Category Archives: Food

Woolton Pie

No, M'Lord, that's where I wash me smalls!

Woolton Pie was created in 1941 at The Savoy Hotel in London and was named after Lord Woolton who was head of The Ministry of Food.

It can be made with just about any vegetables that you have to hand; fresh bought, leftovers, odds and ends, roasted veg, frozen mixed veg. – the decision is yours.  This recipe is about as Wartime Housewife as it gets, using all the elements of  leftovers, using what you have in the fridge or cupboard, and is very, very cheap.

The basic elements are:
Mixed vegetables
A sauce
A topping of pastry, crumble or potatoes – mashed or sliced

WOOLTON PIE

Utensils:
A deep-sided pie dish or casserole

Ingredients:
*   Mixed vegetables cut into similar shapes if possible eg julienne strips or cubes
*   White sauce flavoured with cheese or herbs or both (see HERE for recipe)
*   A quantity of shortcrust pastry OR mashed potato OR sliced potatoes
OR savoury crumble mix (see HERE for crumble recipe)
*   Beaten egg to glaze pastry or grated cheese and butter for the potatoes

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 / 5 / 190
If using fresh vegetables, steam them very lightly until they are just cooked
Put the vegetables into the dish
Pour over the sauce
Top with mash, sliced potatoes, crumble mixture or pastry
Top potatoes with grated cheese or brush the pastry with beaten egg
Bake in the oven until whichever top you’ve used is golden brown

 

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Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard

Children’s Lunch Boxes – a cheap lunch option for the grown-ups as well

There was a pear but we eated it

Sometimes when I’ve been out shopping, I need to have lunch, I don’t want very much, I don’t need sophisticated but I need to stop feeling hungry.

The Wartime Housewife presents The Children’s Lunchbox.

This is not nearly as ghastly as you might think and many shops have caught on to the healthy options thing for children as well.  The children’s lunch box usually allows you to choose five or six items from quite a wide selection so you can be as healthy as you like.

Choices are usually a simple sandwich (often on wholemeal bread), crisps, fruit, cheese, raisins, yoghurt or fromage frais, a drink which is often fruit juice and a small chocolate bar.  The smarter the shop, the smarter the choices; for example John Lewis has a huge range which includes Pomme Bears (hurrah!), yoghurt or chocolate covered raisins and slightly more interesting fruit.

I have sampled the lunch boxes in cafes at supermarkets, department stores and garden centres for the purposes of this article and have found most of them to be of a high standard and very reasonably priced.  A lunch box rarely breaks the £4.00 barrier (and is usually much less) so is excellent value.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, John Lewis was easily the best, using quality ingredients, wholemeal bread with a generous amount of filling, and appealing choices.  ASDA was the worst, insisting on using white bread, cheap sugary drinks and boring fruit.  The rest were pretty good, with independent garden centres nearing the top.

And the best thing is that you always, always get a little packet of crayons and a colouring-in sheet.  How therapeutic.

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Filed under Food, Slider

Vampires – a Practical Guide

Vampire by Edward Burne Jones

Imagine you are a vampire hunter on the trail of a beautiful young girl who has just been taken by the evil yet strangely alluring Count Dracula and you have ventured into the family crypt to release her from her terrible curse and allow you and your family to sleep at night without a string of pungent alliums and a sharpened piece of two b’four.

The vampire appears!!!! Aarrghghg! You dive into your bag for the acknowledged accoutrements of vampire slaying; garlic, wooden stake, crucifix … when suddenly you remember that you’re Jewish.  What do you wave at the advancing fanged predator?

I’m sorry to say that this is a situation that has been vexing me for some months now, so I did the only thing possible.  Some research.

Vampire legends go much further back than one might imagine, although the word ‘vampire’ only really came into common usage in the 18th century and comes originally from Serbia.

Lilith - first wife of Adam

Mysterious creatures of the shadows who feast off the living exist in the myths and legends of nearly every culture around the world.  Early Hebrew writings describe a winged demon  with the body of a woman and talons like an owl.  Her name was Lilith and she was the first wife of Adam and, as she was created from the same earth as him, she believed herself to be his equal.  But she refused to be submissive, so God banished her to the realm of demons after which she was believed to devour infants and small children, seduce men, steal their semen and then drink the blood of her victims.  She vowed to feed off the children of Adam i.e. humans, forever.  Without Lilith there would be no vampires.

