Friday, 29 April 2011

Piquant Kedgeree

Close observers of this blog may have noticed a tendency towards chilli-hot recipes. So here is my take on a dish that is always tasty but sometimes a little bland.


Large Frying Pan.
1 large Saucepan
1 smaller Saucepan
Large Mixing Bowl
Wooden Spoon
Garlic Press
Cooker - 3 rings.

Ingredients - 4 servings

3 fillets of smoked haddock.
1 serving of pre-cooked seafood medley*
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 large onion
2 cups of basmati rice
1 table spoon salt
1 table spoon garam marsala
1 table spoon hot chilli powder (or vary, to taste)
150 ml fresh soured cream
3 fat cloves of garlic
3 table spoons sunflower oil


The thing about cooking kedgeree is that the main ingredients are cooked separately, and then mixed together when they are ready.

The onion is chopped, and together with the haddock fillets and oil added to your largest, heated, frying pan. If your haddocks come with skin, keep it. It's good for you. Add the garlic, crushed, after a couple of minutes. All are lightly fried until the onions are soft and the haddock separates nicely into bite sized pieces. It won't take long. Meanwhile, hard-boil your eggs, and when they're done, chop them roughly. Furthermore meanwhile, cook your rice according to your preferred method, not forgetting the salt.

Next, assemble the dish. Everything you have cooked goes into a large mixing bowl, together with the seafood medley, the garam marsala, chilli powder and soured cream. Mix gently but thoroughly. And then you're done!

Serve for breakfast, lunch or tea. It's versatile, kedgeree, and I hope you like this variation on the theme.

Best wishes, 2RM.

*Most supermarkets do some sort of seafood medley, and it doesn't altogether matter what's in it. My preferred supplier does a pre-cooked mix of prawns, squid rings and mussels in 220g packs, but whatever you get in the same sort of line will do handsomely.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Offally Hot Hot Pot

Offal is one of those secret areas where what you get is simultaneously good for you, and tasty, and cheap. Don't tell anyone though, or they'll put the prices up. Anyway, here's a recipe that works well and doesn't take much effort. Once you've prepared everything, it just goes in the oven and leaves you time for that aperitif you can now afford by not buying premium cuts of meat.


Sharp cooking knife
2 x Frying pan.
Wooden spoon.
half-gallon Casserole
Garlic press
Large Mixing bowl
a Mandolin is good for slicing the potatoes thinly, but not entirely necessary.

Ingredients: serves 4 generously.

1.5 kg lambs offal. Kidneys, heart and liver all work well together.
2 good sized onions
4 fat cloves of garlic
3 or 4 carrots, sliced.
3 or 4 sticks of celery, sliced.
2 lamb oxo cubes.
3 tablespoons of worcester sauce
6 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
2 tablespoons of hot chilli powder (or vary, to taste)
1 tablespoon of salt.
4 large potatoes, sliced very thin.
500ml of water.
4 tablespoons of cooking oil.
herbs to suit - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are a classic choice.


Dice the offal into bite sized pieces. Add to your mixing bowl with the flour, salt and chilli powder. Agitate until everything is nicely coated. In a hot frying pan, and a little oil, sear the meat. Meanwhile, fry up the onions, garlic, carrots and celery until the onions are soft and beginning to brown around the edges. Add everything you've done so far into your casserole, together with the water, herbs, oxos and worcester sauce. Finally, layer your sliced potatoes on top. Then, the whole lot goes into a pre-heated 170c oven for an hour and a half. Serve with any veg, but I find roast parsnips and steamed runner beans are just great with this.

Hope you try it, hope you like it.

Best wishes, 2RM.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Sesame Noodles

I'm a recent convert to noodles; I have tended to avoid them before now for reasons of ignorance. On experimenting, however, I find they are are quick to cook and tasty to eat. And that seems like a fine recommendation to me.


1 large saucepan
1 wok
1 stirring spoon.

Ingredients - serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side.

3 plaits of egg noodles
about the same volume of beansprouts
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

optional extras: baby corn, sliced green beans, seafood medley, crushed garlic, anything else that will stir-fry.


