Just look at these bargains!

~  Menu  ~

Smoked Salmon with Copious amounts of Black Pepper
Sour Cream and Chives
Hot Freshly Baked Roll
Glass of White Wine
68p the lot!

I had a wonderful lunch today, not particularly seasonal but totally delicious and so cheap!!!  The smoked salmon cost 30p, the sour cream abut 3p and the roll ... 0.66p!!!  I love a bargain, me.

Isn't this just amazing?  

2p for 6 part baked rolls which were perfectly utterly good and went straight in the freezer when I got home.  The same with the smoked salmon but now I have thawed it I'd better eat the other half this evening.  I didn't freeze the sour cream and chives and it is now a day out of date but, being a bit of a rebel, I am now eating it anyway and it tastes fine, fine, fine. 

The half glass of wine cost about the same as the meal but at 68p the lot I'm not complaining.

What to do with Five Pears for 8p!

pears ripening on the windowsill

~  Menu  ~

Salad of Blue Cheese & Sugar Spiced Walnuts
Pear Vinaigrette
Glass of  Merlot
Handful of Grapes

A few days ago we bought 5 pears for 8p.  I think they were Red Anjou, they were large and firm so I put them on the window sill (together with some of the out of date flowers my real man is constantly buying at 30p a bunch) to ripen a little. Yesterday I peeled and sliced them, nibbled the cores, tossed the fruit with light brown sugar and baked them at 375ºF/190ºC/170ºC fan/gas 5 till tender.

a dish of roasted pears

 And what did I do next? Well ...

The first thing I made was a Pear Sponge for my real man, I prefer crumbles it was his turn to choose. See here for the sponge recipe.

That used about half so today I took a spoonful to make the dressing for my lunch. This was an old favourite on my menus in the West Indies although it could in no way be considered a tropical dish.  For the sugar spiced walnuts see here  they are great with loads of things or just on their own.

Pear Vinaigrette - 2 ways

The way I make this vinaigrette from scratch ...

1 large almost ripe pear
150ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp runny honey
200ml olive oil

~   Peel, slice and simmer the pear in the vinegar till tender and the vinegar has gone!
~   Put the pear in a liquidiser or food processor together with the honey and whilst running gradually add the olive oil till the dressing has emulsified.
~   Taste and season.

The way I did it today ...

1 tbsp sweet cooked pear
½ tbsp cider vinegar
60ml olive oil

~   I just puréed the lot and seasoned generously with black pepper.  It wasn't quite the same as my original recipe but was very good and worked well with the blue cheese and the nuts.

I have two other plans for the rest of the pears ...

2.   Any day now I am going to make Buttered Rum and Ginger Ice Cream. We had planned to have it for Christmas but had Far Too Much Food which we are still trying to eat up, so ... later on that one.  Not too much later though because it will be a humdinger with some pears!

In Other News 

I have just read in an article on how to "think like a chef" ...

BEFORE YOU START COOKING, put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine, fruit juice or iced tea. A relaxed, composed cook is a more efficient one.

In more than 30 years working as a chef I never knew that was the way to start work!  

Easiest, Deliciousest Pâté from leftover Salmon!

~  Menu  ~

Sudden Salmon Pâté
Toasted Sourdough
White Wine Spritzer
A Marvellous Chocolate Experience
Black Coffee

I always find salmon rather filling and as it is one of my favourite meals leftovers occur frequently, today I mashed up about 60g of leftover salmon with the remains of a packet of Boursin which was about  a tablespoon (isn't Boursin yummy by the way!) and a similar sized dollop of roasted garlic mayonnaise.  It worked very well, I thought it would.

salmon pate made with Boursin and roasted garlic

Lindor Balls!

My lunchtime pudding was rather special.  This year Santa brought me a great deal of chocolate and such like (I'd been very good) including a bag of wonderful Lindor thingies.  When I went to eat some I found that being near the fire the middles had melted.  Lush! 

They were difficult to unwrap due to being soft but well worth the patience because once in the mouth the chocolate shell broke open to release a gush of lovely liquid chocky goo.

melted middle lindor balls
I got the picture off the Lindt site; I hope they don't mind but it just about sums up how lovely an experience my lunch pudding was. I turned the image upside down to more accurately portray the melted filling pouring down my throat.  I had a cup of black coffee with these for lunch and for dinner pudding ate the same thing but with a brandy.  Sadly they are all gone now.


I love the above salmon pâté it has become one of my favourite lunches - these days I add a splash of sweet chilli sauce too.  Try it!

"The Perfect Egg" by Aldo Buzzi - an enthusiastic Review

lovely little book of food writing
A while ago I bought this lovely little book in a charity shop, what a wonderful find.  I keep it by me to dip into whilst waiting for something e.g. for my man to come back to the car, or the kettle to boil, that sort of thing.

This collection of 39 essays on the matter of food and food related ponderings is a joy to read, erudite, funny, thoughtful, mouth watering, the writing is sublime and, as the Mail on Sunday says (although I don't always agree with them, I do here) ...

“Scrumptious … the recipes here are almost incidental, stirred in with snatched of travelogue and languorous memoir that set each in time and place.”

There are indeed a few recipes in the book but as the Mail on Sunday put it they are almost incidental, they are also in some cases a little strange such as this boiled egg recipe from a fifteenth century chef ...

Put fresh eggs into cold water and allow them to boil for the duration of a  Paternoster or a little longer!

For more information on boiling eggs, how long they take and other ways to cook eggs see here.

Aldo Buzzi seems to have been quite a guy; he was an architect, a food and travel writer and seems to have done quite a lot in the film industry from set design to screenwriting.  He lived to be 99.  

The Perfect Egg was published in Italian in 1979 and, luckily for me, was translated into English by one Guido Waldman and published in 2005.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough - get it from Amazon here. 

I shall certainly be looking out for his other writings, A Weakness for Almost Everything which was published in English in 1999 sounds particularly appealing.

Thank you Mr. Buzzi.

Aldo Buzzi