Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cheap de Chez Cheap Suppers

On Wednesday I made one of the cheapest suppers for 6 ever. Wednesday is my shopping day. I'm not keen on shopping but no shopping results in a slow and agonising death so shop one must. There I was browsing Carrouf peacefully (no kids) along the fairly empty aisles (which is why I go on Wednesday, not Saturday) and came to the fish counter.

I don't know about your family but my boys are not keen on fish. My ex-husband and I would have this conversation:
Him: "What's for dinner?"
Me: "Fish"
Him: "What, no meat?"
Me: "Yes, fish"
Him: *sulks*

So this is the environment in which they spent their formative years. My eldest likes salmon and Dover sole but my youngest will only eat smoked salmon, mussels and crab sticks. Undaunted, I bought mackerel. It was €3.50 a kilo! Three mackerel came to the mighty sum of €1.80 and the guy gutted them for me too.

I also bought a cauliflower which was on special offer although I know that the boys hate it.

Back home, I thought I'd hide the taste of the mackerel nicely in fish cakes. The boys like fish cakes, love them in fact. You can put anything in a fish cake and they'll eat it with joy. Odd, isn't it? They don't really like the fish but they love the fish cake.

Of course, fish cakes are a bugger to make, all messy and time-consuming. Still, got to get the vitamins and omega whatsit into the little sods so needs must. I already had some mash sitting in the fridge so whether it was enough or not didn't matter, it was all I had. I wasn't going to start making the mash too (although I've done that in the past, mad fool that I am).

The mash went into a nice big bowl with a dollop of horseradish sauce. I filleted the fish which was full of lovely sensations because the texture was all squashy and soft, and it was easy too otherwise I would have given up. In they went to the microwave with a squirt of lemon and dash of olive oil until just cooked (no point overdoing it), then I flaked them and chucked them into the bowl too together with their juice and a nice pile of chopped parsley, s&p.

I didn't have time to let the mixture cool because we wanted dinner that night not later, so I had to make the patties there and then, which meant a Big Mess. Then I dipped each one in flour, then egg then breadcrumbs. As the process got messier, with fish cakes threatening to disintegrate in the egg dish, so my temper frayed more and more. Once I'd finished the 7 patties I then had to clean up the kitchen. As you can see, fish cakes are not for the faint-hearted. Dedicated idiots only need apply.

I fried them gently in oil and butter and we had one each as they were so filling, with salad and a squirt of lemon juice. That meant Thursday's dinner was sorted too, which we had with broccoli. You can see why I said it must be the cheapest supper ever! They were delicious, and the boys remarked how strange it was that they don't like mackerel but they do love mackerel fish cakes. I just ground my teeth.

Continuing the cheap but tasty (and a lot less trouble) supper, I cooked the cauliflower last night for my TWDB and me. I steamed it (I hate soggy cauliflower), and fried an onion which I put in an oven-proof dish. The cauliflower went on top plus the sauce. I made a white sauce into which I added a shake or two of curry powder and grated aged mimolette cheese plus s&p. I baked it in the oven while I fried up some potato slices so my youngest had fried potato, ham and tomato while we had cauliflower cheese and fried potato. I must say, it tasted very yummy. The curry was a big hit taste-wise and the colour was lovely - all orangey and vibrant. Much more attractive than the pale cauliflower cheese made with cheddar.

No photos, I'm afraid. I'm too lazy to take photos of my cooking, and frankly, after making the fish cakes what I needed was a large glass of wine and a nice sit down. My camera was way down on my list of priorities. You'll just have to use your imaginations.