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Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Tip of the Week – Mashing Swede

Swede is definitely a winter vegetable but I used to find it went all mushy and no matter how well I tried to drain it, water still remained.

It is such a simple trick but add a potato to the diced swede before boiling.   Something in the starch will soak up the water and your swede is nice and firm to eat.

Enjoy

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Minestrone Soup


Weekend lunches are always a bit hit and miss.  As the children grow they have different activities.  A formal lunchtime is no longer an option, so I try to create lunches which can be eaten as they and their extra friends pass through the house.

Soups are warming, welcoming and they can be as hearty and cleverly filled with vegetables without the children realising.   Minestrone is a particular favourite.  It takes a little more preparation but is definitely worth the extra effort.  The earlier you prepare it in the day the better the flavours blend and the richer the soup tastes.

Ingredients 
oil
onions finely chopped 
bacon small lardons
leeks finely chopped 
carrots finely chopped
other vegetables you wish to use up – chop finely
splash of sherry
tinned tomatoes 
chicken stock
spaghetti  chopped into tiny pieces
grated parmesan or cheddar to garnish





Heat the oil and add the onions and begin to soften




Add the bacon lardons and let them start to cook.


Add the other vegetables depending on how long they need cooking carrots should be early on with green beans if you are using followed by softer vegetables like leeks.

Keep stirring occasionally to stop it sticking.


Add a splash of Sherry or sometimes I use Masala if I have no Sherry.  Stir well.



Stir in the tinned tomatoes and then add the chicken stock. bring to the boil.  Allow it to boil well for a few minutes.



Keeping it boiling add the broken up pasta, allowing it to continue cooking for long enough to cook the pasta “al dente”.  Add extra water if required.



Keep cooking this for as long as required on a low heat, remembering to stir occaisionally.

When the time comes serve with the grated cheese and with warm crusty bread of your choice. warming, popular and great to stretch for unexpected guests.




Enjoy and let me have your soup recipes to try out.

Tiggy 

take a look at my complex and busy life in my other blog Tiggy Hayes




Stir Fry Veg


How often do we have odd vegetables left over; not quite enough to feed the whole family but you don’t want to throw them out? In my house they sit there and fester and end up being thrown out and I am annoyed at the waste and that I have not used them in something. 

A curry or a stew can take any left over vegetables cut up small and added to the pot.   One of my favourite methods however is stir frying them with sweet chilli sauce at the last minute and then serving them with the main meal.

Necessary ingredients 
Oil 
Onions  chopped finely 
Ginger chopped small 
Garlic chopped small
Sweet Chilli Sauce 
Spinach and or Watercress  -This is added at the very end and not cooked

Optional ingredients 
Carrots sliced
Green beans sliced
Courgettes sliced
Red and Green peppars
Fennel, Mange Tout, Celeriac cut very small 
Bacon Lardons 
Chilli chopped small depending on how hot you like it
Button Mushrooms or larger Mushrooms cut into small chunks 

Have all your vegetables ready chopped so you can concentrate on stir frying, take you eye off it and that is the point it will burn.   I find a wok the most useful pan for this , but a frying pan will do the job just as well.

We like the freshness of this dish and the crunch of vegetables. You can pre-boil the vegetables if you want but remember you take away the texture and goodness if you do this.  I don’t pre-cook them for this recipe.




About 5 minutes before serving heat the oil then add the onions and garlic to fry gently.  


Add the remaining vegetables,  root veg first with lighter vegetables at the end.  Keep the spinach and watercress out at this time.   If you are using bacon add it early as it requires thorough cooking.  Cut up small enough it will cook very quickly.  


Keep stirring  adding the other vegetables (keeping back the watercress and spinach still) as you stir.



Just before serving add in the sweet chilli sauce and make sure all the vegetables are coated.  You do not need a lot. 

Turn the heat off and put in the Spinach and Watercress, stir gently. Cover the pan and take to the table.  The steam and heat will wilt these leaves and allow them to retain all their goodness and vibrant colour.


Serve as a side dish or as a topping for baked potatoes. 

We had it with Risotto.   My children will not eat risotto with any additions so instead I add a separate dish and serve it as a topping. They are quite happy with this – so am I.  Not only do the children eat their vegetables, I have cleared the fridge of all the odds and ends.  

I have sometimes added left over cooked vegetables at the last minute as well.

See how this goes down.  It also would be great for a student all in one pot – add some sliced new potatoes (pre-boiled if possible) and keep the bacon, then use the vegetables available.    They could add kale or  spring greens a few seconds before end if they cannot get watercress or spinach.  

Let me know any other combinations that could be added.  I have served it with bbq sauce instead of sweet chilli, as a warm side salad to burgers or sausages.

Tiggy

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Tomato Pasta



This is such a great dish for the family.   It uses up all the old veg that didn’t quite make it into something else.  It is packed with vegetables including the ones no-one likes and the children love it.  How better to sneak some good wholesome food onto their table.

Ingredients 

Oil – just a dash
Onions 
Vegetables chopped to smallish sizes – celery, leek, carrot, pieces of squash, courgettes, whatever you have in the fridge.  Not too much of anyone thing
Tinned Tomatoes –  the plum ones are good for this (2 tins at least for  people)
Dash of Red Wine Vinegar 
Generous spoonful of Brown Sugar


Heat the oil and begin by gently frying the onions and veg such as celery or leek.





Add the other vegetables, toss together




Throw in the tomatoes, they can stay whole for the moment.



Add the red vine vinegar, you only need a little. Then sprinkle liberally with the brown sugar.  This gives a slightly sharp tang then sweetens it which makes it appealing to the children.






Bring it to the boil and leave to simmer so that all the vegetables are cooked through.    If you are adding spinach, kale or other green leaves that do not need much cooking add them at the end just before you puree the mix.
When the root vegetable are softened, but still remain firm add the green veg and then liquidise.  This should be fairly roughly done so there are a few bits of crunch left in the sauce.   I blitz quickly once and then leave.

Serve immediately with fresh or dried pasta and plenty of hard grated cheese.   A chunky fresh bread also goes well with this.  

This is so difficult to replicate as the ingredients change each time; sometimes I add a few fresh herbs or even dried.   The delight is seeing them polish of the plates no matter what is in the pot and they think it is just tomato sauce.   I have added ginger and garlic as well to give it a little more umph.  I should rename it “Mothers Prayer Answered” with all the disguised goodness in there.  It is quick and so easy.

Enjoy 

Tiggy

Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Dawn Chorus

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