Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chorizo and bean stew

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/simple_chorizo_and_bean_62033

Above is the inspiration for this, taken from the helpful'Eat Well For Less' site.  I really enjoyed those programmes, even if I did get a bit 'frustrated' with the participants at time!  I've taken the recipe and adapted it to match what I have available.

It makes enough for six of my portions

Ingredients:
1 tbsp veg oil* 
72g chorizo, sliced lengthways and each half then sliced thinly (I had some left over which needed using up, hence the odd amount - 70g-100g would be fine, just adjust the cost) 
some onion, roughly chopped (I had half to use up plus one small 'wonky' one) 
100g cooking bacon, chopped 
a squeeze of garlic puree 
1 chicken stock cube 
1 can chopped tomatoes plus half the can of water 
20g drained sundried tomato, chopped (an optional extra but I love the flavour they impart) 
2/3 tin baked beans, rinsed (I had this in the fridge to use up but a whole can would be fine.  I drained them because I didn't want the baked bean sauce taste) 
45g chopped mushrooms 
some dried parsley
some tomato puree 
seasonings, if needed


(*I missed a trick here as I have some sundried tomato oil to use up.  Don't ever throw this away, it is packed with sunshine flavour.)

Method:
Gently saute the onion and chorizo in the oil until the oil runs from the chorizo and everything is a lovely orange shade.  Add the cooking bacon, and continue frying it gently for about five mins, stirring now and again.  Add the garlic puree and cook for another minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and extra water, the stock cube, the sundried tomato and the rinsed beans with a little grating of black pepper.  Mix well, bring to a boil, cover, turn down the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for about half an hour, stirring it now and again to stop any sticking.
Then add the mushroom, parsley and tomato puree, stir well, increase the heat a little and let it bubble, uncovered, so that the mixture thickens a bit, stirring now and again.


Taste, adjust seasonings if necessary (I didn't need to) and it's finished.  Eat with pasta, rice or , maybe, mash. or use as a filling for cannelloni or even on top of a pizza base.  You could do lots of things with it.


I shared it into 6 portions which are, as I type, cooling ready for freezing.  Very flavoursome and very frugal.   I wanted every mouthful to be a real burst of flavour and this certainly fits the bill in that respect!


Friday, 17 February 2017

Pork meatballs in a tomato sauce: frugal

Ingredients for one portion

For the meatballs
cooking bacon, very finely chopped 
1 sausage (I used a higher meat version from Lidl) 
20g dry stuffing mix (I used Morrisons Savers stuffing) 
spray oil 
a little flour

For the sauce
spray oil 
quarter of an onion, thinly sliced 
25g peppers (I used frozen ones from Morrisons because I waste less that way) 
1 or 2 mushrooms, thinly sliced 
squidge of garlic puree 
passata made from last year's tomatoes (or you could use about half a can of chopped tomatoes)  
a squeeze of tomato puree
herbs as liked

Method
The meatballs and sauce can be made in the same pan without needing to wash the pan in between.

Meatballs (start beforehand to allow the bacon and stuffing to cool before mixing with the sausagemeat)

In a pan, gently dry fry the chopped cooking bacon until it is cooked - it won't take very long at all.
Reconstitute the stuffing with a sufficient amount of boiling water - don't make it too sloppy.  No need for salt - the meats are already salty enough
Allow the stuffing and the bacon to cool until just warm.

Remove the skin from the sausage and discard.  In a bowl, mix together the bacon, sausage meat and stuffing.  With floured hands, shape the mix into little meatballs.  I made them big marble sized using a 10ml measuring spoon as they cook faster and it looks as if you have more!

(they're on a tea plate - they're not as huge as they look!)

Spray the pan with oil, pop in the meatballs and gently fry until they are colouring, turning them now and again.
Remove from the pan and keep warm.


Sauce
Before you start the sauce, pop on the spaghetti to cook, then drain and keep warm.

While the spaghetti is cooking, spray oil into the pan, add the onions and fry for a few minutes until they start to soften and change colour.  Then add the peppers, mushroom and squidge of garlic and fry for a bit longer.


Add the passata/chopped tomato and whatever herbs you want to use plus a tiny bit of salt.  Bring up to a simmer, add the meatballs and let it all simmer gently away until the passata has reduced a bit and thickened.  Taste and season if needed.  If you want to add a squidge of tomato puree, do so.  I did.


Taste and adjust seasoning.
Toss in the spaghetti.  Serve.


(a bit of hard Italian cheese (called Not Parmesan in my home) would be nice grated over - or some of the genuine stuff)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Home made spicy wedges

I made these yesterday, some to eat and some to freeze.  Really nice so I'm sharing.

Ingredients
some floury potatoes, suitable for roasting - mine were Maris Pipers
spray oil

For the spicy coating
equal amounts of smoked paprika, garam masala and garlic salt, mixed together

Method:
I didn't peel the potatoes as they were sound apart from a few sprouts which I rubbed off.

Cut the potatoes into wedges.
Steam cook them for about seven minutes.  I prefer to steam than to boil as they don't end up so wet.  It's like par-boiling them.

Spread them out to steam dry and cool.

When they are cooler, put them in a bag with the spice mix and gently toss them in the mix until coated.

Spread them out on a tray that will fit into your freezer with parchment underneath tp prevent them sticking.  Cover with cling film and open freeze until hard.  Then pop them into a labelled bag.