This type of vampire is called an estrie and the only way to make sure she stays dead is to stop up her mouth with earth.  Estries don’t always attack in obvious ways and they would sit on hands or fingers, waiting for the person to rub their eyes or mouth and they could then enter the body.  To prevent an attack by vampires, Jews would place a bowl of water at the side of the bed to wash their hands before walking, thus preventing invasion.

Vampire legends appear all over the world and it occurs to me that the form which the creature takes tells us something about the psyche of the region.  Often the vampire will appear in the guise of a beautiful woman in order to gain access to its prey whilst others present as monsters, animal forms or pallid and degenerate replicas of humans.  They are often shape-shifters which adds another layer of fear as the vampire hunter may not even know what he’s looking for.

Vampires legends in brief:

China - Chiang-shih

China – Chiang Shi:  A recently deceased corpse who becomes possessed by a demon, covered with white or green hair, with long claws, teeth, glowing red eyes and lethal halitosis.  It can fly and  change into a wolf.  Repelled by garlic, salt and rice.  Killed by a bullet or thunder.

Japan - Gaki

Japan – Gaki:  Pale-skinned, cold and hollow-eyed blood drinkers.  Can shape-shift, impersonate humans and possibly go invisible.

Philippines – Aswang: Beautiful woman by day, tubular-tongued blood drinker by night.  Prefers children and after eating them, its belly swells and it flies home and breastfeeds its own children with the blood.

India - Rakshasa

India – Rakshasa: If a child is forced to eat human brains it becomes a Rakshasa who then needs human blood.  Again a shape-shifter, sometime a beautiful human, sometimes animal.  It lurks in trees to spy out its victims and if you so much as stray into its territory you will become seriously ill.

Ireland - Leahaun-shee

Ireland – Dearg-Due: This ancient vampire goes all the way back to the Celts.   The only way to stop it is to pile stones on the grave if you suspect the incumbent might be a vampire.
The Irish  also have the Leahaun-shee who is not technically a vampire but is vampiric in nature.  A beautiful woman, she lures young men under her spell  and then effectively shags them to death.  I’ve known women like that.

Scotland – BaoBahan-sith: is similar to the Leahaun-shee but is always dressed in green.

Germany – Doppelsauger: In the Slavic region of northern Germany, the Wends believed that once a baby was weaned, if it was breastfed again it would turn into a vampire.  It would eat the breast and take the life force of the mother.

Africa: the Africans are generally terribly keen on vampire stories and have Asanbosam, Adze, Impundulu and Ramanga to name but a few. The Ramanga is my personal favourite because it not only drinks blood but eats the toe nail clippings of nobles. Now that is truly horrible.

The Americas are awash with stories because they have the varied cultures of French and African Voodoo, the West Indies and South America as well.  Their monsters are often female and often corruptly sexual in nature.  The Chupacapra of Mexico/Puerto Rico is particularly well known as a creature that eats the flesh and drinks the blood of domesticated animals.

Isn’t it interesting how often these creatures are female and involve breasts and babies?  Is it at all possible that some of these stories emerged in cultures who were terrified and mystified in equal measure of blood, women, childbirth, breast feeding and women’s perceived power to enchant and ensnare?

Nosferatu

Modern Vampires

Although vampires have appeared in fiction and poetry since the 1700s, it was Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ which changed the depiction of vampires into elegant, sophisticated and desirable beings with their romantic suggestions of virginity, sex, blood and death.

Now, of course, vampires are all the rage with ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and the ‘Twilight Saga’ and psychologists think that this has come about through a combination of the modern fascination and pre-occupation with sex and the enduring terror of our own mortality.

But what’s really interesting is that every so often, present day societies will still become convinced that vampires are among them, these hysterics often emerging at times of terrible political or economic turbulence.

In 1970 it was rumoured that a vampire haunted Highgate Cemetery in London which a local man claimed to have exorcised and even that he destroyed a ‘nest’ of vampires in the area.
In 2002 stories of vampire attacks swept through Malawi in Africa which culminated in one individual being stoned to death and four others being attacked, one of whom was the Governor who was believed to be colluding with the undead.
In 2004 a Romanian family feared that their dead relative had become a vampire so they sensibly dug up his corpse, ripped out his heart, burnt it, mixed the ashes with water and drank it.

