Posts tagged lemon

Orange Polenta Cake (free-from)

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ollowing on from chapter 1 – “Hoisin, Soy and Ginger Meatballs” (previous post) you’ll know that a heavy weekend of exercise required some calorie replacement. Cue dessert. I’m not a big cake eater but any cake that’s doused in syrup is one that I can get on board with.

I’ve made a few drizzle cakes and polenta loaves in the past but the use of whole oranges in this recipe really makes a difference and bumps this one up the leader board! It doesn’t require a huge amount more effort but means this cake is moist and packed with orange flavour. It also make an excellent dessert unlike a Victoria sponge style cake as you can serve it warm with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

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nintentionally this recipe is also dairy and gluten free! Which I think leads smoothly onto the news that I have now officially left the wine industry which has served me well for the past 4 years in London! But I’m more than excited to be entering a fresher, more creative and healthier career with Deliciously Ella. So next week starts the second chapter of my London life. Who knows what it has to hold and what recipes these blog posts might contain in the near future.

Adapated from a recipe by ‘John Torode’

Ingredients

  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 150g polenta
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 10g baking powder

Sticky Syrup

  • 3 oranges, juice (150ml juice)
  • 75g caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23cm cake tin (springform recommended or loose bottomed)
  2. Place 1 orange and 1 lemon in a saucepan of water so they are completely submerged and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the fruit from the pan and cut in half. Remove any unwanted seeds.
  4. Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the juice only of the other orange and lemon. Blend into a thick smooth paste.
  5. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt until foaming. Add the sugar and beat again.
  6. Next add the orange paste, almonds, oil and combine well.
  7. Add the polenta to the baking powder then fold these dry ingredients into the wet.
  8. Pour into your lined baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes.
  9. While cooking, make the syrup. Heat the sugar and juice on a medium heat until beginning to bubble and turn glossy. Keep warm.
  10. When the cake is ready pour over the syrup liberally whilst still in the tin. I like to pierce the whole cake with a cocktail stick (especially at the edges and middle) to allow the syrup to seep into the cake better. This prevents it running off the top and collecting round the edges.
  11. Once the syrup has soaked in thoroughly, remove from the tin and turn out onto a serving plate

Serve warm with ice cream or at room temperature. The cake will keep well for about a week if stored well and become more moist!

 

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.

Raw Citrus Salad

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f you’ve been (un)lucky enough to experience the heat wave that swept the UK last week then you’ll probably agree that appetites change from being food dominant to a welcome craving for frosty, cold and delicious beers. Iced rose if thats more your thing, or perhaps just a freshly made lemonade in the sunshine. However, food still has its place but freshness, lightness and nothing too heavy takes the culinary crown. This salad was perfect after what was probably the hottest day of the year so far. After trawling over London for a meeting – which at the time felt dramatically reminiscent of a desert voyage – I was in no fit state for cooking anything too warm later that evening….

This therefore seemed the perfect opportunity to make a fresh salad but one to replenish the nutrients. And time to crack out an ingredient that’s been waiting patiently in my pantry for the past few months. A little gift from overseas from the Norwegian’s.  I’ve not seen a oil like this before but have been delighting in it since. Whilst I’ve tried flavoured oils in the past which I’ve found to be either bland or synthetic, this little oil/balsamic combo – mandarin oil with an epic peach and apricot balsamic – served neat and combined in equal measures with some crusty bread for dipping was amazing! I instantly thought seafood, fennel, and raw salads….after thoughts of frosty beers and rose. I did mention it was very hot…

With a lack of garden space or even a balcony in London (sympathy welcomed) there was sadly no place for a BBQ here. But if you do then this would be an amazing salad served with charred barbecued squid or octopus. Or keep it simple and griddle your asparagus or sea bass. The smoky bbq flavour is perfect for anything citrus here.

Like I said, its a meal for a hot day…minimal effort, more an assembly of flavours. Feel free to add in any other ingredients of choice or fish and seafood.

*NOTE – if you’ve no time to pop to Norway for these delights, a really good extra virgin olive oil with either a generous squeeze of lemon/lime/orange would work a treat. Try adding a few very thin slices of orange segments or grated zest too. Blood orange if you’re feeling extravagant.

