Category Seafood

Squid Ink Risotto with Chargrilled Octopus and Gremolata

Jess - Squid Ink Octopus 4

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ne of my ambitions and I guess you could say ‘New Years resolutions’ this year is to experiment more with my recipes and ingredients. We all get into a rut of cooking the same comforting dishes to hit the spot after a long day at work but there is such a vast array of choice out there so make the most of it. Even the most obscure ingredients can be sourced somewhere these days. So I think this blog post does my resolution justice!? I promise this dish is not as scary as it looks – for cooking or eating!

After a visit to a lovely Venetian restaurant last year where a friend and I devoured a collection of tapas style dishes, I enjoyed my first proper experience of squid ink. A dish of Acini di Pepe (a peppercorn-like pasta) speckled with succulent clams and tender pieces of octopus resting in a warm velvety squid ink sauce was devine. A subtle fishy taste and beautiful texture inspired this risotto recipe. Traditionally in Venetian cooking, squid ink can be found in risottos and black rice. However I went a little off-piste in Italy over in Spain with the cooking of the octopus. Chargrilled chunks of tender octopus rolled warm and delicately in a lovely fresh lemony gremolata.

However, this recipe would also be delicious kept authentic and Venetian topped with grilled squid, crab or prawns. You can find squid ink from many fishmongers. I stumbled across mine in a local Spanish deli near by office.

Serves 2-3

Risotto

  • 200g aborio rice
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic glove, crushed
  • 1 small glass white wine
  • 1 litre hot fresh fish stock
  • 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 sachet squid ink (the one I used was 4g)
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Octopus, squid, crab or prawns of choice (I used pre cooked Octopus which I simply chargrilled. However you can buy fresh and cook from scratch)
  • Olive oil

Gremolata

  • Handful chopped flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Zest 1 lemon
  1. Make the gremolata by combining the ingredients together and seasoning. Set aside until needed.
  2. Now start making the risotto. Have a pan of the hot stock on the hob on a low heat ready to use.
  3. Heat half the butter and a splash of oil in a saucepan over a medium low heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes until very soft but not golden.
  4. Once soft, turn up the heat and add the rice. Toast for 2-3 minutes stirring it around in the buttery onions.
  5. Now add the wine and allow it to bubble and simmer. Once half absorbed add the squid ink and stir in thoroughly to combine. Season
  6. Now begin adding the hot fish stock a ladle at a time adding another only after each has been absorbed, stirring the grains continuously. Do not let the rice get dry however.
  7. Continue in this way for abut 18-20 minutes until the rice is just cooked with a very slight bite when tasted. You may need all the stock but use as much as needed.
  8. When the rice is cooked and ready and the consistency is loose and fairly runny (risotto should not be stodgy but it should be served in a bowl and have an ‘oozing’ consistency) season to taste. Add the rest of the butter cut into knobs, the cheese and the lemon juice and do not stir. Just remove from the heat and put a lid on the pan to allow it to rest.
  9. Meanwhile heat a griddle pan (or use the grill on a high setting). Add a splash of oil and season the octopus. Chargrill the octopus on both sides to heat through and char. Once hot and ready quickly roll the octopus in the gremolata.
  10. Return your attention to your risotto. Remove the lid and stir to combine the butter and cheese thoroughly. Add a splash of boiling water if the consistency is not as intended of ‘oozing’ enough.
  11. Serve the risotto in warmed deep bowls topped with you grilled octopus. Drizzle with a little oil if wanted.

NOTE: I like to serve this with another Italian staple, Pangrattato or ‘toasted breadcrumbs’. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a hot pan. Add a crushed garlic clove and then about 50g of breadcrumbs. Toast until golden. Then use to scatter on risotto, salads or pasta.

Jess - Squid Ink Octopus 3

Cajuan Salmon and Sweetcorn Puree

Jess - cajuansalmon2

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k. I’ll admit this isn’t very festive…or wintery…or seasonal. Apologies. But frankly the unprecedented warm weather recently has sent us all into a state of confusion!? And following a few too many glasses of mulled wine after the annual village Christmas carol concert and a need for something fresh, filling and quick, Cajuan salmon seemed like the obvious choice…? Obvious right?

