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Economy Gastronomy
Eat Better and Spend Less
Allegra McEvedy - Author

Book: Hardback | 189 x 246mm | 320 pages | ISBN 9780718155728 | 27 Aug 2009 | Michael Joseph
Economy Gastronomy

The credit crunch is having a massive impact on what we eat. The average family's annual food bill went up by 1000 last year. As the approaching recession forces us to tighten our belts, are we really going to have to face months of grim news with nothing but grim food to sustain us? The answer is 'no!'

Top chefs Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett not only show us how to cut our food bills in half, but how we can eat like royalty at the same time. Economy Gastronomy is about planning ahead, shopping well, spending less and using ingredients ingeniously to create flavour-packed food every day.

The 100 delicious recipes cover breakfasts and lunches, snacks and treats, with chapters to show you how to achieve expensive-looking meals without spending a fortune so you can entertain in style and make something from nothing. Detailed recipes reveal versatile skills you can use in a range of recipes. Form meal planning to seasonal shopping, from loving leftovers to store-cupboard basics, the economy gastronomy system combines traditional skills with restaurant flair.

serves: 4 as a starter preparation time: 15 minutes cooking time: 12 minutes

This is one of the most popular dishes I have ever put on a menu. It is actually a collaborative piece of work between my number two in the kitchen, Chris Marriot, and myself. I very much wanted to pair squid and chorizo sausage and needed the extra bits to tie up the dish. While neither of us is Catalan, it does have a very Spanish feel to it.
Squid may seem like one of those ingredients best left to a restaurant kitchen, but I would beg to differ. As long as you ask your fishmonger to prepare it, there really is nothing more to do than a quick pan-fry. What you are after is the main body of the squid completely clean, so ask for squid ‘tubes’ and say you want the tentacles too.

for the chickpea purée
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground cumin
a pinch of chilli flakes
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
300ml really good extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
1 dessertspoon chopped coriander
500g prepared and cleaned squid,
including the tentacles
250g chorizo sausage
12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
juice of 1/2 lemon
100g soft green leaves, such as pea shoots,
rocket or watercress

Begin with the chickpea purée. It’s worth doubling the quantities I’ve given above to make extra, because
it’s great eaten cold as a dip with pitta for lunch. Drain the chickpeas and put them in a food processor withthe cumin, chilli flakes and one of the cloves of garlic. Turn on the processor and, with the engine running, slowly pour in half the olive oil. Switch off the machine and have a taste – it will probably need a touch of salt, which you can add now. Keep this at room temperature if using straight away or store, covered, in the fridge.
Next, mix the Greek yoghurt with the chopped coriander and store in the fridge.
Now cut the squid tubes into rings about 5mm thick. Next slice up the chorizo into thickish long, diagonal slices. Heat a large frying pan and add a splash of the remaining olive oil. Fry the chorizo until it colours slightly, then remove it to a bowl. You will have a little chorizo-coloured oil, which you can keep and mix in towards the end. Increase the heat in the pan and throw in the squid. The best tip I can give you is to cook it hot and fast. If squid cooks too slowly or at a low temperature, it will become very rubbery. Flash-fry the squid for about 3–4 minutes maximum, in which time it will firm up and colour slightly. At this point throw in the cooked chorizo, tomatoes and the remaining crushed clove of garlic. Toss everything together and finally add any remaining olive oil and the lemon juice.
To serve, put a dollop of chickpea purée on each plate and evenly spoon around the seared squid and chorizo mixture. Be generous with the oil in the pan – it’s a flavourful mix of chorizo and olive oil. Add a spoonful of coriander yoghurt to each plate and serve with some green leaves.

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