Category Archives: Storecupboard

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

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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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

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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

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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.

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

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

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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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Banana Splits – and make ’em sticky! (with home made toffee sauce)

A banana split is a lovely pudding and you can make them as simple or exotic as you like.  The essential ingredients are a banana, some vanilla ice cream and some sauce, but you could add whipped cream, other fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or peaches and there isn’t a pudding on earth that isn’t enhanced by the judicious application of chocolate sprinkles or hundred and thousands.

Better still, you can make super fast toffee or chocolate fudge sauce in a few minutes in the microwave, out of storecupboard ingredients.   You can make it in a saucepan, but why give yourself the washing up?

It has fruit in therefore it's health food

TOFFEE SAUCE

Utensils:
1 x jug
1 x microwave

Ingredients:
1 x big knob of butter
2 generous tablespoons golden syrup
Cocoa (chocolate version only)

Method:
Melt the butter in the jug
Add the golden syrup and mix well
If you’re using cocoa, bung that in now as well
Place in the microwave on full power for 4 minutes
Remove and stir vigorously
If it’s starting to thicken take it out
If it’s still very runny give it another blast for 2 minutes
You can serve it immediately or
you can leave it for 10 minutes and it will thicken up still more
When the jug is empty fill it with cold water immediately to make it easier to wash up
Pour it attractively over your banana split and decorate as you see fit

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Boy the Younger’s Chocolate Cake

Boy the Younger had been on at me to let him make a cake for ages and, as Boy the Elder had been away at Scout Camp for the weekend, it was deemed to be the perfect time to bake something lovely for his return.

I developed this recipe some years ago and I believe it to be the best chocolate cake recipe ever.  It’s really sticky and rich and stays moist for ages It’s also fantastic if you’re making a cake in a particular shape for a special occasion as it doesn’t crumble and holds its shape well.  I have used it make an engagement cake like the one in the picture (with the original recipe post) and also to make a Yoda cake and this fiercesome dragon.

Try the recipe here.

I'm chocolatey I am

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Welsh Rabbit or is it a Rarebit?

Welsh Rarebit is one of those recipes that people mistake for cheese on toast but it is so much more than that.  Aldin’s cafe in Market Harborough makes a Welsh Rarebit that will have you weeping with joy and scraping furiously at your arteries with a teaspoon, but by Jove it’s worth it.

The dish seems to have originated in the 18th century as a tasty supper or tavern dish.  The origin of the name seems a bit hazy and ‘rarebit’ could have been a version of the word ‘rabbit’.  It may have alluded to the fact that many Welsh people were poor and rarely had meat, and rabbit was considered poor man’s meat.  It all sounds a bit tenuous to me – we always called it Welsh Rabbit at home.  And frankly, I’m so posh that when I say ‘rabbit’ it sounds like ‘rarebit’ anyway.  I also read a children’s story on The Light Programme.

WELSH RABBIT

So much more than cheese on toast

Utensils:
1 x grater
1 x heavy saucepan

Ingredients:
2oz / 60g butter
8oz / 240g Cheddar cheese – grated
½ teaspoon English mustard powder
1-2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons beer
4 slices of tasty bread – toasted

Method:
Melt the butter in the saucepan over a low heat
Stir in the cheese and mustard until melted– season to taste
If it starts to separate, add the egg yolks one at a time
Stir in the beer
Spread the mixture on the toast and pop under the grill until starting to brown nicely
Alternatively, put the toast on a plate, spread the cheese on top and brown with a kitchen blow torch

Today’s blog is dedicated to Phyllis Browning

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Easy cupcakes for any occasion

I’m not one for jumping on fashion bandwagons of any kind and I’m sure many of us having been making cupcakes or fairy cakes for as long as we can remember; what’s the big deal?

Of course, there isn’t one.  Cupcakes are simply 4442 sponge mixture with the decoration of your choice on the top.  You can take a week making sugar flowers or you can go to a decent kitchen shop and buy some, it all depends on the occasion.  Cookshops usually have a fabulous selection of ready-made decorations, food colourings, edible glitter and pearls.  You can have such fun and don’t need to be a skilled cake decorator to produce something lovely.

