Posted in Food, tagged bacon, beans, cooking, filling, Food, frugal, Italian, lunch, recipe, soup, tomato, vegetables, Vegetarian on 9 May, 2012 |
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This recipe is the favourite of Surfer, who is Godfather to the Joker. I used to make it when he came to pray with the Vicar back in the relaxed days of theological college. It’s loosely based on minestrone, but without the pasta. Pasta is a pain in soup cos it goes revoltingly soggy if you have leftovers, or want to freeze it. So this has beans instead and is easily made from things I normally have in the fridge and pantry.
- 4 rashers bacon, finely chopped, or small pack lardons
- Medium onion, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 leek, quartered lengthwise and then finely sliced
- Tin of beans – haricot, borlotti or canellini
- Tin of chopped tomatoes or jar/tetrapak of passata (sieved tomatoes)
- Olive (or other) oil, mixed herbs
Fry your onion in a little olive oil and then add the bacon and cook until the fat begins to crisp. Then add other veggies, fry a little and add tomatoes and tinful of water or more to dilute to a soupy consistency.
Bring it to the boil and simmer for 10-15mins until the vegetables are tender. Rinse the beans and add to the soup, along with a smattering of mixed herbs or just oregano. Heat through and serve with crusty bread. This is good for May lunches, given the temperatures this year!
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Posted in Food, tagged baking, chocolate, coffee morning, cooking, dried fruit, easy, Food, fridge cake, no bake, quick, recipe, store cupboard, tiffin, traybake, treat on 23 April, 2012 |
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Fridge cake aka tiffin is a very useful no-bake Vicarage staple. It uses store cupboard ingredients and can be made quickly, although it needs a few hours to set in your fridge – if you’re overeager to consume it, it can be rather too crumbly and sticky.
- 400g digestive biscuits (I use the cheapo range), broken into crumbs – in a plastic bag using a rolling pin, or in a food processor
- 200g butter (hard marg would work too but not soft)
- 4 heaped tbspns cocoa powder
- 3 tbspns golden syrup
- 3 tbspns brown sugar
- 4 handfuls sultanas/raisins/cranberries or other dried fruit as you like (approx 100-150g in total weight)
- 200-400g white chocolate, melted
Place the butter, cocoa powder, golden syrup, sugar and dried fruit in a large microwaveable bowl with lid and heat on full power for 2-3 minutes. If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this over a low heat in a saucepan. Once the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, add the crushed biscuits and mix thoroughly.
Place the mixture in a small roasting tin (about 20cmx30cm) that has been lined with cling film and level it out into the corners. Cling film is the best way to avoid sticking AND excessive washing up. Place the tin in the fridge whilst you melt the chocolate topping.
I usually use 200g white chocolate for the topping for this, but it is a little skimpy – 400g would give you a really good layer on top. I melt the chocolate in a jug on defrost in the microwave, but also sometimes use the old method of a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water. Usually when the last lot of chocolate was burnt in the microwave, alas. Using a knife, spread the chocolate over the now slightly cooled base and then refrigerate the lot for a couple of hours – preferably overnight. Use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces to serve with strong coffee.
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Posted in Food, tagged bacon, easy, Food, frugal, healthy, hungry, pork, quick, recipe, root veg, vegetables, Vicarage Recipes on 21 March, 2012 |
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This recipe is a Vicarage favourite that crosses the seasons – it’s hearty enough for winter, but the light sauce means that it suits a chilly day in June aswell. It’s also speedy, cooking in about 20 minutes. So if you can pre-prepare most of the veg, you can get it on the table within half an hour of getting in from work, or the swimming lesson or whatever. It was swimming for us yesterday – and the Queen and the Joker had to get to Kids Club, fed, in less than an hour after our return.
- Pork steaks (I chopped the ones I had in half and so fed six of us, with seconds, from a pack of four) or chops
- Bacon, about 4 rashers, chopped
- Large onion, roughly chopped
- Potatoes and vegetables – select from carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks – all chunked. I use a smallish potato per person plus a couple of each of about 4 other vegetables to feed six of us.
- Cabbage, sliced – I used about half a Savoy
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 tbspn vegetable (or chicken) bouillion powder or a stock cube
- 200ml cider
Using a large pan or cast iron casserole dish, fry the pork in butter to brown and then set aside. Then add the bacon and fry until a little crispy. Then fry the onion until soft and add the vegetables and fry them a little too. Then add cider and enough water to almost cover the veg. Add your bouillion powder and bay leaves and bring the liquid to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Pop the pork steaks back on top, cover the pan and set your pinger to 15 mins. After 15 minutes, pop in the shredded cabbage and leave for another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are all tender. Serve in soup plates if you can, with spoons handy to slurp up the lovely broth or chunky bread to mop it up if you’re very hungry.
