Posts tagged garlic

Hoisin, Soy and Ginger Meatballs

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ntil this recipe, I’d really underestimated minced pork. I like pork. I appreciate a good sausage (…ahem..) and I would fight you greedily for the crackling on a hog roast but I rarely cook with it. However my love of Asian-fusion recipes, the need for a warming Autumnal meal and some timely inspiration resulted in this tasty, moreish and speedy meatball dish.

It was an intense weekend. In training for 15km run round Lake Garda in October, it was decided that a smaller practice run was on the Saturday morning agenda. Two hours of enthusiastic and competitive running later, we’d clocked up 13 miles, some sore joints and a feisty appetite. So Sunday welcomed warm showers, relaxation and calorie replacement. And this recipe did a fine job.

Warming, comforting, firey, hoisin-sweet and punching in flavour, it was like an Asian hug in a bowl after a hectic weekend. It also makes a super speedy mid week meal and fantastic leftovers. I’m eating them as I write and they are just as good the second time round on a bowl of vegetable stir fry or raw courgette.

Rice – serve on your rice of choice. I’d recommend a jasmine or a sticky rice to avoid too many flavours. I do however like to squeeze a generous lime into the rice once cooked to add some contrast to the sweet hoisin here.

Serve 4

Meatballs

  • 600g minced pork
  • 30 self raising flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic gloves, grated
  • 1 small red chilli (as hot as you like)

Sauce

  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 125ml chicken stock

To serve

  • Steamed pak choy, broccoli,/any green vege
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Steamed coconut/jasmine/brown/sticky rice (of choice)
  • 1 lime
  1. Start by combining all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Use your (clean) hands, combine the mixture together so that everything is mixed well. Don’t overwork and pound the meat or it’ll give you rubbery meatballs. Chill for about 15 minutes.
  2. Once a little chilled, heat your oven to 240°C.
  3. Start cooking your rice now.
  4. Roll your pork into meatballs – golf balls size (about 16)
  5. Get a large frying pan on a high heat and add a splash of sunflower oil. (I like to fry mine to give a crispy outside then finish them off in the oven. Alternatively you can avoid this step and jump straight to the oven). Flash fry your meatballs for a few minutes until they form a dark golden crust on the outside. Place into a lined baking dish and add to the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.
  6. Meanwhile make your sauce. Add a splash more oil to your frying pan and fry the spring onions on a medium heat to soften slightly. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
  7. Add the hoisin and the soy and stir well. Finally add the stock and simmer gently until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Remove your meatballs from the oven and add them to the frying pan and coat them liberally in the sauce.
  9. Add a good squeeze of lime to the cooked rice if appropriate and serve about 4 meatballs per person on top of this. Spoon over some of the excess sauce.
  10. Scatter with coriander and a squeeze of lime if needed.
  11. Serve alongside your fresh greens.

 

Chicken Satay

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 usually feel that people fall into a love or hate category when it comes to peanut butter, the later being of rarity these days what with all the dreamy varieties and versions available. I embrace all that can be combined with it favouring the blackcurrant jam toast. However if you’ve not tried celery sticks dipped in peanut butter yet then you can thank me later for the introduction. Having mentioned the vast choice we now have for this delicious American spread, sadly I hate to admit that a cheap jar works wonders here. Save your fancy and expensive cashew, pecan and peanut blend for your sourdough toast at brunch y’all.

With no need to continue my expressive love of peanut butter, chicken satay is like a warm hug when wrapped comfortingly in the soft hand of a loveable flatbread with a crunchy, fresh salad. And this recipe really can be served in many ways as mentioned below. I prefer whole thighs rather than diced breast as they have far more flavour and texture. Served with a spoonful of the rich, spicy sauce, a zesty salad and some pillowey flatbreads. Alternatively, chop, coat and wrap the chicken and salad in the mits of a floury flatbread or flat wrap and dive in hands or face only. Use any combination of salad you like but whatever you do, coat liberally with lemon! It cuts through the rich and creamy peanut sauce welcomingly and essentially.

NOTE: If you haven’t tried making peanut butter before its really really simple provided you have a food processor! See here 

Adapted from Nigel Slater.

