Posts tagged ginger

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.

Blackberry and Ginger Pudding

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his is one of the tastiest but easiest little puddings to knock up and its packed full of flavour and perfect for a winter evening with a steaming bowl of velvety sweet custard. Ambrosia obviously. But if you’re feeling the urge to make a your own creme angliase then my cinnamon version found here is great. Its not a steamed pudding as such but it may as well be with its warm spongy texture and comfort. I’ll admit the ginger is excessive but don’t be shy, you’ll appreciate the bounty if you go all in here – its a ginger pudding after all. A little lemon zest lifts it into a lighter pudding and the blackberries are just so god damn seasonal. And a nod to the ‘forage’.

This recipe if straight from Sky Gyngell’s ‘A Year in my Kitchen’ and I made no changes. Its perfect.

Serves 4

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • Zest 2 lemons
  • 4 knobs of stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Blackberries
  • Pinch salt
  1. Grease 4 mini pudding moulds or ramekins. I also lined the base with a little parchment to stop it sticking. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one by one until combined
  4. Next sift in the flour and fold in.
  5. Fold in the lemon zest and ginger.
  6. Spoon a generous tbsp of golden syrup into the base of each pudding bowl. Top with enough blackberries to cover the base in a single layer. Spoon over the sponge mixture divided between each mould.
  7. Grease 4 small sheets of foil and cover the moulds loosely with it. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  8. Turn out onto a plate and serve warm with a steaming helping of custard.

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Sticky Salmon-Pineapple Kebabs, Thai black rice salad

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‘m always surprised at the amount of people who are surprised at the flavour that rice can have on its own without additional added flavours. If you pick the right rice that is. If you’re used to the same old white or even brown rice then venture out! I use red French Camargue rice as my staple now due to its wonderful nutty flavour but after stumbling over some Thai black rice recently which fell into my innocent shopping basket I had a salad on the mind. A dark and nutty flavour goes wonderfully with Thai flavours and fruits. Try mango and prawns, basil and coriander (see here) which was my initial intention. However as a nod to the gorgeous weather this weekend a barbeque inspired kebab was required. Seeing as my garden-lacking London flat could not supply my bbq needs, a sticky, sweet and if you cook the salmon well, oh so tender kebab a top this fresh and herby Thai rice salad suited Sunday evening down to the ground. Cold beer to accompany and the BAFTAS.

Serves 2 (make 4 skewers)

  • 2 salmon fillets, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cubed into 2cm chunks
  • Broccoli florets (about 6-8)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp runny honey
  • Small knob ginger, grated
  • 4 oz Thai black rice
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • Bunch coriander, chopped (save some for garnish)
  • 2 sheets nori seaweed, cut into small 1 cm wide pieces or strips (optional)
  • 1 lime
  • 4 skewers (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
  1. Combine the soy sauce, sesame, honey and ginger in a bowl and mix well
  2. Marinade the salmon chunks, broccoli florets and pineapple chunks in this mixture for 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. After 1 hour, prepare your skewers. Feed alternating salmon and pineapple and broccoli chunks onto each. Set aside on a line baking tray and chill. Preheat the oven to 180°C.Jess - Salmon Asian KebabsJess - Salmon Asian Kebabs2
  4. Meanwhile make the rice salad. Simmer the rice for around 25 minutes until just cooked with a little bite.
  5. While this is cooking toasted the coconut in a dry frying pan until just bringing to turn golden. Watch it as it catches easily. When fragrant, remove and add to a bowl.
  6. Combine with the chopped spring onions, coriander and the chopped nori sheets.
  7. When the rice is ready, drain well. Immediately add the bowl of coconut and herbs and squeeze in the juice of the lime. Place a lid on top and keep warm.
  8. Remove the salmon skewers from the fridge and heat a frying pan until hot and add a tsp of oil.
  9. Sear the skewers on both sides to get a lovely caramelised effect all over. Add the rest of the marinade to the pan (it will sizzle) and then immediately transfer the skewers and the pan juices to the baking tray. Pop in the oven for 5 minutes to finish the cooking.
  10. Meanwhile, plate up the rice in warm serving dishes. After 5 minutes check the salmon is tender and cooked through but just pink and remove from the oven. Top your Thai rice salad with the kebabs and any extra chopped coriander to garnish.

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Dahl, Roasted Curried Cauliflower, Shredded Duck in Lime

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ou won’t be surprised to hear it was another week of stressful and busy work so the long weekend glowed like a beacon on Friday evening with promises of yoga, long runs in the sun and some experimental time in the kitchen to blog and relax the mind. I woke to a beautiful sunny day and after a long run to clear the working cobwebs I was already on my way to some downtime. All that was required was some time in the kitchen.

With a stressful period at work keeping 90% of my mind on the task it was time to start planning my second supper club to focus and begin that excitement again! With the date confirmed and inked in the diary I was more than eager to start developing the menu! With just over 2 month before the (second) big day it might seem premature but to get the invites and advert out as soon as possible and the ticket confirmations rolling in the menu was vital. Starter done. Dessert done and obviously featuring ice cream the main needed some attention. With the somewhat limited kitchen facilities and equipment of my cosy, niche and atmospheric chosen venue the dish needed some attention. Ambition needs to be carefully managed and focussed int he right direction.