If you’re lucky, there may be some leftover veg to have with hunks of bread for lunch tomorrow…
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Posted in Food, tagged budget, casserole, cooking, family meals, Food, frugal, hotpot, lentils, main course, recipe, sausages, slow oven, value, Vicarage Recipes on 3 January, 2012 |
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One of the things I love about my Vicarage cooker (my treat when we moved here) is its small slow oven. The slow oven is a bit titchy – only big enough for one large pot or only a single baking sheet of meringues, but I am using it more and more for winter casseroles. Tonight I cooked sausage casserole – one of our top favourites which has a few variations but is always very popular with the kids (and grown ups too).
I make this using Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference chipolatas. I’d recommend using good quality ones as cheap ones can come out rather spongey. And you only need to use a single packet to feed a family and can get that for about £2 if there’s an offer on.
The Vicar's dinner
- 1-2 onions, finely sliced
- Pack of sausages
- 2 cups (500ml) lentilles vertes or green lentils
- Bay leaves, mixed herbs
- Red wine (about a glassful) and stock
- Optional – tin of tomatoes, chunked carrots
Brown the sausages in your casserole dish and then remove them to a plate or bowl whilst you pop in a little oil or butter and the onions. Leave the onions to get nice and soft then return the sausages, chopped up into bite sized chunks, to the pan. Tonight I chopped the sausages with a spatula before I removed them and fried the onions, otherwise you can slice them with a knife once removed – I recommend pinning them to the chopping board with a fork rather than fingers (I speak from experience of burnt fingers and escaping sausages).
To the onions and sausages add the lentils, bay leaves and herbs and wine and stock (I use hot water and vegetable stock powder). This evening’s casserole also included a tin of chopped tomatoes. The liquid needs to be added to a generous level above the lentils and sausages – say 5cm/2″ in your pan. This gives space for the lentils to swell and liquid to evaporate.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 1/2hr on the hob, or pop in a slow oven at about 140ºC (Gas Mark 1) for a couple of hours or more. The slow cooking method has the advantage of keeping the Vicarage kitchen warm, so this is obviously my preferred option.
I tend to check the casserole every hour or so if it’s in the oven, just to make sure that there is still enough liquid. If you’re adding carrots it’s best to do so about half an hour before the end of the cooking time, otherwise they can get a bit soggy. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving and add a little extra liquid if needed to ensure a bit of sauce to soak into the essential accompaniment of mash.
As you can see, I served the casserole with mashed sweet and normal potatoes, and some braised red cabbage. This is a great winter warmer and excellent value for money. We had leftovers that will do well with a bit of chunky bread for lunches whilst the kids are at shcool.
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Posted in Food, tagged bake, cheese, easy cooking, Food, lunch, recipes, savoury, scone, simple recipe, smoked paprika, snack, square on 16 November, 2011 |
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This recipe is cheeky because it involves minimal scone faffing ie rolling and cutting. And it’s cheekily zingy with strong cheese and a dose of spice. It’s also cheeky because it’s not that square, but I liked the alliteration for the title.
- 1lb/450g self-raising flour
- 2tspns baking powder
- 1tspn salt
- 1tspn smoked paprika (or paprika, or 1/2tspn chilli powder)
- 4oz/100g butter
- 7oz/200g grated cheddar (preferably mature) or other strong hard cheese
- 2 eggs
Place flour, baking powder, salt and paprika in a mixing bowl. Add chopped butter and rub in until butter chunks are the size of smallish gravel. Stir in grated cheddar. Break eggs into a measuring jug and whisk, then add milk to make up 10floz/300ml of liquid. Add to the flour and stir in to make a soft dough.
Place dough in lined or greased small roasting tin (around 12″x9″/30cmx23cm). I just press it in lightly and it doesn’t always become a perfect rectangle and is often square-ish (hence the recipe title). Cook in a preheated oven at 230ºC (Gas 8, Fan 220ºC) for 15-20mins until the scone is golden, well risen and no longer doughy. It sometimes looks a little crisp on top but that’s fine. Turn out to cool on a wire rack then cut off squares or rectangles to eat as you like.
Didn't manage to get a pic of this before most was consumed!
This scone is fabulous on its own as a snack, but is also delicious served with soup or cold meats. It keeps 4-5 days in an air tight tin and is also very good toasted (which is how we ate up the remainder yesterday). It’s extremely fast to make so is a very useful recipe to have up your sleeve if you have only half an hour’s notice before lunch guests show up.
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Posted in Food, Garden, tagged cooking, edible, Food, fungi, hunting, mushrooms, Vicarage, wild food on 27 June, 2011 |
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I found an impressive mushroom on our lawn yesterday and was wondering about eating it. I was under the misapprehension that there were only a few types of poisonous ones and it was likely to be fine.
Then I went googling and searching around the internet and it’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. So we’ve not eaten it – it’s sitting in my kitchen but I think it will just be going in the compost. I think I’m best to stick to the radishes and salad leaves I planted myself.
Bit of a pity, but best not to poison the family, eh?
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Posted in Food, tagged baking, Cake, crumble, dessert, Food, gooseberries, pudding, recipe, rhubarb, Vicarage kitchen on 20 June, 2011 |
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Last week I had to bake for Cake & Chat and wanted something a little different. I also had a packet of rhubarb that I’d picked up on the reduced section at our local Morrison’s. And so here is a recipe for rhubarb pudding cake (I found the original online at a National Trust historic cakes site).
