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?
I read The Quince Tree too and thought this hash was a great idea. In fact, when Aldi last had celery as one of their specials, I bought a head to make the hash. I love celery but my husband won't eat it if it is recognisable but in hash... However, there is not enough space in the freezer to put any in until we eat some more things up : )ReplyDelete
I really must go outside and brave the cold of the freezer in order to give it a sort out. As yet again you have inspired me to take meal planning to the next level.ReplyDelete
I seem to use the excuse of having a 3yr and 11mth old, but that is no reason not to try new things and I am lucky that they adore Veg, Broccoli is eaten by the truck load... going to try this veg hash as most of the things we eat on a regular basis can be started this way.
Thank you Sue yet again and I am off to visit Quince Tree xx
O gosh thats so thrifty and darned good to eat i bet..will do this today..have some sorry for themselves veggies..o and a sprout,leek and mushroom stir fry..lovely but does tend to repeat at the most inappropriate times..lol..ReplyDelete
Hi Sue, thank you for your lovely words! So glad you find the veg hash a useful idea, I can't manage without it now.ReplyDelete
Sue, I'm with you on loving the other Sue's Quince Tree blog! Not had sufficient freezer space to try the hash yet - might well be able to at the end of 'Frugal February' though as one of the plans for that is to work through the freezers!ReplyDelete
Thanks to both of you!
Thank you for this Sue & Sue - I would never have thought to do this...I have SO much to learn in the kitchen!ReplyDelete
Sue firstly i want to say you are a truly lovely person.xxReplyDelete
2nd are all those ingredients raw when frozen?
What a lovely comment (she says blushing), thank you.Delete
Yes, they are all raw when popped into the freezer.
This is a really good idea and one that as soon as I get a freezer I will adopt. I will head over to the quince tree now. Thanks for the tip xReplyDelete
It is so much easier to pull a meal together when a lot of the chopping is done. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Another good idea for this vegtable hash is to add a 'cobbler' topping, a tasty meal in itself!ReplyDelete
This mix may be a little strong flavoured to simply add a cobbler top, especially mine as I was rather heavy on the garlic, I think I would add a tin of tomatoes to it first, then it would be delicious with a cobbler topping.Delete
I use the Veg Hash as well, it really is good.ReplyDelete
Hi Sue, trick I learned from Rhonda, wrap your celery in aluminium foil before popping in fridge. She claimed it would last 6 weeks, so I just had to prove it worked. Yep, after 6 weeks, it was sill snap crunchy enough to use fresh. Amazing. Now going to drop by The Quince Tree.ReplyDelete
what a great idea i buy washed carrots in bulk(10kg for £3.50 not worth growing at that price) from the farm shop but always end up throwing the last few out as they go black i will hash some next time so we get through the bag a bit quicker.ReplyDelete
love the idea of freezing this. I normally chop this each time. I think in france it is called something like mile poix and the Italians use it as the base for ragu and that is called soffritto. it makes amazing soup bases.ReplyDelete
Really like the tip of freezing it. that will really make it stretch my veg basket. Thanks