Cook the noodles according to packet instructions (generally boiling for 3-4 minutes)
Heat the wok.
Add the sesame seeds, and dry fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the oils.
On the top level of heat, fry the seeds until they start to brown.
Add everything else, and keep stirring and frying. You really need only to heat everything rather than cook everything. It should only take a couple of minutes at most.

Serve, hot and crisp, and perhaps with a herb garnish, to your grateful family and friends.

Best wishes, 2ndRateMind.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Broth Mix

In the UK, this is readily available from supermarkets. It adds body to a soup or a stew, for very little money. But, if you can't get it, here is how:


1 cup orange split lentils
1 cup green whole lentils
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup dried yellow split peas
1 cup dried small, green split peas.


Just mix them all together, and add a cup at a time to any dish that needs a little more substance. They'll need to simmer for an hour or so.

Best, 2RM.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Never-ending Stew

You should not take any of the following as definitive. It is an idea, not a commandment. And the idea was to make 4 chicken legs last as long as possible, assuming 1 person with a healthy appetite, eating once a day.


1/2 or 1 gallon stockpot
Sharp knife
Cooker (1 ring)
Garlic Press


Day One

4 Chicken legs
4 slices of diced bacon
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 Oxo cubes, vegetable or chicken
2 medium onions
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 celery sticks
1 cup of broth mix.
half a bottle of (budget) white wine.
A litre of boiling water.

Herbs of your choice.

Day 2

Add some leeks and carrots

Day 3

Add some mushrooms

Day 4

Add some diced rabbit, or whatever appeals.

Day 5

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Method: Cook as you would expect. The bacon, celery, onions and garlic go into a stockpot, with the oil. Then fry 'til the onions are transparent, and then the chicken goes in. When it's browned, the water, the Oxo cubes, the broth mix, the herbs, and the white wine go in. Simmer for an hour or so, and serve each leg with rice, potatoes or cous-cous.

Clearly this base forms a stock for whatever you want to eat, indefinately. If, between meals, it is kept in the fridge, it will last. And if, before meals, you simmer it for at least twenty minutes, you should be safe from nasty bacteria. All you need do is add some kind of nutrient each time you heat it up - and, if you have no new nutrients, heat it up anyway and enjoy.

Best, 2RM

Friday, 26 February 2010

Root Soup

There is nothing quite like a hearty soup and crusty bread in mid-winter. And this soup must be at least 2 of your 5-a-day, and, if you eat enough of it, possibly all 5. What's more, it's frugal, and all the more so if you use the recipe to use up slightly tired vegetables from the back of your fridge. (Note: I am not suggesting you eat anything mouldy, or that smells questionable. Just veggie remains that would otherwise be thrown away, as less than appetising as features on their own.)


Kitchen knife
Chopping board
Garlic crusher
1/2 gallon cooking pot with lid
Cooker, 1 fast ring
Hand blender

Ingredients (4 generous servings, and a bit left over for stock):

50g butter
3 rashers of bacon, chopped small
2 onions, chopped fine
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sticks of celery, chopped fine

2 carrots, diced
2 small turnips, diced
1/2 swede, diced
2 parsnips, diced
1 potato, diced
(or, any other combination of diced root vegetables, to the weight of 1kg)

1 cup pearl barley
2 litres of boiling water
1 tsp each of dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste.


Melt the butter in your pot. Add the bacon, onions, celery and garlic. Fry gently until the onions are soft. Add the diced root vegetables, pearl barley, water and herbs. Simmer, covered on a low heat, for an hour or so, or until the pearl barley is soft, adding extra water as necessary. Towards the end, blitz with a hand blender briefly, but leaving some chunks for texture.

Serve with granary bread for dunking.

Best, 2ndRateMind

Friday, 19 February 2010

A Knowledge Share

One of the things about being a student is that you grow up in a protected environment. One of the things about growing up is that you learn to prioritise your spending. And the way I learned to prioritise my spending within that protected environment has never really left me: It goes: bills, books, booze, and then food. The only problem with this schema is that a restricted budget leaves you precious little to spend on booze, and rather less than that for food.

But, there are some books that help with that situation; here are 12 money saving recommendations:

If you don't already have them, buy them at the rate of one a month or so, over the course of the next year, and in whatever order appeals to you. I guarantee they will have paid for themselves within that time.

Best wishes, 2ndRateMind.