Thursday, 31 December 2009

Japanese Salmon and Avocado Rice

Just before Christmas I made a really lovely lunch from leftovers that needed eating up in the fridge. I found a recipe from Good Food Magazine and adapted it slightly to what I had left. I also made egg fried rice rather than just sushi rice as I made it the night before and took it to work to eat, and egg fried rice seems to dry out less. This was really tasty and healthy to boot, although it would have been even healthier with just normal sushi rice.

Japanese Salmon and Avocado Rice (adapted from Good Food Magazine August 2009)
(Serves 4)

300g sushi rice
350g smoked salmon, sliced
2 small, ripe avocados , sliced
juice 1 lemon
4 tsp light soy sauce
4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 spring onions , thinly sliced

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or follow these instructions if you don't have a rice cooker: Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. Drain and put in a large pan with 400ml water. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low, cover, then cook for 10-12 mins until the rice is almost cooked. Remove from the heat, then leave, covered, for another 10 mins.

Thinly slice the salmon and arrange on a plate with the sliced avocado. Drizzle over the lemon juice and soy, making sure everything is evenly covered. Leave in the fridge to marinate for 10 mins.

Carefully tip the juices from the salmon into the rice, then stir in with a little salt. Divide the rice between 4 bowls. Scatter the sesame seeds and spring onions over the salmon and avocado, then serve with the rice.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Spaghetti Squash masquerading as Pasta with Prawns, Scallops and Cream Sauce

Over the summer I grew some spaghetti squash, I have only ever eaten this vegetable simply done as a side dish with a little butter and some salt and pepper. I had however read somewhere that it can be used as a substitute for pasta so I asked my friends on the cooking community at LiveJournal to see if it was true, and they confirmed that it was. I tried it out and came up with prawns and scallops in a cream sauce.

This is how it came out, I added a handful of mange tout to the dish, to add some crunch. It was delicious and worked perfectly as a dish, you could probably use pretty much any pasta sauce with this and it would work. It left me feeling full but not with the over full feeling I often get with pasta.

Spaghetti Squash as Pasta with Prawns, Scallops and Cream Sauce
(Serves 1)

1 small spaghetti squash
handful of raw prawns, deshelled
4 scallops
1 tsp old bay seasoning
handful of mange tout
2 tbsp creme fraiche
couple of squeezes of lemon juice
grated Parmesan

Put the prawns and scallops in a Ziploc bag with the old bay seasoning and shake so that the fish is coated. Leave to marinate for up to 24hrs.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Prick holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork and bake the squash in the oven for about 40-50 mins, until it feels soft.

About 10 mins before the spaghetti squash is ready heat a frying pan with a little oil. Saute the prawns and scallops for about 5 mins, until the scallops are cooked and the prawns have turned pink. Add in the mange tout about 2 mins into cooking the scallops and prawns.

Add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice to the pan and the creme fraiche. Stir until combined and the creme friache has heated through.

Take the seeds out of the spaghetti squash when it has cooked and scrape out the insides into a pasta bowl. Cover with the fish and creme fraiche mixture, and grate some parmesan over the top.

Serve with garlic bread and a side salad.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Meals

Christmas is over as my Father would say! We have had a lovely and quiet couple of days with lots of yummy food, a roaring fire and lots of lovely presents.

Our starter for Christmas Day was a Shellfish Selection from Waitrose. We had a last minute dash round Waitrose on Christmas Eve whilst waiting for my sister to have her hair cut. We went in for two items and came out with a basket full! The Shellfish Selection contained smoked salmon, prawns, crab and prawn mousse. It was really tasty.

This is how the table looked for Christmas dinner, although I have managed to cut out the top of the centerpiece, which is a very large champagne glass shaped glass container with lots of silver baubles in it, and a candle in the middle.

We had beef wellington for Christmas Dinner, with roast potatoes, roast carrots, mange tout, broccoli and red wine gravy. It was absolutely delicious. The beef wellington had a portabello mushroom, fillet steak and ardennes pate all wrapped in puff pastry.

On Boxing Day we had relatives over for lunch and had the more traditional roast goose for lunch. with stuffing, roast parsnips, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage and gravy.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta

I'm now back at my parents for Christmas, it was really weird going out into the snowy landscape, as they've had much more snow than we got in London. Christmas is a quiet one this year with just my parents, my sister and me, although we do have relatives coming on boxing day. We're also having a non-traditional Christmas meal of Beef Wellington! We will have a Goose on Boxing Day though! It is nice being back though and we are off to a friends house for drinks and nibbles later on and then we're going to put the Christmas tree up later on. I would like wish everyone a very Merry Christmas :)

This is not a very Christmassy dish though but it was delicious. I had one piece of hot lightly smoked salmon and it went perfectly with the mustard and dill sauce. I think I might use less sauce next time though as it overpowered the dish slightly.

