Saturday, 7 October 2017

Creamy mushroom soup

I think I've posted about this before but it's worth another mention.

The original recipe requires cream which isn't something I keep in my fridge.  This is simple, dead easy and tasty, especially as I use chestnut mushrooms for more flavour.  It's not extremely frugal as chestnut mushrooms aren't the cheapest option but it's not too bad and if you use savers mushrooms, it becomes extremely frugal indeed (and they often have more flavour than the neat and tidy button mushrooms too)

If you have the knowledge and confidence to go mushroom foraging, it would be very cheap.  I don't!



Ingredients to make enough for one.
100g mushrooms, chopped
170g water
60g milk (whole is nicest)
12g flour
pinch of salt
1/4 veg stock cube or 1/4 tsp stock powder such as marigold
30g soft cheese
pepper if wanted

Method. 
In a saucepan, add everything but the soft cheese, whisk it all together so that the flour is incorporated, bring to a boil, stirring regularly and simmer for about ten mins until the mushroom is cooked and the 'floury' taster has been cooked out, stirring now and again.
Add the soft cheese and stir it in.
Zizz to smooth using a stick blender.
Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.  I add some pepper at this stage.
Serve piping hot.

For those of us with a Thermomix, the recipe can be found in the Basic Cookbook.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Home made potato wedges

These are a doddle.  In fact, they are so easy, so tasty and so frugal, I don't know why I ever bother buying frozen ones.  Well, I do, it's idleness, but I really shouldn't.

You need a floury potato, I think.  Anything that makes a good roastie will be fine for wedges.  One medium sized spud is fine, a large one will make far too many for me.

I just scrub the skin, if necessary, I don't peel, as I like the skin.  However, you can peel it, if you like.  Some like to par-boil the wedges.  Again, I don't, but you can.

So, the simplest way is to wash the potato, cut into wedges (long, triangular shapes - my chips are just the same but are rectangular shaped instead and they are also very tasty).  I then soak them in cold water for a little while.

When ready to cook them, I drain them and dry them thoroughly on a tea towel or a muslin.  Then I pop them in a poly bag and add some veg oil, squidging them around to completely coat them.  This is quite good because you can control how much oil you add: a little does go a long way when you use this method.  Sometimes I add herbs and/or spices too (see below).

Then I tip them onto a non-stick baking tray with parchment inserted (the parchment stops any sticking whatsoever and the tray has sides, in case the oil runs off), spread them out and pop them into a preheated oven at 180C fan or 200C if not fan.

Then just bake them, turning once or twice, until they are cooked through and lovely and brown all over.  It takes around half an hour so not much longer than cooking from frozen.
I don't have one of those air fryers, but I bet they'd be fine done that way too.  Or in a halogen oven, come to that.

Serve straight away with a sprinkle of salt if you haven't already added some.  Delicious!


Some nice spice ideas are . . .
tandoori curry powder
jerk seasoning
garlic and onion powders/granules with dried herbs
garlic granules and smoked paprika
salt and black pepper

. . . in fact, any mixture of herbs and/or spices that you fancy!

Ham and lentil soup

Another soup, made with the water I boiled an unsmoked ham in.  I think a smoked ham would make a stock that would be too salty for this soup.

Ingredients for one filling portion
half a smallish onion, peeled and chopped
half a medium carrot, washed and chopped
some celery, chopped - I cut across the top and used two thin 'slices'
250mls ham stock - make sure it is not too salty and don't add any more salt.
20g red lentils
(I don't add any other flavourings to this but you could - herbs or spices)

some milk
any seasoning needed - I added a bit of pepper when serving
some shreds of ham

Method.
Place the vegetables, stock and lentils in a pan, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until everything is soft.
Zizz either in a blender or using a stick blender until it is how you want it.

Before serving, add some milk and reheat to just under boiling.  The milk works well with the earthy flavour of the lentils and gives it a 'creamy' feel.  Add some shreds of ham, if you have any.  Taste and season as needed.

Or you could cut up your veg really small and not zizz it as the lentils will cook to mush.  Adding some finely chopped potato would be good.  In fact, I might do that tomorrow as I have stock left.

Given the lentils, the veg and the ham, this really is the equivalent of a meal in soup form.  Definitely some of your five a day in this and frugal as well.  Win-win.

(I used Thermione.  I bunged in the first lot of ingredients, cooked on 100/speed 3/20 mins, then zizzed.

When reheating, I added the milk and heated it to 95.  I added the ham shreds right at the end so they weren't bashed up by the blades.)

Tomato and lentil soup

This was jolly nice, jolly filling and made enough for three.

Ingredients
half a medium onion
half a smallish carrot
a squeeze of garlic puree
a can of chopped tomatoes (or plum tomatoes)
some dried herbs
a stock cube
water
20g red/orange lentils
some sun dried tomato in oil (optional but recommended, especially if using value chopped tomatoes)

milk
soft cheese (optional but nice)

Chop up the onion and carrot and add to a saucepan with the garlic, chopped tomatoes and a can full of water, dried herbs, stock cube (I used a vegetable cube), lentils and a few bits of sundried tomato.  I didn't add salt and pepper because of the stock.

