A Lesson From The Past

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Some people in various parts of the world are living in economies that are officially described as being in a recession but wherever we live, these are definitely uncertain times.  At the same time there is research showing that many 1st world nations waste up to 20% of all food purchased.  That is the equivalent of bringing home 5 bags of groceries and throwing one bag of groceries straight into the bin.

Perhaps it is time to look back to earlier generations and their ‘waste not, want not’ mentality.  Everything was used, re-used and re-fashioned until not a single thing was left.  This applied in equal measure to food, clothing, furniture and so on.

Today I want to show you how we can easily make better use of the abundant food that we have.

This morning I juiced a large carrot, 2 apples and about 1/3 of a pineapple.  I drank the juice for breakfast and saved the pulp.

Next was a 600 ml container of cream.  This was bought in January and not required for a luncheon we were hosting so it was put in the freezer.  Last weekend I thawed it to have some cream on dessert.  Only a small amount was used so today I put it in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and made butter.  I followed the description from here.  I was very pleased with the result.

2012-05-19 01I used 100g of the butter when I made pastry and this is what was left.  From about 500ml of cream I made 220g of butter and had 250ml of buttermilk.

I used the buttermilk tonight when I made a bacon and mushroom quiche for dinner.  I mixed a couple of tablespoons of milk powder into the buttermilk to make a thicker liquid for the quiche.

2012-05-19 02While the oven was on I also made a batch of muffins using the leftover fruit pulp from my juice.

2012-05-19 03I made beef curry in the slowcooker from a recipe in one of the Sally Wise cookbooks.  This is now divided into portions and frozen along with several serves of bolognaise sauce and a dish of lasagne.

2012-05-19 04Making these meals is a reminder of how we can use our own condiments.  The curry called for tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, chutney and curry powder as some of the ingredients.  I had home-made versions of all of these to use.  Some of the pasta sauce I made during the summer when tomatoes were very cheap and plentiful went into the bolognaise sauce.  The lasagne sheets were ones I had made some weeks ago and frozen.  It is great to have so many of the ingredients for meals at your fingertips and know that they have been created in your own kitchen and you know exactly what went into them.

The Duke has made our bread from bought pre-mixes for a number of years and now he is experimenting with making it from scratch.  He has the white loaf pretty well perfect but has working on getting the wholemeal loaf the way he wants it.  Here is the result of his effort today and naturally he is very pleased.

2012-05-19 05Tomorrow I plan to make lemon butter which will use our own eggs and lemons as well as some of the butter I made today.

How do you make the most of the food you have?

Pizza Bases

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Since I was at home today I took advantage of the extra time and made tortillas to use as pizza bases.  I found the recipe on Simple Savings and it is very simple.

2.5 cups of flour (I used 1/2  white and 1/2 wholemeal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup warm water (I used slightly more – probably due to the wholemeal flour)

2012-05-03 01Mix ingredients in food processer until combined.  Knead dough for 5 minutes then leave to rest for 15 minutes.  Divide into about 10 pieces and roll out thinly.  Cook in a hot pan and set aside when cooked.  Keep covered with a damp teatowel.

2012-05-03 02Here they are ready to use for pizza bases.

2012-05-03 03I was happy with the result and the pizzas were a success.  Unfortunately we were too busy preparing and eating the pizzas to stop and take photos.  Maybe another day I will remember.  We used 2 tortillas and the rest are in the freezer for another time.

Friday Favourites – Lemon Tart

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I mentioned yesterday that ‘Friday Favourites’ will only appear when there is something really special that I want to share.  This is one such recipe.

2012-04-27 01LEMON TART

1 quantity of sweet pastry.  See this previous post about making pastry, the sweet pastry recipe is towards the bottom of the page.

FILLING

2 eggs
2 lemons
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 dessertspoon butter

Separate the eggs.  Beat the egg yolks, water, juice and ring of the lemons.  Place mixture in a saucepan with the sugar and flours.  Blend carefully over a low heat until the mixture boils and thickens.  Remove from the heat.  Beat in the butter and allow to cool.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.  Spoon the mixture into the tart shell and sprinkle with coconut.  Chill.

Serve with ice-cream or cream.

NOTES:  You will have an egg white left from the pastry if you use my recipe so I usually add it to the other egg whites so I get a bit more to mix into the tart.

Filling The Freezer

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I spent yesterday afternoon in the kitchen and here are some of the results.

