I LOVE leftovers; to me, leftovers, or foods eaten a day or two after cooking/preparing them, taste vastly better than they did on day one. Flavours develop to create something so good that I pretty much always plan for leftovers and extras…
Today I had a variety of cooked vegetables and fresh herbs to use up and I decided to pimp them with some new products in my cupboard: last year my lovely blog friend, Petra, from the blog Food Eat Love, starting selling her homemade food products at her local Saturday market. She started off with amazingly pretty fresh pastas and sauces, and then expanded into sauces and crackers and jams and chutneys. Recently, she sent me some goodies to try, and I have used most of them in my dishes today. Let me show you…
These are what Petra sent me to try…lucky me! The two bottles that you can’t see the labels on are a ‘very hot hot sauce’ and a sweet chilli ginger sauce.
I’m afraid the dry tomato and coconut chutney was devoured first a little while ago, it was so good I literally ate in from the jar in two sittings..
If you can try this stuff, you really should! Included in the ingredients are cobnuts which give the chutney a great texture. But the rest I played with today…
So to today’s pimping…this was my lunch platter…
Leftover broccoli & cauliflower, blended with yoghurt, crunchy hazelnut butter & Petra’s sweet chilli ginger sauce which added great flavour to the vegetables.
My homemade garlic mayonnaise pimped with Petra’s very hot hot sauce – perfect pimping.
Leftover roasted carrots & red onions blended with tahini, yoghurt & lemon juice…so good, the lemon juice and roasted carrots always works well together.
Fresh flat leaf parsley & coriander chopped up with my pickled garlic, spring onions, ground cumin, Aleppo chilli flakes, salt, olive oil, my homemade apple cider vinegar & Petra’s caramelised Seville orange & chilli treacle – I often add pomegranate molasses to my salsa verde concoctions and this was a great alternative.
All eaten with Petra’s Carta Di Musica flatbreads which are wonderfully thin and crunchy.
How’s that for a tasty lunch? And a perfect use of leftovers! Even if I do say so myself…;)
So a big thank you to Petra for letting me try some of her great products. I shall be sharing my concoctions with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, which is after all, where Petra and I ‘met’. In the meantime, do check out Petra’s Instagram page if you’re an instagram user and enjoy her beautiful pups as well as those gorgeous pastas…one day I’ll get to try some of them!
It all began with Sally’s post, in which she uses whole lemons in a marinade for pork; I couldn’t help thinking it would make an interesting dressing. Then up popped Mimis post: a whole lemon dressing, by which time I needed to give this a try…
So, when I say ‘whole lemon’ I really mean the WHOLE lemon. All I did was give a couple of lemons a wash, cut them into quarters, then eighths, removed any pips, then put them in the blender with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a splash of honey. The resulting dressing is really nice, not overwhelmingly lemony because you’re not actually using a massive amount of juice from 2 small lemons. You can taste the rind flavour, which is not as sour as the actual juice, just different. And you can tone it down with some honey if necessary. I added a very very small amount of honey, more just to see what it does to the taste.
To store the remainders, on the advice of the eminent scientist Sally, the self same Sally as named above, I stored the dressing in a jar in the fridge. This then really firmed up the mixtures so that when I went to use it again, the texture had changed again, but in a nice way as far as I was concerned. Plus the flavour had developed more after a few days.
Then up popped Laura’s post who had also been expirementing with whole lemons: this time making a spinach and whole lemon pesto. With this in mind, I whizzed up the remains of my whole lemon dressing with some spinach, walnuts and a tabil spice mix that I’d made (equal amounts of roasted cumin, coriander & caraway seeds) to create something new…
There will no doubt be more experiments with whole lemons to come in my kitchen, but I hope you find this interesting so far. I use so much lemon juice, and I try not to waste the skins (I have jars and jars of pickled lemon skins & preserved lemon skins), so using the whole fruit is really inviting.
Fancy giving it a try?
