(One too many) Courgette Salad

(One too many) Courgette Salad

Supermarkets and packets.  Argh!  Yes they’re easy but over the next few weeks StorrCupboard will be thinking about those pre-packed bags of veg.  There’s often one courgette too many, and don’t get me started on those green peppers …
Courgette recipes have come a long way since my dear grannie used to boil hers until the veg and the water ran grey (food *my* grannie would recognise was cup-a-soup, stale Skips and overboiled everything).
So let’s think of the virtues of a courgette.  If it’s not too old, it should still have a nice texture, quite firm but not hard so it cooks really quickly; it has a mild flavour, so we can pair it with bolder flavours like olives, tomatoes, cheese, lamb.
Courgettes are, really, a late summer to autumn veg, because they need the warmth of the sun to bring them to ripeness.  Remember the price rise in courgettes back in February 2018?  That’s because your courgettes were likely imported from Spain and Italy outside of harvest (usually September – October in the UK, but god knows this year).  A drought was causing waste and pushing up the price of your little green goddess.  Chucking a veg that goes on a short-haul flight from drought ravaged fields just to get to you isn’t really on, so time for some StorrCupboard magic.
And it doesn’t get any easier than this: grate a not-too old courgette and add it to your salad.  Seriously.  Just use the wide side of your box grater and get busy.   Or if you have a speed peeler, make some long ribbons, like I did up here. The light mild flavour works beautifully – I had this cucumer, tomato and spinach mix with a little olive oil and salt.  And lots of hummus and bread.  Yum and waste averted.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bursting tomato & sausage bake

Bursting tomato & sausage bake

Some of us (ahem) love/need to comfort eat, heatwave be damned.
Slow cooking is often a brilliant way of using up questionable produce because a. all the flavours and textures are supposed to mix together and b. if something like a tomato was just a bit ‘gone’, then you will cook it through.
This is a simple, simple bake.  Red onions are a little sweeter than brown but you can use either.  Just chop your onions into quarters, halve your tomatoes, pour over some oil and seasoning and rub in.  Place the sausages on top, shove in the oven and wait.
I used fat sausages which take about 40 minutes to brown and cook through, by which time I had a sweet/salty/fatty dish, perfect for waste-busting/waist busting, comfort-eating happiness.

Tomato & sausage bake

Serves 4

Ingredients

Vegetable oil/leftover lard
Around 8 tomatoes
2 red onions
8 fat sausages
Salt & pepper

 

Tools

Chopping board
Knife
Large oven proof dish
Wooden spoon/tongs

Time
10m prep
40m cook

Level
Easy

Prep

Turn oven to 180C
Chop the tomatoes in half
Top and tail the onions and cut into quarters

Method

Place veggies into a large oven-proof dish, big enough that the veg are, ideally, one layer
Pour oil over the veg and seasoning and rub the oil in
Have the veggies in one flat layer
Place sausages on top
Put into the preheated oven
After about 15 minutes turn the sausages and squash them into the veg
Same again another 15 mintues later
The tomatoes should be getting squashy and really soft; if they are starting to go dark brown then turn the heat down – you want soft veg not burned veg
10 minutes more (so 40 minutes baking total) and your sausages should be golden and the veggies soft and caramelised (like in the picture)
Serve just as is, or with some green veg

Storage

Leave to cool down to room temperature
Place into a new, clean dish and either refrigerate or freeze
If you are going to re-heat, chop up the sausages to make it quicker and easier to
safely reheat
Keep for up to 3 days in the fridge

 

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bursting tomato sauce

Bursting tomato sauce

Sad tomatoes.  Just a few.
How often do you cook or use tomato sauce?  How often do you chuck raw tomatoes?  They are in the top 5 of wasted fruit & veg and, as we learned the other day, use a shit tonne of C02 to get to ripeness (is that a word?) in the UK.
But people. As you make your chilli, your tomato sauce, your bolognese (non-Brits, we in the UK call ragu ‘bolognese’, just cos of how it was marketed to the UK.  Like “Italian rarebit”….). Well, you use tinned tomatoes, right? So, how about just shoving those manky tomatoes into your sauce, too?

I can’t be arsed with crossing and blanching and peeling tomatoes, so I love this trick I got from River Cottage: cut your toms into quarters, and take out the seeds, if you like. Then, like so, grate the tomato and voila! No skin!

 

So take your sad, energy packed tomatoes and add them to your sauce. Food waste averted!

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bursting Tomato & Halloumi pittas

