“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
~AA Milne, when we were very young
NOTE: I am away at the moment helping my mother with her treatment for lung cancer. I have set up a few posts to post whilst I am away as a special surprise. Some are new and some are reposts of old favourites that you may have forgotten, or if you are a new reader may not even have seen. I'll be back at the end of May, but in the meantime . . . Enjoy!
PS - I will only have sporadic internet use, so if you ask a question and I don't get back to you . . . it's not that I don't want to. It just may take me a while.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
There is a definite chill in the air these days. Autumn is well and truly here and Winter is nipping at our heels! The English Provender Company recently sent me an assortment of their new variety of Very Lazy Cooking Concentrates, along with a jar of their new Bramley Apple Sauce with Calvados to try out.
I have always been a big fan of their very lazy red chilies and garlic. With Very Lazy you get top-notch, essential cooking ingredients and kitchen short-cuts that are always ready when you are, so you can whizz up fresh and tasty home-cooked meals without a lot of fuss. I always hate chopping chillies and garlic . . . they leave my fingers all smelly and those chillies can burn, unless you wear a pair of gloves!
First up was a jar of their Chilli Con Carne Cooking Concentrate. This was very easy to use. All the ingredients you need to prepare a tasty pot of chilli are listed on the outside packet so that you know exactly what to pick up.
And inside the packet are clear instructions on how to put it together. I only used half the quantity of extra lean mince in mine, and added a tin of drained sweet corn.
This was really quick and quite delicious. In the time it took to cook the rice, we had a lovely pot of Chilli Con Carne, which I served with some sour cream and grated cheddar on top. It went down a real treat.
I used the leftovers the day after to do sort of a lasagna pie which was also really tasty. You could use lasagna noodles, or even corn tortillas. It would be fabulous either way. I created a layer in the middle by stirring together a small tin of refried beans and some cream cheese. Scrummo! It was like a layer of Mexican dip in the middle!
It was really economical and filling too, with just 1/2 pound of minced beef, and the addition of just a few extra ingredients we had some very tasty meals for two nights running. That can't be bad in today's economy.
Very Lazy Chilli Con Carne Cooking Concentrate: A spicy & smokey blend of tomato, cumin & chipotle chilli. Simply add minced beef, tinned tomatoes, kidney beans & a red pepper for a delicious home-made Chilli con Carne in 20 minutes. Serves 4.
£1.79 at ASDA and Tesco.
The Second jar of concentrate was their Chicken Chasseur Cooking Concentrate. Once again, any ingredients needed were printed on the outside of the package, with clear instructions for cooking inside the pack. We enjoyed this with some rice, but it would also be fab with some Mash.
Chicken Chasseur Cooking Concentrate: A classic blend of tomatoes, Chardonnay wine and Tarragon. Simply add chicken, onion, tomatoes and mushrooms for a rich and flavourful chasseur, ready in 20 minutes. Serves 4.
£1.79 and available at ASDA and Tesco
I was getting really into these sauces by now and so the next day when I was at the grocery store I picked up myself a few other ones.
The next night we had a Green Chicken Thai Curry, created by using their Green Thai Curry Cooking Concentrate. This was also fabulous and so quick and easy to do. We both thoroughly enjoyed.
Green Thai Curry Cooking Concentrate: A spicy cream blend of green peppers, coconut milk and chilli. Simply add chicken or prawns and coconut milk and you have an easy and delicious Thai Curry for four, with minimum effort!
£1.79 and available at ASDA or Tesco
I saved the best for last!
I was really looking forward to trying this little gem. Apple Sauce has a natural affinity for pork . . . roasted, or chops . . . but they had included a delicious sounding recipe for some tasty Sausage Bakewell Tarts, created using this beautiful looking and smelling applesauce. (£1.69 Available at ASDA and Tesco)
These were absolute winners and would be a fab addition to any Halloween Celebration or a Bon Fire Night Party. Portable, and hand held, easy to make and even easier to eat!
The Toddster scarfed down two of them as soon as they came out of the oven. There were mmmm's all around!
Crisp puff pastry base encasing some of that lovely applesauce, along with some sausage meat, onion, and apple . . . and topped with some cheesy bread crumbs. Fabulous!!!
Tarts with Lincolnshire Sausage, Apple and Cheese
These are very moreish with their crisp puff pastry shell, and that lovely applesauce. Goes so well with the sausage and cheese!
225g of Lincolnshire chipolata sausages (1/2 pound)
(Suggested that you squeeze in half, twist and cut to make
two smaller chipolatas. I did not do this. I removed from the skins, and rolled each
into two balls and then flatted them into a disc)
500g of puff pastry ( a little over a pound)
English Provender Bramley Apple Sauce with Calvados
1 eating apple, cored and sliced
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
30g of Sage Derby Cheese or Cheddar, grated (about a third of a cup)
30g of breadcrumbs (1/3 cup I used Panko)
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a 12 cup medium muffin tin. Roll out the pastry and cut into 12 rounds, large enough to fit in the muffin tin and up the sides. Push the pastry into each buttered recess. Spoon 1/2 tsp of the apple sauce into each. Top the applesauce with a portion of sausage meat. Top with some of the apple and onion. Mix together the crumbs and cheese. Divide and sprinkle this mixture over the top of each tart.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown and the sausage cooked.
I'll definitely be making those tarts again and I have a nice store of those cooking concentrates in my larder now. They make a fab addition to my store cupboard and we really enjoyed everything we made with them. I am looking forward to using them again.
From the English Provender page:
We love good food and we know what tastes great. Quality ingredients packed with flavour and made with care - it's all in the making of good food. The English Provender Co.’s range of chutneys, condiments and dressings are made using nothing but good, honest ingredients from nature’s store cupboard.
Our chefs are experts in flavour combinations and our traditional open pan cooking methods create naturally delicious combinations that taste every bit as good as home-made.
We’ve been a bit saucy with our jars too! We’ve stripped them down so you can see all the natural beauty and juicy chunks inside our tasty creations.
Many thanks to English Provender and Jess for sending me along these tasty ingredients to try out. Boy, I love my job!