How to make your own frozen greens

How to make your own frozen greens

How to: make your own frozen greens

So you bought a bag of greens, because it’s much better if everyone eats their greens, right?
Meh.
If I don’t cook up a bag of spinach as soon as it hits my house, I just look at it, and think about it, and think about it some more. And then it goes a little yellow, it goes a little sad and now I really don’t fancy it.
But. If I prep the whole bag at once, then I can just add in a handful here and handful there.

And if I don’t think I’m going to get it all eaten up, then I freeze them. It’s super easy, and it takes a little time – not in hands on cooking time, just cooking the greens and leaving them to cool before popping in the freezer.

Once you have the greens cooked and ready, you can warm them up and stir through some cream for creamed spinach. You can stir through some scrambled eggs for a quick meal, or into your egg fried rice. Through pasta with a little meat. Into a quiche. A pilaf.

 

Make your own frozen greens

Bought a bag of greens and they're threatening to go yellow? Don't waste them, use this technique for making your own, zero waste, frozen greens
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Keyword: eating on a budget, empty the fridge
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Colander/sieve
  • Saucepan
  • Clean tea towel/cooking muslin
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Baking tray
  • Sharp knife & chopping board
  • Freezer bag/tub and permanent marker

Ingredients

  • 1 bag greens spinach, kale, watercress, salad packs

Instructions

Cook the greens

  • Wash the greens; discard any yellow leaves
  • Place the leaves into a heavy bottomed pan and put the heat onto medium. Put the lid on the pan.
  • After a couple of minutes, check on the greens and stir. The water from washing should be enough to cook the leaves, but you might need to add a little more.
  • Baby spinach/watercress/salad packs will be ready in about 5 minutes.
  • Kale/true spinach will take longer, around 10 minutes

Cooling the greens

  • Take the cooked greens and turn out into the colander/sieve. If you're a smoothie or stock maker, collect the water in the bowl
  • Once any liquid has run off, take your tongs (if you have them) or fork and pick up the leaves and place on the tea towel to cool. More liquid will evaporate, which is what we want.

When the leaves are cool

  • Take the leaves and chop them up
  • If you're going to use them within a few days, place in a lidded container in the fridge to add to egg fried rice, pasta, quiche or other meals.

To freeze portions of greens

  • Check that your baking tray fits into your freezer draw. Once you're happy, line the tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Take a small handful of greens and mould them into a small ball. Place the balls onto the tray until you have used all the greens.
  • Cover the tray with an old bag or more paper and place in the freezer.
  • Once frozen solid, peel the greens off the paper and place into a bag or tub. Label the greens with what they are and the date frozen.
  • They will keep for up to 6 months.

How to cook garlic and herb mushrooms

How to cook garlic and herb mushrooms

How to: make your own garlic mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most popular foods chosen in the UK; with loads of trying trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat, they can provide that lovely umaminess.
Also cracking with a full English.
However, supermarket mushrooms are wrapped in clingfilm. This is bonkers. Mushrooms are fungi, so inside plastic, they sweat. This is why mushrooms go off.
If you are buying your mushrooms like this, please remove the clingfilm as soon as you get home. This will *immediately* help your mushrooms to last longer.

I learned how to make these years ago, and it’s a technique that has served me well. I cook a box or two of cheap mushrooms up like this, and I know I have the beginnings of a creamy mushroom pasta or pizza night. I can add them to scrambled eggs or even just have them on toast. They could go with a steak, or sit on a bowl of polenta.

 

Garlic and herb mushrooms

Want to make the most of that half pack of mushrooms?
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Knife & chopping board
  • Frying pan
  • Storage pot

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms
  • Oil any vegetable oil will do. Don't waste Extra Virgin Olive Oil here.
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch each thyme and rosemary
  • sea salt
  • 50 ml wine

Instructions

  • DO NOT WASH THE MUSHROOMS. If you feel peculiar about this, wipe them with a clean tea towel.
  • Slice the mushrooms to around 5mm
  • Pour in around 2 tablespoons of oil for every 200grams of mushrooms and turn the heat to medium. If you have a lot of mushrooms to cook, don't crowd the pan (see above). Season well with salt & pepper.
  • Stir the mushrooms every minutes to encourage water to evaporate.
  • If you have to cook a few batches of mushrooms, keep cooking them this way until they are all ready. Once they are all cooked through, crush or finely slice the garlic.
  • Remove all the mushrooms from the pan. Add in a little oil, if necessary. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic and stir for one minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan, turn up the heat and add the wine, if using. Once the alcohol has burned off, add in the whole herbs. Mix, test for seasoning and adjust. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes.

