Wild Garlic Soup

A seasonal treat that’s quick to prepare and easy on the budget!garnished with yogurt etc 12-04-2018 06-04-50 PM

We live in a place where wild garlic dominates the hillsides in late winter and early spring. I love the smell of it—delicate at first, and stronger as the flowers begin to emerge, until it can become quite overpowering later in the season. Mid-season is a good time to forage for wild garlic leaves: there’s plenty about, yet they haven’t yet begun to go leathery, and there’s few flower stalks in the way.

Quantities given are per person for a main dish; it will serve more as starters.

Ingredients:

A double handful Wild garlic (ransom) leaves
1 small Leek
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
1 medium or 2 small Potatoes
1 cup (1/2 pint) Vegetable stock
Bunch Fresh parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon Plain yogurt (optional)
Dash Nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Rinse and pick over ransom leaves. Discard any that are damaged, or old and leathery. Chop roughly.
  2. Clean and chop leek(s).
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan; add chopped leaves and stir around. Cover and leave to sweat over low heat while you prepare the potatoes.
  4. Wash potatoes and slice thinly. Cut large slices in half crosswise.
  5. Stir potatoes in to leaves. Add stock–it should cover all the veg.
  6. Increase heat to bring to a boil.
  7. While the stock is heating up, chop a handful of parsley if you’re using it. Add to the pan, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked fully.
  8. Whizz the soup to a thick velvety texture, with or without any remaining chunks of veg. whizzed up ransom soup 12-04-2018 05-57-49 PM
  9. Return to heat for 5 minutes or more, to bring it back up to serving temperature.
  10. Serve in warmed bowls. Garnish with yogurt, nutmeg and parsley sprigs.

    vegan version 12-04-2018 06-04-53 PM

    Vegan version with no yogurt

 

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Posted in Eating seasonally, Recipes, Spring

Leek and Potato Boats

It’s St David’s Day again–time to celebrate all things Welsh, and time for a new recipe using leeks! This one can use virtually all leftover bits and bobs, or can be made fresh. Just add the necessary time to bake potatoes. Caerphilly cheese is also a Welsh speciality, so if you can get it in your area, do give it a try.Picture of baked leek and potato boat on a plate

Serves three

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cold leftover jacket (baked) potatoes
1-2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Steamed chopped leeks
Dash Ginger powder
About an ounce Shredded smoked Caerphilly (or other Gouda type) cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Cut cold potatoes in half lengthways. Scoop out most of the potato, leaving only enough to help the skins hold a potato shape (your ‘boats’).
  3. Mash the potato insides and heat gently with butter.
  4. Stir in hot leeks and ginger.
  5. Divide the mixture between the three potato ‘boats’ and stuff gently.
  6. Top with shredded cheese.
  7. Bake until heated through and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Holidays, Leftovers, Recipes

Planned Leftovers with Ox Heart

Ox heart is not something you see every day in the average (super)market, but when you do, it is definitely worth snapping up. As a member of the offal family, it comes dirt cheap, but it can be prepared in a number of different ways, which variously emphasize its affinity to other organs or to steak. Plus, there’s enough meat on it to serve at least 8 people.

Choices of how to cook ox heart include boiling then pickling (my grandmother’s favourite), slow stewing (my first instinct), roasting, and more. Because I wanted to have the maximum opportunity for leftovers variety, I opted for roasting, and used a modified version of the recipe I found here.

My daughter came for a visit between Christmas and New Year, so it was a good opportunity to play with what for us is rather non-traditional food. To me, the meat tasted mostly like beef steak, though my family detected a faint hint of organ, too. Either way, it is definitely a rich meat, so portions need to be on the smaller side than normal.sliced-ox-heart-24-12-2016-06-21-55-pm

Day one: Stuffed roasted ox heart with cherry port sauce (a pre-packaged gift), baked pumpkin and wilted cabbage salad.

Day two: Hot meat sandwiches with thin-sliced heart and bubble and squeak (made with pumpkin instead of potatoes).

Day three: Basic leftovers of cut up chunky strips, browned all over and covered with hot leftover port sauce (see above), leek and potato boats, cranberry salad.

Alternative leftover meals:

Stuffed cabbage–using ground leftover heart for the meat element.