Serve 2

  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced wafer thin (using a mandolin if you have one)
  • 1 handful walnuts, toasted and lightly crushed
  • Small bunch fresh basil and mint, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon/orange/lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil and 1 orange OR flavoured citrus oil or equivalent to above
  • 2 sea bass fillets (or as above, squid, octopus etc)
  1. Hest a frying pan/griddle pan to medium high and add a splash of light olive oil. Griddle the asparagus spears to just take off the rawness for a few minutes until beginning to char. Season and remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the celery, shaved fennel, toasted walnuts and finely chopped herbs.
  3. When the asparagus spears have cooled a little, add them to bowl.
  4. Season and grate in the zest of half the lemon.
  5. The next bit if up to you. Add the citrus oil, and the juice of half a lemon or add the juice of an orange/lime and some plain, extra virgin olive oil. Its all about taste. You need a fresh citrus flavour but it needs to be balanced.
  6. Set aside once done. Fry your fish and serve atop your fresh salad.

I served mine alongside some roasted carrots …I’ll admit this isn’t supporting the cooling and ‘non hassle’ trend I championed above. What can I say, the frosty beer worked a treat…

  • Slice 2-3 large carrot into chunky diagonal chunks
  • Season and drizzle with olive oil
  • Scatter with 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • Roast for about 25 minutes until starting to caramelise and soften. Check after this time and leave in longer if needed.
  • 5 minutes before they look ready, add 1 btsp running honey and combine. roast for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and served, slightly cooled, with your citrus salad (also lovely to add chopped parsley and crumbled feta/goats cheese)

 

Chorizo & Butterbean Stew

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his recipe is the absolute ideal for a balmy, summer provoking Monday night after work. My mind battled with the joys of staying out in the sun as long as possible and the equal craving for some kitchen relaxation that only stirring a pan with a wooden spoon can bring. Ideal for a speedy but flavoursome dinner that can be knocked up in minutes for one, for two, or for many and tomorrows leftovers.  Admittedly my holiday blues were kicking in….so the Med influence snuck back to the kitchen.

Mediterranean food is not usually my cuisine of choice but having spent last week in Corfu on a grounding, enlightening and entertaining yoga retreat (Just Relax Yoga retreats) dining on gorgeous vegetarian tapas and authentic Greek dishes, it solidified my theory that you only need just a few star ingredients to make a knock out dish. After many a beer one night in the Greek sun and a hunger like a pig on a diet, me and the yogis frantically ordered a table full of tapas. Now it may…may have been the hunger and hanger that made it more memorable but when a glutinous bowl of giant butter beans bathed and hugged in a smooth creamy tomato sauce was placed in front of me, I was in heaven. Devine. I’ll admit, the butter beans were twice the size in Greece but beggars can’t be choosers in London eh? After a week in Greece I was keen to get something similar into my regime…

Serves 2

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 400-500g chopped tomatoes (1 can or carton)
  • 150g chorizo, diced/cubed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, light toasted then crushed
  • 1 x can butter beans, drained
  • Bunch basil and parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 x sea bream or a white fish fillet of choice.
  1. Soften the onion in a little olive oil in a saucepan for about 10 minutes until translucent and starting to caramelise.
  2. Add the chorizo and the garlic and cook for a few more minutes until the chorizo is beginning to crisp and release its oils.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, crushed fennel seed and some generous seasoning.
  4. Simmer until reduced a little for 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the drained butter beans and heat through.
  6. Simmer until reduced to a stew like texture. Taste and season as needed.
  7. Finally add the lemon zest and herbs and stir to combine.
  8. Serve with fried or grilled fish and a scattering of leftovers herbs and lemon! (Gremolata is wanted)

Mediterranean Roasted Potato Salad

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ith a holiday on the horizon it was time to use up the rest of the ingredients littering my fridge…I love this challenge.

Thats where the excellent ingredients that Odysea Greek produce come in handy – and ironically it was Greece where I would be destined for! Odysea sent me a glorious box of their devious samples last year and from this I have savoured some store cupboard gems, waiting patiently in the back of my cupboard until called upon and ready to pack a punch when called to the spotlight.

This salad was a mixture of fridge leftovers combined with a few cheeky purchases and of course, some glorious Greek flare. I used Odysea’s ‘Sun Dried Tomato Meze’ – a mixture of tomatoes, capers, and olives chopped roughly and combined in a gloriously flavoured oil. Similarily you can use the former ingredients alone and combine in your own combination but since Odysea did it so well, I figured I’d use their convenience pre-holiday….