Boy the Younger will be 8 tomorrow, so I am sending him in with a tray of simple cupcakes to share with his school friends as he won’t be having a proper celebration until next month.  I’m going to do the same thing that I did for Boy the Elder’s birthday and take him and his chums to an English Heritage property and take a picnic.

  • I trebled the amount of mixture, doing 12 12 12 6 quantities which made 36 cakes
  • I trebled the quantities for the mock cream for the top. 
  • I tinted the mock cream with a tiny bit of pink food colouring – pastes are better than the cheap liquid stuff you get in the supermarket
  • I piped it through a wide serrated icing nozzle such as one might use to pipe mashed potato
  • I bought the sugar flowers and edible pearls from the Kitchen Range shop in Market Harborough
  • I used co-ordinating paper cases for the type of decoration I was doing

I was really pleased with these.  Unused as I am to blowing my own trumpet, I have a duty to let you know that I have a trumpet, so that you can have a go at making these yourselves.

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Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding has been around since the 11th century and is an excellent way of using up stale bread.  Nowadays, shop bought bread doesn’t go stale in the same way as home-made bread, because of the preservatives, but crusts or loaf ends sometimes get left behind, so you can use those.  I had a bag of white rolls which Boy the Elder brought back from Scout camp.  We ate a couple, but we’re not really white bread people, so they went into the bowl with some seeded, wholemeal crusts which were on the turn.

I made this yesterday evening and we had it hot for pudding with cream and then we all had a slice, cold, for breakfast.  And very nourishing it was too; bread, milk, eggs, dried fruit and not too much sugar – that’ll stick ‘em to the ground.

BREAD PUDDING

Utensils:
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x grater
1 x pair of freshly washed hands
1 x oven-proof dish, about 8×10” – buttered
Foil

Ingredients:
8oz / 240g bread
10oz / 300g dried fruit (I used raisins)
2 teaspoons mixed spice (pumpkin spice for the Colonies…)
½ pint / 300ml milk
1 large egg (or 2 bantam eggs)
3oz / 90g dark brown sugar
the grated zest of 1 orange OR lemon
3oz / 90g butter – melted
2 tablespoons demerara sugar*
a little nutmeg to taste

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 160 / 3 / 325
Tear the bread into pieces and place in the large bowl with all the other ingredients except the butter and demerara sugar
Leave to soak for 20 minutes
Mash it all up together with your hands, squeezing and squelching until it’s well mixed
Add the melted butter and stir in well
Pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish
Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and a little nutmeg
Bake for 1 ½ hours, covering with foil for the last half hour to stop it browning too much
Cut into squares and serve hot or cold

* If you haven’t got Demerara sugar, mix 1 tablespoon of white and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar together

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Home made Beef Burgers – you’ll never go back

Tonight, Boy the Elder made Beef Burgers for dinner.  They were so lovely; the boys had chips and peas with them and I had a stir fry.  We like our burgers nice and thick and still a bit pink in the middle, so we only cooked them for a few minutes on each side.  There is no need to think of burgers as unhealthy.  If you use decent minced meat they’re a good protein fix and jolly tasty too.  And, of course, lamb mince would be just as nice.  For a variation on this recipe, click here.

Beef Burger: Boy the Elder cooked it, Boy the Younger photographed it

BEEF BURGERS

 

Utensils:
1 x frying pan
Kitchen paper

Ingredients:
a little oil for frying
1 small onion – finely chopped
1 garlic clove – crushed
1lb / 480g minced beef – as good as you can afford
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 egg – beaten

Method:
Heat the oil in the frying pan and cook the onions and garlic until translucent
Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper
Mix together the beef, mustard, herbs and egg, then add the onion and garlic
Mix well with your hands
Divide the meat mixture into four and shape into patties
EITHER – Re-heat the frying pan and fry the burgers for 5 minutes on each side
(or less if you like them rare)
OR – Put a tiny bit of oil on each burger and cook them under a medium grill for the same time
Serve immediately in a bun or on their own

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Everyday Lasagne

We love lasagne and, like so much peasant cooking, you can adapt it very easily to incorporate what you have in the larder.  It is also a recipe you can make in advance, it freezes brilliantly and often tastes nicer the next day – make double and freeze half or have it again the next day.  And don’t forget – most of this is made from storecupboard ingredients

Here is a basic starting recipe.

