I have lost count of the number of meals I prepared over the Christmas and New Year period, but have now reached a point where we are simply using up the left overs. Tonight I will be making fish cakes with the salmon, left over from New Years Eve lunchtime. The salmon has already helped to provide for 14 and there’s a decent part left.
I was lucky, in that I was in the right place at the right time as the fishman in Sainsbury put out the new batch of whole salmon just before Christmas. It was marked at £8 and was suitable for home freezing, having not been previously frozen. I was unlucky, in that when I arrived home to put the salmon in the freezer I discovered that the small freezer which forms the bottom of my kitchen fridge was failing to keep the contents below -6c. This necessitated a clear out and sort out in order to fit the newly acquired salmon into the bottom of my much older utility freezer. Such is life.
My menu plan had not included a whole salmon. My menu plan was duly updated!
I defrosted the fish and cooked it in my fish kettle as directed by Jane Grigson, though with less salt, primarily due to the fact I didn’t have enough salt to make a stronger than sea water strength as she recommends. I also let it cool completely in the water overnight at the back of the garage as it was too late to stay up and sort it out the same evening as I cooked it! It is delicious.
Jane Grigson’s fish book is one of those recipe books which could be taken to bed to read: it is so interesting and full of far more than just set recipes, so I can recommend it highly.
One of my presents this year was a new slow cooker. I have had a slow cooker since the 80s, but last time I used it the seal separating the unit from the electrics became dislodged and I am a little concerned that it may not be reliable, or indeed safe. The new unit has a 6.5 l capacity. I made an old favourite recipe, adapted from an old M and S cookbook recipe for, ‘Gingered Beef.’ Ideal to come home to after an afternoon at the theatre
675 g (1.5 lbs) braising steak cut into 1” cubes
50 g (2 oz) flour
s & p
1.5 tsp powdered ginger
1 tablespoons grated root ginger (or more according to taste)
1 clove garlic crushed
2 onions peeled and sliced
1 x 225 g (8 oz) can tomatoes
300 mls stock
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 can red kidney beans
- Coat the meat with flour and ground ginger, s & p.
- Fry the meat to seal. Transfer to casserole dish
- Fry the root ginger garlic and onions till soft then add the rest of the flour and cook 1 minute.
- Gradually add the stock, toms, vinegar, honey, Worcs sauce. Season and bring to boil.
- Add this mixture to meat in casserole dish.
- Cook in slow cooker for 5-7 hours
- Add beans and stir in. Adjust seasoning replace lid and allow to come back up to temperature.
Incidentally the old slow cooker coped with cooking some spiced red cabbage to have with the casserole.
What was the best dish you had over the Christmas period?