Archives

Flatbreads – 5p each (Cooking on a Bootstrap)

Cooking on a Bootstrap‘s recipe no. 2 is a beautifully simple recipe which makes eight flatbreads in well under an hour. So far have used them to dip in soup, with a bit of jam inside and as mini pizzas. All in (including electricity and washing-up costs), they come to 5p each.

DSC_0155.JPG

  • 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, teaspoon each of dried yeast, sugar and oil, and a pinch of salt.

First, warm the milk slightly in the microwave and stir in the yeast and sugar. Put the flour in a marge bowl with the salt, pour the milk mixture in and stir it all together to make a dough.

DSC_0158

Knead the dough for 10 minutes – if it’s too sticky, add more flour, if it’s too firm, add splashes of milk and knead it in. There’s a lot of flexibility in this recipe because of the way the flatbreads are cooked, so don’t worry too much about precise quantities or measurements. Let it rise with a tea-towel over for half-an-hour in a warm spot, then cut it in to eight pieces.

DSC_0163

Roll each piece flat, to about 3mm thickness and whack them in an oven at 200°C. About 10 minutes later they’re done. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, just go a bit golden-brown on top.

A couple split in half and turned into mini pizzas with a few Tesco salami slices and bit of cheese, with plus a cup of tea or coffee, makes a meal for 30p.

DSC_0164


Advertisements

Cooking on a Bootstrap – Basic White Loaf – 40p a loaf.

COOB - 1A.jpgBack to the real spirit of the blog: good food on a very tight budget. Obtained a copy of Jack Monroe’s new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, and started with recipe no. 1: “basic white” bread. The recipe is as simple as one can get, even simpler and cheaper than my previous bread post.


Cooking on a Bootstrap – Basic White Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 400 g plain white flour.
  • 1½ level teaspoons dried yeast.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 250 ml warm water.
  • Teaspoon of oil.

What to do:

COOB - 1B.jpg

Mix the flour, year and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, stirring everything together to make a dough.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Jack suggests rubbing a teaspoon of oil onto the palms of your hands first, and it does work well, stopping the fresh dough sticking to you.

COON - 1C.jpg

Let the dough rise under a tea-towel for 1 hour, then into the over at 180°C for 40 minutes.

COOB - 1C2

The result is an uncomplicated plain white loaf, which, including electricity and washing-up, cost about 40p a loaf using a mini-oven, or 4 pence per thick slice. (Baking it in a large, high wattage oven would, of course, raise the cost by 10p or more.)

COOB - 1D.jpg


 

Mango, Partridge and Pasta

 

2017-06-10 bannerAnother game dish that gets in this ‘cooking-on-a-budget blog’ on a technicality – a kind person generously donated the partridge for me to experiment with. The following recipe could also be called ‘101 things to do with a dead peasant, no.6’, as the flavour and texture of the meat of the respective species is similar.

2017-06-10 bird

The bird after cooking – as with chicken and duck, was simply dropped straight in the slow cooker and cooked in its own juices. Nothing else added.

Greedients:

  • 1 partridge.
  • 2 beef tomatoes.
  • 3 fresh medium-heat chile peppers (or a generous pinch of crushed chile).
  • Juice of ½ a lemon.
  • Flesh of ½ a mango.
  • 1 desert spoon of orange marmalade.
  • Schwartz ‘Season-All’ or any all-purpose seasoning (I like the Schwartz version because it is less salty than most).
  • Oil for cooking.
  • Pasta shells or twists ideally (or whatever there is – I used spaghetti on this occasion).

2017-06-10 greeds

Cooked the bird in my ‘slow cooker’ on high for two-and-a-half hours. Picked off the meat, examining it carefully for any dodgy-looking bits. There was enough for two or three servings. I did find it a bit of a pongy bird while cooking – needed the windows well-open

2017-06-10 meat

Surprising quantity of meat considering the small size of the bird.

Fine-diced the tomatoes and mango (discarding the tomato seeds because I don’t like the texture of them). Finely chopped the chile peppers after removing the seeds.

2017-06-10 chopped

Broke the partridge meat up well and lightly fried it in extra virgin olive oil and with a generous sprinkle of the seasoning  I know food buffs say olive oil shouldn’t be used for frying, but I like the flavour. Fried it well on a high heat so that some of the pieces of meat were going crispy at the ends.

