Tag Archives: #lunch

YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… a Sunday Roast is not a Sunday Roast without them. Aunt Bessie eat your heart out!

14 Jul

20130628-073606.jpgAs per the title of this post, a Sunday Roast is not a Sunday Roast without YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… and many of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love going out for a Sunday Lunch, however I only ever get ONE Yorkshire Pudding and I find that very very upsetting.

When I was a little girl Yorkshire Puddings were the thing we always argued every Sunday… and that was not just me and my little sister.  That was my Mum and Dad too!  My mum would make a ‘batch’ of yorkshire puddings.  Sometimes this would be 12 and as we got older it would be 16.  Then when Mark joined our family (my wee sisters other half) we started making 20.  So… ‘3 each’ or ‘4 each’ was the rule shouted as they were brought into the dining room.  During the meal we would ask each other ‘how many have you had?’ and we would systematically go around the table.  Sometimes LIES were told.  This would cause chaos… especially if you had simply and innocently forgotten how many you had (cough cough).

So… we grew up with Mum making Yorkshire Puddings every Sunday and therefore my sister and I are adept at making Yorkshire’s.  I therefore find it very ODD that people are shocked and amazed when I whip up a batch and don’t rely on Aunt Bessie’s fake, thin and skimpy puddings.  OH NO.  If I did that Mum would disown me, and rightly so.

In fact neither my sister nor I use a recipe, so this is going to be quite hard for me to write!  But here we go…

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes

MAKES: 12 Yorkshire Puddings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Milk (enough to make a smooth batter)
  • Vegetable oil / lard /butter

HOW TO MAKE THE PUDDINGS…

First things first and possibly the MOST important stage.  Get out the Yorkshire Pudding tin… which is the one that is smaller than a muffin tin and is used to bake buns not cupcakes.  (I hope this makes sense!)  To each well in the Yorkshire Pudding tin add 1/2 a teaspoon of oil/butter/lard.  I prefer to use vegetable oil as I don’t think it adds a taste to the puddings.  Now place this in a hot oven – so heat the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 5) and then place in the tray with the oil.  You want to leave this to ensure that the oil is very hot, which should take about 10 minutes.  Whilst this heats up, lets make the batter…

In a medium sized bowl (or if you are like me I find it easier to use a measuring jug, as it will allow me to pour the mixture out neatly) place the 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour in and add to that the pinch of salt (but only a pinch).

Mix together the salt and flour and then make a well in the centre – a hole!  (I say this to the children I work with and they look at me like I am crazy!!)  It simply means make a space in the centre.  Into here add the egg (obviously crack it open!) and then add a good glug of milk.  If you want some help here, about 6 tablespoons of milk – but it doesn’t matter if its slightly more or less at this stage.

Now, using a fork start whisking the egg and milk (only) in the centre.  Keep going and you will notice that gradually the flour starts to stick and come into the mix, keep going and going until a lot of the flour has come into the milk/egg now you should be starting to get a think paste… don’t let it get too thick as so far you will have avoided lumps.

Add a dash of milk and continue to mix.  Add another dash of milk and repeat.  You can now bring in the rest of the flour by mixing around the sides of the bowl and add another dash of milk.

The batter for Yorkshire Puddings and pancakes is the same, the only difference is the thickness.  For pancakes you want a very thin consistency, for puddings you want a thick batter.  So in between the consistency of houmous and pancake batter.  (Hummm this is hard to explain).  So keep adding milk until you get the batter to this consistency and whisk well to ensure there are no lumps.

Now your oil should be hot, so take the tin out of the oven (using a glove) and begin pouring in the batter.  You want to fill each well up until it is approx. two thirds full – this will allow room for rising.  You also need to act very quickly as you need the oil to be hot as the batter hits it.  So, fill each well and then get them puddings straight into the oven.

Leave for 15 minutes and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.  If you do they could drop and then you won’t get the impressive rise.  After 15 minutes open the oven and have a peak.  If they are golden they are ready.  I like mine a little doughy/heavy so I take them out after 15 minutes.  If you like them lighter in weight and darker in colour then leave them for another 5 minutes.

