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For some reason, we hardly ever have pizza, and I’m not sure we’ve ever made it. So we decided to remedy that on Saturday.

There was a small tub of tomato purée in the freezer, and some pork and duck stuffing balls (from Waitrose, no less!), and it seemed a good way to deal with them. There was also a couple of packets of pizza mix in the pantry; I think I bought them to do something from the Hairy Bikers’ book, and never got round to it.

So, I roasted off the stuffing balls in the Remoska, and then Pete did the rest. He cooked down the tomato with some garlic and onion, then spread it on the pizza dough, added salami, the meatballs, and some mozzarella. It wasn’t bad at all, but next time I’ll make my own dough, thank you.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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We make this recipe (or a variation on it) fairly often, and it involves far too long standing over the cooker in a cold kitchen (the hole in the wall is being mended tomorrow – hurrah!). So in the interests of experimentation, I thought I’d have a bash at doing the sauce in the little slow cooker.

I diced onion, crushed garlic and chopped courgettes, and put them in the slow cooker with a glug of olive oil, and another of red wine. Left them on low for a couple of hours, then added a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes, then left it for another couple of hours And it was really nice,  but I should have turned it up to high for the last hour, I think, just to get the last of the slightly raw tomato taste to it (I cannot abide raw tomatoes).

Did the pasta on the hob as usual, then dumped the lot in the small Remoska, and dotted it with mozzarella and basil leaves.

Worth mentioning that courgettes are lovely veg – dice them up small and include in soup or casseroles, cut them into strips for a nice stir fry, bung them in roast veg …

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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image from Wikipedia

I love butternut squash. It has a lovely texture, and works in so many things: risotto, roast veg, Thai currys, soup, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s a faff to deal with due to the peel. So I did a little experiment.

I wanted some soup to come home to on Saturday, and astonishingly, there was no mongrel soup on the go (which I must address). And there was a squash in the fridge. I cut the top off the squash, and then chopped the rest in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the medium slow cooker with about ½” of wine (all there was left in that bottle, although obviously in this house, other bottles were available). I then added about 1″ further of water. Switched it on, went away. Returned after a couple of hours and added a diced and peeled Bramley, because it struck me that it would work rather well.

In the small slow cooker, I put a big onion, chopped, three cloves of garlic, and some chopped sage leaves from the garden. Half of this mixture went to make sage and onion tear and share bread (which I baked in the Remoska when we got home),

After four, or maybe five, hours, the squash seemed well cooked, so I scooped a bit out, and lo – even the skin was really soft. So I put it, the apple, the onion and sage mix, into the food processor and blitzed it all. Returned it to the pot with a bit more water, tasted it, and decided it needed some toasted cumin, which Pete obligingly provided. Switched the slow cooker onto medium, and it was all done and dusted when we got home, just half an hour to bake the bread. Splendid.

And then …

I had planned to make Anjum Anand’s Gujarati lamb on Sunday, and had removed half a shoulder of the relevant beast from the freezer. I usually add a squash to this, because the texture is so nice, but there was a bowlful of soup left and it seemed rude not to use that instead. So instead we had a kind of use it up Gujarati lamb, which went like this.

one shoulder of lamb, browned on all sides.
one onion, finely diced
some garlic (I used about six cloves) and a big piece of ginger, made into a paste with some water
a couple of handfuls of dessicated coconut
ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
some chilli flakes
leftover butternut squash soup (I accept that most of you won’t have this to hand)
some chickpeas (I always used dried, so had them cooking in the small slow cooker while this was going on)
lemon juice – about a tablespoon’s worth
salt and black pepper

Soften the onion in some vegetable oil, then add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for about three minutes. Tip in the spices (quantities here are very individual – we like our foot spicy). Fry a bit longer. Put the lamb in the slow cooker, tip the onion mix in, add the soup, and a little water if required – I wanted it to come about half way up the meat. I normally add sweet potatoes, but mine had gone mouldy (oh the shame).

Cooked it for about six hours (adding the previously cooked chickpeas about two hours from the end)  and it was just beautiful. We gorged on it, and there was plenty left for today’s lunch. And indeed there’s still a fair bit of the sauce left, so I shall be adding red lentils and veg to that, and making it into this week’s  mongrel soup.

