Home Cooking Tips from our Venue Catering Manager, Bethany Dare
Fritters, quick fix dinners and preserving your herbs
The big weekly shop has returned! This shopping routine has come from necessities brought upon us due to the lockdown restrictions in place – long gone are the quick trips to the Tesco Metro on the way home from work. We are now having to think about the week ahead and shop smart.
However, as it nears the end of the week it seems you are left with a few odd items that require some imagination to try and create a dish worthy of calling itself just that.
One nice and simple way of using up those slightly withering veggies, or those prawns nearing their use by date – the fritter.
THE BASIC FORMULA
Main ingredient – Vegetables – could be grated carrot, courgette, aubergine, or spinach (why not combine veggies together) OR Fish – salmon, prawns and cod work well – just ensure they are precooked and chopped up
Plain Flour – Opt for chickpea flour to make gluten free
Binding agent – Eggs are used most traditionally, however you can use a dairy free milk alternative to help bind and make them vegan
Herbs and spices – Time to get creative with the herbs and spices in the cupboard. Some classic pairings would be carrot and ginger, courgette and mint, or prawn, chilli and lemon
Cheese – Why not use up that last bit of feta, or a chunk of cheddar for taste?
Serve your fritters alongside a simple salad and a dip of your choice – whether it be the sweet chilli sauce from the cupboard or making use of that last bit of yoghurt in the fridge.
COURGETTE & HALLOUMI FRITTERS
180g halloumi, grated
2 courgettes, grated (it helps to squeeze some moisture out once grated)
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt & pepper
Step 1: Combine all ingredients together. I used milk here to replace the egg as I had none in the cupboard. Tip – if the mixture is too wet, add some more flour.
Step 2: Heat some oil in a frying pan or skillet and place a tablespoon of the mixture in at a time, patting it down so it flattens slightly. Fritters don’t have to look perfectly even – flavour over appearance here.
Step 3: After 3-4 minutes or once the mixture has firmed on the bottom, flip over.
Step 4: Fry the underside for 3-4 minutes more and then the fritters are ready! Serve with a dip of your choice. I mixed sriracha and mayo for an easy tasty dip.
During lockdown, everyone has spruced up on their culinary skills and become experimental in the kitchen, however there are those times where you just don’t feel like putting much effort into cooking itself, or having to wash up all the pots and pans afterwards.
Below is one of the simplest and most satisfying quick dinner fixes – so long as you are a Marmite lover…!
This recipe serves 1 and uses just 3 main ingredients:
- Your preferred amount of pasta (all varieties work)
- A knob of butter
- 1 level tsp of Marmite (or more if you like a stronger flavour)
This is the perfect simple supper, especially for when the cupboards are bare.
Step 1: Boil the pasta in salted water until just al dente. Strain the pasta leaving some of the pasta water behind.
Step 2: Return the pasta to the pan and bring to a low heat. Stir in the butter and a the Marmite until evenly combined. And there you have it!
Step 3: Serve with black pepper and a generous sprinkling of parmesan or cheddar for your easy, one pan meal.
PRESERVE YOUR HERBS!
Fresh herbs tend to be in larger bunches than your recipe needs, leading to many a dried-up herb being thrown away. Below are some preserving and storing suggestions to make use of those leftover herbs, that make great additions to food and drink in future uses!
1. The Ice Tray
Pop into the tray the selection of herbs you want to freeze, pour over the water and freeze. These ice cubes make great additions to cocktails – basil, rosemary or mint ice cubes are great for pimping up a gin and tonic!
You can also pour oil into the ice cube tray rather than water and freeze. These small but mighty flavour blocks are great to be used as a base in sauces.
2. Oil Infusions
Create any flavoured oil easily at home – you simply need a good quality light olive oil, your herb of choice and a jar or bottle. Simply wash and dry your herbs, place in the jar and pour warm oil over them. Seal the jar and leave to infuse in the fridge. The flavour should be nicely infused by about a week in and it should last for a month if kept refrigerated.
The flavoured oil is great to use on salads, for roasting vegetables or simply stirred through pasta to enhance its flavour.