Add them to your roast dinner after declaring ‘2 each’ or ‘3 each’ and enjoy!  Any leftover batter (if you are cooking for one or two) could be used as pancakes… you just need to add more milk.  ENJOY and please… don’t fight.

20130628-073635.jpg

My finished YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… GOBBLE GOBBLE!

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…a little less frugal and a lot more indulgent *ROASTED VEG, CHICKPEA & FETA COUSCOUS*

6 May

couscous 1

I love the roasted vegetable couscous recipe I uploaded yesterday, as a potential recipe in my ‘living below the poverty line on £1 a day challenge’, but as I mentioned there are a few things I would do differently if I were not trying to cut corners and make this recipe as cheap as I possibly could.

I understand and appreciate that there are people in our country who are not as fortunate as I perhaps am, and would only just be able to afford my 59p recipe never-mind this slightly more indulgent recipe.  But yesterday I was thinking to myself what the cost of a bottle of water is in my local supermarket (approx. 89p) and what I paid last week for a lemon water drink (£1.95) when I was gasping for a drink in central London and it was all I could find.

I was actually pretty shocked at this and thought if I am paying £1.95 for a drink which lasted me half an hour and simply quenched my thirst, then surely I could spend a little more to make this lunch even more healthy, nutritious and enjoyable whilst still only spending a pound or so a day for my lunches.

I have friends who pop to Pret each day for a sandwich, drink and bag of crisps, this must cost around £7 each day?  And, I know others who pop to our local salad bar at lunch for a £4.50 a day salad.  None of these my budget will allow for, but this recipe with a few additions it will, so by goodness I am going to go all out!  Get ready folks we are about to get a little more jazzy with the couscous…

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

MAKES: 4 portions

COST: £1.07 per portion – which is quite a significant difference to my £0.59 recipe, but it is still much better than buying one drink for £1.95 or lunch for £4.50.  Eating this for lunch for 4 days would be do-able and actually it would make for a cheap lunch, in comparison to what you could be paying for this in a restaurant.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g couscous – this costs £1.25 in Tesco’s for 500g, so although you would need to buy the whole bag, you would only need half of it, which would make it 63p . Try to find the whole-wheat version for a slightly healthier version.
  • 1 and a half red peppers – now this cost me 80p per pepper as I bought it from my local Sainsbury’s.  You could shop around for this and get it for a lot cheaper in a local grocery shop or market stall (the bowls of peppers for £1 will get you 3 or 4 peppers). Mine cost me £1.20.
  • 2 red onions – look through all the bags/onions and ensure you get a large one if they are all the same price, this is what I do!  60p
  • 2 courgettes – I bought a packet with 2 courgettes in for £1
  • 1/2 a tin of chickpeas (200g) – I shopped around for these a little and found them at Asda for 62pI think these may be cheaper to buy somewhere like Aldi.  It is much cheaper to buy these dry and soak them yourself, though this will add some extra time to the preparation of this recipe, as they will need to be soaked overnight. So these cost me 36p.
  • 1/2 a lemon – it was 30p for a whole one (again shop around and you will get this cheaper!) 15p
  • 2 cloves of garlic – the bulb was 20p so approx. 2p
  • 1 stock cube – it was £1.09 for 8 stock cubes so this makes it 14p per stock cube
  • 300ml boiling hot water – this one you can have for free as we all have the right to water and I am sure you can make it hot (there has to be some cutting of corners here)
  • 80g of vintage/aged feta cheese – I have choose a vintage version of this as it will have a deeper/stronger flavour and therefore you will need less cheese to get the flavour and consequently it will be slightly healthier.  Feta cheese is quite expensive, but the cheapest I have found was in Waitrose (ummmmm I know!) for £1.69 for 250g, so for this recipe I spent 54p
  • 15 mint leaves – very specific I know, but if you roll these up like a cigar and then finely chop them, they are an excellent flavour enhancer, but too much and we have mint couscous and nothing else.  A bag of mint leaves was 80p, so use about 1/3 of this and it will cost approx. 26p
  • 1 tbsp olive oil – this is a general store cupboard ingredient so we aren’t going to cost this one (as I am also running out of money!)
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes (again a store cupboard ingredient!)
  • 2 tsp paprika (store cupboard ingredient)

HOW TO MAKE THE ROASTED VEGETABLE COUSCOUS…

First we need to make the couscous, so make up the stock using boiling water and dissolving the stock cube in this.  Then weigh out the couscous, place in a large bowl and pour the stock over the top.  Cover with a clean tea towel and place to one side.

