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thread: Cooking Fresh Food - breaking the jar/can/bottle habit...

  1. #19
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2008
    Insular Peninsula - Sydney
    312

    Tali - Great, I'll start putting together a few ideas for you to try

    Let's try a few simple pasta sauces - I'm going to start with those that can be cooked quickly and simply without long cooking processes.....before the slow cooking brigade pipes up, I'll come back to those soon.

    To get things rolling, here are two recipes for one of the simplest sauces - Carbonara. The first recipe is the more traditional, the second uses cream which is how most Australians are used to eating it. I'm starting with this, because it's actually quicker to make this fresh than it is to reheat a jar of sauce.

    Traditional Recipe

    For 4 people you will need:-
    120g of Pancetta or bacon cut into small pieces
    2 cloves of garlic - minced or cut into small pieces
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Salt - preferably Sea Salt
    2 Fresh Eggs
    1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese...don't even think about using the pre-grated stuff
    1/4 cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley (scrunch it up into a ball so that it is easier to chop finely)
    500g of Spaghetti

    1. Put a large pot of water on to boil - use the biggest pan you have and add plenty of salt to the water. The bigger the pan, the less likely the pasta is to stick together.
    2. While it is coming to the boil, place 3 tablespoons of olive oil and pancetta in a saucepan on a very low heat for 5 minutes...then add the garlic. Keep giving it an occasional stir so that everything gets evenly coated with the hot oil and nothing burns.
    3. The pancetta should brown very slowly for another 5 minutes, keep stirring occasionally until the pancetta is crisp.
    4. While the pancetta is cooking, beat the eggs together with the parsley and cheese in a mixing bowl. The add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the packet - when it is getting close to done start testing the pasta by fishing strands out and biting into them - you want the pasta to have a little bit of bite left into it, don't overcook it until it is mushy.
    5. Turn off the heat under both pans, drain the pasta quickly and put it back into the warm saucepan, pour in the pancetta, garlic and oil from the other pan, then add the egg/cheese/parsley mixture and toss it thoroughly through the pasta quickly.
    The idea is that the heat from the pasta is used to cook the egg mixture, as the egg cooks it will stick to the pasta - so everything should now be coated in the sauce.
    Serve immediately with a fresh black pepper

    Another recipe using cream for completeness....but try the traditional way first

    For 4 people

    500g spaghetti, cooked according to the directions on the packet
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    250g bacon, diced
    1cup sliced mushrooms, optional
    1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
    250ml thickened cream
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons chopped chives
    1/2 cup grated parmesan

    Heat the oil in a deep pan, add the bacon and fry until the bacon becomes brown and slightly crispy.

    Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the garlic and saut? for another 30 seconds.

    Add the cream and bring to the boil.

    Add the pasta and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.



    Remove from the heat and stir in the beaten eggs and chopped chives.

    Serve immediately topped with parmesan cheese.
    Last edited by TheBear; August 13th, 2008 at 10:30 AM.

  2. #20
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2007
    Melbourne, ready to meet peeps IRL
    2,221

    1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese...don't even think about using the pre-grated stuff
    What you can read my mind now too LOL I so buy the pre- greated stuff PMSL


    Thank you so much..... As you can tell I need a LOT of help.... Are you sure this way is cheaper jars just seem so much easier and cheaper to me but I will give this way a go and let you know hown I fair.... I guess this means I will now have to go and buy myself some tupperware stuff the freeze all the extra....

    I really like Chicken and mushroom linguini with a creamy sauce do you know how to make that... I think it normally has bacon but I dont eat that so I would just leave that out...


    O my goodness how embarassment I just realise that I could used the recipe above
    Last edited by New Dawn; August 13th, 2008 at 10:51 AM. : dont worry about me just having a big blonde moment..

  3. #21
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Melbourne
    1,798

    Our favourite salad dressing is so simple - just some good quality olive oil, vinegar and a dash of sea salt! We use it all the time!

    Hhhhmmm carbonara! I've never tried it without cream but I might give it a go! Would it work if you substitute the cream for evaporated milk for a lower fat option?

    I don't buy many packet mixes but occassionally have some because I think they are quicker (but maybe not reading this post?).