It went wonderfully with creme fraiche on Thursday and with cream on Sunday. I had to bake a second one this weekend as the first one had disappeared before lunch on Thursday. The leftovers are in the fridge tempting me now.
The recipe involves three separate sections – a cake batter, chopped and sugared rhubarb and a crumble topping. Althought it’s slightly faffier than a bog standard sponge, it’s worth the extra trouble for a delicious dessert cake. The one in the pictures has some gooseberries in it aswell as I didn’t have quite enough rhubarb second time round – they worked very well.
- 1lb rhubarb (or gooseberries, or mix of both), chopped into 1″ pieces and sprinkled with 1-2tbspns brown sugar
- 2oz butter
- 3oz plain flour
- 1oz caster sugar
- 3oz soft marg or butter
- 3oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3oz self raising flour
- 1 tbspn milk
Firstly, prepare the rhubarb, chopping it into chunks, or top and tail your gooseberries. Place it in a bowl and sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit and set aside. Then make the crumble topping, chopping the butter into the flour and rubbing it into small crumbs with your fingers. Then stir in the sugar and set aside. Finally, in another bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, beat in the eggs and fold in the flour. I do this using an electric hand mixer – there’s not enough mix for my freestanding mixer. Add enough milk to give a dropping consistency – if you’re using large eggs you might not even need the milk.
You’ll need an 8″ cake tin, lined with baking paper (or a reusable liner). Then you layer the cake up – first the batter, then the fruit (with another sprinkling of brown sugar) and finally the crumble topping mix. Bake at 190ºC (Gas 5, Fan 180ºC) for 40-45 minutes until the cake feels firm on top.
This cake is delicious hot or cold and best served with some sort of cream. It would be good with custard too.
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Well, a small one, anyway. Last year we bought some very cheap strawberry plants and stuck them in a flower bed where they failed to produce anything edible. This year, however, they have given us some sweet strawberries – a whole (small) bowlful. And we’ve been able to pick them at peak ripeness. Delicious. Please excuse the shocking lack of focus in the picture. The one I took using the flash made the strawberries look purple.
We also have some small and very sour cherries, about five radishes, a handful of gooseberries, some spindly rhubarb and some snail-chewed bok choi. And there will definitely be potatoes. It’s better than last year, and if our gardening continues to improve at this rate I reckon that we might have a good harvest by the time the Engineer leaves home (he’s six btw).
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Posted in Food, tagged baking, Church, cook book, easy baking, egg free, Food, fundraising, low-fat, malt, malt loaf, milk, recipe, Round Church, Soreen, treacle, Vegan, Vegetarian on 9 June, 2011 |
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The Vicar and I were married at St Andrew the Great in Cambridge. I’d been a member of the church for about eight years when we wed. The year before that the congregation had moved from the Round Church, a beautiful Norman building which had become far too small for the church to meet in. The move cost the church (as I recall) £1.8 million, as the new (to us) building needed extensive refurbishment, having been redundant for 25 years. The congregation gave generously, but there were a few more traditional fundraising efforts. One of these was a Round Church cookbook.
A recipe from the cookbook that I still use regularly is Rosemary Sennit’s malt loaf. It’s great for batch baking – I normally make three loaves at once and quick to put together. It’s egg free and therefore suitable for Asian Vegetarians & Vegans. It’s low fat aswell and I now prefer it to the Soreen option – it’s less strong and squidgy, but still delicious with butter. All brilliant reasons to use this simple and tasty recipe.
- 12oz self raising flour (1lb 8oz for double batch – you can double all the other ingredients easily yourself!)
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 2oz sugar
- 4oz raisins/sultanas or mix of them
- 2 tbspn malt extract (buy it in a health food shop eg Holland and Barrett)
- 1 tbspn black treacle
- 1/2 pt milk
Put the flour and salt in a bowl, adding the sugar and dried fruit and mixing together. Put the malt, treacle and milk into microwave jug. I heat it for 1-2 minutes on maximum heat and then mix it together. You can also do this in a pan over a low heat on the stove. Then pour the liquid into the dry ingredients & mix thoroughly. Pour everything into a well buttered 3lb loaf tin, or one lined with a reusable liner. Or if you double the batch you can make three smaller loaves in 2lb tins – this is what I normally do. Don’t use a paper liner as these will stick (I speak from traumatic experience).
Bake at 180ºC (Gas 4, Fan 170ºC) for 40-45mins or so until firm to touch, and a skewer comes out clean. I’ve found that the cooking time is about the same for both sizes of loaf. The original recipe said to cook a single quantity in a 2lb loaf tin in 75mins, so if you only have that tin size your deeper loaf will take longer – you might want to cover up towards the end of cooking to prevent the dried fruit from burning, though. Turn out and cool on a rack, or you can leave to cool in the tin. Slice and eat with butter (or low fat marg for the health conscious).
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