Saturday, 4 December 2010

Borscht (beetroot and apple soup.)

Many people will probably turn their noses up at this, but it's really great; it's earthy and reminiscent of communists living on the bread line!

Besides the aforementioned ridiculous reasons, this soup is fabulous for four fantastic reasons. The first being how comfortably it would sit underneath a glittering disco ball as the hot pink colour of it screams 'drag queen' and 'party.' The second is how good it is for you, beetroots are an alleged 'superfood' so they have all sorts of anti-oxidants in them which fend of colds and sadness. The third, it's very cheap! The fourth, it screams of effort, when really it is very, very simple to prepare, boiling and blending is as strenuous as it gets.

(The quantities all ball park.- this batch made enough for three greedy girls)

2 beetroots
1 potato
1 cooking apple
1 onion
1 pint of chicken stock
A squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper.

The beetroots should be peeled and boiled until they are soft. (the beetroots really ought to go in a separate pan because they create an unattractive grey scum.) They take about 30mins.

Meanwhile, the onions should be fried a little, until soft. Then, all of the ingredients need to brought together into a lovely bubbling vat of chicken stock and cooked until the potato and apples are soft, it should take about 20mins.
Then, blend everything together and season with salt/pepper and lemon juice!

Serve with a boiled egg, sliced on the top. It's seriously good.
Apparently, a good slug of vodka gives this soup a lovely clear taste, perfect for a party perhaps.. boozy soup. Can that really be a bad thing?
For a summer version, omit the potato and add fresh dill.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Nigella's meat loaf.

This recipe featured on 'Nigella Kitchen' on Thursday night.
It does take a little while to prepare, but on a dark Saturday afternoon in November, a warm kitchen is probably the best place to be.
It may sound complicated; but it really is very easy to prepare. It also looks impressive and is likely to remind hungry guests of their grandmother's cosy kitchen.

All it takes is:

A packet of mince meat (use good quality lean mince)
3 onions (sweated in butter over a medium heat - add salt to stop them crisping up.)
An egg
About 100g of breadcrumbs (which can be made from stale bread minced in a blender, a supply of ready-made breadcrumbs can be stored in the freezer)
A dash of worcester sauce.
3 hard-boiled eggs (peeled!)
A packet of streaky bacon.

All you need to do is:
1. mix the mince, egg, onions, breadcrumbs and worchester sauce in a bowl until combined.
2. Split the mixture in half, and create the bottom of the loaf by flattening half of the mixture onto a baking tray into a loaf-like shape, making slight wells for the eggs.
3. Arrange the eggs on top of the meat loaf.
4. Shape the rest of the meat around the eggs to finish the loaf-like shape.
5. Wrap the bacon around the meatloaf, being sure to tuck it underneath and covering as much of the loaf as possible.
6. Bake in a hot oven (180-ish) for about 1hour.

As Nigella suggests, a humble baked potato is a fantastic accompaniment to this dish as it especially good for when cooking for a crowd and can be popped into the oven at the same time as the meat-loaf with very little bother.
Not only is a baked potato always welcome on a chilly autumn evening, but it is also fantastically easy (and cheap) to dress up. The addition of grated cheddar/melting butter/baked beans/sour cream instantly transforms this peasant's side dish into a deliciously generous addition to an already impressive November supper.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Leftovers Salad

This is a delicious 'Summer salad' which can be rustled up from things you have in the fridge that need using up.. this particular version is a Greek-style salad with feta cheese, peppers, beans, olives and herbs. Finish it off with a lemony, garlicky dressing and a generous chunk of hot bread. This is the kind of thing you want after a total blowout meal and toooo much alcohol. I like the idea of really hearty, healthy stuff when I'm looking slightly anaemic and bloated...

Anyway all you need to do is, simply, throw a few handfuls of fresh, crunchy runner beans in a bowl with thinly sliced peppers, cubes of feta cheese, kalamata olives (preferably), whatever herbs you happen to have (in this instance marjoram, mint, parsley but use whatever) and a dressing made from crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon juice with salt and pepper. It's sooo good (and healthy).