Serves 4

Chicken Satay

  • 4-8 chicken thighs, de-bonded (allow for 1-2 each depending on starter/main serving size)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Thumb ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1-2 limes
  • 125ml crunchy peanut butter
  • 250ml water
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Sunflower or light, flavourless oil.

Salad & Sides

  • 1 cucumber, chopped into batons
  • 4 little gems lettuce, leaves picked
  • Handful radishes, sliced finely
  • Bunch spring onions, sliced as preferred
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • Flatbreads (homemade, see here)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and begin with the chicken. Heat a hot frying pan with a tbsp of sunflower oil on a high heat. Fry the chicken skin side down until crispy and golden. Turn the thighs over and seal on the other side. Remove from the pan and place in a baking tray. Finish cooking in the oven for about 15-20 minutes while you make the sauce.
  2. Using the same pan, reduce the heat and soften the chopped onion for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass and fry for just a few minutes being careful not to burn it – the garlic in particular.
  3. Next add the peanut butter and stir well and continuously to combine with the aromats. Reduce the heat to a low and add half the water. Stir to combine.
  4. The sauce will bubble and thicken as you do this so add the rest of the water when needed, a whisk is useful here.
  5. Keep on a very low heat to warm through, adding a splash more water if you require a thinner consistency.
  6. Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl and squeeze over a generous squeeze of lemon and seasoning.
  7. By now the chicken should have finished cooking, remove from the oven and set aside to rest for a moment while you put the final touches to the sauce.
  8. Add the juice of 1 large lime. Taste – if it needs more to cut through the richness then add another squeeze. Add a handful of the coriander and stir to combine saving the remaining herbs for serving.
  9. Serving is up to you – I prefer to place the thighs gently in the sauce to ensure the skin you worked hard to crisp up remains crispy and then serve the whole dish on the table for people to help themselves from – thighs and sauce scattered with the leftover coriander. Alternatively, you can chop the chicken pieces into bite sized chucks and stir thoughout the sauce to coat entirely and serve in your flatbreads/lettuce leaves like a wrap.

Harissa Chicken With Orange Herb Barley Salad

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ts safe to say I’m a fan of Greece. The food, the weather, the glassy wakeboard inviting waters and the calming pace of life. I’ve even been partial to the odd Greek wine! I visit every year for my dose of Vitamin D and halloumi and to brush up on my water sports. But I’ll focus on the food for the time being. After experimenting with a unassuming pack of Odysea’s deliciously authentic Saganaki cheese last year it was time to venture into their range a bit more with my appreciation of Greece and the Med. Being the good natured Greek loving company that they are I arrived home one Friday evening after work to a box of delightful goodies to sample and experiment with!

And sample I did.

This recipe is adapted from a Bill Granger combination I once saw and with all the right flavours from Odysea (with the odd ‘forage in the pantry’ twist) it was the perfect foundation for my med inspired dish to help prolong the recent spring sun. The roasted oranges add a really unusual touch here along with the gentle spicing which are a perfect match with Odysea’s punchy, creamy and crumbly feta cheese. Heaps of mint, dill and lemon juice bring it all to life and sooth the post harissa spice! One to give a go on a sunny but still brisk Spring evening.

Serves 4

  • 2 small oranges
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ‘Odysea Wild Thyme & Fragrant Honey’
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g pearl barely or spelt
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 200g ‘Odysea Greek Feta‘, crumbled in large chunks
  • Large handful mint leaves
  • Small handful dill, finely chopped
  • 2 small poussin (or 4 joints of chicken e.g. chicken legs, thighs etc)
  • 4-6 tbsp of ‘Odysea Harissa spread‘ or 2 tbsp harissa paste
  •  2 large garlic cloves
  • Salad to serve – I used a crisp mix of chicory, little gems and watercress dressed in some lemon and extra virgin olive oil (Odysea of course)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Marinade the poussin in the harissa, seasoning well and then add 1 pealed, gently crushed garlic clove to each cavity and set aside.Jess - Harissa Chicken5
  3. Slice the oranges thinly and place on a lined baking tray evenly spread. Grind the fennel, cumin and chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar and then add the honey and olive oil and mix well. Coat the oranges slices in the mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them until they begin to caramelise and char. This time with vary depending on how juicy the oranges are. Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Cook the barely or spelt according to the packet instructions until tender then drain well and leave to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, turn the oven down to 190°C and place the poussin on a lined baking tray. Bake for around 40 minutes until tender and the juices run clear. Set aside to rest while you finish the salad.
  7. Add the warm oranges slices to the drained grains.
  8. Stir in the juice of the lemon, plenty of salt and pepper and the chopped dill.
  9. Scatter in the crumbled feta, the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  10. Finally, roughly chop the mint at the last minute and add to the grains and stir.
  11. Loosen with a little more lemon or a splash of extra virgin olive oil if needed
  12. Carve your rested poussin in half and serve half each alongside the grain and green salad, scattered with extra mint if you like