Using your garlic mushooms.

  • If stored in a lidded container, these will keep for a number of days in your fridge.
  • You can use them on toast, in scrambled eggs and omelettes, in creamy pasta and soup, in a quiche or on pizza...

.

Ratio: Basic Quiche

Ratio: Basic Quiche

Ratio Cooking: Quiche

As a veg-box customer I’ve got used to making quiche from loads of different things. Using just egg yolks for luxury, or an egg and an egg-white when that needs finishing up. Half a jar of roasted peppers and a few olives? A little bacon and loads of greens? Half an egg left from egg washing some scones & some cream from Sunday crumble?
Read on and find out how your small leftovers are the perfect inspiration for a quiche.

Quiche base

Simple: buy a pre-made base.

Easy: a packet of ready made shortcrust pastry. You’ll need a metal or ceramic dish (usually easy to find in a charity shop)

Make your own. For a 15 cm dish, you want 115 grams of flour and 55 grams of fat. Got a great big lovey tart dish, 40 cm across? Double it!
If you’re buying Sainsbury’s plain flour at 50p/kilo, you’re looking at 6p of flour. 2 oz of regular butter will set you back 30p. So, about 36p, rather than a quid! When I have rendered lard, I use half butter half lard. Using rendered lard saves expensive butter for another dish and adds a layer of flavour to my finished dish.

The filling

Egg: let’s start with 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks. You could use 3 egg yolks + 1 egg and a little more cream, or your version.

Cream: you can use single, double, whipping. You can even use slightly cheesy cream, as you’re using cheese and any worrisome bugs will be killed by the cooking process.

Thrifty tip
If you don’t already store the rinds from your Parmesan/Italian Style Hard Cheese, then start. A couple of hours before you make your quiche, warm the cream with a parmesan rind, some seasoning and a bay leaf, maybe some thyme. The flavour from the cheese rind will infuse the cream – result? You need less cheese in your final dish.

Veggies, a little meat

The great thing about quiche is that you can shove loads of random stuff in there. Greens, mushrooms, roasted peppers, a little bacon.

The total weight you want it around 500 grams cooked weight. If you have some cold, leftover greens, a few olives, a little meat.

The cheese

You can use most cheeses here. Cheddar, Emmental, blue cheese, goat. Chunks of feta stirred through a roast pepper mix. A couple of slices of that not-amazing Brie you picked up or some crusty bits of blue.
The point is to use up what you have, and enjoy the mix! If you love greens and feta, then go for it. Love cheese and onion? The cheddar and onion is your friend.
You know what you enjoy eating, so start there. And message me with questions.

 

Quiche: Ratio Guide

Ann Storr
Want to clear out the fridge and make a quiche? Here's your ratio guide to make a perfect quiche or tart from weird leftovers.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Scales
  • Optional: food processor
  • Mixing bowl
  • Small bowl and lid
  • Tart/pie tin
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking beans and greaseproof paper
  • Measuring jug
  • Whisk
  • Saucepan
  • Frying pan

Ingredients
  

For home-made pastry

  • 115 grams flour (can be, say, 90 grams plain white + 25 spelt...)
  • 55 grams fat (all butter/half butter half lard/margarine)
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons water

For the custard

  • 2 whole eggs around 90ml of egg
  • 2 egg yolks around 30 ml egg yolk
  • 300 millilitres cream double, single, whipping... slightly cheesy...
  • 1 rind Grana Padano/Italian style hard cheese
  • 1 bay leaf optional
  • nutmeg optional
  • spring onion greens or leek top optional

Cheese

  • around 100 grams cheese Cheddar, gruyere, double gloucester, Parmesan...

