Sunday, 29 September 2013

Simple Roast Chicken

You can buy a small chicken for £4.50, and you get a lot more meat for your money than if you bought the components separately. I cooked this for my Sunday lunch:

Taken on my laptop's webcam...

1 small chicken (cooks in 70 mins)
Olive oil
Rosemary (optional)
Lemon (optional)
2tbsp plain flour
About 200ml chicken stock/ white wine/ combination

Serves 4

1) Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. If using the lemon, put it in water abd boil it for 5 mins
2) Put the chicken in a roasting tin, and rub the rosemary and salt into the skin
3) Use a sharp knife to make some holes in the lemon, and stick it up the chicken
4) Pour the oil over the top
5) Put in the oven, and baste every 30mins
6) Remove from the oven, transfer to a warmed plate and fish out the lemon. Cover the chicken with foil
7) While the chicken is resting, tilt the roasting tin so that 2 layers form: the oil is on top and the chicken juices below. Use a spoon to remove most of the oil (you can keep it in a jar in the fridge for another day if you like)
8) Heat the tin on the hob and add the flour. Start mixing it round
9) Pour in the liquid and continue to heat for 10 mins
10) Carve the chicken whilst the sauce is heating
11) Transfer the sauce to a jug and serve

Chicken = £4.50
Oil = 5p
Salt = 2p
Flour = 5p
Liquid = 20p
Total = £4.82, £1.21/ person

* If you are serving with other vegetables (potatos, carrots, parnsips), put them in 30mins before the chicken is finished cooking

* If cooking for one, you can carve up the rest of the chicken and use the leftovers in other recipes

Homemade Pizza

There are two parts to making your own pizza:
1) Making the dough
2) Adding toppings and cooking

I based my pizza dough recipe on Jamie Oliver's but halved the quantities and tweaked it a bit.

1) Dough

7g sachet dried yeast
340ml warm water
1 dsp caster sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

500g strong white bread flour
Pinch salt

Makes 3 pizzas

1) Mix the yeast, water, sugar and oil together and leave for 5mins
2) Tip the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the middle
3) Pour the liquid mixture into the middle and work the flour and liquid in together, starting with a wooden spoon
4) Then lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it
5) Knead the dough for about 15 mins
6) Leave it to rise in a warm place for about 1h, until it doubles in size:

7) Poke all the air out of the dough, and divide it into 3 balls

At this point you can freeze the dough if you don't want to use it all at once

2) Pizza

About 200ml passata
Vegetables (I used some sliced tomato and pepper)
Grated cheese (I used cheddar, but you can posh it up with mozzarella if you have it to hand)
Mixed herbs

Makes 1 pizza

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degC
2) Stretch out the dough into a circle or rectangle
3) Use a palette knife to spread the passata
4) Top with vegetables
5) Finish off with a sprinkle of cheese and mixed herbs

6) Cook in the oven for 15mins

Yeast = 7p
Sugar = 5p
Oil = 5p
Flour = 25p
Salt = 2p
Passata = 20p
Cheese = 20p
Tomato = 10p
Pepper = 30p
Total = £1.24 (if you eat 2/3 now, and 1/3 later then about £1/ person)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Back to uni

Since I'm back at uni with a couple of days to spare before term starts, I thought I'd get some batch cooking out the way to set me up for when things get busier. Here's what I made today:

L to R: 3 x sweet and sour sauce, 6 x tomato sauce, 2 x apple sauce, 1 x cranberry sauce
Recipes to follow when my internet's less sloooooow...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Creamy Bacon and Pea Pasta

I actually have an alternative version of this where I make a bright-green pea puree, but I didn't have enough peas or cream for that this week.

Here's what I came up with instead:

1/2 brown onion
1 tbsp oil
3 rashers of bacon 
Small glass of white wine
200ml single cream
2 eggs
300g tagliatelle
150g frozen petit pois

Serves 6

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C, and cook the bacon for 20 mins (I like it crispy)
2) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and chop the onion up small
3) Fry the onion for 5 mins on low heat, then add the wine and turn the heat up to medium for 5 mins, then just keep the pan warm on a low heat
4) Boil the water for the pasta, and cook it (fresh - 4 mins, dry - 12 mins)
5) Whisk the eggs and cream together in a jug
6) Cook the peas in the microwave/ on the hob for 5 mins, then drain
7) Drain the pasta, and tip into a cold serving dish
8) Chop up the bacon and tip on top of the pasta
9) Add the peas
10) Pour the eggy cream over the top, and stir round (carefully!) 

Pasta = 50p
Onion = 10p
Oil = 2p
Bacon = 60p
Cream = £1
Eggs = 40p
Wine = 40p
Peas = 30p
Total = £3.32, 55p/ person

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara

So simple (and delicious!), this is now firmly on my family's 'favourites' list. Plus it uses only a few core ingredients that I normally have in the fridge!

