Tuesday 19 November 2013

Luxury Meals Using What We Have

There's been no big supermarket shop for me for the last few weeks, in fact thinking about it there's been no big supermarket shop for me for ages and there won't be.  We are still using up what we have and supplementing it with just enough fresh stuff bought as and when needed.  For instance the only thing amongst all of the above that was bought last week was the pack of Salmon Trimmings.
All I do is open the fridge and check what needs to be used up first and then have a look in the freezer and cupboards and decide what will go with it to produce a meal.  In the picture above the main things that needed using up were the parmesan style cheese, (it had been brought out of the freezer the day before and mistakenly put away into the fridge, usually once grated it lives in the freezer) and the cream, so I decided on a creamy Salmon and Pasta dish. 
 I picked and washed some Kale from the Veggie patch, chopped an onion, picked and finely chopped a fresh chilli off the plant on the kitchen windowsill, now on it's third crop of chillies, fished a jar of Basics Fish Paste out of the cupboard and weighed out enough pasta for the two of us (and a bit extra to add to the dogs dinner).  Along with the Smoked Salmon Trimmings that I had bought to try after hearing such good reviews about them, we had a meal fit for royalty.
Only problem was we had eaten it before I remembered I hadn't taken a photo of the finished dish ... oops!!
If you want to make it for yourself simply pop the pasta on to boil, then put the chopped onions in a frying pan with a dash of oil to soften slowly, after a couple of minutes add the chopped chilli and let them cook together for about five minutes. 
Add the fish paste and then pour in the cream (or you could use yogurt or crème Fraiche, whatever you have), add about three quarters of your parmesan and then the salmon trimmings. 
Your pasta will be almost ready now so add the Kale to the water and cook for one more minute, then drain them making sure to catch a cupful of the pasta water in case you need to 'let down' the sauce slightly and then tip the pasta and kale mix into the frying pan on top of your salmony sauce, stir everything together, add some of the pasta water if you need to thin it slightly and then tip into your serving dishes.
Top with a sprinkle of the remaining parmesan style cheese and serve.
If you're having a skint week you can omit the salmon trimmings altogether and add a little more chilli to really zap up the flavour, but this really is a cheap but luxurious tasting meal.  I've just worked it out and not counting my home grown kale and chilli it cost me £2.98 to produce, so that's a lovely luxurious meal for less than £1.50 a head, without the salmon trimmings that makes it just 75p a head and believe me it does taste almost as good without them!!
This is a meal we now have on a regular basis since reading about it on Jack Monroe's blog A Girl Called Jack earlier this year, and if you visit a well known Italian restaurant it is very similar to their 'Penne con Salmone' which costs £10.95 a time.  So much cosier to stay at home in front of a roaring log fire and save lots of money.
Sue xx


  1. That does sound nice .. hope your keeping nice and warm .. this cold weather is a shocker after the mild days we've been having.

    Vicky x

  2. I love smoked salmon trimmings- a savvy girl's best friend;)

  3. Salmon trimmings are another sainsburies secret value range bargain. Shhhhhhush mustn't tell everyone.

  4. Sounds lovely. I like making meals from either what you have or left overs. We had a fabulous BBQ pork dish with the last bit of our roast from Sunday.

    X x

  5. I do like made up cooking, it's great when it works out well. I have cut down my supermarket trips considerably, and like you, keep topping up the fresh food.

  6. Sounds delicious, a meal fit for royalty. You are doing amazingly well using up and keeping out of the supermarkets.

  7. I do something similar with the trimmings too. Chopped up onion (I like red) sliced mushrooms, trimmings and creme fresh mixed with pasta. I have today tried the ribbon egg pasta that was on offer in Lidl a few weeks ago, and it was lovely and rich - I have only just thought how nicely it would go with this meal. I have a pot of paste in the cupboard, maybe will make it up for a meal later on in the week. Thanks Sue. X p.s. when we returned from travelling in March I noticed that the trimmings had gone up from £1 a pack to £1.50 - to start with I refused to buy them with a 50% increase in one go, but then relented and realised that you can still make a luxurious meal far cheaper than eating out.

  8. You have such lovely meals and do so well using everything up. I love reading, it keeps me motivated xxx

  9. Best ever meals are the made up ones. Jumbling together left over bits and odd bits from fridge and freezer can sometimes make a feast!

  10. Sounds lovely. Those salmon trimmings come in useful, I sometimes throw a bit of tuna in with my pasta and use the rest in sandwiches

  11. This is a wonderful approach! This type of thing is so important these days - good economy, by using a lot of what you have - and delicious results! Keep posting!

    RETA@ http://evenhaazer.blogspot.com

  12. Those salmon trimmings make an ace pate combined with some basics or value soft cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little zest, and a quite twist of black pepper, too. Tastes really luxurious!

  13. Great post Sue! You know I'm trying to use up all of my stock at the moment, so it's taking all of my cooking ingenuity to keep making tasty meals - thanks for the inspiration :)

  14. I just love reading how you seem to pull a gorgeous sounding meal out of thin air, such an inspiration. I wish you could come do that in my house as I frequently stand looking at full cupboards thinking there is nothing to eat..lol


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