Well I have been playing around in the kitchen again. Essentially Freezing stuff that has come my way. Oh how I have missed doing this, sad person that I am!
The first element on the list is Mashed potato. I have the end of a sack of potatoes to use up. I am not wasting them so mashed potato it is.
All I do is cook my potatoes until they are cooked through. I then put them through the potato Ricer into a clean bowl until all the potatoes have been used up. Even though I was bought up wielding a potato masher, when it comes to nice smooth buttery mashed potato, the potato ricer wins hands down. I then add butter (depends on how many 1lbs of potatoes you prepare as to how much butter goes in but for a standard serving for four a good knob of butter). I then add a little milk and using a fork mix the butter and the milk into the potatoes. Not too much milk to start with as you need a light smooth, but firm texture. Decant into suitable freezing pots and put away in the freezer until you need to use. For the two of us I use microwaveable bowls with lids. Enough for two servings. Alternatively you can pipe swirls of mashed potato and then open freeze them on a tray a bit fancier, but at the time I was at school this was a standard practice. Once frozen decant into suitable containers for freezer storage. Mashed potato does go very starchy but adding extra butter and milk in the next step helps loosen it off I have found.
To use the mashed potato I let it defrost and then add a little saucer/teaplate to one of my layers in my electric steamer placing the mash on the saucer. You can use an ordinary steamer until it is well warmed through. I then tip into a bowl and if the texture is too stiff add a little more milk and butter to slacken it off. You can use a fork or potato masher to do this. Serve with your main meal and enjoy. I do not like bought mashed potato but I don't mind doing it like this.
You can vary the flavours by adding cheese, cheese and onion, leftover cooked veggies and turn it into bubble n squeak or use as the basis for making Colcannon or Champ. All are delicious and all save time by making in bulk beforehand especially if you work full time during the week. I firmly believe that prepping a lot of stuff from fresh where you can gives you security in that you either grew or bought a good class of ingredient in the first place; you know its source and where it came from and you have food in your "Pantry" which includes fridges, freezers, etc which will take you through difficult times and especially when pennies are tight. It may not always be the food that you would necessarily normally buy, or indeed fancy, but a meal is a meal at the end of the day and you can make the most memorable of meals with a few simple ingredients. Half the battle with cooking is understanding your ingredients and what goes with what.
Leeks. I do not blanch these, I clean them and then cut into slices of a similar size. I open freeze and then once frozen decant into freezer bags. I will often serve these mixed in with stir fries and soups and quiches and just take what I want from the bag as I need it. I normally slice in rings but next time am going to chop the leaves and pack into ziplock bags and then flatten them.
Carrots. I peel and then normally chunk these, then blanch for a few minutes and then pop straight into cold water to cool down. Dry off with straining and then dry off with a clean tea towel.
These are a staple here and I quite frequently prepare these in two portion packs. Often when there is some leftover veg in the rack. No reason to waste if you pop it up. I prepare rings, chunks and lengths of carrots - just a different presentation that livens things up a bit. I also use these in stew packs. I also turn carrots into Carrot crush with the addition of some Swede.
Swede. I peel and then chop swede into small chunks and then blanch for a few minutes and straight into cold water straining in a colander and then drying off with a clean tea towel. I normally package in two person portions and if just doing this decant straight into suitable bags or containers. However if I am doing a batch of stew packs I open freeze the chosen mixture of veggies so that I can take out whatever I want to use from the package without everything being stuck solid.
Parsnips. I peel and halve these and depending on the size of the Parsnips sometimes quarter these. They are then blanched, cooled, strained and dried off with a clean tea towel. I then prep up two person packages of about four pieces of parsnip and freeze. You can also open freeze these as well especially if you only want a few pieces at a time. To use these I pop straight into the roasting pan with hot fat from frozen.
1800g reduced Strawberries came my way at a silly price. I therefore bought them home, cored and washed them. As they are for jam no sugar put into bag but doing this will give me the option of turning them into jam out of season
4 packs Hereford stewing beef at £1.20 per pack, Bargain. These have been wrapped and put into the freezer as is. Will either make two good stews or I will process the meat and cook it and then turn into meat pie filling and will get about three large meat pies out of this. Spare pies can in turn be frozen.
So some more useful bits and bobs put out of the way without wasting anything.
Right upwards and onwards. Need to get a wriggle on.
Catch you soon.