Sometimes while flitting around in Blogland you find a Blog that speaks your kind of language, has pictures that makes your heart sing and is just, well.....so in tune with you that you need to savour it on a regular basis. One such Blog for me is The Quince Tree, always on my sidebar and written by my namesake Sue. It's always full of brilliant ideas, drool worthy photographs and lots and lots of recipes. One of these recipes, I guess one of her most basic, has been stolen shamelessly by me today.
As now I am reaching the end of my fresh stuff in the fridge I needed it, so I thought I would share it here with you. (Sue has her version HERE, I had no leeks in store for mine).
It is Veg Hash
It can be used as the basis to so many recipes, in fact whenever a recipe starts with those oft repeated words 'sweat off an onion' or 'brown a chopped onion in your pan' etc you can use this wonderful mix instead and have a dense, more complex flavour. You can use this for quickness, for taste or as I am doing this week to preserve those ingredients that would otherwise go sad and limp in the bottom of your fridge, making good use of everything you have bought.
I had eight carrots in the fridge and about half a head of celery that were all starting to look decidedly sorry for themselves, (they have done remarkably well, they were bought before Christmas), and I really wanted to use them up NOW before their condition deteriorated any more, so this recipe was perfect.
I scrubbed and then soaked six of the carrots and celery in some ice cold water to perk them up a bit, got half a dozen medium onions and a whole head of garlic from the stores and roughly chopped them all. Then they were whizzed in the food processor until finely chopped (TIP - do the carrots first, they take more chopping than the rest I did mine as a complete mix and had to fish out chunks of carrot to whizz again)...
...and then I divided the now divinely smelling mix between little tubs to go into the freezer.
Now safely labelled and stashed away it means that we have the goodness preserved and I'm ready at the drop of a hat to whip up a stew, curry or soup with a lovely base mixture of flavour. As Sue says on her Blog you can quickly defrost a tub for a minute in the microwave if you have forgotten to remove it from the freezer in time to start cooking.
The other two carrots......well they are forming the basis for tonights tea. I have half a small white cabbage (the only vegetable now left in the fridge, so I thought with the carrots and an onion we can have some homemade Coleslaw. As I have a few potatoes I think the menu is sorted - Jacket Potatoes, (done 'Jamie' style) with Baked Beans and Coleslaw.
Letting the ingredients push the menu planning this way is really refreshing and feels so much more spontaneous, this is the way I like to cook especially throughout the Summer months when whatever I have picked that morning from the Veggie Patch becomes the basis for that nights tea. It's a nice break from simply menu planning from the freezer, although the next few weeks it will be that way as we slowly and surely eat our way through the stores.
I'm very pleased to say its the eleventh day of January and I am yet to spend any of my housekeeping money, so the £2 Housekeeping Challenge is looking very hopeful up to now. Just how long can I go before I have to hand over one of those £2 coins?