In amongst recent creations in my kitchen this week, and in between lots more semolina sourdough, I have made my first (and second) ciabatta loaves, my first (and second!) pretzel rolls, and lots of confit garlic.
The second batches of ciabatta and pretzels were better than the firsts, but then the firsts were pretty good too, so I was happy. And the chief taster and bread eater in the house loved and at them all, so I must have got something right”
I possibly rushed the first batch, because for the second batch I gave the biga more time to come up to room temperature (from the fridge), plus I made it all by hand.
I followed Gingers recipe for the pretzel rolls. It includes dunking the uncooked dough into a bath of bicarbonate of soda, which was a first for me! That’s what creates the darker coloured chewy exterior.
The first time I made the buns (above), I placed the portioned and cut dough onto baking paper on a tray to refrigerate overnight (as per the recipe) but the buns stuck to the paper and remained very soft so I had to pull off what I could which meant that they lost their shape. The second time (below), I floured the dough well and floured the tray well and it worked perfectly.
I think this is the perfect time to note, that flours behave differently around the world and country, some require more water than others. It’s something we have to feel our way with..
I’ve heard the term confit on so many cookery shows but never know what it means. Having seen confit garlic coming up recently, I decided to look it up. To confit historically was to preserve an ingredient by cooking it for a long period over/in a low heat in oil, grease of sugar water. This way food stuffs could be preserved for long periods.
Wikipedia says: “The term is usually used in modern cuisine to mean long slow cooking in oil or fat at low temperatures, many having no element of preservation, such as dishes like confit potatoes.” It’s typically a method used to cook meat, but can be used for vegetables too. Therefore when I saw Sally produce confit garlic and chilli, I decided to give it a go.
I submerged lots of peeled garlic cloves in enough olive oil to cover them and cooked at 140C for 45-60 minutes until they became soft and sticky, but not completely broken down. I then drained them immediately (if you leave them to cool in the oil, they sink into the oil and become completely sodden, which I didn’t like so much), let them cool then stored them in a jar, well the ones that I didn’t eat there and then…!
Once cooled I also stored the oil and used it on everything!
So, now it’s time for this week’s Fiesta Friday, and Angie very kindly featured my semolina sourdough in last week’s picks 😊
I’ve seen many of my US blog pals post ‘biscuits’ and I’ve been curious to try them for a while. Jess, Suzanne and Gretchen, to name a few, have all posted recipes for biscuits. My understanding is that these are eaten with a main meal, which makes them even more interesting, and something completely new to me.
In the U.K. we’d call these scones, a savoury, non sweet version of scones, made with buttermilk and NO sugar…consequently, when I finally made these, my savoury loving boy LOVED them, but my sweet toothed husband couldn’t even contemplate trying one! To him, a scone is sweet and eaten with jam, not something dunked in soup or a stew, or used to house a burger!
They are incredibly easy to make, and as you’ll see, very easy to add various cheeses or other ingredients to. I’ve now made them three times in the last few weeks, and the boy has eaten them with relish. I’ve made them plain, with a mixture of cheddar cheese and Red Leicester cheese, with strong cheddar, and with smoked cheddar: all got a thumbs up 🙂
350g self raising flour
85g butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Tiny pinch of salt
284g pot of buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 200C fan. Line a baking sheet with parchment or greaseproof paper.
Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and butter in a bowl.
Using your fingertips, or using a food processor (as I do), rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Pour in all of the buttermilk and mix lightly to form a soft dough – this takes very little time. If using a food processor, mix until it has just about come together, then turn out and finish bringing it together to form a soft dough with your hands.
If you are adding cheese, add a couple of handfuls of grafted cheese now as you bring the dough together.
Knead the dough very briefly, then on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 2cm thick.
Cut out as many rounds as you can using a 5cm cutter. Keep bringing the leftover dough together and flattening to use it all up but handle it as little as possible.
