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Category Archives: Stretching the fat ration

Watercress and egg salad

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Watercress is just coming back in season, as is mustard cress.  I’ve happily been making this cress and egg salad for as many people as will eat it.

Loosely chop two to three big handfuls of leafy cress and mix into an equal number of hard boil eggs.  Add in a few pinches of salt, pepper and a bit of mustard.  Then stir in enough mayonaise to bind the salad, or a little more if you want to make a sandwich spread.  Serve on either lettuce leaves or bread/rice cakes.

This is currently my favorite version of this salad, but I have been experimenting, so I’ll keep everyone updated.

Home front lemon curd

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So I finally got into the kitchen to try out the lemon curd recipe from the MoF.  It turned out to be fairly good, though I wouldn’t call it lemon curd (more like thick lemon syrup).  Still, it works in a pinch, especially as a filling, and doesn’t require any eggs.

In a sauce pan, mix together one teaspoon of cornflour and 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (go with three if you want things super sweet).  Add in the zest of one lemon and mix.  Beat in four tablespoons of lemon juice and three tablespoons of water, then turn on low heat.  Whisk over low heat until it starts to thicken, then add in two tablespoons of margarine.  Continue whisking until thickened, about ten minutes all together.  Then turn of the heat and whisk to blood temp or lower, to avoid lumps.  Pour into a jar and cool before storing in the fridge.

I did have to change this recipe a bit, because I wasn’t going to use lemon squash when I actually had lemons.  Despite the color, this does taste quite a lot like lemon curd.

Ham spread

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This is another way to stretch meat a bit for sandwiches/rice cakes.  Once you have some practice at this, the possibilities become endless, so please let me know if you’ve come up with any other combinations or ideas. 

Finely chop or shred a bit of leftover ham (I can get ham ends quite cheaply at the meat counter).  Finely chop an equal amount of leek or spring onion and combine with the ham.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, maybe some garlic powder if you like, and a pinch or two of parsley.  Beat in enough margarine to make the mixture spreadable.  This is probably going to be about as much as you’ve added in ham and leek combined.  So if you have two tablespoons of ham and two tablespoons of leek, it will probably take you about four tablespoons of  margarine to make the mixture spreadable.  Use your own taste and judgment as a guide.

At this point, you can add in some finely grated cheese for extra flavor.  Husband also likes a bit of Stilton mashed in with his ham spread (Please be careful though, as not all veined cheeses are GF).  Cheddar always works well, but whatever rind you have left over can be grated into the mixture.  You will probably need about 1/2 TBL for a rice cake and 1 TBL for a slice of bread, but this depends on how thick you like your sandwich spread…

Egg salad sandwich filling

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This is one way to use up any eggs you have left over from the holidays.  Of course, baking is the most delicious way to deal with egg overload, but I’ve eaten far too many sweets over the past few weeks, so egg salad it is.

For every person you want to feed, make sure you have one hard-boiled egg and the equivalent amount of gherkins or dill pickles.  For instance, one large dill pickle is enough for four to five people, but two small gherkins is just enough for one person.  Dice your hard-boiled eggs and pickles/gherkins together into a bowl.  Give it a good few stirs so that the eggs start to break up into even smaller pieces, then add in one teaspoon of a nice mustard for every three eggs or to taste.  At this point, you can finely grate some onion to add in as well, but I’m not a big raw onion fan, so I don’t.  Finely grating an onion on something like a microplane gives you a juicy paste that is easy to work into the entire mixture, whereas chopped onion can be a bit chunky and overpowering.

Finally, add in one tablespoon of mayonnaise* for every three eggs, or until the mixture is just creamy enough to spread but still thick enough to stick together.  Add salt and pepper to taste, along with a few pinches of parsley.  Spread on bread or rice cakes for lovely sandwiches for tea or breakfast (or whenever).  Cutting the egg and pickle up quite small to begin with means that the egg will stretch further, allowing fewer eggs for more people.  Big chunks won’t go quite as far.

*If you are short on mayonnaise, or quite like things tangy, you can swap out one of the tablespoons of mayonnaise for a splash of decent vinegar.  As always, let your taste buds guide you.

Sandwich spread from leftovers

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I also feel a bit silly putting this one up, but I’ll go ahead since it complements yesterday’s post.  If you have leftover meat from a roast or soup, you can turn it quite easily into a sandwich filler.  Sister-in-Law is actually much better at this than I am, but I’ll see if I can’t explain it at least a bit.

Shred the meat with a fork so that it can be worked into the margarine.  You can also use your fork to mash any vegetables you want to go in, like cooked carrots or onions.  Add seasonings that complement how the meat was cooked, plus some salt and pepper.  Combine everything so it is well-incorporated before you add the fat.  If you have any pan dripping, it can go into to the spread at this point, along with a lump of margarine.  Mix everything together until smooth.  How much margarine you will need depends on how much meat, veggies, and dripping you have.  I just add it gradually, a tablespoon at a time, until I get the amount and intensity of spread that I want.

We eat this at breakfast or on after-school rice cakes.  This is definitely a Home Front-style recipe, though a war wife would have potted the spread to keep it for later (haven’t figured out how to do that yet).

Carrot spread for sandwiches

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I came across this recipe in my grandmother’s arsenal, so it isn’t British even if it is from the WWII era.  It didn’t need much GF adapting, but I have tinkered a bit.

If you are using a blender, dice 1 1/4 cups raw carrot and one spring onion and dump into blender.  Add in a few pinches of salt and pepper, plus 2 TBL of mayonnaise or  1 TBL each mayonnaise and margarine.  Blend until smooth, but this will probably be slightly lumpy.

If you are not using a blender, finely grate 1 c of raw carrot and finely chop one spring onion (or using dried chives).  Beat 2 TBL margarine or 1 TBL margarine and 1 TBL mayonnaise together until well mixed.  Sprinkled with salt and pepper, then fold in the carrot and spring onion/chives until well incorporated.

This spread works well with something spicy, so I sprinkled a bit of hot paprika or chipotle on top.   You could always add that in too when mixing, but not everyone in my house wanted it spicy.  This would also work well with cress on top, or even a bit of bacon.

Tuna salad filling

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I am not a big tuna fan, at all, but Husband is, so he gets this for breakfast sometimes.  This recipe is not very heavy on mayo, plus it contains about twice as many vegetables as meat.  You will probably cringe when I tell you that I’ve never tasted it, but Husband asks for it prepared this way and no other….

To start, it’s best to take about 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels and let it thaw, but if you don’t do that, it’s fine as along as you let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Clean, halve, and chop one stalk of celery, along with the leaves if you want.  Dump into your mixing bowl along with the corn, and one sliced scallion/ spring onion.  If you don’t have the spring onion, you can grate about 1 Tbl of onion into the bowl, but I never bother with this and leave it out if I don’t have spring onions around.

Next, add in 2 Tbl of mayo, and sprinkle in some salt, ground pepper, slightly less than 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, and about 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley.  Give it all a good mix to make sure that it is combined.  Finally add one can of drained tuna (whatever is your most prefered/ ethical).  It helps if the tuna is still a little juicy, as this stretches the mayo a bit.  Flake the tuna and mix it all together until the tuna is creamed into the rest of the mixture (very smooth, no chunks of tuna hiding about).  If you need to add a bit more mayo, you can, but just enough to bind.

Leave overnight in the fridge to let the corn thaw, if necessary, and give a final, good stir before serving.