To cook, preheat the oven to about 180C (fan) and spread out what you want on an oven tray (I do it on parchment as it makes the tray a lot easier to clean afterwards and prevents sticking.
Spray with oil - I have a spray oil gizmo that I find incredibly useful - see below.
Bake until cooked and nice and brown and crisp on the outside.
Serve immediately.

They really are tasty and so much better value than the ones you buy.  You can do a whole lot at a time and you can ring the changes with the spices.  I might do a bit of research and pick up some other ideas

And here's the oil gizmo with a link, although I am sure you can buy them elsewhere too.  I'm going to get another one for my olive oil as the one I have is for veg oil.  There's no excess use of the oil, making it a frugal and health aid.

http://www.lakeland.co.uk/70289/Misto-Oil-Sprayer

I ought to add that I'm a great fan of Lakeland produce but I have no commercial links with them.  I haven't been asked to do any kind of review and I bought my own sprayer quite a while ago now.



Thursday, 12 January 2017

Tomato and lentil soup

Tomato and lentil soup

Ingredients to make two portions
half a smallish onion, chopped
about 25g celery, chopped
a small carrot, chopped (no need to peel unless the peel is manky)
a splash of oil (I used some oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes that needs using up)
a squidge of garlic puree (or a small clove, crushed)
a can of chopped tomatoes and half a can full of water (use the water to wash around the can so none is wasted)
some vegetable stock  (a stock pot, stock powder, whatever you have)
a couple of pieces of sundried tomato (optional – see above)
20g dried red lentils
a grinding of pepper (I don’t add salt until the end because the stock usually makes it salty enough for me)
a pinch of dried herbs (I use mixed herbs)
a good splash of milk
A squidge of chopped tomatoes

Method.
You can bung everything in together except for the milk), simmer it all gently until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are soft, then zizz it down, add the milk and tomato puree (if using) and push it through a sieve if you want to, before bringing back to just under a boil and serving.  See below for other adjustments.

Or this is what I do.
Put the three veg in a saucepan with the oil and saute until they are softening and just turning golden.  Add the garlic right at the end, in the last few minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and water, the stock, the sundried tomatoes (if using), the lentils, pepper and herbs.  Bring up to a gentle boil, cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked and the veg is soft (15 to 20 mins).

Zizz the soup until it is all blended, add the milk and water if the texture is too thick and taste.  If there’s a slight bitterness, add a pinch of sugar.  If it needs salt, add some.  I didn’t need either but you never know.

It is fine to eat now, re-heated, but I like a very smooth tomato soup so I then push the lot through a sieve.  It just traps the bits that haven’t zizzed and I prefer it that way but you don’t have to.




Wednesday, 11 January 2017

A slightly more healthy pizza base . . . perhaps.

In one of the Facebook groups I help to admin, the recipe of the month is yogurt pizza base.  I wondered if I could make it marginally healthier.

This is what I did.


I took 3 tbsp (using a proper 15ml measure) of red lentils and patiently ground them down in Thermione (it took a while) but any processor would do the job.

To that I added 3 tbsp strong flour and 2 tbsp natural yogurt and zizzed it until it formed a nice, smooth dough.
I then wrapped it up and chilled it until this evening. It made a beautifully pliable dough.

I used half for my pizza, rolled it out and put it in an oiled lose bottomed cake tin (so it has little sides). I made a sauce from a squirt of ketchup, a squirt of tomato puree and a little squirt of garlic puree, mixed together.

I softened some onion in a very little butter, adding some sliced yellow pepper and mushroom at the last minute.

On went the cheddar and into a 180C fan oven for about 15 mins.

And it was lovely!  Healthier?  I have no idea.  Cheaper - probably because with the lentils and the cheese, I needed no other protein.

I only used half so I have the other half for tomorrow. I think, maybe a calzone of some kind.

It was a very thin crust, which was what I wanted, but I think next time I will try using SR flour and see if I can get a more 'bready' sort of texture.
Excuses for the ropey photo - I only remembered to take one at the last minute.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Crispy kale

There's nothing new about this but it's lovely and I have just discovered it so I'm sharing.



You need
kale (take off the stems as it doesn't work with stems - throw them in the next veg soup you make!)
oil in a spray bottle
salt
spices as wanted.  I have been told five spice powder is good

Method
Preheat the oven to 130 (fan) - so a cool oven.  Don't be tempted to make it hotter.  It just burns.

Wash and dry the kale, if needed.  leave it as it is, tear it into bits or shred - whatever you like.  Spray over some oil - you don't need much.  Then 'massage' it in with your hands.

Place the kale on a baking tray and sprinkle over a little salt (it goes a long way) and any other seasoning you are using.

Bake in the cool oven for between ten and fifteen minutes - it took about 13 mins in my oven.

Enjoy hot or cold.  It is very like the crispy seaweed you get in Chinese takeaways.





Saturday, 7 January 2017

A sort of sausage thing

I have no idea what this would be called - maybe you can help.

I had three chicken chipolatas which I cut into four chunks each.  I segmented some red onion and chopped some carrot, parsnip, sprouts, yellow pepper, mushroom, baby corn and tomato into chunks.   I mixed some balsamic vinegar, honey and garlic puree together.

I put the sausages, carrot, sprouts and onion in a roasting dish and sprayed it with oil and gave it a grinding of pepper.  After roasting it in a pre-heated oven for 15 mins, I added the rest of the vegetables, sprayed again and gave it all another 20 mins.
Then I poured over the vinegar-honey, mixed it well and gave it another ten minutes.

One more mix and it was done and very tasty it was too.  I won't add sprouts next time, the flavour wasn't quite right although they were nice.

Sorry for the darkness of the photo.