29 June 2017

A Great Idea If You Are Not Quite Ready to Give Up Meat!

Turns out I may or may not be a Reducetarian!

I came upon this word quite recently in The Guardian; it is the name fairly recently given to people who reduce the amount of meat they eat in the interests of their health and also that of our wonderful planet. Did you guess?

I think this is a great idea … not extreme, something that can be achieved over time and good for everyone (except those in the meat industry, I suppose!) and, as meat is one of our pricier foods, it even saves money!

“Treat meat as a flavouring or special occasion food.”
Michael Pollan ~ Food Rules, an Eater’s Manual
I agree with him!

For myself (as opposed to when working as a chef or when cooking for my real man) I have never thought that meat or fish must be the central ingredient of a meal but rather as something that that may, or may not, be in a dish. This being the case, whilst I do eat meat and fish, many of my meals contain only a little or are completely vegetarian.

I even wrote a post some time agoHow to Eat Less Meat – and Enjoy It! suggesting ways to incorporate a little meat into a variety of meals.

According to the Reducetarin Movement they are …


“composed of individuals who are committed to eating less meat - red meat, poultry, and seafood - as well as less dairy and fewer eggs, regardless of the degree or motivation. This concept is appealing because not everyone is willing to follow an "all-or-nothing" diet.” 

Be a Reducetarian
Read more and join the Reducetarians here.

One thing occurs to me, however …

One cannot be a Reducetarian for ever!


Surely you can only keep reducing your meat and animal product intake for a limited time; eventually you will have to stop as there is nothing else to give up in that department!  One will, of course, then become a vegetarian or even a vegan.  

This is why I am not sure of my status reducetarian-wise; I am not reducing my intake of fish and animals, I did that years ago! I am eating a small amount, as I have for most of my life and with which I am happy.  

Is there a special name for people who, like me, just eat a little meat?  I wondered about “omnivore” but as I can’t abide bananas that’s not quite right either.  I know – flexitarian, that feels about right. What do you think?

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25 June 2017

How to Make the Most of a Bargain Salmon

I had salmon for dinner last night and then again for lunch today – I eat a lot of salmon. Every time Tesco has whole fish at half price price (so about £16 depending on the size) I buy one and eat it all myself – my real man, of course, not liking it.

So, I thought I’d go on a bit about salmon and some of the great ways to eat it.

When I first took to buying whole salmon, I didn’t have the shop scale and fillet it for me because I know how to do it. After a while I realised my silliness – it saves quite a lot of work and mess if they do it for you and they still let you take home the head and bones.



lots of salmon recipes

I always put the skeleton and head in a large pot with just enough cold water to cover it. Bring it to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 5 mins till the flesh is translucent. Drain (there is not much point in keeping the “stock” it won’t have assumed much flavour in that short time) and set aside till cool enough to handle. Then, using your fingers, remove every useful bit of salmon you can from the wreckage. 


make the most of fish bones
See later in this post for some ideas for these scraps.

When I portion the salmon fillets I usually get about 12 x 170g/6oz fillets, I have, however, a small (but perfectly formed!) appetite so I often have a little salmon leftover after dinner. Adding this to the scraps removed from the bones I generally get 18 or 20 meals out my salmon so it’s quite a bargain.


how long to cook fish


Some Easy & Delicious Ways to Cook Salmon Fillets



Roasted Salmon with Asparagus & New Potatoes


This is what I ate last night, I have been having this a lot recently, it is so summery and we do have a sack of new potatoes to eat up! (Another salmon recipe here too!) 


Per person …

4 or 5 new potatoes – skin still on
1 x 170g/6 oz salmon fillet
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
a handful of frozen peas
6 asparagus spears, halves – woody ends discarded
generous knob of butter
½ lemon


~ Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6.
~ Wash and prepare enough new potatoes for one.
~ Cover potatoes in cold water, add a little salt, bring to the boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pan and cook till tender - about 20-25 minutes.
~ When the potatoes are almost done coat the salmon piece(s) with a little oil and season.
~ Place in an oven proof pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
~ Now cook the peas and asparagus – just put together in a small pan, cover with boiling water, put on the lid, turn down the heat and simmer 5 minutes.
~ When the potatoes and the vegetables are cooked drain and leave warm in their pans till needed.
~ When the fish is cooked remove from the pan and set in a warm place lightly covered with foil.
~ Add a generous knob of butter to the warm pan, turn the potatoes and vegetables in the butter.
~ Return the salmon to the pan and turn gently together with everything else.
~ Add a good sprinkle of lemon juice.
~ Serve.
~ Drizzle with mayonnaise.