Wash the vegetables and then chop them into slices… they can be left quite large at this stage.  Peel the garlic cloves, peel the onion and chop into quarters and leave in its quarters (otherwise it will burn).  Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp chilli flakes and 2 tsp of paprika and rub together to ensure all the ingredients are coated in spices and oil.

couscous 3

Roughly chopped vegetables coated in olive oil, paprika and chilli flakes.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft, slightly brown/golden but definitely not burnt.  Allow them to cool, whilst you use a fork to break up the couscous, mix this well and then we can ‘mince’ all of the vegetables.

couscous 4

… beautifully roasted vegetables – even if I do say so myself!

Mincing is a chopping technique, so place all your vegetables (and garlic) onto a chopping board and then, using a large knife ‘rock’ the knife over the top of them in different directions, until all the vegetables are finely diced/minced.  Add these to the couscous.

couscous 5

My roasted vegetables once ‘minced’… look at those fabulous colours. YUM!

Now we are going to make the dressing, so in a small bowl zest 1/2 the lemon, then roll it on your chopping board using the palm of your hand to release the juices.  Chop in half and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the bowl.  To this add 1 tbsp olive oil and mix well.  Roll your mint leaves into a cigar shape and then finely chop these, you can use the rocking technique to make them even smaller and then add to the olive oil and lemon mixture. Pour this over the vegetables and the couscous, then open your tin of chickpeas, drain, add to the mix.

Finally crumble your 80g of feta cheese into the couscous, mix well and then we are DONE!  Now you can enjoy this lovely hearty roasted vegetable couscous…

couscous

From humble beginnings to a delicious, nutritious meal with all of our food groups… dairy, carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables; and a little fat/sugars, but good fats from the olive oil. DONE!

Live Below the Line – Part 1: Roasted Veg & Chickpea Couscous

5 May

couscous 2I have been quite inspired this month hearing from friends and colleagues who are embarking on the challenge of living on £1 a day.  My initial thoughts were ‘pah… no way, I love food and I just could not do it’.  And then my mind started wandering and questioning my initial thinking…

… of the foods I make, how much do they actually cost per portion?  If I were to do this would I in effect be ‘dieting’ slightly?  Could this challenge be beneficial to my health?  I may eat more vegetables than I normally do? Other people have to do it, so why can’t I?  Could I help others who are have to live off £1 a day by providing some recipes? … and so it continued.

Having plagued myself with questions about the ‘living below the poverty line challenge’ for the last 2 weeks I have decided it may not be so bad after all and maybe, just maybe I could forgo some meals out with friends.  It would also help me save a little money on food and it would definitely be healthier, as I would not be able to eat very much cheese or cake and would need to use more vegetables and lentils.  So, when cooking dinner at home over the last week I have been pondering some of the more ‘simple’ recipes I make and really enjoy when times are getting slightly harder.  Such as my roasted vegetable couscous salad, pitta bread pizzas, quick pasta dishes and my all time favourite healthy/cheap meal in its self – soup.

I have decided to set myself the challenge of creating some healthy, meat free meals over the next few weeks, so I am going to be collecting a few of my favourite quick, easy and cheap recipes and trying them out, here, with you.  Ultimately some may not work and yes, I will be eating the resultant meal for the next week, but hey… we are living on a budget aren’t we folks?

If this all goes swimmingly and I find some lovely recipes (some will have to be desserts as I cannot live without the odd sweet treat) then I will complete the challenge myself in July and see if it is indeed possible when living in London, trying to be a sociable and seeing friends for drinks/dinner and simply enjoying life.  I think it may well be…

Without further ado, lets have a look at this little ROASTED VEGETABLE COUSCOUS recipe I love…

