Organic September & Seasonal Family Recipes
– Chicken Pie, Strawberry French Toast & Soup with Cheese Toasties –
When I was approached by Sainsbury’s recently and asked if I would like to participate in the Organic September event, which is being run by the Soil Association, I was delighted to accept the challenge. Organic is always the way to go for me, and I try to support British organic producers wherever possible, whether it be the local Farmer’s markets, local producers who sell direct or supermarkets. I am lucky enough to have my own organic garden produce (mainly herbs) and free-range eggs, courtesy of my hens, but there is still so much we can all do to support local organic producers, so, Organic September is wonderful way to celebrate all that is great about British organic produce, and I am happy to be part of it.
As part of the “Organic September Food Bloggers” challenge, I was sent a box of Sainsbury’s So Organic produce……and, my mission, if I chose to accept it, was to use the ingredients in my organic box to create some new recipes, and to post my new recipes to coincide with the start of Organic September. I was happy to do this as a “non-sponsored” post on several counts; firstly, to try to promote the Soil Association’s launch of Organic September, and especially when I read the amazing statistics that if everyone in the UK spent just £10 more on organic products each year, then the market would increase by around 30% – securing more land to be farmed in a healthy manner! And secondly, to raise awareness that organic ingredients and produce is NOT that expensive and a normal family CAN have amazing meals using organic produce, as I will try to prove with my recipes later on in this post!
I was sent the following Sainsbury’s So Organic ingredients: British chicken breasts, British fresh milk, Houmous, Carrots, White Mushrooms, Lady Balfour Potatoes, British Strawberries, Multiseeded Wholemeal Bread, Mature Cheddar Cheese, Free-Range Woodland Eggs, Pork Sausages and Slightly Salted British Butter…..the total came to £33:53 and I managed to make FOUR recipes put of the ingredients, using VERY LITTLE else, and the recipes yielded four family meals (for 4 people) make each meal about £9:00 with the other ingredients I used; that’s £2.25 a head using organic produce, NOT bad I think, and there was NO waste either. (The other ingredients I used, outside the box so to speak, were caster sugar, mayonnaise, sage leaves, packet of ready rolled pastry and some ground cumin) I managed to create four imaginative family recipes, three if which I am sharing here, and they are: Chicken, Sausage and Mushroom Pie; Spiced Carrot Soup with Cheese and Houmous Toasties; French Toast Stacks with Strawberry Compote and Potato Salad.
My soup and toasties recipe could count as two meals, for lunch or a light tea, but when served together, the recipe makes a comforting and tasty meal. If you have never tried houmous with cheese, let me tell you that the combination was JUST fabulous and we all loved them with the cumin scented carrot soup. The pie was a real star too…..I have said that it makes 8 portions, but they are generous portions and if there are toddlers in the house, then you could stretch the pie to three meals, or two meals plus a couple of slices in the school or work lunch box. Initially, we ate the pie warm with steamed potatoes and some carrots, but then had it cold next day with some potato salad, and it was JUST as tasty when served as a cold meal. My French toast stacks, with strawberry compote, were developed with a leisurely weekend brunch or breakfast in mind, but, they could of course also be served as a dessert. The excess bread crusts that were left after I stamped out the discs, went into my pie, so nothing was wasted!
- Food you can trust: You can be safe in the knowledge that hydrogenated fats and controversial additives like aspartame, tartrazine and MSG are banned under organic standards.
- Better for the environment: Organic farming reduces environmental pollution and greenhouse gases released from food production by restricting the use of artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
- Higher animal welfare: Organic standards insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air to thrive and grow – guaranteeing a truly free-range life.
- Wildlife protection: Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies. In fact, plant, insect and bird life is up to 50% greater on organic farms.
- A GM free diet: GM crops and ingredients are banned under organic standards. Choosing organic is an effective way to avoid GM in your diet.
You can read all about Sainsbury’s So Organic here: Discover Sainsbury’s So Organic. Plus, there are some lovely recipes there, and a list of all their So Organic Range too……..That’s it for now, I have lots more new recipes to share with you this week, including some new 5:2 Diet recipes for fast days…..stay tuned for my meal planning post later, as well as my round-up posts for Herbs on Saturday and Forever Nigella! Bye for now, Karen
French Toast Stacks with Strawberry Compote
|Prep time||15 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||35 minutes|
|Meal type||Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot|
- 8 slices of Sainsbury's So Organic stale Multiseeded Wholemeal Bread (each slice cut into two small rounds using a scone/biscuit cutter)
- 2 large Sainsbury's So Organic Free-Range Woodland Eggs (beaten with milk)
- 60mls Sainsbury's So Organic British MIlk (semi-skimmed and beaten with eggs)
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- Sainsbury's So Organic British Slightly Salted British Butter (for frying, about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons high fruit strawberry jam (mixed with 1 tablespoon water and heated gently until it is runny)
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 300g Sainsbury's So Organic British Strawberries (hulled and cut half or slices if large, some strawberries left whole for a garnish)
- caster sugar (for dredging)
An elegant and yet family friendly way to use up stale bread for breakfast, brunch or as a dessert; the portion sizes are slightly smaller than the usual French toast serving, making it lower in calories and yet loaded with fresh fruit for part of your five-a-day!
