Food that’s Fresh, Fragrant and Frugal
In difficult times, family budgets have to be cut and many luxuries deleted. This may mean lessening the amount of meat and fish we eat and using ingenuity to feed ourselves. Anyone who remembers – as I do as a small child – or has read about the 1939-1945 World War, will know that food was severely rationed. Nevertheless, what people ate was enough to keep them fit and, perhaps more important, it reduced the risk of obesity. You can eat well, healthily and cheaply. From time to time I shall propose nourishing, but inexpensive, dishes. Here are three…
1. Using a coarse grater, grate a piece of Halloumi. You can use it straight from the packet (draining the liquid) or you can bake it for 8-10 minutes in a moderate oven first to make it drier. 2. Put grated cheese into a bowl. 3. Add the fresh mint and an egg yolk and mix well adding some ground black pepper. 4. Take a generous teaspoonful of the halloumi mixture and roll it into a ball. 5. Repeat until all the mixture is used. 6. Fry the halloumi balls in hot oil turning several times. This will take about three minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. 1. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and a pinch of salt. 2. Break the bread into small pieces and add to the milk and let stirring regularly, until the bread has absorbed all the liquid. 3. Finely dice the bacon and salami, chop the onion finely, chop the parsley. 4. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon/salami mixture for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then after a minute or two add the parsley, then spoon into the bread/milk and mix.
5. Now add the flour, little by little, stirring carefully until it is well blended, adding salt and pepper to taste.
6. Spoon out the mixture and form into egg-shaped balls the size of an apricot (about 5cm / 2” in diameter)
NOTE: Try forming and cooking one dumpling first – if it should break apart, add a tablespoon or two of flour to the mixture, mix well, make the dumplings and cook.
7. In a large pot of boiling salted water, or light chicken stock, gently put the dumplings in to cook, four or five at a time. Simmer for around 10 minutes. Try one to see if it is nicely cooked through.
8. In a small pan melt the butter. Drain the dumplings, put them in a serving dish and pour over the melted butter and the grated Parmesan.
9. Serve with an Italian tomato sauce, or coulis, or dolly up the cooking liquid by thickening it slightly with a little flour and adding some more flavour, like a spoon or two of white wine and a teaspoon of tomato purée.
it oak for 20 minutes,