Serves 2

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • 1/2 lime, zest and juice
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 30g butter
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Mix of broccoli – purple sprouting and normal (enough for 2), chopped into florets
  • 1 banana shallot, halved and finely sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Natural yoghurt to serve
  1. Marinade the salmon in the dried spices, some seasoning and the olive oil and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  2. Heat a good layer of sunflower oil in a frying pan until hot. Mix the flour and the chopped shallots in a bowl and season.
  3. When the oil is hot add the shallots and fry, moving around with a fork, until deep golden and crisp. Tip into a bowl lined with kitchen roll and season. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add another drop of oil and stir fry the broccoli gently until charred. Set aside to keep warm in a low oven.
  5. Simmer the sweetcorn in the canned juices and enough water to cover for 3-4 minutes. Drain
  6. Add to the bowl of a food processor while hot and add the butter, chilli, coriander, juice and zest of the lime and some seasoning. Puree until smooth and taste. Set aside to keep warm in a pan.
  7. Finally, heat a splash of oil in your frying pan until hot. Fry the salmon, skin side down for about 5 minutes, turning halfway, depending on the thickness. Equally this would be excellent grilled on a grilled but mine was out of action!Jess - salmon
  8. When ready to serve, spoon a generous helping of sweetcorn puree onto a warmed plate. Top with the salmon. Mix the crispy onions with the warm broccoli and serve on the side and sprinkle with any extra coriander leaves.

Add some natural yoghurt if the what gets too much!

Jess - broccoli

Spiced Bass, Bulgur Wheat Salad, Lime

What started out as a loss of inspiration the other evening turned into a pretty delicious quick and tasty meal for my adoring sister and I for a casual and relaxing Friday night a few weeks ago. A breeze to knock up which was appreciated as we barely kept our eyes open after a long week and hard work. Tasty and nutritious with a beautiful girly scattering of rose petals. Sorry chaps, girls night in. After a few glasses of something crisp and aromatic (I recommend maybe a Gewürztraminer) I highly recommend topping this off with a helping of trashy Reeses peanut butter cups for pudding…A bit of an oxymoron to the meal but moderation in moderation.

Serves 2 

  • 80g bulghur wheat
  • Handful raisins
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 200g yoghurt
  • 2 seabass fillets
  • 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout
  • Pinch rose petals (optional)
  1. Start by cutting the fish fillets in half and season. Mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and the Ras El Hanout and massage this in. Set aside.
  2. Slowly cook the onions now. Heat a splash of light oil in a frying pan and gently soften and fry the onion slices for about 10 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown and crisp. Once soft and gold stir in the cumin and remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the bulgur wheat by simmering in boiling water until just tender (about 5-8 minutes). Drain well and leave to dry a little. Season.
  4. Stir the onions, raisins, the chopped coriander (save a handful for garnish) and mix to combine. Check the seasoning then add the juice of the lemon. Fork through to combine the flavours and set aside.
  5. Mix the yoghurt with the juice of the lime and the majority of the zest (save a pinch for garnish). Season and set aside.
  6. Now you’re ready to cook your fish. Heat a frying pan with a little oil until hot. Fry the fish, skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until crisp. Flip onto the flesh side for the final 30 seconds then remove from the heat.
  7. Jess - Moroccan Seabass3
  8. To serve, spoon half the yoghurt mixture into the centre of a plate. Top with some of the bulgur wheat salad. Finally top with fish and garnish with some chopped coriander, lime zest and rose petals.

Jess - Moroccan Seabass2

 

Asian Sea Bream and Raw Courgette Noodles

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 very simple super this week. Thrown together in a matter of minutes…well about 20. A healthy way to kick of December before the turkey, chocolate and Christmas treats infiltrate the diet. Fresh flavours and your can barely call this cooking…

Serves 2

  • 2 sea bream fillets
  • 1 tbsp good quality, dark soy sauce
  • 2 small courgettes
  • Handful salted peanuts
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • Bunch chopped coriander
  • 1 large lime
  • 4 0z brown rice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Simmer the rice for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and drizzle with the sesame oil and keep warm
  2. Use a julienne chopper to finely slice the courgette into noodle strips. Mix with the peanuts, coriander and chilli and season. Squeeze over the juice from the lime.
  3. Heat a frying pan until hot. Season the fillets and fry, skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until the skin is really crispy.
  4. Turn the fish to the flesh side for the final 30 seconds of cooking. Remove from the pan and pat of any excess oil with paper towel.
  5. Serve the rice, courgette and fish, drizzled with a little soy sauce

Jess - Seabream2

 

Creamy Lentils, Crunchy Salmon

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t was a long weekend battling with gail strong winds and driving intermitant rain. Dinner certainly called for something creamy and comforting topped with something crunchy and buttery. That and a fridge of leftovers to use up….