2017-06-10 seasoned meat

Threw in the rest of the ingredients, the lemon juice and – the secret ingredient – a desert spoon of orange marmalade. Heated for a couple of minutes more to soften the tomato and mango a bit.

2017-06-10 laid

Served with quality pasta – any kind, although shells or twists would probably be better. I used wholemeal organic spaghetti on this occasion. Can be served hot or cold, and is easily reheated in the microwave. I prefer it as a chilled pasta salad straight from the fridge.

 

2017-06-10 done

I like it cold best, with a glass of fresh orange juice.

My own creation, this one, aiming for juiciness and tanginess with the ingredients to counteract the dryness and ‘seedy’ flavour of the meat. Could be done with chicken of course, or various off-cuts of meat, and makes a small amount go a longer way.

Pheasant in a Creamy-cheesy Greek Sauce with Greek Salad

banner

This is no. 5 in my ‘101 Things To Do With a Dead Pheasant‘ quest. The sauce recipe was inspired by Patra Martios at faghta-giagias.blogspot.com. (Google couldn’t translate the page very clearly, so the sauce is very much a ‘based on’ creation, plus my own version of Greek salad.)

Not one of my budget recipes. Even if made with chicken or some other bird, still pricey, although the sauce goes a long way and eeks out the limited meat yield when cooking a pheasant.

Clipboard02Pheasants were, incidentally, known by the Greeks from ancient times. Originally an Asian species, they were traditionally said to have been introduced by traders via the Black Sea city of Phasis, hence ‘Pheasant’, but they probably arrived in Europe in prehistoric times by a variety of routes.

They were imported and bred in Britain in large numbers only from about 1100 AD (although visiting Romans a millennium earlier must have been familiar with the bird and may have brought the odd one over). Today, pheasants breeds very happily in the British countryside, although the majority one sees while out are captive-bred and released for shoots – there are, amazingly, tens-of-millions released each year.

INGREDIENTS

DSC_0001 greeds.jpg

THE MEAT

  • Pheasant (or chicken / duck / goose / guinea fowl / quail / ostrich / pterodactyl / whatever), cooked, broken into small pieces and well-fried in a small amount of olive oil with a sprinkle of all-purpose seasoning.

THE SALAD

  • Tomato – any well-flavoured ones, like home-grown, cherry or beef tomatoes.
  • ½ a red onion.
  • ½ a cucumber, peeled.
  • A pepper (any colour).
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • ½ a lemon.
  • 75 g feta cheese.
  • Dried oregano.
  • Rocket.

Sliced up the tomatoes, finely chop the onion, chop up the pepper and cucumber, break the feta into rough cubes. Mix together (not too violently, or you’ll pulverize the feta) in a bowl with a fistful of rocket leaves, a splash of the olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and good pinch or oregano.

DSC_0013 salad

Put this in the fridge while you’re making the sauce.

THE SAUCE

  • 150 g of unsmoked bacon, finely chopped.
  • ½ a punnet of mushrooms.
  • 100 ml double cream.
  • 100 ml milk.
  • Good splash of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 50 g grated parmesan cheese (or the strongest hard Cheddar you can get). This costs a bit, but it is worth it for the flavour. Don’t buy cheap or powdered Parmesan, it tastes horrible.
  • Ground black pepper.
  • Cornflour.

Finely chop and fry the bacon.

DSC_0005 bacon.jpg

Thin-slice and cook the mushrooms on a moderate heat until all the moisture has bubble off – no oil needed, just let them bubble away in a non-stick frying pan until (almost) all the water has boiled/steamed off. They’ll reduce down to about ¼ of their original volume and have a rich flavour.

DSC_0006 rooms.jpg

Put the bacon, mushrooms and everything else together in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring slowly, to melt the cheese in. Add a heaped desert spoon of cornflour until it is a moderately thick sauce consistency. If it goes too thick, stir in some more milk.

DSC_0016 sauce

Fry a small handful of the meat with a dollop of the sauce.

DSC_0027 mix in pan

On one side of the plate make a bed of rocket leaves, putting the meat/sauce mix on top, with the Greek salad on the other side.

gif-greek-pheasant

Happy to say the whole thing turned out well. Most delicious. The sauce, if thick enough, can also be used as a toast topping.