Hot-Smoked Salmon Pasta (adapted from Leiths Simple Cookery Bible)
(Serves 4)

450g hot smoked salmon cut into thick slices
350g tagliatelle
4 tbsp creme fraiche
8 tbsp ready made mustard and dill sauce
ground black pepper
handful of frozen peas

lemon juice and 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the salmon slices onto a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 mins until warmed through or if you have the uncooked kind like I did, cook for 25 mins in the oven until cooked.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, add the frozen peas for the last 3-4 mins of cooking time.

Drain the pasta and peas well. Return to the pan and stir through the creme fraiche, mustard and dill sauce and black pepper.

Divide between warmed bowls and place the salmon slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle over the dill. Serve.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Paris 2

Ok, so the week before last I went to Paris for a couple of days, this is continuation of my post about Paris from last week. On Thursday morning I went to L'age D'or Hollandaise, an exhibition all about the golden age of Dutch art, it had not only the paintings but also some of the objects which appeared in the paintings. I went to the exhibition with Hope who adopted me and my blog in adopt a blogger 3, and I had a really good time, the exhibition was really interesting, but they kept hiding the information boards in English. I can read a bit of French but not much and so it was really cool to have Hope translate the board when we couldn't find the English ones!

On Thursday evening I went out for dinner with Hope and her partner D, to a wine bar in the Montparnasse area of Paris. Both Hope and I had the Andouille (I think) Sausage casserole which had lots of lovely green veg in it. It was called something funny on the menu but I can't remember what now! It was delicious.

D had duck breast on pureed potatoes, which looked really good too.

We did have pudding, but I forgot to take pictures of it! All in all I had a really lovely evening and it was lovely to meet both Hope and D.

I didn't even post last weeks menu plan! I went out for dinner 3 times last week, and the other two evenings were late nights, so I didn't do anything special! We had our work's Christmas dinner, which went ok and I went to the S&M cafe (Sausage and Mash), and had sausage and mash with a friend. Then on Friday I went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, with another friend and we had mulled wine and bratwurst sausages! It was freezing though and the market wasn't very good.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is very short as, in case you didn't know, its Christmas on Friday! I'm going home to spend the break with my parents, and so there's no planning needed for the end of the week. The rest of the week is just using up left over veg and items from my fridge to create quick and easy meals.

Lunch: Roast Chicken, Stuffing, Potatoes, Carrots, Broccoli and Gravy
Dinner: Hummus and Pitta Bread

Lunch: Ham and Cheese Orzo Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Beef and Veg in Black Bean Sauce

Lunch: Japanese Smoked Salmon and Rice Salad with Avocado
Dinner: Out with my Dad at a Polish restaurant

Lunch: Fish finger Sandwich with Potato Croquettes
Dinner: Home

Friday, 18 December 2009


I don't usually post about things I've eaten when I go out for a meal, usually because I'm so busy eating the meal I totally forget to take my camera out of my bag, unless reminded by someone. This one was special though. I spent the second half of last week in Paris with my parents. We rented an apartment on the South Bank for a couple of days, primarily so that my parents could go to the Opera, but I tagged along to go to Art Galleries.

I spent Wednesday evening in the Louvre. I can highly recommend this. It is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Fridays and after 6pm the price drops to 6 euros and the queues have disappeared. So I got in very quickly and the galleries that I went round (Dutch Paintings and French Paintings) were relatively quiet with a few groups and people drawing but not that many people, enough time to stand and admire the Lace Maker by Vermeer anyway!

On Thursday I went to L'age D'or Hollondaise in the morning with Hope from Hopie's Kitchen, more about this one later, and then for lunch I met my parents and we went to Les Bouquinistes which is a restaurant with Guy Savoy, I think this means its owned by him but he doesn't cook there? Not sure! Anyway we had the Lunch Menu which was 29€ for three courses and a glass of wine. We started with rillettes of salmon on a mousse with Carrot Soup, which was delicious, I took no pictures as we'd eaten it before I remembered the camera! For the main course, my Mum and I had guinea foul with a liver and nut stuffing and celeriac, salsify and artichokes. This was absolutely delicious.

My Dad had "Rasscasse", which apparently translated into English is scorpion fish, although the waiter described it as like cod, with veg underneath it. That was also really good.

For dessert my Dad and I had a chocolate plate, with Chocolate Mouse, pear and pear sorbet.

My Mum had a Mango and Rice pudding thing, which she didn't like! But all in all it was a delicious and really filling meal.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Stir-Fried Pork in Ginger with Onion

Wow, ok so far its been a bit of a mad week! I got home on Monday night to discover that I had no heating or hot water! The pressure in my boiler had disappeared and the nob at the bottom of the boiler which is supposed to re-pressurise the system didn't work! I went to bed in pyjama bottoms, a long sleeved nightie and socks and I had to get up in the middle of the night to put a jumper on it was so cold!

