Sunday, 21 February 2016

Great Ideas for left over roast

I love a roast dinner, especially on a Sunday when I generally have more time to prepare all the vegetables.

I grow a lot of my own vegetables and there is nothing more satisfying than putting on my wellies, heading into my vegetable patch, picking my vegetables and then serving them with my Sunday roast!  At the moment my vegetable plot has parsnips, beetroot, butternut squash, sprouts, purple sprouting & leeks.  I still have potatoes from this years crop stored in a cool, dark corner of the garage and an abundance of home grown vegetables in the freezer which I froze earlier in the season.

Although you may think using a joint of meat for your roast is expensive - think again.  If you use all the leftovers and make stock from the bones your joint of meat will make more than one meal.  It is also so much nicer to cook the roast vegetables around the joint so they absorb all the lovely flavors. The meat juices can be added to your gravy for that extra taste.  Remember the stock from the bones can be frozen and used another time as a base for:-

  • Gravy
  • Soup
  • Curry
  • Chilli
  • Stew
Your homemade stock will be tastier and healthier than the shop bought alternative and your homemade version will have no added salts, colorings and preservatives.

Here are a few delicious ideas for your meat and vegetable leftovers:-
  • Stew
  • Curry
  • Risotto
  • Bubble & Squeak
  • Stir fry Vegetables
Or simply slice the meat and use cold in sandwiches for lunch boxes.

Keep following me and I will post recipes for you to try.

The Sunday roast is a dying tradition - let's bring it back and make the most of our leftovers!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Delicious Pork Curry.

I still have some pork joints left in my freezer from my pigs which went to slaughter some time ago. 
I had miscalculated the number of joints I would use and have run out of sausages, bacon, gammon and chops but the joints now need using up before my next pigs are slaughtered.  I roast the joints and then make this delicious curry and freeze for use another day.
If you don't have any pork joints you want to use up this works just as well with leftovers or next time you see pork joints on special offer why not get one just for this gorgeous curry!

2 onions
8 garlic gloves
100g fresh ginger
2 fresh chillies
1 teaspoon curry powder
750g cooked chopped pork
1- 2 tablespoons plain flour
olive oil
1 can chopped tomatoes
600ml stock
Fresh Coriander

Make a paste in a blender using the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger & curry powder.
Add a little olive oil to a saucepan and lightly fry the paste.

Meanwhile toss the cooked pork in a little plain flour (this will help to thicken the sauce)
Add the pork to the paste and mix well on a low heat.
Add the chopped tomatoes and stock.
Simmer for 2-3 hours until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the meat falls apart.
If the sauce reduces and thickens before 2 hours simply put the lid on the pan and simmer very gently.
If the sauce has not reduced - turn up the heat but keep stirring to prevent sticking.
The longer you can cook this for the more tender the meat becomes and the flavours really develop.
Add chopped fresh coriander just before serving.
Serve with accompaniments of your choice.

TOP TIP - this is a spicy curry - if it is too spicy for your taste simply add a little natural yoghurt (healthy option) or single cream.

This is a great dish for freezing.  When you want to use it simply defrost and reheat.

TOP TIP - pigs are so versatile.  Why not ask your butcher, form shop or local farmer if you can a half a pig or even a whole pig and have it butchered to your requirements.  Here are some ideas:-
Bacon (streaky from the belly or back bacon)
Pork Joints (legs or shoulders)
Pork chops
Don't forget to ask for the offal which makes fantastic faggots.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

5 Ways to use Breadcrumbs

Leftover Bread.
I make bread in my bread maker daily - it's so much healthier than store bought bread which can sit on shelves for weeks and is packed full of preservatives.

Rather than just throwing away any excess, I always make breadcrumbs with my leftover bread and freeze this for use at a later date.  Making breadcrumbs is so easy – just put in a blender or mixer and whizz.  Remember you can make breadcrumbs from any type of bread: sliced, wholemeal, ciabatta, garlic bread etc.

Here are some great ideas for breadcrumbs.
1. Topping for fish pie – sprinkle over the mashed potato for a lovely crispy texture or if you prefer for a low carb option replace the potato with a small sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

2. Stuffing – add to sausage meat with your favourite herbs and seasoning for great stuffing.  For a vegetarian option leave out the sausage meat. 

3. Nut Roast – why not have vegetarian roast for change?  There's loads of flavour in a nut roast, and breadcrumbs give it great texture.