So there you go – slow cook your squash, and no need to peel. Win win.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Fuel prices here, both gas and electricity, are larcenous. We already try not to use the central heating; we are lucky enough to have a woodburner, and that heats downstairs, and our bedroom above, and we put up with a cold bathroom. Having the fuel paid for in advance is nice, and I get a warm glow (pun intended) when I look at the mountains of wood in the yard; I think we have two years’ worth out there, with luck.

I recently bought a stovetop kettle, which we keep on the fire for hot drinks in the evening, and I now have three slow cookers (bit like Goldilocks – small, medium and huge), and my trusty Remoska. I already try to fill the oven when it on, but I’m now thinking ahead for other types of cooking too.

So, tonight we are having sausages. There are some cooked spuds in the fridge, so sausages and potatoes will go in the Remoska to cook  (and will probably add a quartered onion too), and we shall accompany it with homemade baked beans (I made a batch a few weeks ago, and froze them in portion sized boxes). I’m going to try the baked beans on the stove in a cast iron casserole.

Every little helps.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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What's for Dinner! - Corned Beef

Photo from Paul Townsend

This one is a real blast from the past. I used to make it quite often back in the 70s and 80s, but I’m not sure when I last made it. Years and years, for sure. I had a bowl of cooked potatoes in the fridge, and thought “why not?”.

So: cut an onion in half, and slice it thinly. Set it to soften in some olive oil, and when it has, add the contents of a tin of corned beef, cubed. The corned beef will make a sort of mush with the onion, and you could add some frozen mixed veg or something if you liked.

Make some cheese sauce – a packet would do, I guess. Put the corned beef in the bottom of an ovenproof dish*, pour the sauce over. Mash the potatoes with a little milk and butter, and put them on the top. Serve with frozen peas.

It’s surprisingly nice. Trust me.

*I used my little Remoska, but hardly anyone has one of those, as Lakeland stopped selling that size.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Frittata for breakfast
Half a bag of spinach to use up …

Diced two rashers of back bacon, a few mushrooms, half a green pepper* and half a red onion, and put them in the shallow pan of the Remoska with a little olive oil for 15 minutes (switched it on, obviously!).

Beat four eggs with some seasoning and a splash of water, stirred in about 30g of Gruyere and poured that in. Added the spinach leaves and stirred it about a bit, and cooked for another 20 minutes. It made a very fine breakfast.

*I’m not especially fond of green peppers, but They always put one in a mixed bag. The other half has been diced up and put in This Week’s Soup.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

a frittata

Aug. 7th, 2013 05:55 pm
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frittata veg

A frittata is a great way to use up bits and pieces. As I had quite a few bits and pieces to use up, that’s what I made :)

There were some leftover cooked veg – cauli and broccoli, and some new potatoes – left over from when we served the chickie! pie. Some tired mushrooms and peppers in the fridge. All cut up, and put in the Remoska with a little olive oil and some garden herbs. I left them to cook for about 15 minutes, while I beat up four eggs with seasoning.

Added the egg mix to the Remoska, left it for another 15 minutes. Supper!

If you don’t have a Remoska, and I don’t expect you will, just cook it in a frying pan on the hob, very slowly.


Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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I don’t normally bother with recipes for soup – they’re a bit mongrel here. But I’ve started tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal, so it’s worth writing stuff up, just for that. So hopefully there’ll be a lot more appearing here now.

We make this quite often, as Morrisons do three lamb bones for about £0.85, which make a fine soup. I roast them off in the Remoska for half an hour, then boil them up in some water. Let them cool, fish them out, and strip the surprising amount of meat off them and shred it. And there’s the basis for the soup.

In the slow cooker (or a big pot), put the stock and meat, two leeks and some carrots (couple of big ones, or five smallish assorted, as I did this morning), which have been chopped finely. I use the Magimix for this as a rule, but sometimes I will stand and chop; it can be quite therapeutic, particularly if you imbue the veg with human personalities :) Add 200g ish of barley, a couple of teaspoons of salt, and a good sprinkling of black pepper. Top up with boiling water if there is insufficient liquid.

About four hours in the slow cooker will do it, less if you’re in a pot on the hob. It’s very nice, and exceeding warming, which given the thermometer says -1C here today, is just what’s wanted.

calories carbs fat protein
per serving

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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I made brownies last week, for a gathering of friends. I always use this Nigella Lawson recipe, which makes a huge heap – I find a huge heap of brownies generally to be the right amount, as people rarely refuse, and they keep well.

