31 December 2011

Happy Old Year's Night & New Year!

Happy Old Years Night!

Even as I type Old Years Night is gearing up in Trellis Bay; my old home.  There will be so many boats parked in the bay it would almost be possible to walk ashore and music will pulsing out across the water.  The is a helluva party about to start including fire dancers, fire balls, a burning metal man, mocko jumbies and fireworks.  I won’t be there of, course, but hope everyone has a truly wonderful time.



I have been experiencing a very high rate of synchronicity recently. For instance a couple of nights ago I wondered if I should throw myself open, so to speak, to questions about leftovers from my readers.  No sooner had I done a strokey chin ponder than I received not one but two queries pertaining to leftovers.  Firstly via Twitter about soufflés and then from a friend on Facebook who said she had too many Brussels sprouts and swedes and what should she do with them.  So here starteth my first question session …



Dealing with the second question first ...



Leftover Brussels Sprouts





~   Shred raw Brussels sprouts and add to coleslaw 


~   Make a specifically Brussels sprout salad; shred the sprouts and toss with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, red onion and dress with a robust vinaigrette. 

~   Shred raw sprouts and stir fry with bacon and garlic to serve with pork.
~   Add cooked sprouts to Bubble ‘n’ Squeak of course.
~   Halve or quarter cooked sprouts and reheat in butter together with toasted walnuts (or whatever) or crispy bacon or crunchy freshly fried breadcrumbs, etc.
~   Coarsely chop cooked sprouts and heat through in butter and cream with a handful of parmesan – Brussels Sprout Alfredo!  

Leftover Swede


I have to admit I don’t like swede or turnip so am not as inspired as I might otherwise be.  Having said that I imagine that if you do like swede the following might be good ways to use it up …

~   Cook raw swede along with potatoes till br />tender, and mash together with butter and black pepper.  Serve as a side dish or as a topping for a cottage pie or similar.  Better still serve it with your haggis on Burns’ Night (25th Jan if you can keep your swedes till then) as it is, after all, Neeps ‘n’ Tatties.
~   Cut swede, carrots and potatoes into similar sized chunks, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and a small drizzle of runny honey.  Roast in a medium hot oven till tender, crispy and golden.  Red onion would be a good addition.
~   Add cooked swede to Bubble ‘n’ Squeak.
~   Smash cooked swede into a chunky mash, season, form into cakes and shallow fry till crisp.  Serve with bacon and eggs.

NOTE – swede is known as rutabaga across the pond so I checked if they had any ideas and indeed they had.  I have just read that rutabaga should be "Soaked(ed) for 72 hours in 2 gallons of hydrochloric acid"!  Americans eh? ~ they always have to go the extra mile.  Even bearing in mind that an American gallon is smaller than ours please don't try this idea.

Now to the first query … Leftover Soufflé  

A children's writer called Enid Richemont tweeted me saying “Try doing something with left over cheese soufflé - we always end up with some- too good to chuck.” and this is a tricky one as, of course, soufflé is supposed to be serve as soon as it leaves the oven.  However …

I have often made a delicious Twice BakedCheese Soufflé – which is designed for reheating so I have a couple of suggestions …

1.                  Use this recipe instead.
2.                  Try reheating leftover soufflé by putting in a shallow buttered dish, pouring over a little cream, sprinkling with parmesan (particularly if it’s a cheese omelette!) and reheating at 400ºF/200ºC/180C fan/gas 6  for 15-20 minutes.  I am sure the soufflé won’t be as airily stunning as at first serving but it should still be tasty and entirely edible!
3.                  If the soufflé has sunken and solidified I would also be tempted to slice it and fry in butter!


I have tried neither of these things as we are still chocka with Christmas food but will try them and report back.

Ask me a Question ... 

... if you have any leftover food you don’t know what to do with.  Follow me on Twitter @SuddenLunch and tweet me, email me at suzybowler@hotmail.com or join my Facebook group, Sudden Lunch - SuddenLunch@groups.facebook.com – and ask the group. 


Happy New Year!
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27 December 2011

Sudden Christmas Leftovers!


Well, that’s over!  Phew – I’m stuffed.


My real man, whilst not an adventurous eater, is certainly an enthusiastic one and has made sure that we are stocked to the eaves with food.  This means there are leftovers but, luckily, I know what to do with them – here, with the exception of turkey!!!, are some ideas ….



