Monday, 12 June 2017

Frugal Baked Onions

The despair of seeing how much food is wasted every day on this planet is enough to make you cry. I too am guilty of tossing away food that spoiled before I had a chance to use it. I think sometimes my lack of meal planning, my ‘virtuous good intentions’ with particular vegetables, and occasional blasé approach to meal preparation has led to this. I have so much food in my freezers (yep, we have two fridge/freezers) that I could be mistaken for a prepper!

My aim is to use up what I have… before buying more.

To that end, I had leftover cream in the fridge and a bag of onions in the pantry to use up. Both of which were bought to use only a little in a recipe, with no plans for the remainder. Until I saw a post from the blogger Phoodie come up in my Facebook feed; Baked Onions with cream, cheese and thyme.

Onions? Check.

Cream? Check.

Let’s get to work! 

Good thing today (Monday 12 June) is the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, which allowed me time to potter about in the kitchen. The first cooking step of these baked onions is to bake them for 1.5 hours, so plan ahead so they are ready by meal time.

I adapted Phoodie’s post (which is actually a Donna Hay recipe) here and there a tad. I didn’t have Gruyere cheese, and wanted to use all tasty cheese. Next time I think I’ll work in some Parmesan for some sharpness, and reduce the tasty cheese. I also added the thyme at the time the onions first went into the oven, to boost the flavours when roasting, and reduced the amount called for.  

Ingredients (adapted)

6 x brown onions, peeled and halved (cut from top down)
1 tablespoon EVOO
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 cup (250ml) cream
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
70g grated tasty cheese

Step 1: Place the onions cut side up in a large baking dish. Sprinkle over the thyme, salt & pepper, then drizzle over the olive oil.  Cover with aluminium foil, and bake in a 180 degree oven for 1.5 hours.

Step 2: After 1.5 hours, check that the onions have softened. If so, remove the foil and let bake for 15 minutes to slightly brown the tops.

Step 3: In a small bowl, mix the cream, mustard and cheese, then pour over the onions making sure to dollop cheese particles on each of the onion halves.

Step 4: Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dish becomes a nice golden colour and the cheese begins to brown.

I served this side dish alongside a pasta/chicken/bacon/sun-dried tomato dish. Probably not the best choice, but I had taken out some frozen chicken earlier in the day, and had bacon in the fridge to use up.

These baked onions would pair brilliantly with a roasted joint of meat, like a lamb shoulder, or beef brisket.

The cost of this dish is really economical, and would make a tasty ‘pot luck’ offering when feeding a large group.

Costs (excluding salt, pepper and EVOO as they are staples in my pantry)

Onions (Woolies)- $0.60
Thyme leaves (Hoyts) - $0.17
Cream (Bulla) - $1.60
Dijon mustard (Maille) - $0.40
Tasty cheese (Homebrand) - $0.50

TOTAL:  $3.27

Tell me reader, what are your strategies for reducing food? 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

In My Kitchen - June 2017

Hello readers! It seems like forever since I've done an IMK (In My Kitchen) post, so here goes....

In my kitchen (and freezer) this month is a whole lotta sourdough bread. I did a three part sourdough bread making workshop at Foodish, at the Belconnen Markets. David Damour, the Master Baker at Bean & Grain Fyshwick was our teacher, and guided is in making the most delightful breads. More about the course to appear on the blog soon.

To adorn future loaves are these beautiful poppy seeds. Up close they resemble jewelled dimpled pebbles.

I recently learned that Gewurzhaus Spices are opening a Canberra store towards the end of the year, yay! No more trips to Sydney, or online shopping to gather their fine wares, including this heady little number, Easter Bun Tea. It is pungent with orange aromas and heady spices, and is the perfect cuppa on cold wintry days.

In my kitchen this month, I tried my hand at the internet sensation that is the cloud egg.

In my backyard are plenty of lemons and limes. The cold weather has hit and we’ve had a couple of frosts but shhhhhh don’t mention that to the fruit trees, as they are still covered in fruit and blossoms.

In my kitchen plastics drawer is my container of choice: Lock & Lock. Sturdy plastic with clip lock lids, in a variety of sizes. Aldi this week had nested containers on special, so a couple of these ‘Babushka-like’ square nested sets have joined the family. What is your plastic container of choice? 

Head on over to Sherry’s Pickings as Sherry is the current host of the IMK series. What has been happening in your kitchen this month?