Veggies and/or meat

  • 1 kg raw veggies onions, mushrooms, greens...
  • oil/fat to cook them - lard, butter, olive oil...

or

  • 500 grams cooked, leftover veg
  • up to 150 grams bacon/sausage/chorizo

Instructions
 

The custard - ideally a few hours before you want to cook the quiche/tart but ** not essential **

  • If you have a parmesan rind and/or bay leaf/freshly ground
    nutmeg etc, place them in a saucepan with the cream and bring the heat to
    medium. Season with salt and black pepper. After about five minutes and before it
    boils, turn the heat off and leave to one side/in the fridge overnight, if you wish.

If making your own pastry

  • Either process the flour, fat & salt in your food processor and then add a little water until it comes together in a ball.
  • Or, if making pastry by hand, rub the fat(s) into the flour/salt mixture until sandy. When there are no lumps of butter left over, add a tablespoon of water at a time, until it comes together in a ball.
    Either way, place the pastry in the small bowl, cover with a lid (I just use a plate) and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

Blind baking

  • Turn your oven to 220C
  • Lightly flour your kitchen counter and place the pastry in the middle. Roll out the pastry to about 10 cm wider than the tin/dish you are using. Move the dish to next to your raw pastry. Either by nudging the pastry onto the pin, or by lightly folding the pastry into quarters, lift the pastry over the tin.
  • Prick the pastry all over with a fork and trim off any excess. Cut a length of greaseproof paper and grease it a little. Oiled side down, place it on the pastry and cover with the beans. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the sides are golden brown.
  • Once ready, remove from the oven. Carefully pour the very, very hot baking beans into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool down. Dispose of the greaseproof paper.
    You can either go straight on to cook from here, or leave to cool and bake the quiche/tart another day.

The meat/veggies

  • Greens (around a kilo): wilt in a frying pan and after about 5-10 minutes tip into a colander and then squeeze out any water or other ideas.

Cheese

  • Grate; if feta, into chunks

Baking

  • Turn the oven on to/down to 180C. Place a tray in the oven to heat up. Strain the cream and discard the cheese rind. Take the eggs and/or egg yolks and whisk into the cream. Taste and season as necessary. Stir the cheese through.
  • If using spinach/onions, I tend to stir them into the custard. For peppers/feta, I pour in the custard and attempt to make a pretty dish by placing them carefully.
  • Place the tart on the waiting try in the hot oven and bake for between 30 and 40 minutes.
  • Check on it after about 25 minutes; if the top is brown but the middle is still very wobbly, you can turn the heat down and continue to bake. It’s ready when the middle of the tart feels firm to the touch.

Eating

  • If you’ve used a loose-bottomed tin, you can release the tart by propping it onto a tin and letting the side fall down. If you’re using a solid tin or ceramic dish, just leave on the wire cooling rack until ready.

Storage

  • The tart will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. If you want to reheat, it's best to let the tart come to room temperature and then place in a warm oven until warm through. Don't reheat again. And don't microwave! The pastry will go all floppy and foul.
Keyword cheap recipies, empty the fridge, no food waste

Leftover Green Pepper Jambalaya

Leftover Green Pepper Jambalaya

Jambalaya

Creole and cajun cuisine has always interested me, and I don’t really know why. I think because the flavours and layers and history are fascinating – how French, African-diaspora, American and English histories combine.  I started cooking some Louisiana style food when the StorrCupboard babies were small, having photocopied (yes it was 2006…) most of a little book from my South London library.
It may be incidental, but there’s a lot of baked goods in creole and cajun cooking.  And whiskey.  And fat.
I won’t ever understand marshmallows and sweet potato, or frito pie, or pumpkin pie.  But a chunky cornbread?  Jambalaya?  These foods enabled people on limited means to eat joyfully, making the most out of bits and bobs and, as I’ve talked about, that’s how I managed to feed my family when times were lean. And a small amount of leftover meat can be used perfectly. So … yes please.
Your leftover green pepper is one of the essentials in building your jambalaya.  Like onion, carrot, garlic and celery in French or Italian cuisine, green pepper, onion, celery and garlic is what you need for cuisine from the Deep South.  The bitterness that some of us (cough) struggle with is essential.  In a dish like this, rich with smoked sausage, chicken and fish, and filling with rice, the bitter note is perfect and stops it from being too rich.
Note: if you have access to amazingly diverse food shops, Andouille sausage is ideal.  If not, Tolouse, or a Polish smoked sausage.   I had only fancy fresh hot-dog sausages that have been in the UK supermarkets for the past couple of summers, and they were great.
With the meat, it’s about weight. I went for white fish as there are many ethical problems with prawns eaten in the UK, and they are hellish expensive.  Mussels would work, or salmon – this is a dish where the rice and the veg pad out and showcase the meat.  Keep the ratios the same and make it the dish that you love.

