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smoked salmon pate

So part two of my Scandinavian series (don’t worry it’s pretty short as seasons go) is one of my all time favourites: smoked salmon pâté.

As regular readers will know, there’s nothing I like more over here on LoveRichCashPoor than a little ‘dodge’ that makes something expensive go that little bit further, yet still feels indulgent and tastes delicious. This is one such recipe.

You could make this with the smoked salmon ‘off cuts’ you can pick up for a song in Sainsbury’s. I didn’t because the real deal was on offer and I needed some for another dish.

Of course, if I was being properly Scandinavian, I would serve this with Rye Bread, but I had a white loaf waiting to be used up and I’m not one for unnecessary purchases.
Serves: 4

2 slices of smoked salmon

Half a tub of crème fraîche

1 squeeze of lemon

2 tsps grated horseradish

Chopped chives

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Pop the salmon, crème fraîche, lemon and horseradish in a blender and whizz until smooth. Garnish this perfectly pink paste with chives and, if you’re as addicted to horseradish as I am, a sprinkling of extra fire.

Serve with bread and pickles or spread on blinis.

danish pastries: apple, blackberry and bay pastry with maple glaze

The Third series of The Killing has started and that can only mean one thing: I am back in the grip of my obsession with all things Scandinavian. I would love to go to Copenhagen, but that is not likely to happen any time soon, so instead I am swooshing my decidedly Scandinavian hair around (seriously I’ve been told on three separate occasions this week that I have Scandinavian hair?!) and eating all things Danish.

First up, Danish pastries. As per my general aversion to baking, these barely qualify as patisserie as I didn’t make my own pastry or my own jam. Jam making is one of those things that I yearn to do and one of the many things spurring me on to complete my saving mission. For where would I store a jam cauldron and half a dozen jam jars in my flat, not to mention the finished product? I already have a strict one in one out policy with tinned tomatoes. Still, if I did make jam, I would make blackberry and bay – for a start blackberries are free; easily plucked from plentiful brambles even in the city and a gentle flavouring of bay leaf cuts through the sharp-sweetness beautifully for extra warmth and depth.

At any rate, this is a deliciously simple recipe that can be knocked up in 20 minutes – perfect for last minute guests as there’s next to no mess involved, so you can whip these up without messing up the kitchen and, as long as you have a couple of apples knocking around, some jam in the cupboard and a roll of pastry in the freezer, you won’t even have to nip to the shops. They also fill the house with the scent of hot jam as they bake. If that’s not a welcome, I don’t know what is.

Serves: 5 (2 each)
One roll of puff pastry (I keep a stash in the freezer. It defrosts at room temperature in less than half an hour)

2 apples

Half a pot blackberry and bay jam

Maple syrup for glazing

Icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Grease a couple of baking trays and set aside. Roll out your pastry and cut into 10 squares. Dollop a globule of jam into the centre of each square, making sure to leave the edges clear.

Fill a large bowl with cold water, then core and finely slice the apples – try to keep the slices as thin as you can get them. Pop each slice into the water as you go to stop them from turning brown (if you have a lemon, squeeze a little juice in the water for good measure).

When you are ready to assemble, scoop up four or five apple slices, dab dry and arrange into a fan, then pop them on top of the jam.

Bake in the oven for approx 15 minutes until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown. With a pastry brush, slap some maple syrup over each pastry so they gleam and glisten in the light. Finally, dust with icing sugar and serve lukewarm.

daube

The clocks have gone back, last night’s wind has blown the last of the leaves off the trees and sent them skidding and skating across the pavements, so I make it officially casserole time. There’s nothing quite like the soft comfort of a stew to banish the winter blues. My big sister hates them – it’s her worst nightmare. But for me, a stew is food heaven: add some mash and broccoli and I’m on cloud nine.

This baby is a recipe I associate with Belgium, but it’s just as popular in north-east France. This is a dish designed to bubble away all day in a marmite over the fire while madame tends to her chores (and that’s exactly what I did). A bowl of this will warm the cockles all right.

1 twirl of dried orange peel – simply dry on a baking tray in the oven at a low heat until hard and completely dry

500g stewing steak

2 carrots, sliced

A handful chopped celery

2 onions, chopped

A pack of lardons

1 large bottled of dark ale (Belgian of course)

500ml beef stock

A sprig of thyme

Oil for frying

Season the beef and brown on all sides in a large casserole, then set aside. In the same pan, fry the onions and lardons, then pop the beef back in, pour over the stock and the wine and throw in the carrots, celery, dried orange peel and thyme.

