You know those days when you don’t think there’s anything in the cupboard for lunch? I had one of those days recently, but once I did a bit of digging about it turned out that I had a few things that could be combined into something that actually looked as though I’d set out to make it on purpose. Bit of a result. Luckily I catalogued the process for the purposes of blogging, and that is where we find ourselves today.
We’d taken a trip to IKEA (you know I love IKEA) recently, and so I had a couple of things leftover from our trawl of the food hall. Some crispbreads, and some pickled herring in a jar. This stuff:
We’d followed the serving suggestion (ie – eat with a fork) for most of the contents, but there were a few pieces left floating around in the dill and pepper brine. I also had a tin of fancy tuna left, from my hamper from Grey’s Fine Foods:
I thought I might combine the two into a fish pate – but I didn’t have any dairy products, like a cream cheese, that you almost always find in the recipes for fish pate. After a little thought, I decided I would give it a go anyway, and improvise by thickening the fish spread with some mayonnaise, and some olive oil.
When I drained the oil from the tuna, I kept some aside, to add back in later – I used maybe a tablespoon of it, and it added much more flavour than plain oil, straight from the bottle. I tipped the tuna and the (also drained) herring into my food processor, and whirred around until well broken down. I added enough mayonnaise and oil to give a thick consistency, and seasoned with pepper, salt, garlic, chili and fennel (that’s right, I used my favourite spice grinder yet again. It really does go with everything). I whirred it until very smooth and spreadable.
That’s the whole story, really. Two kinds of fish, a little mayo, a little oil and some seasoning. At the very end, I snipped in some spring onion to the mix – most of it I combined thoroughly, but some I reserved some of the greens for sprinkling over the top just before I served up.
To go with my fish pate and crispbreads, I hard boiled some eggs, and shaped them with the little moulds I bought when I was making bento boxes for lunch. I served everything on one of my new chopping boards, which I’m still really enamoured with and enjoy using as plates of a lunchtime. I don’t think the end result counts as a smorgasbord, mini or otherwise, but isn’t that a nice way to describe it?
That, my friends, is how I created something out of what, at first glance, seemed to be nothing. Now that I’m semi-retired (yep, I’m still using that not-really-accurate phrase) I have time to make something pretty for lunch twice a week, and to photograph it and enjoy it. It’s a life of luxury. It’s a life of heart-shaped boiled eggs.