Saturday, 26 June 2010

Two Bento

The microwave at work has broken and I am making more Bento as they can be eaten cold as well as hot. I'm really enjoying the variety of food, rather than just a microwaveable pasta dish. It nice to be able to look forward to lunch!

The first bento is a Salmon Nicoise Bento, based on the Barefoot Contessa Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter. It has lettuce, french beans, olives, cherry tomatoes, boiled potatoes, marinated salmon and a hard boiled egg. I also had vinaigrette in a separate pot.

The second is cheese ravioli with tomato and mascarpone sauce and grated cheddar on top, with chicken sticks and mustard in the rabbit and then a tomato and green bean salad with vinaigrette again in a separate container.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Japanese Style Tuna with Wok Fried Noodles

One of my quickest meals from last week is this tuna dish. It took me about 15 mins to make and cook. I put the tuna into marinade before I went to work in the morning and it was really tasty. The tuna had a lovely flavour which was taken up by the noodles and veg as well. All in all another simple but tasty dish.
I'm going to add this to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Mansi of Fun and Food Cafe. Check out her blog on Friday for the round up.

Japanese Style Tuna with Wok Fried Noodles
(Serves 2)

1 teaspoon miso paste
3 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
180g tuna steaks
150g dried soba noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
couple of handfuls grated carrot
1 small tin sliced bamboo shoots
1 spring onions, thinly sliced

Put the miso, soy sauce, mirin, ginger and sesame oil in a bowl and stir to combine

Marinate the tuna fillets in the mixture, in the refrigerator, for about an hour.

Cook the soba noodles in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, rinse under cold water, drain and set aside.

Heat a grill pan over a high heat, then add the marinated tuna steaks, reserving the marinade. Cook for 3 minutes on each side.

While the tuna is cooking, heat a wok over a high heat. Add the oil and stir-fry the carrot and bamboo shoots for 2 minutes. Add the noodles and spring onions and stir well to combine. Add the reserved marinade, bring to the boil and stir.
Serve the noodle-vegetable stir-fry with the grilled tuna on top.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A Simple Supper

Sometimes there's nothing better than simple flavours and a simple supper.

Pan Fried Sea Bass with Fennel Butter, Jersey Royal Potatoes with Chives, Asparagus, Green Beans and Runner Beans. Delicious!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Daring Cooks June 2010: Trout and Shrimp Pâté and Bread

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

When I first read this challenge I was really sceptical, I've made bread tonnes of time before but pate?! But then I read the recipes and thought ok, I'll give this one a shot. I can't stand the smell of cooking liver so fish or vegetarian it was. I chose the fish as I had most of the ingredients already in the house.

I did, however have a few problems. When I took the pate out of the oven, there was a layer of water in the bottom of the loaf tin and the pate was a bit dry. Did this happen to anyone else? It was still tasty and I loved the combination of the prawns and trout. My bread, however was fantastic. It didn't have that homemade bread taste, that isn't always very nice, I don't know if it was the milk in the bread or the pan of boiling water in the oven, but it was really good.

Trout and Shrimp Pâté
Yields one 6x3 inch (15x7,5 cm) terrine or loaf pan

1 tbsp / 15 ml butter
1/4 lb / 4 oz / 120g medium raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tailed (about 12 medium shrimp)1/8 cup / 30ml Grand Marnier (or cognac, or another strong liqueur of your choice) (optional)1/2 lb / 8 oz / 240g trout fillet, skinned and cut into thick chunks
1/4 lb / 4 oz / 110g raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tailed (any size)
3/4 cup / 180ml heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Green peppercorn, coarsely ground, to taste
Chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

In a heavy, flameproof frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the 1/4 pound of medium shrimp, stirring often, until pink and cooked through. Remove the pan from heat. (NOTE: These shrimp will be used to form layers within your pâté. If you feel they are too thick – like the ones in the photograph, you might want to slice them in half lengthwise.)

Pour the Grand Marnier over the cooked shrimp. Light a match and carefully ignite the alcohol, to flambé the shrimp. Wait for the flames to go out on their own, carefully tilting the pan to ensure even flavoring. Set aside.

Put the trout and the remaining raw shrimp in a food processor and pulse. Gradually pour in the cream and keep pulsing until you obtain a smooth mixture that is easy to spread, but not too liquid (you may not need to use all the cream). Season with salt and green pepper.

Butter a 6x3 inch (15x7,5 cm) loaf pan or terrine, then line it with parchment paper. Spoon in half the trout mixture, and spread it evenly. Place the flambéed shrimp on top, in an even layer, reserving 3 or 4 shrimp for decorating. Top with the remaining trout mixture.

Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep ovenproof dish (such as a brownie pan or a baking dish). Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan.

Put the water bath and terrine in the oven, and bake for 35 minutes. The pâté should be cooked through and firm in the center.

Remove the pan from the water bath and let cool. Carefully unmold onto a serving platter. Decorate with the reserved shrimp, and sprinkle with chopped chives. Cut into thick slices and serve at room temperature, with crusty bread.

Sandwich Loaf
Yields two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch (21 x 12 x 6 cm) loaves

3tsp (15 ml) active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups (600 ml) whole milk (3.25 per cent fat), warmed to a temperature of 97ºF (36ºF)
2 1/2 tsp (12.5 ml) salt
2 tsp (10 ml) butter, melted
5 1/3 cups (750g) unbleached white bread flour, + 1/2 cup (75g), for working the dough
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter, for the loaf pan

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and warm milk, and whisk to dissolve. Whisk in the salt and the melted butter.

Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the dough becomes too thick to stir, knead it with your hands, for about 5 minutes, until you obtain a smooth, homogeneous dough that is soft and a little sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.

Knead the dough 20 strokes (still in the bowl), cover again, and let rest for 1.5 hour.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in two. Form each half into a slightly oval ball. Butter your two loaf pans and transfer the dough to the pans. Cover lightly and let rise in a draft-free area for 60 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Fill a large baking pan with hot water (simmering is fine) and place in the oven. Preheat oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

Put the loaves in then oven and bake for 10 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time. After 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 400ºF (200ºC) and continue baking for about 25 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely golden. Unmold and let cool on a rack.

Menu Plan Monday and a Croque Madame (Sort of)

I think last week I ate out a total of 6 times! It was hard on my budget, but I did have an awesome time meeting up with friends and family. The only things I ate at home, were lemon chicken with egg fried rice, hummus and pitta bread and fajita, so there really was no highlight! This week's Menu Plan Monday is slightly more sedate. I am off to Sheffield with some friends at the weekend but eating at home most days before I go, which will hopefully be much easier on the pocket!

I made a croque madame a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely delicious. I didn't go the whole hog and make bechamel sauce, so really it was just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with mustard and a fried egg on top, but it really was tasty. I also served it with a huge side salad. I love my salads!

Lunch: Out for Pizza with a friend
Dinner: Prawn Crackers and Sweet Chilli Dip (I was so full from lunch)

Lunch: Out at Yo! Sushi with my Mum
Dinner: Tuna with Wok Fried Soba Noodles

Lunch: Sesame Potatoes, Frankfurters and Marinated Carrots (Bento)
Dinner: White Bean, Sausage and Spinach Stew

Lunch: Cheese, Spring Onion and Black Bean Quesedilla
Dinner: Sea Bass with Herby Butter, Jersey Royals, Veg

Lunch: Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Spaghetti Bake, Salad
Dinner: Sausage Sandwich

Lunch: Lunchbox Layered Salmon Salad (Bento)
Dinner: Out in Sheffield

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Asiago, Spinach, Artichoke and Ricotta Pasta

I remember eating asiago cheese at one of the events we had for the Little Italy exhibition that was down in the museum last year and I've been meaning to buy some ever since. When I came across a recipe for Asiago Spinach and Ricotta Pasta on one of my livejournal communities, although I can't remember which one or who posted the original recipe and I've changed it so much it doesn't really matter, it jogged my memory again and I bought some.

There is a brilliant Italian deli on Farringdon Road in London called Gazzano's, we used them for the catering for the Little Italy events and I have been back many times since to stock up on pasta. So I knew they sold asiago, and that's where I went. I also bought some spinach and ricotta gnocchi and taleggio whilst I was there.

This pasta bake was delicious. I add artichokes to the recipe and a put some cherry tomatoes on top before it went in the oven. The original recipe also said to blitz the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper in a food processor, but I don't have one so I just did without! I served it with a big side salad with lettuce, avocado, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.

I am entering this into Presto Pasta Nights for next week, hosted by The Sweet Kitchen, as its definitely one worth sharing. Check out the blog for the round up on Friday.

Asiago, Artichoke, Ricotta and Spinach Pasta
(Serves 4)

1 pound rigatoni or tortiglioni
2 cups ricotta cheese
5 ounces uncooked baby spinach leaves
1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered
2 cups semi-soft Asiago cheese, grated
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
5 tbsp Parmesan, grated
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 220C.

While waiting for a pot of salted water for the pasta to come to a boil, blanch the spinach, making sure to squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can. Set aside.

