Saturday, 26 March 2011

Hummus, Avocado, Rocket and Cherry Tomato Sandwich

This is not really a recipe, so much as a sandwich that I came up with whilst scrounging in the fridge for something to eat! I love hummus and would eat it whenever I could if I let myself! This was really tasty, so I thought I'd share. It would be even better with homemade hummus rather than store bought.

Hummus, Avocado, Rocket and Cherry Tomato Sandwich

2 slices wholemeal bread
1 small avocado, sliced
5/6 cherry tomatoes, halved
handful rocket
2/3 tbsp hummus

Lightly toast the bread. Spread the hummus on one slice of the bread and put the avocado, cherry tomatoes and rocket on top and then put the other slice of bread on top.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Grilled Pork with Lemon and Thyme Barley

The barley is really the star with this dish. I've never tried pearl barley before but I am interested in trying lots of grains to add more fibre to my diet. One of my friends used to eat it a lot and said it was really good, so I thought I'd try it. This dish was delicious, I love lemon anyway so it's perfect for me. I added some old bay seasoning to the pork which complemented the barley amazingly.

Grilled Pork with Lemon and Thyme Barley (from Good Food Magazine March 2011)
(Serves 4)

4 pork medallions
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves , crushed
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion , finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
200g pearl barley
600ml hot chicken stock
4 lemon thyme sprigs, leaves only
100g bag baby spinach
juice and zest 1 lemon

Place the pork in a shallow dish and add the vinegar and garlic, turning to make sure they're evenly covered. Leave at room temperature for 10 mins. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion and coriander seeds for 3-4 mins until softened.

Add the barley and cook for 1 min in the oil, then add the stock and thyme. Bring to the boil, cover then simmer for 30-35 mins until the barley is tender and the liquid absorbed.

Transfer the pork to a grill pan and cook under a hot grill for 5 mins on each side until nicely browned and cooked through. Stir the spinach, zest and juice into the barley and spoon onto plates. Serve with the grilled pork.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

New Potato and Smoked Haddock Crush

I seem to have a lot of smoked fish in my freezer at the moment and I am coming up with different ways to use it rather than just making kedgeree. I came across this recipe in Good Food and it looked simple enough to make on a work day evening and tasty as well. It was and very easy and quick to make. I used parsley instead of chives but it worked just as well.

New Potato and Smoked Haddock Crush (adapted from Good Food Magazine May 2007)
(Serves 4)

500g new potatoes, scrubbed if muddy
6 garlic cloves, peeled, but left whole
300g undyed smoked haddock, skinned
full-fat milk
4 tbsp olive oil
small bunch chives, finely chopped

Halve the potatoes if large. Tip into a pan of boiling salted water with the garlic, simmer for about 20 mins until they are on the brink of collapse, then drain. Meanwhile, cover the haddock with milk. Bring to a simmer, then poach the fish slowly for 5 mins until it flakes easily. Drain fish, but reserve the milk.

While everything is still warm, crush the potatoes and garlic with a masher. Flake and mix in the fish, add 2 tbsp of the poaching milk and 3 tbsp olive oil, then mix well - you should have a loose, rich mash. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the chives and serve.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Daring Cooks March 2011: Peruvian Dishes

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

This is something I would never have thought of eating let alone trying to make. I have seen ceviche before was worried about the whole idea of cooking in acidic liquid, but actually this turned out really tasty and flavourful. The papas rellenas, I had never heard of before but they were really interesting to make and I had to semi deep fry again, hurrah! I did it and again it was not as scary as I thought! I made the vegetarian version as I don't like mince and used black beans and bulgar instead of tempeh and quinoa, mostly because I already had the first two in the house. These were really tasty as well and I ended up making three of them with lots of filling left over, so I've frozen them for another day.

Cheviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):

2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)*
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chili pepper, minced (I recommend Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)
Fresh juice only, no bottled. Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 large sweet potato
1 large ear of corn
Lettuce leaves

Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish. Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)

Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces, depending on taste.**

Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.

Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”

Let fish stand for 10 minutes.*** Lift fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions ,**** garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.

* It is important to use high quality, really fresh fish. You can use previously frozen (I’ve been using it because I am too cheap to buy this much sashimi grade fish), but it’s not as good. The better your fish, the better your ceviche.

** The fish is going to “cook” in the lime juice – how thick you make the pieces will determine how much the fish cooks, so keep your own preference in mind when you are cutting the fish up.

*** I have looked at recipes all over the interwebs for ceviche, and they all have different “cooking” times – I am going with 10 minutes because that’s what my Peruvian cookbook says. While I was in Lima, all the ceviche I ate was just barely white, and basically raw. I may cause a raging debate about ceviche by saying this, but I think that is most traditional. However, you can thoroughly cook the fish by letting it sit much longer – a few hours or even overnight. When I did this, it made the fish taste of nothing but lime and it was a bit rubbery, so it’s not what I would recommend.