NOTES: This would also be lovely with a side of warm pillowy flatbreads, dipped into a cleansing and fresh lime and coriander yoghurt or tzatziki.

For a wine match I would suggest a fresh Chenin Blanc or the slightly aromatic taste of  Viognier.

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Crispy Asian Beef

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f you’re intending on sticking to or continuing to stick to a healthy diet this month after the indulgences of Christmas then I recommend Asian food as a good go to. It packs a reliant punch on flavour without compromising on health and nutrition. Not to mention that this is a really quick recipe and can be served out in about 20 minutes.

As a passionate cook and appreciator of food I have always been the type to savour my meals either for flavour or appreciation for the time and effort spent creating it – either by myself or more importantly a fellow cook. However, I can’t help but notice that many of us eat too fast. Not only does this encourage us to be unappreciative of the food, time and effort that has gone into making it but you cannot appreciate and savour the flavours. Sticking to the topic of nutrition and health this month, on a nutritional side the faster you eat the more chance you have of overeating. Eating slowly allows your stomach to register satiety at the right time. It also helps improve your digestion. Hand in hand with this I also recommend chewing your mouthfuls more to aid speed and digestion. Just putting down your fork (or chopsticks) after eat mouthful to enjoy, talk to your dinner friends and take your time is such a great habit to get into.

That said, a great way to get into this habit if using chopsticks! Not only is it fun and authentic but if you’re anything like me and still learning you can’t help but eat slowly…if at all. So obviously have a fork ready to hand to prevent starvation.

NOTE: Quite without meaning to I’ve created a gluten free meal using my stash of ‘Clearspring Gluten Free Brown Rice Noodles’. Asain food is a great go-to is your are gluten free. As I say, it packs a punch on flavour without compromising nutritional requirements.

Serves 2

  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 thumb size knob ginger, finely shredded
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 red chilli (hotter the better here)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1tsp fish sauce
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Bunch basil, chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 100g ‘Clear Spring’ ‘Gluten free brown rice noodles’
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice 1 lime
  • Serve: I recommend a nice lime juice covered fresh crispy salad e.g. Cos lettuce, grated carrot, bean sprouts, cucumber etc
  1. Submerge and soak the noodles in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Set aside kept warm until ready to serve.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan or wok on a high heat. Add the beef mince and use a spatula to break up the pieces into chunks. then add the star anise. Fry on a high heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to brown well and crisp up. Keep an eye on it moving the mince around continuously.
  3. After about 5 minutes when well browned add in the ginger, garlic and red chilli and continue to fry on a high heat until the meat is really browned and crispy as below.
  4. After about 5-10 minutes add the soy sauce, sesame oil and fish sauce and stir to combine. Cook until really dark and crispy to your liking.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped spring onions, coriander and basil
  6. Drain the noodles and squeeze over the lime juice and add the sesame oil
  7. Serve the noodles in warm bowls and top with your crispy beef piece and a lovely crunchy fresh salad.
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Squid Ink Risotto with Chargrilled Octopus and Gremolata

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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.

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Beef Rendang

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‘ve been looking for a cold carefree weekend to indulge in this slow cooked curry for ages but with long busy working days, midweek life hasn’t obliged. I love any form of slow cooking and coupled with my more recent love and commitment to the Asian flavours of the East they are combined lovingly here in a comforting wintery curry that while warming the heart will also transport you to the sunny climates of Malaysia….of Bruges!?