|Step 1||Begin by making the strawberry compote: Add the hulled and sliced strawberries to the warmed jam in a bowl and then add a tablespoon of caster sugar - mix gently and set to one side.|
|Step 2||French toast: mix the beaten eggs, milk and sugar together and pour it into a large shallow dish. Add the bread discs to the eggy mixture and allow to soak for a minute, turning them over after each side has soaked up enough of the mixture to colour the bread yellow, so that it absorbs the liquid but doesn’t fall to pieces.|
|Step 3||Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the bread discs for a couple of minutes on each side, or until golden brown, puffed up and crisp. Transfer the French toast to a plate and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining slices of egg soaked bread discs. |
|Step 4||To serve: Place a bread disc on a plate and add a spoon of strawberry compote, continue to assemble the stacks using 4 bread discs per serving. Spoon the some more strawberry compote around the French toast stacks and garnish with a few whole strawberries and a dredging of caster sugar. Serve immediately.|
Spiced Carrot Soup with Cheese and Houmous Toasties
|Prep time||15 minutes|
|Cook time||25 minutes|
|Total time||40 minutes|
|Meal type||Bread, Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Soup|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 25g Sainsbury's So Organic Slightly Salted British Butter
- 750g Sainsbury's So Organic Carrots (peeled, and cut into small dice or rounds)
- 2 large Sainsbury's So Organic Lady Balfour Potatoes (Peeled and cut into small dice)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 litre of vegetable stock (I used Swiss Marigold Bouillon)
- 300ml Sainsbury's So Organic British Fresh Milk
- 8 slices Sainsbury's So Organic Multiseeded Wholemeal Bread
- Sainsbury's So Organic Slightly Salted British Butter, softened to spread
- 100g Sainsbury's So Organic Mature Cheddar Cheese, cut into thin slices
- 100g Sainsburys' So Organic Houmous
A fragrantly spiced soup with two of your Five-a-Day in one bowl, this makes a tasty lunch or family supper dish when served with the cheese and houmous toasties. If you prefer a thinner soup, then add more stock or milk to the soup after blending.
|Step 1||Start the soup: Heat the butter in a large sauce pan and then add the carrots and potatoes, place the lid on the pan and allow the vegetables to sweat for 5 minutes.|
|Step 2||Add the cumin to the vegetables and cook over a medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring all the time, before adding the vegatable stock. Replace the lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and are cooked. Allow to cool and then using a stick blender, blend the soup until smooth, then add the milk. Check seasoning and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Put the soup to one side whilst cooking the cheese and houmous toasties.|
|Step 3||Cheese and Houmous Toasties: Spread some houmous over one slice of brread and then cover with slices if Cheddar cheese. Make a sandwich by placing a slice if bread on top and then butter the sandwiches on the BOTH sides. |
|Step 4||Heat up a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and cook (toast) the sandwiches for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they are crisp, golden brown and the cheese has melted. Take them out and cut them into triangles and serve them with the spiced carrot soup.|
|Step 5||Whilst the toasties are cooking, pour the blended soup back into a saucepan and heat it gently until hot but not boiling. Serve in bowls or mugs with the toasties on the side.|
Chicken, Sausage and Mushroom Pie
|Prep time||20 minutes|
|Cook time||35 minutes|
|Total time||55 minutes|
|Allergy||Egg, Milk, Wheat|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 40g Sainsbury's So Organic Slightly Salted British Butter
- 480g Sainsbury's So Organic British Chicken Breast Fillets (chopped into small pieces)
- 200g Sainsbury's So Organic White Mushrooms (wiped clean, and cut into slices)
- 1 large onion (peeled and cut into small dice)
- 350g Sainsbury's So Organic Pork Sausages (taken out of their casings)
- 2 slices Sainsbury's So Organic Multiseeded Wholemeal Bread (made into bread crumbs)
- 4 fresh sage leaves (finely chopped)
- 2 sheets of ready rolled shortcrust pastry (I used Jus-Rol, or home-made shortcrust pastry)
- 1 Sainsbury's So Organic Free-Range Woodland Egg (beaten with a little milk for the glaze)
A delectable family pie with tender chicken, sausage and mushrooms with just a hint of sage. Serve this pie warm with seasonal vegetables and gravy, or at room temperature with salads and pickles. This pie is perfect for packed lunches, picnics as well as making a wonderfully tasty family meal. (Can be frozen in slices)
|Step 1||Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC for fan assisted ovens)/Gas M 6. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat through.|