I actually used tagliatelle, not spaghetti - but sssh, no one'll notice
250g pasta (ideally a long thin one like spaghetti or tagliatelle, but not essential)
300ml single/ whipping cream
2 eggs
Nutmeg (optional)
Black pepper
3 rashers of bacon, or lardons, or combination

Serves 6

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C, and cook the bacon in the middle of the oven for about 20 mins
2) While the bacon is cooking, boil water for the pasta
3) Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl/ jug, and whisk lightly with a fork
4) Pour the cream into the jug, and continue to whisk
5) Cook the pasta (fresh - 4 mins, dried - 12 mins)
6) Add the pepper and nutmeg to the eggy cream
7) Remove the bacon from the oven, blot with kitchen paper and cut into small chunks. Leave to cool
8) Drain the pasta and put into the (cold) serving dish. Leave to cool for 3-5 mins. We're trying to avoid scrambled egg!
9) Slowly pour the eggy cream onto the pasta, and stir the pasta to coat the strands
10) Add the bacon chunks

Pasta = 50p
Cream = £1
Eggs = 40p
Spices = 5p
Bacon = 60p
Total = £2.55, 43p/ person

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chicken Vegetable Pasta Bake

A tasty variation on my sausage vegetable pasta bake.

As you can see, I've used carrots, yellow pepper, broccoli, red onion and tomato as well as chicken that was leftover from the night before. 

Serves 6

Same process as before - I pre-cooked the pasta, prepped the veg and started layering. There was an offer on jars of pasta bake sauce, so I've used that and tinned tomatoes to make my sauce. 
Layer 1 - pasta
Layer 2 - tomato sauce
Layer 3 - vegetables
Layer 4 - chicken
Layer 5 - vegetables and tomato sauce
Finished off by stirring (carefully!) before cooking in the oven at 180 deg C for 40 mins.

Pasta = 35p
Tomato sauce = £1.20
Vegetables = £1.20
Chicken = £3
Total =  £5.75, 96p/ person

Monday, 9 September 2013

Raspberry Yoghurt Cake

I saw this cake in the newspaper over the weekend and thought it looked delicious. Plus I had some excess raspberries in the freezer that needed to make way for ice cream so a happy ending all round really!

My version is adapted from a recipe in the Telegraph here. It's a very soft, moist cake that cooks for a relatively long time without rising much.

300g plain flour
3tsp baking powder
125g soft margarine
225g caster sugar
1tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
120g plain natural yoghurt
200g raspberries

150g icing sugar
3tbsp lemon juice (in total, 1+3tbsp = approx. 1 lemon)
5 raspberries (optional)

Serves 10

1) Preheat the oven to 160 deg C
2) Takes 2tbsp of the flour and tip it over the raspberries
3) Mix the rest of the flour, the baking powder, margarine, caster sugar, lemon juice, eggs and yoghurt together
4) Spoon 1/3 of the mixture into a loaf tin
5) Scatter 1/2 the raspberries over the top of the mixture
6) Add the next 1/3 of the mixture
7) Add the rest of the raspberries to the top
8) Spoon the rest of the mixture into the tin (it doesn't matter if you can see some of the raspberries peeping through)
9) Cook for 1h15
10) Make the icing: mix the icing sugar and lemon juice. Wait for the cake to cool down for about 30mins, then drizzle the icing over the top
11) Optional: squish the raspberries a bit, and scatter over the top. If you omit them, you can freeze the rest of the cake

Flour = 20p
Baking powder = 10p
Butter = 25p
Sugar = 20p
Lemon = 40p
Eggs = 30p
Yoghurt = 15p
Raspberries = £2
Icing sugar = 15p
Total = £3.75, 38p/ person

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Altered Lorraine Pascale's Cheese, Ham & Chive Bread

This is my absolute, all-time favourite bread recipe. There aren't many bread recipes out there that use self-raising flour and require no kneading or proving. Simply mix 'n' go...

This version is adapted from a recipe in Lorraine Pascale's excellent book Home Cooking Made Easy. Enjoy!

I've hidden it in the bread bin - I know that as soon as the rest of my family get home, it'll be gone in minutes!

425g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
150-200g grated cheese (mature Cheddar, double Gloucester etc all good)
Packet of ham (4 large/ 6 medium/ 10 small slices), chopped into squares
1/2 handful of chives, chopped with scissors
Mustard powder, paprika, salt, pepper
280-300ml water

Serves 4-6

1) Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C
2) Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl except the water
3) Pour in the water, and mix to a sticky dough
4) Shape into a ball and place on a baking tray
5) Cook for 35 mins

Flour = 30p
Baking powder = 3p
Cheese = 80p
Ham = £1
Chives = 10p (although I grow my own and just give it a haircut)
Spices = 7p
Total = £2.30, 46p/ person

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Coffee and Invisible Walnut Cake

This was meant to be the usual coffee and walnut cake - until I discovered that the walnuts I thought were lurking in the cupboard had vanished. So with a couple of tweaks, this became coffee cake instead. I adapted a recipe from Jamie Oliver.

The mixture fills two loaf tins, so I can freeze one (perfect when it's only me), or my family can just give in to temptation! Even a few days on, the coffee aroma is fantastic.

