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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Grilled sardines - full of irony. How to make a cheap meal taste wonderful.

Last night we had a downpour of rain in Nottingham - really heavy rain. This morning it was still raining albeit not so much. As I walked around my local Co-operative store the tannoy system proclaimed "It is a perfect weekend for a bbq so why not get in the garden and enjoy the glorious weather." I have a feeling it might well be pre-recorded or the Co-operative company have a strong sense of irony.

I was supposed to be going to a food festival in Leicester but it got cancelled due to flooding and so I stayed at home and cooked a really simple nutritious meal out of cheap to buy ingredients. This was inspired by the wonderful fish stands in Bordeaux but purchased from my own fish counter at Tesco.

First of all there were the eight sardines at £3 per kilo, then a generous handful of fresh mussels at £3.70 per kilo and three cans of  chopped tomatoes at 47p each. I already had garlic and fresh basil in and a bottle of white Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge.

I gutted and gently washed the sardines and speared them with two metal brochettes and then grilled them for ten minutes (rough timing where the end of the grilling is better indicated by the fish fat flames appearing on the roof of the grill!). Then I took them out of the grill and left them to cool down. Next I steamed the mussels in a saucepan with some garlic and white wine. I hated throwing the liquor away but I had no need for it in this dish. Once cooked I strainer the mussel shells and plump orange coloured inhabitants in a strainer.

Then I emptied the three tins of chopped tomatoes into a deep casserole dish, took the grilled fish of the skewers and laid them out in the casserole dish. Lastly, I artistically added in the mussels in their shells and tore some basil leaves to scatter on the surface and added a couple of coarsely chopped bulbs of garlic. This arrangement looked delicious as it was but now needed to be warmed through. I did this in the oven on gas mark six for three quarters of an hour.

 I ate the meal with some Mediterranean style bread brought from the Co-operative, where the sun always shines. Back at home the rain was still persisting but I was more than happy with my cheap and nutritious meal.

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