Bursting Tomato & Halloumi pittas

Heat you little bugger you continue and even I am getting used to it.  Ice lollies, jugs of water in the fridge, moaning kids and adults and sunburned toes.  Cooking is hardly a priority.  Tomatoes, ideally, don’t live in the fridge.  The flavour disappears and the texture goes like those over-ripe melons from last week: woolly.
Much is made of ‘UK grown tomatoes!!!’. Great, we think, no air miles, much better, right?
Sorry guys.  Tomatoes are a crop that needs a hella lotta sun and heat to ripen. I can’t even grow cherry tomatoes in my little shady yard, they just stay green.  Getting tomatoes to full red ripeness in the UK requires polytunnels (giant greenhouses) and heating.  Yes, heating.  Burning fossil fuels to heat single glazed glasshouses to 20°C in February is environmentally insane. For every kilo of tomatoes grown in a glass hothouse in the UK, 2-3 kilos of CO2 are released into the atmosphere.
Even with this heatwave, your toms are likely to have needed some help along the way as, given natural growth cycles, those little fruits wouldn’t be nearly ready to ripen. So as they start to dehydrate or even go the tiniest bit mouldy, then cut out the rot and get them cooked.  NOW!
Pairing halloumi with sad tomatos is great, because that strong, sweet flavour from the tomatoes goes brilliantly with the salty cheese.
“Oh god halloumi I love hallmoumi it’s best I’m having *this* breakfast” said a wise, veggie, colleague to me over some laminated breakfast menus.
“What’s that?”
“Cheese that’s so good it’s like bacon”
I couldn’t understand it, sounded odd.  Eight years on and I trek to Penge Food Centre for their ‘5 bags for £8’ bundles. And while I’m there, a cheap bunch of flat parsley.  And Turkish delight. And olives. And sambal. And 3 bags of pitta breads for a quid.
Olive oil, some garlic if you’ve got it, some spring onions and you can cook up your sad toms into a pitta filling fit for a queen, or just a light meal.  Chuck in some hummus, olives and salad on the side and you’re talking.

Tomato & Halloumi pittas

Serves 2

Ingredients

Olive oil
4 regular tomatoes
1/2 pack halloumi
1 clove garlic
Few spring onions
Salt & pepper
Chilli flakes (optional)
Flat leaf parsley (to taste – I like a lot, about 5g, but do yours to taste)
Pitta bread, to serve

Tools
Chopping board
Knife
Clean tea towel/kitchen paper
Frying pan
Slotted spoon/flipper
Wooden spoon
Plate
Toaster!

Optional tools
Garlic press
Measuring spoons

Time
10 minutes prep
20-30 minutes cook

Level
Simple

Prep

Chop the tomatoes into chunky pieces, discarding any grungy bits
Squash/crush/mince garlic
Chop halloumi into pieces similar size to tomaoes and dry on clean tea-towel/kitchen paper
Slice spring onion into rounds
If using, roughly chop a handful of parsley

Method

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until warm
Add garlic and stir around for ONE MINUTE
Add tomatoes and stir and season; turn the heat down and cook through for about 20m until soft, stirring and squashing from time to time
When tomatoes are squidgy, scrape them out onto a plate
Pour in another tablespoon of oil into the frying pan and warm through
Place the halloumi into the pan and cook until golden on all sides, flipping around
When the halloumi is all cooked, return the tomatoes to the pan and, if using, the sliced spring onions and chilli and warm through for a couple of minutes
Toast pitta breads
Just before serving add parsley. check to see if you need more salt/pepper/chilli
Stuff into pitta breads. Devour.

Storage

Cold halloumi isn’t great, but it will keep for a few days, covered, in the fridge

 

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Why do I always have leftover) cream of tomato soup

(Why do I always have leftover) cream of tomato soup

I love Heinz cream of tomato soup.  You love Heinz cream of tomato soup.  This isn’t anything like Heinz, it’s just different: it’s a bit chunky, it’s creamy and sweet and really filling.  You can peel the tomatoes if you like, and it will make for a smoother soup, but I don’t mind a little texture/am lazy. I add a few chilli flakes, for fruitiness and spice.

Have this at home, have this at work and enjoy the flavour of a fresh tomato soup.

Chunky cream of tomato soup

Serves 2 for a filling lunch/4 small people

Ingredients

15g butter/1 tablespoon oil
1 onion
300g over-ripe tomatoes/1 tin whole plum tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon tomato puree
around 100g double/whipped cream
*1 teaspoon fresh/half a teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Salt & pepper

To serve

Chilli flakes (optional)
* so, about a 5cm stalk, leaves picked

Essential

Scales
Chopping board
Saucepan
Measuring jug
Sharp knife
Saucepan
Teaspoon
Immersion blender

Helpful

Measuring teaspoons

Time

10m prep
30m to cook

Level

Easy

 

Prep

Dice the onion
Chop the tomatoes into big pieces
If using fresh oregano, pick the leaves off the stalk

Method

Heat the oil in the saucepan
When warm, add the onion
Cook gently for about 10m. You want the onion to be see through and soft so it breaks easily when squashed with the back of a wooden spoon but NOT BROWNED!
Only when the onion is soft, add the tomatoes and tomato puree
Season and add tomato puree, oregano and sugar (if using)
If you have vine-ripened toms, pop the stalks into the pan. They have flavour, too!
Place lid on and turn the heat down so that it’s simmering/gently boiling rather than going too fast
After 20 minutes give it a good stir and smoosh any chunky bits with your spoon
Remove the tomato vines (if you added them)
Blend with your immersion blender! Keep going until it’s smooth-ish
You may have a few bits of skin; you can sieve it if you like…
Bring to the boil and serve, with a few chilli flakes

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sign up to the Storr Cupboard Newsletter

...and receive monthly recipe ideas to help you ensure there's never a leftover, leftover PLUS a free downloadable meal planner & kitchen stock check.

Once signed up check your email to confirm your subscription!

We will, of course, always ensure that your data is safe and never spam you!

You have Successfully Subscribed!