Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tomato and Bread Salad

I have had a lot of tomatoes from my garden this year! I planted four plants, one plum tomato, one normal tomato, one red cherry tomato and one yellow cherry tomato and all of them have done fantastically. I've had tomatoes coming out of my ears for a month or so now! So I've been looking for recipes to use them up and this one fitted right in, especially when I've been trying to make nice lunches for myself too. I love how the red and yellow tomatoes look mixed together and this was an incredibly tasty lunch.

Tomato and Bread Salad (adapted from
(Serves 6)

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, extra-virgin
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut in wedges, wedges halved
2 read onions, chopped
6 slices of ciabatta or sourdough bread
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
handful of thyme, leaves pulled from the stalk

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano. Add tomatoes and onion; toss and let stand at least 15 minutes for flavors to blend.

Heat grill or griddle pan. Drizzle olive oil over the bread.

Grill bread until toasted, about 2 minutes per side; remove from grill and rub with cut side of garlic. Cut bread (or simply break it) into bite-size chunks.

Just before serving, add bread to bowl with tomatoes; sprinkle with thyme and toss to mix and coat.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

I'm slowly emptying my freezer as I have finally booked my new kitchen for October, but I am going from two freezers down to one, so need to make sure all the stuff fits in one freezer by October! The kitchen is going to be basically the same design as now, although I am getting a column oven and grill come microwave to save some space, and pan drawers so the pans aren't hanging on the wall getting all sticky. I'm very excited!

I've gone back to making stir fries as I found quite a lot of strips of beef in the freezer! This was a Jamie Oliver recipe that I found when I was looking for something to do with beef and broccoli. It was really tasty, although I ended up with too much sauce as I only made it for me and forgot to half the soy sauce and the sesame oil!

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry (adapted from
(Serves 2)

200g purple sprouting broccoli
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sirloin steaks
1 tsp ground coriander
olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place the broccoli spears into a heatproof bowl and cover them with boiling water. Add a good pinch of salt and leave for 10 minutes. Drain and put to one side.

Slice the steaks into finger-sized strips and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the ground coriander over the meat so they stick to it and give it a lovely, fragrant flavour.

Heat a wok or large frying pan until very hot. Pour in a splash of olive oil and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry for a couple of minutes until the onions have softened a little. Drop in the seasoned pieces of beef and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the broccoli spears and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring all the time.

Pour in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss in the pan until everything is well coated. Serve over noodles or egg fried rice.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Fish Tagine with Apricots and Honey

Yesterday I went to the Imperial War Museum, to see the Children at War and Once Upon a Wartime exhibitions. Both of them were really good and the Children at War exhibition also included the 1940s house, which was fascinating too.

This is one my Mum cooked again. It was really good, so tasty and the fish was cooked to perfection. I didn't mind the sweet and savoury together, it just worked so well.

Fish Tagine with Apricots and Honey (from Leiths Fish Bible)
(Serves 4)

65g tilapia fillets
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a large pinch of saffron
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ras-al-hanout
30g semi dried apricots
1 tbsp set honey
425ml fish stock
1/2 lemon, finely sliced
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
salt and pepper

Cut each tilapia fillet into 3-4 strips. Sprinkle the tilapia with half of the cumin, season with pepper and rub into the fish. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 mins or until required.

Heat the oil in a large casserole and add the onion, garlic, saffron, cinnamon, ras-al-hanout and the remaining cumin, the apricots, honey, stock and lemon slices. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 mins or until the onion and lemon are soft and the liquid reduced by half.

Add the fish strips and coriander to the summer liquid and poach over a low heat for 3-4 mins. Season the tagine with salt and pepper.

Serve the tagine directly from the casserole, garnished with coriander sprigs. Goes well with couscous.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Miso Rice and Chicken

I have finally completed the first draft of my dissertation and it has gone to my tutor and couple of friends for help with editing, so I'm having a few days off to relax and go see the exhibitions I've been wanting to see all summer and not been able to. This morning I went to the Museum of London Street Photography Exhibition, which was really interesting, although I always have a sneaking feeling that really the old photos, modern photos with people dressing up! Then I went to their Modern London galleries at the Museum of London which opened last year and chart the history of London from 1667-present. They have done an amazing job with the makeover, and you can now wander round Victorian London shops, see images from the Blitz and see fashion from the 60s, 70s and 80s as well as a whole lot more and the whole thing was free!

I have trying to create exciting dishes for lunch and supper whilst doing my dissertation and one of them was this really simple but delicious lunch with lovely Japanese flavours.

Miso Rice and Chicken (adapted from Good Food Magazine August 2010)
(Serves 1)

60g sushi rice
1 skinless chicken breasts
70g sprouting broccoli
2 spring onions , cut into diagonal slices
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the dressing
2 tsp miso paste
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp grated ginger

Cook the rice using a rice cooker, then keep warm.

While the rice is cooking, cut the chicken breast into slices and stir fry until golden brown.

Boil the broccoli until tender.

Mix the miso, rice vinegar, mirin and ginger together to make the dressing.

