Monday, January 08, 2007

Better than Expected

After yesterday's panic attack re running out of money, I now realise that £5 a week will more than cover the extra bits and bobs I need to 'buy from myself', the rest already having been paid for. You may well say - all in store has already been paid for - which it has, the difference being quite a lot was purchased before I began surviving on this very strict 10 week budget.

Yesterday's meal of beef casserole: (8 oz stewing beef, one large carrot, one parsnip, 3 medium potatoes, 4 mushrooms, flour and water plus a tsp. Bovril, and some thyme) made enough for 3 good helpings, so one can be frozen, or perhaps kept in the fridge for a couple of days and whizzed to make soup.
Tip: When cooking parsnips for a long time, there is no need to remove the woody centres as they will soften.

Noticing I have plenty of creme fraiche and Greek yoghurt in the fridge to use up, despite cancelling both last week as not sure which was due (I have each delivered on alternate weeks),
plus a couple of cartons of cottage cheese and pineapple (a weekly delivery), methinks I will make a cheesecake or that Sicilian Cassata - the recipe given in a much earlier posting.
My mind is now working at full speed - thoughts are moving in the direction of 'would need sponge cake for the Cassata, in which case I could bake a large flat one (Swiss Roll type) and save the trimmings for a trifle, use half the cake for the Cassata, and the remainder sandwiched with jam - intended to be heated up in the microwave as a faux 'steamed pudding'. Already I am itching to get started.

Today should be a fish day as was last Monday. I have more salmon than other fish, so may well serve that again, but not as a Paella. This recipe has taken my fancy:
Salmon with Lemon and Couscous : serves four
16 fl.oz (450ml) boiling vegetable stock
6 oz (175g) couscous
1 tblsp. olive oil
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
few frozen peas
1 tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
3 salmon steaks
Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. As the couscous soaks, put the oil in a pan and saute the onions until soft. Add the peas and tomatoes. Stir the fried vegetables into the couscous with the lemon zest, juice and parsley. Set aside and keep warm. Brush oil over the salmon fillets and put into a preheated flat pan and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Divide the couscous between four plates and top each with a salmon fillet.
Tip: As well as adding flavour, the tomatoes and peas make it a colourful dish, so finely diced red and green peppers could be used instead. Or sweetcorn with finely diced cucumber (with the skin on).

Another fish-dish, using 'wot I've already got', is
Tuna Pasta bake: serves four
12 oz (350g) pasta penne
2 tblsp olive oil
250g pot of creme fraiche
190g tin of tuna (drained and flaked)
1 small onion, finely chopped, and fried
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta, drain and stir in the olive oil and creme fraiche. Add the tuna, the onions, and the tomatoes. Spoon into an ovenproof dish and scatter over about 75g grated Parmesan. Grill until hot and bubbling.
Tip: When using tuna canned in oil, this oil can be used instead of the olive oil.

And a couple of other salmon suggestions:
Make a marinade of 3 tblsp runny honey, 5 tblsp soy sauce, and 2 tblsp. sugar. Mix well and pour this over salmon fillets. Leave for at least half an hour. Then grill salmon, not too near the heat, skin side up for five minutes, then move closer to grill and cook for a further couple of minutes until skin is crispy. Serve with a Stir-Fry.

Salmon Sticks:
Remove skin from salmon* and cut the fish into finger-sized portions. Dip each into flour, then beaten egg, and finally dried breadcrumbs (or finely crushed crisps or cornflakes). Deep fry until cooked and golden. Serve with dips.