When cooking everyday, run of the mill dishes in our house, a commonly heard question asked aloud is, “What does Delia say?”.
What we mean by this is, of course, “I am cooking something I can cook in my sleep* and I just wondered if I’m missing something after all these years, so I’m going to consult the cooking bible, aka ‘Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course’ and see what she says.” Please note, by the way, that the actual copy of the book we use is a ‘New edition for the 1990s’. State of the art stuff.
To get this out of the way for non-Brits, Delia Smith is an English cooking deity, famous for:
a) a drunken ‘Where are you! Let’s be ‘avin you’ rant at Norwich City fans. Norwich City are the Premier League football club that Delia part owns.
b) Her pre-packaged Christmas pudding kits, sold via Waitrose, which sold at a rate of one every seven seconds in 2010.
Back to Delia’s ‘little extras’ in her recipes….. For example, Delia always puts bacon and chicken liver in Spaghetti Bolognese. Unfortunately bacon is saltier than a salty thing, so not a good example for a low salt blog. Chicken liver, on the other hand is low in salt so throw it in to your heart’s content, if the thought of chicken livers wobbling about in your spag bol doesn’t make you feel a tad sick.
Anyway, tonight I’m cooking Chilli Con Carne, and I asked myself (no-one else is in), “What would Delia say?”. Delia adds in a couple of what I call ‘extras’. They are:
1) Miss Delia uses chuck steak, instead of minced beef. I usually choose to ignore this one, since I am neither a cowboy in the old west, nor the kind of person who would have chuck steak knocking about.
2) Delia doesn’t use tinned tomatoes to add liquid to the dish, instead she uses beef stock with tomato puree stirred in. I choose to only partly ignore this – I use both tinned tomatoes and stock and tomato puree.
I know what you’re thinking – stock! Full of bloody salt. True, mostly, but I’ve been using Kallo ‘VERY LOW SALT’ (it actually says that in the corner) stock cubes. Waitrose sell them. That’s Ocado to you online shoppers.
All in all, chilli can be a very low salt dish. I pretty much go for it on the veggie front (once again, ignoring Delia’s ‘1 large green pepper’ and chucking in whatever’s left in the fridge – tonight that’s 2 carrots, half a leek and half a tub of mushrooms and two tomatoes).
The leek was cleaned using another legendary British pensioner’s leek cleaning recipe, thanks for asking. I am (of course) referring to Glenys Kinnock. Glenys appeared on Dame Edna Everage’s show in the late 80s/ early 90s (it’s late, and I haven’t got time to corroborate this information for you). Having hunted out this clip on YouTube, I realised that the only reason I must have watched this episode, is because my hero of the hour, Jason Donovan, was also a guest on Edna’s sofa. So here’s a must for Jason or Neighbours fans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NX02P2-e9I. Our pals at Neighblog might like this clip, as it ends with Edna, Jase and Glenys singing the Neighbours theme tune.
Back to my low salt chilli recipe, here it is in all it’s glory:
Minced beef (as much as you can afford!) or 400g in reality
1 big onion
1 chubby bit of garlic
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin red kidney beans
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne chill pepper
1 teaspoon ‘Very Lazy’ chilli or chilli flakes
500ml/ 1 pint Kallo low salt stock, with a couple of squirts of tomato puree stirred in
As much veg as is knocking about in your fridge, including 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes if you have them
Plain flour (if required)
Pepper to taste
In short – chop the onion, garlic and leek if you’re using one and throw in a wok/ large pan with a lug of oil (clearly I think I’m Jamie Oliver with all this ‘lug’ business. Soften, then chuck in the mince, plus the pepper, chilli, paprika and chilli pepper and cook until brown.
Throw in remaining veg and stir for 2 minutes, then pour in the stock/ puree and tin of toms. If it looks like the whole thing is going to be a bit thin/ have too much liquid, stir a tablespoon of plain flour into the last inch of stock until it’s thick and pastey (an actual word, I assure you) then stir in to the main dish.
Leave simmering for a minimum of 30 minutes (45 if you need to type up a blog post while you’re cooking) and then taste, adding more pepper/ chilli/ paprika if required.
Serve with 1/2 cup of rice per person, and then marvel at how much rice that actually is, and cook less next time.
There you go. A low salt dish that ignores much of Delia Smith’s advice.
*cooking in one’s sleep is unadvisable. I not only can wake you up, it can also burn you, and your house down. If you are going to do this, get someone equally as daft as you to film it so you can at least sell the video footage to Mr Harry Hill, or the YouTube.