Category Archives: recipe

slow cooked spuds and onions

This was by way of an experiment, and I didn’t photograph it. It was as cheap as, well, chips. and really nice. I made it to accompany some roast venison, a piece of which I found lurking in the bottom of the freezer. It did two days – one with red cabbage, and one with green.

Put a slug of olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker – I did this to stop it sticking.

Thinly slice potatoes and onions, and layer them up in the slow cooker – I think I did three and a half layers, starting and ending with potato. Season each potato layer as you go with salt and black pepper. I hurled some chopped garlic in part way through as well. Pour in some gravy (i used about half a mugful of Bisto granules*, which was about right for a small slow cooker).

Switch it on, walk away. It had about five hours, I think. Next time I’ll add carrot, I think, and possibly swede. Lovely with roasted meat, or sausages.

*Lets not pretend we don’t always use them from time to time, eh?

green beans and pasta

green beans and pasta

This is another ridiculously quick and easy supper, and pretty cheap too (depending where you shop) – certainly well under £1 per serving. Works well with runner beans as well.

serves 2:

1 pack green beans (89p from Aldi, I think)
125g of pasta (fusilli, quills, whatever – Aldi fusilli is 49p for 500g, so that’s (counts on fingers) 12.5p)
1 chopped onion (20p)
1 dessert spoon (ish) of olive oil
lemon juice – a bottle is easier, and cheaper, than fresh
black pepper
about 25g grated parmesan (35p?)

Top and tail the beans, while you put a decent amount of water on to boil. When it has, put in the pasta and set a timer (mental, if necessary) for 10 minutes. I put the beans in that pot when there was eight minutes left, which left a nice crunch to them.

While the beans and pasta are cooking, cook the onion off in the olive oil. Add to the drained pasta/bean mix, stir in a good slug of lemon juice, the parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Light, quick, simple, healthy, cheap. Vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese.

indian black-eyed peas

I made a batch of these for a friend’s curry evening, and they were so nice, I’ve just made another huge batch for us! I might have gone ever so slightly overboard with the quantities, so think on if you’re going to try this 🙂

1kg black-eyed peas (£3.69 for 2kgs from our local Indian shop)
1 carton Sainsburys passata (£0.55)
2 chopped onions (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop so – 30p max)
⅓ big carton of Aldi mushrooms, sliced thinly (about £0.50)
groundnut oil (about a dessertspoon)
various spices to suit (listed below)

12 generous servings for a fiver, absolute max.   I made this in the slow cooker, but if you don’t want to/don’t have to, I’d give it a couple of hours on the hob to get the flavour right through.

Put the black-eyes in to soak for about 12 hours/overnight. They do say you don’t need to soak them, but I always soak beans and peas. They will absorb water at a rate of knots, so use a bowl rather bigger than you might think you’ll need.

Put them in the pot, add the mushrooms and passata, and about half a passata carton of water.

Grind/mix some Indian spices; Pete always does this, but it’s not writ in stone. Cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, bit of chilli, turmeric – whatever works for you. But we tend to go for Lots, because you want the taste. Fry off the onions in some oil (i use groundnut) until they’re just starting to catch, then add the spices and cook them off a bit. A small splash of water is a good idea here. Decant that lot into the pot, add a bit of salt and black pepper.

if slow cooking, about eight hours on low. If hobbing, bring to the boil then a very gentle simmer for a couple of hours. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top if you have any (ours has bolted, sadly).

Freezes beautifully, makes a tasty vegan meal on its own, or a great accompaniment for a curry.

basic lentil mix

This is one of my standards – you can use it for lasagne, moussaka, shepherds pie … anything you do with mince, really.

There are just two of us in the household, but I always cook for at least six so I can freeze some. Also, this recipe is a bitsa, using up what I have in the fridge.

Into the slow cooker: one chopped onion, three diced carrots, one diced courgette, half a red pepper, 4 cloves garlic, small slug of olive oil, and any spice you fancy. I usually use Ras el Hanout, but anything middle eastern is good. Left on low for about an hour. Add 1 pint of red lentils and 2 pints of water, switch to high, leave for about four hours. If you didn’t fancy the spices, substitute a splash of red wine for some of the water, and bung in some herbs.