Serves 2

  • 4 oz Puy lentils
  • 1 large bunch each flat leaf parsley and basil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Double cream
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 handfuls brown breadcrumbs
  • Zest 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small knob butter, melted
  1. Set the lentils on a gentle simmer in boiling water for 18-20 minutes until just cooked but still with a crunch.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C..
  3. Mix the melted butter with the lemon zest and breadcrumbs and season. Lay the salmon fillets on a lined baking tray skin side down. Top the flesh side with the breadcrumbs mixture
  4. Bake for 7-10 minutes (depending on the thickness) until just cooked and the breadcrumbs are crispy.
  5. While cooking, drain the lentils. In the same pan, heat a tsp of olive oil and gently soften the garlic. Add the drained lentils and mix.
  6. Turn the heat down and add a splash of double cream and season. Finally add the finely chopped herbs and stir to combine.
  7. Serve the salmon on the creamy lentil and enjoy!

Jess - Salmon lentils#3

 

Asian Crab Bon Bons with Miso Sweetcorn Puree

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Finally an evening to experiment in the kitchen! As much as I adore feeding dinner party guests, I am always far to scared to experiment on their adoring high expecting tastebuds. With the need to please and deliver some delicious food, I always default to my staple flavours and ingredients. But tonight…with only myself to potentially disappoint I tried out a new dish. After a long week, some downtime in the kitchen was hugely appreciated. And the good news is it did not disappoint! When I create new recipes in my head they morph and change throughout the day as I change my mind or get inspired by the those Portobello market stalls. So what started out on my morning commute as a typical French styled and flavoured fish and crab dish was quickly violated by those tempting devious Thai and Asian flavours I adore. Earthy miso spiked sweet corn puree, savoury soy glazed warm kale, dangerously crispy chilli crab bon bons a perfect accompaniment for some plump sea bass.

Serves 2

Miso Sweetcorn Puree

  • 1 can sweetcorn drained (about 250g)
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Heat the sweetcorn in a saucepan just to warm through.
  2. Place in the bowl of a food processor with the miso, ½ the lime juice and the sesame oil
  3. Blitz to a very fine paste for 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more lime juice if needed
  4. Keep warm while you make the rest of the meal.

Crab Bon Bons (makes 4 golf ball sized)

  • 100g crab meat, mixed white and brown
  • ½ small red chilli (heat strength dependent on taste), chopped finely
  • Small bunch coriander, chopped finely
  • Zest ½ lime
  • Small bowl of fine brown breadcrumbs/panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Around 50g plain flour
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  1. In a large bowl, mix the crab together with the chilli, coriander, lime zest and a small handful of the breadcrumbs and season.
  2. Shape together with your hands to form into 4 tight balls. They mixture might be quite wet and delicate so be careful. You can add more breadcrumbs here to help.
  3. Combine the coconut and the breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  4. Place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in 3 separate bowls.
  5. Now roll the crab balls first in the flour then delicately coat in the egg. Finally roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest and place them on a plate. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.
  6. When ready to cook, heat a pan of oil to about 4cm high or enough to just cover the bon bons. Heat the oil and test the temperature by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil. If it sizzles and begins to turn golden brown – its ready! Make sure it isn’t too hot though or the outside will brown and burn before the middle is hot.
  7. Fry the bon bons in the hot oil until golden all over. Once ready, drain on kitchen towel and keep warm until needed.
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To serve

