Thursday, 11 August 2011

In the Footsteps of Andy the Gasman

The Coop came up trumps in their reduced section again a couple of days ago with two packs of 'Pasty Beef' marked down to half price!  That's the cut of meat known as 'skirt' to you posh guys in the home counties.  As I was discussing with Julie, one of our lovely checkout ladies in my nearest and dearest supermarket (I know her name because it's on her badge!), it's makes a fine stew as it becomes meltingly tender when slow cooked.  Off to find a recipe then.

On his website,  Jamie Oliver tells the tale of his mate Andy the Gasman, who kept his cooker in pristine condition for five years by keeping it in its original plastic wrapping so he didn't devalue the price of his house.   He invented this stew named after that canny Essex lad  to tempt him to cook.  It seemed to fit the bill nicely but I didn't have all the ingredients.

Now, I bet a lot of you know the dangers of popping out to the shops for a couple of odd items and ending up with a basketful of 'off list' goodies.  To avoid this temptation I decided to make do with what was in the fridge and garden.  The lack of celery was compensated for with  replacing it with  a piece of butternut squash that I needed to use up and a few of the first crop of runner beans in the garden.  A  can of cannelini beans were substituted for the chickpeas stipulated by Jamie.  And darn, no oranges!  But hold on, there was a couple of  mandarins in the fruit bowl that were well past their best so I used their juice instead.   Before you ask, we do  have a tin of lovely smoked paprika to hand, so I didn't have to think of something inventive to use instead of that.

Back in the early nineties  I created a Ratatouille and Tuna Bake.  Mr Lovelygrey tasted it and said that I was never  to mess about with a recipe again.  But times have changed and, with practice, I've become a bit more competent in the cookery department.  So, there's been a relaxing of the rules and I'm allowed to experiment a little again.   Don't be afraid to substitute ingredients if you don't have them to hand.  Just be mindful about what you know works together and who knows?  You might end up with something as good as,  or even better than that celebrity chef's creation.

1 comment:

  1. I quite agree, there are no recipes in my house. I stick whatever I have to hand in the pot, it's usually edible ;O)