Monday, December 16, 2013

Shepherd's or Cottage Pie

Another easy weekday recipe noted here for my daughter's benefit. This is my take on the traditional potato-topped mince dish.

The name reflects the choice of meat: Shepherd's Pie when made with minced lamb or mutton, and Cottage Pie when made with minced beef.

A vegetarian version using cooked beans/lentils or reconstituted TVP instead of the meat, and vegetarian gravy granules, also works.

I usually make one huge pie, and we eat half immediately, and the other half reheated then next day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pan-fried White Fish

I've mostly gotten over the 'orrible cold I had for the first half of this week, but things still taste slightly weird to me. I'm still finding that I don't fancy the usual foods. I am still drinking gallons of hot mint tea all day to keep my throat moist, even if I am no longer coughing and drowning in snot between cups.

I can't face my usual salad for lunch, and have been craving natural yoghurt for breakfast.

Naturally, this all wreaks havoc with trying to decide what to make for tea, and I've resorted to comfort food and easy stuff that can be thrown in the oven and forgotten about for the last few days. Stuff like Cheesy Potatoes (boil some potatoes, melt some cheese over them - it's raclette without the machine) hardly rate as a recipe.

Today was another can't decide want something easy quick type of evening, and having used up all the packets of sausages in the freezer, it fell to the frozen white fish fillets to provide.

I sort-of wanted fish and chips, but didn't have breadcrumbs to bread the frozen fish, so I ended up with pan-fried fish to accompany potato wedges baked in the oven.

With only 10 minutes left until the potato wedges were baked, I pan-fried the still frozen white fish fillets in melted butter. Seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, and sprinkled over some bottled lemon juice. Popped the lid on the pan and let them cook through over a low heat.

After dishing up the fillets, I then boiled down the lemony-buttery-fishy juices until they thickened into a syrupy consistency, and spooned this sauce over the fish.

This was quick, easy, and delicious. And now noted here so that I remember to consider it next time I am tired and looking for something simple to do with frozen fish.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Mince Pies

It's December, and mince pie baking season is in full swing.

When baking mince pies, I use a particular pastry recipe that I copied from my mother's cooking notebook, and that she had copied from my grandmother's notebook.

It makes the lightest melt-in-the-mouth mince pies you could ask for, but it is a bit tricky to work with...

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Sort-of Japanese style Soup Thing

Today, despite the weather, I fancied a light soup for dinner.
Possibly because I have a bit of a snuffly cold.

So I made this sort-of Japanese style soup out of a tub of homemade chicken stock from the freezer, various vegetables, leftovers and some random things I bought in Hoo Hing that have been sitting in the cupboard.

I say soup, but it ended up more as a big bowl full of lightly cooked vegetables and noodles with some soup underneath. It was light and delicious and just right.

My daughter especially enjoyed this soup, and wants it recorded here for posterity, so that she can make something similar herself one day.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Improving Shop-Bought Mincemeat

Improved mincemeat, flavours mingling.
When baking mince pies in bulk - for an event or bake sale - even if you normally make your own mincemeat from scratch, there comes a point where you need more mincemeat, and need to buy some in.

Commercially made mincemeat can however be somewhat disappointing. Too often the producers go overboard on cheap spice-flavoured syrup or apple sauce and skimp on the more expensive dried fruit.

When faced with using a tub of commercial mincemeat that has been made overly-cheaply in this way, this is how I give it a bit more body.