    Does anybody know how to make a black bean sauce? DH loves beef and black bean sauce and I have tried it once but it tasted terrible!

  4. #22
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2007
    Gold Coast, QLD
    936

    Sangie - I do a pasta sauce with evaporated milk, its kinda like a carbonara sauce and my DH loves it. It still has mushrooms and bacon in it but I also add onions finely chopped and soy sauce for a bit more flavour!

    Bear - I have some wholemeal self raising flour and wheatgerm I want to get rid of - any recipes ideas? I thought maybe muffins or a cake???

  5. #23
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2008
    Insular Peninsula - Sydney
    312

    Tali - lol - Just buy a block of fresh stuff and grate it as you need it, it is a completely different taste! Make sure that store fresh cheese in a sealed container, it will go dry very quickly. Don't feel the need to lash out on tupperware - I just use zip-lock bags, if I'm freezing something liquid then I put the bag into a plastic box until it is frozen then take it out once it has frozen into a block.

    Sangie - if you want the low fat option then just use the traditional recipe - I much prefer it, it just has a fresher feel in your mouth without the cloying cream taste.

  6. #24
    Administrator
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003
    Ubiquity
    9,922

    ewwwww @ the thought of jar carbonara LOL!

    My kids are such snobs, they would't even consider eating it.

    Asian cooking is really easy, especially something like black bean sauce. You will need in your cupboard for most asian dishes shaoxing wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornflour, palm sugar (yes you can use regular sugar but with thai cooking especially IMO its a necessity), for blackbean sauce you'll need good chicken stock (for asian stuff I love the stuff in the tin you get from asian grocer), ginger, cornflour, soy, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, salt sugar and salted blackbeans (roughly chopped). I've got a good recipe at home, but bear might have one off the top of his head.

    I often cheat and make a baked carbonara which is great IMO and I use cream, milk, fresh cheese, bacon, onion and garlic I think I've posted it before will try and find it.

  7. #25
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2008
    Melbourne
    3,244

    bear - thank you for this thread! it's a great idea! i think that once you've stocked up on those basic ingredients, it gets really cheap to make things from scratch.

    i'd love a good pepper sauce recipe for steak - DP loves it & i'm sorry to say that i've resorted to the powdered kind but i'd far prefer to make it properly!

    i love mexican food & have been known to buy the old el paso kits on a regular basis. but recently i found a recipe for chilli that i really like. i use it to make enchilladas and i can really notice the difference in flavour & salt content from the packaged versions. but it would work for tacos as well or burritos or a baked potato filling

  8. #26
    Administrator
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003
    Ubiquity
    9,922

    Christy has some great athentic mexican recipes I'll get her to pop in and share

  9. #27
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2007
    Melbourne, ready to meet peeps IRL
    2,221

    Ok just thought of another one that will be EASY for all you cooks out there


    are you ready ......

    GRAVY without using gravox you know like the way nanna used to make.....

    I tried this the other day put the pan stuff in a fry pan and added cornflower but all a managed to do was fry the cornflower the smell was sicking lol BHL laugh at me and told me to buy gravox next time

  10. #28
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2008
    Melbourne
    3,244

    niliac - that would be great, thank you i think i might have seen some in another thread? i did a search for mexican hehe. but i'd love some chicken recipes as well because i think DP would like a change from my chilli!!

  11. #29
    BellyBelly Member
    Add Sair on Facebook

    Dec 2006
    Rural Vic
    1,343

    Ewww at Gravox. I find it tastes so bland, nothing like gravy at all but DP loves it

    Sloane can you share that chili recipe? I love mexican.

    I sure hope Christy pops in soon

    All this food talk is making me hungry. I might have some 2 minute noodles I don't think you can make them from scratch in 2 minutes They are a major pregnancy craving for me as well as ham and cheese toasted sandwiches.

  12. #30
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Melbourne
    1,798

    Ok thanks, putting carbonara on the list for next week!

    Thanks Cai for the black bean tips! So is shaoxing wine only available at an asian grocer or can you get it at the supermarket? Sorry have no clue what it is!

