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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.

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).

pumpkin

Blogging is tough in winter. By the time I get home from work, it’s too dark to take photos. By the time it’s light enough to take photos, the dish is no longer at its best, visually at least—I, for one, find that stews, curries and casseroles usually taste better the next day.

This is a very long-winded way of saying that this dish is considerably more delicious than I could make it look in a picture at 7am yesterday morning. Hence the lack of picture so far. I’ll try again at the weekend. It’s my first ‘free’ weekend for what seems like months, so I’m hoping to get the blog well and truly back on track.

Last weekend, we went to the Ardennes to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday. It’s a stunning place, that does a great line in charcuterie and Trappist beers. We stocked up on both.

I’ve been keeping an idle eye out for something to do with my various squash, so I was thrilled when I spotted a recipe for Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Casserole in Waitrose magazine. Only, when I told the husband what was on the menu, his first question was whether there was any way of working some meat into it. Men. You’d think I was trying to starve him. Luckily I had a ‘piquant’ salami to hand fresh from the Ardennes. Also, the original recipe called for a ‘Cajun spice mix’. I am not about to start buying any more spice mixes when I have a cupboard full of spices at home, so I improvised.

Serves: 8

A pack of shallots, peeled but left whole

2 fennel bulbs, cut into chunks

1 spicy salami or chorizo, sliced

3 peppers (preferably red, but I had green lying around, so I used those), de-seeded and cut into chunks

6 cloves garlic, crushed

The flesh of one small eating pumpkin, cut into chunks

The flesh of one butternut squash, cut into chunks

A good sprig of thyme

1 chicken stock cube

Oil for frying

1 tin coconut milk

1 tin chopped tomatoes

A good tbsp tomato puree

100ml single cream

For the Cajun spice mix:

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp basil

1 tsp fennel seeds

A good pinch of sea salt

1 tsp crushed chilli

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp mustard seeds

A good grind of black pepper

Crush the spices in a pestle and mortar. In a large casserole, fry the shallots and fennel in oil for 6-8 minutes until they take on a nice caramel colour. Set aside, and fry the peppers and salami until the salami has browned and the peppers’ skin starts to blister. Scrape in the crushed garlic, then pop the shallots etc back in, together with the squash and pumpkin, sprinkle over spices then stir until everything is well coated.

Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, coconut milk, thyme and 150ml water, then crumble over the stock cube, give it all a good mix and leave to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat off, stir in the cream and serve with some delicious crusty bread.

fall table - autumn decorations for harvest festival or halloween

I dearly love, and seize upon, any excuse to celebrate. Especially if it involves decorating. Or eating. Or both.

But it seems positively ages until Halloween. Eons. Too long, in fact, for this impatient soul. But we had eight guests due to join us for the inaugural roast of the year at the weekend and I wanted to get into the autumnal spirit. And so to Clissold Park to gather a satisfyingly crisp pile of dip-dyed fallen leaves, the shiniest of conkers and their spiky shells. A pumpkin and a squash, who have been spared the pot temporarily while I rejoice in my fall fantasy, complete the picture along with two splendid heathers, displaying every graduation of orange from ochre to burnt umber. Like Christmas, autumn deserves a riot of fabulous jewel-rich shades. It is not a time for pretty pastels and cool whites.

But the star of the show has to be the rescued runner. This is my precious chiffon of many colours. The self-same chiffon that was irredeemably paint splattered and ripped during the works and can no longer serve as a net curtain, but is too pretty to throw away.

And how much did it cost for total autumn immersion? £2.50 for the heathers, £3 for a pair of Halloween candle-holders that gripped me with their promise of better days to come while I was feeling in need of good cheer in Waitrose and £2.50 for the pumpkin and squash. £8 in all, which I will justify thus: it is less than a really nice bunch of autumn flowers and will last a lot longer. Plus, I will be eating the pumpkin and squash, the Halloween candle-holders will last forevermore and the heathers will sit nicely in my rather sad and defeated-looking borders. And it has made this rather tired, rather emotional and almost defeated blogger keep the smile on her face for another day. Bring on Halloween!

fall table - autumn decorations for harvest festival or halloween

Cambodian curry prawn amok

 

I actually wanted to photograph this bowl empty, as it’s so very beautiful. My favourite-ist newlyweds in the whole wide world gave it to me, along with a fabulous selection of exotic ingredients (some of which are pictured) as a thank you for performing my matron-of-honourly duties. I have been desperate to show it off ever since.

But then, thought I, I’m more of a bowl-half-full person (well, full-to-brimming, if truth be told). So I shall appreciate it daily, and fill it with all sorts of goodies so you can appreciate it too.

This is a lazy, slightly adapted, version of Gordon Ramsay’s fish amok. To turn this into a proper amok you’d have to follow his instructions—and his ingredients list. As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m not the world’s greatest fish-lover. That is, I love fish but I don’t like to cook it in a small flat and I prefer to eat it by the ocean. But prawns are the exception. God, I love a prawn.

Serves: 6

1 pack king prawns (shrimp) – cooked or raw

1 pack of prawns (shrimp) – cooked or raw (I use these tiddlers to make up the volume as King prawns are pricey)

2 cans coconut milk

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp palm sugar

Coriander (cilantro) to garnish

Vegetable oil for frying

Assorted vegetables (I used sugar snap peas, baby corn and a finely sliced carrot)

For the curry paste:

4 shallots, peeled and quartered

2 tsp turmeric

1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled

3 sticks lemon grass

6-7 kaffir lime leaves

2 tsp galangal paste

4 inches ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 tbsp shrimp paste

2 red chillies (seeds removed)

4 dried chillies

Whizz all the curry-paste ingredients in a blender. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a wok and flash fry the paste for less than a minute, stirring constantly so it doesn’t catch and burn. Pour in the coconut milk, then add the fish sauce and palm sugar. Stir and leave to simmer and thicken (approx 20 minutes).

