Things to do with leftover vegetables and fruit

Hi everyone,

I’ve been making a few things this week which I didn’t really feel were special enough to dedicate a post to on their own, so I’ve decided to combine them all in one.

I have some sad looking potatoes and onions, so by adding spinach I made these potato and spinach cakes.

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I cut about 3 big potatoes into tiny pieces, boiled them, then mashed them and left to cool. Whilst that was going on I was wilting the onion and frozen spinach in a pan with some butter, and eventually added to the mashed potato. I added a bit of wholegrain mustard and chilli, 2 slices of bread worth of breadcrumbs, and 2 eggs. I mixed them into about 7 patties, and then baked them in the oven.

I also had most of a bag of carrots looking sorry for themselves, so I made carrot, ginger and coriander soup. Just soften some onion in a pan with butter, add the carrot then add about 1 litre of vegetable stock and cook until the carrots are soft. Add some coriander and then blend and divide into four portions.

Finally, frozen yogurt.

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This was made more because I had some soy yogurt about to go off. For the banana frozen yogurt I blended 250ml of yogurt with 2 frozen bananas in a food processor, adding some cinnamon to the mix. For the strawberry frozen yogurt it was 200g frozen strawberries plus cinnamon and 250ml soy yogurt, also blended in a food processor. What I did was place them in tubs and then put them back in the freezer to go solid.

There you have it, three quick things to do with leftovers. Waste not want not!

Flo’s Nostalgia Jam Tarts

Hi everybody,

Lock down has made me appreciate a more frugal and old style way of life. I have been thinking about my grandparent’s generation a lot, they knew how to survive things. My last living grandparent is in his 90s. His kitchen is filled with old coffee jars that are used to store things like biscuits. He has a small larder which as a girl I thought was cool and as an adult I am deeply envious of.

I too reuse old coffee jars to store things. I currently have nuts, dried fruit, sugar and rice in old Kenco and Douwe Egberts jars. I find them delightful to look at and they always make me think of my Grandpa when I see them.

I first cooked with my Grandma. That’s not to say no other grandparent or parent played a part in my culinary journey, because they all did, but my earliest cooking related memory is making jam tarts with my Grandma.

This particular set of grandparents lived next door to me growing up. Now it is my Dad and Step Mum who live in my childhood home and my Grandpa is still next door. That reassures me during this time.

Since lock down started I have been craving making jam tarts. And to be clear, although I do like jam tarts from a taste point of view, my craving was to make them and remember my Grandma and my first cooking experiences.

This isn’t really a recipe, most people could make this and probably many people have a much more sophisticated recipe than me. But just in case you don’t here is mine.

INGREDIENTS

2 ‘Parts’ Plain Flour

1 ‘Part’ Butter

Jam

Flour for dusting

Butter for greasing

1 – 2 x Muffin Trays

Large circular cookie cutter

Iced/cold water

METHOD

So why parts? It is simply because you can scale up or down this recipe according to your needs. I used 130g Butter and 260g Plain Flour. This made about 17 jam tarts, though the 17th was a bit ‘rustic’ and cobbled together from scraps. If you want fewer jam tarts than half the recipe, if you want twice as many scale it up.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4

Mix the butter and flour together till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add a tablespoon of cold water one at a time, mixing the breadcrumbs together each time. It is very easy to make the dough far too wet. About 5 tablespoons was all it took to bind my dough together.

Knead the dough, then roll out. If you don’t have a rolling pin, and I didn’t for ages, then use a wine bottle.

Cut out circles using the cookie cutter then line them in the greased muffin tray.

Place one heaped teaspoon of jam in each centre. You don’t need much.

Bake in the oven for around about 12-20 minutes until golden brown. Keep checking.

LEAVE TO COOL FIRST BEFORE EATING! – Hot jam is like lava in your mouth. Don’t do it.

 

 

Vegetable Stock

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Hi everybody,

I thought I would share how I made vegetable stock, as I was originally unwilling to try and make it, which is silly.

Making vegetable stock is one of the most frugal things you can do, as mine is only ever made out of vegetable scraps and peelings that I collected over the course of a week or so.