  13. #31
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2008
    Melbourne
    3,244

    little miss sunshine - absolutely! will post it tonight when i get home

    getting realllly hungry now too! only a baked potato is going to cut it today in this cold melbourne weather!

  14. #32
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2008
    Insular Peninsula - Sydney
    312

    LMS - assuming your two minutes started when the kettle had boiled and you had added the water to the noodles then I think I've got you beat...just made some for a snack/early lunch.

    00 - Start clock, put kettle onto boil, frypan onto burner with a little oil, noodles into a dry mixing bowl
    01 - kettle still hasn't boiled, chopped shallot, frozen scallops from fridge, spinach leaves, garlic and chilli - found tub of miso paste in the fridge.
    02 - kettle boiled, boiling water poured over noodles, garlic and chilli frying with shards of still frozen scallop
    03 - Noodles soft so transferred to frying pan, with spinach and glob of miso paste and a splash of sesame oil. Stir fried quickly.
    04 - All done :-)

  15. #33
    BellyBelly Member
    Add Sair on Facebook

    Dec 2006
    Rural Vic
    1,343

    at you Bear

    I will give that a go next time. What noodles do you use?

  16. #34
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW
    8,944

    *rubbing hands together*

    Okay:

    Refried Beans.... Pinto beans are preferred but I use black beans mostly

    400gm dried beans
    4 cloves garlic (whole)
    2 tsp chilli flakes or 1 small red chilli deseeded
    1 jalepeno deseeded
    1 onion
    lots of water... LOL sorry!!!
    salt & pepper
    4 pieces of bacon - not short cut (or if vego use 1/4 cup olive oil)

    First, rinse your beans, pick out the ugly ones.... than put in a large bowl and pour water in to 3cm over the bean level. Leave overnight. In the morning drain & pop the beans into a slow cooker... 5 litre or larger... Cover the mix with water & add 3 cm of water on top. Stir it all together. Leave on low, checking every hour or so with a stir & add water if needed. Near the end you need the water to only just touch the top bean layer at most.

    When its finished cooking, I put containers of beans into the freezer. In takeaway portions. Then when I want to cook.... I refry

    To refry:
    In a fry pan put 1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil. Leave to heat, then add bean mix. Let warm stirring regularly. After everything is nice and warm... grab your favourite potato masher & work through until you get your desired texture. We like a few whole beans in ours.

    Mexican Mince:

    500gm mince
    3 tomatoes
    1/2 onion
    1 clove garlic minced
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp paprika (hungarian... or sweet)
    1 tsp coriander... cilantro
    1 jalepeno sliced with or without seeds is whatever your choice of spice
    beef stock.... 1 cup ish?
    1 tsp salt
    pepper

    brown your mince. Pop your tomatoes in some hot water & peel, than core them. Chuck them in the pan & squash them in. Add all other ingredients and 1/2 cup beef stock. I cover and leave for 10 minutes and then stir & taste & add more cumin or salt sometimes cinnamon... I also add carrot finely grated and spinach in to trick my kids but its obviously not authentic I add stock if needed and in the end I mix 1 tbsp stock with 1 tbsp flour into a paste & stir it in to give it a gravy type feel and less watery.

  17. #35
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW
    8,944

    I use egg noodles from the asian isle.. but rice noodles work with that too!! My kids love it & sometimes after I've cooked the noodles that way I add an egg to make a noodle omelette for the kiddies.

  18. #36
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2005
    USA
    3,991

    Oh this thread is great timing. I have almost kicked our jar/packet dependence of years ago but I have a few remaining things I still buy processed (and end up hating the processed flavour of) so would love to know how to make!

    Pasta Bake
    I usually buy a cheesy or creamy tomato style one and make it up with pasta, veggies and beans. I can't seem to make a sauce that isn't overly dry or runny. This is my "it's been a bad day" easy meal so the sauce needs to be a one pot or freezable creation.

    Cheese sauce
    Someone please help me understand how to make a roux! I have been shown countless times but can't seem to get it. Any fool proof cheese sauce recipe would be VERY appreciated.

    Scalloped potatoes

    I can't seem to make a tasty sauce that cooks together and isn't runny. I like creamy, garlicy sauces.

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