As we’re all spending more time at home, most of us are cooking more than usual right now – either by necessity or to pass the time. But let’s face it finding inspiration on a daily basis can be hard! Plus, some ingredients are scarce and with less supermarket trips we often need to make do with basic ingredients and leftovers. Fortunately at The Merstham Mix Café this is our speciality and we have many enthusiastic and capable cooks amongst the team. So who better to turn to for some lockdown recipe inspiration?
These recipes use simple ingredients and can be adapted depending on what you have available. Thanks to our team members for sharing – we hope you enjoy trying them out!
Janet Aslett – Frittata
Janet is a dedicated baking volunteer at the cafe and was previously a cookery teacher at local school Woodfield. The recipe she has chosen comes from the Woodfield Cook Book. The vegetables in the frittata could easily be substituted to suit what you like/have. The bacon could be left out if you’d like to make the dish vegetarian.
- 3 eggs
- 1-2 potatoes
- Tbsp of sweetcorn and peas
- 2 slices of pepper
- A few mushrooms
- Small onion
- 1 rasher bacon (leave out if vegetarian)
- Clove of garlic
- 75g cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel, chop and boil the potatoes until tender. Add the sweetcorn and peas a few minutes before the end. Strain when cooked.
- Chop and fry the bacon, onion, mushrooms, pepper and garlic
- Crack and beat 3 eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper
- Add grated cheese, bacon (if using) and cooked vegetables to the eggs
- Pour into a greased ovenproof dish
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150°c/gas mark 4 until golden brown and set (around 30 minutes)
- Cut into slices. Serve warm or cold with salad.
Ivor Packer – Curried Vegetable Pasties
Ivor volunteers at the cafe twice a week as a kitchen assistant. He brings decades of experience working in kitchens to his role at the cafe and offers invaluable support to chef Neil. Our mouths were watering when Ivor suggested this recipe for the blog! The vegetables can be varied to suit whatever you have available.
- 225g /8oz plain wholemeal flour
- 100g/ 3.5 oz margarine cut into small pieces
- 4 tbsp water
- 2tbsp oil
- 225g/8oz diced root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 5 tbsp vegetable stock
- Soya milk (or alternative milk) to glaze
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl and rub in the margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the water and bring together to form a soft dough. Wrap and set aside to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- To make the filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the diced root vegetables, chopped onion and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Stir in all of the spices, turning the vegetables to coat them thoroughly. Fry the vegetables, stirring constantly, for a further minute.
- Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
- Divide the pastry into 4 portions. Roll each portion into a 15cm/6 inch circle. Place the filling on one half of each circle.
- Brush the edges of each round with soya milk (or alternative milk) then fold over and press the edges together to seal. Place on a baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven, 200°c/gas mark 6 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
This recipe is taken from 1,000 Classic Recipes from Around the World by Joanne Cox and Elizabeth Towers.
Liz Braines – Sausage and Bean Casserole
This tasty dish is a family favourite for our volunteer Liz. It’s highly adaptable and could be served as a hearty comfort dish on a colder day or as a light, summery supper with rice and salad. It’s also easy to turn it into vegetarian/vegan dish by substituting meat-free sausages.
- 4 large sausages (pork, beef or vegetarian)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
- 1 small green pepper, sliced
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 400g tin baked beans
- Baked potatoes or rice to serve
- Heat a little oil in a wok and fry the sausages. Take out of the pan and leave to one side
- Tip out any excess oil from the wok, fry the onions, garlic and peppers for 2-3 minutes
- Season well with salt and pepper
- Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 5-6 minutes
- Cut each sausage into 4 and add to the pan along with the beans
- Serve with baked potatoes, rice or mash.
This recipe is taken from Nosh for Students by Joy May.
Mike Sanger – Tasty Toast Topper
Mike Sanger volunteers in the cafe once a week and helps with cafe finances. He is also a keen golfer and this recipe comes from a recipe book created by Mike’s golf club, Betchworth Park, called Cooking for Heroes. It was contributed by the club chairman and is officially known as ‘Tomato Potted Meat’ even though it’s completely vegetarian-friendly!
- 225g/8oz tinned tomatoes
- 1 hard boiled egg (chopped)
- 28g/1oz butter
- Half cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Salt and pepper
- Cook tomatoes gently in a small saucepan then rub through a sieve
- Add breadcrumbs, butter, chopped egg and seasoning to strained tomatoes
- Add cornflour and cook slowly for 10 minutes stirring until mixture has thickened
- Press into small container and allow to cool
- Serve on bread and butter or toast and butter and enjoy!