Monday, 18 July 2011

This one's for you, Nachos

I've been attempting to make cheaper alternatives for dinner and lunch lately. I love cooking, but it's hard to find the time to do it these days. I have constant competing demands on my attention. Some more delightful than others.

Normally, I cook with a very fixed focus and I'm 100% involved in the process. I cook based on what I have in the fridge and pantry and often I start without knowing what I'm creating. This is the theme of tonights dish and the recipe below is the result.

This isn't about to turn into a food blog. There are many people out there more talented and dedicated than I to hold the cooking blog flag loud and proud. But I have a secret love for food and who says I have to choose a narrow field of style for my own creative corner.

I really enjoyed this dish and the pasta I used was amazing. Now I have enough of it for the next three lunches and two dinners (as well as sneaky second helpings tonight). As I had all the ingredients already, this whole dish probably would have cost me just under $15, taking into account the portions of each ingredient that I used. Not bad for my budget conscious (dwindling) bank balance.

And, of course, I always welcome suggestions for improvement!

Sultry Stovetop Salmon with Red Sauce and Pasta or Rice


1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 a bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
400gm can salmon
1 broccoli head
1/4 of a pumpkin, diced.
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves
1 red onion
200gm can of whole tomatoes
50gm can of tomato paste
200gm can red kidney beans
I - 2 chilies w/out seeds
1 cube of reduced salt chicken or vege stock dissolved in 50-100mls water
pepper to taste

1-2 cups short pasta or rice. (one cup will make 2- 2.5 cups of rice/pasta. 2 cups will make 4 - 4.5 cups)

Roast Pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper


Turn oven on to 200 degrees, fan forced

1. Dice pumpkin and mix with fennel seeds, cumin seeds, olive oil, rock salt & pepper. Put in oven for 20 minutes or until cooked. After 10 minutes, check pumpkin and turn.

2. On stovetop, turn heat to high under saucepan and wait until hot. Put cumin seeds and fennel seeds in pot and swirl around the base until just after they become aromatic. Turn heat down to high/medium. Add tablespoon olive oil.

3. Put chopped garlic and seedless chili in saucepan and stir till lightly browned.

4. Put diced red onion, roughly sliced broccoli, and carrot in saucepan. Stir until combined then put lid on saucepan to partly steam the veges.

5. In separate saucepan, start boiling water for the pasta or rice. 2.5 cups of water to one cup of rice/pasta.

6. Open can of red kidney beans over a strainer and wash with cold water until all traces of bubbles from the can-water are gone. This may take up to two minutes.

7. Add kidney beans to the sauce, stir, then add tomato paste, paprika and drained can of whole tomatos. Mix, then put lid back on.

8. Wash the strainer and then open the can of salmon over it to drain the can-water. When drained, add salmon to sauce and gently break apart chunks slightly as you mix it in. Put lid back on.

9. Dissolve reduced-salt chicken or vege stock separately in 100mls boiling water. Leave for around 30seconds, then stir until dissolved. Slowly add stock to sauce while stirring. Turn heat right down to a low simmer then put lid on.

10. By now your separate saucepan of water should be boiled, so add the pasta/rice and stir. When this reaching boiling point again, add half a cube of chicken stock to flavour the pasta/rice.

11. Take the pumpkin out and check with a knife to see if it's cooked. If it is, then eat one, say mmm, then mix the rest in to the sauce (be careful not to pour the excess oil from the baking tray in to the sauce) and put the lid back on.

12. When the pasta is cooked, drain, run for a quick second under the tap to get rid of any starchiness from the pasta/rice then turn off the heat and serve with a generous helping of the sauce on top.

Viola! You have a saucy Salmon pasta for your delightful dinner.

This whole thing took me about 20-25minutes to cook and prepare.


milk and cheese said...

Sounds very tasty (apart from the salmon! I hate fish..). I think my boyf would be pretty impressed by the high protein content in this dish too! Noice! x

Amelia's Creative Corner said...

Thanks Mels! I reckon it would be good with chicken or tofu as an alternative.