Clearly vampires are everywhere so, in true Wartime Housewife style, here are my top tips for repelling or killing these modern-day, blood-sucking hooligans.

How do you know if a grave contains a vampire? Get a virgin boy to ride over the grave, naked and bareback on a virgin stallion.  When the horse stops at a grave and won’t move forward, there’s your vampire.

Preventative Measures: Garlic, nailing clothes to coffin walls, do not invite them in to your house (no really, don’t), religious symbols* made of silver, mustard seed, wolfsbane, mirrors will sometimes repel.

Killing a vampire: sunlight, a wooden stake through the heart, preferably made of aspen or hawthorne (although this might just immobilise it), decapitation (dead cert), total immersion in running water or fire, drinking the blood of the dead, a silver bullet or knife, holy water, nail its coffin shut with silver nails.

* In order to bring this fascinating subject back to the beginning, religious symbols are a relatively modern method of protection.  The Catholic church decided that they, and only they, had the power to kill vampires and this is where the idea that a cross would repel these beasts but only, only mind you, if it was held by a true believer.  Presumably the unbelievers deserved to die. They also had the monopoly on holy water which should be thrown directly onto the vampire in question.

If you are at all worried, please feel free to contact this website for further advice.  And consider adding silver nails, sharpened sticks and a small phial of holy water to your DIY kit.  The rest, as one would expect, are probably Storecupboard Ingredients.

Christopher Lee - that's more like it

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Filed under Religion, Slider, Storecupboard

I ran out of time…

I believe I may be very cute indeed

I had such a lovely post lined up for you today but the day ran away with my.  I spent all morning working on … well working on something, then I spent an hour doing paperwork, followed by lunch (Boy the Elder is still on half term) then some work on the post.  Except that I have just taken delivery of a new vacuum cleaner which needed building, which BTE did with great skill, so I had to try it out as I haven’t been able to vacuum for two weeks. In the middle of that I got a ‘phone call from a friend who was trying to organise a meeting point for the children to do some Halloween stuff, except that Boy the Younger had Cubs first and I had to sort out some stuff for him so he could get his IT badge and then I remembered that I needed another pumpkin to make a big pot of soup for us all.  But the pumpkins were all gorn so I had to use a butternut squash which took twice as long because Boy the Elder wanted it to make another lantern. I was going to write the article when BTY got home from school and then, while he was at cubs, make the soup.  Except that Cubs was cancelled at the last minute so we had to re-arrange the entertainment and abandon the article in favour of the soup.  By the time we got back it was time for ‘Doc Martin’ and now I have a splitting headache and I’m afraid I shall have to retire to my bed.

Sorry.

However, if you click on the link above, you will find three recipes for pumpkin as you’re bound to have some left or be able to pick up some post-Halloween bargains.

4 Comments

Filed under Children, Food, Leftovers, Life in general, Recipes, Seasonal

Bread Pudding recipe with Suet

I have had a few requests for a wartime recipe for Bread Pudding which uses suet, so here it is.
As it is a wartime recipe, you’ll find it’s a little lighter on the fruit and sugar than my earlier recipe, but there is a war on… somewhere.
This recipe serves 6 apparently

I'm afraid I don't have a photograph of this particular bread pudding, so here is a picture of Princess Margaret for you to enjoy instead

BREAD PUDDING WITH SUET

Utensils:
1 x medium bowl
1 x ovenproof dish or a basin for steaming

Ingredients:
8oz / 250g stale bread
a little cold water
2oz / 60g grated suet
1oz / 30g sugar
1 tablespoon marmalade
2oz / 60g dried fruit
1 egg
Milk to mix
a little ground cinnamon

Method:
Put the bread into the basin and add the water
Leave for 15 minutes then squeeze dry with your hands – discard the liquid
Put the bread back into the bowl and add all the other ingredients
Add milk a little at a time until you achieve a sticky consistency
Grease the dish or bowl
If baking, put the dish into an oven preheated to 140 / 1 / 275
Bake for 1 ½ hours
If steaming, steam for 2 hours
Remove from the oven or steamer and allow to rest and cool for 15 minutes
Serve with custard or cream
If there is a war on, you might consider condensed milk as an alternative

23 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

Local meat producers and Waterloo Cottage Farm

British Saddleback

Before the Shire Book of the Month, currently Pigs, changes, I want to tell you about a local meat producer called Waterloo Cottage Farm and the important role that small producers have in selling good meat from happy animals.

