Summer recipes for £5 or less

Monday, 29 June 2009

Okay, first let me get this out of the way: Sainsbury's 4-for-92p bitter is, if not heavenly, way drinkable for something that is 23p a can. Sainsbury's whole Basics (read: shit-cheap) range, in fact, is what I will call "surprisingly consumable".

Pan-fried salmon

Salmon: £2.50-3 for two steaks
Garlic: 75p for a few heads (you will have leftovers, score!)
Rice: 80p
(Assumed ingredients: butter, salt, black pepper)
Total: £4.05-4.55

Recommended prep music: New Sounds of Africa (Miriam Makeba)
Accompanying drink: blended margarita

I like my salmon like I like my men: simple, covered in garlic butter, and ready in under 15 minutes. (RIMSHOT.)

1. Start cooking rice so it will be ready when the salmon is done. I assume you know how to cook rice. I'm not very good at it so I won't give you any misdirected tips. I do like to put a little salt in, though.

2. Dump a whole bunch of black pepper on both sides of the salmon. I like to make it look like the inverse of a light pollution map of the eastern US seaboard. Sprinkle salt judiciously.

3. Peel four cloves of garlic.

4. Find a frying pan large enough for the salmon to lie flat. Clear a space on the stove. Turn stove on medium heat and drop a spoonful of butter in.

5. When butter has melted, drop garlic in. Push them around a bit until they are well and truly buttery. I like to life up the pan and shake it a little bit.

6. Gently put in salmon steak. Watch the sides. When they are cooked-pink-looking instead of uncooked-pink-looking about halfway through, flip them. I like to nudge the garlic cloves under the salmon like little woodland creatures seeking shelter under a tree trunk. It makes the flavor sharper.

(somewhere in here) When the rice is done, scoop it out and put it on a plate. I like to nudge it to one side to make room for the salmon.

7. When the salmon is cooked-pink-looking all the way through, use the flipper to put it on the plate and then (my favorite part!) drizzle all the buttery goo and garlic over it, and the rice.

8. Turn off the stove.

Black bean California salad

Black beans: 69p
Banana: 25p
Avocado: £1
Tomato: 50p
Fresh cilantro: £1
Total: £3.44

Recommended prep music: Little Deuce Coupe (The Beach Boys)
Accompanying drink: pina colada

This one is one of my favorites, because it's interesting and fresh, but also really easy.

1. Wash black beans and put them in a salad bowl

2. Shred cilantro and put it in the bowl

3. Dice everything else and put it in the bowl.

4. Find a spoon and gently mix it so it's fairly equally distributed.

See? Easy. And delicious. You can't go wrong with avocado. It's also vegetarian and vegan if you're into that kind of thing.

Beer bratwurst

Bratwurst: £3 for a six-pack
Beer: 92p (see above).
Rolls (if you're going to be fancy): 50p
(Assumed ingredients: olive oil)
Total: £4.42

Recommended prep music: The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band)
Accompanying drink: beer, duh

1. Put beer in fridge. Wait 20 minutes.

2. Take out a can and drink it.

3. Find a frying pan and a small pot (the smaller and deeper the better, as you will use less beer). Clear spaces on the stove and put them on.

4. Turn frying pan onto high heat and splash a little olive oil in.

5. Pop in the bratwurst and sear them (they should look brownish and smell awesome).

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP. Too often have I seen rookie would-be bratwurst brewers skip it, and the result is that all the tasty bratwurst juices leach out when they are boiled in the beer, and it's really sad. YOU HAVE TO SEAR THE JUICES IN OR YOUR BRATWURST WILL BE BORING.

6. Tilt the seared bratwurst into the pot and put it on high heat. Take out two more cans of beer. Pour one into the pot. Start drinking the other.

7. While you drink the beer, the brats will begin boiling. They will be ready in about 10-12 minutes, or when you are about halfway through the second beer. Set it on the counter.

8. If you have rolls you might as well go whole hog and toast them or something.

9. Use a fork to capture the bratwursts and drop them on a plate (in the rolls if you have them I guess).

10. Eat them and finish your beer.

The end! You may have noticed that all the music dates to within about fifteen years of each other, but that is because summer happens between 1955 and 1975, in music, in fashion, and in cars.


wildeabandon said...

You know, I think with all this learning to cook that you're doing, you should invited us to dinner at yours for a change.

Also, I loved your Sebastian Flyte in the last entry. August seems too far away, as my other ludicrously rich American who takes me for expensive meals has just left the country, and now I am left waiting forlorn, for Sebastian to return.

Also also, I invited Marcus to join us for dinner next Tuesday.

Also also also, I feel that the post Tranny Shack hangover deserve recurring status even if it was just one, considering how epic it was. But maybe we should go on another adventure and see if we can better it?

Judith said...

I would love to invite you guys over for dinner! Unfortunately, one of the (very few) problems with living in Kilburn is that my flat looks like the following:

Please note that the piles aren't there because I'm sloppy (although I am), the piles are there because there is nowhere else to put the stuff. I suppose we could perch on the sink and put Robert in the bathroom, but that doesn't seem very sociable.

Um, on the Fourth of July there is a so-called Obama Pajama Party (which I am sure rhymes in the local dialect) somewhere in North London that might serve as an adventure. I'll shoot you an email.

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