Wednesday, 25 July 2012

There's nothing in the fridge!

Yesterday morning I realised I'd planned nothing for dinner and wouldn't have time to go shopping. I looked in the fridge for inspiration and found: 
  • a chicken carcass
  • a lump of dried up Parmesan
  • a similar sized lump of Cheddar
  • half a butternut squash
  • two cold boiled new potatoes
  • two cooked baby beetroot
  • one tomato
  • a dozen green beans, the first from the garden this year
  • half of a hazelnut salami
  • half a bag of carrots
  • a tiny wedge of  cabbage
  • a head of Chinese leaves
  • a scraping of red pesto in the bottom of a jar
  • half a head of chicory
There were also the "usual culprits" - milk, eggs, butter (well, butter-like-substance) and a collection of half used jars of this and that. Oh, and a lettuce from the veg box of two  weeks  ago, unused because the salad came on all at once in the garden. I can't bear to throw things away but I have reached a point where I really, really dare not look inside the bag holding that lettuce......

First of all I stripped the meat from the chicken carcass and set it aside, then put the bones to boil up in lots of water with a carrot, an onion, some herbs from the garden and some peppercorns, cloves and mace to make stock. Since I work at home I could leave that to simmer for a couple of hours and get on with other things. Once it was cooked and all the bits sieved out, I chilled it and removed the fat.

Next I raided the cupboards  and found a little bit of hazelnut oil which I combined with olive oil and made some ultra-easy mayonnaise. To do this, I use the small goblet on my food processor and break in the whole egg, white included, and add seasoning and a scant teaspoonful of white wine vinegar. I  whizz it up to blend it and then with the motor still running, drizzle in the oil slowly until the mayonnaise reaches the right texture. It never fails to puzzle me how the more liquid you add, the thicker it gets! Nut oils are pretty strong  so you need to mix  them with at least as much of a light olive oil, rapeseed oil or corn oil, or they overpower everything in the salad.

I made the mayo very thick this time as at that point I was thinking of using it as a dip.


Next I finely diced a carrot and cooked it, adding a handful of frozen peas at the end. Actually, I bunged the green beans into the same pan to save time and fished them out afterwards, but you wouldn't do that would you? Then I  cooled them all under running water and mixed the carrots and peas with the finely diced beetroot and potato and some of the mayonnaise to make a rough version of that 1960s favourite, Russian Salad (do you remember when they used to sell that in tins? And do you remember how horrible it was?)


Well, this tastes a LOT better than it looks. Frankly, it looks rather like something you'd see on the pavement outside the kebab shop on a Saturday morning.... but it tastes a lot better. (DISCLAIMER - I have never tasted anything from off the pavement outside the kebab shop)

I cut the tomato into wedges and mixed it with the green beans I'd cooked earlier (are you keeping up at the back?) and a few Kalamata olives.


Finally I diced the butternut squash and made a risotto using the chicken stock I'd made earlier and some fresh sage. 

                                   

We had all that lot (well, there IS still some left, we're not quite that greedy) with some salad from the garden and a few slices of salami.

So now I either need to go shopping or create tonight's dinner from some scraps of cold chicken, Cheddar cheese, a bit more salami, the rest of the mayo,  red pesto,  Chinese leaves, cabbage and  chicory. Oh, and that antique lettuce. 

Where did I put my car keys?


1 comment:

  1. I love frugal cookery. In fact , my manky veg soup made with the manky veg found at the back of the fridge makes THE best soup. It's tastier than when I make it using fresh produce!

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