Saturday, 31 October 2009

Grilled Salmon with Green Tea Noodles and Mushrooms

My Mum came to stay on Tuesday evening and I wanted to cook her something special, but easy, for dinner. She loves Asian food but doesn't get to eat much of it, as my dad doesn't really like noodles or rice, so she chose Asian style salmon and I chose the recipes. I found this recipe from Wandering Chopsticks, adapted it, and teamed it with Green Tea Noodles, an impulse buy from the Japan Centre, and mushrooms.

I'm not a big fan of almonds or nuts in general, as was suggested as an accompaniment for the noodles the original post, so I used mushrooms instead. I also had problems with the glaze, what I got was more liquid, more like a marinade, So I left the salmon fillets in it for about half an hour to marinade and then rubbed miso paste on the salmon before I grilled it. I then heated the marinade in a small saucepan to create a sauce. It was delicious and the two parts of the meal went really well together, and my Mum loved it too!

Green Tea Noodles with Exotic Mushrooms
(Serves 2)

1 bundle of green tea noodles
100g mixed mushrooms
handful mangetout
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Saute the mushrooms, until they are lightly browned and the mange tout are cooked but still crisp.

Add the cooked noodles to the pan and add the mirin and soy sauce, stir fry for a minute until it is warmed through and serve.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Chinese Style Fish Soup

I haven't been very good at posting here recently, mainly due to college and work. I have just finished writing my first essay in about 3 years and boy am I glad that it's over! I'm not sure how happy I am with it, but if I fiddle with it anymore its going to drive me insane!

I also went to Lille for the day yesterday with my Mum and sister and we had a fantastic time. We ate lunch at La Compostelle, where I had an Asian beef salad and then dourade with red pepper and walnut pesto, a cream sauce and courgette risotto, and they were both delicious. We then looked round the shops and went to the supermarket where I stocked up on all the things I love but can't buy here. We also had tea in Meert and bought the most delicious cakes to eat on the train on the way back, it was a little tricky to eat them as we had no forks, but really tasty none the less.

As the evenings get colder here, although this week its been unseasonably warm, I start making lots of soups and casseroles. I love Asian style soups, especially noodle soup. This one was originally just a fairly plain Chinese fish soup with no noodles and not much veg, so I used the basic recipe and jazzed it up a little, adding egg noodles, spinach, sugar snap peas and mange tout. It was delicious.

Chinese Style Fish Noodle Soup (Adapted from Ken Hom's Hot Wok)
(Serves 4)

450g cod fillets
1 egg white
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
1.2 ltrs chicken/veg/fish stock
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp finely shredded root ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
1 tsp chilli oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
mixed stir fry veg
2 packets of straight to wok noodles

Remove the skin from the fish fillets and then cut them into small pieces, about 2.5cm square. Combine the fish, egg white, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cornflour and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 20 mins.

Pour the stock into a wok and bring it to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, shaoxing rice wine, ginger and spring onions and simmer for 30 secs. Then add the veg and noodles and simmer for 2 mins.

Add the fish and stir gently for 1 min. As soon as the fish turns white, immediately turn off the heat. Add the chilli oil and vinegar. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Rabbit

I am actually late with this again, things just got away from me at work again yesterday, so i started the post and never actually posted it! I also managed to print off the paper copy and leave it at work! I leave it down to the new pills I'm taking which are sending my head a little squiffy!

Anyway on Saturday night I made a delicious rabbit casserole from a recipe found through google. It was Provencal Rabbit Stew with Olives and Capers from We Are Never Full.

It ended up being a little too salty for me, but I made a fantastic pasta sauce by watering down the leftover liquid and adding sour cream to the leftovers for dinner yesterday.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is like normal full of quick and easy meals. My Mum is coming to stay on Tuesday night as we are off to Lille for the day on Wednesday. I told my friend that I was basically going to Lille to grocery shop and she laughed and said that was typically me! So on Tuesday evening I'm trying something different to feed my Mum! I bought green tea noodles and had absolutely no idea what to do with them, but I found a fantastic mushroom noodle recipe so I'm going to try that as a side dish with some miso salmon.

