Friday, 30 September 2011

Foil is your friend

It's been a manic week in Recipe Junkie's household and frankly, the pasta on Monday has been the culinary highlight so far. With the husband away until Wednesday evening, and the usual mad dash between school run, dog walking, working, school pick up and after school activities, I could barely chuck a few potatoes in the oven on Tuesday and heat up some baked beans. In an attempt to add some interest, I mashed up a can of salmon with some philadelphia and mayo - Pink loves it - but that was as far as it went.

The kids had friends round after school on Wednesday. I had planned sausages but as I realised I didn't have any to hand and Sainsburys wasn't coming till today, I had to find alternative options. Fortunately, there was still a turkey meatloaf in the freezer - just the job. A good job too, because having intimated that he wouldn't be home till late, the husband turned up at 6.30 needing feeding - if it had been sausages I wouldn't have cooked enough, but as it was, there was just enough meatloaf to look like I'd planned it all along. I'd cooked extra potatoes too, to make potato salad for the packed lunches on Thursday, so he was extra lucky!

On Thursday, I was planning to cook salmon, and got the necessary out of the freezer in time, but the moral of this story is that bargains are not always what they appear. I'd bought a bag of frozen, skinned salmon fillets from the supermarket, and frankly, even when they were defrosting, I knew they weren't going to be good. Maybe it was the freezing, although I usually freeze salmon, but the pieces of fish were thin and unappetising even before they were cooked, promising nothing but dryness. Pink was at a friend's for tea, so I cooked Blue's under the grill. I rubbed it with sesame oil and some soy sauce, but, even watching it like a hawk, it came out dry and tough. I let him slather it with mayo and he ate it manfully - to be honest though, growing lad that he is, he's so hungry all the time, there's not much he won't eat. I then had a dilemma - try and do something better with it for me and the husband - after all this was supposed to be a special supper given that we hadn't seen each other for a few days - or sack it and think of something else at short notice. I rooted around in the fridge, found another courgette (they're everywhere, I tell you) and some root ginger, and had a brainwave - salmon parcels!. Cut up some ginger into matchsticks, ditto the courgette. Take a big piece of foil (enough to double wrap the fish and make a parcel) - ginger and courgette in the middle, fish on top, slosh on some sesame oil and soy sauce, wrap up loosely (but make sure all the edges of the parcel are sealed) and whack it in the oven. I cooked it for about 20 minutes at 180 (I cook everything at 180 unless there's a recipe specifically says otherwise). It wasn't divine, but it was OK, and probably slightly less dry than the piece Blue had to suffer.

So the week has hardly been a beacon of gastronomic success. However, we have people coming for supper tomorrow, so I have been saving my efforts. I don't want to say too much now, because about half my readership are coming (more a comment on the number of people who actually read this - lovely people though you are) than the size of the dinner party, but suffice to say, foil was again my friend this morning.

Last night, I made the 2 hazelnut meringue discs that are going to be the basis of a fabulous (she hopes) pudding. But guess what - having cooled them overnight in the oven, I realised that I had no tin big enough for them. But never fear - foil is here - I put one on top of the other on one of the baking sheets, and wrapped in foil. Marvellous. Instant meringue tin.

pudding in process
And here's a sneaky preview...

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