When I beat the clock… almost

I nearly pulled this one off within the desired time limit! It took me 35 minutes to prepare this meal. Of course with next to no cooking required, it wasn’t exactly a tough challenge. I overshot the time limit thanks to an oversight. I was attempting to boil potatoes on a cold hob (forgot to switch it on)! Thankfully the mistake was spotted early; but not soon enough to limit the cooking/preparation time of the entire meal to the deadline of 30 minutes.

On to the menu now.

Smoked salmon, potato salad, beets and cottage cheese, rye bread and home-made butter

While the spread seems extensive, the meal was actually a quick fix. Of the three meals I have prepared, this one was my favourite. Not just because of the ease of preparation, but all the flavours of individual dishes complimented one another.

Smoked salmon on a bed of salad leaves served with creamed horse-radish (sauce) seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon wedges on the side.

Potato salad: Ingredients and method: Chop potatoes (skin on) into 3 cm pieces. Add to boiling water. Add thyme leaves, lemon zest and salt to this. Cook covered in boiling water for ten minutes or until they are soft when stabbed with a fork/knife. Drain and leave to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Place them in a bowl, sprinkle dill (I used chives though) drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to season and lime juice to taste. Easy peasy! The addition of the zest and thyme is a stroke of genius (take a bow J.O)- they jazz up the plain-old boiled potatoes beautifully!

Beetroot salad with cottage cheese: As per the recipe, I used vacuum-packed beets, which are ready to use (so no cooking required). Also the cottage cheese used in this recipe is different from what we are used to back in India, namely, paneer. The former is kind of semi-solid and loose with quite a lot of moisture in it. I am curious to know how the more solid desi-paneer will fare in this dish.

For now, here’s the recipe:


  • 1 pack of vacuum-packed, cooked beetroot (not in vinegar)
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • a few sprigs of basil (use mint or coriander if you want!)
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • zest of half a lemon
  • a small pot of cottage cheese


  • Chop the beetroot into bite-sized chunks and toss into a bowl with a good splash of balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper and basil. Mix the cottage cheese with the thyme leaves, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and the lemon zest, then dump it on top of the beetroot. Voila! Salad#2 is all ready.

Butter: I actually made it and was quite amazed at the difference in quality & taste between this one and the store-bought variety. It may not be the healthiest item I have had in the entire week, but it is worth every spread/smear/dollop. If you are a butter-aficionado or someone who wants to know to taste what real butter should taste like- do makes this at least once in your lifetime!

Method: Take 300 ml of double cream and beat the hell out of it! I used my food processor for the  purpose. The cream with basically become thick and almost-solid (the processor started making a dangerous thudding noise at this point).

Drain excess moisture by placing the lump in a sieve for a few minutes. Then quickly shape into a ball (Don’t handle it too much, or it will melt) and wrap it up in a baking parchment/butter paper quickly. Add a pinch of salt, if you prefer. I didn’t. By the way, add a dollop of this sinful treat in your hot potato salad. It works well!

The rye bread was store-bought! 🙂

Cost of a meal for three: £11. The butter lasts for longer (depending on use of course!); as would the bread.

Time taken : 35 minutes


3 thoughts on “When I beat the clock… almost

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