Leave to simmer for two-three hours or pop in the oven at 160C for the same amount of time. That sounds like a lot of expensive electricity (or gas) but I usually double or even triple up on oven time, cooking several dishes at once, then re-heat during the week on the hob or in the microwave.

Serve with mash and a lousy beer as you watch the rain batter against the windows.

Top tip: if you have any orange peel left, pop it in a bottle of olive oil and hey presto, you have orange oil! Great for gifting if you have a nice enough bottle to hand.

croque madame

There’s nothing quite like a lazy Sunday brunch. The husband and I *ahem* overindulged on Saturday so Sunday was all about feeding our craving for comfort food and watching comfort TV: it took two episodes of The Darling Buds of May and a bit of a Lovejoy before I could even muster up the energy to put a wash on.

Luckily I had some excess béchamel in the freezer, making this a cinch to make even with a bit of a head.

Serves: 2

For the béchamel (make a batch and keep in the freezer for lasagne, croque madames, cannelloni, macaroni cheese or mousakka)

50g butter

A heaped tbsp flour

1 bay leaf

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

100g grated cheese (I usually use cheddar but any hard cheese will work)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

500ml milk (I use semi-skimmed)

1 egg

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat then stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually add the milk, a splash at a time, and stir constantly until you’ve poured in all the milk. Throw in the bay leaf and nutmeg, grind over a twist of pepper and add the cheese. Stir constantly in a figure of eight, never letting the sauce boil until it thickens – this could take up to 10 minutes. If it still seems a little too runny, take off the heat and beat in an egg. Even it’s lovely and thick, an egg will add some scrumptious richness.

For the croque:

2 eggs

4 slices brown bread (well, brown is my preference anyway)

2 slices smoked ham

100g grated emmenthal cheese

Approx 100ml béchamel

A sprinkle of chopped chives if you have some to hand

Toast the bread, then spread all four slices with béchamel on one side. Make two ham sandwiches with your yummy béchamel-laden bread, then spoon the rest of the béchamel over the top of each sandwich. Sprinkle with cheese, then pop under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and browned.

Meanwhile, poach two eggs – I just crack the eggs straight into a saucepan of gently boiling water and fish them out with a slotted spoon after exactly two minutes. Then pat dry on a piece of kitchen towel, season, and pop on top of your bubbling crisp croque. Voila!

I can’t promise this will cure a hangover, but it will certainly help!

lamb stifado

I wanted to try something a little different for Bonfire Night this year; usually I make a chilli con carne—but it’s time for a change. Still, there are some fundamental rules when it comes to a winter party dish: it should always be something hot, of course—that’s a given—but it also needs to be able to look after itself, quietly simmering away as you greet your guests and furnish them with drinks. You can then dole it out as and when required, safe in the knowledge that it won’t spoil and latecomers won’t have to make do with a chilled, slightly congealed supper.

This is all conjecture – I had the flu this year, so no party for me, much less standing in the freezing cold watching fireworks, however much I may have wanted to. Instead, I am celebrating Diwali, that joyous festival that lights up our life as the days grow shorter.

A curry would be the obvious choice for a Hindu celebration, but instead I chose this warming stew, inspired by a dish I once tried in a Greek restaurant in Primrose Hill. Sadly, the place no longer exists. Luckily, the flavour is still fresh in my mind: rich, velvety sauce spiked with warm spices with an aniseedy tang. Traditionally, of course, a stifado is made with beef, but somehow lamb feels more ‘Greek’ to me – plus the butcher was doing a special: I got a kilo of stewing lamb for just £6. I know, quel surprise!

Serves: 6

500g stewing lamb (ask your butcher what would be best)

12 shallots, peeled

A handful chopped celery

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 stick cinnamon

Half a bottle red wine

1 star anise

2 cloves

1 tsp oregano

A sprig rosemary

Half a tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

200ml stock (I used lamb, but use whatever you have)

2 tbsp tomato purée

In a large casserole, brown the lamb on all sides and set aside. Then brown the shallots and celery. Pop the lamb back in and quickly add all the remaining ingredients. Stir well, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down low and leave to simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. Simples!

Top tip: to peel the shallots, drop them into a bowl of boiling water, cover and leave for five minutes – drain and rinse in cold water and the skin should just slide off.

potato, pumpkin and celeriac croquettes: the magic of breadcrumbs

The husband had a hankering for croquettes this week. We were debating the merits of various dishes on the M&S Dine in for £10 menu at the time. (For those of you who aren’t UK-based, Marks & Spencer – M&S or Marks and Sparks for short – is a UK institution best described as an upmarket supermarket in this case, currently offering a main, side and pudding for two, plus a bottle of wine for £10). In the event, the rosti won the day but it got me to thinking: why have I never made my own croquettes? What an oversight.