 

Jambalaya

Adapted, barely, from Felicity Cloake, Guardian.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Tools
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Large saucepan pan
  • Lid for the pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon/flipper
  • Plates
  • Optional tools
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients
  

  • 3.5 teaspoons cajun spice mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 smoked sausages
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 onion 150g
  • 1 green pepper 300g
  • 1 celery stick 70g
  • 3 cloves garlic 10-15g
  • 4 spring onions 70g
  • 800 ml Chicken or pork stock
  • Few drops Tabasco sauce
  • 300 g long grain rice
  • 300 g fish I used coley fillets

Instructions
 

Prep

  • If using frozen fish, remove from freezer
  • Slice the sausages into 2cm-ish slices
  • Finely dice the onion, celery and green pepper
  • Crush/finely chop the garlic

Method

  • Pour the oil into the pan and add the sausage until it sizzles - quite hot, not max
  • Brown both cut sides and remove
  • Repeat with the chicken
  • Turn the heat to medium and allow to cool for a minute
  • Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until tender (about
  • 10 minutes); some people like to place a lid on the pan (I find it helps)
  • When tender, add the garlic and and stir around for a minute
  • Add the spice mix and stir well to make sure that the veg is well coated in spice mix
  • Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the stock and the Tabasco
  • Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender then add the rice
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Next, stir the rice once, place the lid on and leave for 15 minutes
  • After the 15 minutes are up, remove the chicken and set aside
  • Turn the heat to low
  • Add sausage and fish to the rice mixture
  • Stir the rice around the meat and fish once, replace the lid and leave to steam
  • As soon as you can, shred the meat off the bones
  • Stir the chicken through the rice mixture

Storage/further meals

  • Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days
  • Reheat CAREFULLY until piping hot
  • You can freeze, in a lidded container, for a month or so
Keyword eating on a budget, family recipies

Leftover Green Pepper Curry

Leftover Green Pepper Curry

Green Pepper Poriyal

This green pepper recipe was a fluke find, many years back.  I was staring at some green peppers and feeling fed up, because I don’t like them.  But I had them and I needed to eat them. And not wasting food is, sometimes, just cracking on through.
This recipe to use your leftover green peppers doesn’t even need you to chop an onion.  I know! I guess it’s a Jain recipe, as followers don’t eat onion or garlic.  I chose this recipe, and have repeated it, because we often have plain yoghurt in the fridge.  Leaving the pepper to rest in yoghurt takes away some of the bitterness, and makes a simple sauce.  I know it looks gross but, you know, try it!  (I thought of having a food blog called “brutti ma buoni” – Italian for ugly but delicious.  I will never be a food stylist …)
The whole spices are nice because of the crunch, but if you’ll never otherwise use them, use ground and just let them fry for about 30 seconds.

 

Green pepper poriyal

Adapted, barely, from ‘The Classic 1000 Indian Recipes’, Ed. Wendy Hobson
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Tools
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Large frying pan
  • Lid for the pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Optional tools
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients
  

  • 450 g green peppers before de-seeding; 400g after de-seeding
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt preferably full fat
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 30 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Chop the peppers into dice (aka sqaures), around 2cm
  • Stir the yoghurt into the peppers and leave to one side for 15 minutes

Method

  • Pour the oil into the pan
  • Add the whole spices
  • When you hear the seeds pop, add the peppers, water and salt
  • Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender
  • Sprinkle with curry powder and leave to simmer for about 3 minutes
  • Serve with rice or as part of a bigger curry meal

Notes

Storage/further meals
Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days
Keyword eating on a budget, empty the fridge

Egg and bacon quiche

Egg and bacon quiche

Egg and bacon quiche.