Bring to a boil, cover and let it summer until the carrot is soft and the lentils cooked (15 to 20 mins).

Blend to a smooth consistency using a blender or a stick blender.  Return it to the pan, add some milk and some soft cheese, stir it in and reheat to just under boiling.  Taste, season if necessary and serve.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Soup



Today I made the first home made soup of the season.  It felt right after such a blowy night.  It's a very casual recipe.

Bung some onion and celery, chopped, in a pan.  Add the main ingredient (mine was carrot and lentil).  Add some water, some herbs and some stock.  Add seasoning (go easy with the salt).  Boil it all up, covered.  Check veg is cooked.  Zizz until smooth.  Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.  Add more water if it's too thick.

Heat until piping hot and enjoy with crusty bread or some croutons.

(or bung it all in Thermione, cook for 20 mins at 100, speed 2, then blend at speed 10 for around 30 seconds until it's all smooth)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Dead easy naan bread

A whike agoI made a lovely curry (with the help of a Spice Tailor kit!) so today I had the left-overs from the freezer.  Instead of rice, I rather fancied some naan bread

I searched via a cook's best friend (i.e. Google) and found that there are endless recipes out there.  Posh ones, slummy ones, ones that use yeast, ones that use baking powder, ones that use SR flour, flavoured ones, plain ones, dry fried ones, baked ones . . .

I reckoned that any home made one, fresh and still warm, is going to taste good, however it is made.  I'm no expert and my palate is not that 'refined'.  So this is what I did.

For the dough I used SR flour (please don't shudder, it was fine) and natural yogurt - 100g flour and about 50g natural yogurt (probably a bit more than that but I didn't really measure.  I seasoned with salt and pepper.

I 'cheated' and used Thermione but it would be simple by hand, just taking a bit longer.  Mix together the flour, yogurt and seasonings and knead, aiming for a dough that is just on the dry side of being sticky.  If it's too sticky, add more flour; if it's too dry, add more yogurt.

That's it really.  Wrap the dough and pop it in the fridge for about an hour.  Then take it out, break off portions, shape and roll out.  I went for sort of circles after trying to shape the first one (in the photo below) which ended up more like a square with rounded corners! because that's easiest

There are differing opinions about the cooking.  I just dry fried  and kept the first one warm, covered with a clean cloth, until the second one was made and so on.  They puff up quite a lot, as you can see, before going down again.


They were 'basic', I know, but very tasty with the chicken curry!  I suppose one could brush them over with garlic butter and that would be nice too but I didn't, not this time.

That's it.  I made four, far too much really, but I ate the lot because there was a lot of gravy.  That's my excuse

Very delicious!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Apple curd

A friend gave me some cooking apples from her tree, beautiful, sound cooking apples, a pleasure to look at and handle.  Kilos of them too which was so generous.

I've been looking for some recipes I haven't tried before and I found this one which is a River Cottage recipe (which are always good for a try) on the Guardian site.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2008/jul/21/foodanddrink.recipe
I converted it to a Thermomix recipe because I know Thermione does lemon curd beautifully and with a lot less hassle.

It's a dream - totally, deliciously wonderful and I'm so going to make it again!


OK, so the recipe itself can be found via the link above.  Here's the thermo way.

Put five spotlessly clean, medium sized jars into a cool oven to warm up.  Wash and dry the lids.

Crack 4 or 5 eggs into the bowl and zizz until smooth and 'light.  You need about 200 mls beaten egg.  Tip into a container and wash out the bowl.

450g bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped, added straight away to 100ml water and the finely grated zest of two lemons (I only had one and it's still nice) in the bowl.

Cook at 95C, speed 2 for about 10 mins or until the apple is soft.  If the mix hasn't gone light, fluffy and pureed, give it a zizz for luck!

Add 125g butter (it says unsalted, I only had salted), 450g granulated sugar and 100mls strained lemon juice (the juice from the lemon made up to 100mls with lemon juice from a bottle)
Mix on 2 for around two minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.  You get a lovely, light mixture.

Make sure the mixture is below 50C (check the temp dial).  It should be but do check because if it's too hot, the curd might split when you add it.

Take off the measuring cup, start mixing at about 2 and pour the beaten eggs into the mixture.  Continue mixing until it is all incorporated.

Cook at speed 2, 95C for around ten minutes.  If it thickens before then, it doesn't matter as it won't boil and scramble.  That's the delight of a Thermomix!

Pour into the jars immediately and put on the lids.  Scrape out the bowl and enjoy!  Label the jars when they are cold.

Keep in fridge once opened and use within 4 weeks.  I don't think there is any danger whatsoever of it lasting that long.  It is gorgeous!