Tag Archives: leeks

a timed supper

 

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As my regular reader will know, Tuesday night is pasta night. I just open the fridge and concoct something from its contents. For people who don’t have time to cook, here’s a 15-20 minute supper.

Bear in mind I have an ceramic hob, so you can skip the “put the rings on” bit if you’ve got gas.

  1. Switch on the big ring, put a deep frying pan on it, add a slug of olive oil
  2. Switch on the medium ring, put some cold water and salt in a pan, set it on the ring
  3. Slice up a big leek and put it in the pan with the oil.
  4. Weigh out the pasta (if you do such things – we do, because carbs/diabetes)
  5. Slice up some mushrooms, and add to the leeks
  6. Notice pasta water is boiling – add pasta, set timer for ten minutes (this is dried pasta – your pasta may vary)
  7. Remember you haven’t put any garlic in, so quickly peel and chop two cloves and throw them in with the vegetables
  8. Put a colander in the sink for drainage purposes
  9. Grate black pepper into the veg
  10. Open the fridge for some lemon juice, find a bottle of white wine open, and add some of that instead.  Too much, so turn up the heat to boil it down a bit
  11. Remove block of feta from fridge and cut up about one third of it
  12. When timer goes, drain pasta then add it to vegetables, together with the feta.
  13. Stir it all together, decant into bowls, scoff.

yet another risotto

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Actually, that’s unfair, because we haven’t had a risotto in ages. But we did last night.

We bought a pack of chicken thighs in Aldi last week. Pete manfully skinned and filleted them on Saturday, and they’ve been stowed in the freezer (yes, for this was just *before* PumpkinGate) for stir fries or whatever; the cats had the skin, with much enjoyment but no gratitude *at all*, and I slung the bones in the baby slow cooker with some water, with a view to soup making. But then, after the Graet Pumpkin War of 2014, soup was already well over-catered, and I couldn’t freeze this stock either.

I reboiled the bones yesterday, and it made a lovely gelatinous stock. Which seemed absolutely ideal for a risotto, especially as there were little shreds of chicken as well. So I strained the bones out, and rinsed them off with boiling water, to get every drop of chickeny goodness from them, and then topped that up to a pint*.

Sliced a leek and a red pepper, and set them to saute off in a little olive oil and butter. Then added 5oz of Arborio rice and stirred it round to coat it, and then started adding the stock bit by bit, stirring all the time. During the process, I discovered that making risotto is yet another thing that doesn’t go with  watching Borgen with subtitles; no wonder it’s taking me so long to get through it. I digress.

When about 75% of the stock was added, I seasoned with salt and black pepper, and when all the stock was absorbed, I added half a block of feta cheese and stirred until it was melted.

And I can tell you that, although a bowl of risotto in those quantities (we halved it, obviously) doesn’t look much, it’s plenty, and it was delicious.

 

*This is one of the few recipes I still cook in imperial – easier to remember the mantra of 1 pint / 5 oz.

red pepper sauce

So – 2/3rds of a huge jar of roasted red peppers. Opened. What to do?

Finely chopped an onion and about three cloves of garlic, and fried them off in olive oil, then added a slug of red wine and deglazed the pan. Sliced up the peppers and threw them in till they were warmed through thoroughly. Liquidised it in batches, then “cleaned” the goblet with about a glass of water and added it to the sauce; it made enough for at least two meals for us, and possibly three.

I cut up a thin leek into thin rings (we have just started a veg box again, so there might be interesting (or not 🙂 posts re that soon). It went into a pan with some olive oil, and was fried until just caramelised. There were some chickpeas left over from the tagine, so I added them, some seasoning, and some torn basil leaves from the pot on the windowsill at the end. I could have taken some chilli, I think, but was really delicious eaten with fusilli pasta, and I shall freeze the rest of the sauce today. So nice we shall have it again, and possibly again after that.

leeks and pasta

leek

We decided last night that, come what may, we should make an inroad into the remaining Christmas pud, so a  light supper was called for. I made it to the greengrocer yesterday, so we were stocked with veg.

