A recipe using items from the freezer for Cool Cookery
My freezer is a TARDIS in more ways than one. Not only do its 3 small drawers appear bigger on the inside than out but it has the ability to quite literally freeze time.
When I did my food safety course a couple of years back, we learned how the reason food is preserved in the freezer is that the lower temperature slows down any natural ripening or growth of bacteria to a point where it is virtually halted. Put on ice so to speak.
Five quick reasons to cook from your freezer:
- To speed up preparation of meals being cooked later on i.e. grabbing handfuls of ready to use ingredients i.e. chopped vegetables and herbs, meats or seafood in just the quantity I need.
- To reduce waste by preserving items that would otherwise perish.
- To save money on anything marked down at the supermarket.
- Frozen food locks in nutrients and items can be just as nutritious as when they were fresh
- To save money and time by freezing bulk cooked portions of home cooked food in advance.
Ten time saving freezer short cuts:
- Bag up bulk batches of home made crumble mix (simply scatter over fresh or frozen fruit and top with some demerara sugar).
- Bag up batches of of home made shortcrust pastry mix (add the water and form dough after it defrosts).
- Keep balls of home made cookie dough (if you freeze it in tiny balls you can bake a few biscuits to order!)
- Assemble bags of stew ingredients to dump in the slow cooker from frozen
- Freeze grapes that are starting to look sad. They’re great in smoothies.
- Freeze bananas that are starting to go brown. Use them in smoothies or power blender ice cream recipes.
- Make bulk batches of pesto from rocket or spinach leaves about to perish and freeze in cubes.
- Make bulk batches of sauces from milk about to go off.
- Make two lasagnes/cannelloni/moussaka instead of one – only freeze the second rather than baking it.
- Dicing home cooked hams and freezing the cubes on a tray then bagging up so you can add a handful of chopped ham to pizzas, frittatas and soups.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Bah-bum.
My too small freezer is generally rammed and I feel I would make even more use of the facility if I had a larger one. Although a smaller size does force you to turnover the contents more quickly rather than turn them into an Arctic culinary graveyard.
Periodically I undertake a “freezer audit” which is nothing more complicated than writing a list in a notepad with a biro that gets clamped to the fridge door with a magnet. On the list I put numbers in brackets of the numbers of portions of certain things.
Many items of meat/fish would have been purchased marked down at the supermarket. I rewrap these meat and fish portions in parchment paper and a freezer bag to save space rather than fill my freezer with plastic containers mostly full of air. It also means I can defrost one tuna steak at a time instead of four. This method is so economical I resent paying full price for anything!
Freezer audit February 2015
Number of portions
Pork fillets (6)
Tuna steaks (4)
Ted proof cod minus bones (1)
Fish fingers (3)
Venison steaks (2)
Duck legs (4)
Clams in the shells (2)
King prawns (2)
Home made soya chilli (6)
Haddock fillets (4)
Quorn chunks (6)
Quorn mince (4)
Squid tubes (3)
Number of bags:
Home grown raspberries (6)
Green beans (1)
Soy beans (1)
Home made crumble mix (2)
Ice cube blocks of red wine (1)
Ice cube blocks of rocket pesto (1 half)
200g triangles of Stilton cheese (6)
As you can see there is easily enough food in my relatively small freezer to feed our family of three their evening meals for two weeks and probably much longer when padded out with dried and canned goods from the store cupboard.
Today’s recipe uses prawns, mushrooms, shallots, coriander and clams from the freezer. You could also use frozen corn and freeze cooked rice in advance to make it even more of a from the freezer meal.
Thai prawn curry with clams
1 tbsp ground nut oil
75g frozen chopped shallots
1 tbsp frozen chopped garlic
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp red thai curry paste
1/2 vegetable stock cube
150ml water from freshly boiled kettle
100g frozen mushrooms
2 handfuls frozen green beans
6 ears of baby corn of the cob cut into small strips
12 frozen king prawns
12 frozen clams (I used ones by “Big Prawn Company” at Waitrose)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice (I used a bottled one but you can use fresh if you prefer)
1 spring onion finely sliced into rings
a few fine slices fresh red chilli
coriander to sprinkle (frozen is available although to be honest I prefer fresh in this instance although the frozen kind is great for curries or soups)
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and fry the frozen shallots and garlic. Add the tumeric, Thai curry paste and coconut milk. Stir until combined and simmer.
2. In a jug, dissolve the vegetable stock cube half in boiling water. Pour into the curry and then add the mushrooms, green beans, prawns and clams. If you are using frozen corn add this at the same time otherwise add it last when everything else has defrosted. Simmer for a few minutes more.
3. Finally add the fish sauce and lime juice. Serve in bowls topped with chopped spring onion, red chilli and coriander leaves. Serve with white rice.
Post commissioned by Britmums and Cool Cookery highlighting the versatility, economy and nutritional benefits of cooking with frozen food. All opinions are my own. For recipes and ideas visit http://bit.ly/coolcookery