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Hotchpotch pollock salad

In Recipes on May 20, 2009 at 18:25

pollock mess

***Supper diem Soundtrack: Fiery Furnaces***

This was a bit of a mish-mash to say the least…plenty of protein though!


2 smoked pollock fillets (£1.67)
1 can borlotti beans (£0.30)

1 avocado (£0.50)

two tomatoes (£0.25)

spring onion (£0.05)

Approx cost: £2.80



Poach the pollock in some milk, gently, until it starts to flake.  Then drain.  Put into a bowl with the drained borlotti beans, chunks of tomato, avocado pieces, spring onion, and some salt and pepper.


Washing up count: One bowl, One knife, One pan, One chopping board = 4.

File under: experimental…


Sage and mustard trout on a bed of veg, with Citrus smoothie for dessert.

In Recipes on May 19, 2009 at 15:03

trout and anya potatoes

***Supper diem Soundtrack: Jason Lytle – new album***

This meal was a response to the Guardian food blog post that encouraged readers to engage with their dinner for a fiver idea. The sage and mustard flavours go really well with the trout, and the potatoes and beans have their own chilli butter dressing. After some strong flavours with the fish the smoothie cleanses the palate with some subtle citrus, with an added zesty bite.

And it all comes in at less than £4 for two people which can’t be bad!



Trout: (£1.95)

2 trout fillets @ £1.67

teaspoon dijon mustard @ £0.10

2 teaspoons sage, chopped (free from the garden)

1 teaspoon mint, chopped (free from the garden)

half a lemon @ £0.13

good grind of pepper @ £0.05

Vegetables: (£1.03)

250g anya potatoes, sliced lengthways into 3-4 strips @ £0.25 (£1 for a 1kg bag)

100g dwarf green beans, trimmed @ £0.33 (a third of a £1 bag)

half a green chilli @ £0.15

teaspoon of capers, drained, @£0.15

25g butter @ £0.15

Smoothies: (£0.99)

one orange @ £0.30

one banana @ £0.25

half a lime @ £0.09

the rest of the lemon juice from above

half a cup of milk @ £0.10

half a cup of low fat yoghurt @£0.20

tablespoon of sugar £0.05

3 ice cubes, free!

Total Cost: £3.97



Make the coating for the trout using a teaspoon of mustard and the roughly chopped sage and mint. Add one squeeze of your lemon half, saving the rest for the smoothie. Also add a tablespoon of water and a grind of pepper. Taste and adjust water according to palate, but the hotter the better.

Prepare the vegetables and place in a steamer over a medium heat, and cook for 10 minutes.

Coat the trout with the sage and mustard mixture, before putting under a medium grill for 10 minutes.

While those are cooking also melt the butter in a pan with the finely chopped green chilli and capers. Keep warm.

Make the smoothie by combining all of the ingredients and blending together (I just used a hand held blender). Pour into serving glasses. Use a zester or fine grater to harvest some zest from the lime, lemon and orange peel and sprinkle on top. Place in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.

Once the vegetables are cooked arrange on your plate before drizzling on the chilli butter. Lay the trout fillet on top, adding another grind of pepper if you wish.

Easy peasy!


Washing up count: loads…

***supper diem***

Lentil and aubergine curry

In Recipes on May 18, 2009 at 12:27

Lentil Curry

***Supper diem Soundtrack: Dangermouse/Sparklehorse***

So we still had half of that paneer left over from last week’s dinner…it was lying there in the fridge looking sorry for itself so I thought I would do the decent thing and cut it into small pieces before heating it up in a pan and then eating it.  It was its destiny.



1 Medium Aubergine, diced (£1.30)

75g paneer, cuboided (£0.70)

Half a red onion, finely chopped (£0.15)

3 cloves of garlic, crushed (£0.10)

1 red chill, finely chopped and deseeded (£0.20)

Half a cup of lentils (£0.25)

2 tsp cinammon (£0.10)

2 tsp cumin seeds (£0.10)

1 tsp fennel (£0.05)

1 tsp turmeric (£0.05)

1 tsp garam masala (£0.05)

1 tsp Bouillon powder (£0.05)

1 tbsp veg oil (£0.05)

half a cup long grain rice (£0.20)

mango chutney on the side (£0.20)

Approx cost: £3.55



Now some people think you should give the aubergine some serious preparation before using it in your dish, salting it to remove excess moisture and its underlying bitterness.  Well in this case I was in a rush so didn’t have time to do that, and thought that in a curry it would be okay, taking on the flavours of the spices.

