People used to hold 'Ready Steady Cook' dinner parties too- where the guests brought bags of random ingredients for the host to rustle up into something fab.
I caught an episode of this programme again recently- as it is still going strong - and it got me thinking about a revival. After all, it is pretty much what this blog is about- using up ingredients from your cupboard and fridge in a tasty way.
So, for this month's post I want to take a selection of ingredients- and make two suggestions as to how they could be used. Firstly, the obvious choice and secondly something a little more unexpected.
Let's take these ingredients by way of an example and an introduction:
Tuna, eggs, anchovies, olives, potatoes and bread.
|First lot of ingredients|
200g cold mashed potato
1 tin tuna*
2 slices stale bread, soaked in water and then squeezed dry
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 anchovies, snipped up small
8 green olives, chopped roughly
salt and pepper
50g toasted breadcrumbs
Mix all the ingredients well (keeping back the breadcrumbs for coating) together in a bowl.
|Mix it all up|
|Shape into patties and coat with breadcrumbs|
|Bake until golden|
|Mediterranean Fish Cakes|
But does tuna, anchovies, olives, garlic and onions make you begin to think of pasta?
|next bag of ingredients|
|Add tomato sauce and hey presto....|
But for me however it says - Pissaladiere- a famous onion tart from Nice.
Gently slow cook the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until golden and meltingly soft. Spread these over either a prepared pizza base or a puff pastry rectangle.
Criss cross with anchovies and dot with olives (you can add or leave the tuna as you wish)
Bake until the edges are golden and the pastry or dough is cooked underneath.
|Pissaladiere ready for the oven|
|Pissaladiere ready to eat!|
Gently cook some onions, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 4-5 sticks of celery ( chopped), 1 potato (diced) and 1 apple ( peeled and chopped) in some light vegetable oil. Add 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock and simmer until tender.
Blitz to a puree and adjust seasoning to taste.
Garnish with some finely chopped walnuts, grapes and apple dressed with some cream.
Hugh serves his chilled- but in homage to another great comedy hero I am serving mine piping hot Arnold -Rimmer-Gazpacho style.
This recipe works well with celeriac too- just substitute it for the celery and potato.
Now a packet of peanuts might not be very inspirational. It might make you think of making a satay sauce or a Pad Thai.
However, I took my lead from Ina Garten (who else?) and made Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars and I can't tell you how successful they were!
125g unsalted butter
250 g peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
375g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
200ml jam (fig or raspberry are good choices)
150g roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
2. Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the vanilla essence , egg and peanut butter and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes
|Cream the butter, sugar, eggs etc with an electric mixer|
4.Grease and line a baking tray or gratin dish and spread 2/3 of the dough along the bottom
|Spread two thirds of the dough over the base of the lined dish|
6. Drop blobs of the remaining dough randomly over the top
|Spread with jam and the remaining dough in blobs|
7. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes until golden on top and cooked underneath.
|Golden from the oven|
|Peanut butter and jelly Bars|
|Pasta Carbonara |
(This is Jamie Oliver's pic- not mine)
Well instead, I thought of a Flammekueche- an open tart from Alsace made with onions, creme fraiche and bacon and baked in the oven.
Spread a thin pastry base with creme fraiche and onions (cooked as for the Pissaladiere above or you can use tinned for a shortcut as in the bag of ingredients). Dot with thin matchsticks of bacon and bake at 200 degrees until the pastry is golden round the edges and cooked underneath. The lardons and cream should be beginning to 'catch'.
Whether you're a red tomato or a yellow pepper- I hope you've enjoyed the choice of recipes in this month's blog.
Now it's your turn - get.....