Potato salad

Potato_Salad

This recipe appeared in Waitrose’s Kitchen magazine in May 2014. Enough for 4 people as a side dish:

  • 500g small new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil (good quality)
  • Juice 1/4 lemon
  • 4 spring onions (finely sliced)
  • 4 cornichons (chopped)
  • 1/2 tbsp capers (drained)
  • 6 sprigs of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh tarragon (finely chopped)

Cook the potatoes (boil for about 15-20 minutes until cooked).

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, oil and lemon juice in a large bowl.

Drain the potatoes (reserving 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid). Return to the pan, and allow to dry over a gentle heat for about 2 minutes.

Cut the warm potatoes in half and add to the mayonnaise mixture, together with the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to combine, and set aside to cool.

When cool add the spring onions, cornichons, capers and herbs.

I served mine with smoked mackerel, horseradish (combined with creme fraiche) and beetroot.

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Tartare sauce

Tartare_Sauce

I made smoked Smoked haddock fish cakes again, but this time with tartare sauce – enough for 2:

  • 2 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp low fat yogurt (this ‘extends’ the mayonnaise)
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 6 cornichons (drained and chopped)
  • 1 tbsp capers (drained and chopped)
  • Black pepper to taste

Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon juice. Stir in the cornichons and capers, and add black pepper to taste.

 

 

Another tuna lunchbox

Tuna_Lunchbox

No beetroot today.

This one consists of spicy tuna salad (omit the red kidney beans; add some black olives – enough for two servings), carrot sticks (they also serve as a barrier between the two salads), and little gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and fresh coriander salad).

Ham and pea soup

Ham-tile

If you’re after some good, hearty comfort food.  One of my favourites is ham and pea soup.

I often think that supermarket bacon joints are extremely overpriced.  But Sainburys’ Basics range comes to the rescue here.  They do 670gm packs of ‘Cooking Bacon’ for £1.10.  You need to be selective about the pack you buy as some of them consist of a number of small pieces of bacon and sometimes even slices.

Soak about 150gms of split peas in water overnight.  These are usually yellow split peas, you can find green ones in health food stores, but both colours seem to taste the same.

Put the bacon in a large saucepan/stockpot with about two litres of water, an onion (quartered), a leek, a stick of celery (all roughly sliced); add some parsley, thyme, pepper corns and bay leaf.  I usually add a sliced carrot, but on this occasion I didn’t have any. Bring to the boil and very gently simmer (until the bacon is really well cooked – so that it falls apart – I cooked mine for about 4 hours (barely simmering)).

When ready, remove the bacon and pull apart into small pieces using two forks.

Strain the stock (throwing away the cooked vegetables).  Drain the peas.  Chop another onion, and gently fry until soft in a clean pan along with a carrot, a leek and a celery stick (all sliced).  Add the peas and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are cooked (probably about 1.5 hours).  If it looks too thick just add some more boiling water.  Blend and return to the pan along with some of the pulled bacon.  Serve piping hot:

Ham and pea soup

What to do with rest of the ham?

CelereiacCeleriac remoulade – grated raw celeriac mixed with mayonnaise (with added whole grain mustard, low fat yogurt and lemon juice to taste); scatter with pulled ham – a good starter:

 

 

 

 

Ham and kale colcannon – mashed potato, sliced leeks cooked in butter, kale (shredded and briefly boiled) and pulled bacon:

Colcannon

Avocado pears

Most supermarkets now sell certain fruit as ‘perfectly ripe’. I’m not sure that the title is particularly truthful, although it’s probably fair to say that there is more chance of ‘perfectly ripe’ fruit ripening properly than the alternative (often labelled ‘for ripening at home’).

I’ve considered carrying out some kind of guerilla action involving sticky labels saying “you must be joking”, but I don’t really want to be banned from all the local supermarkets.

I do have specific complaints about avocados. The ones that aren’t ‘perfectly ripe’ are often as hard as bullets, and if put in fruit bowl with some bananas (that well recommended way of ripening fruit) they often go from being rock hard to brown and stringy, without ever passing through that ‘perfectly ripe’ phase somewhere in between.

My other issue is, that if you buy ‘perfectly ripe’ avocados, you always have to buy two. I did this the other day because I wanted to make guacamole (using one avocado) to go with chilli con carne. I decided to use the other avocado to make a rather 1960s salad: Prawn with (the pretentiously named) marie-rose sauce, avocado and rocket.

Not a great deal of effort went into this (for 2):Prawn_Salad

  • 150g frozen cooked prawns (defrosted)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 large squirts of tomato ketchup
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 ripe avocado (cut in half, stone removed, and the flesh removed from the skin and sliced)
  • Rocket
  • 2 tbsp oil and vinegar dressing
  • Cayenne pepper

Combine the mayonnaise with the yogurt, and mix in the tomato ketchup and lemon juice (the sauce should be a light pink colour). Mix in the prawns.

Toss the rocket and avocado slices in the salad dressing. Arrange the rocket and avocado on two plates. Spoon over the prawn mixture, and light dust with cayenne pepper.

Fish finger sales fall

fish-finger-sandwich

So says the Daily Telegraph.

I don’t intend to drill down to the basic figures. What struck me was the number of people in the comments section who waxed lyrical about fish finger sarnies – and I have to agree with them. My recipe would be:

  • 2 large slices of wholemeal bread (lightly toasted)
  • 4 fish fingers (grilled)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (flavoured with a little lemon juice – you could also add a little chopped gerkin)
  • A few crispy lettuce leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Spread the mayonnaise on one side of each piece of toast. Lay the fish fingers on top of one of the slices (the ‘mayonnaised’ side). Pile the lettuce on top. Season with black pepper and place the other slice of toast (‘mayonnaised’ side down) on top.

Cut in half and enjoy!