So, trimmed a leek and cut it lengthways, then cut into thin slices. Set to cook off in some olive oil, and added three finely chopped cloves of garlic.  Put some pasta on to cook.

Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, added to the leek mix some black pepper, the end of a tub of cream that was just going over, and the juice of half a lemon that was lying about. Dumped in lots of parmesan and stirred everything together with the pasta. Nice, light, tasty.

The pudding was good too! (Luxury one from Aldi, with candied orange slices on the sides. I love Aldi).

leek, spinach and goat cheese flan

leek, spinach and goat's cheese tart
Two fat leeks, a bit wrinkled, looked accusingly at me every time I opened the fridge. There was also about 1/4 of a bag spinach left, and some rather elderly eggs.

I trimmed and washed the leeks, and sliced them up, then sauted slowly in olive oil and butter; threw in some fresh thyme part way through. I was going to do some garlic, but I forgot! I shredded some spinach, and when the leeks were softened, I hurled in the spinach and turned the heat off.

Made some pastry with 6oz of wholewheat flour, 2oz of Trex, and 1oz of margarine, rolled it out and lined a rectangular flan tin (such a useful thing – much easier for serving than a round one). I beat three eggs with a dash of milk and some seasoning (I’d normally use cream, but we didn’t have any in). Poured the veg mix into the pastry case, then poured the egg mix on top.

Then, with what I will describe as a flash of genius, I crumbled half a pack of goat’s cheese that was lurking at the back of the fridge and sprinkled it on the top. Into the oven for about 25 minute at 200 in a fan oven. It really was lovely.

pork and beans

I have a constant and ongoing battle with my freezer. I used at one point to have three freezers – the one in our USAnian fridge, a 3/4 height one out in the shed, and an under-counter sized one that lived under the stairs, and was entirely filled with minced oxcheek, which we bought in bulk and fed to the cats.

The oxcheek supply fell through, and we gave that (elderly) freezer to some friends. Then in the spring of 2009, we sold the 3/4 one and replaced it with a new under counter under the stairs, partly because our supplier of wonderful Dexter beef was no longer farming cattle, and so we weren’t buying half a cow at a time. Then we moved here, and had no room for anything but the USAnian beast, which in truth is plenty, but I still cannot get out of the mindset of being a three freezer owner, and thus am constantly struggling to fit things into its thankfully Tardis-like interior.

Anyway, I ramble. But we need to actually, you know, *eat* some stuff from the freezer, rather than trying to stuff still more in, so I am on a mission to clear some space. With this in mind, I rummage in its bottom drawers (ooh er), hurling aside the beef mince, the lamb mince, the pork mince (who put that there?), the chicken breasts, seeking the pork steaks, and after all that effort, I got one just one.

Just one because we don’t eat a lot of meat these days, and one is plenty for two of us. When it had thawed, I cut it into cubes, browned them in some olive oil, fought Lilith for possession of the cling film, transferred them to a bowl on a temporary basis, and put the bowl in the grill (then watched Iggy doing his damnedest to open the door of said grill). Then I chopped the white part of two leeks (the green went into the soup pot) and a couple of cloves of garlic, added some butter to the pan, and softened them down, adding some chopped fresh sage leaves.

Then in went a heaped teaspoon of grain mustard (I’m very much in love with this as an ingredient right now),  a dessertspoon of flour, and stirrred it round, then added a good slosh of cider, the pork, and the contents of a carton of haricot beans. Seasoned to taste.

Cooked it for about 25 minutes with a lid on, then removed the lid for the last five minutes or so and turned it up to reduce the sauce. Ate with sautéd potatoes and some brussels sprouts.

reactive entertaining

Last night’s supper was already planned, insofar as I knew we needed to use up some of the veg in the fridge, and we’d been eating rice for a few days, so it was time for pasta for a change.

I chopped up a fat leek, a red romano pepper, and several cloves of garlic, and set them to sauté down in some olive oil.  Then I went to answer the door, as someone had just knocked.  It was a friend from up the road, who wanted to watch himself on the local news (he doesn’t have a television).  So we offered him supper.

