28 August 2012

See you later Tom!


On a personal note …

… I apologise for not having posted for a while – we have been having a sad time because my Real Man’s Dad who lives with us died about a week ago.  So as a tribute to him and because I know he was proud of it, here is a picture of him in his prime half a century ago – 6’4” of man!

See you later Tom x

The days have been a bit strange and disjointed and sometimes I have even been at a loss for what to eat but today I have eaten two interesting things so I thought I'd mention them before I forget …

Fudge on Toast

This was a sudden inspiration when I found a bit of Granny Wobbly’s Finest in the fridge – what a naughty breakfast but so yummy!


Balsamic Jelly

The trouble is we haven’t done a proper shop for a while and I found myself bereft of spicy onion marmalade to go with my Cornish Crackler.  I did, however, find a jar of Baxter’s Balsamic Jelly – what a godsend.  I had completely forgotten buying it but there is was in my hour of need and I would like to recommend it.


Lovely stuff, so now I need to think of something more creative to do with it - any ideas?



So that’s it for now, I hope to be back on form with the leftovers soon.


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21 August 2012

Yukky Gnocchi & Yummy Chocky Quesadilla

Lindt chilli chocolate

~  Menu  ~

Gnocchi in a Creamy Tomato & Boursin Sauce
Glass of Sangiovese
Dark Chocolate & Chilli Quesadilla
Coffee

I am glad to say I don’t like gnocchi.  I have made them several times, been unimpressed and assumed I was doing it wrong.  For the sake of research I’ve ordered them once or twice when eating out and still no joy and today as a last attempt I cooked Tesco’s Finest Potato Gnocchi for lunch and didn’t like them either  – yukky gnocchi!  It is not Tesco’s fault, it seems gnocchi are supposed to be unpleasant; at first I though it was my cooking!  What a relief.

I sauced the gnocchi with a creamy mixture of tomato and Boursin and fried up some breadcrumbs in roasted garlic oil to add a contrasting texture (this is known as Pangrattato and is a lovely addition to many meals), they sure needed it.  It tasted fine but the gnocchi themselves are pretty well how one would imagine mashed potato and flour mixed together and boiled would be.  Similar to the "nothing special" krumplinudli I made the other day!

gnocchi

On the other hand I was abso–feckin-lutely delighted, as the Irish say, with my dessert.


Quesadillas


Many, many is the time I have turned, in a professional sense, to quesadillas to use up leftovers. These lovely crisp Mexican (or Tex Mex?) versions of a sandwich are so versatile, so quick and easy and so, so delicious. Normally the filling consists of beans, or chicken, or chilli con carne, etc, with cheese and salsa; those sort of things. 



how-to-make-a-chocolate-quesadilla
Good idea or what?
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I have a pack of flour tortillas to play with for my forthcoming book on leftovers so I thought – why not a chocky quesadilla? And then the answer came to me; no reason at all. My lunch pudding was but the work of a few moments … 


~ I chopped 3 squares (just 3) of Lindt’s dark and lovely chilli chocolate. ~ Sprinkled it on one half of a flour tortilla (plain!).
~ Folded it in half and pressed down firmly so that no chocky could escape.
~ Melted a knob of butter in a non stick pan.
~ Fried my quesadilla till crisp and golden on the outside and lovely and gooey in the middle.
~ Ate it which was rather messy but had to be done – working lunch!




Forgive my fingers, they seem to have aged whilst my back was turned!


fried-gnocchi

Leftover Gnocchi ...


For supper I had the rest of the leftover boiled gnocchi fried up in olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan, smoked black pepper and sea salt – this was much better, almost really good!



fried-gnocchi











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18 August 2012

Granny Wobbly's Fudge Pantry



Can you tell what it is yet?