Meat is expensive and so it should be.  To produce good meat takes time, through slow fattening on the right kind of food, fresh air and exercise for the animals, slaughter in the least stressful way possible followed by a decent period of hanging before it finally arrives in your kitchen.

With this in mind, I visited local producer Waterloo Cottage Farm in Great Oxenden, Northamptonshire and was given a tour of the farm by owner, Kirsty Clarke.  We met in the light, cool shop, where a mouth-watering array of meat and produce was displayed.  After a brief chat about what I wanted to see, I was taken out through the back door to the business end of the enterprise.

Glorious Pig

I was confronted by lots of open pens, with several different types of pigs enjoying the sunshine.  I was wearing a long skirt and strappy sandals, so I tucked my skirt into my knickers and prepared to meet the pigs and what a gorgeous crew they were.  I have a big soft spot for pigs at the best of times, but being able to climb into the pens and actually scratch them and talk to them was a treat indeed.

Happy Pig

Saddleback Piglets

And Kirsty did indeed talk to her pigs and her care and enthusiasm for the creatures came across loud and clear.  The farm has a herd of British Saddlebacks which are allowed to mature fully in the fields and woods which surround Waterloo Farm, as well as Petrans and Ginger Durocs.  I became extremely soppy when she introduced me to the piglets who were running and rolling with their mother in the straw.

The Clarkes also have lamb and hogget, chickens, ducks and geese and they select beef and veal from local farms who also use traditional breeds.  All the animals have something in common.  They are all reared using traditional, sustainable farming methods which work with nature, not against it.  The animals are free to lead full, natural lives on healthy soil and fed on natural, local feed and the pigs are slow grown until they are 9-10 months which is a significantly longer life than an intensively bred animal. The barley comes from the farmer next door and the slaughterhouse is only nine miles away, the animals being accompanied there in a quiet and unstressed way which is better for the animal and better for the resulting meat.

Looking at the meat in the shop is a very different experience to browsing the chiller aisles in the supermarket.  The meat is darker in colour and more wholesome-looking than perhaps we’re used to and the bacon and sausages sit in great piles, pleading with you to take them home.  The bacon and hams are cured on the premises and their master butcher produces fresh piles of traditional and artisan varieties of sausages every day.

I bought some bacon and something I haven’t eaten for over thirty years – veal.  I have deliberately avoided veal because of the unspeakable practice of veal crating, but with the sure knowledge that the animal that provided this had been happy, healthy and natural, I took a chop home and had it for my supper.

My veal in the shop

I can honestly say that I’ve never tasted meat like it; it was tender, sweet and juicy and so flavourful I could have wept.  I also had some of their dry cured bacon for my breakfast the following morning and, apart from the taste, the most obvious difference was visual.  No white scum stickily coating the bottom of your frying pan here, and two rashers and a couple of fried eggs was distinctly more filling that the abominable mid-range stuff you buy at the supermarket.

Local producers do an incredible job of farming.  Not only do they help to preserve the rare breeds but they also help to preserve the very land on which they’re reared because of the sustainable ways in which they farm.  The meat hasn’t travelled huge distances and is therefore beneficial to the environment in a wider sense.  They are also firm protagonists of old skills such as proper butchery and artisan methods of preparation and, because of the renewed interest in this kind of food, many farms  are taking on apprentices.  Waterloo Cottage Farm also runs meat craft courses to encourage you to get the best out of their meat.

We must support these local producers in their endeavours by shopping with them whenever we can.  I have said it before and I will keep saying it until you do as you’re told; eat less, eat better.  Learn how to use to meat to get the best out of it and, I am convinced that properly reared, slow grown meat actually fills you up more so you don’t need as much of it.  Eat less, eat better.  It’s better for all of us.

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Filed under Animals, Ethics, Food, Livestock, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Regional, Slider

The Fastest Cheesecake in the West

Yes, there is such thing as an emergency cheesecake, sometimes cheesecake is the only thing that will do.  Such it was on Saturday night – we wanted cheesecake and we wanted it fast.  You can use anything you have to flavour or decorate it; grated lemon or orange rind, grated chocolate, tinned fruit, fresh fruit, ginger, even a little peppermint then decorate it with After Eights.