  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • Kale
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Coriander for garnish
  1. When ready to cook, boil a large pan of water. When boiling remove from the heat and add the kale. Let it cook for a minute sitting in the hot water before draining. Let it drain well. Season and then coat in the soy sauce. If there is too much water retained in the kale, pop back on the heat and glaze the soy over the kale.
  2. Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat. When hot, add 1 tbsp of oil. Season the fish and fry for about 3 minutes skin side down, turning for the last 30 seconds or so until cooked.
  3. To serve, spoon a generous spoonful of the sweetcorn puree onto a warm serving plate. Top with some soy glazed kale and the fish. Add your warm crispy bon bons and scatter with coriander. Drizzle with a little soy if you like!
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WINE: Asian food is thought to be hard to match with food and is not the natural go to for some – beer you shout. With the food being a mix of savoury, sweet or spicy elements, Asian flavours benefit from a lower alcohol wine and often one with a little residual sugar. The fried and powerful Asian Crab bon bons here need a rounder wine with a bit of weight. A perfect match here or for other hearty Asian dishes would be a Demi-sec Vouray. Try the Domaine Huet, 2009 Vouvray Demi Sec, Le Haut-Lieu available proudly from Armit Wines.

Jess - The Haut-Lieu Demi Sec

Indian Fish

You can use any fish here. I made this with a generous plumpy salmon on Mother’s Day, a clean mango ribbon salad, coriander lime chickpeas and Peshwari naan. However, sea bass this evening served with pistachio, coriander and cinnamon raisin rice and greens was equally as delicious and adoring. Both with this creamy, cooling cardamon laden, lime spiked yoghurt splashed slap-handedly over the spicy garam marsala crust is enough to satisfy even the most adoring Indian take-out stalker.

Serves 2

  • 2 x salmon or seabass fillets
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • Juice and zest 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  1. Mix together the garam masala and oil in a bowl and coat the fish fillets with your hands. Set aside in the fridge to marinade for 2 hours or so
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, lime zest and juice and the cardamon. Season and taste.
  3. If using salmon, preheat the oven to 200°C. When ready to cook, bring a frying pan up to a high heat. Add 1tbsp of olive oil.
  4. When hot, add the fish skin side down and hold down to prevent the skin curling up.
  5. Fry for 2 minutes until eh skin is lovely and crisp. If using sea bass, fry until just cooked and turn onto the flesh side to finish cooking for the final minute (about 3 minutes cooking in total). If using salmon, fry until the skin is crisp and then place in the hot oven for about 7 minutes depending on their size. If they are thick fillets (2inch or so) allow this time. If thinner (1cm or so) allow about 5 minutes, Do not overcook!
  6. Serve the spicy, warm and soft fish fillets with a spoonful of creamy yoghurt and scattering of fresh coriander leaf.

Harissa Salmon

This is a beautiful salmon recipe. Not just aesthetically but a taste bud teaser too. And not just for salmon….the first time I made this I used a lovely white sea bream fillet which also stands up to the harissa flavour well. Harissa is a lovely firey Tunisian paste made form red peppers, hot chillis and spices and has a natural affinity with rose from its neighbouring Moroccan friend. Salmon filliets rubbed in this spicy paste and cooled with a vibrant lime and turmeric yoghurt were a match made in North African Tunisian heaven.

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Serves 2

  • 2 salmon (or sea bream) fillets
  • 1 heaped tsp harissa paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • Small knob of fresh turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • Coriander to garnish
  • Rose petal to garish (optional)
  • Brown rice/couscous to serve
  1. Begin by marinading the salmon fillets. Mix together the cumin and harissa in a bowl and rub the salmon fillets in this paste all over. Season and set aside for a few hours in the fridge to infuse
  2. Meanwhile, make the yoghurt. Mix together the yoghurt, zest and ½ the juice of the lime and season. Grated in the turmeric root (careful it will stain your hands!) and finally stir in the ground turmeric.
  3. Season well and taste. Add more lime juice if you think it needs more zesty taste. Set aside
  4. When ready to cook your salmon, heat to over to 190°C.
  5. Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and add 1tbsp oil.
  6. Fry the salmon, skin side down to crisp the skin for about 1-2 minutes. The harissa may catch and look burnt but this is ok. Turn to sear on the flesh side for a further minute to create a golden crust.
  7. Immediately transfer to the oven on a foil lined baking tray and cook for about 5 minutes depending on how thick your salmon is. Don’t be tempted to over cook this! Salmon will take no time at all in a hot oven and will carry on cooking when removed anyway.
  8. Serve the salmon on a generous spoonful of your creamy yoghurt. Top with a scattering of rose petals and chopped coriander alongside some rice or couscous.

