Friday, 13 January 2012

easy soda bread base for loads of leftovers!

here is the simplest recipe for making a pizza style/soda flat bread that you can pile all sorts of leftovers on to.
1. simply take 250g SR flour and add 50g butter/olive oil/margarine and working with your fingers/thumbs and rubbing the fat into the flour make it into rough breadcrumb texture. (you can do this in a food processor in 1 minute but by hand with take no more than 5 anyway!)
2. add salt and any herbs or spices you fancy for your pizzery type creation - try tarragon if you have cheese or chicken, chilli if you have tomatoes for example.
3. add 110ml water or milk + 1 egg & knead together -  this should make a soft dough. turn onto a floured work surface and flatten to a round, square or fill a tart tin with it as you wish. Flattent he dough with floured hands to about 1cm thick
4. lay on a baking sheet and top with your choice of left over, then bake at 375F/190C for about 20 - 25 minutes or until cooked through, risen and topping well browned - yum
pictured is some left over brie from Christmas with fresh figs
other topping ideas:
1. chopped tomatoes + 1 clove grated garlic, seasoning and topped with that little lump of leftover cheddar fromthe back of your fridge - grated!
2. any left over cold meat chopped, mixed with 1 chopped tomato, chilli and drizzled with olive or rapeseed oil and fresh herbs
3. bits of left over meat from Sunday lunch, thyme, gorgonzola or other strong cheese, wilted basil leaves
4. chopped soft tomatoes (the ones you did not fancyinthe salad). shredded sad lettuce boiled together with a dash of chilli and lots of salt& pepper and olive oil.
5. leftover chilli concarne - just cover 1.2 and fold other half over for a concalzone pizza! great for a pack lunch - yum
6. let eknow what else you put on it!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

no, it is not summer and no, I am not suggesting al fresco dining but paella is a brilliant left over meal and what has become known as 'bottom of  fridge' paella is a popular weekday supper in my house. This foolproof oven baked paella means you can use any oven proof dish (no need for special equipment) and no need to stand over bubbling rice so you have time to do one of those other 100 jobs on your list while it cooks away.
Once mastered this recipe can be dressed up for a special dinner or simply used time and time again as a weekday standby using up lots of small bits and pieces that are not enough to make anything for the whole family.

Paella base
Serve 3-4 as main course
Oven temp 375F/190C
Cooking time 20 minutes

What to add to your paella base to make your perfect paella


Xmas/Sunday lunch  leftover paella – use chicken stock and add pieces of turkey (or other meat), peas, fresh sage, shredded brussel sprouts, other veg

100g chorizo sliced
½ onion, sliced
1clove garlic- grated finely
1 litre water
1 x chicken/fish stock cube
1 sachet paella spice

300g paella rice
Good handful flat leaf parsley
2 handfuls frozen peas
Juice and grated zest of ½ lemon

Seafood paella – use fish stock and add jumbo prawns, mussels and raw salmon at 15 minutes then pan fried scallops at the end of cooking. Add pre cooked soya beans or asparagus tips at 15 minutes

you can cook on hob and stir during cooking but this method means that you do not need a paella pan and you can use a lovely rustic dish if you like

Everyday paella – precook chicken thighs with the stock cube and water retaining the juices to use as the stock (make up to 1 litre) add thighs to paella when you put into oven at beginning. Add frozen peas at same time.

·         Fry the onion and chorizo in the pan in a little olive oil. Add the garlic, water, stock cube, paella spice & rice and bring to the boil. (add cooked chicken or meat at this point) Transfer to the oven uncovered for 20 minutes stirring at 10 minutes. At 15 minutes add seafood (mussels, prawns, raw fish) and add more liquid if needed. At 20 minutes the paella will be cooked so you can stir through the lemon juice and zest and top with any pre cooked especially delicate seafood you have chosen (scallops)
to serve  bring the dish to the table topped with lots of the flat leaf parsley chopped . offer lemon quarters

Meat lovers paella – pre cook chicken thighs as above, add 100g smoked bacon with the chorizo and add
Try using local sausage in place of chorizo

Monday, 7 November 2011

brownies bettered by leftovers

is it possible? well, I have to say that I believe I have found a leftover that makes brownies better!
The old faithful Christmas pud that we feel obliged to serve but is not everyone's favourite added to brownie mixture makes the brownies taste even better and the pudding tastes excellent - how can this be I hear you ask?
I do not know - all I know is the whole is better than the 2 halves that make this wonderful cakey pud and I am serving this t my family on Christmas day.
So do not throw away that 1/2 pud languishing in your fridge on boxing day but make these and you will be dashing out to the supermarket to buy up all the Xmas puds on offer ready to bake before Christmas next year!