175g soft marge
200g sugar
3 eggs
200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
50ml cold coffee (made from instant granules, about 1tsp, or cooking liqueur stuff)

20ml cold coffee (as above)
100g icing sugar

Makes 2 loaves (serves 12)

1) Preheat the oven to 180 deg C, and put the kettle on
2) Cream the margarine and sugar, then fold in the eggs
3) Add the flour and baking powder and mix
4) Make up the coffee (do 70ml to include the icing too)
5) Stir in 50ml of the coffee
6) Bake for 25 min
7) Make up the icing by stirring the icing sugar (sift it first!) and remaining coffee together
8) Drizzle the icing over the top of the cakes when they have cooled for 5 mins

Margarine = 40p
Sugar = 30p
Eggs = 60p
Flour = 50p
Baking powder = 3p
Coffee = 10p
Icing sugar = 20p
Total = £2.13, 18p/ person

Tomato-Gazpacho Soup

I was going to try gazpacho soup until I discovered you don't cook the tomatoes, and I am not the biggest fan of uncooked tomatoes. So I took a couple of the ingredients you'd use in gazpacho (spring onions, red pepper, garlic) and a couple from traditional tomato soup (onion, carrot, celery, tomato puree) and combined the two.

1kg tomatoes
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
2 spring onions
Half a red pepper
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1tbsp oil
1tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
2 pints of vegetable stock

Serves 6

1) Prep all the vegetables - peel and chop roughly. Quarter the tomatoes, and then scoop out the seeds and stems with a teaspoon
2) Heat the oil in a large pan, and tip in all the vegetables except the tomatoes. Heat on medium with stirring for 10 mins

2) Squeeze in the tomato puree, and add the garlic. Stir until everything is red

3) Boil the water for the stock
4) Then add the sugar, some salt and pepper, and 2 bay leaves. Tip in all the tomatoes and cook until they are squishy and the skin is coming off

5) Make up the stock, and tip it in
6) Cook for 25 mins with stirring

7) Remove the bay leaves and leave to cool for a couple of mins
8) Puree the mixture and serve

Tomatoes = £1
Carrot = 8p
Onion = 10p
Celery = 20p
Spring onions = 15p
Pepper = 30p
Garlic = 7p
Oil = 3p
Tomato puree = 10p
Sugar = 4p
Herbs = 4p
Stock = 30p
Total = £2.41, 40p/ person

I've entered this recipe into Made with Love Mondays:


Homemade Butter

The chemistry behind butter-churning interests me, and I'd heard you could make butter from a tub of whipping cream, which is cheaper than butter. So this experiment was driven by both science and economics!

300ml whipping cream
Pinch of salt

1) Tip the cream into a food processor, and turn on to medium for about 20 mins, or until it looks like butter
2) Separate the leftover liquid and keep or chuck
3) Wash the butter with water until the liquid runs clear
4) Add a pinch of salt, and use a wooden spoon to work it into the butter (not a metal spoon)
5) Keep in the fridge

Cream = £1

Fish Pie

I'm working on a more streamlined, straightforward version of this recipe, but for the moment this is the best I have. It tastes great, but takes more work and time than I'd typically like. If you already have a batch of white sauce (e.g. from the freezer) then it's actually quite easy. Otherwise, it takes a while.

I like new potatoes on the top because I'm not a big mashed potato fan
400g fish pie mix
500ml milk, or a mixture of milk/ water
1 small onion
Couple of cloves (optional, but nice)
2 bay leaves (also optional, but nice too)
3 eggs (there isn't much fish to go round, so this helps bulk it up. Plus it tastes good)
Sprinkle of parsley

White sauce - made from the poaching milk, 50g hard marge, some plain flour
Sprinkle of nutmeg

1kg potatoes (mashed, or sliced and boiled)

Serves 6

1) Quarter the onion and push the cloves into the quarters
2) Put the fish, milk, onion, cloves, bay leaves and parsley into a large pan and heat on medium for 10 mins
3) Boil water in a separate pan, and hard-boil the eggs for 10 mins
4) Boil the water for the potatoes. Peel, slice and boil in the water
5) Take the eggs out of the water, shell and quarter
6) Make the white sauce if you need to: melt the hard marge, add the plain flour until it forms a ball and cook for a couple of mins
7) Meanwhile, take the fish out of the poaching milk and put into a large dish
8) Remove the leaves, onion, cloves etc from the milk
9) Add the poaching milk to the hard marge/ plain flour to make the white sauce. Stir and heat until it thickens. Add the nutmeg
10) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C
11) Put the eggs in with the fish pieces
12)  Pour half the white sauce over the fish and eggs
13) Layer the potato slices over the top
14) Pour the rest of the sauce over the potatoes
15) Cook in the oven for 30 mins

Fish = £4
Milk = 30p
Onion = 10p
Herbs = 10p
Eggs = 60p
White sauce = 7p + 10p
Potatoes = £1
Total = £6.27, £1.05/ person

*Freezes well