I added another red pepper, and some strips of pancetta, while Pete grated up lots of parmesan.  Boiled some big pasta shells, chopped some sage from the garden, put it all into the pan and served in bowls.  Instant supper, and very nice.

Well, we thought so!

pork with leek and peppers

The great freezer transfer disgorged a box of pork fillets, so I though I’d cook one last night.

I cut it into thin strips, and fried it up in some olive oil, then set it aside.  Then into the pan went a big knob of butter, a few sliced mushrooms, a yellow pepper deseeded and cut into strips, and two elderly leeks, chopped into rounds.  Fried them down a bit, while I rummaged in what’s left of the herb garden for some sage.

Finely chopped the sage and threw it in, together with about 3/4 of a mug of good apple juice.  I recommend you keep apple juice in your store cupboard – it makes a really nice change from stock or wine for cooking.

Seasoned with salt and black pepper, put a lid on it, and set it over a low heat.  I guess it had about 20 minutes in all, but the pork was well cooked before I got to this stage – I’m a bit paranoid about cooking pork well.

We had a bowl of cooked spuds in the fridge, which had been destined for an Easter fry up breakfast which never materialised.  So I cut them up, and fried them in olive oil and butter to go with the pork.

Fab.

leeks with parma ham

using up: parma ham, leeks

I found an unopened packet of parma ham slices in the fridge left from the festering season.  It was a couple of weeks past its sell by date, but hey – it’s vacuum packed, it’s preserved …

This is a take on a Jamie Oliver recipe – I missed out the wine, and some of the butter.  Fed two hungry people.

I sliced two beefy leeks in half lengthways, then cut them into 1cm chunks, on a diagonal.  Put them in a sieve and gave them a good wash. (I trimmed the tops off, sliced them thinly and bunged them in the soup pot).

Chopped three cloves of garlic, and put those and the leeks in a deep frying pan (that has a lid) with some olive oil and butter. Added some thyme leaves.  Stirred them around a bit to coat them in oil, then seasoned with black pepper, and laid strips of parma ham across the top.  The book said cook for 25-30 minutes, which I didn’t believe but dear JO was right.

While that was going on, I put a thick slice of a white bloomer loaf in the Magimix, with a few dried porcini (he said to use a cupful, which I thought was horrific extravagance!).  Whizzed that up with another clove of garlic and some more thyme.

Then fried the resulting crumbs in some olive oil in my ridiculously wonderful £8 non-stick pan from Asda until they were crunchy, and put them to drain on some kitchen paper.

Took the parma ham out and sliced it up, then returned it to the pan with a good dollop of grated parmesan (we mixed a little bit in with the cooked crumbs too).  Added some cooked tagliatelle.

Scoffed from bowls, with the crumbs and remaining cheese scattered over the top.  Very nice indeed.

potato and leek bake

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Using up: elderly spuds, some cream

Scrubbed potatoes (we never bother with peeling) and sliced very thinly.  There was a bit less than we hoped for because one spud had gone over, unfortunately.

Washed one leek – a handy tip from Jamie Oliver is to slice the leek in half lengthwise from the core, then run it under the tap; gets all the mud out easily.  Sliced it up fairly small.

Greased an ovenproof dish – I use a sunflower oil spray for this, Layered in half the potato slices, sloshed in some double cream, seasoned.  Added leeks, sprinkled on grated gruyere cheese.  Layered on the rest of the potato, more cream, more seasoning, more gruyere.

I always start this kind of thing in the microwave for 5 minutes – it cuts about 20 minutes off the total cooking time.  Then into the oven on gas 5 for about 30 minutes.  Put it on a tray, because it might ooze a bit.

You can substitute all sorts for this – chicken stock instead of cream, spinach or courgette or whatever instead of leeks, breadcrumbs on the top.  Excellent standby for using up stuff – I’ve even put leftover chicken in the middle sometimes.