Festive chocolate brownies
Makes 12 large brownies
Oven temperature 180C/350F
Cooking time 25 minutes
Preparation time 10 minutes

200g butter
400g caster sugar
4 eggs
80g cocoa powder
100g milk chocolate
120g SR flour
100g white chocolate cut into chunks (little snow balls in the mix!)
6 or so large dessert spoons of left over Xmas pud

1)       Line a 20x30cm shallow roasting tin with baking parchment
2)       Melt the butter, cocoa and sugar in a large saucepan
3)       Add the cocoa and milk chocolate and allow the chocolate to melt.
4)      Beat in the eggs and then the flour and spoon into the tin
5)      Using your fingers crumble the leftover Xmas pud onto the mixture with the white chocolate and swirl around with your finger to mix it in a little.
6)      Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is slightly cracked

Allow to cool.

These taste even better after a few days (if you can keep them that long)

Monday, 24 October 2011

sunday lunch samosas

Even a handful of sunday lunch leftovers will make a good size samosa for Monday lunch - don't chuck it, make something of it..................
take one large handful of mixed leftovers -(can be meat,roast spuds, root veg however cooked, peas, carrots, anything at all) chop them up and fry them together with a little vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 chopped chilli (or chilli flakes) and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in a triangular shaped parcel of filo pastry. you can either fry this on both sides or brush with oil and bake inthe oven until golden and crispy. fry ahead and re-heat or they are great room temp for a packed lunch. I make mini ones and use as pre dinner snakcs when friends come around.
Add my 1 minute store cupboard  raita by mixing 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt with 2 teaspoons mint sauce from a jar (you'll be amazed as the vinegar in the sauce thickens the yoghurt and flavours it perfectly!)
yum yum yum

Friday, 30 September 2011

loads of sage.....................

Sam, my son had been making fresh pesto at school in Food tech. Having tried to freeze my abundant fresh sage last year and ending up with blackenend and deeply unattractive leaves, we set about making sage pesto last night.
Sage is one of most favourite herbs but used alone we found it a bit strong here so we mixed with fresh spinach leaves and used walnuts in place of pine nuts (we toasted those after a couple of attempts which gave the whole thing a toasty creamy flavour)
have put it in jars at moment, but think it would freeze brilliantly. I used parmesan last night but if I was to freeze it I might try it with Roquefort as I think the blue cheese/walnut classic combo might be a winner............... let you know how we get on

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

hunter gatherer

well more of a gatherer really. found a stream full of wild watercress at the weekend in the Yorkshire dales, so collected a big fat bunch and brought it home.
looked a little sad after it had been in the car over night (bit like that bag in your fridge I expect) so instead of using it as a salad I simply blended it with some good quality salty butter and let it melt gently over my steak.
try blending it with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic for an instant fresh pesto, or chop finely & stir with salmon and mayo for a perfect sandwich, or simply cook it up with a peeled potato, 1/2  an onion and vegetable stock cube and blend for an out of this workd watercress soup - add a little anchovy to this for an extra bite.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Carrots - fresh


Idea & ingredients


Carrots - fresh
Carrot cake

200g SR flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
200g soft brown sugar
150 ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
200g carrots, finely grated
85g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
250g mascarpone or cream cheese
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Whisk eggs, oil and sugar together. Sift dry ingredients in another bowl. Mix together and bake in lined 9” cake tin.
Cook 30-40 minutes at 180C/350F or until cooked through and springy to touch. Allow to cool in tin completely. Remove
Beat butter, mascarpone/cream cheese and sugar then drizzle in lemon juice to taste. Do not add too quickly or will curdle.