NOTE: always push the cutter straight into the dough, and then bring the cutter directly upwards when you cut out scones, do not twist it whilst cutting into the dough otherwise they will not rise.
Place the rounds on the baking sheet with a little space in between each one, and bake for 12-15 minutes – mine have been taking about 13 minutes.
I haven’t brought anything to Fiesta Friday for a couple of week’s, so I’m bringing these along this week and I hope the party goers enjoy my biscuits 🙂 Join co hosts Diann and Monika to see what goodies are on offer..
I haven’t talked about my bread making on my blog for a while, although I share loaves regularly on Instagram, so I thought I’d post an update. I now make 3 loaves of sourdough bread every week for my son, Ben, plus 2 regular loaves for my husband, who doesn’t like sourdough. I now have my method for producing sourdough loaves pretty fixed, and as Ben raves about the bread on a regular basis, I can only assume that I’m getting it right – for his tastes anyway!
I’ve also been playing with scoring the loaves, as you might notice!
The basis of my standard loaf is formed from the overnight loaf recipes created and shared by Celia and Selma, with tweaks for my requirements. I’ve played around with various methods and flours and recipes in the past couple of years, but I always come back to this method, this is my failsafe, and when you need to produce bread regularly for breakfasts and school lunches, you need to know it works!
A key element for me is that I need a closer crumb than typical sourdough. Artisan holes are great, but not for making sandwiches for school dinners. To achieve this, I have found that replacing some of the water with olive oil creates a softer tighter crumb and softer bread.
I keep my starter, Star, in the fridge, and every couple of days, I bring her up to room temperature, feed her equal amounts of flour and water, and once she’s bubbly and happy, I make up two lots of dough.
I follow the quantities in Selma’s recipe, linked above, but I replace 30g of the water with olive oil.
In two bowls I squidge two lots all of the ingredients together to a rough mix, so that the flour is completely mixed, cover the bowl with a plastic bag, and leave it for an hour.
After the hour, I fold and knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or so until it comes together and forms a smooth ball.
I then place the dough in bannetons sprinkled with rice flour to prevent sticking.
I cover the bannetons with plastic bags, and place them both in the fridge.
Sometimes they’re in the fridge for a night, sometimes for 4 days – the longer proving develops more flavour.
When I’m ready to bake one, I remove it from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature and prove for another couple of hours.
I quickly slash the dough then bake.
I put the loaf in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200C fan, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C fan for another 25 minutes.
Then remove the loaf and cool completely on a rack before slicing. I usually bake my loaves the day before I need them to ensure that they are completely and utterly cooled.
Each of my loaves covers Ben’s breakfast and lunch for two days. He loves it so much, I even made him a special loaf for his birthday earlier this month 🙂
And I don’t necessarily mean ask me, although of course you can, and I’m only too happy to help, but mainly I mean: ask them!
I’ve said it before, probably around this same time last year, but I’ll keep saying it: ask your vegetarian, or vegan, or food intolerant, guest what they’d like to eat. Don’t guess, don’t give yourself the stress of trying to figure it out if you’re not sure. Call them, email them, ask them what kind of dish they’d like. If they’re anything like me, they’ll be grateful that you asked, and relieved that they know they’ll be catered for. Please. Make your life simple 🙂
And once you know what they’d like, I of course offer you my entire collection of recipes, I hope something may be of use.
In the meantime, I’d like to offer a couple of new ideas (to me anyway) for roasting vegetables, in particular carrots…
Roasted carrots are so tasty, but sometimes it takes so long to get them cooked through, that they can get almost overcooked in your attempts to roast them. When I read this tip on Sally’s lovely blog, I immediately tried it and it works very well. I HIGHLY recommend that you try it out, with carrots and other dense vegetables, particularly root vegetables.
Once you’ve tried that, try this…this is a tip from Jamie Oliver, so it must be good mustn’t it?!
Two tips I highly recommend, and great for me to learn new ideas for roasting vegetables – and I thought I knew them all!