Friday, 31 August 2012


All of BFTF's recipes brought together in one tasty post!

250g biccies
Whilst the rest of this blog is, admittedly, a bit "do-gooder", the recipes section is here for a very different reason - BFTF appears to be utterly incapable of keeping track of the recipes that it has tried, especially the ones that seemed to work.

So putting them here will hopefully ensure that BFTF can find them when required.

I suppose you could call it "Cloud Cookery". . .

250g biccies

250g butter (British)
250g brown sugar (Fairtrade, if possible)
250g plain flour
200g mixed peel (the sticky kind in tubs, ASDA own-brand seems to work best)
2 eggs, beaten (Free Range - there is no excuse for buying anything else)

Place butter and sugar in mixing bowl and mix together (10-20 seconds in the microwave may help if the butter is straight from the fridge and it is a cold day)

Add Flour and beaten eggs, mix until uniform.

Add Mixed Peel (Avoid the syruppy bits at the bottom of the tub, they can make the biccies over-sweet)

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Use fairy-cake baking trays (and paper fairy-cake cases), place about a heaped teaspoon worth of mix in each tray location. The amounts above should give about 48 biccies.

Place in oven and cook for about 19mins (until nicely browned on top).

Remove from oven, take cases out of tray and allow to cool for 5-15mins then remove cases and your biccies are ready.

Eat within a few days.

Without wishing to blow my own trumpet too much, it has to be said that all feedback thus far suggests that these biccies are rather good.

On the other hand, the butter content means that each one probably takes weeks off your lifespan, so I guess it's a bit swings and roundabouts.

A plate of 250g biccies and mini-muffins

The dish rates as "MEDIUM" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Mini Muffins
500ml milk (semi skimmed of full fat)
250ml oil (vegetable or sunflower)
250g brown sugar (Fairtrade, if possible)
2 eggs, beaten (Free Range - there is no excuse for buying anything else)

500g self-raising flour
250g chopped fairtrade milk chocolate (or chopped glace cherries, or raisins)

Place milk, oil, sugar and eggs in a bowl and stir together for a couple of minutes.

Add Flour and mix until no free flour remaining. DO NOT OVERMIX, the mix should remain lumpy

Add Chopped chocolate and mix for about 30seconds.

Pre-heat oven to 200C

Use fairy-cake baking trays (and paper fairy-cake cases), fill cases about 80% full. The amounts above should give about 38 mini-muffins (which is annoyingly 2 more than the spaces in three standard trays)

Place in oven and cook for about 20mins (until nicely browned on top).

Remove from oven, take cases out of tray and allow to cool for 5-15mins then remove cases and your mini-muffins are ready.

Eat within a few days.

BFTF usually makes these in combination with 250g biccies. For some reason, blokes seem to prefer the muffins while the biccies seem to be a hit with the sisters. Don't know what is going on there, but there you go. Incidentally, you can use the same approach as described here (admittedly for tuna) when buying fairtrade chocolate.
A plate of mini-muffins and 250g biccies

The dish rates as "MEDIUM" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Plum Compote

BFTF has always been interested in the idea of making jam, but has been less keen on the perceived need for paraphanelia such as muslin filters, airtight jars and gelling agents. All sounds a bit technical.

But then an auntie(see note at end of post) down the road presented the BFTF household with a big bag of plums from her plum tree. There were too many to eat so a preserve of some kind was in order.

A work colleague recommended a recipe for a Plum Compote (a compote is basically a runny jam) and this has proved very successful. . .

12 ripe(ish) plums
1/2 cup sugar (fairtrade is good)
1/2 cup water

Cut plums into quarters. Remove and discard stones (they contain a toxic chemical)

Bung everything into a saucepan and bring to a strong simmer

Keep simmering for 20 minutes, longer if you want a thicker result.

Allow to cool, put in a plastic container and freeze. Scoop out spoonfulls from frozen whenever required.

This compote is "the business" when added to vanilla ice cream. .

This recipe rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index
Potato Dauphinoise

BFTF is a fan of potatoes - not least because they are so spectacularly easy to cook that even BFTF can do it without making a mistake.

Having said that, BFTF was wondering about new ways to cook potatoes recently and became aware of this French recipe (don't ask how because BFTF has no idea, although it may have been featured on a Jamie Oliver programme). It's widely available on the Internet and seems to come in two flavours (as it were)
a) Pre-boil the potatoes (about 40mins cooking time)
b) Make everything in one shot (about 90mins cooking time)
It may come as no surprise that it is version (a) that is described here. . .

1-5-2.5kg potatoes (cut into 2-3mm slices)
500g double cream
500g full fat milk
250g grated cheese (mature cheddar is good)
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic paste

Bung everything (except the cheese) in a large pan and bring to a gentle simmer.

Stir gently and frequently until potatoes almost cooked, about 15mins

Transfer to greased oven dish and add cheese (either in alternate layers with the potatoes or all on top)

Place in a pre-heated oven at 200C and cook for a further 15-25mins


This dish goes really well with Easy Mackerel Curry

There are two types of people in this world,
the sensible ones who like their Potato Dauphinoise with a crispy cheese skin. .  . .

