Wednesday, 23 January 2013

smoked salmon sandwiches + jalapeno sour cream

jalapeno sour cream, smoked salmon, and cucumber sandwiches for a picnic in summer.

There aren't many things better than a potluck picnic on a lovely summer's day, wouldn't you agree?

I've never been much of a social butterfly, however, so I thank my housemate, Kathy, for initiating this idea and making it happen.

January has been, for me, a month of working 11-hour days, so when I knew I could be free for this picnic on a Saturday forecast to be slightly cloudy, mostly sunny, and intermittently breezy, I jumped at the chance.

It was a glorious day, filled with good food, drinks, and company. An array of dishes were sampled. New friends were made. It was joyous. It was therapeutic. It was just what I needed.

smoked salmon sandwiches with cucumber and jalapeno sour cream.

This was what I brought to the party. A refreshingly tangy, spicy, savoury combination of light rye sour dough, chive-jalapeno sour cream spread, smoked salmon, and cucumber. Embrace the flavour.

smoked salmon sandwiches with cucumber and jalapeno sour cream

for the jalapeno sour cream:

250ml sour cream or light sour cream (8oz)
10g chives, chopped (2 tablespoons) - optional, or substitute with another seafood-friendly herb like dill
1 jalapeno pepper (5cm / 2 inches), chopped into rings, then quartered, seeds included if you like it spicy
15ml lime juice (1 tablespoon, or half a lime's worth)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. This may be made the night before and kept chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Tip: This jalapeno sour cream can be used not only as a spread, but also a dip or a salad dressing!
P.S. If not complementing it with a salty ingredient (as I did with smoked salmon here), you may want to add a pinch of salt.

other ingredients for the sandwiches:

200g smoked salmon (7oz), roughly torn
1 continental cucumber or other cucumber (go with 2 if using small cucumbers), sliced
1 loaf bread (I used a light rye sourdough)

to assemble a sandwich:

Spread sour cream mixture on each slice of bread. Top with pieces of smoked salmon and cucumber, then another slice of bread. Slice into triangles, to easily share amongst a crowd, or for a smaller gathering, forget about daintiness and tuck into a full-sized sandwich.
Also: I don't remove the bread crusts, because I LOVE them.
And if you're using a fairly soft bread, don't assemble too early in advance, lest they become soggy.

Note: Ingredients may not match up exactly for a precise number of sandwiches - it depends on how generously you allocate the individual elements. However, each of the ingredients are so versatile in their own right, it doesn't matter if you have leftovers.

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

a humble tomato celery mince stew

A simple mince stew, enriched with tomatoes and celery.

Happy new year, everyone!

I apologise for being somewhat missing in action lately. Work is still ridiculous at the moment so my posting schedule will likely be quite erratic for the next few weeks. I do hope you'll still remember to pop in every now and then, regardless!

When work is busy, I tend to eat quite takeaway more often, and while I do still cook, creativity in the kitchen will just have to wait, even on the weekends. I'm not thinking about unusual combinations or interesting juxtapositions, just something that I can throw together without much thought.

So we have this very humble mince, tomato and celery stew here, which I cooked up on New Year's Day. A couple of tomatoes and a handful of mince meat (pork, chicken, lamb, beef - it's up to you) are simmered together in some water, and as everything disintegrates and thickens, a few stalks of chopped celery is added, followed by a sprinkle of mixed dried herbs, salt and black pepper, and cooked just a little bit longer, until the celery mellows a little, while still retaining a crunch. And if you love your pepper, as I do, serve it with an extra grinding on top.

And that's it. Ready to serve.

A humble tomato-mince-celery stew.

Since making this stew, I've managed to create a couple of blog-worthy recipes amidst all the busyness, so let's stick around and see if I can get those posts up in the next week or so.

How has your January been so far?

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