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Bulgar What?

Any advice on bulgar wheat?

*pokes it warily*

I am really crap at cooking it, and I have no idea what I can do with it that's interesting. Help?
Hi everyone! I come to ask for your help. I'm going away for a week next week, and the plan is not to buy more groceries between then and now - the goal is to eat up what I've got in the fridge. However, since I only moved in recently, what I have in the fridge is sort of an odd and limited assortment. I have:

- half a loaf of sesame bread
- 3/4 of a cucumber
- hummus
- gouda cheese
- shredded cheddar cheese
- butter
- eggs

I also have some dry staples - flour, sugar, cocoa powder, spices and so on though I have not unpacked most of them yet.

My menu plan at the moment is pretty big on hummus-and-cucumber sandwiches and cheese omelettes, but I thought I would see if any of you also have ideas for other fun things to do in the kitchen with any of these items! (I will also totally be going back and rereading everything in the Eggs post to see what I can concoct that is awesome.)

Comfort food?

My kid's down with chicken pox and it's tough trying to find things to tempt her appetite-and I can't pop out every day for ingredient shopping.  We've stocked up on the traditional soups and I made a serious amount of stew yesterday with plans for our other favourites but I'm curious as to what your comfort meals are?  What do you like to eat when you're feeling crappy?

The Amazing Cast Iron Skillet

I want to tell you about my Cast Iron Skillet. It's my one essential kitchen tool that I would keep even if I had to throw everything out for some strange reason. Like maybe a desert island or aliens or something.

As a kitchen-under-confident person, the skillet has really helped me, because you can cook anything and everything in it. It's easy to care for and lasts forever. In fact you're not supposed to really clean it too much. Just wait for it to cool and wipe it out with a paper towel or rag. If you do end up scrubbing it down too much, you'll take the curing off, and you'll have to re-cure it (which is not that hard-- just pour some oil in, heat it gently, let some of the oil soak in to the metal). Here are some more complete directions on use and care.

Generally what I do is put in a little olive oil, put the burner on low or medium, and let it preheat while a prepare some ingredients. Tonight I thawed a frozen chicken breast and cut up some little red potatoes. I put the potatoes in for a while and then added the chicken. I tossed a couple of spices in there too.

I put some grapes on the side and had a little rooster sauce for spice. It's silly that I'm so proud of myself for this, maybe, but I am starting from canned soup and pasta so this is me moving up in the world.

This meal has no wheat, no dairy, and no soy!

I took a picture which is under the cutCollapse )

Also! If you are in the US and are looking to buy a cast iron skillet, buy "Lodge" brand as they are the only domestic makers.

Stew and dumplings

I've never actually read a stew recipe so I'm curious to know what you're supposed to put in it!  I bung a truckload of my favourite vegetables in but there are so many combinations, it all depends on your preference XD  I never make small amounts as it can dry up-make a monster load and freeze it, it will last you for ages and it's great for winter comfort.  Check your cupboards and chuck random handfuls in.  (Making this always makes me think of George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl...)

So here's mine-

Parsnips (at least 4)
Carrots (5 or 6)
Potatoes (3 or 4)
1 large turnip
Meat pieces (I like lamb in particular but beef or chicken make a great stew as well) or appropiate quorn/veggie substitute.  I'll often use left overs from a roast or buy the cheapest cuts.  It's important to use meat with a decent amount of fat as this helps with the flavour.
Handful of barley
Mixed herbs
Curry powder
Bay leaves (I use 2)
Mace
Stock (I use basic oxo but a vegetable stock is lovely too)
Shredded suet (100g)
Self raising flour (50g)
Pinch of salt
Seasoning

This will take hours to cook so make sure you start early!  Roughly chop all your vegetables into decent sized chunks and bung them into a huge cooking pot along with a little oil.  Heat gently for a few minutes while you make up the stock.  The amount of stock to make up is dependent on how much stew you're making-cover the vegetables completely, chuck in the meat or quorn and stir it while you bring it to the boil.  Once it's boiling, reduce the heat down to the lowest setting and add about 1/2 handful of mixed herbs, the barley and mace and stir in some curry powder (I use a couple of teaspoons of the medium stuff and it's pleasantly spicy) along with the bay leaves along with some salt and pepper.  Cover and leave it on the heat (or in the oven under a low heat) for at least 3 hours, stirring it occasionally.  I also add a splash of wine or port.  Add more barley if you want it thicker-it absorbs the liquid really well.  The longer you can wait to eat it, the better the stew is.  I have made really tasty vegetarian versions-making it gluten free would be impossible for me anyway but I'm sure it can be adjusted for wheat intolerance (is barley a problem?)  maybe have it with rice not dumplings?