Salmon & Leek Gratin

seafood gratin

Per person …

170g salmon fillet
1 small leek – cleaned and thinly sliced
15g butter
1 tablespoon of dry white wine or stock
90g double cream
a girly handful of breadcrumbs

~ Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the leeks to coat thoroughly.
~ Turn down the heat and press something suitable (ie. a butter wrapper, greaseproof paper of piece of foil) directly onto the surface of the leeks. Cover the pan.
~ Cook gently for 10-15 minutes keeping an eye on things and giving the occasional stir till very tender.
~ Place the piece of salmon on top of the leeks and cook for another 6-8 minutes till the fish flakes easy with the simple application of a fork.
~ Set the fish aside, and crumble the vegetable Oxo or similar into the leeks.
~ Add the wine or water and stir to dissolve the stock cube.
~ Add the cream, bring to a boil and cook a minute or two.
~ Taste and season.
~ Remove from the heat, flake the salmon and fold into the creamy goo.
~ Turn into a heatproof dish, sprinkle with the crumbs, dot with butter and finish under a hot grill.


Marmalade Glazed Salmon


Simply glaze salmon by brushing a little marmalade (almost any will do!) over the fish for the last few minutes of baking or grilling. I like a good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper on mine.
salmon glazed with marmalade


Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce


Cook your salmon as you wish; roast, fry, poach, etc and serve with Hollandaise Sauce which is a perfect complement to most seafood.



poached salmon


Salmon Poached in Ginger & Lemon Tea


This is something I made when reviewing some fruit and herb teas – it was a peculiar idea but worked so well I have made it several times since. 


And here are some ideas for the …

Salmon Trimmings & Leftovers


Salmon & Boursin Pâté – ish Stuff


This was today’s lunch, it is delicious, rather strange and a bit of a cheat. Call me Delia if you wish!

Put the leftover pies of salmon into bowl together with an equal-ish quantity of herb and garlic Boursin. Add a generous squirt of roasted garlic mayonnaise (I always keep M & S roasted garlic mayo in stock because my real man doesn’t like the smell of garlic so I don’t often roast my own) and a teaspoon or two of sweet chilli sauce. Mix and stir and crush to amalgamate. Eat with toast and a glass of white wine.


quick salmon and Boursin pate


Lemony Salmon Salad


See here for Six Sexy Salads for Summer including this salmon salad.


salmon and lemon salad

Tagliatelle with Salmon Alfredo


Gently warm the salmon leftovers in this lovely Alfredo Sauce and maybe add a touch of lemon and some black pepper.

Alternatively toss with pasta in garlic butter with lemon and herbs. Top with pangrattato for a lovely, quick, easy, cheap, crunchy finish



Seafood Chowder


Use salmon scraps in this gorgeous seafood chowder recipe.



salmon chowder

Salmon, Chilli & Sweet Potato Cakes


Or other fishcakes, of course, but these are good.


100g cooked salmon 
1 sweet potato – approx. 200g
sweet chilli sauce to taste – about 2 tsp

~ Peel and dice the sweet potato, cover with cold water, add the salt, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes till tender.
~ Drain and cool to room temperature.
~ Break up the salmon, add to the sweet potato together with Sweet Chilli Sauce, if using, and munge the lot together.
~ Taste and season, form into cakes, coat in seasoned flour and shallow fry till hot and crisp and golden on both sides.


Also, of course, salads, sandwiches etc.


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5 June 2017

How to Make the Most of New Potatoes

Cornish Earlies
My real man and I buy a sack of potatoes every few months and, keeping them happy in the cool and dark, we easily get them all eaten before they go off.

