Thursday, 5 January 2012

Winter warmers

Despite the stormy weather today I nipped over to the allotment this afternoon to fetch a leek for a casserole. The meat for the casserole tonight was left over goose from the Christmas dinner (thawed from frozen) but any meat would do just as well. Left over roast meat work best but you could also use fresh, raw meat but you would have to brown it off in a frying pan first. I, of course, love making good use of left over meat, combined with loads of seasonal vegetables.

Casserole (serves 2)

100-150g cooked meat
1 vegetable stock cube
2 carrots
1 parsnip (or some swede or turnip)
1 stick of celery
1 leek
2-4 potatoes (depending on size)
4 mushrooms
1 small onion
1 teaspoon mushroom ketchup
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Worstershire sauce

Preheat oven to 180°C, gas mark 4 and get out a suitable ovenproof dish. Crumble the stock cube into boiling water in a pan then add to it the peeled and chopped carrot, parsnip, celery and leek. Simmer for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, peel the potatoes and cut into discs about half a cm thick. Remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in the casserole dish then put the potato slices into the pan of vegetable stock. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. In the meantime, slice the mushrooms and onions. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside then quickly fry the onions and mushrooms for about 3 minutes then turn down the heat and add the mushroom ketchup, soy sauce, chilli sauce and oyster sauce and stir. Add the mushroom mix to the casserole dish, along with the cooked meat. Pour the vegetable stock over the contents of the casserole dish until covered then layer the potatoes on top. Grind over the pepper and splash on some Worstershire sauce. Place in the oven for 1 hour and in the meantime go and have a lovely bath whilst delicious smells fill your house.

Once the casserole was cooked, I popped a bread and butter pudding into the oven to cook whilst we ate and to make good use of the hot oven. Bread and butter pudding is the ultimate use of leftovers - no one ever buys ingredients especially to make it! I decided to make it because I had nearly a whole pint of full fat milk left in the fridge from my mother-in-law's stay with us and half a jar of my rather yummy Figgy Pear Mincemeat to use up. Oh, and there were 4 slices of stale white bread left too. Perfect!

Bread & Butter Pudding

2 eggs
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp custard powder
12 fl oz (350ml) milk
1 oz (25g) butter
4 slices of white bread
4 to 6 oz (110-180g) mincemeat

In a jug, beat the egg, sugar and custard powder together then add the milk. Lightly butter a suitable ovenproof dish (wide and shallow is better than narrow and deep). Butter the bread and then cut the slices of bread into 4 triangles. Layer two slices worth of triangles into the dish then spoon over half the mincemeat. Lay the remaining triangles on top and spoon over the remaining mincemeat. Pour over half the milk mix and place the dish in the refrigerator until needed or for at least 15 minutes to soak. Preheat oven to 180°C, gas 4. Pour the remaining milk mix into the dish and bake for 20 minutes then increase the temperate to 190°C, gas 5 for 5-10 more minutes until the bread on top is crisp and golden. Serve hot with custard or cream.

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