I cooked them in the oven, and baked a couple of banana and coconut cakes as well, so as not to waste the electricity. However, like a fool, I forgot to set the timer for the brownies, and so took them out of the oven just a little bit too early. Once I’d scored them into squares, I discovered that the ones round the edges were fine, but the very middle was still far too raw. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – I dumped them in the big Remoska, still on their baking parchment, and gave them about 12 minutes. And they were absolutely fine, which is something I shall remember for the future.

This weekend I plan to make a batches of shepherd’s pie filling, meatballs, and coriander chicken. That’s the plan, anyway.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Well, we’re dead pleased with it. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

  • soup – veg started off, bones roasted
  • banana muffins made
  • cooked breakfast – bacon, mushrooms, black pudding
  • roast pork and roast potatoes
  • plum crumble (plums cooked first in the shallow pan, then complete crumble in the big one, in a dish on the rack)
  • fruit scones
  • potato scones
  • soda bread
  • baked potatoes
The only thing that didn’t work was the casserole we tried, and I think that was my fault. The roast pork could have done with a bit longer, but that was my fault too. It can definitely stay!
In case you think I’ve abandoned every other cooking gadget, I did make a vat of red cabbage in the slow cooker yesterday, though :)

Further cake and biscuit testing are high on my Remoska agenda now.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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This isn’t quite the first soup of the season, it’s the second. But never mind.

Regular readers will know I’m not a fan of supermarkets, but if I have to use one, the local Morrisons is my favourite. We popped in there yesterday on the way back from picking up my new melodeon (yay!) for some wine, and popped some lamb bones into the trolley for soup. At £0.57, it would be mad not to, and I don’t have anything like that in the freezer right now.

As always, I popped them in the slow cooker with some water when we got back, much to Iggy’s delight; he loves warmz, and likes to sit beside that when it’s on. This morning, I finely chopped leek, swede, carrot and courgette and started them in the Remoska (what a surprise – love it love it) and realised that I should have roasted the bones in that first. So, undeterred, I fished them out of the stock, and bunged them on top of the veg, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil and left it for about 20 minutes, just to kick start everything. Lovely lambish smell ensued, and I shall combined everything with some barley to get the soup ready for tonight’s supper (eating quick and earlyish, as it it is music night).

Also, in Morrisons, I bought a shoulder of pork. Was discussing roasts in the gourmet conference on CIX, and realised that we haven’t had roast pork in absolutely ages. I have a red cabbage to cook up in the slow cooker, and I shall give the Remoska a try for roasting meat.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Started with Sunday breakfast – put a stack of chopped mushrooms, black pudding and bacon in the shallow Remoska pan and turned it on; to be frank, I had little expectation of it working well, but I beat some eggs and cream for scrambly egg and hoped for the best.

And in fifteen minutes, we had … perfectly cooked bacon, black pudding and mushrooms! No grease all over the kitchen, no smell through the house. I quickly scrambled the eggs, and we thought “we’ll do that again!’. And we will.

Flushed with success, I prepared a casserole. I peeled lots and lots of tiny onions (if you’re doing this, soak them in boiling water for a bit – makes the peeling much easier, and gives you oniony water, which I have saved for the soup pot!), chopped some carrots into batons, and hurled them into the breakfast Remoska pan – no need to waste that nice bacon flavour, I thought! They sat in there to start cooking while I cut up the shin of beef, and browned it off in a big wok. Into the big Remoska pan it went, along with some white beans which I soaked and boiled the day before, and I added ginger wine, all spice, juniper berries, seasoning, and two tangerines which were boiled for about 10 minutes then whizzed up in the food processor, skin and all.

Everything was put in the big Remoska pan and set to cook. Oh dear. I don’t quite know what I did wrong, but it started to burn on the top rather too quickly. I put a layer of foil between lid and contents, and I think I should have done that a lot sooner. After about another half hour, I got cold feet, and transferred everything to a big cast iron casserole, and set it on a diffuser over a low gas setting for a couple more hours.

Must do some more reading up on Remoska cooking!

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Sorry about this, but while I’m experimenting with the new Remoska, there’s going to be a few posts about it :)  I ordered the shallow pan for it from Lakeland, along with the recipe book, so I plan to get plenty of use from it (they arrived this morning).