Okay, there is more than one egg yolk in this dish, but what I want is to inspire you to have a zero waste, adaptable set of recipes.

If you’re veggie, or don’t have bacon, then just leave it out. Add in more onions, or leeks. Or some tuna and sweetcorn.

If the thought of making your own pastry is a little intimidating, then buy a packet of shortcrust or a ready made base. If you can learn to make your own it’ll cost you about 50p in flour and butter, not £1.39.

There are a lot of steps in this recipe. If you’re new to making pastry or quiche, then take it one step at a time. The pastry can be made a day or two in advance, it can be baked and left to one side. GO at your own pace and then enjoy your zero waste egg and bacon quiche.

 

Leftover egg yolk tart

Okay, this is a leftover smashing meal. Good luck!

Ingredients
  

For the pastry

  • 125 grams plain flour + more for rolling out
  • 65 grams unsalted butter

OR

  • 35 + 30 grams lard/unsalted butter, respectively
  • pinch salt

For the leftover egg yolk filling

  • 1-2 leftover egg yolks
  • 1-2 whole eggs
  • 150 ml cream (double or single)
  • 1 onion add in another one or two if not using bacon
  • 100 grams bacon (optional) you could use mushrooms instead
  • 150 grams cheese - cheddar, Gruyere, double Gloucester.... just a melting cheese, it doesn't really matter which one
  • optional: 1 parmesan rind
  • optional: bay leaf, nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales and mixing bowl
  • Food processor or mixing bowl
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Bowl & cover for pastry
  • Measuring jug
  • Rolling pin
  • Pie dish, ceramic or metal
  • Cheesegrater
  • Baking beans
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Fork
  • Optional saucepan

Instructions
 

If using bay, parmesan rind ....

  • Place the cream, flavourings and seasoning in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and leave them to one side for up to a day.

If making your own pastry, processor method

  • Place flour, salt & butter in the processor. When they look like sand, add a little water and process. Turn out onto a floured surface and squish together. 

If making your own pastry by hand

  • Cut the butter/butter and lard into cubes. Rub the fat into the seasoned flour until it looks like sand.

Both methods

  • Add just enough water to make it come together. This means that, when you squish it about, it doesn't crack and crumble.
  • Place in the bowl, cover and leave for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Make the filling

  • If you're using bacon, cut the fat off and put it in the pan to render. This will give the whole mixture the flavour of bacon.
  • Dice or slice the onion. Put the pan on around medium heat. Add the onions and DON'T LET THEM BROWN. 
  • It'll take at least 15 minutes for the onions to squidge down. Make sure you cannot see any white. 
  • Fry the bacon in with the onions. Grate the cheese.
  • If you've seasoned the cream with parmesan rind and bay, strain the cream into a bowl. Beat the egg yolks and whole egg into the cream. Stir in the cheese.

Bake the pastry

  • Turn the oven to 220C. Place a tray in the oven to heat. 
  • When the pastry is golden and lovely, turn the heat down to 180C. Remove the
  • Flour your counter (if you've been tidy enough to clean it since making the pastry). Take the pastry from the fridge and roll it out. Place it into the tin/dish. Prick it all over with the fork. Place the greaseproof paper over the pastry, cover it with pastry weights..
  • Place the quiche onto the hot tray and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, mix the onions, bacon and cheese custard mixture. Taste and season further if needed.
  • When the pastry is cooked, carefully remove the hot baking beans and leave them to cool. 
  • Pour the custard into the hot pastry case and return to the oven. Bake for around 30 minutes or until set.

Storage

  • The tart will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. If you want to reheat, it's best to let the tart come to room temperature and then place in a warm oven until warm through. Don't reheat again. And don't microwave! The pastry will go all floppy and foul.

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