I am so looking forward to going to Lille and all the exciting ingredients I can buy which I can't get here, especially lots of cheese!

Lunch: Smoked Duck and Sesame Salad
Dinner: Goats Cheese and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Leg, Pasta with Pesto and Veg

Lunch: Onion Bhaji with Curry Fried Rice, Indian Spinach, Raita and Mango Chutney (Bento)
Dinner: Leftover Rabbit with Creamy Sauce and Pasta

Lunch: Pesto and Tomato Potato Salad, Sausages with Ketchup and Mustard (Bento)
Dinner: Miso Salmon with Green Tea Noodles and Mushrooms

Lunch: Out for lunch in Lille
Dinner: Picnic from Lille

Lunch: Hoi Sin Smoked Duck with Yakisoba Noodles (Bento)
Dinner: Pitta/Naan Bread Pizza with Goats Cheese, Spinach and Olives

Lunch: Quiche and Salad
Dinner: Goan Fish Curry, Lentil Curry, Rice

Lunch: Courgette Soup, Bread
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets, Baked Beans and Chips

Monday, 19 October 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Actually on a Monday!

This week I am actually posting this on a Monday! Hurrah! Last week went pretty well, only a few last minute changes were made. I ended up having take away on Friday evening so the Chinese Fish Soup rolls over to this week, and I still haven't braved my deep fat fryer to make the chicken and potato croquettes, I will have to work up the courage.

I spent a couple of days at my parents last week and was cooked for by my Mum. We had a lovely swordfish dish on Tuesday night and then steak and chips on Wednesday, and there really is nothing better than a home made chip! The highlight of last week for me was the Shrimp and Grits, I completely forgot to take a photo of it, but I loved the texture of the grits, which I added loads of cheese and butter to. I adapted one of the recipes from Jamie's America, which I bought last week, which added meatballs to the recipe, and the meat and prawns worked really well with the smokey flavour of the Old Bay.

I also participated in a snack swap through Live Journal this month and received my box of goodies over the weekend. I swapped with a lady in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and all the snacks she sent were local to her area, the nearest five minutes away and the furthest an hour away!

I rifled through the box a bit before I remembered to take the picture, but this is all the fantastic stuff I got, all laid out.

I have already eaten the whoopie pie, which I loved, and demolished half the block of Hershey's chocolate, which I kinda like, although its not as creamy as English chocolate. The pie is a shoofly pie, made out of molasses and looks really tasty, and I cannot wait to try the apple butter.
This week is fairly simple fare, mostly from my freezer stash as I have to write an essay and won't have much time for cooking.

Lunch: English Muffin Cheese on Toast
Dinner: Out at an Asian Fusion Restaurant

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Vegetarian Chilli in a Tortilla with Cheese and Sour Cream

Lunch: Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad with peas
Dinner: Chinese Style Fish Soup (Ken Hom)

Lunch: Fish Finger Sandwich, Salad
Dinner: Steak Pie, Potato Gratin, Veg

Lunch: Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas, Salad
Dinner: Chicken and Bamboo Shoot Stir Fry, Jasmine Rice (Chinese Food Made Easy)

Lunch: Pesto Potato Salad with tomatoes, Frankfurters with Mustard/Ketchup (Bento)
Dinner: Out for dinner with a friend

Lunch: Salad with Cheese, Smoked Duck etc
Dinner: Spaetzle with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

Friday, 16 October 2009


I had been wanting to make home made pizza for ages but never had the right ingredients or enough time. Then I was given the leftovers from the great bagel making, which included a big ball of mozzarella and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it!

I used a Leiths recipe to make the base, and then made my own tomato sauce, and topped the pizza with mushrooms, ham, peppers, homemade sun dried tomatoes and onions. It was delicious, but the base was a little too bready for me. I'm not sure how to combat this using domestic recipes, because all my cookery books go for a bread like base, will have to do some searching around.