|Step 2||Melt the butter in a large frying pan or a wok and then add the chicken pieces, cook them over a medium heat until they are seared and light golden brown. Take them out and set to one side.|
|Step 3||Add the sliced mushrooms and onions to the pan, and fry them in the buttery chicken juices, adding a little more butter if necessary. Fry them until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are cooked and are not releasing any more juice. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set to one side.|
|Step 4||In a large mixing bowl, add the sausage meat, bread crumbs and sage, mix well with damp hands to amalgamate it all together.|
|Step 5||Grease a 23cms/9inch pie dish with a little butter and lay one of the pastry sheets in the pie dish, easing it gently into the dish's sides. Add half of the sausage mixture and gently pat it in the pastry lined pie dish so it is of an even thickness.|
|Step 6||Add the cooked chicken pieces in an even layer and then spoon over the mushroom and onion mixture, before adding the rest of the sausage meat.|
|Step 7||Place the other pastry sheet over the top, and crimp the edges, and decorate the pie with any left over pastry, before glazing it with the egg and milk mixture. (I used a lattice pastry cutter and made a lattice lid for my pie.)|
|Step 8||Place the pie dish on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. (If the pastry is browning too quickly, place a piece of tinfoil over the top of the pie, removing it just a few minutes before the end of the baking time)|
|Step 9||Serve the pie warm with seasonal vegetables and gravy, or at room temperature with salads and pickles. This pie is perfect for packed lunches, picnics as well as making a wonderfully tasty family meal. (Can be frozen in slices)|
All looks lovely, but in particular that jam!xx
Thanks Hannah! You can try some when you are over here in a few weeks! 🙂
a very thorough blog post Karen, I like your take on it and I like the fact that we all received quite different ingredients… the chicken pie is a particular favourite of mine but that soup is really rather special too… it was a very generous hamper and I got quite a few meals from it so was very pleased… lovely stuff xx
Thanks Dom! I LOVED my hamper ingredients and found it very easy to make up the new recipes…..we were especially taken with the houmous cheese toasties, a REVELATION on the taste front!
torviewtoronto and createwithmom says
delicious food looks wonderful
Thanks so much! We loved it all but the pie was our favourite! Karen
A lovely comprehensive blog about organic food. I always thought organic food was expensive, but having read your blog, organic food is not expensive, quite reasonable x
Thanks so much Charlene, it is amazing to see how reasonably priced it all was, and what you can make with the ingredients too! Karen
Karen you are so creative with your recipes! I’d have no idea what to do with that box and I love that you used all of it to make different recipes without wastage. The pie is my favourite! Excellent post as always 🙂
AW thanks Ros! I DO love a good creative cooking challenge and this was a great one to work with! Thanks so much for your lovely comments! Karen
What Kate Baked says
What brilliant use of all the ingredients Karen- really inspiring stuff as always! Wasn’t it a fun challenge? And I really liked your breakdown of how inexpensive cooking organic can be.
I LOVED it and once I had made one recipe, the next ones just rolled off the production line!
Wow you have created so many delicious recipes here, all of which I would be happy to make for the family. I agree with you in that it is not too much of an added cost choosing organic ingredients. I think if you buy sensibly and cook from scratch, organic produce is affordable and worth investing in. I, like you follow the organic approach in the garden and allotment. I have to say you most definitely can taste the difference and our plot is doing so much better than some of our neighbours who use slug pellets and weedkiller sprays!
Thanks Laura! This was one of the most interesting and creative challenges I have done recently, and it was then that I realised that the cost per meal for eating organic, was not that much. I hate slug pellets, they kill birds (despite was the manufacturers say) and are harmful to hedgehogs etc too. so, like you, we are pellet-free and use used coffee grounds and herbs as pest deterrents! Thanks for your comments, Karen 🙂
Maya Russell says
I’ve never made Eggy bread with sugar. I’ve always made them plain and then allowed the kids to dip theirs in sugar.
Fiona Matters says
Mmm. Loving the pie. Why does putting sausages in anything make it better? I love the look of the lattice work. I think it might be a bit too tricky for me – but you never know! Looks lovely anyway.
Maya Russell says
The pie looks fantastic. So pretty with the lattice pastry.
mands manc (@mandsmanc) says
it looks like the chicken sausage and mushroom pie would be a big hit in our house 🙂