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

MAKES: 5 portions

COST: 59p per portion (this is quite expensive, more so that I thought when embarking on this challenge… I am a little disappointed).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g couscous – this costs £1.25 in Tesco’s for 500g, so although you would need to buy the whole bag, you would only need half of it, which would make it 63p
  • 1 red pepper – now this cost me 80p as I bought it from my local Sainsbury’s.  Part of this challenge is definitely about where we shop, so perhaps we could shop around for this and get it for a lot cheaper in a local grocery shop?
  • 1 red onion – look through all the bags/onions and ensure you get a large one if they are all the same price, this is what I do!  30p
  • 1 courgette – I bought one as the ones it packets all seemed smaller but more expensive, buying items when they are loose is definitely best for the budget, so this cost me 33p
  • 1 tin of chickpeas – I shopped around for these a little and found them at Asda for 62p.  I think these may be cheaper to buy somewhere like Aldi or Liddle.  It is much cheaper to buy these dry and soak them yourself, though this will add some extra time to the preparation of this recipe, as they will need to be soaked overnight.
  • 1/2 a lemon – it was 30p for a whole one (again shop around and you will get this cheaper!) 15p
  • 2 cloves of garlic – the bulb was 20p so approx. 2p
  • 1 stock cube – it was £1.09 for 8 stock cubes so this makes it 14p per stock cube
  • 300ml boiling hot water – this one you can have for free as we all have the right to water and I am sure you can make it hot (there has to be some cutting of corners here)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil – this is a general store cupboard ingredient so we aren’t going to cost this one (as I am also running out of money!)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (again a store cupboard ingredient!)

HOW TO MAKE THE ROASTED VEGETABLE COUSCOUS…

First we need to make the couscous, so make up the stock using boiling water and dissolving the stock cube in this.  Then weigh out the couscous, place in a large bowl and pour the stock over the top.  Cover with a clean tea towel and place to one side.

Wash the vegetables and then chop them into slices… they can be left quite large at this stage.  Peel the garlic cloves, peel the onion and chop into quarters and leave in its quarters (otherwise it will burn).  Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1tsp chilli flakes and rub together to ensure all the ingredients are coated in chilli and oil.

couscous 3

Roughly chopped vegetables coated in olive oil and chilli flakes.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft, slightly brown/golden but definitely not burnt.  Allow them to cool, whilst you use a fork to break up the couscous, mix this well and then we can ‘mince’ all of the vegetables.

couscous 4

… beautifully roasted vegetables – even if I do say so myself!

Mincing is a chopping technique, so place all your vegetables (and garlic) onto a chopping board and then, using a large knife ‘rock’ the knife over the top of them in different directions, until all the vegetables are finely diced/minced.  Add these to the couscous.

couscous 5

My roasted vegetables once ‘minced’… look at those fabulous colours. YUM!

Now we are going to make the dressing, so in a small bowl zest 1/2 the lemon, then roll it on your chopping board using the palm of your hand to release the juices.  Chop in half and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the bowl.  To this add 1 tbsp olive oil and mix well.  Pour this over the vegetables and the couscous, then open your tin of chickpeas, drain, add to the salad and we are DONE!  Now you can enjoy this lovely hearty roasted vegetable couscous…

couscous 6

Roasted Vegetable & Chickpea Couscous… DONE!

EVALUATION:

Overall the recipe looks and tastes great.  I am not sure I felt ‘full’ after eating this, but I think that, that is a feeling I will just have to get used to on the £1 a day diet.  If I were making this normally for my lunch/dinner I would probably have a little feta cheese with it (no more than 20g) or I would serve it alongside some chicken/fish (without the chickpeas).  So, it was a little odd eating it couscous alone for my lunch, though the chickpeas bulked the recipe out, filled me up a little more than just the vegetables and couscous would have done and added some much needed protein.  The flavours from the lemon, chilli, garlic and roasted vegetables really made this recipe tasty and delicious.

The overall cost has upset me… 59p per portion really is not good, as that leaves me 41p for the rest of the day.  I would have to ensure my dinner was very cheap (I am thinking a simple soup) and that my breakfast was a porridge without fruit.  I do however think that if I shopped around a little I could make this recipe much cheaper, so tomorrow I am going to pop to a fab little grocery shop near work and see if I can beat this budget.  I will update this recipe in due course.

couscous

I shall see if I can get all these ingredients cheaper and when/if I do, I shall update the recipe costs below.

Recipe one done!  Now… what next…