If you are using raw prawns (if you’re anything like me, it just depends what’s on offer!), you’ll need to fry them separately. Add the cooked prawns to the curry sauce and leave to heat through for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetables, simmer for another two-three minutes and serve with rice or noodles and coriander to garnish. I like my veg crisp and crunchy for a nice contrast, but if you like yours soft, add with the prawns.

Thank you Mr and Mrs Smith – welcome home and I hope you had an incredible honeymoon!

 

 

 

 

 

guacamole

 

The first time I tried proper guacamole I was 17. I was at my friend Emily’s house, her parents were out and we were entertaining her French exchange. By entertaining, I mean incessant giggling and the odd shot of tequila. Food was taken seriously in that house and I’ve never tasted a guacamole that tasted as good since. Until now.

I had no intention of sharing this recipe. I was just using up some odds and ends. But then the husband said that it tasted like something Paddy would make. This is the highest form of praise that can ever be uttered in our household. Our friend Paddy is an incredible cook – I don’t know how he makes everything so flavourful and just downright delicious, but he does.

Anyhoo, I passed Ridley Road market on Friday after work and was amazed to see some traders still there. Packing up, but still calling to the crowd advertising rock bottom prices in an attempt to shift the last of their stock. It was like an episode of The Apprentice only without the worn clichés and bad grammar.

I picked up four avocados, 10 nectarines, a bowl of cherries and a punnet of strawberries for £2. Awesome. After a weekend of determined scoffing, a heavenly breakfast of cherry and basil compote plus a concerted effort to palm some off on the boys at supper club, I still had two (slightly squidgy) nectarines and two avocados left.

Serves: 4

2 avocados (squidgy)

3 spring onions, as finely chopped as you can get them

1 very ripe nectarine, finely chopped

1 tsp of salsa picante verde de chile habanero

A generous pinch of salt

A handful of coriander leaves, chopped

The juice of one and a half limes

As I said, I was just using up some odds and ends. I was playing. I chucked the onions, the avocado and coriander in a bowl and squeezed over the juice from one lime. I squished it together and tasted. It needed a kick. I didn’t have any fresh chilli, so I reached into the cupboard where I have several bottles of weird and wonderful things stashed. This particular bottle of fire is from Casa Mexico on Winkley Street. It’s hot as hell. I sloshed some in. Phew, it certainly had a kick now. I needed some sweetness to offset the heat. I cursed myself for not having any mango. And then I saw the nectarine. I went for it. More lime, a generous sprinkle of Maldon salt et voilà, holy Guacamole was born.

 

pie in the sky: roast chicken pie

The husband was dispatched to take care of the ingredients for last week’s supper club. I was too tired, too broke and had run out of every last scrap of inspiration.

I wasn’t surprised when he walked in with a roast chicken. The husband loves a roast chicken. I love a roast chicken. We all love a roast chicken. I was slightly surprised that he’d bought a roast chicken that was bigger than the average turkey. ‘Value,’ he pronounced proudly. ‘Great value compared to the smaller ones.’

It took two and a half hours to cook; supper club was more like breakfast club – but even after us four gannets had done our worst there was still a ridiculous amount leftover. Enough for a pie, no less. And now the evenings are drawing in and there’s a distinct chill in the air, the wind whispering ‘autumn’s here’ as it whistles past, a pie is in order.

Can anything be more pleasurable than stripping down a roast chicken? Especially when you scoop out the oysters, quickly glance over your shoulder to check no one’s looking and then pop them in your mouth. Consider it the cook’s privilege. Don’t worry mum, I washed my hands afterwards!

The husband was right, this chicken was good value. Roast chicken for four, pie for six (one large, two individual) and the stock I will make from the bones in due course – not to mention the gravy, all for £6. I am pretending to myself that this chicken lived in a little wood with plenty of space to roam free and was administered no growth hormones at all. Beggars can’t be choosers, as the saying goes.

pie in the sky: roast chicken pie

Serves: 6

The meat stripped from a large roasted chicken (I had two legs, wings and the odd scrap of breast plus the oysters that may or may not have made it into the pie. Ahem.)

1 punnet mushrooms, peeled and sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 glass white wine

A couple of sprigs thyme or rosemary if you have some in the garden

1 tub of leftover chicken gravy (I keep leftover gravy in the freezer)

1 tube pre-rolled puff pastry (no, I don’t make my own. Too time consuming and more expensive)

1 egg, whisked to brush over pastry

Preheat the oven to 200C. Fry the onion and mushrooms until soft, add in the chicken, then pour over the wine and gravy. Leave to simmer for a few minutes, until warmed through. If you have thyme in the garden, chuck in a couple of sprigs while it’s simmering.

Pour into a pie dish (individual or large), then top with a layer of pastry. Use any leftover pastry to decorate your pie top, pierce a couple of times to allow steam to escape while cooking, brush with egg then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden brown

Serve with new potatoes and broccoli.

Postscript: I have a huge roast planned to celebrate the start of autumn, so if you are wondering how I go about making roast chicken and/or gravy, then all will soon be revealed!

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