After prepping the veg I started off with the garlic, then onions, and finally the chilli going into a some oil brought to a medium heat in a wok.  After a while they had softened and started to brown, so I added the cumin and fennel seeds.  In went the aubergine, and I admit it did look quite bitter, but that was to do with an unfortunate and embarassing incident that occured between us last week that I can’t go into.  After a few minutes I then stirred in the lentils, making sure they were well coated, before adding the teaspoon of bouillon.  I then added some water a little at a time, letting the lentils absorb the moisture before inundating them again.  I didn’t add all the water at once as sometimes this leads to the lentils losing their texture and the whole curry becoming quite stodgy.  When they had softened somewhat and were on their way to being cooked I added the diced paneer.  It won’t melt, it just softens a little and gives the dish another texture.

After it had cooked through for a while I added the rest of the spices and a little more water as it had started to dry out a little.  Like I said, better to hold back with the moisture until things have cooked and you know where you stand.

While the curry was finishing cooking I made the rice using the normal recipe, though I didn’t add any spices or flavourings like I sometimes do.

It turned out really well, the aubergine wasn’t bitter at all, although it had absorbed a little of the moisture.  It can handle a long cooking time it seems, as can the paneer, both holding their shape but giving a little in terms of tenderness.

Very tasty and all polished off without and leftovers, although there were slight seconds…


Washing up count: wok, two wooden spoons, chopping board, knife, teaspoon, tablespoon = 7.

***supper diem***

Anchovy garlic and chilli pasta

In Recipes on May 15, 2009 at 10:03

pasta 002

***Supper diem Soundtrack: Sun Kil Moon***

AKA Bad Breath Bucatini.  It was a long and tiring Thursday and so we ate quite late and hadn’t really given much thought to what we would have, so it was a look in the cupboard and see what we can make kind of deal.

So in the end we just made this very simple pasta, simple in ingredients but as you might expect, with some very powerful flavours!



2 servings Bucatini (£0.20)

1 red chilli finely sliced (£0.10)

3 cloves garlic chopped (£0.05)

1 tin anchovies, in olive oil and herbs (£0.70)

chopped olives, handful (£0.10)

lots of pepper.

Approx cost: £1.15



Start the bucatini cooking before you start cooking the other things, as they wont take long at all.  In another pan add the garlic and chilli and cook for a few seconds in some oil at a medium heat.  Then add the anchovies and olives and heat through, breaking up the little salty beggars so they’re spread throughout the other ingredients.

When the bucatini is cooked, drain and toss together with the other ingredients.  Serve and perhaps drizzle with a little extra olive oil if that is your custom.  Pepper the whole lot up and get eatin’.


Washing up count: two pans, two spoons, chopping board, knife = 6.

***supper diem***


In Recipes on May 14, 2009 at 15:10


***Supper diem Soundtrack: Peter Broderick***

What do you do when you haven’t got all the ingredients for a specific dish? In this case I had some courgette that I wanted to use up, and that always hints at ratatouille to me. Unfortunately we didn’t have all the ingredients, so I ended up making something that was a hybrid between stew and ratatouille.



Half a courgette, sliced (£0.20)

Half an onion (£0.10)

Half a red pepper, finely sliced (£0.35)

Tin tomatoes (£0.30)

one small leek, cut into thick slices (£0.30)

two spring onions, chopped (£0.10)

can butterbeans (£0.30)

teaspoon bouillon

teaspoon dijon mustard

teaspoon mixed herbs

salt and pepper

Approx cost: £1.65



After prepping all the ingredients it was sauted bit by bit, starting with the onions, then the spring onions, before adding the leeks and red pepper. It is important not to saute the leeks for too long otherwise they will break up. Then add the tomatoes and the bouillon and simmer for a good 10 minutes until everything is nice and soft. Add the butterbeans, as well as the herbs and the salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of water it it’s getting too thick. I would have added some basil but we were fresh out. I added a teaspoon of mustard to give it a bit of a kick. Optional but I like it. Could have added some paprika maybe, and I had run out of garlic otherwise that would have joined the fun too. After another 10 or so minutes it’s ready. We didn’t have anything on the side, but we were having home made muffins for afters so it was important to save some pudding space!


Washing up count: pan, knife, spoons, chopping board = 4.

***supper diem***

Paneer Pasta

In Recipes on May 12, 2009 at 22:35

paneer pasta1

***Supper diem Soundtrack: Bill Callahan***

I liked this meal a lot, and it was very simple to make.  Spaghetti this time instead of Bucatini, along with a sauce based around tomatoes and lentils, with a few vegetables and some diced paneer.