EVERYDAY LASAGNE

Utensils:
1 x 8×10” ovenproof dish
1 x large saucepan
2 x small saucepans
2 x measuring jugs
1 x strainer
1 x grater

Ingredients for Meat Sauce (Ragu):
1 tblspn oil
½ oz/15g butter
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 medium carrot – diced
1lb / 480g minced beef
2tblspns red wine or similar
¼ pint / 150ml strong beef stock
4oz / 120g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 really heaped tablspn tomato puree
1 tspn oregano

Ingredients for White Sauce (Besciamella):
2oz / 60g butter
1 very heaped tablspn plain flour
1 pint / 600ml milk
1 bayleaf
6 peppercorns
1 pinch nutmeg

Also
6oz / 180g lasagne
3oz / 90g grated cheese or a hefty sprinkling of Parmesan

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 6 / 400
Melt the oil and butter in the large pan
Add the onions and carrots and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently
Add the mince and cook until browned
Add the wine and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated
Stir in the stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and oregano
Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes
Meanwhile make the sauce
Put the milk into a small saucepan
Put in the bayleaf, peppercorns and nutmeg and bring to the boil
Remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool for about 10 minutes
Melt the butter in a small pan until melted
Add the flour and stir briskly
Return to the heat and cook gently until thickened
Strain off the milk into a jug, discarding the peppercorns and bayleaf
Gradually add the milk to the butter and flour stirring briskly in a figure of eight motion until thickened
Put a layer of the ragu sauce on the bottom of the ovenproof dish
Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets
Then another layer of ragu and then a thin layer of the white sauce and a sprinkling of the cheese
Repeat these layers remembering to finish with a layer of white sauce sprinkled with cheese
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbling
Serve with salad or peas
Italians do not serve Lasagne with chips.

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Thrilled to the Marrow

Just as Sue at The Quince Tree has been awash with quinces, so I am awash with marrows.  I bought one from a garden gate stall and Ms Rozzer gave me three more.  Now, I like a marrow and the Aged Parent, she likes a marrow ‘n’ all, but I’m not sure about the chaps.  Boy the Elder will try anything but Boy the Younger shows unfamilial suspicion of anything he doesn’t recognise.

I decided to stuff one – a marrow, not a boy (although…) as even if it they didn’t like it, they could still eat the filling.  My ingredients are only a guideline because that is what I had in the larder and fridge.  If you don’t have these things, use something else.  One could easily leave out the mince and add more mushrooms, or use peas instead of sweetcorn – you get the picture.

I have not decided what to do with the other three.

STUFFED MARROW – serves 4 or 6 depending on the size of your marrow.  Missus.

Utensils:
1 x medium saucepan with a lid
1 x chopping board
1 x baking tray
Foil

Ingredients:
1 medium marrow – sliced in half and the seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 small or ½ large red pepper – chopped
½ lb / 240g minced beef
2 handfuls of long grain rice
1 small tin sweetcorn
1 tin kidney beans
4oz / 120g mushrooms – chopped
1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
½ pint 300ml beef stock
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp paprika
1 splash Worcester sauce
4oz Cheddar cheese – grated

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 425 / 7
Lay each marrow half on enough foil to be able to wrap it round the filling and seal it up and place on the baking tray
Heat the oil in the saucepan and add the onions, pepper and garlic.  Cook until soft.
Add the mince and cook until browned
Add everything else and stir well
Put the lid on and leave to cook through on a medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the rice is soft
If there is too much liquid, turn up the heat and cook rapidly for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until it has reduced
Divide the mixture equally between the marrows
Wrap in the foil, sealing off the edges and cook for 40 minutes

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