Saturday, 10 April 2010

Stewing

Soup month continues, albeit with some alterations due to circumstances beyond our control (and we apologise for the disruption this may cause to your journey this evening).

As previously detailed, I made minestrone soup on Monday. That was excellent and lasted two days. On Wednesday, I went out drinking, very early for me, with Scott and CJBS (and had a great time: must do that again soon), so I made up a stew in the slow cooker to be ready on getting home. This departs from the soup plan, but only slightly (it's only an unpureed vegetable broth, after all).

I've always loved stew, especially stew with suet dumplings. But suet comes out of our fat ration and that requires husbanding, so this was stew without it. A selection of diced vegetables, some pearl barley, a dash of dried herbs and cover with stock. On high 8am to 3pm, on low until we ate at 8.

That lasted two days as well. On Thursday, I started to come down with something virus-y and nasty. By the evening, I was decidedly unwell. Like a wounded animal, I'm best left to get on with being sick alone. I don't do sympathy and people floating around me looking concerned. That's lucky, because CJBS was away at Aintree, making the trains run on time by barking orders at the drunken racegoers there for the meeting that culminates in today's Grand National.

That means he needed feeding on getting home at 9pm, a time when I wanted to be in bed slowly dying. Fortunately, there was still plenty of stew left; but it must've started to look a bit dull. I thought so anyway, although CJBS was game enough to keep on at it. I decided to liven it up a bit for him by drawing on his meat ration. I bought a sliver of nasty-looking frying steak for £1.29 and did my best to enliven it.

This, first of all, means letting it get to room temperature. Then I gave it a good rub with salt and Worcester Sauce and heated a non-stick pan to very hot without any fat. The steak went in and I browned it both sides, then took the heat down and added, in stages, half a pint of Guinness and a few dashes of Maggi. That was all allowed to reduce until the steak was cooking in a thick oil-like liquid. I diced the steak, then added it and the liquid to the remaining stew, topped it up with a ladle of stock and put it on to slow cook on medium for 4 hours.

I'm told the result was lovely, and CJBS enjoyed it enough to have it again on Friday night (when, with no appetite appearing, I had salad sandwiches as a way of getting vitamins and stuff into me) but I think he's already picked out and eaten all of the (not very much) beef in it.

Having it again tonight, which would be stew day 5 and beefy stew day 3, seems dull. I roused myself from my pit and got him some canned tuna on points and made him a pasta bake - it can sit in a cold oven and all I need to do is shove the heat on 45 minutes before he wants to eat it, allowing me to retire to bed before he comes home (he's old-fashioned enough to want his dinner on the table the moment he gets in and this is as close to that ludicrous Ozzie and Harriet-style idea as he's ever going to get).

Pasta bakes are easy. You cook off the pasta until it's al dente - ie, not quite cooked enough - then make a standard roux. Add 90% of the cheese ration for one person (almost 2oz) and a small tin of sweetcorn (on points, but actually bought last month for the store cupboard and not used, so not drawn from April's points) and bring up with milk. Then mix the pasta into the sauce and stir in the tuna.

Finally, take two slices of bread and the remaining cheese and blend to make breadcrumbs. Put the pasta mix into an oven dish, spread the breadcrumbs on top and bake in a slow oven for 45 minutes.

I think my appetite may be coming back - or at least my ability to taste - so I'd like something strong in flavour to tempt me to eat rather than just refuel. So I'm going to make curried rice again, using some dried mushrooms and peppers I've got in, plus some frozen peas (in a complete cheat). Plenty of stirring required, but my racking cough can only help stop it from sticking by invigorating my stirring.

I'll eat early, what with Doctor Who coming up tonight and Ashes to Ashes from last night still to watch. That's after I've cleaned the kitchen (if I can drag myself up to do it; no, that's not right... if I can make myself do it) where, transferring a can of Guinness from the counter to the fridge this afternoon, I managed to catch the can on a nail and spray its contents through the entire room, across the hall and into the utility room. And spilt Guinness sets, so I better do something.

On the plus side, the whole house currently smells of beer, which is exactly what I've always wanted out of life.

1 comment:

Merseytart said...

We must definitely do it again soon! Glad all that cider didn't ruin your dinner, and hope you're fully recovered soon...