely grated cheddar
some dots of butter

Soften the onion and mushroom in a little butter
Grease an ovenproof dish with butter or oil.
Layer some of the sliced potato to cover the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper.
Spread the onion and mushroom over the potato, then do the same with the ham.
Pour over some cream and then add some grated cheese.
Add another later of potato, salt and pepper, then spread over the rest of the grated cheese, pour over some more cream and finally dot the top with butter.

I cooked this in my halogen oven on 160C for about 40 mins and served it with steamed sprouts and broccoli.  Very tasty and I had some for dinner and the rest will do for this evening.

You could make it with leftover veg, leftover turkey, lots of stuff.  And you could use milk instead of cream (wouldn't be so gorgeous though).

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Recipe: cream of tomato and lentil soup: frugal: leftovers

OK, I have to confess, it's not all leftovers in the sense that I could save the ingredients for something else and the pasata is from tomatoes grown in the garden last summer and frozen (doesn't it seem a long time ago now?) so has a really good flavour but it's all pretty frugal and it's delicious.  There's nothing new or original about it, like most of my recipes, but never mind.  I'm not aiming to make a fortune, just to share my own simple ideas!

It's small amounts because I didn't want to make much but, looking at it, it's going to do two good portions.

Edited to add a photo of lunch.
And very delicious it was too.

about 150 mls pasata (or you could use chopped tomatoes and some tomato puree for the intense flavour)
about 150 mls good turkey stock (or other stock, but I had turkey stock to use up, hence the name)
about 3 inches of leek
one small carrot
one half rib celery
one small potato
some turkey dripping (or other oil/butter)
a little squidge of garlic puree
1 tbsp red lentils
some dried mixed herbs

milk/cream to slacken after blending
salt/pepper to taste

Method (conventional)
Peel/chop into dice the leek, carrot, celery, potato.
Melt the fat in a saucepan, tip in the chopped veg and saute gently for about ten mins.  Then add the garlic and give it another minute.
Add the pasata, stock, lentils, herbs and some water to just cover.
Cover, bring to a gentle boil and simmer until all the veg and the lentils are soft.
Puree to a smooth texture or just mash for a rougher texture.

Taste and season.  I didn't add any salt or pepper and it tastes really good and fresh but that's probably the turkey stock and the pasata, both of which were good and strong.  With other ingredients it might need a bit: it is all down to individual taste really.

It will be very thick so just before eating, slacken with some milk or a mixture of milk and cream and bring back to just under a boil.  In its thickened state it would also be nice as a pasta sauce, perhaps with some shreds of cooked meat.

Method (for Thermione)
Cut the carrot, celery and leek into chunks and place in the bowl.
Add the turkey dripping.  Chop on 6 for about 5 seconds.  Push the vegetables down the side.
Cook at 90, speed 3-4, 10 mins, adding the squidge of garlic after 9 minutes through the lid.

Push the veg down again and add the potato cut into dice, the turkey stock, the pasata, the lentils, the herbs and enough water to just cover.
Cook at Varoma heat, 15 mins, speed 2.   Check by mashing a chunk of potato.  If it's a bit hard, cook for another few minutes.

Allow to cool for a short time, then blend on speed 8 for 25 seconds or so, until the desired texture.  Taste and season as above.

If possible, keep it in the bowl and just before eating add the milk or milk/cream and reheat, spoon stir until it reaches 90 before serving.