Paneer is an indian soft cheese that is quite easy to make, although in this instance it was pur-chased from Kairali Spice Centre (a good little shop on Pen Y Wain road off Wellfield Road).  It doesn’t melt like other cheeses can, so holds its shape even though it has been added to a hot sauce.  It is quite plain on first bite, but an underlying creaminess comes through…



2 servings spaghetti (£0.20)

Half a courgette, sliced (£0.30)

Half a red pepper, sliced (£0.30)

Half a carrot, diced (£0.10)

50 g paneer, diced (£0.50)

Half a cup of lentils (£0.10)

Three mushrooms, sliced (£0.25)

Teaspoon bouillon (£0.05???)

Half a red onion, chopped (£0.20)

Two cloves garlic, chopped (£0.05)

Can of tomatoes (£0.35)

Approx cost: £2.50



We start with the combo of pan-hob-oil-heat.  Then add the chopped onion and chopped garlic, sizzling it to a soft golden brown.  You can add the veg in any order really, but maybe hold back on the mushrooms for a bit.  When the contents of the pan have become well acquainted with each other stir in the lentils, and once they are well mixed in add the tomatoes.  I like using tinned plum tomatoes and then squashing each one into a saucy pulp with the wooden spoon.  It’s satisfying and in no way indicative of an underlying disorder on my part.  Use said spoon to encourage the well acquainted ingredients to become rather more intimate, making sure there is no courgette untouched by the red taint of tomato, and add the bouillon, or a vegetable stock cube.  Leave to simmer for a bit, and if the lentils look like they’re sucking all the moisture out then add just enough the return the sauce to a more agreeable viscosity.  Add the mushrooms too, as well as the diced paneer.  Simmer for another 5-10 minutes until everything is cooked and looking nice, dab in a teaspoon and give it a taste, before seasoning with salt and pepper as required (maybe just the pepper).

By now you will have cooked your spaghetti, so dish it all up, sauce on top, and maybe give the spaghetti a little drizzle of olive oil and extra grind of pepper if that takes your fancy.

It’s a more than adequate substitute for a meaty bolognese.  (If I keep saying it I might start believing it…no, really, it was delicious, and cheap to boot!)


Washing up count….you know what, I can’t remember! Not that much though.

***supper diem***

Four salad platter

In Recipes on May 12, 2009 at 14:32

salads 007

***Supper diem Soundtrack: School of Seven Bells***

This was an easy meal thrown together on a sunny weekend when we didn’t feel much like cooking.  Four different salads: potato pesto, cous cous with pepper and mushroom, chick pea with tomato and basil, and spicy mackerel.

Potato pesto was just some new potatoes diced and then cooked, left to cool, and then combined with the remnants of a jar of pesto and a jar of mayonnaise.

Cous cous was combined with sliced red pepper and sliced mushroom that had been cooked with some butter and garlic.

The chick peas were put together with some finely chopped tomato and basil, as well as a dressing of olive oil with a dash of cider vinegar.

The mackerel came from a tin, and was sauted with some red onion and two teaspoons of garam masala.

Served with a dollop of cottage cheese on the side as well…

This was a good meal for using up a mish mash of ingredients with minimal effort.  Plenty of washing up after though!

***supper diem***

Seafood Noodle Soup

In Recipes on May 8, 2009 at 12:13

noodle soup

*** Supper diem Soundtrack: Jason Lytle. ***



Cooked mussel meat (£1)

Half a red pepper, sliced (£0.35)

One red tomato, cut into eighths (£0.10)

Half a carrot, peeled and sliced with the peeler (£0.05)

Two shallots, sliced (£0.15)

Two servings dry noodles (£0.30)

Red chilli, finely chopped

Tsp ginger, finely chopped

Tbsp vegetable oil

One fish stock cube

One tbsp soy sauce

One tbsp brown sugar

One tbsp coconut oil

Approx cost: £2.25



Put a pan of water on to boil, ready for the noodles. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a wok or frying pan before adding the shallots and chilli, as well as the ginger. Stir fry gently for 2-3 minutes before adding the red pepper and tomato. Depending on your hob the pan of water should be near boiling now, so pop in the fish stock cube and when it has dissolved add the noodles. With our electric hobs you can then turn them off and the residual heat will cook the noodles. Doesn’t work as well for gas, but you can just reduce them down to a simmer.

Add the mussel meat to the wok, along with the other ingredients, stirring to make sure everything is combined and dissolved. Once the noodles are cooked, drain only half of the water from them before adding to the wok. Let it all combine for a minute or so, and then you’re ready to serve!

This would have been even better with some more seafood, maybe some prawns or squid, but the mussels were all we had! Maybe also some Pak Choi or something. It was very nice though, although I could have done with a bit more chilli (we only had a small one). There was plenty left for seconds, and the thin sauce was a nice combination of flavours, with a little sweetness from the sugar and coconut oil, also an underlying sourness from the soy sauce. Sour and sweet I think I’ll call it.


