Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stock take

Enough sweet treats! 

For a blog that's titled "No Desserts" I have been making an awful lot of desserts lately. Oh well.

Today it was back to the basics. I was fresh out of stock cubes and I used the last of my home made stock about a week ago. It was time to replenish.

I use vegetable stock as a base for curries, pasta sauces, vegetable stir fries and even pies.It adds great flavour and it's all natural. No MSG. :)

Its really easy to make your own vegetable stock and it can be refrigerated for a week. If you freeze it, you can keep it for a month or two. 

The good thing about making your own stock is, you get to make full use of the vegetables you buy. You know the leaves of the celery you usually chuck out? Dump it in the stock pot. Carrot ends? Stock pot! 

So, here's what you need for some good, thick, vegetable stock.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
5-6 dried Shitake mushrooms
Several sprigs fresh thyme
Several sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 dried bay leaf
5-6 black peppercorns
salt and ground pepper to taste (just a bit,  not to overpower the flavours of the vegetables).
1L water

Heat the oil and butter. Add the onions and cook till lightly  caramelised, about 8 mins.Add the carrots and celery and cook (low heat) till soft. Add the mushroom and water and then the herbs, peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer, closed, for about an hour.

* Other ingredients you could add: leeks, a bulb of fennel, parsnips (they're expensive here, though), tomato.


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