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.

 

 

Lemon, Blueberry and White Chocolate Tray Bake

Hi everybody,

I was really craving baking today. I hadn’t baked anything for a while but it is World Baking Day today so I felt I had to.

I once made a lemon and blueberry flapjack thing years ago and I hadn’t quite perfected the cooking style as it had a total soggy bottom, Mary Berry would put me in the kitchen corner of shame for sure. But, despite the soggy bottom, the flavours were divine.

So because I had some sad looking lemons, frozen blueberries and white chocolate chips I decided to make this today.

My white chocolate chips were mixed in a general jar with dark and milk chocolate chips, so I painstakingly picked out all the white ones. Note for future – don’t mix. I would say use fresh blueberries for this recipe. Using frozen will give you a definite soggy bottom, and no one wants to piss off Mary Berry.

INGREDIENTS

100G white chocolate (chips or a bar broken into pieces)

Grated zest of 2 lemons

200g blueberries

200g plain flour

1.5 tea spoons of baking powder

250g butter

200g sugar

3 eggs, beaten

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4

Grease a baking tin

Cream the butter and sugar together

Add the beaten eggs and combine

Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mix

Add the lemon zest, blueberries and white chocolate

Mix all together then spoon into the greased tray

Cook for about 45 minutes on a medium shelf, or until a skewer comes out clean from the cake

Enjoy!

Bonus tip – if you have no other use for the lemons then cut them into slices and freeze them. When you next have a nice beverage like a Gin and Tonic add a frozen slice as a nice alternative to an ice cube.

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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.

 

Gooey Date Bars

This is my interpretation of a recipe I came across on the Money Saving Expert site.

I intend for these to be a post gym snack.

MAKES 16 SQUARES

INGREDIENTS

20cm x 20cm Baking Tin

250ml Water

200g Dates

180g Plain Flour

1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

180g Soft Brown Sugar

200g Porridge Oats

180g Butter

METHOD

Cook the dates in the water over a low heat until the water is evaporated and you have soft, sticky dates.

Add all the other dried ingredients (sifted) into a large mixing bowl and then add the butter and mix together (it will be quick sticky/wet).

Add the date mix and combine well.

Press down the mixture into the lined tin and then bake in the oven for around about 50 minutes on Gas Mark 5, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool and then cut into 16 squares.

These are so good that when I had one I went to The Boy and said ‘I feel sorry for you not liking dates, as these are great!’

Store Cupboard Granola (Batch Cooking)

This was inspired by a recipe in Eat Smart by Niomi Smart, which I currently have out on loan from the Library.

This recipe relegated from my cupboards my seeds, walnuts and cranberries which has freed up a lot of space.

INGREDIENTS

60ml Coconut Oil

125ml Agave Nectar

200g Porridge Oats

260g of mixed nuts, I used walnuts and pecans

60g Mixed Seeds (or seeds of your choice)

120g Dried Fruit, I used Cranberries and Prunes

METHOD 

Heat the oil and agave nectar together until melted, then set aside.

Add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until you have ‘chopped’ them into a mix of sizes.

Add the oats, nuts and seeds to a bowl and then pour over the oil/nectar mix, mix together.

Baked in the oven on Gas Mark 3 for 40 minutes/until golden and toasted.

Add the dried fruit and mix together.

Look at your depleted cupboards, smile and think ‘I need to go shopping’.

 

Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Red Lentil and Coconut Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to batch cook.

(Ok, that is not strictly true, I made 2 portions of a swede, cabbage, onion, carrot and pea soup earlier this week, but for various reasons it smelt and tasted bad, we all make mistakes).

I have decided to use up what I have in my cupboards, perhaps inspired by being stuck at home due to the snow, and I decided to tackle a bag of lentils I bought in 2017. Probably mid 2017.

I had a quick look on BBC Good Food for ideas and made this.

Note: I have divided it into 4 potions, but I think it would have been better as 3, but maybe I am greedy (I am greedy).

INGREDIENTS

150g Red Split Lentils

1 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I used frozen)

2 Gloves Garlic (I used 2 tsp of lazy garlic)

1 lovely sized tsp of Turmeric (There ain’t no party like a Turmeric party)

1.2l Vegetable Stock.

1/2 Onion, or 2 handfuls of Frozen Onion

3 ‘clumps’ (technical term, obviously) of Frozen Spinach

400ml Can of Light Coconut Milk

METHOD

Add the lentils, turmeric, ginger and garlic to a large pan and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the coconut milk, mix and then add the frozen vegetables and simmer until cooked.