Pheasant Burgerwich and Sweet Potato Fries

banner-pheasant-fries

Not a budget recipe. I was generously given a couple of pheasants to experiment with and this is the result, no. 3 in my list of 101 things to do with a dead pheasantpheasant burgerwiches.

The issue with pheasant is that it is a dry, dense meat with a sort of meaty, slightly liver-like flavour, so needs something to capitalise on these qualities. A burgerwich with home-made ketchup and sweet potato fries seemed to fit the bill.

dsc_0005

The two birds happened to weigh 1 kg together. After cooking there was 300 g of meat, i.e. a yield of 30% meat per uncooked weight.

Cooked the pheasant and picked off the meat. Could have roasted it (expensively) in the oven, but I used the magical slow cooker – it cooks using no more energy than a light bulb, costing pennies rather than pounds – on ‘low’ for six hours overnight.

dsc_0001

Broke the meat into small pieces (not too small or it turns into crumbs) and fried it in light olive oil with a good shake of all-purpose seasoning, just long enough for the meat to start browning a bit.

dsc_0004

For the fries, I peeled a sweet potato (if they’re really smooth, you can just scrub them to get the dirt off) and cut it into thin fries – need a good-sized, heavy knife for this.

dsc_0018

Tossed them in a bowl with a bit of oil and more all-purpose seasoning (just salt and pepper will do if you haven’t got that) and roasted them for 30 minutes at 175°C – different ovens will need different times – just long enough for some of them to start browning or singeing at the ends.

For the burgerwich I used lightly toasted buttered bread, with a layers of salad, home-made tomato and onion relish, meat, more relish and salad.

pheasant-burger.gif

The result was fine, athough having consumed a kilo of sweet potato fries while testing cooking times, the novelty was wearing off and I was craving normal fries again.

dsc_0017-99

Have different plans for the second pheasant … watch this space.

Experimental Tomato & Onion Relish

In preparation for something to spice up burgers, had a go at some home-made relish/ketchup, but it is very much a work in progress – would welcome any suggestions.

dsc_0029

  • A tin of chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 finely-chopped onion
  • 100 g chopped up pickled gherkins.
  • 1 garlic clove fine-chopped.
  • 75 ml spirit vinegar. (White wine vinegar probably better, but I’m allergic to the sulphite preservative in it.)
  • Teaspoon of sugar.
  • Flat teaspoon each of coriander, mace and paprika
  • Half a level teaspoon of Tabasco sauce

Soft-fried the onion with the garlic, put everything in a pot and simmered it for half-an-hour, then whizzed it smooth with a hand blender. Smelled pretty pungent during the simmering, but the final product was not unpleasant. Going to use it in my next recipe: pheasant burgerwiches.

dsc_0030

These ingredients made enough to fill a 400 ml jar.

Mushroon Chasseur Risotto (72p)

Just found a couple more old. Here’s the first, to be followed shortly by Jack’s signature Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Burger. That will be the last for now, I promise.


Facebook post 12 Oct 2016.

2016-10-12-risotto-banner

Based on the Cooking on a Bootstrap recipe.

Chasseur, I learned from Wikipedia, is a thick sauce, typically made of mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, with a sprinkle of mixed herbs, served in generous amounts with meat dishes (‘hunters’ meats, like rabbit, pheasant, venison, etc.), or these days with rice, mashed potatoes or cous cous – what a bunch of wimps we’ve become!

I began with:half a punnet of mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves, 1 onion, a chicken stock cube and a big pinch of mixed herbs.

2016-10-12-risotto1

2016-10-12-risotto2

The onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms went in put into a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil, at first on a high heat for 5 minutes to soften the onion. Then in went the tomatoes, herbs and crumbled stock cube. (Also 100ml red wine theoretically, but I’m allergic to the sulphites in wine so I added just water – I wanted to taste the dish without the wine anyway.)

2016-10-12-risotto3

Jack’s recipe left it at that, but this looked more like lumpy soup than solid food, so after 40 minutes I threw in 100g long-grain rice to turn it into a risotto – it needed constant stirring for 20 minutes and quite a bit of extra hot water from the kettle to stop it going solid as the rice absorbed the juices. Served with one of my plus-sized slices of bread with butter, it was VERY filling.

2016-10-12-risotto4

A real ‘winter warmer’. There was enough for four servings. The costing is a little complicated – adding for electricity, including re-heating for future meals, washing up, bread, butter and a cup of Earl Grey, something like 72 pence a meal..