Even better, the freezer was brimful of odds and sods of bread and I had a bag of potatoes threatening to sprout any minute. I make no claim that this is in any way an authentic recipe. I haven’t researched it and, after tasting these babies, don’t intend to. This was the product of a wonderful Sunday afternoon pottering in the kitchen and they taste great to boot, even if I say so myself.

Makes: 12-16

6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

A knob of butter

Three eggs

A splash of milk

Plenty of salt and pepper

A selection of odds and sods of bread (I pop unwanted crusts, ends and stale rolls in the freezer for whenever I need breadcrumbs) Brown, white, seeded, it doesn’t matter. You’ll need the equivalent of about four slices

Five sage leaves

2 cloves of garlic

Flavours:

I made four varieties of croquette; flavour yours with a handful of any of the below – or whatever floats your boat – a croquette laced with manchego and those gorgeous chargrilled peppers you get in jars would be delicious.

Roasted squash or pumpkin

Mashed celeriac

Crispy bacon bits

Cheddar cheese

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft enough to mash (15-20 minutes).

Meanwhile, pop your bread, sage leaves and garlic in a blender with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and whizz into crumbs. Whisk two eggs in a bowl and spread your crumbs ready on a large dinner plate.

Mash with a knob of butter and a splash of milk, then crack in an egg and mash some more until you have smooth, golden mash. Prepare your flavour, whatever it may be – e.g. if cheese, chop into tiny chunks.

Once the mash is cool enough to handle, Stir in your chosen flavour. Pick up a small handful and form into a small lozenge shape by hand.

Dip your lozenge into the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Then repeat to ensure you get a lovely thick, even coating of breadcrumbs. Set aside on a greased baking tray and get rolling the next one!

Once all your croquettes are lined up on the tray, pop it in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning every 10, until golden and crisp on all sides.

Serve with quiche and salad, tapas or this.

paditos: crispy chorizo buritos - cheap student food on Love Rich Cash Poor

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (thanks and apologies for the inane tweets) will know that I recently live-tweeted a recipe for sausage cannelloni. This recipe was at the behest of my naughty little sister, who is at university and whose cupboard is bare. She has but three herbs and spices: turmeric, basil and chilli flakes and was after a recipe that didn’t require her to invest further. Sausage cannelloni was my solution, and by all accounts it went down well. So well, in fact, that I have pledged to provide further inspiration (god help me), on the basis that lil’ sis buys one new spice or herb per recipe.

Anyone who is either at university or was once upon a time and can still remember the experience in any detail will know that the plethora of ‘student cooking’ articles that flood the newspapers every September are entirely misplaced. All students are flush in September; their loans have just come through and they’ve probably boosted the coffers by working over the summer. No, it’s the start of November when poverty starts to bite and students start to trawl the cities for the one cash point that will still give out a fiver.

I can’t stress enough that the best way to keep costs down is to buy your fruit and veg at a market or greengrocer. You could also make the tortillas given that, as students, time is on your side – failing that, take advantage of a BOGOF offer to get the best deal.

Serves: 4-8

1 chorizo (the fat looped one, not the slices), chopped into thick slices

3 peppers – preferably red, orange and yellow – chopped into chunks

1 red onion, finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 courgettes, sliced

A handful of mushrooms, sliced

2 cans chopped tomatoes

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp sugar

A splash balsamic vinegar

Half a small bunch fresh coriander, chopped (freeze the other half)

Grated cheese (you need about a tbsp per tortilla)

8 tortillas

Rice, sour cream and guacamole to serve, if you’re feeling flush

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan oven)

In a large saucepan or deep-sided frying pan, fry the onion, garlic and chorizo in a splash of oil for two to five minutes, until the onions are soft and the chorizo browned. Add in the veg and continue to fry for a few more minutes until they start to soften. Pour over the tomatoes, kidney beans, sugar, vinegar and spices and stir well. Then leave to simmer until any excess liquid has evaporated. (about 15-20 minutes). Lastly, scatter over the coriander.

Lie one of the tortillas out flat and spoon the chorizo etc in a line along the centre. Sprinkle over a tbsp grated cheese, then pull the sides up and over the filling and secure with a cocktail stick. Repeat with all the tortillas, then line up on a large, greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the tortillas are crisp and lightly browned.

I usually serve two tortillas per person, but if you cook up some rice and add a dollop of sour cream and guacamole to each plate, you can get away with one each – just be sure that you’ve filled all the tortillas generously (recipe for guacamole is here).

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