Friday 5 February 2010

comforting leftovers lunch

Having got home from the park a little later than usual, I needed to put something together quickly that would be filling and nutritious. I found small pots of squds & celeriac mash, slow cooked buttery leeks and steamed salsify. I decided to heat the mash & leeks together but not in a frying pan, just directly in a microwavable bowl, and when that was hot, I made a little crater in the mix and cracked an egg in! Back in the microwave for about 50 seconds, and I had a perfectly "baked" egg in colcannon-ish stuff. Very soothing, filling, quick, easy & cheap!

-- I sent this from my 3 mobile --

Wednesday 3 February 2010

sumptuous unctuous pork and sinful use of leftover sweet things

I took advantage of Sainsburys' 3 for £10 offer on packs of various types of meat a couple of weeks ago, and stashed some in the freezer for another week, to pay myself forward, because it also helps me menu plan if I have things in store to use already, as well as saving money. I just have to make sure I don't go over-budget when buying multi-buys otherwise it doesn't really save money, just push the budget from one week into another. It would be helpful to keep things like that in the freezer for a week when I might need to spend my money on something else, and so have less for food shopping, though.

Anyway, yesterday I took out some lovely pork steaks and cut them up into about eighths, and then fried them off in some dripping, then removed them and added chopped fennel, carrots, apples and leeks. Once those were taking on some colour, I chucked the pork back in, added some wine mush from the freezer, nearly froze my fingertips off in the process forgetting that pure alcohol liquid at the bottom of the bag will be a LOT colder than the iced up wine, and then left the whole lot to simmer for a couple of hours while I gently re-warmed my fingers.

Just when we were nearly ready to eat - when Big'Un was being put to bed - we boiled some scrubbed peeled
salsify, then I microwaved a couple of artichokes which had arrived fresh in our organic box delivery, and I stirred up a buttery pot of polenta to go with it.

I also seared up some stunning scallops and then crisped up a couple of shredded slices of thin salami in the same pan, with some lemon juice and tarragon stirred in.  So we had 2 starters (scallops etc, and artichokes and melted butter) and a very, very filling main.

The whole combo of our main course was utterly gorgeous; the gravy of the pork was thick and oozily unctuous, and the sweetness of it was beautifully offset by the slight grainy salty creaminess of the polenta. I loved the texture and flavour of the salsify, just lightly buttered and lemoned.  I definitely got my veggies in and loved every second.  Oh and the dog DOES like artichoke...

Now, if that was not enough, I decided to throw together a pudding I'd had in mind for a few days.  I'd baked a choc cake from a packet mix, and about a third of the cake was sitting around, mildly stale, but not very, presumably because of some chemical in the mix, so I crumbled it into the bottom of a bowl.  I then sliced on a peeled pear that was a bit too soft for the kids to agree to eating but was perfectly fine.  I then added some Clipper Organic Hot Choc powder and some Green & Blacks cocoa to a basics pack of instant custard powder mix, then made it up as per the instructions, tho slightly less water than it said, so it was slightly thicker than usual, and then I dollopped that onto the cake & pear.  Finally I had a bag of plain choc Lebkuchen from Lidl, left over from Christmas, well, there were a few crushed up hearts left in the bag, and I crumbled those on the top.  I have to say, this is probably one of the best puddings I've ever made and it went down a treat.  But not one to repeat too often, but what a WONDERFUL use of bits that I would certainly have thrown away otherwise.  Usually after having them sit around in my kitchen for a few weeks with the thought that I "might do something with them".  Frugal indeed, if perhaps not the healthiest food.  However, not like I do a pudding every day, and cheaper than buying something or making something from scratch with new, specially bought ingredients.