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Waste not, want not – I

Both my parents grew up in the UK in the Second World War: Mum in Oxford, where her mother  billeted soldiers. Dad grew up in Glasgow, and with his sister, Belle, evacuated to a poultry farm . Consequently, we grew up constantly hearing, “waste not, want not”.  Little was thrown away. Broccoli 2
So, one Friday, I when I was making quiches.  One of the fillings was broccoli and blue cheese. Having cut off the florets, I was left with this beautiful, thick but tender broccoli stem.

Compostbucket2014
My trusty compost bucket – never far from my elbow, and which is emptied on to the heap.

Too good to put into the compost bucket, I thought; and it was a cold, cold day.  Soup is always a good lunch during winter, and a vegetable soup relatively quick to make. So, why not turn the stem into broccoli soup?

Here’s what I did: chopped an onion and sautéd it in a little butter (I no longer use the onion), and then added about a table spoon of flour (you want the soup to have a bit of body – and if you prefer not to use wheat, add some cornflour at the end). Cover the chopped stalk with vegetable stock and allow it to boil. Simmer until the vegetables are soft; liquidise and then add some cheese (because I had some, I used Camembert) and liquidise again to ensure the cheese is well distributed. Re-heat and serve with sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.

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Broccoli Soup

Tips:

  • This is a regular seasonal soup for Suppers @ The Sandbag House and I’m now a little more particular and base my “doings” on a Creme du Barry recipe from my mother’s Good Housekeeping recipe book.
  • I use Ina Paarman’s vegetable stock powder – it’s a useful standby, and is neither too salty, nor has too many preservatives
  • Save some of the broccoli florets – steam them and add them to the soup when you serve it.
  • Of course, you can also add a swirl of cream or a dollop of Greek yoghurt to serve…

I have just made 6 litres of this soup for an upcoming weekend of suppers.  If you’d like the recipe, it’s here.

Originally posted on 10 July 2014 and updated.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

    • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the Steempress plugin.
      My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
    • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
    • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

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Aubergines – awful or awesome?

In our house, we call them brinjals, and other people call them melanzane or egg plants. You either like them or you don’t – like a friend’s daughter who, when she was little, announced to her mother that she really didn’t want to eat allmyjeans!! It took a while to work out that she meant aubergines!

We grow brinjals – the variety we have grown, are beautiful, shiny and a glossy deep, deep purple, and feature in cuisine from all shores of the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. Smaller varieties, in other colours, are a feature of Asian foods – they’re on my list of things to grow – as soon as I can find seed.

We always have brinjals in the fridge. Our regular Sunday breakfast includes a slice of fried brinjal, something I used to feel somewhat guilty about until Tim Noakes’ flip to a high-fat diet!

Brinjals are really versatile.  One can do much more with them than the relatively popular Melanzane Parmigiana and Moussaka in which they are centre pieces. I make a paté that consists of roasted brinjal, cottage cheese, chopped fresh oreganum, parsley, garlic and brandy. It’s really simple to make because once the brinjal is cool, all you do is puree the whole lot together, chill and serve with crudité, biscuits or crostini.
I must also mention that brinjals are not as fiddly to cook with as they used to be: most recipes recommend that you salt and allow them to stand for half an hour to remove the bitterness. Modern horticulture has developed brinjals that are no longer bitter. I never salt brinjals anymore, and I don’t recall the last time we had a bitter brinjal.
So, here are two awesome, really quick and easy things to do with aubergines:

Ratatouille

Brinjal, together with courgettes are an integral ingredient of Ratatouille, the dish that famously turned food critic, Anton Ego, into a warm human being, fond of rats…

Its fancy name (pronounced rat-a-too-ee) belies how easy it is to make: sauté a chopped onion in olive oil, followed by one or two cloves of garlic, chopped, a diced a robot of bell peppers, brinjal and courgettes (zucchini), adjusting quantities so that they are in proportion. Finally, add two or so skinned, chopped tomatoes. Some recipes suggest mushrooms and no brinjals, while others include both. It’s up to you. The most difficult part of this dish is not to overcook it – you want lovely liquid from the various vegetables but you don’t want them to turn to mush, so watch the pot!  As it’s just about done, add a good handful of fresh, chopped oreganum and/or italian parsley.
Serve hot or cold – with pasta, beautiful bread or rice – accompanied by a sprinkling of cheese (mild or strong, depending on your preference). Ratatouille makes a lovely side dish or a vegetarian meal.

Grilled Brinjal salad with a chilli yoghurt dressing

This is a variation on a platter served at Jakes in the Village, a few years ago, and a favourite spot when we lived in Cape Town.  We enjoyed it so much, I experimented and have now made it my own. The salad consists of slices of brinjal, grilled, placed on a bed of leaves and drizzled with a yoghurt dressing. This simple dressing is made from plain yoghurt, a little chilli jam (or fresh chilli, chopped and some honey) lemon juice, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Of course, garnish with fresh coriander which works so well with chilli!
There are a myriad of other things that I make with brinjals, so this is the first in a series…

First published on 5 June 2014

Quiche-cum-savoury tarts

I promised this a while ago……………

This is a very easy way to make a quiche – I don’t have scientific measures, and when Di asked me for the recipe, I had to think about it.  So, here goes –

The basicsquiches
I use puff pastry (short pastry works just as well) and I buy it frozen.  This recipe takes half (or a quarter if you use the little dishes that I have in the picture below; and the thawed pastry keeps in the fridge for a week with no deterioration)

The custard is three eggs and 2 dessert spoons yoghurt (greek or bulgarian or low fat – whatever you choose), P&S to taste, beaten together.  If you like a less “eggy” tart, 2 eggs work just as well.

“Fillings”

I use a range of fillings, but our favourites are herbed leek & onion and spinach.

Leek & Onion

bunch of leeks, cleaned & chopped
medium onion, sliced
clove garlic (optional)
Fresh herbs to taste (any you would like, and which work well with cheese e.g. oregano, parsley and thyme)
115g cheddar

Spinach & Feta*

bunch of spinach, cleaned & chopped
medium onion, diced
1 tsp fresh fennell, chopped finely
half “wheel” of feta, crumbled
(optional extra about 2 dessert spoons diced, roasted butternut)
*sometimes I use cheddar – just for a change or if I’ve run out…..

Saute the onion until transparent and add the garlic, if using.  Saute for a couple more minutes and then add you veg of choice and cook until tender.  Season to taste.

Grease and line your pastry dish – I leave the pastry quite rustic.  If I’m using cheddar, I put that in first and then the rest of the filling on top of that.  The feta goes on top of the spinach and then pour over the custard.

Bake in a hot oven (200 Celsius) for about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your dish.
This serves four for a a light meal with a green salad.  For the more hungry, add some crusty seed bread or a potato salad.

Enjoy…………………..

Post script

Originally published as my first – ever blog post on 7 February 2014.  I’ve come a long way since then, methinks.