Let us have your local recipes to share with other Dry Drayton folks.
An inexpensive and tasty lunch - a much healthier proposition than those pot noodles you find in plastic pots in supermarkets, developed in Dry Drayton, drawing on a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's "River Cottage Veg Everyday".
First you will need some pots. We have found that 0.5 litre clip-top glass Kilner jars work well. You can get these from the Coton Orchard Garden Centre. (I avoided the cheaper ones at Tescos which warn that you shouldn't use boiling water in them).
Quantities vary according to how many pots you prepare at a time - so feel free to adapt to taste.
The base of the meal is the noodle - I've found that Sharwood's "Ready in 3 Minute" Fine Egg Noodles work well. These are available from Tesco and other supermarkets. I use one and a quarter nests per jar - you have to crunch them a bit to get them in the jar. I've not tried the "Ready in four minute" version - they will probably work just as well - they may even be the same noodles.
Next you need some sort of stock powder. I have found that Knorr Reduced Salt Vegetable Cubes from Tesco work well - but experiment with others to taste. Recent reviews suggest that Kallo Organic Very Low Salt Cubes from Holland and Barrett are very good - I've yet to try them. I take one cube and powder it in the pestle and mortar, then divide the resulting powder between three pots - again experiment with this to get it to your own taste. (If you are a meat eater, try chicken or beef stock cubes)
Next some heat and flavouring - grate about an inch cube of peeled fresh ginger, crush a couple of garlic cubes, finely chop half a fresh chilli and add a pinch of brown sugar - mix this up and again I've found this quantity works fine divided between three pots.
Then fill each pot with prepared vegetables. These need washing and drying (spin them in a salad spinner) before you add them to the pot. Some of the things I've found work well are:
- finely sliced red pepper - you could try different Tesco's Finest specialist sweet or miniature peppers,
- carrot - finely sliced or chopped into matchsticks,
- finely sliced mushrooms (the Tesco's finest Forestiere mushrooms work well in terms of size and flavour - you can get one mushroom into each pot),
- sliced sugar snap peas or mange tout,
- sliced runner beans,
- some chopped up kale (take out any thick bits of stems),
- fresh spinnach leaves,
- chopped up spring onions or a small leek
Fill the pots, cram the veg in.
Then when you are ready to eat, add boiling water to each pot - fill pretty much to within half an inch of the top of the jar - push the veg down and close the lid. Give the pot a shake to start with, set the timer for 7 minutes. Open and stir a couple of times during the seven minutes, so everything benefits from the hot water and gets well mixed. Add a little soy sauce to taste.
Be wary when you add the boiling water - just in case the glass should shatter - I tend to stand the pots in the sink when adding the water, and haven't had any problems doing this with everything at room temperature.
Of course, the title is a contradiction in terms. However - if you are a vegetarian and occasionally miss a piece of cold pork pie with a salad, you may have searched in vain for a good veggie substitute. Those products I've found have been either pastry wrapped around something mainly potato based, or have been full of fatty stodge and very unappetising. So here is a healthier, tastier, veggie substitute designed in Dry Drayton and published for the first time on www.drydrayton.net.
250 gms mushrooms
2 cooking apples
100 gms of roasted chopped hazelnuts (or a 200gm packet of pre-cooked chestnuts if you can find them)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50 gms butter
200 gms breadcrumbs
Fresh herbs to taste, e.g. Rosemary, Thyme, curled parsley to taste
About 150 gms goats cheese, or if you prefer, another soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert
for the pastry
For hot water crust pastry
350gms plain wholemeal flour#125 gms vegetable fat, such as Trex
150 gms water or water/milk mix
pinch of salt
Or for Filo pastry
1 packet Jusroll frozen filo pastry - thawed before use
Turn on the oven - fan 180 deg C. Finely slice the leaks, chop the onion, clean and chop the mushrooms. Lightly fry these in a little vegetable oil until softened. Pour away any liquid that has formed and set aside the softened leeks, onion and mushrooms.
If you are using pre-cooked chestnuts instead of chopped hazelnuts, roughly chop them, and stir them for around 3 minutes in a hot frying pan in which is melted about 25 gms of butter.
Prepare the breadcrumbs by chopping up some wholemeal or sourdough bread in the food processor.
Chop the herbs.
Grate the two cooking apples into a bowl
Mix the softened leeks, onion, mushrooms, the hazelnuts, (or prepared chestnuts), breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, herbs and grated apples together thoroughly. Add seasoning to taste if you wish.
