During isolation I’ve been making lunch for my housemates. It gives me a break away from work and has also meant I’ve finally nailed soup-making! This one is so incredibly warming; sweet, spicy and creamy from the potatoes. The secret is the dollop of mango chutney which takes the harshness away from the spices.
If you find yourself with a couple of old apples about your person plus some store-cupboard staples like sugar and flour an egg and some other bits and bobs and find yourself in the mood to bake, please do try these. The best thing about them is the crunchy topping which sets them apart from normal muffins and they make your kitchen smell lush.
Ok maybe its a bit of a stretch to call this Malaysian, but it is really delicious and flexible, you can throw in almost anything leftover meat or veg you have in the cupboard. Good with any leftover sausages or mince meat that you have.
This is my favourite thing to make whenever I have Aubergines. You do need a good few staples such as Miso and sesame oil, but if you are ok to invest in them do – they will last forever and once you’ve made this, you’ll want to make it again in the future.
I am a big BIG fan of my freezer and there are a few things I feel i’m constantly encouraging people to freeze to make their lives easier and reduce waste. Here are the top 5.
Before I started doing this I would never get through a whole bunch of fresh herbs and end up throwing half a bunch away always. I haven’t met a type of herb that doesn’t respond really well to being frozen so now I always take the time to chop and freeze all fresh herbs the day i buy them to ensure nothing is wasted. Extra tip: add a couple of frozen mint leaves to your tea to cool it down and give it a nice flavour.
2. Bread and breadcrumbs
I almost always make toast from frozen sliced bread now so it doesn’t go off before I eat it. I’m so into it that I also freeze sliced bagels, english muffins and crumpets and toast them straight from frozen. The king of them all though is breadcrumbs. If you do ever get round to blitzing up your stale bread in the food processor like Jamie Olive does, or like I do beat up stale cracker crumbs in a tea towel, make sure you put them straight into a freezer bag and use them as needed to breadcrumb fish, chicken or to put on top of a pasta bake.
3. Portions of pastry
Again, something I use to waste all the time! Now when I buy a block of pastry I cut it into 4 and save three in a freezer bag to use 1 by 1. I find one of these small blocks is enough to make 1 small quiche or tart of pies for two people. Make sure you label the bag whether its puff or shortcrust, as you can see I always forget.
I love love love lurpak and it always seems to be on sale 2 for £5. Momma didn’t raise no fool so i’ll always get two, throw one in the freezer and bring it out a few weeks later when the first tub is finished. It freezes amazingly, I promise you will never be able to tell.
5. Sliced Bananas
I know that banana nice-cream is a big thing now but am I the only one where my food processor has never been able to handle rock solid pieces of banana, always seems to get stuck and give me a massive ball ache with the washing up. If you feel my pain, instead try slicing up a banana and freeze the pieces, nibble on them as you like, they end up being like little mini ice-cream pieces – great Netflix snack!
This was a bit of a revelation, Pizza in 15 minutes! I think this would be great to try with kids too as it make a really easy dough to work with. I used smoked cheddar because its what I had and it was delicious! Obviously use mozzarella if you prefer.
This is a nice store cupboard staple, I don’t know if this is true of everyone but I always seem to have slightly soft carrots and other root veg at the bottom of my vegetable drawer and this is way of turning them into a quick spicy, smooth and creamy soup.
This is the most wonderful bread i’ve ever managed to make at home. Its incredible airy and light as well as having a crunchy crust on the outside from the pot you cook it in. It’s also incredibly low effort – no kneeding needed. Just mix, leave and bake.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: baking, bread, loaf
500gStrong white bread flouror self-raising flour
Mix together the flour, salt and yeast and add the water, bringing it together into a dough with a spoon and your hand if needed. You don’t have to kneed it at all, just cover the dough in a bowl with cling film or a tea towel and leave it somewhere it won’t get knocked over – doesn’t need to be somewhere warm, anywhere will do
The next day (try to leave it for at least 8 hours but up to 12 or even longer is fine too), turn your oven up to the highest temperature it will go to (around 240 degree is good) and leave your pot in there whilst it heats up. When the oven is at temperature pull out your screaming hot pot and add a sprinkling of flour in the bottom (which will help it not stick).
Take the ball of dough out of its bowl and shape it approximately into a ball with help from a bit of flour. Drop the ball into your pot and put the lid on
Bake the bread with the lid on for around 30 minutes – it should be smelling lovely by then. You’ll be very surprised how much it expands while in the pot (i think this is from the release of steam). Then remove the lid and bake for another 15-25 minutes to get the top as nice and golden as you like it.
Another dal recipe today because I just can’t get enough. This one is very fresh and herby
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: india, Indian
Keyword: curry, dal, healthy, lentil
400gYellow split lentilsDried
100gSpinachFrozen or fresh
1tspDried chillior fresh
Boil the lentils until very soft and smooth – for me it typically takes about 30 minutes in my trusty pressure cooker, or 1-1.5 hours in a regular saucepan.
When it’s nearly ready, add the finely chopped garlic, cumin seeds and mustards seeds to a couple of tablespoons in oil in a frying pan. When it starts to brown a little transfer it to a pestle and mortar and crush it into a paste. When the lentils are the texture you want, turn off the heat, add the garlic and spice mixture plus the chopped coriander and spinach. Taste and add salt if needed.
While it cools a little, shallow fried some thinly sliced onion and grated sweet potato to add on top on a very high heat until crispy.
This recipe is an incredibly cheap store cupboard vegan dinner (unless you want to smother the chapatis in garlic butter which I heartily recommend). It’s also great because you only need 1 mug to measure everything and you can use whatever spices you like best.
This recipe is dedicated to Pam who taught me not to be scared of making chapatis straight on the flame – what a woman!