Lean over the saucepan and smell your delicious soup.

When The Boy suggests you assign your coloured soup mugs to certain days of the week – e.g. Red = Monday, scoff at him, but actually think it’s a good idea.

(What colour would you guys assign to each day?)

(I would have Red = Monday, Pink = Tuesday, Green = Wednesday and Blue = Thursday)

(They only had 4 colours in the shop, poor Friday).

 

Snow Day Rolls

In South Wales on Thursday and Friday there were Red Level Weather Warnings due to the snow.

On Saturday we were running low on supplies. Well, we had plenty of ‘freezer bread’ but The Boy for some reason detests the freezer bread, he also turned his nose up at my dried milk powder, so we had to venture to the shops.

This was what greeted us in the bread aisle.

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So I made the bread rolls from the River Cottage Veg Everyday book, and I felt like I could survive anything.

The Boy liked that the house smelt of bread.

INGREDIENTS

250g Strong/Bread Flour

250g Plain Flour

1.5 Tsp of Sea Salt/Best quality salt you have

1 x 7g Sachet of Dried Fast Active Yeast

325ml Warm Water

METHOD

Measure out the flours with the salt and yeast into a bowl.

Add the water and mix to a dough.

Knead for 10 minutes until it is slightly sticky and smooth.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. (I placed it in a recently used but coolish oven).

Knock out the air and then divide into 8 roughly equal round shapes.

Place on a baking tray in a warm place (uncovered) until they have risen.

Cook in an oven at gas mark 5 for about 30 minutes.

Eat one of them immediately with butter to ‘test it’ (That is why there are 7 rolls in the photo when the recipe said 8)

Flo’s Gra-Yes-La*

*The title is my idea of humour, sorry.

I saw a lovely recipe for Granola in Gizzi Erskine’s ‘Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts’ which I have taken out of the library. The main appeal of the recipe was that it used dried apple and I had most of a bag of them left and they ‘technically’ expired…in November. So it was probably about time to use them up.

I didn’t have all the ingredients that Gizzi used, so this is my version, but I did use her cooking method, so give a clap to Miss Erskine.

If you have never heard of Gizzi Erskine, then do check her out, she has fab recipes, presented good shows on healthy eating and she responded to me on Twitter years ago, so she is nice as well.

FLO’S GRA-YES-LA

INGREDIENTS

150g Dried Apple, cut into small pieces

200g Porridge Oats

75g Pecans, cut into small pieces

100ml Honey

30ml Rapeseed Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract/vanilla bean paste

50g Mixed Seeds

25g Milled Flaxseed

1 tsp Cinnamon

METHOD

Add the cinnamon, oil, honey and vanilla extract to a bowl and slightly mix.

Add all the dried ingredients APART FROM the dried apple, and mix together.

Spread the Granola mix out across two baking trays, thinly.

Cook for 20 mins at Gas Mark 2 then add the dried apple and cook for a further 10 minutes.

TOP TIP – STERILISING JARS

Something as pretty as this shouldn’t be stored away in a tupperware, but I generally don’t use Kilner jars anymore, but wanted to for this.

I pulled the kilner jars down from the top of the cupboard where they had been for many a yonks and whilst you should always sterilise your jars, I knew it would be extra important now.

I washed the glass jars in very hot, soapy water. Then I rinsed them, placed all three in a roasting tray and when I took the granola out to cool from the oven I placed the jars in (so they were in at Gas Mark 2).

Leave inside the oven for about 20 minutes, then take out and leave to cool.

Fill with your lovely granola.

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Life Hack: Easy Peasy Omelette

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, and this isn’t really a recipe as such, and it will probably turn out everyone knows how to do it, but it is at the least food related.

I am a bit crap at making Omelettes, and sometimes I will go to the effort, but at the weekends I like to spend my time catching up on the TV I have missed during the week and can forget to eat as I normally am drinking oceans of coffee.

This is how I can have something fluffy and tasty within 3 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

A teaspoon of butter

2 eggs, beaten

15g grated cheese

2 slices of toasted bread (optional)

METHOD

Get out a measuring jug and place the butter in. Microwave briefly to melt (don’t burn)

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Mix the eggs with the cheese and add to the jug.

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Microwave for 1 minute, then give a mix.

Microwave for another minute.

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Tip out on to the toast and enjoy!