~  Menu  ~

Salmon & Asparagus Hash
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
White Wine Spritzer
A Tad of Granny Wobbly’s Finest
Coffee

Today’s lunch was very sudden yet very satisfying.  My leftovers comprised 3 cold cooked new potatoes, about 3 ounces (oops, sorry, I mean 85g) of cooked salmon and 4 stalks of asparagus which surprised me as I thought I’d finished the lot off yesterday.  So …

~   I snapped the asparagus into short lengths and cooked it in a non-stick pan with a little oil, salt and pepper till al dente.  I much prefer asparagus roasted, sautéed or grilled to steamed or poached; tastier and a nice texture.  I set the asparagus aside,
~   Heated a spoonful more oil and added the new potatoes which I crushed in a manly sort of way and fried over medium heat till crunchy and golden.
~   A broke the salmon into little bits and added it to the pan together with the waiting asparagus.
~   Chivvied the whole lot into a sort of cake arrangement and decanted it onto my waiting plate.

All that and I didn’t even use a knife!!


(I'd like to apologise for the poor quality of this picture but you get the gist!)

The roasted garlic mayo that I have been so enthusiastic with is from M & S and I love it.  Yes I could, and indeed do, make my own but this is so delicious and handy, has a long shelf life and comes in a useful squirty bottle.  I have quite a passion for it with fish and potatoes.

Granny Wobbly

I went to Wadebridge the other day.  Every time I am there I assume a vague, possibly gormless, look and wander into Granny Wobbly’s Fudge Pantry where I “test” their sample fudges and hope they don’t recognise me.  I may invest in a moustache!  Having been “surprised” at the excellence of their product I then buy some as is only right and proper.

If you haven’t tried Granny’s Wobbly’s wonderful fudge and you live anywhere near Cornwall for Gawd’s sake come and get some or order it online here.


The vanilla fudge I bought was intended for some fudgy experiments for my forthcoming book but so far I haven’t got round to trying my ideas and could hear it calling to me from the cupboard.  “Suzy – you know you want me!”.   What could I do?


A bit more about the wonderful Granny Wobbly (actually there are two of them and one is a chap!) who make, on the premises, the best fudge I have ever tasted; rich, crumbly and perfect, in five standard flavours; Vanilla, Maple and Walnut , Rum and Raisin, Butterscotch and Chocolate plus a weekly mystery flavour and other specialities.  In addition to the basic flavours I myself have assiduously tried their Lemon Meringue Fudge, their Sparkly Chocolate Mint and the Christmas Pud – some while ago now.

Granny Wobbly’s shops in Tintagel and Wadebridge sell their fudges loose (including large slabs for professional fudge lovers” and in gift boxes and bags.

Update ...

~   "Forthcoming book" "The Leftovers Handbook" now published here.
~   Lots of ebooks also published - see sidebar.
~   Plus this one which is FREE!




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12 August 2012

Rather Cross about a Choc Ice



~  Menu  ~

Simple Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette
Vicky’s Bread
White Wine Spritzer
Somewhat disappointing Choc Ice on a Stick

This is just a quickie.  I went to the local car book sale today with my friend Diane from next door and was starving when I got back.  I decided to just have some hummus, bought in I’m afraid, on toast.  I was surprised and saddened to find I only had a tablespoon of hummus left and this is entirely my own fault; my real man wouldn’t touch it.  I’d only been panicking for a minute or so, however, when I spied a bag of mixed lettuce leaves and wondered what they would be like dressed with hummus.  I stirred some of my Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette into the hummus, that’s all, and it was a lovely lunch although I don’t think this particular dressing is suitable for keeping in your handbag. 



A Little Rant

Not being quite full I hunted around for some lunch pudding and found a box of choc ices in the freezer that looked tempting …



… but sadly all the actual ices were not exactly as implied on the packet!  Maybe the almond crop has failed!  Never mind it tasted fine.



I’ll try and eat something more interesting for my next post but I wanted to get the above off my chest.  Now all I need to do is get it off my hips!