4. Fish Goujons – for a healthy fish dish simply cut some fish fillets into strips, coat in breadcrumbs and oven bake. 

5. Chicken nuggets – simply cut your chicken into a size of your choice, coat with breadcrumbs and oven bake.  For a twist why not add a fajita or Cajun seasoning to the breadcrumbs.
TOP TIP - Freeze the breadcrumbs in small portions in sandwich bags and remember to write the date on the bags so you can use the oldest date first!

TOP TIP - To help the breadcrumbs stick to the fish or chicken, first roll the fish or chicken in flour then roll in a beaten egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Wonky and Ugly Vegetables

Wow - I was so excited when watching Jamie & Jimmys Friday night feast to see that Asda have agreed to sell "wonky" or "ugly" vegetables in 128 of their stores.  These are vegetables which are simply an odd shape or maybe an unusual size. As a grower of lots of vegetables that are not perfectly shaped I know that just because the veg doesn't look great or is "ugly" it still tastes great.  It really annoys me that so much food is wasted because it doesn't look quite right. Hopefully now other supermarkets will catch on and the public will support farmers by buying the vegetable boxes. I always try to buy fruit and vegetables which are British grown and in season, they taste so much better in season and are usually cheaper.  So please go and buy your wonky or ugly vegetable box.  In honour of our lovely wonky and ugly vegetables  I thought I would give you some ideas for using the veg in some different ways.

Vegetable crisps: a great alternative to the shop bought packets of crisps which are stuffed full of preservatives, & artificial flavours.
Simply peel the veg - this works well with potato, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip or beetroot or mix them all together!
Once peeled thinly slice the veg (a veg peeler or cheese slicer is ideal for this)
Heat in a saucepan or frying pan some olive oil about 1.5 inches deep.
Ensure the oil is really hot and add some of the sliced veg.  Do not over fill the pan - it is better to fry a few bits at a time this way they cook better and will not get stuck together. They will only take a couple of minutes, once crispy remove from pan and place on kitchen paper to drain.
Season with salt and pepper.
Delicious tasty snack!

Thinly slice the veg
Vegetable Crisps!

Soup & stock:  any vegetables can be turned into soup or stock especially if they are getting a bit old and droopy! Keep watching my recipe page for new ideas and recipes.

Vegetable dips - ideal for beetroot, butternut squash, carrot or broccoli.  I would suggest you do not mix these vegetables but make a separate dip with each vegetable type.

Roast the vegetables until soft. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar as well for extra flavour. For broccoli you may prefer to boil or steam.
Once cooked place in a food blender with 1-2 cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon of cumin powder (this is for 2-3 beetroot).  For some extra "heat" add half a fresh chilli.
The amount of garlic, cumin & chilli can be adjusted to suit your taste - this is a guide only.
Blend until fairly smooth - you want to avoid chunks of garlic or chilli in your dip!
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to loosen the mixture.
Add a couple of squeezes of lemon or lime juice.
Add a couple of drops of worcestershire sauce.
Blend again until it is all combined.

This is great served with fresh bread, toasted pitta bread or breadsticks.

Any of these dips can be frozen for use another day.

I hope this has given you some inspiration! 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Scrumptious Flap Jacks

Scrumptious Flap Jack Recipe

These flap jacks are healthy & delicious.  They are a great healthy snack to put in the kids lunchboxes.  A great alternative to the "shop bought snack" which is packed full of sugars & preservatives.  The inspiration for this recipe came from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

125g butter
120g soft brown sugar
125g peanut butter (crunchy or smooth to your taste)
75g honey
Lemon Juice
200g oats
150g seeds of your choice: sunflower, sesame, pumpkin or a mixture of your favourites.
100g unsalted chopped nuts of your choice: walnuts, cashews, pistachios or a mixture of your favourites.  Note:- You can buy whole nuts and whizz in the blender/mixer or chop with a knife.
50g  dried fruit of your choice:- raisins, sultanas, mixed dried fruit or a mixture.  Use unsweetened as this will keep the sugar content lower.

Line a baking tin with oiled grease proof paper.  Baking tin size approx 25cm x 20cm.
Slowly melt the butter, and add the sugar, peanut butter, honey and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Be careful not to let the butter overheat - it just needs to gently melt so the ingredients combine together.
Remove from the heat.
Add the seeds, nuts & dried fruit.
Thoroughly mix with a wooden spoon.
Spread the mixture evenly into the baking tin.
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.
The flap jacks are ready when the are a golden brown colour.
Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool.
Once cooled tip from the tin and cut into squares/rectangles.