Pizza (from Leiths Cookery Bible)
(makes 2 10 in Pizzas)

10g fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
110ml warm water
200g strong flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 quantity of pizza sauce
225g mozzarella, shredded
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
a selection of toppings

Cream the yeast with the sugar and 2 tbsp of the lukewarm water.

Sift the flour with the salt and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining water and oil. Mix together to make a soft but not wet dough. Add more water or flour if necessary.

Turn out onto a floured surface and need well for about 5 mins until the dough is smooth. Place in a clean bowl and cover with greased cling film. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 230C. Divide the dough into 2. Roll each piece into a 10 in circle. Place on a greased and floured baking trays.

Crimp or flute the edges of the dough slightly to help keep in the filling. Spread with the pizza sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese and toppings and pour over a little oil.

Bake in the top third of the oven for 5 mins, then turn down the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 15 mins.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Daring Cooks October 2009: Vietnamese Chicken Pho

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. There were two recipes this month, but I only had time to do the main one which was Vietnamese Chicken Pho.

I have wanted to make pho for as long as I can remember, but never seemed to get around to it. I was also scared of how spicy the dish was, I'm not very good with chilli as I have said many times before, but with this recipe each person can control how much they put in which was fantastic. I invited my sister round for dinner and made this for us both, we loved being able to pick and choose what extras we put in. I have one criticism, not of the recipe itself, but probably more of traditional pho, we felt that it could have done with more green veggies and next time I make it I will add some to the accompaniments tray. Otherwise the broth was really flavourful and it was a delicious filling meal. Thank you to Jaden and to Daring Cooks.

This one was mine:

This one was my sisters:

Vietnamese Chicken Pho
(Serves 4)

For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
½ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsp sugar
1 to 2 tbsp fish sauce
1 lb (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)

2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice

To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.

Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.

Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

This is how it looked on the table. I was pleased because it gave me an excuse to use my Chinese set of dining ware, so we even had chopstick rests and bamboo ladles, and we used chopsticks to eat the meal!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Menu Plan Tuesday

I'm late again with this! I spent most of yesterday running around after kids. One of my colleagues set up a project with two local schools to do some archaeological surveying and activities and I did some of the tours to look at the buildings still standing around the site. We also got the kids to do rubbings of the coal holes on the ground. It was a fantastic day although I felt very windswept by the end. Luckily the weather held out and it was a beautiful if rather windy day.

I am coming to the last of the veg which is growing in the garden, the courgette plants are still producing, but thankfully at a much slower rate and size than before, my average size being a couple of inches. I also planted some sorrel quite late on and now that is producing with abundance, and I had no idea what to do with it. I came across this chicken recipe on the Good Food Channel website and it was delicious. The sauce worked really well with the flavours of the sorrel and the chicken. It was definitely the highlight of last week.

This week I'm home for a couple of days, so no cooking and I'm also trying shrimp and grits. I could only get instant grits at the supermarket, so I'm not sure how well they will turn out, but hopefully if I add enough butter and cheese it'll be ok!

Lunch: Out with my Mum and Sister (had Eggs Benedict)
Dinner: Out at Yo! Sushi

Lunch: Chicken, Green Bean and Pesto Pasta Salad
Dinner: Chickpea Curry, Curry Sauce and Rice

Lunch: Ham and Mustard Sandwich
Dinner: Home at my Parents

Lunch: Home
Dinner: Home

Lunch: Spaghetti, Chicken, Blue Cheese, Spinach and Beans, Salad
Dinner: Shrimp and Grits, with Old Bay Seasoning, Veg

Lunch: Mini Quiche, Potato Salad, Ham and Cheese Wraps
Dinner: Chinese Style Fish Soup (Ken Hom)

Lunch: Potato and Chicken Croquettes, Broccoli and Mushroom Noodles
Dinner: Grilled Sausages with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes, Egg

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Maple Pork and Apples

My parents have a small orchard at the back of their house which has about 6-8 apple trees, this year they have gone crazy! They have had so many apples that my Mum said when she picked them it didn't look like she'd picked any, they were that full. So I have been supplying people at work with apples and using a few myself in cooking. I am not a big fan of raw apples but I don't mind them cooked in dishes. I found this recipe for Maple Pork and Apple somewhere on the Internet, I'm not sure where though, so I'm sorry in advance to whoever's recipe this is.