If you don’t have a mini-chopper, biscuits can be crumbed by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and assaulting them with a rolling pin. You could write the name of your least favourite politician on the bag before you start thumping it.  You get everything here – recipes, therapy…

This is how I made it using things I had in the cupboard.

THE FASTEST CHEESECAKE IN THE WEST

Utensils
:
1 x 7” flan dish
1 x mini chopper
1 x electric whisk
1 x medium saucepan

Ingredients:
3oz / 90g butter
4oz / 120g digestive or ginger biscuits – reduced to breadcrumbs in the mini chopper
8oz / 240g cream cheese
¼ pint / 150ml double cream – whipped
1 egg white – whisked to soft peaks
2oz icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Something nice to put on the top.  I had nothing so I used a bit of raspberry sauce although jam or cranberry would have worked as well

Method:
Melt the butter in a saucepan
Add the pulverised biscuits and blend well
Grease the flan dish and press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom
Place in the fridge to chill
Fold the icing sugar gently into the egg whites
Fold the cream gently into that, then
Fold the cream cheese and vanilla extract gently into that
Spoon the cheese mixture onto the flan base
Decorate the top if you have anything
Return to the fridge until needed

Total time from fridge to gaping maw – 15 minutes

5 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

Seafood in Dill Cream Sauce with Black Spaghetti

I found a packet of black spaghetti in my excellent local farm shop, and I pounced upon it with great enthusiasm.  Black pasta is dyed with squid ink which gives it a very faint fishy flavour, an ideal and dramatic complement to a fish sauce.

I wanted to use crayfish for this recipe but there was none to be found, nor lobster neither, which would have been a lovely treat, so I settled for king prawns instead which is still a treat.

This dish needs to be served really freshly cooked so that nothing goes soggy,  so prepare the ingredients before you start cooking.

SEAFOOD IN DILL CREAM SAUCE WITH BLACK SPAGHETTI

Seafood in cream dill sauce with black spaghetti

Utensils:
1 x large pan for the spaghetti
1 x medium pan for the sauce
1 x small pan for the courgettes

Ingredients:
8-10oz / 240-300g Black Spaghetti
2oz / 60g Butter
1 x small onion – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 small Courgettes – cut into fine Julienne strips (skin on for colour and texture)
4 floz / 125ml White wine
4floz / 125ml Cream
3 ½ oz/ 100g Cream Cheese
½ tablespoon fresh Dill – finely chopped
4-6oz / 120-180g Prawns / crayfish / lobster – cooked

Method:
Cook the spaghetti as per instructions – probably about ten minutes
Melt the butter in the small pan
Add the courgettes and cook briefly until just cooked through.
Drain the butter off into the medium saucepan and keep the courgettes warm
Add the onion and garlic and cook on a medium heat until just soft
Add the wine and cook on a high heat to reduce down just slightly
Add the cream and whisk for one minute
Add the cream cheese and dill and whisk for one minute
Add the shellfish and courgettes and cook until everything is hot
Season to taste and serve on top of the hot, black spaghetti

4 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Food, Recipes

The body knows what it needs

One of my very own lymphocytes taken using a Box Brownie. Incidentally I was delighted to discover that when I downloaded this image my computer 'scanned it for viruses'

I do think that often our bodies know what food they need and sometimes crave something that will rectify a deficiency.  A yearning for milk or nuts or oranges can be an instinctive way of topping up our minerals, Vitamin C, salt or protein.  A craving for chocolate and Richard Armitage is a sure sign of the body’s need for endorphins. I expect.

Last week both the boys had three days off school with diarrhoea and vomiting. Boy the Elder vomited occasionally but loitered palely on the sofa with a volume of Keats and a lace handkerchief, whilst Boy the Younger positioned himself on the lavatory with a bucket between his knees.

I rarely get actual symptoms of anything, but feel like death as my body goes into battle with whichever primordial set of viruses the boys bring home, probably generously donated by the parents who refuse to let their children stay at home when they’re poorly.