Monday, 31 May 2010

The Original Hangover Dish

This recipe is one which we have come to love and perfect over weeks of nights out. A firm favourite and a hangover staple, this pasta dish will leave you with a clearer head and content stomach.

G was the first to read about this comforting meal on a blog. It was a firm favourite when she cooked a big batch of it to feed hungry housemates one windy night in November. But it was on a Sunday after a heavy night that we realised just how special this dish was. Upon being separated in the supermarket I came across G, in a hunched stance staring blankly at the pasta. Calling her name, she stood to attention with urgency and a snore-like sound; she was dangerously close to falling asleep in the pasta aisle. To make matters worse, there was also a jilted love interest of G's hot on our heals and a dissertation advisor circling the shop. We were keen to get out of there and back to the stove.

I'm fairly certain that the meal was followed by cups of 'Roobios tea' and three hours of 'Dr Zhivago.' We may have also gobbled down a couple of slices of chocolate cake, the recipe for which we shall include later..

Tomato and Cream Pasta -

Fresh tomatoes (ideally cherry)
Cream, (double or single, it doesn't matter)
Onion, (shallots are preferable)
Fresh Basil to garnish
Dried chilli
Salt & pepper
Splash of Red wine vinegar
Pasta (fusilli is recommended)

Enjoy. For original recipe see onceuponacakestand

For a more simple (and cheaper) version, the tomatoes, cream and pasta will suffice.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

For when Misery and Remorse Strike...

From time to time a hangover will strike with an all-mighty power, like a few Sunday's ago. This was a good night... with bad decisions. We shan't go in to it. But the next day proved to be a day filled with weeping and regret, and something delicious and easy for dinner was gravely needed: a meaty cottage pie, topped with mustard mash and a bubbling layer of cheese - and with a good slop 0f baked beans on the side.
Just the thing for when chewing anything besides an easy-to-swallow mush seems like too great a task.

Cottage Pie

Extra Lean/ Lean mince
1 Onion, chopped finely
A good glug of red wine (a glassful should do it)
A cup (mug or whatever) of vegetable or meat stock
A dousing of lea and perrins worchester sauce gives a great flavour
You can use Bisto gravy granules to thicken if you wish

Fry off the mince with the chopped onion: add the wine, some stock and gravy. Leave to thicken and reduce. While this is happening you should be preparing your potatoes.

For the Mashed Potato:

Simply boil as per and mash with salt, pepper, milk, butter and wholegrain mustard. Top with a sprinkling of cheese, and put in the oven for about 25 mins at 180.

* This is especially good served with Heinz baked beans whilst listening to '60s Sunday' on Radio Gold.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Fables from 6 Turner Road

So... this is our new blog. By 'our' I mean me (Grace) and Bethany. Having had a wealth of hangover experience on our hands we have had plenty of opportunities to cook accordingly. Our routine goes something like this: wake up (late), watch 'The City' for an hour or so, eventually get dressed and drag ourselves languidly to the Co Op, before throwing back a 'Whole earth' apple and rasberry drink at a local cafe. Then the fun really starts: we plan and cook our evening meal, a ritual that is treasured. It makes the dirty hangover completely worth it.

By the way, we are not a pair of complete ponces. These hungover days follow debauched nights with attractive men in seedy nightspots, 6am bedtimes are a regular occurrence - and we need these nights of merriment after respective part-time jobs and university: we live by the strict mantra of 'work hard and play hard.' Our hangovers are not for children. We often feel terrible for hours on end, but over the past year, these days have become the most enjoyable ones. Afternoons of wandering around Sainsbury's whilst incoherently mumbling and absent mindedly picking up tuna steaks are cherished; piecing together the night before whilst cooking our evening meals and settling down is the greatest of comforts. This blog is dedicated to all of those nights: good and bad, and the universal solace of a home-cooked meal with the best of friends.