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8 August 2012

Krumplinudli ~ and what fun being Hungarian must be!



krumplinudli, potato dumplings, leftover mashed potato recipe, Hungarian translations

~  Menu  ~

Krumplinudli
Spicy Salsa
Glass of Secret Red

Krumplinudli are mashed potato dumplings, traditionally sausage shaped, poached and coated in crunchy buttery breadcrumbs.  My sister and I used to put them on the menu a lot because they sounded funny (and tasted good, of course).

Whilst thinking about leftover mashed potato, as one does, I thought I might try making some for my lunch and, not having made them for 20 or 30 years, thought I’d just check I was on the right lines.  Googling “krumplinudli” brought up lots of pages but most were in Hungarian but it’s OK Google translated them for me and this here are some of the things I have learnt …

~   “Preparation of monster is actually a simple, all depends on the dose,”

~   “Do you have to hurry to the pedals between because if you are, you can descend, and the 'difficult to handle will be.”

~   “Because of the huge, with wooden kitchen table, on which long ago did these things, we rarely see”

~   “If you have the correct his potatoes, then "only" cooked her to be watching.”

~    “do not dilute your knife he bb dough”

I could go on – it must be cool living in Hungary!  So armed with the above information I decided to make them up after all …

Hungarian Potato Dumplings from leftover mashed potato

Krumplinudli

1 medium potato, cooked and mashed with a knob of butter
1 egg
approx 120g flour (or more!)
salt and pepper
more salt
more butter
fresh breadcrumbs

~    Ideally the potatoes should be freshly cooked and mashed but … mine were a day old and also had a carrot mashed in with them!  So I reheated them.
~    Mix in the egg, some seasoning and then the flour.  You are aiming for a soft workable dough.  Add more flour till such a situation is achieved.
~    Roll the dough into snakes and cut into 50mm or so length.
~    Leave on the floured surface to dry for some while (and hour or more, although I just made about 40 minutes).
~    Boil a large pan of salted water, add the nudli to it and cook for about 5 minutes – they may well float to the surface when cooked, also they stop tasting of flour.
~    Have ready a medium hot oven. 
~    Toss your nudli in a little melted butter and then fresh breadcrumbs (guess what I sued – panko of course!) and bake till crisp and golden.

homemade krumplinudli from leftover mashed potato

Sadly I have to say that considering all that faff to make them they were nothing special,   perhaps I misunderstood the instructions!  I think the idea is probably worth playing with, however.

I ate them anyway sprinkled with Parmesan and with some spicy dipping salsa.  C’est la vie, as we say in England.




There are nine more good ideas for leftover mashed potatoes alone in The Leftovers Handbook, plus nine other leftover potato suggestions. 

Just think of all the ideas I have come up with for the other 450 or so ingredients in the book.  






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4 August 2012

Leftover Dal? Leftover Porridge? No worries!

~  Menu  ~

Dal Roti with Cashew Nut Salad
White Wine Spritzer
 Honey Oatmeal Scones and Coffee

Having run the gamut of leftover Pease Pudding (soup, fritters and dal) I had a little of the spiced pudding aka dal left and was going to make myself a dal vada of sorts when inspiration struck.  What would happen if I mixed flour into the dal to make a dough?  This is what happened.

Dal Roti – Instructions

~    Mix enough flour (I used plain flour but rolled the dough out on wholewheat – probably chapatti flour would be best) into the dal to make a workable dough.
~   Roll into walnut sized balls and then roll out into thin rounds.
~   Fry in a lightly oiled pan till the first side is speckled with brown turn and do the second side.


What a nice surprise these were!  I quickly whipped up a salad, added some cashews and a simple balsamic dressing and dolloped a spoonful of Greek yogurt (fusion!) on the top.

This was all very spur of the moment – I am sure these little breads would be great used to scoop up curry or similar.