Gravy



~   Spread into turkey sandwiches.

~   Use to sauce pasta together with shreds of turkey and sprinkle with crisply fried stuffing crumbs.

~   Use to enrich soup.

~   Add a spoonful to mushrooms on toast.

~   Heat and serve as a sophisticated “dipping gravy” for chunks of bread.



Stuffing

~   Form into patties and fry till crisp – served topped with poached eggs!
~   Crumble and fry till crisp then sprinkle onto turkey soup.
~   Add to bubbly ‘n’ squeaky type stuff.
~   Add to turkey sarnies, of course.
~   Use as a filling in vegetables – eg. baked squash, onions, etc.

Mincemeat

~   Mix into softened ice cream together with a little (and I do mean a little otherwise the ice cream will be too soft) brandy and refreeze.  Actually you can use crushed mince pies with this, the pastry adds texture.
~   Add to apples and make a Christmas Crumble.
~   Spread onto pastry, roll up Swiss roll fashion, slice and bake for Mincemeat Palmiers,

Cranberry Sauce

~   Swirl through cake, pancake or muffin batter.
~   Serve in a bacon and/or turkey and Brie sandwich.
~   Stir into yogurt.
~   Warm with a little orange zest and juice for a great pancake or ice cream syrup.
~   Add to fruit pies and crumbles.

Christmas Pud

~   Fry slices in butter and serve with clotted cream (or cream or ice cream).
~   Crumble and heat with some or all of the following: brandy/rum, butter, orange juice, ginger syrup, brown sugar etc. for a delicious ice cream sauce.  OR
~   Mix a similar goo into softened vanilla ice cream and refreeze.



  Christmas Pud Muffins ...

1 tbsp brandy
100g leftover pud
125g fl
1 tsp BP
50g light brown sugar
40g softened butter

~   Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC/160°C fan/gas 4.
~   Mix all the ingredient to a lumpy batter.
~   Divide between 8 muffin cups.
~   Bake for 10-15 minutes till ready.

Brandy Butter

~   Spread on hot toast, crumpets etc.


Nuts

~   Toss in seasoned oil and roast till crunchy.  Cool completely, store airtightly and serve with salads and as nibble etc.

And turkey?  Historically speaking this is the most discussed leftover since the World began.  Today I am making Turkey & Leek Pie but the future also holds soup, possibly pasta in a creamy turkey sauce, sandwiches etc, etc.  Too many ideas to mention here – think chicken or look it up yourself! 
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24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!


























Joke from my friend Julie ….

Q.                How does King Wenceslas like his pizza?
A.        Deep pan – crisp and even.

~  Today I Have Made ~

Sausage Rolls
Cheese Straws
Eggnog
Bacon & Sage Stuffing
Baked Ham
Sloppy Peas (aka mushy peas – due to the Geordie contingent)
Roasted Butternut Squash
… and I’ve fiddled with a turkey

My Real Man has made a Trifle

Now for a spot of pre-Christmas relaxing with mulled wine, roasted nuts and Morecambe and Wise.


Anyway I just wanted to apologise for being a bit slack in the blogging department this month and to wish anyone who reads Sudden Lunch the best of Christmasses – in a few days I shall be posting some good ideas for Christmas Leftovers so please do check back. 


Have a good one!


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19 December 2011

Marzipan Leftovers & Not Very Cornish Pasties

~  Menu  ~

Not very Cornish Pasties
Glass of Secret Red
Marzipan scraps

The church in our village has only one bell so every Sunday it rings a very fast toll – a “bring out your dead and make it snappy” kind of noise!  It woke us this morning which was useful; lots to do.  In fact I’ve had lots to do for a while so haven’t blogged much but don’t worry I have been eating.

~   Yesterday I made one of my favourite pizzas involving roasted butternut squash but cooked too much squash. 
~   Two days ago I made a chicken and leek pie and had some leftover puff pastry scraps – see here on how to store leftover puff pastry and other things to do with pastry scraps.
~   Last week I confitted myself some duck legs and ate all but the last one, I don’t know about you but I never eat the last one first!.

So this is what I came up with next ….



Two duck and butternut squash turnovers plus a rough pasty like thing, the shapes were dictated by the pastry scraps.  Fabulous lunch even if I say so myself.



Having marzipanned my cake (spell check is of the opinion that “marzipanned” isn’t a word but surely it is!) I played with the scraps and trimmings.



