Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tomato Salsa

I love fresh tomato salsa in the summer, all the vibrant red and yellow tomatoes mixed with the onion and the chilli, such beautiful colours. Now the colder weather has arrived, I love eating things that remind me of summer. This salsa is so versatile; I had it with cajun chicken and rice and also as a side salad on a couple of occasions and it was delicious.

Tomato Salsa
(Serves 2)

6-8 cherry tomatoes
half small red onion, chopped
half green chilli, chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Mix the tomatoes, red onion and chilli together in a bowl. Pour over the olive oil and stir together.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Thai Yellow Fish Curry

A couple of weeks ago I went to a lovely Thai restaurant 'The Mango Tree' on Grosvenor Place in London and had a fantastic meal. One of the dishes we had was Yellow Thai Fish Curry which had monkfish and butter fish in it. I had never tried butter fish before but it actually did taste really buttery. So I thought I would try and recreate it at home and I succeeded! I couldn't find butter fish and the monkfish was too expensive so I just used cod and haddock which broke up more when I stirred but still did the job. I also loved the potato in the curry and the aubergine was the first of my own mini aubergines from the garden. All in all delicious!

Yellow Thai Fish Curry (adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine March 2006)
(Serves 2)

1-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
200ml light coconut milk
6 salad or new potatoes, halved if large
half an aubergine, chopped into pieces
handful cherry tomato
250g skinless white fish fillets, cubed or left in big pieces
handful coriander leaves
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges

Heat the red curry paste with the coconut milk in a saucepan. Add the potatoes and cook for 3 mins, then add the aubergine and cook for 5 mins, or until just tender, then add the fish and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through.

Stir in the coriander and lime juice and serve with wedges of lime to squeeze over

Monday, 14 November 2011

Green Tea, Chicken and Noodle Soup

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

I am not a huge fan of tea but I thought I'd give this a go and actually I was surprised with the result. Of course the soup base included miso, so the tea taste wasn't overpowering, it was just a little after taste with each sip of the soup. I used chicken instead of tofu as I don't like tofu, so I just cooked the chicken before I added it to the soup. I actually fried it cut up into little pieces but this added a bit of an oily taste to the soup so it might have been better to cook it in the water like you do with Pho.

Green Tea, Chicken and Noodle Soup

4 green tea teabags, or 1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (3 gm) green tea leaves
1¼ inches (3 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5 oz (140 gm) thick or thin egg noodles
6 chicken thighs, pre-cooked
5 oz (140 gm) bok choy or spring greens, shredded
1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) red or white miso paste
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) sesame oil
6 scallions (also called spring onion or green onion), trimmed and sliced
sprinkling of sesame seeds

Place 6 cup (1½ litre) water in a pan with the green tea bags or leaves and the ginger slices. Heat until the water is just below boiling and bubbles start to form.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for four minutes.

Remove the tea bags or strain the liquid to remove the tea leaves. Return the ginger slices to the liquid and reserve.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions in a separate pan.

Return the tea liquid to the heat and add the pre-cooked chicken, bok choy or greens, and the soy sauce. Heat gently for five minutes, until hot all through.

Scoop out some liquid to a small bowl and mix in the miso paste. Then return the liquid to the pan.

Add the sesame oil and scallions. Spoon into bowls and garnish with the sesame seeds.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Courgette and Lemon Cake

For pudding to go with the Sunday roast I made a Courgette and Lemon Cake, with lemon cream cheese frosting and it was fantastic. Very tasty and lovely and moist. The original recipe (posted below) has poppy seeds in it but I couldn't find them in any of the supermarkets I went to, so I just omitted them and it didn't make much difference flavour wise. It was probably also less irritating as they tend to get stuck in between my teeth!

Courgette and Lemon Cake (from Good Food Magazine September 2010)
(cuts into 12 slices)

250g pack unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for the tin
3 unwaxed lemons
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
2 medium courgettes, coarsely grated (you'll need 300g/10oz flesh)
1 tsp poppy seeds , plus extra to decorate
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g icing sugar
200g pack full-fat soft cheese
4 tbsp lemon curd (optional)

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Zest 2 lemons, then squeeze their juice into a separate bowl. Put 200g butter, the caster sugar, eggs, courgettes, poppy seeds, vanilla and lemon zest into a mixing bowl. Beat to a creamy batter. Stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice, the flours, baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Spoon the mix into the tins, then bake for 25 mins or until risen, golden and springy in the middle.

Make a drizzle by mixing another tbsp lemon juice with 25g icing sugar. Put the remaining icing sugar and butter into a bowl, add the soft cheese, remaining lemon juice (about 2 tbsp) and grate in the final lemon's zest. Beat to make a creamy, smooth frosting.

When the cakes are ready, cool for 15 mins in their tins, then turn onto a cooling rack. Prick several times with a cocktail stick, spoon over the drizzle and cool completely. Can be frozen at this stage for up to 1 month. Put one cake onto a serving plate and spread with just under half the frosting. Spread over the lemon curd, if using. Top with the second cake, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Friday, 4 November 2011

A Sunday Roast

To christen the new kitchen I invited some friends over last weekend and we had a roast! I had lots of help which made the cooking a lot less stressful than it could have been.

It was a fairly simple lunch: roast chicken, roast potatoes and carrots, sausages wrapped in bacon, stuffing, broccoli, gravy and bread sauce but delicious.

Now this bread sauce is nothing like normal bread sauce, or even very sauce like, but this is how my mum has always made it and how we normally have it when having a family roast. It's the first time I've ever tried to make it too, but I think it came out ok!

My Mum's Bread Sauce

7-8 black peppercorns
7-8 Cardamom pods
7-8 cloves
1 onion, sliced
4 slices white bread, made

Heat about an inch and a half of milk in a medium sized pan with the peppercorns, cardamon, cloves and onion until it comes to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave to one side. You can do this just after the chicken goes in.

Make the slices of bread into bread crumbs using a food processor.

Strain the milk through a sieve into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs. Put the mixture into an oven proof pot and when the chicken comes out of the oven put the bread sauce in to warm through. When everything else is ready, take the bread sauce out the oven and serve.