This week, I was clearly not only awash with lymphocytes but I had also run out of my migraine tablets.  This resulted in my spending all of Sunday night, and most of Monday, moaning in pain as the rainbow triangles darted in front of my eyes whilst trying to decide whether I was going to vomit because of the virus or the migraine and whether the stomach cramps were going to confine me to the bathroom indefinitely.

As it was, I was spared the bog and bucket fandango, and the application of boiling hot water bottles to the back of my neck and head alleviated the migraine sufficiently for me to drive the boys to school.

However, it is now Tuesday night and, although I was fine this morning, I was obliged to lie down for an hour before Scouts to re-charge as the nausea had set in again.  My giblets were gurgling and rumbling like a dysfunctional lava lamp and I felt as though I needed to eat something to appease the God of Wind.

As I collected Boy the Elder from Scouts, I was handed a small piece of apple cake which they had made during the session.  The smell of freshly cooked apple called to me, the light, fragrant sponge sang to me and I knew that the only thing that would make me better was a piece of apple sponge and custard.

I ran into the Co-op, grabbed an Eve’s Pudding for One and a tin of Ambrosia Custard, shoved it into the microwave and chowed it down.

I am cured.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  You’re never alone with custard.

6 Comments

Filed under Food, Health and Fitness, Nutrition & Sensible Eating

Joy of Soup

Red Winter Soup

One of the lovely things about the darker nights and colder weather is that home-made soup is on the menu more often.

Tonight we had Red Winter Soup which packed full of Vitamin C to help ward off colds.

In our local Co-op this morning I found four tins of Chestnut Puree in the bargain bucket for only 34p each so I bought them all for future use in Chestnut and Bacon Soup

Pea and Ham Soup

With root vegetables becoming seasonally cheaper, lovely lentil and vegetable soups can be recycled for days.
Make a huge pot and on Day 1 cook some chops or chicken pieces in it.  On Day 2 add some sausages and on Day 3 eat it on its own with good bread and a chunk of decent cheese.

Raid your local butcher or delicatessen and ask them for ham bones for hearty Pea and Ham Soup.

There are still patches of new nettles out there

And of course, let us not forget that Halloween is coming up.  Don’t just carve pumpkins, scoop out the flesh and use it for Pumpkin Soup.

And the beauty is that most soup can be made from Storecupboard Ingredients!   Put Soup into the ‘Search’ box for more souper recipes.

10 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Some tips on growing vegetables in pots and a gardening retrospective

This evening I was waxing lyrical to a couple of friends about the ease and virtue of growing vegetables in pots.  I love home grown vegetables but sometimes there are simply not enough hours in the day to be digging and composting, improving the soil followed by yet more digging and raking. Sometimes there is more to life than a fine tilth.

The easy and effective solution to this is to grow vegetables in pots.  One can grow practically anything in a pot and the great benefit of this type of gardening is that each pot can contain a completely different soil type to get the best out of your veg.

Carrots like poor, sandy soil, so a big pot of earth mixed with sharp sand will produce a fine crop.
Cauliflowers like rich, firm, deep soil whilst
onions and garlic will grow in practically anything as long as the soil is well-drained.
A dustbin full of soil can produce half a dozen corn on the cobs.
Beans and peas (legumes) prefer a rich, light, slightly limey soil and don’t like the cold.
If you like new potatoes with your Christmas lunch, pop a few seed potatoes in now

Even better, crop rotation is easy, as all you have to do is change pots.  I always keep a notebook in which I write details of what I’ve planted in each pot and this allows for a bit of experimentation.  It is important not to grow the same plants in the same soil as the soil will become depleted and prone to disease.

There is also much scope for companion planting as you don’t have to use up valuable veg growing space with flowers.
Simply pop a pot of marigolds next to your carrots to repel aphids and carrot root fly –
onions also repel carrot fly,
oregano fends off Cabbage White butterflies,
sage is a deterrent against flea beetles, slugs and cabbage moth
and a shotgun soon sorts out the squirrels. I jest of course – a catapault is far less ostentatious.

Give it a go and pop in a few onion sets and spuds and see how you get on.  Seed packets and small plants (sets) nearly always have clear instructions on how close plants should be and it may be that you just plant one cabbage to a pot, or a couple of seed potatoes.