I made a lentil bake with this yesterday, which I shall write up in a bit.

chicken and coconut curry

I had a yen for a chicken curry at the weekend; we make (and eat) a lot of chicken and coriander, but I wanted something different, dammit. So I trundled up to the Jacksons at the top of t’rerd, and came home with two packs of mixed thighs and drumsticks for a fiver, which Pete manfully deskinned for me; it’s a horrible job, and my arthriticy fingers really don’t enjoy it. We put them on a roasting tray, seasoned, drizzled with a little olive oil, and bunged them in the oven while the pizza was cooking. (Well, browning chicken is a boring task, and the oven was on …)

So, there was lots of skinned and part cooked chicken on Sunday morning. Looking at us. I skimmed through various books, but nothing quite appealed, so we winged it, pretty much.

Into the big slow cooker went, variously:

two tablespoons each of  ground almonds and dessicated coconut,

two onions fried in some groundnut oil until they were just starting to catch

a paste of garlic and ginger, and a little water, fried off, then spices added: cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili, fenugreek, cardamon, black pepper, and a little salt. All fried down into a paste

a can of coconut milk, and about a third? a half? can of water

a bunch of coriander

And then we just left it alone for about 7 hours. It was really, really nice, except it lacked … something. Not sure what. We’re going to have some more tonight, with some saag aloo, to see if that helps.

That fiver’s worth of chicken made 10 portions, by the way. Plus £0.80 for the coriander, and £1.25 for coconut milk, and maybe another couple of quid’s worth of ingredients. Well under £1 per portion.

p.s. we always cook chicken pieces on the bone – the flavour is better, and the meat falls off when it’s cooked anyway.

 

up to my elbows in vegetables, and some venison

vegetables ready to be roasted

 

We seemed a bit overrun with veg, for some reason, so something had to be done.

So into the medium slow cooker, diced small, went:

2 leeks
4 carrots
½ swede
2 (manky) courgettes

They were cooked off with a little olive oil, on a low setting, and made two big tubs of veg for soup.

Into the Remoska went:

2 onions, cut into wedges
3 sweet potatoes
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
2 decent courgettes

I had also slow cooked a butternut squash on Saturday – means no peeling – and added that in towards the end.

That made 8 servings of  roast veg – 3 tubs for the freezer, and one for tonight.

And then, I cut into large dice:

4 potatoes with their skin on
1 onion, cut in half, and sliced
4 carrots

These went into the bottom of a big roasting tray. And on top of that went a small (750g) piece of roasting venison that has been languishing in the meat drawer in the freezer for some time. I marinated the venison in olive oil, lemon juice, chopped rosemary, and sea salt and black pepper, and I stirred the marinade through the veg.

Into the oven at 235C for 15 minutes, then I added about 300ml of beef stock and a slosh of red wine, and turned the oven down to 200C for another 25. I took the meat out and gave it a foil hat, and let it rest for 15 minutes, and continued to cook off the veg.

I’m going to use that method again to cook a small joint – the potatoes were sort of roasted, and there was enough of the veg left to eat with something else. We’re going to have cold venison and roast veg tonight, but I think those veg would go very well with sausages, don’t you?

Oh, and I found a tin of plums in the pantry cupboard, best before 2006(!). Opened it, they smelled fine. They were in syrup, so I gave them a good rinse under the tap, and put them in a bowl. 100g flour, 50g walnuts, 60g sugar and 60g marg made a nice crumble topping. Rude not to, really.

And I’d like to say that I chopped every one of those vegetables by hand. It took bloody ages.

 

 

 

meatballs and tomato sauce

The mystery butcher’s bag in the freezer turned out to contain about 150g of sausagemeat, clearly bought for sossidge rolls for the festering season. Hmm … what to do?

