Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Food of the Evening...

We haven't had a food blog for a while, so I thought I'd just share some little successes I've had recently.

The first is a fish pie (ed. 'fisherman's' pie!) and can be made with any sort of white fish fillets. The secret to utter deliciousness in fish pies, is to simmer the fish in milk with carrot, onion, bay leaf and peas, and to use that milk to make the white sauce. You can add a dash of white wine too for superior dinners. Mash the potato with butter and an egg and brown under the grill. It was truly scrumptious although it used an unreasonable number of saucepans.

One recipe which is most suitable for this time of year is stuffed pumpkin. You have to cut off the top and scoop out the stringy bits and seeds, then you can stuff it with absolutely anything, chuck it in the oven and hey presto! I use sausagemeat, turkey, rice, herbs, tomato paste, bits of veggies lurking in the fridge, breadcrumbs, spices, etc. It needs a gentle heat so the outside doesn't burn, and you serve it by cutting it like a cake. Actually though, I say 'anything', but I wouldn't stuff it with leftover fish pie...

On a sweeter but no less seasonal note, I've made a couple of carrot cakes recently, from a recipe that uses oil rather than butter, and I cut the amount of sugar to make it better for young and old teeth. I took it in to my youngest's communal afternoon teatime and it went down mostly well. The Directeur of the school had never heard of carrot cake, and was surprised when I confirmed that, yes, it was actually made with actual carrots actually grated. For the poor little souls who were too suspicious to try it, or made a big show of going 'bleeeeh', I had sent in some grapes too. Strangely enough, not a single grape (2kg) or a slice of cake was returned. I just hope they didn't end up in the bin...!

Tonight, I think it might be pizza night. I'll fire up the old bread maker which turns out a super dough, and then add toppings according to age: no cheese or onion for those under 11; cheese, onion, and all the rest for maturer tastes. The RA even added mashed banana once... to the under 11 pizza. It went down a bomb!

I'll just round off with a link to a wonderful website called Soupsong. I love soup, and boil up chicken carcasses specially to make stock for soup. My top favourite is leek and potato which is Grade A+ Comfort Food, but other Great Soups are courgette, tomato, mushroom, red pepper (though a bugger to make), and gazpacho. If you've never made soup, give it a go. Healthy, hearty and tasty. Even kids love them!

Yes, really!


  1. "stuffed pumpkin. ... cut off the top and scoop out the stringy bits and seeds,"

    Mmmm! Turn them into pumpkin soup! A friend did it on halloween night and it was great!

    Will try fish pie too (or is tht fisherman's pie?)..

  2. Thug, you're right, it's 'fisherman's pie'. I suppose fish pie is fish in pastry.

    As for stuffed pumpkin, I'm not sure you can use the stringy bits even in soup, but pumpkin soup is scrummy, and even better if you add a parsnip. The parsnip acts as a catalyst to amazing taste.

  3. I've never used the stringy bits either, I'm highly skeptical. Still, I suppose we ought not to knock it till we've tried it.

    When I was a kid, pumpkin was always for pumpkin pie. Mom made a great one, but I don't have her recipe. Guess I'll have to turn to Joy of Cooking. Old Irma Rombauer has *everything* in there. For instance...

    One day I came home from the butcher's with a lovely, big farm chicken. I'd been in a hurry, and figured I could take off the head myself... but I'd neglected to ask the butcher to empty it. Horrors! What to do, to stuff that bird? Joy of Cooking came to the rescue, and described in exacting detail exactly what I had to do to empty it. A few snips and a scoop of the hand later, and voilà! My chicken was ready to get grandma's special sage & sausage dressing.

    Cheers, --- Phil

  4. The important thing with many vegetable soups is to fry the veggies first. It's definitely important with pumpkin soup as that concentrates the flavour and caramelises the bits.

    I do this with ratatouille too, before adding the tinned tomatoes. I also do a rataouille without courgette as I think it just goes soggy in there.


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