Vegetable stock is quite forgiving, I throw quite a lot of stuff in it and it always tastes fine.

I can’t really give you an ingredients list, just if you see my photo of my freezer scrap bags you’ll see it’s just a load of carrot peelings, celery scraps, a bit of onion and sometimes potato peelings too, though these are quite starchy and there doesn’t need to be many of them.

Add scraps over the course of a week or month until you have enough to fill a ziplock freezer bag, keeping them in the freezer whilst you collect them, then when you have enough add to a pan of water (about 2 litres of water) with a couple of bay leafs and some black peppercorns.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour, skimming off any foam if necessary.

Decant into tubs/containers and either freeze or chill until needed, or use straight away to make soup or similar.

Substitute Vegan Scones

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Hi everybody,

VE Day was a bank holiday in the UK and felt like the perfect day to make scones.

Well, it would have been, but I actually made them yesterday instead.

Oh well.

I call these the substitute scones because I didn’t have any self-raising flour, so I adapted my plain flour for this. The way you do that is by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 150g of plain flour. I used 350g of plain flour so I added 4.25 teaspoons of baking powder to it.

You add the plain flour and baking powder together and then sieve them together so they are all nice and mixed.

I also made a version of vegan clotted cream that wasn’t exactly the same as regular clotted cream, but did a nice job of trying.

INGREDIENTS

350g plain flour and 4.25 teaspoons of baking powder (or 350g of self-raising flour)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g vitalite or other vegan butter/margarine

175ml oat milk

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Squeeze lemon juice

Optional – 3 table spoons of caster sugar

CLOTTED CREAM (not my recipe)

4-6 tablespoons of coconut cream (you can make this by placing a tin of coconut milk in the fridge for a couple of hours and just skim off the top once you open it), plus 50g vitalite and 75g icing sugar, all whisked together.

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7/220 degrees/200 degrees fan assisted oven

Add the prepped plain flour and baking powder together and sieve into a bowl adding the salt and extra baking powder (or self-raising if you are using).

Add the sugar if using.

Gently heat up the milk so that it is warm but not boiling, add the vanilla and the lemon juice and set aside.

Place two baking trays in the oven to warm up.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough and cut out 10 scones (more or less depending on size you want) with a round cutter.

Add to the baking tray, glaze with a little extra oat milk and cook for 10 minutes.

Prep the clotted cream as instructed above and serve the scones with that and jam.

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2 Ingredient Pizza Dough

Hi everybody,

I’ve recently joined a bunch of Facebook groups such as ‘Feed yourself for £1 a day’ and ‘Scrimping on a budget’ and I had heard about a great 2 ingredient pizza dough that was just flour and yogurt and I thought to myself that that was something I would really like to try. I’m really trying to get more into cooking during lock down, it’s not like I’m going anywhere.

Here we go

Serves 1 greedy person (me!) or 2 smaller stomachs

INGREDIENTS

2 ‘parts’ Self Raising Flour

1 ‘part’ Yogurt

So, I used cups to do the measurements and sometimes cups are really useful as measurements, but the trouble is they translate differently between wet and dry ingredients, so if you don’t have cups I would suggest trying about 120g self-raising flour and 60ml yogurt. I used soya yogurt for this recipe so don’t worry if you’re vegan and are worried it might not work because it does.

METHOD

Roll it out to desired shape. It’s a bit crumbly so I would suggest doing this on a piece of baking paper and that way you can just lift it on the baking tray.

Add your desired toppings. I had cheese, olives, anchovies, onion. Turns out I didn’t have any tomato puree so I just used a mix of ketchup and sriracha sauce. Wasn’t bad.

 

 

Store Cupboard Mango and Coconut Sponge

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As you may have gathered by now I care little for the rules given to me by a Best Before Date on a tin/jar/packet. Use by dates are different as they shouldn’t be ignored, especially in the case of meat and fish, though I have been known on some occasions to eat a vegetarian ready meal after its use by date, but do as I say not as I do! Best Before Dates are a case of using your judgment, does it smell or taste funny? Don’t use it if so, but usually a Best Before Date just means that the quality might be a little off, though tinned products rarely have this trouble. I’ve been known to use tins a year past their BBE date.

