Jul 05

Cookbook 81: Margaret Fulton’s Book of Quick Meals

Firstly, the recipes in Margaret Fulton’s Book of Quick Meals are not actually by Margaret Fulton, but by Michelle Berriedale Johnson.  That of course doesn’t stop them being quite tasty, though in some cases definitely a product of their time.  This book is designed to take advantage of frozen or pre-packaged foods where appropriate in order to reduce overall cooking time.  Apparently no recipe in this book will take more than 45 minutes (unless you’re unable to find the 1980/90s equivalent convenience food (as I was for a couple).

Two of the recipes I made in the book were actually the best of their type that I have ever made, and I honestly mean that.  The macaroni and cheese, and the stroganoff were by far the best that I have ever made, and I’ve made quite a few.  The other two recipes did not come out as intended, as “onion sauce powder” is no longer an ingredient that is stocked by supermarkets – that or the recipe meant onion gravy, and didn’t say so.  Either way, I ended up substituting another onion sauce in these dishes, which made them oddly sweet, which was quite hit and miss with my guests.

The recipes were quick, which made juggling them all to get to the the table quite hard, but that’s my problem – not the book’s.  Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Veal Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 4 veal schnitzels
  • 60g butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 125g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method:

  1. Beat the schnitzels until thin, then cut into short strips
  2. Melt half the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and mushrooms and fry until soft.  Stir int he tomato paste and flour.  Cook, stirring over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a clean pan, add the veal and fry over high heat, turning, until evenly browned.  Add the meat to the sauce and stir well.  Add the cream, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  4. Serve immediately with buttered noodles or plain boiled rice.

Notes on this recipe:

  • This is very similar to how I make my stroganoff, but turned out even better than my own.
  • I couldn’t find veal schnitzels in the supermarket, so I bought some very thinly sliced beef steaks, and sliced them into strips for this dish.
  • It’s the right blend of creamy and bitey with the tomato and sour cream.  I will definitely make this again.

Egg and Onion Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 30g butter
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 x 300ml packet onion sauce mix
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a pan, add the milk and onions and bring slowly to the boil.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 4 minutes.
  2. Cool slightly, then gradually stir in the onion sauce mix.  Return to the heat and cook until thickened.
  3. Stir in the egg, pour into a small casserole dish and cover with the breadcrumbs.
  4. Place under a pre-heated hot grill for 3 minutes or until the crumbs are crisp and golden.

Notes on this recipe:

  • If you are going to make it, I’d suggest making it with French Onion Soup mixture with a tablespoon of cornflour added – that will provide the thickening agent.
  • Since I made this with the wrong sauce, it’s hard to comment on how it would have been if we’d made it with the correct sauce.

Savoury Macaroni Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 500g macaroni
  • salt
  • 4 rashers bacon, derinded and chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 x 300ml packets cheese sauce mix
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 x 425g can tomatoes, drained and chopped

Method:

  1. Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water as per the packet instructions.
  2. Cook the bacon in a frying pan over low heat until the fat runs.  Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Make up the cheese sauce with the milk as directed on the packet, then add to the bacon and onions.  Stir in the cream and half of the cheese.  Cook gently until the cheese is melted.
  4. Drain the macaroni and add to the sauce, with the tomatoes; mix well.
  5. Turn into a shallow flameproof dish and top with the remaining cheese.  Place under a preheated grill for 10 minutes or until the top is crisp and brown.  Garnish with tomato and parsley.  Serve immediately.

Notes on this recipe:

  • This is, by far, the best macaroni and cheese I have ever made.  I never knew the magic of cheese sauce powder.
  • It is difficult to get cheese sauce powder in 300ml, they all seem to come in 250ml measurements today.  So I got two, 250ml packages, and one ready  made cheese sauce which was around 125ml.  That seemed to work out really well.
  • I have had requests to make this again, already, which I think is evidence of how good this recipe is.
  • To make this vegetarian, I’d substitute the bacon for smoked tofu, that has been diced into small cubes, and a bit of butter to fry the tofu in before adding the onions.  That or you could add mushrooms to the onions, frying both in butter and adding a bit of liquid smoke.

Savoury Onion Puffs

Ingredients:

  • 30g butter
  • 375g onions, chopped
  • 185g potatoes, boiled and diced
  • 1 x 300ml packet onion sauce mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 125g grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 sheets of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • beaten egg to glaze

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions and cook gently for 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes.
  2. Make up the sauce mix with the milk, as directed on the packet.  Stir into the onion mixture with the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Place the defrosted pastry on greased, or covered in baking paper, baking trays.
  4. Divide the onion mixture between the square, placing it in the centre of each. Dampen the edges and fold the pastry over the filling to form triangular puffs.  Press the edges together to seal, trim, knock up and flute.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg.
  5. Cook in pre-heated 200C (fan forced) oven for 15 minutes until well risen and golden.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Again, since you can’t easily get whatever this magical onion sauce mix was, I’d recommend using French Onion soup mix, with a tablespoon of corn flour for thickening.
  • I’ve linked to a site that details what “trim, knock up and flute” mean when relating to pastry, because I didn’t know either.
  • I’d like to try these with the right sauce mix, versus the sweet sauce we used.
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