I love sauces. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to food, the wetter the better. Who can be bothered to make a sauce from scratch all the time though? That’s when packet sauces come in handy – just buy a few when you’re at the supermarket, bung them in the cupboard, then they’re there when you need them.
Tonight, I used a packet of Knorr’s Luxurious Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce from their new Gourmet range to liven up some Quorn Fillets. The sauce is easy to make – measure out 300ml of milk, empty the sachet into a pan, blend with a little milk, then add the rest of the milk to the pan, bring to boil and simmer for three minutes.
I served it with mashed potatoes (grown in the garden) and steamed leeks and green beans from the local farm shop, which made it a healthy, but cheap, meal – under a fiver for the two of us.
Knorr’s Luxurious Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce is suitable for vegetarians, costs around 89p and is available at Tesco.
I’ve been eating a lot of food out of packets recently, so tonight I decided to have something healthy. There’s a farm shop local to me that sells seasonal vegetables, so I scooted down there to see what they had and made a super-healthy dish that probably contained at least 8 of my 5-a-day.
Pasta with roast vegetables and tomato sauce (serves 6)
1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 1 leek, sliced 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks 1 aubergine, chopped into chunks 1 courgette, thickly sliced 200g mushrooms, sliced 100g spinach 2 cans chopped tomatoes 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 tsp mixed herbs salt and ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place the red pepper, aubergine and courgette into a roasting tray and drizzle with some oil. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Fry the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and leeks to the onion and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red pepper, aubergine and courgette to the onion, mushrooms and leeks. Add the tinned tomatoes to the vegetables and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the mixed herbs and season to taste. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with pasta of your choice.
I should have learnt my lesson last week when making burgers that they’re a bit of a faff. These took almost two hours to make (although the recipe says one hour – I’m a slow cook) and I really did think I’d spent two hours making something that was going to turn out to be a disaster.
The lentils and bulgur wheat didn’t absorb their water and although I could just about drain the bulgur wheat, the lentils were soggy and I thought there’s no way these burgers are going to firm up.
Still, I persevered, and they didn’t fall apart too much in the frying pan but even after they’d come out of the oven they weren’t that firm but they tasted okay and I could imagine them being great cold, stuffed into pitta bread with salad. Not a recipe I’m going to be making again though (not that I would need to for a while – there’s four leftover in the freezer)
75g brown or red lentils 50g bulgur wheat 4 tablespoons olive oil 8 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 medium leeks, cleaned and finely chopped 1 teaspoon dried thyme 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon tomato purée 50g toasted cashews 2 eggs 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 50g toasted breadcrumbs
Bring the lentils and at least 475ml water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and beginning to fall apart. Transfer to a baking sheet or mixing bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, bring 150ml water to a boil. Stir in the bulgur wheat with a pinch of salt, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for about 7 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture and it evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and wipe out the sauté pan.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are completely softened and beginning to caramelise, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and stir to mix.
Combine half of the lentils, half of the bulgur wheat and half of the leek mixture with the cashews, eggs, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until uniformly pureed but still slightly chunky. Add the puréed mixture and the remaining lentils and bulgur wheat to the remaining leek mixture in the bowl. Work in the breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into 8 patties.
In a large ovenproof frying pan or non-stick sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 6-10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.
A new cookbook, yay! I’d had my eye on The Boxing Clever Cookbook by Jacqui Jones & Joan Wilmot for a while and kept in my Amazon Wishlist and when I saw it was available for 1p, snapped it up.
It’s designed to help you if you have an organic vegetable box delivery, grow your own vegetables or have an allotment. I have an organic vegetable box delivery from Riverford every fortnight so hoped this book would come in handy in those ‘what do I do with this’ moments?
It doesn’t have any photos but it does have a load of tempting sounding recipes. Tonight, I christened the book with their Leek, Potato and Cheese Pie with Filo Pastry.
Leek, potato and cheese pie with filo pastry (serves 6)
105g butter or margarine
700g leeks, washed and sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sheets frozen filo pastry, defrosted
50g walnuts, toasted and chopped
175g grated cheese, such as Cheddar or Gorgonzola
Melt 25g butter or margarine in a pan. Add the leeks and onion, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Melt another 25g butter or margarine in the pan and add the sliced potatoes. Sauté for about 5 minutes on each side until the potatoes are crisp. Season with salt and pepper and add to leeks and onions.
Preheat oven to 200C (400F/Gas 6).
Melt the remaining butter or margarine in a small pan.
Place 2 sheets of filo pastry on a 24cm (9.5”) greased baking tray, allowing the pastry sheets to extend over the edge. Brush with a little melted butter or margarine.
Layer the leek, potatoes, walnuts and cheese in the centre of the pastry.
Gather the filo pastry up over the centre of the pie to cover top and pinch together to seal.
Brush with melted butter or margarine and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisps and golden.
My variations: I didn’t have enough leeks so topped up with cabbage
I didn’t have any walnuts or other type of nut, so left them out
I layered four sheets of filo pastry into a shallow dish, not a tray
I didn’t mix up the potato and leeks, but put the potatoes down first, followed by the leeks and cabbage, then topped with the cheese
I layered another four sheets of filo pastry over the top (not gathering it up over the centre)