Seabass in a Fragrant Coconut Sauce

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As an avide foodie I crave and adore nothing more than a night in with a new recipe, ingredient, technique or guest to experiment on for the blog! Cheaper, more fun and far more relaxing. However, since moving to London the expanse of diverse, exciting and vibrant culinary pop-ups, restaurants, cafes and bars has stolen part of my attention which had been held hostage to the blog for a long while. I rarely eat out, only really on occasion. And then, nothing pains and bruises me more than ordering (or eating!) something I could have made myself. Be it better, warmer, larger or cheaper! Hence, I choose my dining locations carefully and my menu choices with thought.

However, as a fellow foodie, my willing sister and I venture out on a monthy or so basis to one of London’s restaurants to excite our taste buds, get inspiration and frankly for a girly catch up. Our list of ‘must try restaurants’ is only growning sadly. It seems that once one is ticked off another is added. We’ve had some great food but last Friday, after long frustrating working weeks, a home cooked delicious meal was in order. A few luxurious king prawns, a little love, time and attention and an aromatic riesling guaranteed and certainly delivered a more relaxing, cheaper, (boozier…..ahem…..) and enjoyable evening. This dish was delicious and hit the spot for flavour, decadence (without being time consuming I add, especially if you miss out the stock infusion at the start) and highly satisfying. Followed by a few too many scoops of my cheats salted caramel ice cream it was agreed that an evening in was far more rewarding and enjoyable than filling London’s bars and tills with our hard earned cash!

Serves 4

  • 4 seabass fillets
  • 8-10 large raw whole king prawns (win heads and shell) Optional – if you want to make a flavoursome stock. Raw cleaned prawns are fine if not.
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Thumb sized piece ginger, grated
  • 20g tumeric root, grated
  • 1 large red chilli (heat according to taste)
  • 350ml fish stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Bunch spring onions, chopped
  • Large bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 limes, 1 cut into wedges to serve
  • Around 8oz rice – I used red Camargue rice
  • Greens to serve e.g. mange tout, pak choi etc.
  1. [This first step is optional and can be skipped. It will add a depth of flavour to the dish by using the shells and heads to enrich your fish stock. Peel the shells and heads from the prawns keeping the prawns for later. Heat a little oil in a saucepan on a medium high heat and add the shells and heads. Fry for about 5-8 minutes until they turn pink and begin to release their flavour and oily orangey juices. After this time, add the hot fish stock and simmer gently for about 4 minutes.
  2. Sieve through a fine sieve into a jug or another saucepan retaining all the liquid but then discard the shells. Keep the stock warm until needed.]
  3. Next, heat a tsp of coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan. Fry the ginger, tumeric, garlic and chilli for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  4. Bash the lemongrass with the back of a knife a few times to open up the layers and add to the pan with the lime leaf and simmer gently for about 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and let the faours infuse.
  5. Add the fish sauce (I suggest adding it a tbsp at a time and tasting in between as once its in you can’t take it out again!).
  6. I made this a day ahead and I really think it benefitted from some time infusing in the pan while quietly chilling in the fridge (especially using the lime leave and lemongrass which will release thier flavours endlessly). I recommend at this stage to remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse overnight. If not, continue as below.
  7. Simmer (or reheat, depending on your method) the sauce until you reach the desired creamy consistency you prefer then remove the lemongrass and lime leaf and discard. Stir in the chopped spring onions and coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm while you prepare the rest.
  8. Cook your rice and add the juice of 1 lime to the drained hot grains and set aside to keep warm.
  9. Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and add another tsp or so of coconut oil. Cut your seabass fillets in half if you wish, and score the skin to stop them curling up on frying. Fry, skin side down for 2-3 minutes, flipping only whe the skin is crisp and the flesh is almost done which you will see when the majority of it has turned white.
  10. While the seabass is cooking, add your prawns to the hot coconut sauce. Add them when the sauce is barely simmering to gently and lightly cook the prawns. Don’t overcook these or they will go all chewy. They need very little time and heat so a brief blast in the hot sauce until they just turn pink will do sufficiently.
  11. To serve, divide the lime rice among large warmed soup bowls.
  12. Top with the seabass fillets and divide the creamy sauce around the outside. Scatter with any reserved coriander and a juicy zesty wedge of lime!