Bruges might not seem like the most logical inspiration but a quick hop skip and jump over to Belgium for the evening promoted this weeks blog post! The cold chilly weather, the (sadly) persistent rain and the festive Chrismassy lights was cue for something warming on return to the UK. But my main incentive starts with beer.

Histroical, medical and romantic, Bruges is a small and compact little city. But it has without a doubt the highest concentration of chocolate shops and beer merchants littered on every corner! Belfry view done and canals walked it was time for the brewery tour!

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ne of the oldest breweries left in Bruges, De Halve Maan promised history and charm and certainly delivered. We began in the brewing room before winding our way romantically around the high beams and rafters of the old listed building from cold cellar to the top of the roof before ending up in the restaurant bar, rewarding beer in hand, leather sofas and a warming fire to dry our wet feet. With Belgium beer on tap we drank away the rainy afternoon with a platter of meat and cheese and long outstayed our welcome.

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o on return home and that carefree Sunday afternoon to indulge, we drank our loot with this warming curry.

Serves 3

  • 500g braising steak, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped (a hot as you dare!)
  • 2 inch large piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 lemongrass, bashed roughly
  • 15 g tamarind paste (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Large pinch ground coriander and cumin
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 350ml coconut milk
  • Rice, lime and coriander to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Start by making the paste. Place the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, tamarind and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a fine paste.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large ovenproof saucepan/casserole dish over a medium heat. Cook out the paste for about 5 minutes but don’t burn or let it catch. Next add the lime leaves, cardamon, star anise and cinnamon stick.
  4. Add the chopped beef and cook for 10 minutes on a medium high heat until starting to colour and brown.
  5. Meanwhile, dry toast the coconut in a hot frying pan until golden brown and toasted (careful not to burn). Set aside.
  6. Next add the ground spices and the coconut milk to the beef.
  7. Bring to the simmer and mix well. Add the coconut. Place in the oven with a lid for 1 1/2 hours .
  8. During this time, check and stir occasionally. After this time, check the thickness of the sauce. If it needs to be reduced, remove the lid and placed back in the oven for 5 minutes or so or reduce on the hob. Add a splash more coconut milk if it looks too dry.
  9. Serve on warm rice dressed in lime juice and scattered with coriander.

Tofu, Mushroom and Seaweed Kale

Jess - Ingredients

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 vegan dish was a palatable challenge for me I’ll admit. In a world where butter dominates the foundations of my recipes like culinary cement; I was skeptical. No butter? You heard correctly…no butter? However, with a goodie bag of Japanese inspired ingredients from Clearspring, whose vast array of cultural delicacies regularly glare at me temptingly from their own region of the supermarket, I thought I’d experiment and I can safely say that butter wasn’t missed here!? With the divergence in diets and intolerances infiltrating our British habits in what is perhaps a foodie fad or otherwise, I thought I’d better jump on the diary and meat free band wagon and see if soya and tofu could satisfy my taste buds. With fish and vegetables dominating my diet already I was keen to see what the removal of dairy would have to offer.  I enjoyed this meal twice this week which is surely enough said. One evening using nutty pearl barely and the other using some of Clearspring’s gluten free brown noodles. Both delicious and fresh.

Gluten, diary, meat and nut free I think this one deserves the intolerance crown.

Serves 2

  • 1 box mushrooms (250g). Mixed such as shitake, oyster or chestnut
  • 1 small handful dried mixed wild mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 15minutes then chopped roughly
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 80g pearl barely/80-100g brown rice noodles
  • 200g kale
  • 100g peas
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Clearspring seaweed flakes OR Welshman’s caviar
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 100g cubed tofu (optional)
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Start by either soaking your noodles in hot water for 30 minutes covered or simmering your pearl barely for 25-30 minutes in hot water under tender. Drain well and drizzle with the sesame oil and keep warm.
  2. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Gently soften the sliced spring onions for about 5-8 minutes until just beginning to brown and season. Once softened, place in a bowl and set aside keeping warm if you can. These will be combined with the cooked kale later.
  3. Heat the same frying pan again until hot. Add the sunflower oil. Chop the mushrooms roughly into hearty chunks and gently fry for about 10-15 minutes with plenty of salt and pepper to cook and crisp up the mushrooms. They will release a little moisture so keep frying to evaporate this off and brown and crisp them up slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, cook your kale in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Add the peas and bring back to the boil. Once boiling remove from the heat and drain well allowing all the moisture to drain.
  5. Tip back in the pan, add 1 tbsp soy sauce and the seaweed flakes. Add the reserved spring onions and mix. Place the lid back on a keep warm while you finish the mushrooms.
  6. When the mushrooms are ready, crisp and delicious add the garlic and allow to cook for a few more minutes. Then turn up the heat and add the chopped rehydrated dried mushrooms, the noodles or pearl barely and fry for 1-2 minutes to reheat and combine the flavours.
  7. Optional here, add some cubed tofu and heat through and scatter with the coriander.
  8. Serve the mushrooms on top of the kale and garnish with black sesame seeds if you like