**** The portions can vary; personally I prefer to have ceviche as I mostly ate it in Lima – as a starter, in a fairly small portion. It’s very light and a lovely way to start off before eating something else. You can also eat a full meal portion of it if you want – I think that’s too much, but if you love it, don’t let my taste stop you!

Papas Rellenas (vegetarian/vegan):
Makes 6

For the dough:
5 pounds (2¼ kg) (3 large – 4 medium) russet potatoes
½ cup (120 ml) (75 gm) (2 ⅔ oz) cornstarch (called corn flour in some countries)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) (1/5 oz) salt, or to taste
Lots of pepper

For the filling:
1 cup (240 ml) (150 gm) (5⅓ oz) diced onion (any color)
4 cloves garlic
½ chili pepper (Aji recommended)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) cremini mushrooms, small dice
½ package tempeh, thin cut and quasi crumbled (Or you can use cooked black beans)
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 handful spinach
1 cup (240 ml) (185 gm) (6½ oz) quinoa (Or you can use another cooked grain, like buckwheat)
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten (for vegetarian version) OR egg replacer equivalent to one large egg (for vegan version)
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

For the dough:

Boil unpeeled potatoes whole until tender when stuck with a fork. Let potatoes cool.

When potatoes are cooled, peel them and either mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).

Add cornstarch, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While potatoes are cooling, make filling:

Caramelize onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook.

Add the cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).

Add the mushrooms and cook until soft.

Add tempeh and raisins.

Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add spinach and wilt.

Add the quinoa and season with salt and pepper.

Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Finishing the dough and forming the papas:

Use three small bowls (or other shallow containers) to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, combine the egg replacer and water. Put bread crumbs in the third.

Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.

Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat will all dough (you should have 6 papas)
Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).

Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg replacer, then roll in bread crumbs.

Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to get both sides.

Drain on paper towel and store in a cool oven 200°F (95°C) (gas mark ¼) if frying in batches.

Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Crepe Suzette

It was pancake day on Tuesday and we made pancakes! I had some of my family round for the evening and my mum brought a fish pie for main course and then we had Crepe Suzette. We didn't do the flaming bit, but the orange butter and cointreau in the batter was delicious, definitely worth making.

Crepe Suzette (adapted from Cordon Bleu Cookery Course)
(Makes about 8 pancakes)

3 oz plain flour
2 eggs
1/2 pint milk
1 tbsp melted butter or oil
1 tbsp cointreau

Orange Butter
3 oz unsalted butter
6 lumps of sugar
2 oranges
1 tbsp cointreau

Make up the batter. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and drop in the eggs. Add the milk to the eggs gradually stirring well. When half the milk has been added, beat well and add in the butter or oil and the cointreau. Whisk in the rest of the milk and leave to stand for at least 1/2 hour.

Cream the butter. Rub the sugar cubes over the orange rind until soaked with orange zest and oil. Crush the sugar and add to the butter, working in the cointreau and a little orange juice.

Fry the pancakes paper thin, stack and cover until needed, spread the butter over each pancake, fold in three and arrange overlapping down a fire proof dish. Put in a quick oven for 6 to 7 minutes. Heat a glass of cointreau set light to it and pour flaming over the dish as it comes from the oven.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Greek-Spiced Baked Prawns

I have always been intrigued by baked prawns with tomatoes and feta but never seemed to get around to making them. I finally did a couple of week ago and they were very very tasty and something I will definitely be making again.

Greek-Spiced Baked Prawns (adapted from Gourmet Magazine November 2008)
(Serves 4)

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tins chopped tomatoes, drained, reserving juice
Pinch of sugar
1 1/4 pound large peeled and deveined prawns
1/4 pound feta, crumbled (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped dill

Preheat oven to 190C.

Cook onion and garlic in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes with juice and sugar and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Season shrimp with 1/8 teaspoon salt, then stir into tomato sauce. Transfer to a 2-quart shallow baking dish and top with feta. Bake until just cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with dill.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Jamie's 30 Minute Meals: Sticky Pan Fried Scallops, Sweet Chilli Rice, Dressed Greens

I got Jamie's 30 Minute Meals out the library to have a look at the recipes before buying the book and this was the only one I wanted to make! I didn't bother buying the book but copied the recipe and tried it one evening. First things first, it took longer than 30 mins, but I think that has been covered by most national newspapers here! None of the recipes actually take 30 mins. The scallops however, were really tasty and worth doing. The rice was just weird, I think I'd just make normal egg fried rice rather than this steaming stuff, which just made my rice really mushy. Having said that, the sweet chilli on top was a nice addition. The greens were just steamed greens with citrus squeezed over, nothing that I wouldn't normally do. So no it didn't take 30 mins but it was actually quite a tasty meal.