To serve – I served mine with some briefly blanched sugar snap peas and mange tout. Drained and dressed quickly with a teaspoon of sesame oil while still hot and scattered with nigella seeds.

NOTE: This would also work very well with salmon. Feel free to gently poach the fillets in the coconut sauce for a different technique. Serve with any greens you like. Another addition would be to grate in some fresh coconut for added texture and taste.

WINE: Served with a lovely aromatic riesling to balance with the spice in this dish. Or a beer if you prefer! See here for some lovely suggestions.

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To follow if you’re feeling like you need a Friday treat…………

  1. Mix 1 can caramel condensed milk, 300ml single cream, 1 ½ tsp flaky maldon salt, crumbled in a tupperware. Freeze until set and then devour! NO CHURNING INVOLVED! (Crumble in some roasted hazelnuts, walnuts peanuts or pecans if you like)
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Thai ‘Papaya Noodle’ Salad

 

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I bought a Papaya on a wim. As an extremely disciplined person by nature, I find it annoyingly frustrating that I can never resist a supermarket food offer! After freely placing it in my basket without a second economic thought, my mind began racing over what to make with it. On my walk home, sat in the cinema that same afternoon and whilst relaxing in the bath the culinary devil sat on my shoulder. With salmon in the fridge I couldn’t resist the flavoursome attraction of Thai ingredients to combine with from the pantry.

This recipe is loosely based on one by ‘The Hairy Bikers’. However it does emit some of the ingredients suggested as the pantry let me down (shocker) on tamarind water….but it tasted delicious! And who knows, it could taste even better? The important thing here is to make the dressing seperately and taste as you go along adding more of any ingredient you need depending on the taste which is how I came up with the below. Only then, once you have it to your liking, should you dress the salad. This may sound hard but trust your instinct and taste buds! See below for help.

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite!

  • 1 large papaya, peeled and chopped into matchsticks of julienned with a peeler
  • 3 oz red camague rice
  • 1 small red chilli, finely copped
  • 2cm knob ginger, half grated, half finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar (palm or brown sugar)
  • Bunch mint leavves, chopped roughly
  • Bunch basil, chopped roughly
  • Large handful roasted peanuts
  • 2-3 salmon fillets
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  1. Start by simmering the rice in boiling water for about 20 minutes until cooked. Drain and keep warm
  2. Next make the dressing. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped chilli, garlic, ginger, lime juice, soy, fish sauce and sugar. Give it all a good mix and taste. Add more of what you think it needs. This may be hard but use your instinct. Add more lime for sharpness, sugar for sweetness and soy for savoury saltiness. Quantities will all depend on the ingredients you start with. The soy I used here for example was even new to me –  a very dark, intense type unlike my usual light soy which is less pungent.
  3. Set aside the dressing when you’re happy with it while you julienne the papaya. I have a special peeler for this which I highly recommend if you’re into your raw vege noodles (see here). If not, chopp into matchsticks.
  4. You want to assemble the salad at the last minute when ready to eat so cook your salmon and broccoli before this. Heat a large fryng pan until medium-hot. Add a tbsp olive oil and fry the salmon fillets, skin side down for about 3 minutes on the skin side. Once the skin is nice and crispy turn onto the flesh side and cook for a further 2 minutes to brown it all over and create a lovely charred crust on the outside. Don’t be tempted to cook the salmon longer, the crust on the outside will be a delicous contrast to the soft just-pink inside. No matter what thickness the salmon, it should (generally) never take more than 5 minutes in a medium hot pan. Additionally, it will continue cooking while you bring it to the table.
  5. Steam or boil your broccoli and drain. Drizzle with the sesame oil.
  6. When ready to serve, combine the rice with a few tablespoons of dressing. Add the papaya, chopped herbs and peanuts and mix (reserving a handful or herbs for garnish). Add enough dressing to your liking but make sure its not swimming in the stuff!
  7. Top the salad with your tender salmon fillets alongside your freshly cooked broccoli and scatter with the reserved herbs.

WINE: Excellent served with a delicious Riesling (see here for a suggestion)

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