I added some chopped mix herbs to the meat, and mixed it all together. Into the slow cooker went onions, garlic, a diced courgette and some mushrooms, and I formed the sausagemeat into eight small balls, and laid them on the top. The last of the tomato paste had a slosh of red wine, and some water, added and went on top. Into the slow cooker for six hours, and very nice indeed.

There’s a fair bit of the sauce left, which we shall have tonight with the addition of some Matessons* sausage (no, not gourmet, I know, but dead handy as a standby!).

* or Aldi equivalent

home made pizza

For some reason, we hardly ever have pizza, and I’m not sure we’ve ever made it. So we decided to remedy that on Saturday.

There was a small tub of tomato purée in the freezer, and some pork and duck stuffing balls (from Waitrose, no less!), and it seemed a good way to deal with them. There was also a couple of packets of pizza mix in the pantry; I think I bought them to do something from the Hairy Bikers’ book, and never got round to it.

So, I roasted off the stuffing balls in the Remoska, and then Pete did the rest. He cooked down the tomato with some garlic and onion, then spread it on the pizza dough, added salami, the meatballs, and some mozzarella. It wasn’t bad at all, but next time I’ll make my own dough, thank you.

butternut squash, red pepper and feta quichelings

squash, pepper and onion quichelets

I had a party to go to last night, and wanted to make a contribution to the festive board. Looking at the ingredients in the fridge and freezer,  I settled on squash and red pepper filo parcels. There was no feta in the fridge, but no matter – I hurtled up to Jacksons to buy a block, to find that the normal budget one had been replaced with an oak-aged one, at over twice the price. Still, time beggars can’t be choosers, so I paid me money.

The squash went in the medium slow cooker for about 5 hours, with a heaped teaspoon of Ras el Hanout, and about half a glass of white wine. A brace of slightly wizened peppers (one red, one yellow), were sliced thinly, together with an onion similarly sliced, and placed in the baby slow cooker for about three hours. I added some olive oil and cumin seeds to these. The filo pastry was removed from the freezer.

At about 5.30, I descended to the frozen wastes of the kitchen to make the things; I mixed the ingredients together, with about half the block of the fairy dust feta cheese, diced into small cubes. I oiled a baking tray, opened the filo, and started. And darlings – a disaster. The pastry had been in the freezer a fair while (understatement), and had completely dried out. Pete hurtled back to Jacksons, but filo had they none. Indeed, ready made shortcrust had they none. By now it was 5.50 – scream.

So into the food processor went 8 oz plain white flour, a good pinch of salt, 2.5oz of baking marg and 1.5oz of Trex (I really do recommend Trex for pastry, it makes a lovely short crumb). Added a tiny dribble of cold water, then summoned Pete to roll it out. as he is much better than I at such things. In the meantime, I beat a couple of eggs and stirred them into the squash mixture, along with some black pepper.

Into the oven (preheated to 180C fan) went about 20 baby quiche, and we watched them with some trepidation. They had about 20 minutes, so I even got time to cool them a bit before our lift arrived. And readers – they were gorgeousI shall make them, or something similar, again.

Although they weren’t the filo parcels I was hoping for …

 

onion gravy

onions
image courtesy of Lena Ljungar / Flickr

 

We love onion gravy, but it’s really best when you have time to cook the onions slowly, and I never think about it in time. But this time, I did!

I cut three onions in half, and sliced them as thinly as I could, then put them in the baby slow cooker. Also added a good glug of very dry sherry, about a dessertspoon of olive oil, and a teaspoon? of brown sugar. After about six hours they had reduced their volume by about two thirds,  and next time I shall cook them for even longer for more intense onionyness.

Then I decanted them into a pan, added a slosh of red wine (as there’s the end of a bottle hanging about in the kitchen looking dejected) and some gravy granules (I know, sorry, but I was in a hurry). Then I bubbled it down so there wasn’t too much liquid, and poured it over pork chops and mashed root veg.

That made enough for four greedy folk, so I have put the remainder in the freezer – there were only two greedy folk here 🙂