A couple of years ago I cooked some really good leftover marzipan cookies by accident.  This is pretty well what I did so far as I remember.



Chewy Marzipan Cookies



This recipe is not for leftovers but I thought I’d mention it just in case, like me, you find a pack of marzipan you hadn’t realised you had bought!  Caster sugar works well too.



2 egg whites

70g-90g icings sugar - sifted
pinch salt
500g marzipan – finely chopped or grated
a little more icing sugar

~   Preheat oven to 160ºC/325°F/140ºC fan/gas 3 
~   Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof or baking parchment and grease lightly.
~   Whisk the egg whites till pretty damn frothy but not so that you have a meringue situation.
~   Slowly whisk in the sugar, salt and marzipan speed up and whisk to a soft sticky dough which is as smooth as poss.  You may need to add more sugar or, if too firm, perhaps a splash of rum; the texture of bought in marzipans seems to vary quite a lot.
~   Scoop into small balls, roll in icing sugar to coat and place well spaced (1½” or so apart) on the baking trays, they will spread during cooking.
~   Bake for 20-25 minutes till golden round the edge and cracking on the top.


Here, however, are some ideas for genuine marzipan scraps, trimmings and leftovers.

~   Eat them.
~   Roll into little balls and then in cinnamon sugar or cocoa and sugar and then eat them.
~   Roll into little balls, dip in melted chocolate and set aside to harden.
~   Bake or toast for a few minutes till crisp, crumble and sprinkle over ice cream, trifle, etc.
~   Add coarsely chopped marzipan to cakes, cookies, pancakes, muffins etc.
~   Sprinkle a layer of chopped marzipan over a pastry base then top with fruit (peaches or cherries are great, apples or pears are good too) and bake for a delicious frangipane tart thingy.
~   Use to stuff dates.
~   Make marzipan fruits, animals, stars or whatever to decorate cakes and desserts. 

3 unrelated points …

1.      About a week ago I saw daffodils fully in flower beside the road.  Poor things.
2.      I also spotted a lovely typo the other day:


3.      And finally, my apologies, I should have posted this yesterday, Sunday, but my photos wouldn't upload – sorry! 
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9 December 2011

Dark Chocolate Mousse marbled with Cream & Brandy

Today is my real man’s 50th birthday and I didn’t make him a cake!  No wait – I had my reasons.  

The thing is for many years our friend Carol has been in charge of providing him with cake and his birthday is no exception.  As I fully expected she did make him a cake but, here’s the rub, it has a note attached saying 

"Needs a few days maturing (like you)” 

so it couldn’t actually be eaten on The Day.

fruit cakes need maturing

I didn’t panic; I just calmly made his favourite chocolate mousse.  This is a recipe I have been using pretty well since time began and it has always been popular with punters and friends alike. What took it to new heights, however, in the selling department was my adding a description to the menu …

how-to-sell-chocolate-mousse

... the reason I said "inexplicable" is because I have no idea why they happen.  Every time I make this mousse I wonder if they'll be there and they always are!


Dark Chocolate Mouse marbled with Cream & Brandy (as it happens) ~ with inexplicable etc. etc. etc.


This makes quite a lot – enough for 6-8 I would have thought.

Handy hint – to break chocolate I usually throw it onto the floor, still wrapped of course.

285g dark chocolate – broken
85g butter
5 egg whites
5 egg yolks (convenient!)
50g caster sugar – divided into 2 x 25g
480ml double cream
tot of brandy, rum or whatever

~   Melt the chocolate together with the butter in accordance with the instructions here (where there are also lots of delicious chocolate recipes!)
~   Whisk together the egg whites and 25g of caster sugar till stiff.
~   In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar till creamy.
~   In yet another bowl whisk the cream and brandy together till thick.
~   Fold together the yolks and whites then fold in the chocolate.  Folding is essential here, not stirring, as you need to keep all the air that has been whipped in earlier.
~   Fold in the cream – I do it partially for a marbled effect.
~   Put into n a pretty bowl and chill till needed.  This keeps for several days if you don’t test it too much – see below.
***

Here is the mousse hiding in the fridge (I couldn't find the R!), I tried to take one with the candles alight but I was useless!

chocolate-mousse-recipe

*** At one time, when I ran a very busy restaurant kitchen, I made what felt like gallons of the stuff every day.  Having always been a stickler for quality control, especially where chocky is concerned, I used to assiduously check the mousse every time I went into the cold room (several times an hour) till I developed borderline high cholesterol and decided it was probably keeping OK on its own!

