Peasant Stew – and some music to listen to as you cook

I’m a half-decent short order cook, but I’d never describe myself as a chef. There’s a reason why the recipe group I set up on Facebook, Peasant Stew, is called that: give me something to fry, braise, or bung in the oven to roast, and I’m your man; anything beyond that involving emulsions or foams, though, and you’ve chosen the wrong dinner party (if they’ll even be a thing after we all get released into the wild).

Take the pic I took of this recipe, which is a smoked salmon risotto (or arroz con salmon ahumado y habas blancas, if you want to get all Spanish about it, as I usually do). Not great on the visual stakes: tastes great though. I must admit I got the idea of using the beans from one of those cookery programmes where they go all cheffy: it makes it heftier, and therefore ideal for the winter, but you could leave them out in summer for a lighter dish.

Smoked Salmon Risotto

Ingredients (for two-ish):

half cup paella or risotto rice

1/2 tsp pimenton

1/2 tsp paella spice

chopped garlic

tin cannellini beans

courgette, chopped

juice of a lemon

fish stock or leftover white wine

smoked salmon, chopped

Method: fry the garlic in olive oil briefly, then add the spices, and then the rice, coating it thoroughly before starting to add the courgette, lemon juice and then the beans. Cook as you would any risotto or paella, adding just enough liquid to stop it sticking, until the rice is done to taste (around 20 – 23 minutes). Add a bit of boiled water to the can the beans came in – it’s good to get all that gloop they left behind in the can – and use it as part of the liquid. Add the smoked salmon towards the end – it really just needs warmed through.

You could garnish it with fresh herbs and some toasted pine nuts if you want to be a bit fancy I suppose.


Short Cut Satay Chicken

Again I got the inspiration for this from a recipe on the Net; it used chicken mince, but I prefer the thigh meat chopped up, and yellow Thai curry paste to red. Only tried this once, and the only thing I thought was, it might be an idea to marinate the chicken in the soy sauce and curry paste to get more flavour into the chicken.


chicken, cubed (smallish supermarket packet)

Favourite yellow thai curry paste at Casa Ardross

chopped garlic

tsp yellow Thai curry paste

glug or two of soy sauce

tsp balsamic vinegar

tsp curry powder (or garam masala)

1 1/2 dessert spoons peanut butter


chicken stock

plain yoghurt

some veg – spinach, or red pepper

Method: stir fry the garlic and chicken till virtually done, then add the curry paste, soy sauce, and veg; add the chicken stock and simmer for a bit, while you get the noodles on (you can add them direct to the pan, but I prefer to do them separately. Then add the yoghurt, vinegar and peanut butter, and stir in – obviously, the stock/yoghurt ration determines how much sauce you have, and how thick it is.

Since you’re here…

I’m working towards bringing out my next album, which is definitely on the country side of Americana, at the end of this month. It’ll be all my own songs; however, to mix it up a bit, I’ve got some covers of some of them by other bands and solo artists in there too, reproduced by kind permission.

Death in Venice (also known as Rose Tattoo) was first a song for my own acoustic duo, Tribute to Venus Carmichael. We recorded it at Substation in Rosyth, and it was originally intended as just Kelly’s voice and my blues box guitar and harmonica. However, Mick, who runs the studio, wandered in while Duncan was recording our parts, and suggested he put some bass guitar on it – and the magic happened!

The Isaac Brutal version uses a guitar riff to drive it; so very different, and a different singer, of course. I may be biased, but I think both versions are brilliant! I am so lucky to have Kelly and Emma to sing my stuff, as both bring something different to them, both from each other, and my own, Dylan-tainted, groaning.

More news on the new album soon – I had hoped to tell you the story this week of how I came to get the shot that’s going to be the cover image, but I didn’t manage to finish it, so that’ll be next week’s Sunday Supplement. Probably.

Update: final versions of these tracks now available on Bandcamp here –










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