We had smoked mackerel pate for lunch yesterday. That involved the use of the food processor, so, for me, was a real technical challenge. I had to ask Julia to dismantle it at the end, because I can never work the catch that releases the bowl. You would have thought that in the 21st Century they would have thought of making this obvious.
It was a simple recipe, involving two bits of smoked mackerel (about 200 g) and half a pack of cream cheese. I pulled the fish off the skin and broke it up, added the green bits from a large spring onion, a big spoonful of wholegrain mustard, some black pepper and then gave it a whizz in the food processor. Then I opened it up and pushed the big bits of fish down into the mix before having another go. I think that if I’d broken the fish up more I could have omitted that last step. I will aim for pieces about the size of a finger top joint next time – some of the ones I tried were nearly the size of my thumb and managed to ride up to avoid the blades. People often use horseradish, as it is traditional with mackerel, but I didn’t have any so I tried mustard and it seems to have worked.
I’m saving the last lime to make an avocado dip, so didn’t use any citrus, but it didn’t seem to make a difference – the mustard and spring onion gave the mix a good, fresh taste without citrus.
We ate it with toast. There was plenty of pate for four thickly spread rounds of toast.
Today’s lunch was vegetable soup with warm rolls and smoked mackerel pate. The rolls were Paul Hollywood part baked rolls and there was enough pate left to be generous, though the rolls weren’t exactly huge.
The soup recipe was four manky carrots (though I suppose good clean ones would be just as good), a chunk of swede (rutabaga) that was starting to change colour at the back of the fridge, the potato offcuts from the oven-baked chips (keep reading for details of them) and some leftover peas. Boil it up with water and a stock cube, reduce to soup with a hand-blender, season, eat. It probably needed onions but we only have enough to last until the next shopping trip so I left them out. I also added garlic from a jar, but should have put more in as we couldn’t really taste it.
Yesterday’s tea (sorry to wander about so much), was chunky oven-baked paprika chips, with fish fingers and mushy peas. It’s not great food, but it is a change as we haven’t had fish fingers for a month. I arranged them like something off Masterchef for the photo. I’m not sure it looks any better than throwing a pile of food together. It just looks like an idiot has been playing with his food.
As they were cooking, I made a pot of curry (chickpea and sweet potato – using a base of last night’s chilli) and the previously mentioned soup.
Tomorrow I will use the rest of the cream cheese in a charred red pepper dip and we will also have an avocado dip using the lime I saved by not using it in the pate. It can be quite tricky cooking when you can’t nip out to the shops.