. .  . and the weirdos who don't !

This dish is rated as "VERY HARD" on the BFTF Washing Up Index, so don't say you weren't warned. . . .

Easy Mackerel Curry

Sadly, BFTF is too incompetent to cook lamb or mutton successfully, and feels uneasy about the conditions that chickens are reared in so shies away from that as a dish. As dal is also beyond BFTF's abilities that leaves fish as the only protein source that BFTF dare tackle (no pun intended).

Overfishing is a real issue worldwide, but one way can ensure you are buying fish that has been sustainably caught by buying products that are either Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified.

There are a number of posts on this blog relating to Fish and sustainability (see here and here).

With MSC certified mackerel being available in most supermarkets, this dish is an easy one to make

240g mackerel fillets in tomato sauce (i.e. two of the small rectangular "ring pull" cans)
1 chopped onion
200g peas or mixed veg
salt, pepper,
a little oil

Boil the peas/mixed veg for 4-6mins (NB you really don't need to add much water at all and less water equals less time to get to the boil)

Get the mackerel out of the cans and onto a plate, chop up the fillets a little

Fry the onion in the oil until nicely browned. While this is happening, drain the peas/mixed veg)

Once the onions are brown, add the mackerel and the peas/mixed veg. Give it a quick stir to calm things down.

Add the salt and pepper, give it a good mix.


Perhaps surprisingly, this dish makes a great sandwich filling and also goes well with Potato Dauphinoise

The dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Easy Pilchard Curry
Pilchards are a very economical fish to cook, and BFTF is using it increasingly in these tough economic times. From a sustainability point of view they get a rating of "2" on the 1-5 scale of sustainability at the good fish guide (where 1 is the most sustainably sourced) so should be ok from that perspective.

BFTF was wondering what to cook today and thought a combination of fish and peppers might work. Turns out that it certainly does!

some new potatoes
450g pilchards in tomato sauce
140g tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
a cereal bowls worth of chopped peppers*
a little oil
butter/spread (optional)
grated cheese (optional)

* : as in red/yellow/green peppers, not as in jalapeno - capiche?

a)Bung the potatoes in some boiling water and simmer for about 20mins

b)While they are boiling, make the curry as follows:
i) Remove spines from pilchards, discard the sauce they came in
ii) Fry onions in the oil until almost done
iii) Add the peppers and continue to fry for about 5mins
iv) Add the pilchards, tomato puree, salt, pepper
v) Give is a stir for a few minutes to sort itself out

c)Drain potatoes

d) Melt butter/spread

Serve by cutting potatoes in half and drizzling the melted butter/spread on them and sprinkling on the grated cheese.

If this was MasterChef, the dish would be called "Boiled new potatoes drizzled with an olive oil emulsion and a sprinkled with grated cheddar, accompanied by a stir-fry of South Asian Pilchards, Peppers and tomato concentre. Served with a garnish of cucumber and tomaoto discs".

The dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Kaama Salan
It's a taste sensation!

1 kg minced mutton
1 tin tomatoes
2 large onions
1.5 teaspoon Salt
1.0 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
0.5 teaspoon Turmeric
0.5 teaspoon Garam Masala
2.0 teaspoon Zeera (Cumin seeds)
Some cooking oil

a) Bung everything except the oil into a pan, bring to the boil and it simmer for 20minutes, during this time, add a little water if required.
b) Increase the heat to evaporate most of the water then add some oil and gently fry for a further 20mins.
c) Serve.

The dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Easy tasty tomato sauce
3-4 onions, chopped
3 tins chopped tomatoes (slightly drained)
100-200g tomato puree
1.5 teaspoon Salt
1.5 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
Some cooking oil
a) Bung the onions in a large frying pan and fry in a little oil until golden brown
b) Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt and pepper and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated

In south asian cooking, there is no such thing as too much onion

Onions now ready for the tomatoes to be added

The final, flavoursome, sauce. Nice!

The dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Easy Rice and Sardines

Tin of Sardines
One firm tomato

NB: Sardines are not an overfished species, but many other species are. BFTF always looks for the MSC logo when buying Tuna, Cod, Mackeral etc. See here for a related post)

a) Boil the rice in your preferred manner.
b) Meanwhile take the bones out of the sardines and dice the tomato
c) Once the rice is cooked, transfer to a frying pan and add a little oil, the sardines and diced tomato
d) Fry for a few minutes.

Easy Rice and Sardines

The dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index

Easy Risotto with Fish and Peas

300g Risotto Rice
1 litre hot vegetable stock
Tinned oily fish (anchovies/sardines etc)
Peas (optional) One onion
Salt, pepper, oil

Worth knowing that So, anyway, you just need to know that while Sardines are not an overfished species, many other species are and you should look for the MSC logo when buying Tuna, Cod, Mackeral etc.

a) Fry the onions in a little oil until brown.
b) While onions are frying, boil the peas (in a separate pan, you muppet).
c) Add the fish to the oinons and fry for a couple more minutes
d) Add the stock and rice to the onions.
e) Simmer for 20-30mins, stirring occasionally.
f) Add the peas and stir in

This dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index, which has gotta be a good thing right?

Easy Risotto

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