Sunday, February 24, 2008

And for my next Trick...

Free food - the very words delight me, and there is plenty around. Wild garlic, dandelion leaves, elderflowers and berries, blackberries, sloes. Mushrooms (but you need to know what you are picking), and wild herbs (the same caution applies). Even gardens can produce 'freebies'. The leaves and flowers of nasturtiums can be added to salads, their soft seed cases pickled to make mock capers. Blackcurrant leaves make a good 'tea', rose petals make good jam. Anyone got other suggestions for foods for free?

With fish being given a mention, today this is the ingredient I will be using in my 'uses for leftovers'. Although the first makes use of a can of tuna, which can hardly be called a leftover. Based on an American dish, where they call our potato crisps 'chips' (so what do they call their chips - is it French Fries?).
Mary's Fish and Chips: serves 2 - 3
7 oz can tuna, drained and flaked
1 pack cream cheese
1 tbls mayonnaise
2 tblsp sherry
2 tblsp capers
2 tblsp chopped parsley
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp grated onion
pinch salt
potato crisps (US chips)
Put all the ingredients except the crisps and paprika into a basin, blend together and chill in the fridge. Sprinkle over a little paprika and serve as a dip with crisps or tortilla chips etc.

This next recipe uses both left-over cooked rice and also cooked fish. Can be served either as a starter to serve 4 or as a main dish to serve 2.
Curried Fish Flake Salad: serves 2 or 4
15 fl oz measure (425ml) of cooked flaked fish, bones removed
1 lb (500g) cooked rice
2 tblsp olive or sunflower oil
1 tbls vinegar
handful of chopped parsley
4 tblsp mayonnaise
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 - 2 tsp curry powder or curry paste
1 rib celery, finely chopped
few cooked peas (0pt)
2 tsp mango chutney
Mix together the oil and vinegar to make a dressing and stir in the cooked rice together with half the parsley. Chill. Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder or paste, and the rest of the parsley.
Add the fish, celery and peas. Chill this also. To serve, place rice on a serving platter and top with the fish mixture, garnish with the chutney.

This next uses a can of soup and is an interesting way to use up leftover cooked fish.
Worcestershire Chowder: serves 3 - 4
about 1 lb (500g) cooked, boned and flaked fish
2 tblsp butter, melted
1 can cream of celery soup
3 tblsp milk
1/2 a de-seeded green pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
toasted rye or granary bread
Put the butter into a saucepan and add the soup, milk, green pepper and the fish. Heat through slowly but thoroughly. Remove from heat and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Serve at once with or on the toasted bread. Alternatively serve with jacket potatoes and coleslaw.

Often we have plenty of oddments, hardly to be called ingredients, but together these, with the addition of leftover cooked fish, or even using canned fish, can turn into a downright good dish. See what you think.
Fish Puffs: serves 3 - 4
12 fl oz measure (350ml) flaked and mashed cooked fish
pepper and salt to taste
1 tblsp finely grated onion, or onion juice
2 drops Tabasco (optional)
1 tsp very finely chopped parsley
6 slices bread, buttered and cut into cubes
12 fl.oz measure grated cheese (pref processed)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 fl oz (225ml) milk
3 tblsp sherry
dash Worcestershire sauce
Mash the fish with the pepper and salt, the onion, the tabasco and the parsley. Arrange the cubes of bread, the cheese and the fish mixture in alternate layers in a shallow greased baking dish. Finishing with a layer of the bread. Mix together the eggs, milk, sherry and W. sauce, season to taste and pour over the mixture in the dish. Bake for 1 hour at 170C, 325F, gas 3. Suggested servings: potato salad and green salad.