Savvy Cooking from the Cookbook Festival

In these times of anxiety food becomes very important. Try and make it a pleasure if everyone is at home, its something that can be created together, a learning experience that will bring families around the table to share and reflect in these unusual times. We are going to try and help you make this enjoyable, tasty and best of all fun!
Top Tips:
  1. Shop normally, please do not stockpile
  2. Plan you menus ie 3 breakfast, 3 lunches, 3 suppers plus basics and snacks or if a confident cook shop for what looks best and fresh, support your local shops as they will be a much more pleasant experience that the big supermarkets
  3. When home wash all fruits and vegetables in cold water with a capful of apple cider vinegar to remove pesticides and the extra flush of fresh water will freshen them. Soft leaves and herbs are best stored wrapped in damp clean cloths, tupperwares or bags, add a splash of water, this will extend their freshness
  4. Remove last weeks items from the fridge and return ontop of your new shop or get cooking with the older items
    – left over vegetables into a soup
    – fruit into a smoothy or prepare and freeze to add to a smoothy tomorrow
    – make a pasta meal with left over vegetables and grate in little knobs of left over cheese
    – left over roasts with bones, make stock, eg chicken, leg lamb, pork shoulder, beef bones. Place in a pot, add any of the following onion, garlic, carrot, celery, parsley stalks, bay leaf, seasoning and bring to the boil and simmer for at least 2 hours. The longer you simmer the better the stock, and the more you reduce the richer the flavour. Sieve and discard bones, cool and skim off any excess fat. Use immediately in soups, sauces, Asian noodle soups, casseroles or freeze until needed
  5. Rinse out Marmite and Bovril jars with hot water and add to stock, its impossible to remove every last scrape!
  6. Go through your pantry and make something with that item that has been pushed  around and overlooked for the last few months, google the ingredient and use it today
  7. Cook up one bag of dried pulses, haricot, chickpeas, borlotti etc follow instructions on packet, cool and bag into portions, then freeze. Add to casseroles, soups, salads etc. One 500g bag will make you approx the equivalent to 10 cans and pulses are packed with protein
  8. Whizz stale bread into breadcrumbs, bag and freeze and use to add to the toppings of fish pies, cottage pies, crumbles etc it will add a crunch or fry in olive oil with garlic, chopped anchovy fillets, lemon zest and juice, parsley and seasoning and toss through pasta, finally grate with Parmesan, the River Cafe a variation of this recipe!
  9. Never throw away wine dregs or corked wine, use in a casserole, if not needed immediately freeze in small bags
  10. Buy whole foods its cheaper, the classic is a chicken and you can make three meals out of it
     – Roast Chicken
     – Ceasar Salad, left over meat
     – Mushroom Risotto, stock from carcass
If potatoes about to go bad or extra mash, make gnocchi
serves 4-6
1 kg maris piper or king edwards
1 egg, lightly beaten
200 g flour
  1. Boil potatoes in their skins for about 10 minutes or until tender
  2. Peel with marigolds on while still hot and put through a ricer, seive or just mash, ideally you want them fluffy, do it directly onto the kitchen surface or if already mashed then place onto surface
  3. Make a well in the middle of the potato mound, add the egg and start to incorporate with the potato, then add the flour bit by bit until the mixture is no longer sticky, the amount of flour may vary according to the size of egg and moisture in the potatoes,  less flour means a lovely potato taste
  4. Divide the gnocchi dough into three and roll out into a sausage that is approximately finger width, cut into rectangular bits. shape or not shape as desired
  5. Drop into salted boiling water, when they float to the top, 2-3 minutes, they are done. Serve with a pasta sauce, bake with a sauce, or pan fry with a mix of butter olive oil and your favourite herb added for the last minute, sage works well and top with freshly grated cheese
Thank you to the Cookbook Festival Team and Fran for supplying these tips and we hope they help during this difficult time!
Gnocci by Donna Freed
Check out Fran’s instagram (@franwarde) here.

Author: athina