When the water boils, cook the pasta for about two minutes short of time on the box.

Whilst the pasta is cooking, mix together the ricotta, spinach, artichokes, Parmesan, nutmeg, a bit of salt and pepper and 1 cup of the asiago in a large bowl.
Drain, and add the pasta to the ricotta mixture and combine thoroughly. Drizzle in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Transfer the pasta and sauce to a baking dish. Top evenly with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the rest of the Asiago and Parmesan cheeses. sprinkle the breadcrumbs across the top of the dish.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is a nice golden brown.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Couple of Bento

I have a couple of bento to share with you, the first one I'm entering into the British Themed Bento Event at Bento Box Blog. I made a ploughman's bento ages ago, I took it to the British Library with me when I was studying, but what is more quintessentially English than the ploughman's lunch?!

So I had: two slices of bread, an apple, cheddar cheese, salami, pickle, coleslaw, cherry tomatoes and little gem lettuce.

The second is probably Lebanese or at least from somewhere round there! I had hummus with falafel, couscous with mint, green pepper, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes and cucumber halves on top for a bit of decoration.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Prawn and Crab Stir Fry

I have decided that I love crab, I got some tinned crab to make a pasta salad with and I used the second half of the tin to make a delicious stir fry. It's almost as good as the fresh stuff even if it is still pretty expensive. I'm going to have to try some more, cos I've found lots of pasta and crab recipes I want to try! The stir fry was really delicious, with a lovely mix of flavours.

Prawn and Crab Stir Fry
(Serves 2)

1 packet of straight to wok noodles
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp canola or peanut oil
10 uncooked prawns, peeled
1 yellow pepper, sliced
10 sugar snap peas
2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
1 small can sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
150g crab, flaked into bite-size pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1½ cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock
1½ tablespoons cornflower mixed to a paste with 1½ tablespoons water

Mix together the oyster and soy sauces and sesame oil in a bowl.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, add 1 tbsp of the oil and stir-fry the prawns for 2 minutes. Remove the prawns from the wok and set aside on a plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the wok over a high heat and stir-fry the pepper and sugar snap pears for 2 minutes. Add the spring onions, bamboo shoots, crab, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a further minute.

Add the sauce mixture, stock and prawns, then add the cornflower paste and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Turbot with Spring Onions and Ginger Sauce

I've had a very busy and exhausting day! But I have nearly got my exhibition up. There are just a few little loose ends to tie up, but I hope that it should all be ready for Monday and I'm really happy with it. It looks really good. I've also found another turbot recipe! Its taken me a little while but I found another one in my cookbooks. This one came from Leiths Cookery Bible and is Chinese in style. It was really easy and quick to prepare and very very tasty. I added some veg to the stir fry, which made the meal more nutritious.

Turbot with Spring Onions and Ginger Sauce (adapted from Leiths Cookery Bible)
(Serves 3-4)

450g turbot fillet
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1cm fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
8-10 spring onions, shredded

For the marinade
1 tbsp soy sauce mixed with 1 tbsp sake

For the sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry

Cut the fish fillets into strips 5cm x 1cm.

Add the fish to the marinade and leave it to stand for 30 mins.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and set aside.

Heat a saute pan, add a little oil and when hot add the garlic, cook for a minute or so. Lower the heat and add the fish, in its marinade and fry briefly. Pour in the sauce, stir and add the spring onions. Serve immediately with rice.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Courgette Carbonara

I love carbonara but I find it really difficult to make. I either scramble the eggs or it ends up too saucy. This was a totally different recipe to proper carbonara though, so I didn't have any problems with making a nice sauce! I used the last of the grated courgette I froze from last year. The courgette plants I put in a couple of weeks ago are starting to grow, I'm so excited about home grown courgettes! It's also finally rained today, which will have helped things grow and means I don't have to water!!

I am adding this to Presto Pasta Nights 166. This week it's hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, the founder. Check out her blog for this week's round up.

Courgette Carbonara (adapted from Good Food Magazine October 2009)
(Serves 2)

70g bacon, sliced
2 medium courgettes, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 egg
5 tbsp single cream
30g Parmesan, finely grated
150g linguine

Cook the bacon in a dry, non-stick pan until crisp and golden (it'll give off enough fat to cook itself). Add the courgette and garlic and cook for 8 minutes or until the courgette is softened. Whisk the egg, cream and Parmesan and season with pepper. Cook the pasta following the pack instructions, then lift out of water with tongs straight into the courgette pan.

Toss well over the heat then take off the heat and toss with the egg and cream mix, adding 2-3 tbsp of the pasta water until you have a nice emulsified sauce.