This afternoon we went to Charlestown and wandered around looking at the old boats, and the sea in the winter sun and we also partook of a couple of pints.  My real man is pretty low key when it comes to celebrating but we really enjoyed it – just the two of us with nothing to do but please ourselves, something I don’t think we’ve done since April!


Whilst moseying about we came upon a friendly chap running a mobile farm shop from an old electric milk float.  Seems to extend a warm welcome to everyone!


I nicked that picture off their site – but took this one myself…


He had some tempting local fruit and veg for sale, homemade breads, plus my favourite Spicy Red Onion Marmalade, Raw Chocolate and all sorts of goodies.  Might have to pop down to Charlestown for another pint next week.



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5 December 2011

In which I make Delia's Christmas Cake!

~  Menu  ~

Sautéed Smoked Haddock & New Potatoes
Black Pepper & Brandy Butter
Glass of Chardonnay
Some Ecuadorean Chocky
Coffee

I have done a strange thing, for me – cooked from a recipe!

My real man is very keen on homemade Christmas cake, especially at Christmas, and I had intended to make one on Stir Up Sunday, the last Sunday in November (not, as my lovely neighbour thought, last Monday!!)  My computer having committed suicide a couple of months ago, however, I was unable to find my normal recipe so I did what any self respecting Briton would do – turned to Delia.  See here for details.  


The only alteration I made was I used Clementine zest instead of orange because that’s what I had available.  We bought 20 for 18p the other day! 


The cake took over 5 hours to cook during which time the kitchen was warm and smelt gorgeous.  The cooked cake looks a bit dark in a good way and smells delicious and the bowl scrapings were lovely.  I shall feed this cake’s bottom with brandy every few days and report back at Christmas.

My Lunch ...

The cake recipe called for 5 tablespoons of brandy after which, in my old bottle (I have another you know), was a wincy “leftover”.  You will be proud of me – I didn’t swig in down!  No, what I did was made Black Pepper & Brandy Butter (you know; coarsely ground black pepper and a little sea salt worked into soft butter with a little brandy).  What a surprise!  And then, even more surprising, I sautéed some leftover potatoes in it and added some smoked haddock!  That was my yummy lunch – but I didn’t take a picture because it was too dark and I’m no good (yet) at photos in artificial light.

I did, however, take a photo of my lunch pudding …



… few squares of the item to the left which has that almost alcoholic taste peculiar to good dark chocolate.  I bought it in Lidl; they sell a whole gamut of plantation chocolates by J.D. Gross – see here for their site, which is in German but can be translated - and if this is the quality of their products I intend trying the lot.  They range from Noumea chocolate from Papua New Guinea at 35% cocoa to an 80% cocoa bar from Tembadoro, Trinidad.   Get yourselves to Lidl's, or Germany! 


For some Christmas recipes (by me!) see here ...





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3 December 2011

"Small Adventures in Cooking" by James Ramsden ~ a Review


~  Menu  ~

Tagliatelle with Black Garlic Alfredo
Crunchy Blue Cheese Crumbs
Glass of Secret Red
Sweetie out my Advent Calendar

You may remember that I have already reviewed two excellent books in the New Voices in Food Series published by Quadrille; Stevie Parle’s "Real Food from Near and Far" and Niamh Shields “Comfort & Spice”.   Well here’s another one and, quelle surprise, it’s as good as the other two.  I thought I’d better get it reviewed before Christmas as it would make a great pressie.

First of all I must say I like this guy’s style – really easy and relaxed; less like a chef telling you how it is than a friend chatting about food.  Surprisingly, but in a good way, his recipes in the chapter “Corner Shop Capers” are built around tinned foods and his instructions are certainly not “set in stone” he gives lots of tweaking ideas and ways to tart up his dishes.  Also, I am pleased to say, he advises the intelligent use of leftovers.  He gives shopping tips, help on seasoning correctly, advice on what knife to use, how to be happy and some really delicious things to do with Vodka,   
He even gives #hashtags for each recipe in case you want to discuss them on Twitter plus his email and Twitter addresses – as I say; friendly.  In short I do very much recommend this book; it is interesting to me as a chef (resting!) but will also be great for home cooks and people learning to be home cooks.  The recipes are inspiring yet accessible and I think I shall try his Tomato & Goats Cheese Gratin first.


