Sunday, March 03, 2013

Something Different?

In the 'old days', when at least a third of the week's meals were made from leftovers of the Sunday joint, not much thought needed to be put into it.  Same every week (although the meat might change: beef one week, lamb or pork another.  Chicken used to eaten only on special occasions).  How different our meals are now.

Yet, even with such a variety, why is it that we continually search for 'something new' to serve?  Is it our creative side that urges us, or are we fed up with continually seeing the same old recipes appearing in the 'new' cookbooks and mags, again, and again, and again.  Sometimes given a new name, usually with only a very slight difference in the ingredients or the amount used.  We believe them to be 'new' but they are not, and generally no better than the original ones on which they are based.
At least today have found a recipe published over 30 years ago that deserves to see the light of day again because fish is not often served curried.  Even when it is, not presented as the recipe given today.

As with any recipe I hope to share with you, the ingredients are read first, just to make sure we are likely to have them in our fridge/freezer or larder.  That way we won't have to go out and BUY anything (that 'B' word sends shivers up my spine these days), and this recipe seems to use fairly 'basic' ingredients.
The fish in the recipe is given as 'huss' (aka rock salmon), but any white fish would do, myself would use the cheap Tesco frozen Value 'white fish' fillets.  If you have no curry paste, then stir one or tablespoon (or to taste) of curry powder into the butter and onion and fry for a couple of minute before continuing..  

Puff pastry is always in my freezer as it is very useful for both sweet and savoury dishes. One of my favourite ways of using this is when a block of puff has been thawed, is to cut very thin strips off the block across one end.  These I then lay flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper, or Parmesan, then roll even thinner and bake.  They make wonderfully crispy and delicate flat Cheese Straws.

If wishing to serve at a dinner party, then cut the pastry into individual squares (vol-au-vents) before baking and filling,, but for family fare the filling can be served in one large pastry case.
Because we should always try to make a dish from scratch, this is how the recipe will read, but if anyone prefers to make the white sauce using Bisto 'granules', then no reason to feel ashamed.  We all do this at time.  Well, I do, anyway.  That's what they're made for, isn't it?
There were no details on how to make the vol-au-vent cases other than in the recipe below, so feel I should that the pastry should be rolled fairly thinly (it will rise quite a bit), then a small border scored around the edge, with the centre only pricked with a fork before scoring diagonally (not quite through) from corner to corner.  The centre then can be removed, any soft pastry removed from the centre of the 'case/s', and the top can be placed over the curry to be used as a lid if you wish (or it could be sandwiched together with jam and whipped cream to cut into slices and serve as 'cake' for tea!!).

Curried Fish Vol-au-Vent: serves 4
8 oz (225g) puff pastry
12 oz (350g) huss, or other white fish
3/4 pt (450g) milk
1/2 oz (15g) butter
2 onions, chopped
2 tblsp curry paste (see above)
1 oz (25g) plain flour
2 tblsp pickle or chutney (pref mango)
1 oz (25g) sultanas
2 eggs, hard-boiled then chopped
Roll the pastry into 4 small or 1 large case.  Brush with milk or egg and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until risen and brown. 
Poach the fish in the milk until tender, then remove using a slotted spoon (reserve the milk).  Flake the fish, discarding any skin and bone, and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan, add onion and fry for 5 or so minutes until softened, then stir in curry paste (or powder) and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Stir in flour, then remove from heat and gradually stir in the reserved  milk.   Place back over a low heat, and continually stirring, bring to the boil.  Fold in the pickle and simmer for a few minutes, then add to the sauce with the sultanas and egg.  When heated through, pour into the pastry cases.

Here is another 'something different' that would be normally served at breakfast (similar to the US pancakes - that we call 'drop scones') but could be served with grilled or fried bacon, and/or sausages, burgers and eggs in the same way as a lunch or supper dish.
Once made and cooled completely, these savoury drop scones can be frozen, interleaved with greaseproof paper, then stack-packed in a freezer bag.  Best used within 6 weeks of making.
To serve from frozen: spread singly on a baking sheet, loosely cover with foil, and reheat at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for about 10 minutes.  Alternatively, reheat in a lightly greased frying pan, one minute on each side.

Savoury Drop Scones: makes 16
8 oz (225g) cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 onion, grated
3 fl oz (75ml) milk
3 level tblsp porridge oats)
4 oz (100g) plain flour (pref. wholewheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 oz (50g) flaked almonds
oil for frying
Put all ingredients - except the bell pepper and almonds - into a bowl and mix well together until smooth, then fold in the remaining two ingredients aiming to end up with a soft, dropping consistency (add a little more flour if too sloppy, a little more milk if too dry).
Dry-heat a heavy based frying pan or griddle/girdle and when hot, rub (or spray) with a little oil, then spoon tablespoons of the batter onto the pan, leaving room between to spread, then fry over a medium to high heat for 2 minutes on each side, turning when the first side shows bubbles on top, and remove when both sides are brown.  Place on a cake airer and cover with a clean tea towel to keep the scones warm and soft whilst frying the remainder of the batter.  Serve immediately with chosen meats (as mentioned above).

Gill will be phoning in about 20 minutes, so am aiming to publish this before she calls.  Just time for me to reply to the two comments that came in.
Envy you your Texas summer sunshine Pam.  Don't think I'd enjoy the wind that I've heard blows across the state.  I remember seeing this wind playing havoc when outdoor scenes were shot at the 'Dallas' (TV series) barbecues were being held.  Suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to find a sheltered spot to sit so the wind doesn't ruin our carefully set hair.

Come on Les, you've thrown down the gauntlet, and if we are to lock horns, then at least do your share of the jousting.  Am happy to make any dishes from the site you mentioned, but am expecting YOU to look them up and tell me what to make, not leave it to me to choose.  Happy to cook anything you ask for, but not to have to spend time sorting through countless recipes AS WELL.
So please tell me the dishes you wish me to make, and for how many people (you didn't mention how many in your reply), then I will be able to tell you how much it would have cost me to make these.  If the HB recipes also give costing, then this makes it easier to compare.

Just time to do the spell-check and editing before Gill phones, so will end with my usual 'hope you all have an enjoyable weekend, and hope to 'meet up with you' again tomorrow'. TTFN.