Divide the rice between two plates and scatter over the spring onions and sesame seeds. Place the broccoli and chicken slices on top. To finish, drizzle over the dressing.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Daring Cooks August 2011: Chemeen Pappas

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

I haven't done very well with this this month. I so wanted to make it, I love love love curry, but my dissertation seems to have taken over my life! I was going to make it on Saturday and I got back late from Oxford, so I tried it yesterday evening, only to get the recipe out and read that the batter for the Appam needed to be left for 8-12 hours! So I made the curry, which was delicious and totally worth making but I guess I didn't quite fulfil daring cooks for this month. I want to make the beef curry too, so I'll try making the appam with that. I also forgot to take any photos until halfway through! Not doing well this evening!

Shrimp in Coconut Milk (Chemeen Pappas)
(Serves 6)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) mustard seed
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml/½ gm) fenugreek seeds
10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
2 cups (480 ml/480 gm/½ lb) thinly sliced onion
2 teaspoons (10ml/8 gm) minced garlic
1 teaspoon (5ml/4 gm) minced ginger
2 fresh green chiles, split lengthwise
2 teaspoons (10 ml/10 gm) tomato paste

Ground masala
4 teaspoons (20 ml/7 gm) ground coriander
½ teaspoon (2½ ml/1½ gm) paprika
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) cayenne
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) black pepper
1¼ teaspoons (6¼ ml/7½ gm) salt
¾ cup (180 ml) coconut milk
1 ½ pounds (750 gm) medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined and sliced in half lengthwise if large

1. In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot add the mustard seeds and cover until they stop popping. Add the fenugreek seeds and stir until they color lightly. Add the curry leaves (they will sputter and spatter), wait about 20 seconds, then add the onions and fry until they are soft, but not brown.

2. Add the ginger, garlic and green chiles and cook for one minute. Add the tomato paste, dry masala and salt and stir and fry for another minute. If it dries out, add a few drops of water.

3. Add ½ cup (120 ml) of the coconut milk, along with 1 cup (240 ml) of water. Increase heat to medium-high and cook at a strong simmer, uncovered for 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce and blend the flavors.

4. Add the shrimp, and cook, stirring, until they have all changed color and curled up. This will take less than 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Add the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) of coconut milk, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Taste for salt and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce

The last couple of times I've gone home my mum has tried out new dishes for our evening meal. This one was Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce and it was delicious. The sauce was lovely and rich and the rabbit just fell off the bone. She served it with broad beans, french beans and potatoes from her garden, so good.

Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce (from Leiths Meat Bible)
(Serves 4)

1 rabbit, jointed
2 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
45g butter
85g bacon or salt pork, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp plain flour
600ml chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Combine 2 tbsp mustard with the tarragon, then spread over the rabbit pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 170C.

Heat the butter in a frying pan. Pat the rabbit pieces dry, season with salt and pepper, then brown them all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a casserole.

Add the bacon and onion to the pan and cook over a low heat until the onions are soft and just browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 min.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the stock. Return to the heat and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring continuously.

Pour the sauce over the rabbit. Cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the rabbit is tender.

Lift the rabbit on to a warmed serving dish. Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of mustard to the sauce. Reduce it by boiling rapidly until it is shiny and rich in appearance. Check the seasoning. Pour the sauce over the rabbit pieces.

Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Rabbit and Pearl Barley Stew

I am slowly getting there with my dissertation, I finally decided on looking at why Mrs Beeton and the Book of Household Management was such a success not only in it's own time but why it was still popular well into the 20th century. It's really fascinating and I keep finding out all sorts of interesting things! I also got to look at the first edition of the book today, which was amazing in itself I also discovered that she was advising women about divorce and domestic violence in 1861, so definitely ahead of her time. She was by all accounts quite a woman.

This is obviously not a summer recipe, it's definitely more of a winter warmer! I made this quite some time ago but never got around to posting it. Its a simple barley and rabbit stew and it was very tasty and very warming.

Rabbit and Pearl Barley Stew (adapted from A Taste of My Life - Timothy Spall)
(Serves 2)

1 rabbit, jointed
seasoned flour, for dusting
2 tbsp vegetable oil
150g bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large leek, sliced
100ml white wine
500ml stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 sprig rosemary
2 tbsp pearl barley

Dust the rabbit pieces with seasoned flour, then shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the rabbit and fry for 3-4 minutes on both sides, or until golden brown all over. Remove and set aside.

Add the bacon to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the onion, garlic and the sliced leeks. Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the fennel is softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the rabbit to the pan together with the wine, tomato purée and the rosemary. If the rabbit is not completely covered with the liquid, top up with water. Bring to the boil, then stir in the pearl barley, cover and simmer for one hour and 15 minutes, or until the pearl barley is tender.

To serve, spoon into serving bowls.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Meals Out

I have been out for a couple of lovely meals recently. The first was lunch at The Tontine just off the A19 near Northallerton. It is run by the McCoy brothers and has a wide ranging menu and the food was delicious.

I had black pudding with crispy pancetta and mushroom sauce to start with.

Then Roast Salmon with Spinach and Clam Sauce.

Both of the courses were delicious and the main course was served with seasonal veg and there was a lot of veg!

We then went to L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon in Covent Garden for my father's birthday on Saturday. We had the lunch menu, and I had tomato gaspacho with goats cheese and olive toasts to start with, which again was really tasty and just what I needed after a hot morning wondering around Notting Hill.

I then had chicken ballotine with caramelised onion and tempura battered aubergine with carrots with butter and cumin, but I didn't manage to take a picture of it before I ate it! It was pretty good too, but the chicken was a little dry.