The book, like the others in the series, is an attractive cardboardback with photo by Steven Joyce, it was publishes by Quadrille Publishing Ltd last Jun, (ISBN-10: 1844009572, ISBN-13: 978-1844009572) and you can get it from Amazon here



Coincidentally James Ramsden has included a comforting note on making mistakes. 


Coincidentally because I have this very day had a bit of a cock up on the catering front.  I read somewhere that if one mixed together equal quantities of blue cheese and butter and munged in the same quantity of flour (ie. 33:33:33 – plus a rogue 1) the resulting dough made lovely blue cheese crisps.  Well mine didn’t, it made a tray of very delicious unconnected crunchy crumbs.  Well you know what I am for a leftover – I made myself Tagliatelle Alfredo with some black garlic in it and sprinkled on the totally yummy mistake.  All’s well that ends well – I think I might do it again.

We have an advent calendar each in our house (we’re dead posh) – so I had my piece of chocolate for lunch pudding.

Incidentally I do have the fourth book in the New Voices in Food series; Alice Hart’s “Alice’s Cook Book” and will try and get that reviewed asap.  She has a new book due out next year “Friends at my Table”, I know this because Quadrille recently sent me a load of blads!!!  I know, what a surprise!  




Apparently blad stands for basic layout and design and these ones also include a few samples from the books - there seem to be lots of good things coming up.  Stevie Parle also has a new book on the way “Dock Kitchen Cookbook” and exciting things, too, from Peggy Porschen, Sam Stern, Tamsin Day-Lewis and Nathan Outlaw.  There is also a book called “Drink Me” by Matt Walls about how to choose, taste and enjoy wine – as I am convinced that the only way to learn about wine is to experience it this is something I am looking forward to studying!
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25 November 2011

The Easiest Way to Make Mulled Wine

~  Menu  ~

Creamy Peppered Salmon Pâté
Nubbly Toast
Glass of White Wine
A modicum of Vanilla Ice Cream with a drizzle of Mulled Wine Syrup

I had peppered salmon for dinner last night – just fillet of salmon generously sprinkled with ground pepper and pan fried.  That’s it, simples!  It was very good with sautéed potatoes, salad and Alfredo Sauce but I couldn’t eat it all – luckily!

Today I was considering a simple salmon salad sarnie but I spied the remnants of a pack of Boursin in the fridge so I pestled or mortared, or whatever the verb is, the salmon and the cheese together and loosened the mixture with a little cream and a squeeze of lemon.  It was so good one would have thought I’d planned it!

quick-salmon-pate-recipe

This morning I made some Mulled Wine Syrup for Christmas and had a little too much to go into my allocated bottle.  I drizzled it over a little vanilla ice cream and tidied it away - what would you do? 

Mulled Wine Syrup


This makes 75ml which, as luck would have it is sufficient to mull one bottle of wine and 2 tbsp of syrup is enough to mull 1 standard glass of wine.

easy-mulled-wine-recipe
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1 orange
1 lemon
250g light brown sugar
60ml red wine
1 cinnamons stick
1 vanilla pod
2 slices of fresh ginger
a generous grating of nutmeg

~   Remove the zest from both fruits in long strips – make sure not to get any of the white pith involved.
~   Squeeze the juice from the orange (set the bald lemon aside to do something else with sometime) and put in a small (non reactive is best) pan with the zests, the sugar and the red wine.
~   Stir together over medium heat till the sugar has melted.
~   Add the spices, turn up the heat and cook at a gentle boil for about 5 minutes to form a light syrup.
~   Cool to room temperature before removing the spices then strain the syrup pressing on the debris to get out all the delicious juices.
~   Pour into a clean bottle and keep in a cool place till needed.

How to Use Mulled Wine Syrup


Warm the syrup gently over low heat, add the red wine and heat through.  Don’t allow to boil or some of the alcohol will evaporate off.  Speaking of alcohol a little brandy could advantageously be added to the glass when serving.

Useful tip ~ to clean the pan warm a little wine in it stirring till the syrup has melted and have yourself a tester.

My opinion ~ this is a much better way of mulling wine than the traditional method of heating a whole bottle of wine with the flavourings; quicker and easier at the time of serving and, crucially, a lot less wasteful of Alcohol!

This is just one of over 50 recipes in my book Easy Festive Food for a Stress Free Christmas ...

easy-Christmas-recipes
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