Sunday, 22 July 2012

Rachel Khoo's Terrine Forestiere

One of the questions I get asked most about this blog is how much has it cost me since day one.  Part of me wishes I'd kept track.  But like when we got married, I just engaged advanced ostrich mode and pretended that it didn't matter.

I'm very lucky to earn a decent salary that allows me to do this although with things rapidly heading south for us financially, it's a good thing that there are only two months left because otherwise I'd be writing about the different ways to serve beans on toast.  Okay, that's a little flippant because I know you can eat really well on a budget if you shop wisely.  And maybe that's what I should try to do over the course of my next blog.  But pretty much with the exception of cooking with expensive seafood (I really wanted to do lobster, scallops and oysters but continue to be put off by the cost), I've not really considered too much about what I've spent.

The most expensive things are fresh herbs which I never would've bought previously.  They really make a difference to so many dishes.  I know I could grow my own - I used to have two huge herb pots when I was a kid and loved the smell of the basil on a hot summer's day - but I've not had any success with growing them at our current house.  Other more expensive items have mostly been meat-related.

So today, I gave some consideration to the cost of this meal.  The recipe is basically a baked mushroom omelette using wild mushrooms.  It's the wrong time to forage and I'd probably end up making myself ill anyway.  I know that our local Morrisons has a good selection of fresh wild mushrooms but last time I bought 100g they cost me a fiver and this recipe called for 450g.  I'm not that stupid - not even for a special occasion.

Low fat and great value
In the end, I made half of the recipe and used 250g of chestnut mushrooms (£1) plus a handful of dried mushrooms (quarter of a £1.99 pack).  The eggs were about 20p each (2 of), half a 90p tub of creme fraiche, quarter of a 60p pack of parsley (15p), three spring onions because I didn't want to buy a huge bag of shallots I won't use (so about 25p-worth).  And some salt, pepper and garlic which don't really count in the budget but probably about 15p worth.  So around £2.75 for the recipe.  Which cuts into about eight small slices if you're using it for an appetiser and would serve four with salad.  I've already road-tested it for a snack and will have another serving for tea.  It will go in my lunchbox tomorrow and I'll probably snack on the rest at some point over the next two days.

At 70p per portion, that's not too bad.  But if you were making it with wild mushrooms, it's ridiculously expensive.

But it's very tasty.  The herbs absolutely make a difference.  And I like the way it was baked in a loaf tin, making it easy to slice and transport rather than faffing around with trying to fry and then grill a round frittata to get it to set.

The only thing I will recommend is using full fat creme fraiche as mine was a bit watery. I used low-fat to keep the calories down.   Or maybe I should've dried my mushrooms in kitchen paper after frying them off.  

And if you're on a carb-free diet, it's a really filling and tasty option.

You can find the recipe on page 130 of Little Paris Kitchen.

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