Glazed Salmon, Asian Greens, Sesame Cucumber

 

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I can’t believe my birthday has come and gone yet again. With another year under my ageing belt it only seemed natural to add another cookbook to my ‘library’. It really is expanding at such a rate that I may have to develop some sort of filing system soon. I currently have them stored in a few tame and humble 6 bottle old wooden wine cases but with each eager book spilling out over the edge, oozing its glossy (some more oil splattered) pictures in front of me it may be time to move out to a magnum case…?

To cut a long story short, my birthday granted me with Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian cookbook. I love this quick and flavourful cooking  but with more of a traditional palate I needed a helping hand and a point in the right direction or orientation should I say. East. And to help me along the way not only did I get this vibrant drool-worthy book that I literally want to cook every recipe of (rare I assure you) I also received a few of Bill’s Asian ‘Pantry staples’ to add to my other collection (again, yet to have its own filing system) and some beautiful serving bowls. After all presentation can be half the battle!

NOTE: for those into this style of food I really recommend Bill’s book. There may be some alien ingredients but nothing a quick trip down the ethnic aisle of Tesco can’t solve. A simply written, helpful book. And you really will want to cook everything…there just aren’t enough mealtimes in the day or days in the week unless I start replacing my morning tea with miso soup? Unlikely.

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Glazed Salmon

Serves 4

  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 4tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown soft sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 salmon fillets
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients together in a shallow bowl with the salmon fillets and pop in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Preheat your grill or BBQ. Grill for about 7minutes or so until charred on the outside but still pink and very most in the middle. Don’t be tempted to cook too long. The residual heat will carry on cooking it once removed from the grill and it is better served a little pink in the middle.
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Sesame Cucumber

  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp ride vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cucumber
  1. Use a mandolin/speed peeler to peel thin strips of cucumber into a bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the cucumber

Broccoli

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 red chilli, sliced finely
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced finely
  1. Boil your broccoli for a matter of minutes until still al dente and bright green. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan until hot. Flash fry your chilli and shallots until crispy. Add the garlic slices at the end as they will burn easily and fry until golden and crispy. Scoop out from the oil and drain and allow to crisp.
  3. Serve the broccoli, warm and scattered with the crispy garnish and a little drizzle of the infused oil

imageBeautiful serving dish courtesy of my sister and the Portobello markets

Mexican Roast Chicken Feast

 

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Sometimes an English roast can be boring (shoot me now)…especially in summer. I’ve experimented with a Spanish roast (see here) but it was time for a Mexican Roast chicken over the weekend as my craving for dark creamy black beans took over. This chicken recipe is a great BBQ favourite of mine…and Jamie’s. You know a good marinade when you make it in the morning, refrain from eating there and then and think about it all day until that charcoal is ready! The sweetcorn puree adds a lovely sweetness to this to counteract the savoury beans and spicy chicken and greens.

Mexican Roast Chicken Feast – Serves 4

BBQ Chicken

  1. Marinade the chicken the night before if you can. Massage over the chicken making sure you get it into all the cracks.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Line a roasting tray with foil and place the chicken on top with the excess marinade. Wrap in foil and roast for about 1hr and 20 minutes depending on the size. For the final 15 minutes or so, turn up the heat to 200°C and remove the foil to allow the skin to crisp up and brown. (This recipe is actually best cooked in the oven first to keep it moist and then finished on the BBQ so you get that charred outer crust and moist meat).
  4. When cooked remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes wrapped in foil while you finish the side dishes.
  5. When ready to serve, carve rustically, scatter with fresh mint and give everyone a wedge of lime for squeezing over.