A batch of pastry used to make 12 mini meat pies

and 3 meal-sized pies (pastry tops only)

Trifle – using leftover sponge from when I made a Dorothy the Dinosaur cake 6 months ago.

Zucchini and carrot quiche – to use up some of the eggs we have in abundance.

Banana cake – more eggs

Lemon Delicious – eggs and lemons

It makes good economic sense do do a batch of baking while the oven is turned on.

I also made refried beans in the slow-cooker, lasagne sheets (more eggs),  spreadable butter, chopped up chillies to dehydrate them and picked 2 kg of cherry tomatoes from the neighbour’s garden.  They are now frozen waiting for me to have time to make tomato sauce.

The freezers are full and we have plenty of food for the days when I don’t have the time or energy to cook a meal from scratch.  Do you do a big cook-up in one go?

Friday Favourites – Date & Ginger Loaf

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This is my variation on a gingerbread recipe I have had for years.  It is a soft, cake-like gingerbread, not hard, biscuit-style gingerbread.  The recipe came from my mother but I do not know any more about the origin of it.

GINGERBREAD

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup treacle
1 cup hot water
2 and 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped dates

Cream the butter and sugar, add egg and beat well.  Combine water and treacle.  Combine all of the remaining ingredients except the dates.  Add the treacle mixture alternately with the dry ingredients.  Finally, mix in the dates.  Pour into a greased, lined tin.  Bake at 170 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes.

2012-02-10 02The original recipe did not have the dates in it.  This is a versatile cake as it can be served as a dessert  with custard, sweet white sauce or caramel sauce.  It is also makes a nice cake for morning tea.  I usually slice it and add to our packed lunches.

2012-02-10 03

A Chilli Kind of Day

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I went down to the garden this morning to pick the bell chillies. Here they are ready for me to slice and de-seed them.

2012-02-04 01While I was picking them I noticed the other chilli bush which I call Birdseye chillies.  I have never picked or used them as I am sure they would be too hot.  The bush looks pretty in the garden, especially as the chillies ripen.

2012-02-04 02Here is the bush after I had picked most of the red ones.  I decided to check Google and see if I could make Tabasco sauce as I knew I was getting to the point where I would need to buy some more.  Sure enough, there are dozens of recipes on the internet so I decided to try it.  From the photos I saw on the internet my bush is what are called tabasco chillies in the USA.

First I covered my hands with a couple of bread bags and secured them with rubber bands.

2012-02-04 03Then I set to work.

2012-02-04 04Here are 4 trays of sliced and de-seeded bell chillies ready to go in the dehydrator.  Once they are dried I will be grinding them to make chilli powder.

I adapted a couple of recipes I found for the tabasco sauce and this is my version.

TABASCO SAUCE

150g of hot chillies
2/3 cup white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup white vinegar, extra

2012-02-04 05Chop the chillies (including seeds) roughly (I actually put them in whole), place in a small saucepan with vinegar and salt.  Bring to the boil, simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Blend until smooth.  Add another 2/3 cup vinegar and combine.  Press through a fine strainer.  Discard the residue.  Pour liquid into sterilised bottles.  Store for 2 weeks before use.

2012-02-04 06WARNING:  THIS IS VERY HOT!!

Friday Favourites – Tuna Patties

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I posted a comment on this post at Frugal Downunder this morning and promised that I would do my Tuna Pattie recipe for Friday Favourites this week

TUNA PATTIES

425g can of tuna
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Black pepper

Drain and flake the tuna.  Place in a bowl with other ingredients and combine thoroughly.  Form into patties, dust lightly with flour and fry in a little oil.

Drain and serve with salad or steamed vegetables.

HINTS & MODIFICATIONS

I have tried all sorts of variations when making these patties but find that the combination of potato and rice provides the best binding agent.

I use arborio rice but any shortgrain rice which is well-cooked should work.  Do not add any milk or butter when mashing the potatoes.  The quantities are fairly flexible depending on how far you are trying stretch a tin of tuna.

I freeze these patties and they make a quick and easy meal when you are pushed for time.

You can vary them by using salmon or any freshly cooked fish.  I have made them using leftover poached salmon and they were really delicious.  Seasoning can be adjusted to suit – I have used lime juice, celery salt and French mustard at various times.  You are limited only by your imagination.

I do not have any photos to go along with this post but I do hope you are inspired to experiment with this very basic recipe.