We went to Bridlington today – just because we fancied a bit of seaside, and the weather was so gorgeous, and we had lunch out, so didn’t want a lot for supper. So I decided to make some scones. I always use this Nigella Lawson recipe – it’s pretty much foolproof – and I added a handful of sultanas.

My Remoska recipe book said 20-25 minute for scones, but they needed 28 minutes. And they worked really, really well, so that’s another triumph nailed for my little Czech friend.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Apologies for the hiatus in posts – I find cooking in the summer a bit meh and uninteresting, and had nothing new to write. Thus I welcomed the autumn weather with glee, exhumed a chicken carcass from the freezer, and made stock, then soup, in the slow cooker. Of course, immediately the weather turned into an Indian summer, so the soup went into the freezer, but hey …

Autumn has returned now – we have cut and stacked all the wood in the yard into its nice new log store, the cats are sleeping on the bed again, and winterous cooking can commence. However British Gas, from whom we also buy our electrickery, sent us a nice little meter to monitor our electric usage and it has given me palpitations. When we refitted the kitchens we went for electric ovens and my dears – the power usage! It makes me feel quite faint, and of course they require much longer running to heat up than the gas one we had previously.

I’m trying to be parsimonious with all our power usage these days – we have pretty much abandoned central heating, and just heat the living room with the wood burner and I’m also going to try and use the multi-tiered steamer for veg cooking more – just requires a bit more organising.

This has paid dividends in that our gas monthly payment has gone from £65 last winter, to £21 last month, but it’s hard to do much about the electric given we work at home and have Lots of computer equipment. But we do have as much as possible on those little remote control sockets, so one blip on the remote and everything is off, not on standby.

We have a baby Remoska (I don’t think they sell this model any more, which is a shame). It is ideal for two servings of cauliflower cheese, or pasta bake, for cooking off onions, bor baking two (small!) spuds, for thawing frozen casseroles. And for a long time, I’ve been considering a bigger one. I love my slow cooker, but a big Remoska can bake a cake or loaf of bread, can do roast veg, or a small chicken, and all sorts of things.

So we went to the Lakeland shop in Beverley to have a look at the relative sizes of the medium and the large, or Grand, as they call it. And bought a Grand, because I could get a dish of lasagne in it, or sausages, or a vegetable gratin, or roast potatoes, or all sorts of other things, and I’m quite looking forward to trying it out once I have found room in the kitchen!

Grand Remoska


Of course, today’s dinner is planned: cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes, plum and apple crumble. So I’ll be putting the big oven on to  cook that lot, but it’s a grand idea in theory, no?

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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(sapo is Spanish for toad)

We had some snacking chorizos left from this month’s Discover Unearthed tasting box – they’re the first thing we’ve had from them that we didn’t really like, so after the first taste, we decided to cook something with them. And thus a chorizo toad in the hole was conceived.

I made a batter from 3oz wholemeal flour, 1 egg, good pinch of salt, 5oz of semi-skimmed milk. This batter was in itself an experiment – I’m trying to cut down on white flour – and it worked very well.  Cooked down the chorizos in a little oil on the hob first and drained off the excess, then added the batter, and bunged it in the oven at gas 7 for about 30 minutes – came out lovely!

While it was cooking, I bunged a finely sliced onion in the Remoska with a little olive oil, then at the end turned it into onion gravy with the aid of some cornflour and a beef stock cube. Consumed it all with steamed cabbage.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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For some reason, I’ve hardly used the Remoska since we’ve been here.  This kitchen has less countertop, and less cupboard space than my old one, and the little chap has been pushed into a cupboard, but even so …

We had two fat venison sausages left from the weekend, and thought they’d be nice in a fresh baked baguette (I like to keep those part-baked ones in for a change).  Inspiration struck!

I peeled a big onion, cut it in half, then sliced it thinly, and put it in the bottom of the Remoska, drizzled with olive oil, added the sossidges and switched it on.  After 20 minutes, I went back downstairs and turned the sausages.

Fifteen minutes later, I removed them, sliced them into four lengthways, we scooped out the onion and piled it into buttered baguettes and added the sausages.  I slathered mine with French’s deli mustard too, but that’s because I is a gourmet.

Fab, and hardly any washing up!

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.


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