This week we needed a new sack but were tempted by 12kg sack Cornish New Potatoes instead of our normal 25kg of our favourites, Wilja.  Of course, new potatoes are not such good keepers as old potatoes but, luckily, they are quite muddy which will protect them from deterioration. 

We are, however, going to have to eat even more potatoes that we usually do to get through them.  Not a problem!


Ideas for boiled new potatoes


Firstly – how to prepare and boil new potatoes …


~   There is no need to peel new potatoes; their skins are tender, tasty and nutritious. You must, of course, wash off all the dirt before cooking.
~   Tiny potatoes can be cooked whole, large ones should be cut to a similar size so that they all cook at once.
~   Put the clean potatoes into a pan of lightly salted cold water, enough to cover the potatoes. Maybe add a sprig or two of fresh mint if you have such a thing – makes them taste even more summery!
~   Bring to a boil over high heat, turn the heat right down, cover the pan and simmer till tender. Whole, tiny baby potatoes will take about 10 minutes, larger potatoes or pieces of potato a little longer. Check for doneness with a small sharp knife, if they feel tender they are ready, if not carry on cooking.
~   Strain, allow to steam dry a few minutes then do with them what you will, such as ...
~   Add a knob of butter (perhaps a delicious flavoured butter – lots of ideas here) and serve alongside lovely summery dishes. 
~   Toss freshly cooked new potatoes in melted brown butter with maybe some fresh herbs - read here about how to make delicious brown butter and lots of ideas for using it including  Laphroaig & Brown Butter Ice Cream! 

how to make potato salads


~   New potatoes are perfect for making potato salad – if this is your intention do dress the potatoes with mayonnaise or dressing whilst they are still warm; they will absorb some of the dressing and become even more delicious.  Here’s further details plus lots of potato salad recipes and ideas. 





Crispy Crushed New Potatoes ~ a slight recipe!


roast new potatoes
~   Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6.
~   Once the potatoes are cooked and drained arrange them in a single layer in a baking dish.
~   Using a potato masher crush each potato so that it has a broken skin and ragged top.
~   Drizzle with melted butter, brown butter or olive oil, sprinkle with herbs, spices or what have you and bake till golden and crisp.



Ideas for new potatoes, other than boiling them …


New Potato & Spring Onion Pizza


Before we start, here is an easy and flexible pizza dough recipe  which is enough for two pizzas but you can, of course, use a bought in pizza bases.

potato pizza
2 bunches spring onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g well washed new potatoes
freshly ground black pepper - optional
150g (or to taste) strong cheddar cheese, grated

~   Coarsely chop the spring onions and cooking them in the olive oil in accordance with my instructions for the best way to cook onions.
~   When the onions are tender thinly slice the potatoes and stir into the onions together with a fair bit of black pepper, to taste.
~   Spread the oniony potatoes over the pizza bases and manually arrange attractively.
~   Sprinkle with grated Cheddar and bake till the potato is tender and the pizza is crisp, golden and fragrant.

salmon and potato gratin


Potato and Hot Smoked Salmon Gratin


This is so lovely - here's the recipe. 






New Potato, Caramelised Onion & Cheddar Omelette


This has long been a favourite of mine and here’s a photo of one I ate yesterday. Use lovely strong, punchy cheddar cheese for this.

Per omelette

1 small red onion
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 medium new potato
2 eggs (or 3 if you are a greedy bugger)
salt and pepper
a knob of butter
60g mature cheddar cheese

~   Prepare and cook the onion my favourite way!
~   When utterly tender thinly slice the potato and stir into the onions. Add a tablespoon of water, cover the pan and cook till the potatoes are tender (you may need to add a little more water if they start to stick to the pan).
~   Grate the cheese.
~   When the potatoes are tender make the omelette in accordance with my omelette making instructions here.
~    Add the potatoes and onions when the omelette is just moist on top and sprinkle with the cheese.
~    Fold in half and serve immediately.



onion and potato omlet recipe
P.S.  Sorry I've not written for a while - computer problems but its OK now (fingers crossed!)



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