Sticky Pan Fried Scallops, Sweet Chilli Rice, Dressed Greens (adapted from Jamie's 30 minute meals)
(Serves 4)


One large mug basmati rice
small bunch of spring onions
3 eggs
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sesame oil
1/2 lemon
small bunch fresh coriander
sweet chilli sauce
Cook the rice according to packet instructions.

Trim and finely slice the spring onions and put into a bowl. Crack in the eggs and add the soy sauce and sesame oil then whisk.

Drain the rice, leaving a bit of the water in the pan. Pour the egg mixture all over the rice, squeeze in the lemon juice and add a pinch of pepper. Put the lid on the pan and turn down to the lowest heat for 3-4 mins.


400g scallops
1 lemon
Chinese five spice powder
sesame oil
1 clove garlic
runny honey
2 small knobs butter
small bunch of coriander

Put the scallops in a bowl, drizzle over some oil, season with salt and pepper, finely grate over some lemon zest and dust with five spice powder. Drizzle with the sesame oil and toss together to coat in the flavours.

Heat a large frying pan on the highest heat. Put some oil in a pan and add the scallops. Don't turn the scallops until they've had 2-3 mins or are golden underneath. Quickly turn them over and cook for 30 secs then crush over the garlic clove. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon and add a drizzle of honey and 2 small knobs of butter. Take off the heat and when melted and sticky put on a plate and sprinkle over the leaves from a small bunch of coriander.


4 pak choi, halved
200g purple sprouting broccoli
200g asparagus
1/2 lime

Steam the vegetables for about 3-4 mins then take off the heat. Once tender tip on to a plate and drizzle with soy sauce and olive oil. Squeeze over the juice of half a lime.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Tomato, Chipolata and New Potato Lunch with Mustardy Vinaigrette

I make my lunch and take it with me to work everyday, it saves me so much money and I know exactly what's gone into it! I recently got Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Everyday River Cottage book and I have found the recipes much easier to recreate than in some of his other books. There is also a section on lunchbox meals, which is perfect for me, and this is one of the lunches. I added some feta in as it needed using and it worked really well. Very tasty!

Tomato, Chipolata and New Potato Lunch with Mustardy Vinaigrette (from River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
(Serves 1)

4 cold boiled new potatoes, cut into chunks if large
handful of sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 cold cooked chipolatas

for the dressing
1 tsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp cider or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
small pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Put the potatoes, tomatoes in a bowl, trickle over most of the dressing and toss together.
Transfer to your lunchbox. Place the chipolatas on top and trickle on the remaining dressing. Seal your lunch box.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Smoked Cod and Cannellini

This is a really easy and very tasty meal. I actually had it for brunch before I went to work one Sunday and it filled me up until dinner when I got home. I used butter beans rather than cannellini beans because I can buy small tins of butter beans but not of cannellini beans! It makes a great change from the standard fry up or from kedgeree for that Sunday morning.

Smoked Cod and Cannellini (adapted from Nigella Express)
(Serves 2)

350g smoked cod fillets
small spring parsley, including stalks
2 bay leaves
1 tsp peppercorns
2 leeks, sliced
375ml water
80ml white wine
2 cans cannellini beans
60-125ml fish cooking liquid
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper

Lay the fish fillets in a large frying pan with a spring of parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and leeks. Pour in the water and wine and bring to the boil.

Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the fish in the poaching liquid for 3-5 mins, depending on the thickness of the fish. Take off the heat and remove the fish.

Tip out all but about 60ml of the poaching liquid from the pan. (The amount depends on the depth of the pan. You will need just enough to warm through the beans.

Drain the cannellini beans, rinding them in a sieve or colander and add to the pan, Warm through in the poaching liquid for about 3 mins.

Turn off the heat and place the fish on top of the beans in the pan, Add the oil, most of the parsley and the chives, stirring everything together and breaking up the fish as you go.

Check the seasoning and turn out into a couple of bowls sprinkle with the last bit of parsley and serve.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Margarita Ice Cream

At the beginning of January I went to a friend's house for her birthday party. She made absolutely fantastic Mexican food; quesedillas, chicken fajitas and then margarita ice cream and brownies. We also have lovely mojitos to go with the meal. Ever since then I have been craving margarita ice cream and as the recipe is so easy I had a go at making it myself and it is just so good! It doesn't require any churning, or stirring with a spoon, just mix, stick it in the freezer overnight and eat. Delicious own its own or with brownies!

Margarita Ice Cream (from Nigella Express)
(Serves 6)

125ml lime juice
2 tbsp tequila
3 tbsp cointreau or triple sec
150g icing sugar
500ml double cream

Pour the lime juice, tequila and cointreau into a bowl and stir in the sugar to dissolve.

Add the cream and then softly whip until thick and smooth not stiff.

Spoon this into an airtight container to freeze overnight. This ice cream does not need softening before serving as it will not freeze too hard.