Washing up count: Wok, saucepan, chopping board, knife, 3 spoons = 7.

***supper diem***

Basic Bucatini

In Recipes on May 7, 2009 at 11:59


Only the second pasta dish to find it’s way onto the SD blog, which is odd because  I love it.  It’s filling,  so so quick, and it’s really healthy if you don’t load it with cheese (or eat too much!)

This one I made up with some bucatini bought from the supermarket.  I’ve never had it before, but it’s nice to have a change.. essentially it’s just ordinary spaghetti with a hole running through the middle, which makes sucking pieces up slightly harder!  For the other ingredients I just raided the fridge, although I did go to the veg shop specially to get the basil.  We should really get growing our own again…

– SD –


Dried bucatini, a handful (£0.25)

Basil, a good handful chopped up (£0.40)

Tomatoes, 6 cherry and one standard size – what was left (£0.80)

Black olives, approx. 15 sliced up (£0.15 – from a giant jar)

7 Garlic cloves, in sunflower oil and chilli (the preserved kind from a jar) (£0.40 – I bought them reduced a while back)

Olive oil

Approx cost: £2.00

– SD –


I brought a pan of water to the boil, and gently pushed the pasta down into it so all the pieces stayed intact, and left to cook for approx. 10 minutes.

Using a little olive oil, and a bit of the chilli oil from the jar of garlic I gently cooked the tomatoes until the skins were all wrinkly and then took them from the heat.

Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I  stirred in the basil, olives and tomatoes and drizzled a little more olive oil and chilli oil into it, and kept stirring until all the pasta was nicely coated.

I then garnished with a little bit of fresh basil and lots of black pepper and served.  Simple.

– SD –

Washing up count. Two saucepans, one wooden spoon, a spaghetti spoon, sharp knife, and a teaspoon for scooping stuff out of jars = 6.  If we’re adding and taking away points for washing up effort then it’s more realisticly a 3, because it was all easy to wash up.

Marinated tuna* steak with pesto salad

In Recipes on May 6, 2009 at 10:21


*(or marin8d 2na if you prefer)

After a bank holiday weekend of barbeques and takeaway it was time to get back to some home cooking! We had a couple of tuna steaks sitting in the fridge along with half a jar of pesto and that was the starting point. We don’t often have tuna steak as it’s quite pricey, but it’s worth it once in a while. It turned out to be a simple and very enjoyable supper.




2 x tuna steaks (£3.50)

two cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp water

2 tsp sunflower oil

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp grated ginger

Pesto salad:

Half a jar pesto (£0.50)

Can of black eye beans, drained (£0.50)

7/8 vine cherry tomatoes, halved (£0.45)

Half a red pepper, sliced (£0.35)

Salt and pepper


Cous cous.

Approx cost: £5.50



***Obviously wash your hands thoroughly before beginning, and if you sneeze into the preparation bowl don’t tell anyone…if an old couple walk in followed by a little kid then what are you doing in a lift when you should be in a kitchen?***

First thing to do was prepare the marinade for the fish. Basically, chop the garlic, grate the ginger, measure everything out into a bowl and mix together. Grab your tuna steaks and plonk them in the bowl, giving them a good rub with the mixture to make sure they are coated with bits of garlic and ginger and the soy-sugar delights. Then leave in the bowl for a good 20-30 mins.

Might as well then press on with the salad, which is basically a combination of the listed ingredients in a bowl. Make sure the beans are well drained, maybe in a sieve or something similar. Easier than trying to drain from the tin when rogue beans may try to escape into the sink and sit stuck in the plughole. Anyway, chuck it all in and stir it up to get everything covered in the pesto. There’ll be plenty there, and we had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Once the fish has been soaking up the flavours for the required time, heat an oiled griddle pan or similar on the hob until it’s super hot, then pan fry the steaks for about 2 minutes each side. You don’t want to overcook it in the middle, and so basically it’s like cooking beef steak. Just do it until the outside is seared ‘n’ sealed and you’re good to go.

While you’re doing that get some cous cous on the go if you want, or something similar. It doesn’t matter too much what you serve up with the tuna, it knows it’s the main event and has enough self-esteem to handle whatever you put with it. Feel free to go wild with your accoutrements.


Washing up count: mixing bowl, 2 spoons, griddle pan, salad bowl, fish slice, tongs = 7. n.b. a fish tarnished griddle pan should really count about 10 it was a worthy adversary in the washing up bowl. It now sits defeated on the draining rack, but it put up a good fight!