~ Menu ~
Bread & DrippingRecently, having cooked roast beef and made gravy, I found I had a little beefy juice left and nearly threw it away! A moment of madness. Luckily I caught myself just in time and put it in the fridge in a little pot. I thought I might stir it into the next beef stew or soup or something but then I remembered bread and dripping. So today, whilst preparing a simple lunch of bread and cheese I tried my beefy goo to see if it was as good as I remember from when I was little. It's quite good actually, especially with a little sea salt.
I have had three spontaneous dinners in a row; often I plan and cook the manly meals of the day and then at the last minute I think, plaintively, “Hmm, what about me?”. Usually, of course, I come up with something just fine. So here are the last three evening meals I have eaten which demonstrate pretty well, I feel, how scraps and leftovers can be combined to make something really worth eating.
1. Lamb & Quinoa Pilaf of sorts
Whilst looking in the freezer for something sausagey with which to make Toad in the Hole I found a little frozen quinoa and a sandwich bag of frozen chickpeas which gave me An Idea. Having cooked 4 lamb shanks the night before, when there are only 3 of us, I stripped the meat from the leftover shank and froze it together with most of its lush winey gravy. For my dinner I heated up the quinoa and chickpeas in the leftover gravy but, sadly, it was a little blah. I stirred in a spoonful of Spicy Red Onion Marmalade by The Cherry Tree (which you can read about here) and Geronimo-ish, I just needed to add crunchy sea salt and black pepper to achieve yum! I don’t think I need give a recipe and I didn’t even take a picture!
2. Chilli con a bit of Carne
When making Mince & Dumplings for the men I had a little too much meat, even for them! This I transferred to a clean pan I added …
~ Some cumin, black pepper, garlic paste and cooked together for a few minutes before adding …
~ A few kidney beans that I’d been wondering what to do with,
~ A good dollop of Tesco’s Finest Whole Cherry Tomato & Chilli Pasta Sauce which I always keep in the fridge.
~ A little squirt of Sweet Chilli Sauce. I use this in lots of dishes to slightly sweeten in the way that I once used a gastrique (which is a caramelised sugar and vinegar reduction for flavouring soups and sauces).
I simmered it all together for 10 minutes or so and ate it with a little (leftover) basmati rice. I haven’t had Chilli con Carne for years and it made a great change.
3. Haddock baked with Fridge Gleanings
Last night we were going to get fish ‘n’ chips but after a long day at Trago couldn’t be bothered. I scoured the freezer and came up with enough bits and pieces to do a rather fine mixed grill for my men involving fillet steak, black pudding, free range sausages (what a sight they must be roaming wild!) and smoky bacon and, for me, some frozen haddock. So I did have fish and chips after all but my fish was lightly fried in seasoned flour and finished by baking for few minutes on a bed of fridge gleanings; cherry tomatoes, red onion, medium hot sliced fresh chilli and crumbled chorizo which I cooked together a little before I added the fish. A good dollop of roasted garlic mayonnaise completed my meal and I am so glad I can cook!
I occurs to me, and I’m not surprised because I knew it anyway, that the reason I can whip up such yummy meals with no planning is that I know what goes with what; for instance lamb and chickpeas, chorizo and cod (and haddock!) etc. The problem is that this comes from experience (like studying wine – sadly you have to keep tasting the stuff to learn) and I don’t think it can be taught. In the meantime however, whilst learning, Niki Segnit’s excellent book “The FlavourThesaurus” which I reviewed a while ago is a really useful (and pleasant) resource as is the FoodPairing website although this is limited in scope to non-members. Their blog makes good reading too. The best thing, however, is to keep eating and learning.
Changing the subject …
For those of you in the
- you know the Plusnet ad when the guy is dancing and his dad is sucking on a
straw and calls out “Hello Son!”?
Remember the face his son makes?
I keep doing that! UK