SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES Baked Vegetable Rice I just love baked rice with lots and lots of vegetables in it. It’s such a good way to cook up an all-in-one main course (or side-dish if you prefer), that is very satisfying. Of course, you don’t have to stick with the same selection of vegetables as I have listed here - once you’ve tried it, then you can start playing around with what goes into it. For a non-vegetarian version, try adding shreds of cooked chicken or turkey, or maybe sautéing some bacon or pancetta or chorizo with the vegetables. Serves 6-8 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 red onion, chopped 2 carrots, diced 2 stems celery, trimmed and diced 3 cloves of garlic, sliced 150g (5 oz) shelled peas, frozen and thawed 1/2 tin (around 200g/7oz) chopped tomatoes, 400g (14 oz) basmati rice, rinsed 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if this is not for vegetarians) 1 good pinch saffron (optional) or turmeric 1 big sprig thyme (optional) salt and pepper Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until they are beginning to brown – this will take around 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Draw off the heat, and mix with all the remaining ingredients in a shallow oven-proof dish (I use one that is about 30 cm x 20 cm (12” x 8”)). Cover with foil and bake for 45-55 minutes until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve. SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES Quick Tomato Sauce for Pasta Serves 4 1 tin chopped tomatoes 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon tomato puree 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme salt, pepper Put all the ingredients into a pan and add half a can of water. Stir, then bring up to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer very gently for some 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have reduced down to a thick sauce. You may need to add a little water to prevent catching. Taste and adjust seasoning. Fish out and discard the thyme twig and the bay leaf. Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Broccoli and Poor Man’s Parmesan Serves 4 400g (14 oz) spaghetti 300g (10 1/2 oz) broccoli, cut into small florets, stalk sliced tomato sauce (see above) Poor Man’s Parmesan: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 tinned anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (optional) 4 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs Cook the spaghetti as normal in boiling salted water. About 4 minutes before it is done, add the broccoli to the pan to cook with it. Drain and toss pasta and broccoli with the tomato sauce. As soon as your spaghetti goes into the water, heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and fry gently, crushing down the pieces of anchovy with the back of a spoon or the fork, so that they dissolve into the oil. As soon as they’ve mulched down, add the breadcrumbs and fry the whole lot together, stirring virtually constantly, until a rich golden brown. Pile into a bowl, lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Ease the paper out just before serving. Serve the spaghetti with tomato and broccoli piping hot and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of the ‘poor man’s parmesan’, i.e. the fried crisp crumbs, over the top. Eat immediately (with or without genuine Parmesan, depending on how rich you are feeling) before the deliciously crisp crumbs become soggy. SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES TUNA FISHCAKES Serves 4 Around 350g (12 oz) large potatoes 15g (1/2 oz) butter, softened 1 x xx tin tuna chunks or steaks in brine, drained 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or coriander 3 spring onions, finely chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice finely grated zest 1 lemon 1 egg, beaten plain flour salt and pepper 15g (1/2 oz) butter 1 tablespoon oil for frying To serve: 4 lemon wedges, tartare sauce (optional) Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Bake the potatoes in their skins in the oven until soft – about 1 hour. If you don’t have time for this, prick the skins all over with a fork and cook in the microwave on full power until tender. Halve the potatoes while still warm and scoop out the flesh. Place in a bowl. Add the tuna, along with the softened butter, parsley, spring onions, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add about half the beaten egg. Mix the whole lot together with your hands, squidging up the chunks of potato and tuna, but leaving the mixture slightly rough and uneven. Divide into quarters. Dust your hands with flour, then shape each quarter of the mixture into a round, flat ‘cake’, about 1 1/2-2 cm (1/2-3/4”) thick. Coat each one in flour, then cover loosely and leave in the fridge until almost ready to eat. About 15 minutes before you wish to sit down and eat, put the butter and oil for frying into a frying pan over a moderate heat. As soon as it begins to foam, lay the fish cakes in the pan, Leave until browned underneath, then turn and brown the other side. Serve extremely hot with lemon wedges and/or the sauce. SALMON FISHCAKES: Replace the tuna with 225g (8 oz) cooked salmon. Buy a couple of juicy pieces of salmon fillet, then wrap it in lightly oiled foil, and pop into the oven with the potatoes for the last 10 minutes of their cooking time. That should be enough to cook the salmon sufficiently, but if necessary, give it an extra 2 or 3 minutes in the oven so that it flakes easily. SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES COD AND OTHER FISHCAKES You can use practically any well flavoured white fish in a fish cake – cod is another favourite, which you can cook in the same way as salmon. Smoked haddock or smoked cod are also superb – either bake in the oven, or poach in a little milk with a few bay leaves, a slice of onion and 4 or 5 peppercorns. TARTARE SAUCE Tartare sauce is mayonnaise spiked with herbs, capers and cornichons or gherkins. Serves 4 200 ml (7 fl oz) mayonnaise 20g (2/3 oz) very finely chopped shallots or red onion 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chervil (if you can get it) 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped 1 tablespoon chopped pickled ‘cornichons’ or chopped pickled gherkins salt and pepper Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and store in the fridge until needed. SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES Three Bean and Pepper Tortillas A fabulously quick and delicious family meal. Serves 4 8 wheat tortillas or corn tortillas soured cream grated mature cheddar (optional) For the filling: 1 onion, halved and sliced 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into fine strips 1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into fine strips 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic, chopped 400g (14 oz) tinned beans, drained and rinsed 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed 1/2-1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton) 2 tablespoons chopped coriander juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon salt and pepper To make the filling, sauté the onion and peppers in the oil until just tender and beginning to brown. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander seed and saute for a further minute. Now mix in the paprika and beans and cook until sizzlingly hot. Toss in the coriander leaf, lime or lemon juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Reheat the tortillas according to packet instructions (I usually do them in the microwave), and put bowls of soured cream and grated cheese on the table along with the hot tortillas and the beans. Let everyone make up their own SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES tortillas, filling them with the bean mixture and cheese and soured cream if they want it. Four Fabulously Quick and Simple Icecreams Butterscotch Icecream Mix half a jar of dulce de leche with 150 ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream, lightly whipped. Spoon into a freezer container, smooth down lightly, cover and freeze. Marmelade Icecream Mix half a jar of good quality marmelade with 150 ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream, lightly whipped. Finish as above. Apricot Icecream Mix half a jar of good quality apricot jam with 150ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream, lightly whipped AND the juice of 1/2 lemon. Freeze. Lemon Icecream I discovered this many years ago, and it has remained a favourite quick pudding. Make it a day in advance so that it has time to freeze. Serves 8 Juice of 4 lemons 1 x 400g (14 oz) tin sweetened condensed milk Strain the lemon juice to remove stray pips and pulp. Scrape the condensed milk into a bowl and gradually whisk in the lemon juice. Spoon into a shallow freezer container and cover. Slide into the freezer and leave until frozen. Transfer the SOPHIE’S QUICK STORECUPBOARD RECIPES icecream from the freezer to the fridge about 20 minutes before serving so that it has time to soften a little.