Freezing

we often have this discussion on the page . So it’s about time it was on here .

What can you freeze ? The answer may surprise you . Almost anything can be frozen .

Freezing can change the texture of foods but they are still edible .

Got some veg in the fridge that really needs using ? Oh but you’re out the next couple of night, don’t bin it freeze it !!

To freeze veg prepare as normal then blanch for 2-3 minutes in boiling water and then plunge in ice cold water to stop the cooking process, drain dry , bag and freeze. You don’t need to blanch peppers or mushrooms just chop and freeze. If freezing homemade chips or wedges , freeze them flat and not touching on a tray and then bag.woody herbs can be frozen as they are . Other herbs chop and pop in an ice cube tray with a little olive oil or water or just bag.

Fruit freezes really well , soft fruits should be frozen flat on a tray and then bagged. Other fruits can either be pre cooked or just prepared and frozen. lemon and orange slices freeze and make a great addition to a cold drink at a BBQ.

Leftovers can be frozen, reduced meat and fish can be frozen even if it’s on date .

Bread and cakes freeze really well.

You can freeze milk, cream ( although give it a stir first) .Cheese freezes although it’s better if grated first. Even eggs freeze whisk them or seperate them first .

Leftover wine ( I know , what’s that ? ) can be frozen in ice cube trays , then just pop a couple into a stew .

Pizza and bread dough can be frozen after proving .

Homemade gravies and sauces freeze .

What doesn’t freeze ? Hmm not a lot some foods with high water content eg cucumber and lettuce could not be used in a salad after freezing but could be cooked or used in a sauce .

Top Tip; label any food you freeze : freezer roulette can be fun but not if you get out pulled pork and its stewed rhubarb .

So use your freezer ! If it’s running low then fill empty milk bottles with water and freeze or pack out with newspapers or boxes . Why ??? Because a full freezer is cheaper to run than an empty one .

 

 

Cooking Steaks

Cooking steak isn’t hard if you follow very simple rules .

1: Bring your steak to room temperature before cooking . Do NOT get it straight from the fridge and put it in the pan

2: Oil the meat NOT the pan

3: heat the pan

4: season with pepper before cooking , salt after

5: Rest your steak for 3-5 minutes before serving

a blue steak should be a dark almost purple in colour

a rare steak will be dark red in colour

a medium rare will be a more pinker colour with a little pink juice

a medium steak will be pale pink in the middle with little juice

a well done steak will only have a trace of pink to it

To cook a blue steak it’s 1 minute both sides

A rare steak 1.5 minutes both sides

aA medium rare  2 minutes both sides

A medium  2.5 minutes both sides

A well done steak will need about 4- 5 minutes both sides

 

All the above cooking times  are base on a 2cm thick sirloin steak

I would always suggest using a griddle pan to cook your steaks , no sitting in oil and the charred bars on the steak look appealing

Yorkshire Puddings

Crack your eggs into a cup ( 2 or 3 eggs ),
put into a bowl add the same amount of plain flour and liquid Or and this is how I do it 4oz flour,
2 eggs
1/2 pint milk.
Make this batter well in advance and chill ,
overnight is great .
I get the pan hot ( oven 200C ),
now I add the oil ,
or lard or dripping .
Put pan back in the oven until the oil is smoking hot .
Give the batter a quick stir and pour it into the trays .
It should start to cook and sizzle immediately .
Put it in top shelf of oven .
Now here comes the contentious bit , after 10 minutes open the oven door to let steam escape , only for a couple of seconds .
Shut the door and continue to cook until well risen and golden

Getting the most from a turkey/chicken

I bought a half price frozen turkey in Aldi this week for £5.49. I defrosted it and cooked it in my slow cooker yesterday for 10 hours on low. When I took it out I left the juices in the slow cooker. Then I stripped the meat off the carcass and added all the bones, skin etc back into the slow cooker along with a bay leaf, the top and tail of an onion, the peelings and top and tail of 4 carrots and 2 pints of water. Then I left it on high for 12 hours to make a really good quality stock. Once I’d drained off the stock and put it into 1/2 pint portions to freeze I added everything back into the slow cooker again and topped up with more water to make another lot of weaker stock that I’ll use for soup!

The leg, thigh and wing meat I split into 4 lots of 200g portions and will freeze these to use in pies, chow mein, fried rice, pasta etc

and the breast meat got sliced and put in an oven proof dish and covered in gravy. This fed 8 tonight for a roast dinner and I have half left! This is now in a dish to be frozen for next time!

So that is the equivalent of 8 meals for 4 people , 4 x 1/2 pint of strong stock and enough stock and pickings for a large pot of broth tomorrow from a £5,49 Turkey!

Salad Bars

Whilst shopping this morning I couldn’t help but notice the amount of people filling up containers at the salad bar .

£2.69 for a salad that’ll do 1 maybe 2 meals at the most. No thanks! Please don’t be fooled into buying these. You can make flavoured cous cous, pasta and noodle salads for pennies (or better still use some leftovers). Grate your carrots, use whole lettuce not bags of prewashed. Hone up on your knife skills and you’ll soon be slicing and dicing as good as on any salad bar and saving money to boot . Penny

Store Cupboard Basics

Plain flour
Self raising flour
Honey
Sugar
Vanilla essence

Garlic
Ginger
Mixed herbs
Paprika
Chinese 5 spice
Chilli powder
Soy sauce
Veg oil
Lemon juice
Cornflour
Oxo cubes
Stock cubes
Porage oats

Tomato purée
Tinned tomatoes
Pasatta

Pasta
Rice
Noodles
Cous cous
Spaghetti

Feel free to add your essentials xx Lorna xx

Halogen Ovens

Cooking for only one or two of you? Have you thought about investing in a halogen oven? Generally there’s just me and OH at home and I don’t always want ( or have room in freezer ) to batch bake to utilise the whole oven when it’s on.

So at the end of the year I brought a Halogen. I was skeptical before buying but I knew I could send it back if I didn’t get on with it. OMG I love it ! Had no failures with cooking in it and it’s far quicker and cheaper to use than the main oven. You don’t have to wait for it to heat up and cooking time is cut. You can pick a new one up in Aldi for as little as £25, yes some models are way more but it’s a piece of equipment I don’t regret buying