How I Make Easy Stock from Kitchen Scraps

Here's how to make easy vegetable stock from kitchen scraps. This is my quick way to make sure we always have fresh stock to hand for soups, stews and thinning down sauces while still keeping things flavourful. The best part is you can make this as you go and freeze it in small batches in ziplock bags. Need more stock? Grab a few extra bags from your freezer! 

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Weekend. In Pictures.

Most weekends are full of journeys and things to do but every now and again you get one where you just feel you nailed it. This weekend definitely felt like one of those....

Weekend scenes

I meant to sit down this evening to finish a draft post about the 'Telling Your Story Online' workshop I'm hosting in a few weeks. I also had some thoughts on good cooking habits for The Maker's Year too. Somehow though the allure of the pictures awaiting editing on my camera became too much and I flipped the SD card out. Two hours later I'm a glass of red wine down, Florence is telling She never knew she was a dancer and I've been lost in wintry landscapes for some time. The other posts are coming but for now, let's savour a weekend worth waiting for shall we?

There was shell collecting....

Shell collecting

So, so much shell collecting...

shell collecting 1

... and then the debrief in the sleepy spaces of Sunday morning as we looked at the different types of shells we found. She filed them carefully in her 'special jar': an ugly glass vase that she could almost have fit in as a newborn. It's already half full. 

playing with shells

We feasted on a sort of unassembled Bubble and Squeak: braised cabbage in cider with farm bacon and eggs, layered up with good cheese and leek mash. (cabbage with cider recipe here via Riverford Organics). We baked oat cookies via Deliciously Ella and when the mist didn't clear we shrugged and just pulled our hats down a little more snug. 

Misty seascape

Honestly?

I think winter light is my new favourite thing. 

winter light on the coast

We soaked it all in and even found a new pub where they ask if you're local before they serve the cider. We all lied according to how brave we felt. 

 

It's not always the case that you get the weekend you were hoping for so when you do? It's important to let that feeling sink in, even if it means pushing aside those to do lists that are going to hurt just a little more on Monday as a result. Whatever. There's still 3 more songs left of this playlist and a splash of red wine in that bottle. 

wintry landscapes

~ xx



Spinach Pesto (return of the green victories)

I love fast recipes and this one wins. Hands down it wins because it is flavoursome, healthy and the Tot DEVOURED it. 

I've never actually made pesto before. This is strange given that I lived with Italians in my 20s when I was dating a guy from the south of Italy who wooed me with fantastic risottos and fiery rows about the brilliance of Ferrari vs Maclaren. It was doomed sadly for more reasons than our differing opinions on racing brilliance but my love for pesto wasn't so when I came across this Spinach and Walnut Pesto from Riverford, I had to try it. 

The recipe called for less parmesan than I used and more spinach to be leftover to wilt in later. Well, the Tot and I are cheese fiends and she would probably have drawn the line at whole leaves of spinach floating around (ask me how I know) so I chose to add the second half of spinach in later for a light zuzz. It came out small enough to pass her radar but large enough to stick to the spaghetti. 


YUM!


Ingredients

  • 400g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 30g walnut pieces & 20g pine nuts,
  • toasted in a dry frying pan for 1 min
  • 50g fresh basil leaves, plus a few extra
  • for garnishing
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of ½ & juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g spinach, tough stalks removed
  • 100g grated parmesan or pecorino
  • 100ml good olive oil

Method

  1. Boil the spaghetti in salted water for 10 mins. While it is cooking, put the walnuts, pine nuts, basil, garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, half the spinach and half the parmesan in a food processor. Blitz, gradually pouring in the oil until it forms a rough paste.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Roughly chop the rest of the spinach leaves if they’re large.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta, keeping a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
  5. Toss the pasta with the rest of the spinach, the pasta cooking water and enough pesto
  6. to coat. Toss together over a low heat to warm through and wilt the spinach.
  7. Stir in the rest of the parmesan, check the seasoning and serve, garnished with a few basil leaves.

Mini Sausage Rolls

Mini Sausage Roll Recipe

I love picnics and the warmer weather always has me looking for baked treats that I can throw in a tupperware in my bag, along with a blanket and head to the park for my lunch break. While I tend not to eat too much meat, I am partial to the occasional sausage roll and I love making them- super easy and delicious straight from the oven.

You will need:

1 tbsp butter

A shallot, finely diced

A healthy splash of Worcestershire sauce

A healthy splash ofTabasco sauce

Approx 4 sausages, split from skins or the equivalent amount of sausage meat

450g/1lb ready-rolled puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

To make:

1.  Remove puff pastry from fridge about 20mins before planned cooking time to warm slightly then roll this out first to allow it to 'sit' while you get everything else ready. I aim for about 1/2 cm thick but don't be too fussy, wobbly rolls are charming.

2. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and grease a couple of trays. 

3. Place butter in small pan and once melted, lightly saute shallots till they are soft and translucent.

4. Mix meat, sauces, seasoning and onion/ butter mix in a bowl (I use my hands, it's easier)

5. Using a knife, score the pastry lengthwise into thirds then place a lining of the mix down the centre of each. Brush both sides of pastry edge with the egg and roll over to create one huge tube. 

6. Cut into bite size chucks and score 1-2 dashes along the top before popping on the trays and into the oven for 15-20 mins. I brush the tops with left over eggs sometimes.

7. Try to allow to cool- I love these best hot so get very impatient. I prefer these slightly overcooked to get the crispy meat overspills you can see in the pics. 

You can also try mustard in the mix, apple, leeks, or mushrooms. Explore and enjoy. I'll try to put my veggie version up soon. Also, don't tell Mr Cameron that I'm endorsing heated pastry treats ;)