I’m desperately trying to make some space in the freezer for the festering season, and also the weather here is utterly vile, so I had a bit of a Reactive day yesterday.
I had a rather small tub of chicken pie filling – chicken left over from a roast, with bacon and veg in a white sauce. It wasn’t really enough for a respectable pie. So I chopped up a big leek, and sautéd it down in some olive oil. Half the leek went into the soup pot (more on that later) and the other half to bulk up the pie filling.
Then I made a suet crust with 6oz wholemeal flour, a bit of baking powder, 3oz of low fat veg suet (I know, I know, but it’s healthier), and some water. Lined a greased bowl with 2/3rds of it, popped in the filling, rolled the rest out to a lid. Topped with a piece of folded tinfoil, secured with a rubber band, courtesy of the postman, and bunged it in the slow cooker for 5 hours. We ate it accompanied with buttery sprouts and a really, honestly, tiny number of potatoes roasted in duck fat. And there’s half a pud left for later this week!
Plum and wizened apple crumble
I had a punnet of plums to use up, and three very wrinkled apples from the fruit bowl; they weren’t particularly nice apples to eat, but I couldn’t bear to just chuck them. I cut the plums in half, and laid them flat in a shallow pan; sprinkled them with some five spice powder, added half an inch or so of cold water, and then – in a spirit of experimentation – a tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur. These plums were quite hard, so it took about 12 minutes to soften them, turning them occasionally, and while they were cooking, I chopped the apples into fairly small dice. I did core them, but peeling them seemed like too much hard work.
I transferred the plums to an ovenproof dish, then bunged the apple into the liquor and softened it over a fairly high heat, so that the liquid reduced. Poured the resultant gloop over the plums.
Crumble topping was standard for this household – 2 parts wholemeal flour, 1 part porridge oats, 1 part sugar, 1 part marg. Blitz in the Magimix, pour on top of the fruit, pat it down. Bake at 180˚ for about 45 minutes. Serve with double cream. This pud will do us three evenings, as we try not to eat too much sweet stuff.
We haven’t had a meat loaf for ages, and it’s a really nice thing to eat on a cold winter evening (it’s -5˚ here in Hull as I type, and it’s only just 4 p.m.!).
I’m not really a purist about these things, I just bung in what I have. So there was a pack of sausage meat, seasoned with sage and onion, that I got from Fields of Anlaby when I collected the goose last Christmas (!), a pack of pork mince, and a pack of beef mince. Probably about 700g in all. I found a pack of stuffing mix in the pantry, which bore a legend of “best before Oct 07” (oh dear). We opened it, and sniffed it, and it seemed OK, so I made it up with boiling water.
Pete finely chopped a couple of shallots, and then manfully mixed the meats and the stuffing by squidging with his (clean) hands, and he bunged in some tomato ketchup and some Lea and Perrins Worcester sauce. We pressed the mixture into two silicon loaf “tins”, put them in a bain marie, and baked at gas 4 for about an hour.
I left them overnight to cool right down, and today I turned them out of the silicone, and cut each one into three – that 700g of meat has made 12 portions; they don’t look big, but they’re solid meat.
Wrapped the portions in tin foil, and put them in the freezer (well, five of them – we’ll eat one tonight, probably). They can come out, and be cooked in the foil for a nice quick supper. Eat with a nice gravy, or even baked beans if you’re in a rush – who needs supermarket ready meals?!