Vegetarian Toad in the Hole

The boy wanted toad in the hole for tea.

For people who are like ‘WTF is a Toad in the Hole?’ well, it is sausages (typically meat ones, but I don’t eat meat) in batter. It is a comforting meal. It is completely impractical for summer. I am very hot now.

All you need is a batter recipe, and if you want to be like me you add dried rosemary, sage and thyme to the flour before mixing the batter.

Cook the sausages first in a bit of oil in an oven dish. The hot oil is the key to success as when the sausages are cooked you pour the batter mix over them and the hot oil makes it all good. Don’t ask me why. Science, cooking science, that’s why.

Eat with many, many vegetables and gravy.

Easy Pea-sy Soup (I am ill)

An ill day calls for one thing.

Soup.

We have had a big bag of frozen peas in our freezer for a long time, and I don’t really like plain peas. Nor do either the boy or I have a sprain in need of an ice pack.

After trying, for the first time, a delicious pea and mint soup last year when I was still eating from the work canteen at lunch I have been craving it ever since.

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INGREDIENTS

serves 3 greedy mouths (4 normal mouths and 5 small mouths)

About 350g of frozen peas.

1 big potato (or 3 small potatoes)

Frozen or fresh Onion. I used A LOT. About one medium fresh onion is a good starting point.

2 tsp of dried mint (you can use fresh if you like. I know it’s better, but our windowsill is occupied by long scrubbing brushes the boy insists on buying so that his precious hands don’t touch a plate when doing the washing up)

1.5 Litres of vegetable stock

A big splodge of butter/margarine

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METHOD

Chopped the potato(es) and onion (if using fresh) into small pieces.

Melt the butter in the biggest pot you have and once it’s foaming add the potato and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Add the stock and cook for about 15 minutes.

I added the dried mint at this point but if you are using fresh I would recommend waiting till a bit later.

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Once the potato and onions are soft add the peas and bring back to the boil. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Pour into the blender and pulse.

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Do I really need to tell you what to do next?

You eat it of course.

I do feel a little better.

Chickpea Crust Pizza (Thank You Eat Well For Less)

In the UK there have been three sporadic series of a show called Eat Well For Less on the BBC which I am a little obsessed with.

The premise of the show is you have a family who are brand loyal, or waste a lot of food, or eat really unhealthily, or argue about what to eat and in all cases they spend more than the national average on food for their family size.

Chef Greg Wallace and Green Grocer Chris Bavin are the faces of the show.

The show isn’t on air at the moment, and there are no videos of it to be easily found ┬ábut I absolutely love the show and when it was on TV last year I watched the episodes over and over again.

I spend in a whole month close to what the families typically spend in one week, so I don’t really have a problem with the food budget (though it has got a little out of control recently) but I have still found so many good tips from the show.

Predictably they released a cook book which I received for Christmas 2016 and I was happy to see a recipe from the show had made it in, which is the Chickpea Crust Pizza.

As per usual, because this is not my recipe I won’t repeat it, but it is essentially a chickpea pancake batter (set aside for 1 hour) fried on both sides, topped with tomato puree and cheese and veggies (I used a long neglected jar of green olives, frozen sweetcorn and onion and a whole ball of mozzarella, ooops) and placed in the oven till it has reached your desired level of cooking.

Chickpea flour is very cheap and makes a nice change.

I know my food photography is a bit rubbish and it looks like it’s been dropped on the floor but it was yummers.

The boy is at painting class, and all I have bought today was milk, though I did look around the entire store trying to find something shiny to buy.

I am watching The Resurrection of Jake the Snake as a way of trying to understand what my mum is going through.

I spoke to my Mum’s twin today and we talked about my Mum and I think unfortunately I left her a little upset. My Aunt has been through a lot in the last two years. She lost her husband, my beloved Uncle, two years ago and early in life to dementia that cruelly came along quickly and violently. She is the closest child to where my Granddad lives and does so much for him, especially now.

To be blunt, my Aunt does not need any more S*** in her life.

Neither do my brothers or I.

I am angry with my mum. I am devastated about my mum. And I can handle having both those feelings because at least it means I still feel something towards her.

But I can’t do anything. But at least I have Pizza and a Wrestling documentary.

The ‘Throw Anything at Me’ Vegetable Soup

It is the boy’s birthday today. He wanted Parsnip soup. We did not have parsnips, so we went to Tesco’s and bought some.

I decided to combat our vegetable drawer and mountain of potatoes and thus made the ‘Throw anything at me’ soup. For when times are tough but for some reason you have a lot of vegetables.

When my mum left us around the time I was 12 my Dad became a single parent. He only had limited experience in the kitchen and had to step up. There were some ‘unusual’ experiments, and our meals frequently involved up to three types of potato as they were cheap and filling, but I remember clearly that one of the first things he made from scratch was soup.

I would spend my Sunday’s in the second year of Uni roasting veg and then pulsing them into soup. Soup was one of the first things I made.

Once you have learnt to make soup you know you can survive.

Recipe

1 onion, finely sliced (I had a fresh onion, normally it would be frozen onion)

4 stalks of celery. If it is slightly bendy that is fine.

3 small-medium potatoes, cubed

3 carrots, washed, skin on, finely diced.

5-7 parsnips IF SMALL AND WEEDY. The prepacked bag I bought in Tesco’s had little parsnips in, not like the hefty behemoths I get at the fruit and veg stall at work. If you have the hefty beasts then use about 2-3.

1.5 Litres of stock.

Herbs you like. I used dried Thyme, Rosemary and Sage.

A nice big wedge of butter.

A blender, a big pot and a wooden spoon.

Method

Melt the lump of butter/margarine in the pot over a low heat. Once it is all melted add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Cook for about 5 minutes until your kitchen smells lovely and onion-y (is it just me that likes that smell?)

Add the finely sliced carrots, potatoes and all important parsnips. Give a courtesy  stir to coat in the buttery onion goodness and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil then cook for about 10 minutes. If the pot has a lid put it on. It saves energy by cooking things faster.

At this point I did the washing up and listened to Absolute 80s.

Once I finished the washing up I checked that the root veggies were soft, which they were (thank you Mr Pot Lid) and then I turned off the heat and carefully put it all in the blender (depending on the size of your blender you may have to do this in two stages)

I then pulled out my biggest bowls, poured it in and ate. Yum.

The boy was happy.

As always adjust the veg quantity, stock intensity, thickness and herbs to your own individual liking. The boy added a mound of pepper to his.

Leftover Vegetable Cheesy Scones

Remember that glut of veg I bought last Monday?

Well I didn’t want the Swede to go to waste, so I decided to make some vegetable scones from them. I found a recipe on the BBC food website by Greg Wallace from the Eat Well For Less show banner, that called for around 200g of mashed swede and 50g of other leftover cooked veggies.

My swede was B I G so even shaving some of it off for our Sunday dinner I still had 300g of it. I boiled it along with a very small sweet potato that was about 80g and I was planning on changing the rest of the ingredient measurements to reflect these changes in amounts, but in the end I kept the flour, baking powder, salt and milk measurements the same and I feel that my scones were all the better for it. In fact the milk amount seemed far too much!

I’m sure Mr Wallace will tell me I did everything wrong but I thought they were delicious.

As usual I was generous with the grated cheese.

I like my food ‘crispy’ which I know is more carcinogenic, even before the news report this year about ‘golden food being bad’ I knew that so I will leave it to you as to how well done you like them.

I will be having some in my lunch box tomorrow.

I reckon any combination of root veggies would make a good scone. They were yummers!