The answer, I've discovered, is to pile them all into one blog post. So read on, for a random little collection of "eats of note".
Firstly, there is a smashing salad that I put together before Christmas from random leftovers of salad bits plus half a pack of smoked salmon offcuts. I love these little packs of offcuts. They are very affordable, at 90p per pack of 120g. For something like a little smoked salmon mousse, or pate, or just to put on a salad or scrambled eggs, they are a perfect little touch of decadence. For sure, the salmon isn't the best quality and the pieces aren't from the best cut, but the flavour is there and the good fish oils are there. Really, for what you get, you can't lose.
Apart from the salmon, what made this salad so great was the marinated beetroot and the pesto dressing.
The beetroot was a pack of cocktail sized beets, pre-marinated in raspberry vinegar and mint. Now I love beetroot anyway, but marinated in such loveliness just cannot be resisted. I often find that the standard pack of 500g is too much for us and, even though we love the stuff, we wind up throwing some away when it has gone mouldy. The pack size of 150g is just perfect for two people, for two salads.
Now, as for the pesto, I just can't believe that I haven't thought of using pesto as a salad dressing before! ~slaps forehead~ What have I been thinking? It took me to follow the recipe for the Pesto tart (which used Pesto as a salad dressing) for it to dawn on me what a lovely alternative to the standard lemon & olive oil dressing this is.
Moving on to Boxing Day, because we'd been out to my parents' for Boxing Day lunch, we planned to have a little buffet for tea that night. Now I do realise that none of these delicacies were home-made (*gasp*) and all of them came out of the freezer via the supermarket (*bigger gasp*), but I thought they were a lovely solution to providing a light meal on a day when you'd really rather not cook.
On the plate there are - going clockwise from 8 o'clock - Chicken Tikka skewers, Garlic Breaded Mushrooms, Duck Spring Rolls, Chicken Satay Skewers and in the centre, Mozzarella & Jalapeno bites. Coupled with a cheeseboard and some crackers, cherry tomatoes and a few mince pies, it was a perfect tea.
|Big bowl, tiny mousse - long story|
This was something of a "skin of your teeth" chocolate mousse, in that I had to find a recipe that would fit with the ingredients that I had in the cupboard and fridge, as it had been a last-minute decision. Recipes that required oodles of double cream were out (for many reasons!) as were recipes that required nuts or fruit.
I eventually hit upon an incredibly simple recipe from Rachel Allen, that required you to melt some dark chocolate into which you mix some brandy (I used Glayva, which is far lovelier in my opinion) and an egg yolk. The egg whites are then whipped up until firm and then folded into the chocolate. Decant into a dish and Bob's your proverbial uncle.
Well, when I was getting the ingredients out of the cupboard it suddenly dawned on me that the recipe was for 15 (yes, 15 people!). Now, we like chocolate, but not quite THAT much. However, the quantities didn't seem as though they would ever reach around 15 people. It was a puzzle. I came to the conclusion, looking at the ingredients, that the resulting mousse would be really rather rich and perhaps one was only supposed to have a few spoonfuls of it. So I halved the quantities and decided that if I had any left over, then we'd call that a bonus for another day.
Because I'd had a light fluffy mousse in my mind, I'd got out our glass ice cream dishes to use. I think I'd have been better off using liqueur glasses!
The resultant mixture puddled into the bottom of the dish and stayed there. Looking very forlorn.
It tasted fabulous - and I was right in that a little went a long, long way. However, feed 15 from twice the amount? No, that had to have been a typo - or we're just gluttonous!