After lunch I messed around in the fridge, as one does, and came across a cup of cold porridge.  Obviously I was delighted, who wouldn’t be?  As I was fresh from munging flour into cold dal my mind ran along similar lines and I decided to make …

Honey Oatmeal Scones ~ based on an Original Idea by Mrs. Beeton

Quite a while ago now I wrote an article for Vegetarian Living on Mrs. Beeton’s Vegetarian Cooking and this was one of her good ideas.  In my grandmother’s edition Mrs. B says to knead into cold porridge “as much flour as will enable it to be rolled out ¼” thick but that was a bit too basic and heavy for me so here is my version

300g cold porridge
30g soft butter
1 tbsp honey
self-raising flour
(or plain flour and baking powder in the rations 100g flour:1 tsp baking powder


~   Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC/170ºC fan/gas 5.
~   Mix together the first three ingredients and then work in the flour to make a soft, sticky but manageable dough.
~   Knead lightly then roll out on a floured board to a thickness of about 20mm.
~   Cut into rounds or other shapes and lay on a greased baking tray.
~   Brush with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes till risen and golden.



Other ideas for cold porridge can be found here 



I have so many ideas for leftovers of all sorts that I wrote The Leftovers Handbook which has ideas for over 450 possible scraps and remains. 

Click here and you will taken to a rather fine preview!


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1 August 2012

“Prepped! Gorgeous Food without the Slog" by Vanessa Kimbell ~ a Review


~  Menu  ~

 

Potted Ham

Nubbly Toast

White Wine Spritzer

 

I had ridiculously small amount of ham left yesterday are feeding my real man so decided to try potting it in an equally small pot.  It’s an easy thing to do and perks up the ham no end! 

 

Potted Ham

 

~   Weigh the piece of leftover ham.Shred your leftover ham and weigh it.
~   Gently melt about half as much weight of butter and leave to cool.
~   Shred or finely chop the ham and mix it with other ingredients of your choice (I used parsley, smoked black pepper, and a bit of the old Maldon sea salt.
~   The solids I the butter will by now have sunk to the bottom of the pan so pour off the clear butter and throw away the sediment.
~   Stir most of the clear butter into the ham mixture and press into a small pot. 
~   Pour the rest of the clear butter on top and chill.

This made a good lunch with toasted Vicky’s Bread but to be frank I wish I’d had a gherkin.  You know how it is!

Maldon Sea Salt Crystal (not actual size!)

“Prepped! ~ Gorgeous Food without the Slog; a Multi-tasking Masterpiece for Time-Short Foodies” by Vanessa Kimbell


… which I have just read and which resonates with me, so to speak.  I am quite keen on making useful storecupboard items which I can then use to quickly enhance all sorts of dishes (for proof see Roasted Garlic, Raspberry Vinegar  and Bacon Salt to name just three) and so, it seems, is Vanessa Kimbell. 

 

The “key recipes” in “Prepped” are a collection of flavoured sugars and syrups but this in no way limits the scope of the book; elderflower syrup for instance is used not only in desserts and cocktails but also in salad dressing and with trout, chlli and beetroot, chocolate is paired with beef and used in Savoury Chocolate Biscuits.  There is lots of inspiration here.  

 

The book is divided into 11 chapters each dedicated to a single ingredient but not predictable ones: elderflower, rhubarb, lavender, lemon, vanilla, tomato, plum, caraway, cardamom, orange & clove and (don’t worry) chocolate.   The recipes flow and interlock so that her recipe for Plum Chutney contains Vanilla Vinegar (which, incidentally I shall be making asap) or a double batch of a recipe is made to create two entirely different dishes.  This is very much how I cook although usually my leftovers are unplanned.  There is a lot of substituting, linking and cross referencing going on which is very useful

 

Vanessa Kimbell’s style is friendly and accessible and the photography by Vanessa herself together with Brian Dunstone and Tony Hardacre is wonderful. 



The book is a lovely bright pink hardback published by Spring Hill Books in May of last year (ISBN-10: 1905862563 and ISBN-13: 978-1905862566). 


Get yourself a copy, why don’t you, it’s brill!






 

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