It's Ready Steady Cook but not as you know it. Ready Steady Cook nights as I know them started when I lived with my friend Aimee and one would call the other and simply say, "Ready Steady Cook?" When we arrived home that evening we would each have brought ingredients that did not exceed the amount of £5 and you use those ingredients to prepare a meal. Then you get together, have a glass or two of wine and then reveal your ingredients. The ethos of Ready Steady Cook nights is that by bringing random ingredients to the table you end up cooking something that you wouldn't normally cook. The rules are that you should choose your ingredients based on what tickles your fancy, something that is reduced, in season, a bit random or something you haven't cooked with before. I have to admit that there have been accusations made against me that my RSC ingredients were selected with a dish in mind, I choose to not dignify this with a response but will say that it is hard for me to do a shop this way so I really have to get to a zen-like state of mind and just select ingredients that are interesting to me. Thankfully another rule is that the £5 does not include alcohol so once you've had a drink and a chat and revealed your ingredients you are free to pretend that you are on a cookery programme and discuss what gastronomic delights could be created with the ingredients before you. You are allowed, within reason, to use general pantry type ingredients like flour, oil, butter, onions but each dish must use the main ingredients. On this night back in April Aimee brought to the table:
- beef mince
- Camargue red rice
- sweet long peppers
In the history of RSC most dishes have been really tasty experiments although there have been some that didn't turn out as we'd hoped, one that springs to mind was a prawn and ricotta cannelloni which was probably the only dish that we didn't even finish. Aims is a phenomenal cook and what I love about cooking with her is that she is quite experimental in her cooking style so this combined with the random nature of RSC always results in some exciting dishes. Sometimes we have a quite laborious RSC and cook about nine different tapas dishes, for this night we decided this RSC that our menu would be:
- mini-burgers topped with mozzarella served on toasted baguettes topped with a pepper & plum relish
- grilled sardines served with samphire and roasted peppers stuffed with red rice
- plum oatcakes topped with plums poached in cava
The menu was set so it was time to get cooking! We divvy up the tasks with Aims doing the burgers, sardines, stuffing for the rice and me making the plum relish, samphire, oatcakes and poached plums. Throughout the evening and as the wine flows we continue to pretend that there is a camera crew with us and implore them to, "let's take a look at what Aimee's doing with the sardines...do you have any tips for the audience about grilling fish?" - of course she does!
We made the relish with the plums, long red pepper, onion, red wine vinegar, six-pepper jelly and some salt and pepper.
We added some seasonings to the mince made little burgers and topped with mozzarella after they had been grilled.
The sardines we kept simple and just grilled with lots of juice from the lemon.
I always have homemade oatcakes around as they are handy snacks and make brilliant bases for a quick pudding. For these I simply added butter to oats and we put in some chopped plums and some of my plum jam and baked.
Ready Steady Cook Starter
mini-burgers topped with mozzarella served on toasted baguettes
topped with a pepper & plum relish
Ready Steady Cook Main
grilled sardines served with samphire and roasted peppers stuffed with red rice
Ready Steady Cook Pudding
plum oatcakes topped with plums poached in cava
Since Aims and I no longer live together it makes a fun and inexpensive way to spend an evening together. This was quite a satisfying RSC in that everything was relatively easy to cook, everything was really tasty and we had plenty of catching up time...if we scored the RSCs this would be right up there in the top three. Perhaps that is the next evolution of RSC, that we each mark the night at the end in areas of creativity, taste and execution...sounds like Aims and I are due another RSC!