Soup (of course).

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Posted in Kitchen Economy, Leftovers

Sharing Sunday dinner

We’ve got a friend who lives on his own and has recently had surgery on his hand. How could we not invite him over for Sunday dinner, even if it means my other half will have to drive out to fetch him? The food will have to be easy to eat one-handed, so fork tender. As he’s got traditional tastes, I’m fixing Oven Pot Roast. Since it’s rather earlier in the season than when I posted that recipe, today’s version doesn’t have celeriac or leeks, but I’m adding chopped up patty pan squash and a bit of celery for extra flavour. And there will be seasonal fruit crisp fresh out of the oven for dessert.

Can’t wait!

Picture of meat and veg in open casserole

Here’s one I made earlier….

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Posted in Autumn, Uncategorized

Cold weather food

It’s the coldest day of the season so far, and there’s a cold north wind to boot. So I’ve got a pot of soup on the stove for tonight’s supper: stock from pheasant bones and warm spices, various veggies from the store cupboard, and apples (to balance the hotter spice with some sweet, and to thicken the broth).
While that cooks, I’ll continue to harvest tiny sweet orange tomatoes from the greenhouse, and sort through a box of the grapes I picked the other day. Maybe I’ll make more juice to freeze, or maybe jam. So many choices!
dsc04528

Grapes in the greenhouse a few weeks ago

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Posted in Autumn, Kitchen Economy

Stuffed Butternut Squash

So called ‘winter squash’ is one of my favourite fall and winter foods. (It is actually harvested in autumn.) The main characteristic that distinguishes it from ‘summer squash’ is the density of the flesh. Summer squashes are light and watery, storing briefly at room temperature or in refrigerated conditions. A summer squash past its best discolours and quickly goes squishy. Winter squashes are heavy and dense, and are suitable for long storage in cool pantries or cellars. When finally past their best, the skin will wrinkle and the fruit will begin to collapse in on itself, but will still be usable for a while. The taste of winter squash is similarly more robust than that of  summer squash. There are many varieties available, but the one most easily found here in Wales at this time of year is butternut squash.

Stuffing vegetables, especially squash, is incredibly easy and versatile, with the added benefit that you can shorten cooking time by kick-starting it in the microwave, and/or leave it in the oven to keep warm for a fairly long time. For this recipe, I used some of our own small, home-grown butternut squash, in prime condition.Picture of stuffed squash dinner

Serves 2

Ingredients:

One, one pound Butternut squash (you could use a small acorn squash)
1 cup Leftover beef stew (not runny)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeeds.
  3. Microwave on high power, cut side down, for 3-5 minutes. The squash should be hot to the touch, but the solid end should not be cooked through.
  4. Divide stew between the two squash halves. Place in baking dish and cover loosely.

    Picture of stuffed squash in baking dish

    Squash stuffed and ready to cover before going in the oven. Notice that the hollowed/stuffed end has begun to take on a shine as it cooks, but the solid end has not.

  5. Bake for 30 to 60 minutes, until squash is tender and beef is hot through. You can put the dish in the oven before the oven is fully pre-heated, and you can keep it warm in the oven if dinner is delayed. The meat will eventually dry out, so keep it covered to minimize loss of moisture.
  6. Serve with a green vegetable and complement the dish with a chutney or pickle based on a tart fruit, such as cranberry or rhubarb.Picture of squash plated up
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Posted in Autumn, Eating seasonally, Leftovers, Recipes

Pasta Disaster?

How embarrassing! Within minutes of posting my last recipe, I realized that I had not, in fact, prepared fettuccine, but tagliatelle.  I guess I was just too caught up in the alliteration of my recipe name to notice what I was actually cooking! You could, of course, prepare it with actual fettuccine, but the textures won’t be quite as compatible.

Can anybody think of a better clever name for ‘Tagliatelle with fennel and feta’?

Posted in Uncategorized
What’s Creative Economy in the Kitchen about?
Sharing a lifetime of experience of kitchen challenges. Respecting food and making the most of what's available. Read more on my About page.
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© Julia Davis-Coombs and Creative Economy in the Kitchen, 2014-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia Davis-Coombs and Creative Economy in the Kitchen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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