Meals on wheels – Bare Cupboard style…

February 9, 2010

Last night, I took dinner round to my friend Nicky. After a week in hospital, she was in desperate need of feeding up, and I reckoned I was the person to do it!

I brought her a meal that I’d prepared the night before at home, so while she got her two extremely boisterous little children into bed, all I needed to do was put the dishes in the oven and sit down with a glass of wine. (Okay, so I’m a good friend when it comes to food, but not when it comes to helping out with the kids!)

First on the menu was leek, butter bean and potato gratin. I’d got these dinky little pie dishes when I recently made beef and oyster pies, and they were perfect for two individually sized gratins.

Into a mixing bowl I put a tin of drained butter beans and a sliced and washed leek, then seasoned it all with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or so of chopped fresh rosemary. I divided the mixture between the two pie dishes and added about 100ml of milk to each one.

I’d bought some pink fir apple potatoes at the market last Saturday, and used them to top the gratins. Often, recipes that have sliced potato toppings say to add them raw, but I find it takes an absolute age to cook like this. So, I sliced the potatoes and par-boiled them in some salted water before layering them on top of the butter beans and leeks.

A little grated cheese and some more black pepper was scattered over the potatoes, and then they were baked in an oven heated to gas mark 4, for about 50 minutes.

I did mean to add some chopped garlic, but forgot. And I think it would have made a difference, so in the recipe that I’ll post later, I’ll put the garlic in. I also decided that the dish would have been improved by a half-and-half mix of stock and milk, so again, I’ll change that in the recipe. But all in all it was a warming winter meal.

For pudding, I made a pear and cinnamon tart. When I cooked the beef and oyster pies last December, I had some of the rough puff pastry left, so stuck it in the freezer – where I discovered it after a good rootle round at the weekend. I also had a bag of pears that I’d bought for a mere 40p at a supermarket, which had, in fact, turned out to be utterly tasteless.

The thin slices of pear were simmered in a little water, with some soft brown sugar and cinnamon, until soft. Then I simply placed them in a nice pattern on the rolled out pastry in a tart tin, and baked in an oven heated to gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes.

Although the tart certainly did wonders for the flavour of the pears, the pastry, unfortunately, was a little soggy in the middle. I’m not sure if it needed to be cooked for longer or had just not lasted well in the freezer, but I’ll experiment with it a bit more and post the recipe if I am more successful next time.

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9 Responses to “Meals on wheels – Bare Cupboard style…”

  1. nicky Says:

    Thank you so much for feeding me back to health and happiness with such tasty delights! x

  2. Choclette Says:

    The best meals on wheels I’ve ever seen – not that I’ve seen that many! Sounds a lovely thing to have done.


  3. Thanks Choclette – it’s always a pleasure to cook for appreciative mouths!

  4. Anne Says:

    The pear tart looks so pretty, it might be worth blind baking the pastry a little next time to avoid being soggy underneath, am sure was still delicious though 🙂

    Good on you for cooking for your friend, am sure it was very welcome after the hospital food!


  5. You’re right about the blind-baking Anne. Don’t know why I didn’t do it – but I certainly won’t forget next time!


  6. Oooh these look wonderful, especially the gratin mmmmm! Thank you for sharing 🙂


  7. Thanks noblenourishment. As I mentioned before, there really is something very comforting and utterly mouthwatering about melted cheese. Shame it’s not slightly healthier!

  8. helen Says:

    hi – am really enjoying your blog – and these look particularly delicious. Got some cabbage from the allotment for dinner this evening – yum


  9. Hi Helen, thanks for commenting. Glad you’re liking the blog. Let me know what you do with your cabbage – I’m eating loads of it at the moment too.


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