So all Best Before Dates do is prompt me into using the packets up first, so the tin of Mango in syrup in the cupboard was making me feel rather guilty. I had a think about what Mango goes with and inevitably ended up thinking about cocktails, and I had some coconut flakes in the cupboard that had also passed their BBE date, so that’s how this cake came about!

When I made this cake I used coconut flakes that I grounded up in my food processor to use, and you could do the same.

I made this cake when it was hard to get eggs due to Covid-19, so I made it vegan, but feel free to replace the oil with about 3 eggs.

Serves 8 ravenous people or 16 peckish people

INGREDIENTS

175g Vitalite Spread

175 Caster Sugar

150g Coconut Oil

325g Self-raising Flour

50g Desiccated Coconut

1 x 400g Tin of Mango Slices in Syrup

Optional – icing sugar and the syrup from the Mango

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4

Place the coconut oil in a pan and melt over a low heat, put to one side

Cream the vitalite and caster sugar together, then drain the mango tin (keeping the syrup in a bowl) and add the mango to the vitalite/sugar mix and mash together. It will looks lumpy and a little curdled, don’t worry about it.

In another bowl measure out the coconut and flour, then add to the sugar/vitalite/mango mix, then add the coconut oil

Combine well, add a little more flour if needed but it should be a wet and sticky mix

Add to a greased/lined square tin and cook for about 40 minutes, checking after 25 minutes with a skewer until it comes out clean

Optional extra – once the cake is completely cool mix the mango syrup with icing sugar (about 150g icing sugar and half the syrup or to your own desired consistency) and drizzle over the top. This will make the cake ridiculously decadent and sweet and I believe it adds something but you may prefer it without.

 

 

Chocolate Avocado and Lime Cake

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Store-cupboard Chocolate Orange Cake’ as it works on the same premise of using a jar of lime marmalade to get the bulk of the flavor. This version of the cake is not vegan, but it could easily be adapted to be vegan by replacing the egg with a flax egg, aquafaba, or some other egg substitute.

If you want to be playful with the truth, you could say this cake is almost healthy as it contains good fats from the avocado, and if you use strong dark chocolate you will get lots of nice antioxidants.

This cake came about from wondering how I could use up some leftover frozen avocado and what flavours go well with it, and then thinking about lime, and then wondering if I could throw chocolate into the mix. This is one of my favourite cakes.

INGREDIENTS

125g Avocado – either frozen defrosted or the fresh equivalent

100g Dark Chocolate – I used 85% cocoa

300g Lime Marmalade/Conserve – if all you can find is a lemon/lime mix this is fine to use and usually cheaper

150g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs, beaten

150g Self Raising Flour

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4

Cook the avocado over a low heat in a pan until soft, then add the dark chocolate and mix until melted together

Add the lime marmalade to the pan and mix until you have a sticky mess, take off the heat

In a bowl add the flour, sugar and salt, then add the egg, mix

Add the pan mix to the bowl mix and combine together

Place the mix in a greased/lined 20cm springform tin and cook for around 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out from the cake clean, this cake always seems to take longer than I expect in the oven so don’t be alarmed if it takes up to 75 mins

Cool on a rack, and then enjoy!

How to make oat milk, plus 2 uses for the leftovers

Hi everybody,

I recently had a go at making my own oat milk due to having a case of it on order and not wanting to spend any more money than I had to at the shops. I thought to myself ‘How hard can it be?’ as I heard lots of people online say it was just 2 ingredients.

It is very simple. The hardest part was setting up the sieve/muslin cloth on a jug so I could leave it.

Even though it’s only 2 ingredients I do feel it’s best to make with a lot of kitchen equipment. I used a blender, a muslin cloth, a jug, a sieve (or funnel) but I have heard lots of people say they just use a bowl and a spoon to release the ‘milk’ from the oats.

