Thursday, August 23, 2007

The guest slot #1: Sausage and Potato Salad

Well, I'm sit here working my way through a decidedly un-gastro supper of celery and houmous, feeling decidedly un-food-bloggerish (it doesn't make for much of a post really does it - 'hey kids, buy some houmous, stick some celery in it! et voila!) Um, nope.

Luckily, though Little Sister Saucepan has stepped into the breach to make her first guest-blogger appearance with a slightly more appetising and creative supper from the last couple of days.

It's very topical I think, in light of the continuing seasonal tomfoolery the heavens are playing - all kind of 'yeah, technically it's summer, technically we should have salad; but like not too cold or anything - basically it's just winter with some extra daylight hours'

So, A Warm Sausage and Potato Salad

1. Roast your potatoes - Par boil a couple of small potatoes for each person, chop into little bits and put in a preheated oven dish. To prepare the oven dish wipe a garlic clove around the dish and put a reasonable helping of olive oil in the dish. These will take about 20 minutes or until brown and crispy.
2. Make a base of spinach and watercress leaves on the plates
3. Add some finely diced red onion and sliced ripe tomato
4. Chop the roasted potatoes and scatter over
5. Grill or fry sausages as instructed on the pack. Slice as you wish and arrange on plate.
6. For the dressing mix olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, white wine vinegar, pepper and salt.

et voila! (works better here than with the tub of houmous. Thanks Little Sister Saucepan!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Using it up

Not so long ago I was lamenting my metamorphosis into a greedy, short-termist, zombified food consumer, abandoning my principles of resourcefulness and real appreciation of food.

Well, since then I've been more zealous about shopping frugally and seasonally; making my lunches and using whatever is to hand. Unfortunately, this hasn't resulted in much of interest to be posted here - lots of quite lovely but ordinary salads, sandwiches, stews and the like...

One new glad discovery for me though was pilaf. I've been a member of the risotto appreciation club for some while - once I'd tried it a couple of times and found it far easier than anticipated, and very amenable to a whole host of bits and pieces mixed therein, I wholeheartedly embraced it in my dinner repertoire. But pilaf, that was a ricey relative of risotto that for one reason or another I hadn't much bothered with...

But Anjum Anand's book has been sitting in our kitchen for a while, enticing me with bright, moreish looking Indian dishes, and one day I came across the pilaf recipe, a component of which was leftover veg...

Hence, the next time I had veg left over* I set to following Anjum's recipe. (I find her television programme vaguely annoying incidentally, but the book is very good.)

It's very simple, but if you like me haven't previously dipped your toes in pilaf waters you might be interested to know the general idea. Which is as follows:

1. Saute a chopped onion until soft (about 4-5 mins) then add spices and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds) - I used: a cinnamon stick; a bay leaf; a tsp cumin seeds; a few cloves; a couple of black peppercorns; and some coriander. Anjum doesn't use the coriander, but adds cardamom, which I would have done if it hadn't been for drawing blanks at the five shops I tried for it.

2. Add your chopped left over vegetables and cook gently for 3-4 minutes to heat through - I used carrot, courgette, green beans and peas. Anjum suggests cauliflower also, but there I would imagine there is practically no limit to what you can chuck in

3. Add cooked rice (this too can be left over, but I cooked from scratch) and gently stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

4. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and serve. (I served mine, above, with an egg curry from the same book and some fresh mango, which was a very good accompaniment)

As for quantities - it's just whatever you have or whatever looks about right; there's no hard and fast rules. Adjust spices down or up if you're making for significantly more or less than 2-3.

Super easy, but very very good and very versatile. (Still not very photogenic unfortunately!)

*well, to be fair I rarely have anything left over; these were kept over specifically with another destiny in mind, but it was still a way of utilising that which was already in my fridge and planned for one meal