While flavour is key here using wholesome ingredients cooked from scratch I wanted a menu that would make my potential guests salivate on reading and be booking tickets on autopilot before they could say ‘Deliveroo’! Flavour vital but practicality is also a contender here when cooking solo for 30 paying guests. And in addition economics, aesthetics and style are also important. Factoring all these competing aspects and a love of all things spice this punchy dish was created. I won’t give anything away but the next supper club main with feature something along these lines…

Serves 4

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 x speedy dahl recipe (see here) with juice of 1/2 lime added at the end.
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds and cumin seeds
  • 3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large lime
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Season the duck legs and roast for about 40 minutes in the oven.
  2. Scatter the cauliflower florets in a large baking tray and drizzle with a good glut of olive oil.
  3. Toss in the curry powder, turmeric cumin and mustard seeds and stir to coat. Add some seasoning.Jess - Curried Cauliflower2Jess - Curried Cauliflower
  4. After the duck has had 20 minutes of roasting add the cauliflower to the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile make the dahl and set aside to keep warm.
  6. Once the duck and cauliflower are ready remove from the oven. leave the duck to rest for a few minutes before shredding the meat into a warm bowl with two forks and quickly squeezing over the juice of the fresh lime.
  7. Toss the warm cauliflower in the spring onions and herbs.
  8. To plate up, ensure you have warm shallow serving bowls or plates and spoon a generous spoonful of dahl onto the bottom and let it ooz out onto the plate. Top with a handful of the cauliflower before finally topping with a quarter of the shredded duck
  9. Serve immediately while still warm and devour! Serve with warm homemade flatbreads or roti if needed.

WINE: This would be great with an aromatic white such as a Riesling or a Gervertz to balance the spice.

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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.
  8. Jess - Crispy Asaian Beef 2

 

Dorset Apple Cake

 

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here is nothing like a bit of baking on a cold, drizzly weekend to ease and nourish the soul and there is nothing like the warming spices of cinnamon and ginger combined lovingly with a spongey sweet cake and some juicy sharp seasonal apples to bake! Devoured cold with a warm brew or warm and spongy with lashings of Ambrosia, ice cream or just a trowel-ful of clotted cream you’ll fail to not be comforted by this festive tray bake. Open to additional ingredients this cake batter would be beautiful marbled with chunks of sweet marzipan or topped with some flaked almonds or toasty pecan nuts.

Adapted from Marry Berry

Makes about 18 large pieces

  • 3 large cooking apples (About 550g)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a tray bake tin (about 30cm x 23cm)
  2. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice each thinly and place in a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon to prevent browning.
  3. Now, using an electric hand mixer or food processor, blend the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, half the cinnamon and ginger together before adding the eggs. Beat well adding a splash of milk to loosen for a few minutes until golden, glorious and combined.
  4. Spoon half into the lined baking tray. Top with halve the apples slices scattered randomly but evening over. Sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon
  5. Spread over the remaining batter and even out with a pallet knife
  6. Top with the remaining apples slices, pushing them into the batter slightly.
  7. OPTIONAL: Top with flaked almonds or nuts or a sprinkle or crunchy demerara sugar.
  8. bake for about 40 minutes until golden, spongey and firm and just communing away from the sides of the tray.
  9. Leave to cool before cutting. Serve warm with ice cream, custard or cream or at room temperature with a nice cup of tea!

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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.

Gingerbread Latte Ice Cream, Salted Pistachio Brittle

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Its Easter, a foodie occasion so I cannot forgo a dessert menu without this icey sweet delight. Coffee is such a crowd pleasing and moresih dessert flavour (if you’re a caffeine lover) as it naturally tops off a dinner and satisfies those bitter fans and the sweet toothed. From tiramisu to coffee cake I love it. But in ice cream….well need I say more. With the subtleyly of the ginger and cinnamon it makes for a ironically warming flavour in this cooling ice cream. Acoompanied with a warm lava centred chocolate fondant it was the perfect finale to Easter lunch.

Ice Cream (Serves 6 modestly)

  • 300ml single cream
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Heat the cream until just coming up to the boil. Add the coffee and spices and whisk until all combined off the heat.
  2. Leave to cool.
  3. Whisk in the condensed milk until thoroughly combined and transfer to a container or tupperware to store int he freezer.
  4. Freeze until set! You can remove it from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving to make it easier to serve.
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Salted Pistachio Brittle

Very general measurements and method here! If in doubt use a sugar thermometer.

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 160g roughly of golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 60g pisatchios, crushed
  • 1 tsp malden salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Line a baking tray with non stick parchment (grease with oil if you want)
  2. Crush the nuts and mix with the salt and set aside.
  3. Mix the sugar, syrup and water in a pan. Heat on a medium high heat but do not be tempted to stir. Allow it to melt and begin to caramelise and bubble. Leave for 5-10 minutes or so bubbling away until the syrup beings to turn golden. Watch very closely here as you don’t want it to catch and burn or turn too dark. When a golden brown colour add the butter and remove from the heat and quickly pour onto the baking tray.
  4. Immediately scatter over the salty nuts evenly and leave to set. It will harden quickly, within 10 minutes! Once poured out and still soft though you can move the tray around to make it thinner if required by tilting.
  5. Once set, peel from the parchment and break carefully into shards for each guest
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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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