If like me you’re used to a particular barista brand of oat milk then this won’t be quite the same, but it’s good to know if you are in an oat milk pickle you can rustle up something to keep your coffee tasting nice.

OAT MILK

INGREDIENTS

200g Oats

800ml Water

This makes about 400ml of oat milk. For this I used a 17p 2 litre bottle of filtered water from my local Tesco as I thought that would make it nicer, but tap water is fine. You don’t have to use these exact measurements, you can scale up or down but the key is to keep it one part oats to four parts water.

METHOD

Add the water and oats into a blender jug and then blend for a good minute or two.

Set up a sieve and muslin cloth over a jug and pour the blender contents over, being careful not to spill or upset the sieve like I did on my first attempt. Whoops!

Leave it. You may have to come and poke it occasionally to get all the milk out but that’s about the hardest work you’ll have to do.

You will now have delicious oat milk!

But wait, that’s not all.

I’m a passionate believer in reducing food waste, and the oat pulp is not to be wasted.

Here are two things you can do with it.

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CAKE!

I made this cake with all of the oat milk pulp, about 60g of sultanas, 50g sugar, 150g self-raising flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger and a bit of vitalite greasing the cake tin. This is just one idea, you could make flapjacks from the pulp, or any other cake treat.

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OVERNIGHT OATS!

The leftover milk pulp was placed in a jug, then I added 240g frozen cherries, 90g vegan chocolate protein powder and about 150ml almond milk and mixed it all together. I divided it into three containers and that’s been my breakfast this week, this dish also contains one of your five a day!

In this time of food shortages in the supermarkets and the need to avoid leaving the house too often these are little hacks to save some pennies and spend more time indoors doing nice things for all the family like baking and cooking.

Do you have any other suggestions for oat milk pulp?

 

 

Food Prep: Black Bean Veggie Chilli

It didn’t seem fair to tell you all about prepping portions of veggie chilli in an earlier blog post if I didn’t show you what I made right?

This is a completely lazy chilli. Frozen veg, lazy garlic and lazy chilli. I only used fresh onions because I had fresh onions that needed using.

This makes 4 very generous portions

INGREDIENTS

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin black bean

120g frozen sweetcorn

120g frozen peppers

½ teaspoon lazy chilli (more if you like)

1 teaspoon lazy garlic (more if you like)

3 x onions, diced

150g Quorn mince

1 teaspoon gravy granules

Tomato puree

A ‘glug’ of red wine

Paprika, Smoked Paprika, Onion Powder, Oregano, Mild Chilli Powder – all to taste

Oil

 

METHOD

Heat the oil

Add the garlic, chilli and onion and cook gently till fragrant. Add the wine and tomato puree.

Add the Quorn mince and stir in.

Add the rest of the vegetables.

Add the herbs and spices, then add the chopped tomatoes and black beans. I like to swill out the last of the chopped tomatoes tin with a bit of water and add that in.

Simmer away for about ten minutes, add the gravy granules if it needs thickening.

Enjoy!

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Apricot, Almond and Pecan Granola (3 Step Granola)

I am ill with a cold, but luckily haven’t had any time off work ill since the end of February. I’ll take small victories where I can.

I generally have stomach issues, colds I get about once a year, so hopefully this is all I will have to put up with in 2018.

I have had trouble sleeping because The Boy has been away on a stag do and as soppy and as silly as it sounds I can’t get to sleep easily without him there. And being ill with a cold always gives me insomnia, so when I woke up at 4:50am this morning I knew attempting to get back to sleep would be futile, so I got up, watched some of the Commonwealth Games, and made Granola.

 

INGREDIENTS

350g Oats

70g Flaked Almonds

70g Pecans, chopped into small pieces

2 tsp Cinnamon

140g Dried Apricots, chopped into small pieces

250ml Honey

60ml Rapeseed Oil

METHOD

Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and then add the honey and oil.

Mix together and spread out across two baking trays as thinly as you can.

Bake in an oven at Gas Mark 4 for about 30 minutes, mixing half way through (I also like to swap the trays around the shelves)

I think this is my best granola recipe yet.