søndag 7. september 2014

Food on A Budget

Right now we have a real financial squeeze due to various reasons and the new school year so we are basically skint. Owing a pal a decent slap-up-dinner (where did that rather vulgar expression come from?)  I was at a quandry to actually do something a bit different or special.

It came to me in the frozen aisle of Rema 1000. The cheapest game meat you can get is Reinsskarv, which is shavings from the calves and other bones or bits left on the sides of sinews. It is quite lean, but it is tough when compared to normal cuts, being a bit like rump steak or a poorly cooked minute steak. Usually it is fried in masses of butter and then made up in a cream sauce, seasonally with the bounty of wild mushrooms on offer this week in every birch wood here. I find it firstly a bit hard to get just right and secondly it becomes a bit sickly as a dish.

I have never seen reindeer mince, but have often used Elg mince, which is about 100-120 NOK /kilo but is mixed with some beef and maybe some lard in that too so that it is not too dry for frying. Hmm, combine reinsskarv with the 'karbonarder deig', a high quality lean mince. Hence you have 70 kr for 300g of reinsdeer and 45 kr for 400g of the said quality beef product. Serves at least three!  Nicest with a gravy or you could make a slightly salty creamy mushroom sauce with just a bit of garlic.

Great little dinner, recipe below. My mate came with a nice smooth, neutral red wine which washed it down. A valpolicella or primitivo would do, but really I find it hard to beat the Argentinian Malbecs for game and may pallette.

Other great, really good value dinners in Norway are to be found, but you should steer clear of prepared meals- they are very expensive for what you get here. Since we have family friendly working hours it means you do have that half hour to whizz on freshly made food, as your very own home grown short-order-cook.

My favourites include at the top of the list> Seibiff med Lok:  Sauted Saithe Cutlet with Caramelised Onions. Saithe is a cod relative also called Coley, but it is both more tasty and less boney than Pollock its near relative. It is caught as a big offshore fish, which has a greay inner flesh which is really tasty but the steaks you buy of it are one inch thick fillet of usually white succulent fish, frozen at sea. Compeletely unappetising as a solid block, and currently thus only 70p for 700g at kiwi. Defrosted but cooked from quite cold, it is rolled in seasoned flower, fried thoroughly as square steaks or large fingers, and once golden it is left in the oven for some fat to drip off and the core to be cooked through at 120'c. The onions are fried in the same pan to pick up some stock flavour from the fish. Noggies use their oxo powder on it and the wonderful liquid caramel colour, Kulor. Take home if you are visiting, great for darkening onions and anaemic beige sauces become a rich colour in the twist of a wrist.

Unfortunetly over the last two years, all the cheap kilo price cuts of beef, like brisket, have been picket upon by the supermarket 'butchers' counters and are silly prices for what you get, brisket being now about three quarters the kilo price of good steak, and that being on the bone, so in fact it is the same price eaten as sirloin! It used to often be on offer too, but some celebrity chef has probably waxed on about slow cooked brisket (Bringe) My pressure cooker stands a bit idle due to this dish being off the monthly sunday stew list.

Stew back on the list, pressure cooker or Le Cruset as you may have to hand, you can get quite cheap Modradsbiff, which I presume is rump steak. It is pretty chewy steaked in the pan usually, but does very nicely diced and slow cooked.

The other doyen for us being so skint at the moment is chicken mince, which is dirt cheap and is usually very fresh. The thing to do though is not to use it within two days of its use by date because it can start to go whiffy we find. It is dirt cheap about 4 quid a kilo in kiwi for their First Price or what ever they have there. It is used as also a healthier alternative to standard mince then in : bolognese, tex-mex and burgers/meat cakes. The latter appreciates onion and garlic and breadcrumbs, done in reverse order in a food processor, mince then made into a proper dough at the end. Egg to bind and you are away. Fry a little dodd to then taste  it for seasoning before you commit.

Our only fast food is actually salmon of all things, because it is currenlty 36 kr at Kiwi and under a 'fiver' most often as cuts from side fillets and tail. We need two boxes, but cold it makes a very satisfying sandwich topping next day or salad lunch. They even come in an aluminium tray, just remember to take out the little swab pack under the fish, and remove all the plastic film. I use a 'healthy' cooking margarine oil stuff or opt for butter, simply seasoned usually to keep folk happy, but Lime juice is really nice, as is a mix of light chilli powder, tarragon and paprika worked into the butter. Daughter doth not like, so she gets cod fish fingers which are also very good value for money and better than average you get in the UK.

Kiwi's first price chicken legs were a staple for us but we are so bored with this weekly chew that we avoid it, and I also wondered about the antibiotic content of such cheap chicken.



350-g reinsdyrsskarv Rema 1000
400 g Karbonarderdeig
half a medium onion
three boats of garlic, crushed,
potato meal to bind
one egg
tyme, salt, pepper
one medium red onion for side onions

Fine blend the onion and add the crushed garlic , place in a large mixing bowl
Blend the reindeer meat to a dough, and then do the same with the mince
Season now with salt, two tea spoons and some ground pepper
Mix all together in the bowl, add egg, mix again, add potato flour about two table spoons,
add herbs
use butter in olive oil, bubbled off so to speak in a good frying pan
do a test dodd and taste for seasoning
make the cakes with two oiled spoons, and you can leave them over night to bind even better for example
Fry until brown on top and bottom and any large edges
Heat an oven to 130'c
Start frying the red onion as you end the production line of meat cakes
put the meat cakes in the an oven dish in the oven then.
caramelise then the onions, take them out and make gravy or cream sauce in the pan, or fry mushrooms and then make the sauce.
seved with brocolloi, carrots and mashed potatoe as a must!

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