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Salmon chanted evening - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Salmon chanted evening
A tasty, easy, relatively quick & reasonably nutritious meal based on cheap stuff from the Co-op and storecupboard stuff:

Take 4 salmon steaks and put them in an ovenable dish with 1 fennel bulb (sliced), some crushed garlic, some of a lemon (juice squeezed over the fish and squeezed-out skins thrown in as well) and about half a pint of stock (half a veggie oxo cube). Stick it in the oven for 25 minutes at 180°C. Serve with green beans and couscous.

We drank: Cairn o'Mohr Autumn Oak Leaf wine.

A few notes about prices and availability, for posterity/interest/whatever:

The salmon steaks were £5 for the pack in the Co-op. I was sort of intending it to be enough to do for another day (or maybe for my lunch tomorrow) but we were both hungry and before we knew it we'd eaten the lot (omnomnomnom). Fennel was half price (49p) and green beans were reduced to 99p for the pack (I used about half of them), though I only realised later that they were from Kenya so a bit of a bad move on the food-miles front there. Couscous was in the cupboard and I can't remember how much it cost but it lasts forever and goes with everything. Garlic and oxo are things I always have in; I had to buy the lemon (I wish lemons lasted longer; I do freeze lemon slices for drinks, maybe I should freeze half-lemons for throwing in soups and fish stuff).

I'd forgotten we had the wine, but I found it when I was looking for some white wine & today was definitely autumnal. It was quite strong, dry in flavour but not in feel (if you see what I mean) and while it probably wasn't the best thing for that meal it was certainly tasty.

And some general related rambling:

We had salmon a bit like this when my mum and I went to visit Mémé and Pépé (my grandma and grandad) last week, only with onion instead of the fennel, and potatoes and various salads as accompaniment. That's Mémé's idea of a small quick lunch. (She loves salmon and often cooks it for us when we visit; when I was younger I remember she sometimes used to do a whole salmon with prawns and lettuce around the outside. It was amazing, display food but delicious as well.) After lunch Pépé was reminiscing about how when they were first married, Mémé had made a different meal every single night for a year ("bah, it was only really for the first 6 months", she chipped in). That was in 1950. I don't think I could make a different meal every night for a month without resorting to recipe books (unless you count "pasta and X", for every sensible value of X, as different meals), and I don't have rationing to contend with.

I don't aspire to being able to cook fancy food or invent innovative combinations of ingredients; all I really want to be able to do is what my parents and my grandmother did before me and still do now: make tasty and healthy food with which to feed a family. I'm still learning, slowly.

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Comments
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 24th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm running a little group called "Feed your family for health and beauty for tuppence"; slow start so far but may be of interest?
j4 From: j4 Date: November 24th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds marvellous! Where do I sign up? :)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 24th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
NB of course if I was trying to do the above as a cheap meal I'd've probably used cheaper fish, or insisted that those four salmon steaks were enough for four people (with more filling stuff to go with, e.g. another veg and some potatoes instead of the couscous, and something for afters).
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 24th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I reckon that as a young professional couple you splashing out on what looks like a decent meal for two for about 4 quid a head is hardly extravagant.

Lemons freeze very nicely in all kinds of forms. You can also pack them, sliced, skin well-scrubbed but left on, in lumpy salt in a glass jar with a lot of plastic between jar and metal lid, forget about them for a couple of months, and hey presto! Preserved lemon for use in tagines, chicken dishes, or to stir into the ubiquitous couscous with yoghurt.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 24th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah but as a young professional couple every penny we earn is supposed to be being saved towards Buying A House, innit. :-/ Also, I dunno, I have no idea what one is "supposed to" spend on food, and we don't tend to do a Big Weekly Shop so it's hard to see how much we are spending, so I always feel like I'm probably spending too much. There's also the nagging feeling that if I was just better at making things go further, and boiling carcasses for stock and stuff like that then I'd actually be able to feed our hypothetical family of 7 for a month for only half a crown. Eh, I dunno. But 8 quid a day for a meal for two = 56 quid a week! That sounds like the sort of "big shop" that my parents used to do for four of us once a week, and that included stocking up on storecupboard stuff and things.

Not sure what you mean about "a lot of plastic between jar and metal lid" but otherwise the lemon-preserving sounds like a Plan. Do you then keep them in the salt or take them out? I do freeze lemon slices but that's mostly for putting in GIN. :-) And our freezer coats everything in huge oceans of ice.

Oh I don't know. Sometimes it just seems like everything I spend money on is Bad. I mean what's the point of any of it?
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 24th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
IWNC: wrap the top of the jar in clingfilm to keep the salt + acid off the metal.

that 4 quid a head included the wine which i did not amortise over its drinking period assuming you didn't kill it between you in one sitting.

More anon. Fret not. The point is the fun of it, but why pretend you're feeding a fam of 7 when you aren't there yet?

xxxxx
livredor From: livredor Date: November 24th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
A great deal of inflation has happened since your parents were feeding a family of four, and the price of food has gone up since then too even after correction for inflation. Frugal is good, but don't set completely unrealistic goals. I also feel guilty about not being a good enough housekeeper, by the way, so I sympathize.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 24th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

p.s.

[sekrit vice] I read cookbooks the way some people read Proper Books [/sekrit vice] and the older the better, Nigella can go stfherself instead of a chicken i say.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: November 25th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

BloCoMo (Blogging Cookery Month)

What you could do is make a different meal every day for a month (using all the recipe books and not-available-then food at your disposal, because it's not cheating to make good use of the resources available) and then write about it on your LJ.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: November 25th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: BloCoMo (Blogging Cookery Month)

... I realise that right now you need a made-up challenge with an arbitrarily-set goal about as much as you need a lightly poached hole in the head. But, you know, maybe some other time.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: November 25th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: BloCoMo (Blogging Cookery Month)

"It'll take your mind off things."

We have been enjoying Vintage Cookbook Trials, which is a related take on this idea.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: November 26th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: BloCoMo (Blogging Cookery Month)

Our definition of ‘vintage’ is anything published before we were born. The youngest of us was born in 1981 and the eldest in 1980, so anything before then is fair game.

I'm touched that they're still young enough to differentiate between the ages of people born within two years of each other, but that makes me feel very old. What a great idea, though! At last we have something approaching peer review for recipes.
(Deleted comment)
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