Thursday, April 24, 2014

Double Check...

The other day, having run out of fresh (frozen) salmon, decided to use canned salmon in the Fish Rissoto.  It worked well alongside the fresh 'white fish' and smoked haddock.  Sometimes I also add a few frozen prawns.

At the time I thought I was on to a good thing - fresh salmon not cheap at the moment, but on checking the prices on the Tesco website, it seems that canned salmon is often dearer than the fresh.  The canned fish was priced 'per 100g', the fresh as 'per kg', but easy enough to work out the difference.
Tesco's fresh salmon fillets in their 'Value/Everyday' range was priced at £10.98p per kg.  Canned salmon was between £1.40 per 100g (£14 per kg), or £1.18 per 100g (£11.80p per kg).  So by using canned fish I wasn't giving myself any financial favours.

Today made myself another salad of assorted fruit and veg.  Much the same as yesterday but a few less items, adding grapes instead of apple, and omitting a couple of other things.  Still ended up with eight though. 
While preparing my salad for supper, at the same time was prepping veg to go into the pan with a block of frozen (thawed) home-made chicken stock plus a little extra water.  This for B's supper - he is very fond of (occasionally) vegetable soup.   I'd run out of celery, and oddly Morrison's didn't have any when B tried to buy some the other day, surely they must have had some somewhere, perhaps he didn't look hard enough.   Luckily found a small jar of celery salt in my spice drawer, so as I hadn't yet added seasoning to the soup (and yes, it does need salt and pepper) the celery salt served a double purpose.
As I'd made plenty of soup will reheat the rest for my Friday's lunch (that's tomorrow as I write, and today when I publish).

The spiritualist group meeting have a raffle, and everyone wins something.  As I find it difficult to get up and walk about I wait until the end and then someone brings me something they think I'd like.  This time it was a pretty scarf.  However, as I was leaving, noticed a few sticks of fresh rhubarb that had not been chosen so asked if I could do a swap.  They said 'certainly', so I was very pleased as B loves rhubarb and today made him a rhubarb and ginger crumble for his supper (two helpings but he's eaten both, one for his 'afters', the other later as a 'snack'.  Both with cream of course.

I'll be busy baking again this weekend as I've promised several tray-bakes for the foodbank, probably make gingerbread and parkin as both improve with keeping,  One of my favourite occupations is baking, but I tend to avoid doing much (other than bread which is an ongoing thing), as I have to keep away from cakes/biscuits or I gain back massive amounts of weight, also not good for my diabetes.  B likes them though, but I tend to keep 'sampling' what I make (purely for research purposes you understand).

Very few comments, none needed a reply, other than for me to say I'm giving more chicken recipes today and hope those who try these will enjoy them.  
As these recipes were first published in Cook's Weekly around 30 years ago, there is much room for improvement, but am sure that most of my readers have enough cooking experience to adapt the recipes to suit the ingredients they have (other than chicken of course) and use alternatives or substitutions that will probably improve these dishes anyway.

First recipe today has leanings towards Beef Wellington (at least in appearance).  Although scraps of chicken (taken from the carcase) can be used, the original recipes suggests using slices of cooked chicken taken from the breast and/or thighs.  In those days I used to buy cans of sweetcorn kernels that also contained peppers (fresh bell peppers not being as common as they are now), so today would suggest using plain sweetcorn kernels (canned or frozen - if frozen, then cook first) and then if you wish add finely diced red bell pepper - not essential as this is mainly to provide a bit of colour).

Chicken and Sweetcorn Parcel: serves 4
8 oz (250g) canned sweetcorn and peppers
2 thick slices of white bread, crumbed
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
8 oz (225g) puff or shortcrust pastry
8 - 12 oz (250-350g) sliced cooked chicken
2 oz (50g) bacon, chopped, fried and drained
milk to glaze
Drain the sweetcorn well, then put into a bowl with the breadcrumbs, egg, and seasoning to taste. Mix together until well combined.
Roll out the pastry to a 12" (30cm) square, and set it aside.  Working on a flat surface, spread the sliced chicken in a layer, cover this with the sweetcorn/crumb mixture, and then finish with the bacon, making each layer slightly smaller so that the pastry can envelope the lot.
Cover with the pastry square folding the edges together to make a parcel , sealing the joins with water.  Place on a baking sheet fold side down and decorate with pastry trimmings if you wish.
Brush the pastry with milk and bake for 35 minutes at 180C, gas 4 (200C, gas 6 if using puff pastry)
covering with foil if the pastry starts to brown too quickly.  Serve hot or cold with a crisp green salad.

The final recipe of the four is one meant to serve when entertaining. The photos in the mag show all the dishes at their best (the mag's own cook's made them up, not me and have to say I was very impressed, especially for this one as it looks absolutely gorgeous - if anyone has old copies of Cook's Weekly, these chicken recipes are in issue 89: 26th August - July 1st, pages 36-39 incl.

Chicken Terrine: serves 8 - 10
1 large carrot, cut lengthways into thin strips
8 oz (225g) cooked chicken, chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
salt and pepper
8 oz (225g) curd or cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz (100g) spinach or peas, cooked/pureed
4 -5 (or more) large lettuce leaves
Cook the carrots in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, mince the chicken and mix with the orange zest and juice, add seasoning to taste.
Blend the cheese with the eggs, then mix on third with the vegetable puree, and the remaining two-thirds into the minced cooked chicken.
Line a well-greased 1kg/2lb loaf tin with 4 - 5 large lettuce leaves, making sure there are no gaps, and that the lettuce overlaps the sides of the tin.  Spoon alternate layers of the chicken and vegetable mixes into the tin, pressing a few carrots in between each layer.  Finish with a layer of chicken.
Carefully fold over the lettuce to cover the top, if necessary trimming an extra leaf to fit over the surface. 
Cover with a double fold of greaseproof paper, and either a fitting lid, or foil.  Place in a roasting tin filled with hot water that reaches one-third to half the way up the sides of the tin.  Bake at 180C, gas 4 for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the tin.  Chill before turning out onto a serving platter to slice into portions, and slice these fairly thickly to avoid slices breaking up.

Right, that's it for another day.  Seem to be getting my timing right as I see it is now just after midnight, so one more day and it will be the weekend.  There will be a blog written this time tomorrow night, but as I now take a day off (Saturday), my next blog will be written late Sunday for reading early as you like on Monday.  But that is yet to come.  Have to get tomorrow over first. 

The bluebells are out early this year, so if you get the chance go and find a bluebell wood this weekend and enjoy the wonderful sight, not to mention the perfume laden air.  Our front garden is full of bluebells, but it's not as pretty a picture as the flowers growing wild in a wood.  But better than not seeing any at all.   Hope you will find time to join me again tomorrow - if so, see you then.  xx