I actually ate this quite a while ago, but never got around to writing about it. It was really simple to make and a great one pan dish. I served it with mash potato, green beans, sugar snaps, samphire and mushrooms.

Maple Pork and Apples
(Serves 4)

4 pork loin chops
2 tbsp butter
12 baby carrots, halved lengthways
1 medium apple, sliced and pips removed
1/3 cup maple syrup

Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. In a frying pan melt the butter over a medium heat and add the chops. Brown for 2 mins, turning once. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add carrots, apple and maple syrup. Cover and simmer for 8 mins or until done.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chops, carrots and apples to a warm plate bring the syrup mixture to a boil, and boil gently for 1-2 mins until thickened. Pour over the chops and serve.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Menu Plan Tuesday

This is a very quick Menu Plan Monday, I didn't post it yesterday cos I was sick and today I've been at college. Its very simple, and I'm actually out a lot this week. I'm also hoping to make some courgette and herb soup with my last two giant courgettes.

Lunch: Prawn, Broccoli and Noodle Stir Fry
Dinner: Pizza

Lunch: Courgette and Watercress Soup, Bread Roll
Dinner: Japanese Beef Curry with Noodles

Lunch: Bagel with Lox Spread and Capers
Dinner: Chicken and Sorrel with Crème Fraiche, Potatoes, Veggies

Lunch: Salmon Ravioli with Peas and a Crème Fraiche
Dinner: Out with my Dad

Lunch: Special and Egg Fried Rice, Chicken Nuggets with Orange Sauce
Dinner: Spinach and Feta Pasty, Veg

Lunch: Pesto and Prawn Pasta Salad
Dinner: Out? If not Chickpea Curry, Curry Sauce, Rice

Lunch: Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Out with my Dad and Sister

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Vegetarian Chilli in a Slow Cooker

I used my slow cooker for the first time last weekend. Its only a small 2/3 person one, but just the right size for me. I made a vegetarian chilli, which I've never made before either. I looked around for recipes online, but I couldn't find any I liked, most had either a meat substitute or squash in them, I hate the texture of minced meat and I'm not a big fan of squash either! So I kind of made it up as I went along.

Even for me, this wasn't hot enough, I think next time I make it I'm going to add some chilli powder in as well, but I wasn't sure how hot the chilli sauce was with the kidney beans. It was however really flavoursome. I served it with some lime and coriander rice, which was gorgeous and I put sour cream and grated cheese over the top. Delicious!

Vegetarian Chilli
(Serves 2)

1 can kidney beans in chilli sauce
150g ish dried pinto beans
1 small can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8-10.

Serve over lime and coriander rice with sour cream and grated cheese on top.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

I have been eating loads of vegetarian meals recently including lots of beans and pulses. I used to really dislike, lentils and chickpeas. I'm not a big fan of crunchy with soft, so nuts in salad, chocolate and ice cream is a no-no, and similarly I always found the texture of chickpeas too hard, but I have discovered that if I cook them for long enough and they go softer without being mushy I actually love the taste of them.

This Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes dish was definitely one of the tastiest chickpea recipes I've tried. The egg wasn't in the original recipe, but I added it in for a bit more protein and it went really well with the flavours of the dish.

Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and an Egg on top (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly Lebanese Cooking)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
4 medium potatoes, sliced thickly
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cups/310ml water
300g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Heat oil in a large frying pan, cook onion and garlic, stirring until onion is soft.

Add spices and cook stirring until fragrant. Add the potato and cook until lightly browned.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stir in undrained crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, sugar and water, simmer covered for about 25 mins or until the potatoes are tender.

With about 5-8 mins of cooking time left crack an egg onto the top of the mixture and re-cover with the lid, leave for 5-8 mins (depending on how you like your egg), and serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled over.