Good afternoon, fellow bloggy peeps, friends and family who read this blog, my apologies for my absence once again but the holidays are over with, my plans have evolved and I now have time to sit here at my favourite indoor place and talk about grub! Isn't life grand?
The food budget remains at £50 per week and I find it easier as the good weather comes in; salads, light soups, citrus-y chicken and feta dishes all are the order of spring and the best quality still costs low. Meals this past week:
2 salmon fillets, cut into bite sized chunks
Either: 1 packet plain crisps, crushed or two good handfuls breadcrumbs, seasoned
1 Egg, beaten and seasoned
Oil, if frying
Dip salmon bites into seasoned, beaten egg and then into bowl containing crushed crisps or breadcrumbs. If frying, heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook over a medium heat until outside is crispy brown and inside cooked. Cut one open to check; they shouldn't take long because of their size.
Alternatively, place them in a hot oven for approx. 8 minutes. Serve with petit pois and broccolli.
I use a lemon Madeira cake recipe for the cupcakes and a butter icing with vanilla, food colouring and little iced flowers. I had friends coming over so this was for them and for the kid's tea.
Sausage n' mash
1 packet of sausages
6 large Maris Piper potatoes, peeled or equivalent, suitable for mashing
Knob of butter
Dash of milk
Gravy to taste
Boil potatoes in salted water until very tender, drain and dry for 20 seconds over heat, making sure not to burn. I do this with the heat off. Mash potatoes with a masher and then add butter, salt, pepper and milk. Mash some more until soft, adding more butter if required. Using a fork, mash through once again to ensure the potatoes are soft and fluffy.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, fry sausages in a pan over a medium heat. I prick a few of the sausages and therefore don't need to add oil to the pan as the fat comes off the sausage meat. Turn every few minutes to ensure even browning.
Place mash in a bowl, stick sausages in and pour a little gravy round the side with the rest served in a gravy boat. This is lovely served with fried onions or beans.
Tomatoes stuffed with cheese and herbs
Small, ripe tomatoes, approx. two per person
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
Handful of grated Parmesan
Optional: chopped feta cheese
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
Halve the tomatoes and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Stuff with feta, if using and a good teaspoon of basil leaves. Drizzle with a little more oil and top with a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.
Bake in medium oven for approx. 10-15 minutes until tomatoes are soft and cheese has coloured. Serve with scallops, salad, pasta or as a side with lamb escalopes, chicken or anything else that takes your fancy.
Serving the tomatoes with pan roasted scallops and salad with pine nuts
I use this tomato sauce as a base for pizzas, pasta sauces, pies and dips. It is very simple and easy to make and freezes beautifully.
1kg Passatta (sieved tomatoes)
Quarter pint vegetable or chicken stock
Two tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion
2-4 cloves garlic, depending on taste
Place garlic and onion in a food processor or blender and blitz to a pulp. Scrape out into a pan with olive oil and coat by stirring. Cook for 10 minutes until soft, over a low heat, ensuring the mix doesn't colour or burn. Add passatta and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes and add stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 10 minutes and taste. It should be pleasant, with a slight sweetness and saltiness.
Keep it as is for pizza or for pasta, add a good handful of finely chopped basil. For meatballs, add milk.
Tomato sauce used for pizza
Pancake mix of 4 oz each of flour, sugar, milk and eggs (1 large, 2 small) with added food colouring.
Blend until mixed and cook in pan.
Serve with coloured drinks. Watch kids be happy.
Feta and Chorizo Pasta
Spaghetti (100g per person)
Chorizo, diced, small handful per person
Knob of butter
Dash olive oil
Garlic clove, crushed
Thyme leaves from a few sprigs
Light chicken stock, approx. 2 oz. (and white wine, optional)
Double cream or creme fraiche, 2 large tablespoons
Freshly grate Parmesan
Lemon juice, optional
Boil spaghetti as per instructions
Fry onion and garlic and thyme in butter and oil for a few minutes, without colouring. Add chorizo and leave for a minute or so before stirring to coat the onion mix in the lovely red juices from the sausage. Simmer for 5 minutes, add wine and simmer until reduced by half if using, then add stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer until a coating consistency is reached. Add cream, stir and take off heat. Add a handful of Parmesan and feta and a squeeze of lemon juice. Check seasoning, add some freshly ground black pepper and throw in the spaghetti, toss in sauce and serve with more grated Parmesan.
Pan-Fried Salmon with Linseeds, Spinach and Baby Potatoes
1 salmon fillet per person
Handful spinach per person
Boil baby potatoes until tender, crush lightly with a little margarine, butter or olive oil and some sea salt. Set aside. Score the skin of the salmon and rub in a little sesame oil (or flavoured oil to taste). Get a frying pan really hot and place the salmon skin side down. Thrown in the peppers. When the skin side is brown, turn salmon over and turn heat down slightly; cook until a lovely golden colour. Depending on the salmon fillet thickness, at this point, I sometimes shove the salmon into a pre-heated hot oven for 4 minutes.
Thrown in a handful of linseeds and a tiny drizzle of sesame oil to coat the peppers. Squeeze over some lime juice. Place dry spinach leaves on a plate and place the peppers and linseeds on top with another squeeze of lime juice. Plate up the fillet of salmon and the potatoes; the salmon is ready when it has lost it's opaqueness, has turned from orange to pink and flakes away easily; do not over cook. Enjoy.
Dolly for Anna
The competition will resume in the next few weeks; everyone already entered will be put forward.