Oil a couple of suitable baking molds or tins. I use a silicon deep 6 muffin mold. Press the mixture into the bottom of the mold about one inch deep. Break the cheese into small pieces about the size of a thumb nail and add a layer of these, avoiding the edges, then fill with the rest of the mixture and press and smooth this into the utensils. Bake for around 40 mins, remove from the oven, allow to cool a little and then carefully turn out onto a baking tray covered with a sheet of baking paper.
You can add a bit of extra flavour here if you wish by spreading some Marmite, to taste, on the top of the molded pie filling.
To make the hot water crust pastry
Warm the milk and water in a pan, add the fat and stir until it dissolves. Mix the salt and flour. Gradually stir the liquid into the flour until this makes the pastry of an even consistency. Roll out small pieces of the pastry and wrap the pies in this. brush a little beaten egg yolk on the top to add colour. Pierce the top in a couple of places with a fork.
If using filo pastry instead, wrap the molded cooked mixtures in filo pastry. Use the sheets whole, brushing a little melted butter between layers, and folding the sheets back on themselves, scrunching the filo round the sides and tucking it underneath. If you wish, you can add a little decoration to the top of the pie with Marmite diluted with a touch of warm water. Put five or six layers of pastry on each, until the pack is used.
Return to the oven on the baking tray - fan 180 deg C for around 45 minutes until golden. (170 deg C and 35 minutes for filo pastry) Remove and allow to cool. They will keep in a fridge for a few days. Slice carefully to serve with salad.
Fed up with the highly coloured and salted tins of mushy peas available from the supermarkets? We set off to produce the ultimate in Mushy Peas, combining texture, flavour and no unhealthy additives.
Peas were once an important local crop and we researched growers and varieties through the British Edible Pulse Association and the Process and Growers Research Association. This led us to one of the top BEPA growers, Askew and Barrett (Pulses) Ltd, Smeeth Farm, Marshland St James, Wisbech. Paddy Barrett from the firm kindly provided us with dried peas of a variety called Princess, which are actually supplied by them to the Fish and Chip Shop trade. A brilliant starting point - these peas are excellent.
We have experimented extensively and settled on the following way of preparing them.
Take 500gms of dried Princess peas. Place them on a large basin and cover them with cold water in which is dissolved a table spoon of bicarbonate of soda. The peas will expand considerably so have the water level at least six inches above the peas. Leave to soak overnight.
Drain the peas and wash in a colander in flowing cold water for a few seconds.
Put the peas into the bottom of a pressure cooker and just cover them in cold water. With all the scares of associations between aluminum and Alzheimer's, we use one of the modern Tefal stainless steel pressure cookers (as endorsed by no lesser chef than Jamie Oliver!). Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure and cook for 30 minutes. After cooking strain off any really runny liquid - there won't be much. Take about 30 gms of butter, cut this into slivers and gently fold these into the peas. Divide the peas into around 8 portions, seal them into plastic bags and freeze them. Each portion serves two. To use, simply defrost and warm them through thoroughly either in a pan or using a microwave. At this stage if you want minty peas, stir in a teaspoon of mint jelly from the supermarket, or some finely chopped fresh mint leaves.
A recipe from village coffee mornings, published in the Village Newsletter (No 318 April 2008)
110g mature cheddar grated
125g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling
95g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 level teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients in a food processor for 30 secs until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for a minute, wrap in Cling film and chill for 30 mins. After chilling roll out the dough, chill again for 20-30 mins. Preheat oven to 190 C and bake for 10-12 mins.
This local recipe combines two great tastes, chestnuts and Marmite. It's a local home-grown breakfast or snack recipe from the village, not something re-hashed from Paul Hartley's excellent "The Marmite Cookbook". It takes about four minutes to prepare. The quantities below are for one serving.
I guess everybody has different ways of cooking chestnuts. This one works. Take 6 chestnuts and cut them in half on the chopping board - they are tough to cut, so watch your fingers. Put the 12 halves on a plate in the microwave. You might need to experiment on timing to cook these, but 3 minutes works fine on a 650 watt microwave.
While the chestnuts are cooking put two slices of your favourite bread in the toaster. My favourite is Rankin's Irish wholewheat soda bread (available from ASDA).
To get the cooked chestnuts out of the shells, use a small pair of clean pliers (worth keeping a pair just for this purpose) to squeeze the closed end of the shell, which forces the cooked part out, without actually touching it. This works best while the chestnuts are still hot. The process will also break up the cooked part - which is good because we want the cooked chestnuts broken down into rough lumps, about a quarter the size of the half nut. If they don't come out of the shells like this, mash lightly with a fork to break them up a bit.
Spread some marmite on the toast and sprinkle the broken up chestnuts on top. Enjoy.
Squeezing the cooked half chestnut out of its shell
The finished dish - Dry Drayton Marmite and Chestnut Toasties