I called British Gas at 8am and they had an engineer out to me at 3pm that same day, who fixed the problem. He did say that I was very lucky to get someone the same day as they had had a very busy Monday, but it's fixed and I have heating! It is fantastic! I was amazed at how quickly the flat got really cold.

I also handed in both my pieces of coursework and my website is all up and running for the duration of marking anyway! Its so nice to have them in and now I can have a peaceful Christmas before term starts again in January. I had an amazing trip to Paris and I will write more about that later in the week as I took pictures too!

I thought I'd share this Chinese dish with you, its really simple to make but really tasty too. It could have done with a little more sauce however and I think I ended up squirting some tonkatsu sauce into the side of the bowl so that the rice wasn't too dry.

Stir-Fried Pork in Ginger with Onion (adapted from Japanese cooking for two by Kurumi Hayter)

1/2lb sliced pork
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

for the marinade
1 oz ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake

Mix the ginger, soy sauce and sake together in a bowl to make the marinade. Add the pork and marinade for 30 mins.

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok. Add the pork to the pan and saute for 3 mins

Add the onion and cook for 2-3 mins more.

Add the remaining marinade and cook for 1-2 mins. Serve with noodles or rice.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Daring Cooks December 2009: Salmon en Croute

The Decemeber 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

I really enjoyed doing this Daring Cooks, I love eating salmon en croute but usually just get it out of a packet from the supermarket, so it was nice to try it from scratch. I cheated and used ready made pastry and I did have a small problem with the puree. I only have a tiny food processor big enough to make hummus and that sort of thing. So I had to use a hand blender to make the puree, it made the puree really liquid. I tried putting it in the fridge for a bit to see if that would stiffen it up, but that didn't work! So I tried to carefully pour it into the salmon parcels, but lots of it oozed out! So I heated the remainder of the sauce and put it in a jug to pour over, and then it thickened up! Very bizarre.

I made this for my parents when they came for dinner, and they really enjoyed it. I served it with celeriac mash, runner beans and sugar snap peas.

Salmon en Croute
(Serves 4)

Mascarpone or cream cheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach - 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr
Shortcrust pastry - 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butter version such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or... make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg - 1 medium sized

1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.

2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Masala Prawn Stir Fry

I am sitting in the lounge at St Pancras waiting for the Eurostar to take me to Paris! Very exciting! I'm going to the Louvre this evening and ten tomorrow I am going to the Pinacotheque to see The Dutch Golden Age Exhibition. I am also going to meet Hopie of Hopie's Kitchen , my adopter from Adopt a Blogger, and we are going to the exhibition together! How exciting is that?! I am so looking forward to meeting her after months of swapping emails! It promises to be a fantastic couple of days.

That has absolutely no connection to the recipe below! I love noodles but I have never tried using them in Indian cuisine, although I am told they are quite popular. So this was an experiment for me, and a very tasty one. The noodles and the curry taste went really well together and I will definitely have to experiment with curry and noodles.

Masala Prawn Stirfry (adapted from Leiths Simple Cookery Bible)
(Serves 4)

300g large prawns, peeled and cooked
2 heaped tbsp tikka masala or korma paste
250g medium rice noodles
1 tbsp oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 red peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into 1cm strips
2 courgettes, sliced
3 tbsp water or stock
handful of roughly chopped coriander

Mix the prawns with the curry paste and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins or overnight.

Cook the rice noodles according to packet instructions.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the onion and stir-fr for 2 mins, then add the red pepper and stir fry for 1 min further.

Add the courgettes and prawns to the wok and cook for 1 min or until heated through.

Drain the rice noodles and add to the wok wit the water or stock, stirring so that the curry paste coats the noodles. Stir in the coriander.

Serve in a warmed bowl.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Menu Plan Monday

These essays are really taking there toll, again I haven't updated between menu plans! I am about half way through them now, although I have left the worst until last! I have to write a 1500 word design critique of a website I'm creating using xhtml, and I have no idea what to write!

One of the highlights of last week was this Green Tea Soba Noodles with Tuna Steak from My Cooking Hut. The flavours worked really well together and this was a really tasty dish.

I changed the recipe a little bit and added mushrooms and mange tout instead of courgette as that's what I had in the fridge.

This week is very short, I'm going away at the end of the week for a few days, so I'm trying to use up everything in the fridge and not buy any more. I'm also going home for Christmas so I don't want to have too much left around for then either!

Lunch: Fish Fingers and Potato Croquettes
Dinner: Breaded Veal with Japanese Curry, Noodles or Rice

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Fish Soup, Bread Roll

Lunch: Broccoli and Mushrooms with Rice Noodles and Chicken Patties
Dinner: Out with my father

Lunch: Away
Dinner: Away

Lunch: Away
Dinner: Away

Dinner: Sausage and Mash with Onion Gravy, Veg

Lunch: Croque Monseiur, Salad
Dinner: Out for a Christmas Party