Friday, December 10, 2010

Glass Onion (part F)

Quick cheap and easy stuff...

Bubble & Squeak

Most people know of this or have their own variation; but it is essentially a mixture of potatoes and greens fried in a big pan. You can use cabbage, sprouts or even sprouting broccoli; some people I know throw stuff like leftover carrots, peas, green beans in. It has always been a leftovers mishmash.

I tend to make it as a fresh thing. I never ever cook too many potatoes or sprouts, so it's something I prepare, especially when I really fancy it. Over the years I've refined my version slightly and therefore there isn't a hard and fast amount of ingredients.

What I do if I'm having it for myself is prepare about 4 medium sized spuds and about 9 or 10 brussels. These are cooked, remembering to leave some bite on the sprouts. I then chop up some mushrooms and a small onion; maybe even a bit of pepper, if I'm feeling extravagant. I then chuck these into a hot pan and flash fry them, before tipping in my spud and sprout mixture, which I've attacked with a sharp knife. I then fry the hell out of it so there is a mixture of soft and crispy textures. Goes well with veggie sausages, fried duck eggs, even a hearty veggie pie; but the truth is it goes well with whatever you fancy it with, or even on its own with lashings of brown sauce!

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There is no specific name for this, I've sort of christened it...

Mushroom Gloop

This is one of those things that utilises all kinds of ready prepared or packet stuff and I make no apologies.

You need:
1 onion
½ lb of mushrooms
1 pepper or 2 halves of different coloured peppers
1 tin of cream of mushroom soup
some quorn chicken style pieces (or a determinate number of quorn fillets)
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Fry the onion, add the peppers and the quorn and fry until the quorn starts to brown. Then add the mushrooms and fry until these are cooked. Then add your paprika and fry, adding a little liquid if necessary - sometimes a drop of white wine works if you have any to hand; a drop of veggie stock or even some plain old water. Open your tin of soup and add that stir fried mess in your pan - remember to do this in a large frying pan or you'll come unstuck. Mix together, season and serve with mashed potatoes and I think it goes very well with cauliflower - especially if you tip the sauce over the florets - or broccoli.

This obviously works with both chicken and pork; in fact, I invented it with pork chops way back and it was one of the few things I did that my mum adopted!

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No Chicken Noodle Soup

There are some Swiss bouillons out there that offer low salt versions or even low salt organic versions. They double up as a veggie Bovril styled hot drink alternative, but I always find them just a little too... intense. Not enough water and they are too in yer face; too much water and they become wishy washy.

I always miss chicken noodle soup; it was my favourite 'snack' food and I would get to the point where I'd buy vermicelli and add extra handfuls to the soup and this was years before super or pot noodles came into being. Since becoming a veggie it is the thing I miss the most, despite people telling me that there is so little chicken in them I should eat them. that isn't the point.

Over the years I finally developed this odd concoction that will never be the real thing, but has found a way into my stomach heart...

2 spring onions - chopped
1 red chilli - chopped finely and deseeded
1 heaped tsp bouillon powder
1 pint of water
4 vermicelli nests crushed
seasoning

Add the onions and the chilli to a saucepan and fry. Add the stock mix to a jug and pour on a pint of boiling water, mix and throw into the pan, mixing it with your onion and chilli. Crush your noodles into the broth and cook for 2-3 minutes on a slow simmer, stirring and checking to make sure there's enough seasoning - normally white pepper. Sometimes if you feel the stock soup is a bit harsh, try adding a tablespoon of sweetish soy sauce and cooking out.

Sometimes, if you fancy a sort of Chinese flavour you can add a small amount of grated ginger and even some crushed garlic, but make sure both are well cooked before adding the stock and noodles.

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Turkey Soup

Yes, a meat dish...

Take 1 turkey carcass (take off any obvious good meat and make sure you get under the bird and get a lot of the below meat off - this works brilliantly well in a soup) and stick it in a big pan with 2 pints of water, a carrot, a turnip, a leek and any other root vegetable and cook for about 2 hours with a sealed lid - you don't want the liquid to boil off as steam. You can also put a cup of white dry wine in this, it won't hurt!

With the stock left, place it in a large bowl and allow to cool down - you're going to skim off the excess fat.

Prepare a bag full of veg - carrots, onions, spuds, beans, swede, turnip, leeks - anything you have that works well in a soup; but remember that they all cook at different speeds, so when you start preparing this be prepared to add gradually unless you want a turkey splot rather than a soup.

You also want a couple of good vegetable stock cubes - not chicken ones, they're full of salt. A couple of bay leaves, a whole dried chilli and a whole potato.

You start with your hearty veg - carrots, onions etc., and put in some of the turkey fat you've skimmed off; just a couple of tablespoons, you can dump the rest. Fry these for a while, then add some mushrooms, leeks and other hard veggies; then dump your stock into the pan, add your stock cubes, green beans, peppers (these add flavour so it doesn't matter if they get over cooked and remember green peppers add more flavour to soups than other peppers) and any other veg gradually, depending on how long they take to cook. taste, see if it needs some more water and add appropriately. Leave to simmer for between 1 and 2 hours; add some parsley, chives and a little bit of sage and thyme - but not a huge amount, this is a turkey soup not a herby turkey soup.

The whole potato is to draw any excess salt out of it and you need to make sure its a waxy spud, a floury one will just dissolve. You can add chopped up potato an hour before you serve and a floury one will do as it will add just a touch of thickness to the soup. You can also add some pasta - uncooked - to bulk it up a bit. Season and eat with crusty bread.

Now, it's been 15 years since I made this and I might have forgotten a few things, but essentially that will be a great use for the turkey carcass and it will taste like heaven!

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