Black beans

  • 2 x tins black beans, drained (retain the juice only if not salted)
  • 2 large spring onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ red chilli
  • Bunch coriander chopped
  • Lime juice
  1. Fry the spring onion in a little oil to soften for a few minutes then add the garlic and chilli and soften for a few minutes.
  2. Add the beans and top up with a little hot water or the bean can juice (as long as it is not salted). Add enough to cover them gently and allow to simmer.
  3. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. The consistency you want will depend on how you like them so simmer longer for a thicker texture. I like mine to be quite loose but still sit on the plate.
  4. Use a masher to lightly crush and mash some of the beans. This will help thicken the mixture and add texture but leave most of the beans whole.
  5. Taste and season. Add the coriander and a squeeze of fresh lime before serving.

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Sweetcorn Puree

  • 1 x tin sweetcorn, drained.
  • Milk to cover
  • 1 knob butter
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Drain the sweetcorn and add to a saucepan. Add enough milk to just cover and bring to the simmer making sure the milk doesn’t boil over (not speaking from experience at all…..).
  2. Simmer for about 5 minutes then drain reserving the cooking milk.
  3. Add to a food processor with some salt and pepper and a large knob of butter. Puree for a good few minutes until really soft and creamy. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved milk as it blends to thin it out until you have the consistency you’re after.
  4. Sieve the mixture into the pan to remove the tough shells and produce a really creamy velvety puree (this is optional, just as good left non sieved). Set aside to keep warm.

Garlic-Chilli Broccoli

  • ½ red chilli, sliced thinly
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Broccoli
  1. Heat a good glug of oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry the chilli and garlic for a few minutes until beginning to turn golden and crispy but make sure you don’t burn it. It can turn very quickly so remove from the heat and pour into a serving dish just before it looks ready, as it just turns golden as it will keep cooking a little after.
  2. Cook the broccoli al dente and drain well. While still warm, toss in the garlic-chilli infused oil and serve.

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Black beans and Cajuan Cod

 

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Comfort food. Creamy, hearty, deeply flavoured and undeniably satisfying. I really love Mexican inspired food such as this. It also seems to be on trend on the foodie scene at the moment with variations on the ‘Pulled Pork’ brioche bun carving their across gastro chalks boards from Chiswick to Stratford with varying degrees of authenticity and quality.

You can actually add anything to these beans. Keep simple as in my below recipe with plenty of seasoning or go wild with the spices adding cumin, coriander or dried soaked chipotle or habaneros. Make this to suit your tastes but the black garlic will give it real depth and a sweetness that will add another dimension. The longer and slower you cook and simmer the beans to infuse the flavours the more depth you’ll get as a result but these are equally as delicious boshed out in 10 minutes.

Serve the black beans on their own with lashings of grated cheese, spoonful of soured cream and homemade guacamole, sliced jalapenos or crunchy salty nachos for dunking.

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Serves 2

Black beans

  • 1 tin black beans, juices retained
  • 1 large clove black garlic/normal garlic, chopped
  • ½ red onion or shallot very finely chopped
  • ½ lime
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bunch coriander, chopped

Cod

  • 2 cod fillets
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • OR 1 tsp Cajuan spice mix
  1. Marinade the cod in the spices with a few tbsp of olive oil for as long as you like.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan a very slowly and gently fry the chopped onion for about 5 minutes until soft.
  3. Once softened, add the normal garlic if using and fry for a few minutes before adding the spices and stirring to combine.
  4. Transfer to a saucepan with the beans and some generous seasoning. If using black garlic mash to a soft paste before whisking into the beans.
  5. Add as much of the beans drained juices to allow the beans to simmer away gently. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, topping up with the retained juices if it starts to dry out or turning up the heat to bubble more intensely for a thicker consistency.
  6. Before serving taste and add more seasoning if needed. Stir in the chopped coriander and the juice of ½ lime.
  7. Cook the cod in a hot frying pan skin side down until cooked/ grilled/baked in the oven for around 8 minutes or so depending on the thickness of your fillets.

I served mine with a green beans salad garnish with slow oven roasted cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion and coriander.

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