Start making the dumplings about 20 minutes before you want to eat-the amounts I've given are for eight dumplings.  Mix the flour, salt and suet together and start adding cold water a tablespoon at a time.  You want a pliable, firm dough-too much water makes it very sticky so add a touch more flour if needed.  Divide into eight dumplings (I rub flour onto my hands and roll out small handfuls-they expand like crazy!)  Drop them into the stew pot and cover, leaving them for about 20 minutes to half an hour.  They're ready when they have doubled in size and are fluffy on the inside.

If you have a blender of any kind, this makes a kick ass soup (I've only got a stick blender so it's really messy lol)  Don't blend the dumplings though!

Rym's Best Easy Brownies

Okay, this is my favorite bad-day baked good recipe.

1. Take a box of brownie mix. Any box of brownie mix.

2. Follow the instructions on the box to make a batter. (This usually requires eggs, oil, water, and so on.) If you have a choice between fudge-like and cake-like brownies, always follow the fudge-like instructions.

But:

Substitute a generous splash of liqueur and a small splash of vanilla for some of the water. For the liqueur, I usually use Kahlua, Frangelico, Bailey's Irish Cream, or cheap substitutes of any of the above.

If you want mocha brownies, heat up the water and stir in a little instant coffee before adding the liqueurs and vanilla. Or use half water, half cold coffee.

Add a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients. This makes the brownies especially chocolatey and cuts some of the oversweetness of most mixes.

3. When you have a batter, stir in one or more of these things:
Chocolate chips
Butterscotch chips
White chocolate chips
Chopped pecans or walnuts

4. Go back to the box instructions, pour the batter into a pan, and bake until the brownies are done. Remember to lick the spoon with the brownie batter, unless for whatever reason you don't want to eat the raw eggs.

5. You're really supposed to wait until the brownies are cool to cut the brownies, because otherwise they fall apart, but they taste so good fresh out of the oven that I don't usually care if they fall apart.

Tags:

Flapjacks!

You'll need-
125g demerara sugar
125g butter
225g porridge oats
5 tablespoons (huge spoons) Golden syrup
1teaspoon of ground ginger or cinnamon

Preheat oven (the lady who gave me this recipe says a 'not very hot oven) about gas mark 3 or 4 depending on your oven.
Grease a sandwich tin or some such
Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan and add the sugar and syrup.  The syrup can be a bitch to get off the spoon so have a jug of hot water next to you and dip the spoon in inbetween spoonfuls of syrup (that is so convoluted but hopefully you get what I mean) .  The golden syrup will slide off then easy.  Stir it all til it's nicely mixed.
Mix the teaspoon of ginger or cinnamon in with the oats.  Add this to the sugar mix in the saucepan and stir.
Press mixture into tin (back of a metal spoon works for me) and cook in oven for about 15 mins.
Take out and score into pieces, lave to cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.


Here's where you have to be careful-don't cook them long enough and they'll be incredibly soft, a fraction too long and they'll be rocklike.  Still amazingly delicious but best if you take them out when they look golden brown on top but still seem soft and undercooked-my oven has them perfect in 12 minutes at gas mark 3 (fan assisted)

I've made them a number of times and gotten it wrong so often-if you overcook them, they're amazing dunked in tea!  It doesn't matter really, practising is fun!

How to boil an egg

Okay, first and foremost, you guys are awesome. :D I am so chuffed we already have some pretty damned fine looking recipes, and I'm really looking forward to trying them.

Secondly, I thought it'd be cool to occasionally have a simple ingredient post so that everyone can weigh in with advice, nutritional information, ways to cook it, whatever. These can obviously be started by anyone and dictated by the contents of your cupboards. :D

So I'm thinking we'll start with eggs.

See, I know some stuff about eggs; I know how to scramble one decently, and I know that hardboiled eggs involve boiling the crap out of them until you remember they're in the pan, but apart from that... I have uncertainties. I don't know how to poach an egg without the boiling water shredding the egg to pieces. I have absolutely no idea how long a soft boiled egg takes, and am very low on ideas what to eat 'em with that doesn't involve bread.

So this post is for any bits and pieces about eggs, and seriously don't worry about anything being too obvious; it is absolutely impossible to underestimate my cooking intelligence.

XD