Have a look at the sites below to see how I fared.

https://wartimehousewife.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/garden-update

https://wartimehousewife.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/garden-update-2

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Plants, The Garden

A delicious Sausage Stew

This is a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, easy and cheap sausage stew which is just the job for warming you up on a chilly day.  This recipe serves 6 easily and uses storecupboard ingredients.  If, as in my case, there are only 2 or 3 of you, eat the stew with the sausages on day one, then eat the rest the next day either on its own with bread and cheese or add some lamb chops, chicken legs or bits of black pudding.

SAUSAGE STEW

Utensils:
1 x large saucepan or casserole dish suitable for the hob
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
a little oil
8 good sausages
1 medium onion – chopped
1 small swede or half a big one – peeled & cubed
3 medium parsnips – peeled & cubed
3 medium carrots – chopped into chunks
2 medium potatoes – chopped into chunks (I leave the skins on)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 pint of stock – I made half beef and half chicken
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 flat tablespoon paprika
1 tin of baked beans
seasoning to taste

Method:
Heat the oil in a saucepan
Add the sausages and cooked until nicely browned
Add the onions and soften a little, adding a bit more oil if necessary
Add all the other ingredients except the baked beans
Cook on a low heat until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally (probably about ½ hour to 40 minutes)
Add the baked beans and cook for a further five minutes
Serve in big bowls

8 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Fish Cakes and Apple Crumble

Dinner last night was a pleasing combination of two old favourites.

Fish Cakes using up some leftover mashed potato and

Apple Crumble with my first gift of autumn apples

Although how such skinny boys can eat a cooked breakfast, have a two course lunch, a snack mid-afternoon and then a two course dinner is beyond me.  All height and feet I expect.

13 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Seasonal

Chicken Fritters

Tonight I needed to cook dinner, I really couldn’t be bothered and I had next to nothing in the cupboard.
But I did have half a cooked chicken and some dry goods.

I thunk and thunk and wondered what the outcome would be of making a crispy batter and shallow frying the chicken.
This is what I did and jolly nice it was too with a nice spicy aftertaste.
This serves 4 as usual.

CHICKEN FRITTERS

Dinner from bugger all

Utensils:
1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x whisk
1 x large frying pan
1 x fish slice
1 x slotted spoon
Kitchen roll / paper towel

Ingredients:
4 small chicken breasts or the equivalent cooked chicken
If using raw chicken – ¼ pint chicken stock
4oz self raising flour
½ teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ pint milk
vegetable oil for shallow frying

Method:
If using raw chicken, poach lightly in the chicken stock until cooked through and drain
Cut the chicken into chunks or strips
Put all the dry ingredients together into the bowl and blend well
Gradually whisk in the milk until it forms a thick paste
Put the chicken into the paste
Heat the oil in the frying pan until it is very hot
Fish the chicken bits out of the batter with a slotted spoon
Fry quickly in batches in the hot oil turning until the chicken is golden brown on both sides
Drain on the kitchen paper and blot to get rid of any excess oil
Serve immediately

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Filed under Food, Leftovers, Regional, Storecupboard

Black Pudding Salad with Redcurrant Sauce

I love black pudding and I’m always interested in using traditional ingredients in interesting ways.  This is what I had for my dinner on Saturday night.  It would also make a tasty starter with only one slice of black pud and less salad.

BLACK PUDDING SALAD WITH REDCURRANT SAUCE – to serve 1

Utensils:
1 x frying pan
1 small bowl or small pan
1 teaspoon or set of measuring spoons

Ingredients:
a little oil
2 slices of black pudding
1 egg
1 good handful of rocket or other dark green, slightly bitter salad leaves
2 heaped teaspoons of redcurrant jelly
a little water
2 teaspoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Method:
Place the salad leaves neatly on a plate
Place the redcurrant jelly into the pan and warm it until it has gone liquid (or use a bowl and a microwave)
Add the lime juice and balsamic vinegar to the pan and stir it in well
Add a little water to make a thick-ish pouring consistency
Fry the egg and the black pudding over a medium heat (I like the yolk to stay a bit runny)
Place the slices of black pudding on top of the salad leaves
Place the fried egg on top of the black pudding
Either drizzle the redcurrant sauce over the whole thing or leave it in a little dish to dip into
Serve

I then spoiled the whole thing by finishing off with a bowl of butterscotch Angel Delight with chopped up banana in it.  Took me right back to college days it did.

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Filed under Food, Recipes