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his makes one large chunky roasted salad but feel free to sub in other ingredients to your taste. Serves around 2-3 as a side dish. I served mine with a lovely fillet of grilled sea bass, but some steamed or roasted cod with lemon and parsley would also be delicious.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 2 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 x packet green beans
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 6 x large sun dried tomatoes (chopped), 1 handful olives (chopped), 1 tbsp capers OR 4 tbsp ‘Odysea Sun-Dried Tomato Meze
  • 10 slices thin chorizo OR 1/2 ring chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 2 handfuls rocket leaves
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Start by par boiling your potatoes for about 10 minutes until just tender. Drain, shake in a pan to rough the edges and then tip into a roasting tray. Season and drizzle over a generous coating of olive/sunflower oil. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
  3. Meanwhile while they roast, par-boil the green beans for a few minutes. Drain and cool them under cold water.
  4. Chop the spring onions, parsley and combine in a large mixing bowl with the  cooled beans, lemon zest, sun dried tomato mixture and season.
  5. Pan fry the chorizo in a dry frying pan until crispy.
  6. Once the potatoes are ready, remove from the oven. Top into the salad bowl with the beans and herbs. Add the chorizo.
  7. Finely, just before serving, add the rocket leaves and squeeze over the juice of half the lemon.
  8. Serve!

 

Blackberry and Ginger Pudding

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T

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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Apricot, Thyme, Honey and Goats Cheese Grain Salad

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his weekend summer finally arrived! I woke in Wiltshire to gleaming sun rays through my curtains, clear blue skies and the promise of a warm balmy day. I could already taste BBQ in the air and with some thick marbled dexter steaks sitting patiently in the fridge, all we needed was a side dish to accompany.

Now I call this a ‘grain’ salad as its open to using any type of grain or pulse of choice. Cous cous, pearl barely, lentils. Follow your taste buds. But for this creative dish I used quite an original and special one. Sent from overseas England has yet to offer this nutty, textured ingredient. Its a cross between cous cous and pearl barley but get this health addicts –  its gluten free! But like I said sadly its not available in the UK yet but at least you know which food blog to check out when it does (ahem). This special packet of gold dust for coeliacs arrived for me overseas from a budding provider and I was keen to taste it. Being very versatile I wanted to use it simply and being gentle in taste it can easily handle strong flavours. Simmer for about 30 minutes and drain for a delicious texture and a wonderful flavour.

Available in both wholegrain and normal.

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Serves 4

  • 200g sorghum/pearl barley/giant cous cous/lentils
  • 6 fresh apricots
  • Small bunch thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (I used Odysea’s ‘Wild Thyme and Fragrant Herb Honey‘)
  • 125g soft, goats cheese
  • Handful of rocket
  • 1 lemon
  1. Simmer you grain of choice until tender but with a little bite. Drain and leave to cool until just warm.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.. Slice the apricots in half, de-stone and place on a baking tray. Drizzle over the honey and half the thyme leaves. Season and drizzle over a splash of olive oil and toss together. Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the apricots are roasted and softened but still hold their shape. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before cutting each half again in half.
  3. When ready to serve, season the grains and combine with the warm roasted apricots, the rest of the thyme and a handful of rocket leaves. Crumble in the goats cheese.
  4. Finally, dress with the juice of the lemon and stir gently to combine and coat in the lemony juices.

WINE: Served with a deliciously fruity glass of California’s ‘Folk Machine Pinot Noir’ available at Armit Wines

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Asparagus Salad with attitude

Asparagus

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ts May! My favourite month. Not just because its my birthday month but because summer is around the corner and we occasionally get some warm sunny days that are by now longer and greener. Also, its not quite summer yet so any warmth is a bonus and any rain can’t be really argued about….rain in July however….that can be, thats not on.

In addition, asparagus season kicks off! One of my favourite vegetables and one that I adore but religiously only use in season. Peruvian flown asparagus in November isn’t quite the same. My patient (and I mean patient) Dad has slaved over a beautiful allotment for a good few years now and asparagus has to be one of the benefits of these hours. Its a funny vegetable to grow really. Its painfully teasing in its initial stages, taking 3 years to form solid allotment foundations. It needs to grow and die again before you can even reap the benefits of your first harvest – 3 years! So it was on day one, year one when Dad announced he was to plant some that we all cheered then sat back in asaparugus-less silence as we waited. But wait we did and now we have a wonderful patch of these cheeky greens. I say funny as while it takes years to establish, when the season hits, asparagus shoots up and grows in lightening speed. It has been known to grow up to 25cm in 24hours! So we can hardly cut it quick enough. While the weather wasn’t ideal for a BBQ this weekend for Dad’s birthday that didn’t stop us from having my (oven grilled) spatchcocked BBQ chicken and this wonderful salad filled with all my Dad’s favourite salad staples and his well deserved asparagus served alongside crispy roasted new potatoes

This is more of an assembly of elements which are open to modification.

Crispy fried croutons, boiled eggs, smoky bacon lardons, stir fired spiced broccoli, crunchy bitter little gems and of course this seasons asparagus….

Serves 6

  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped into florets and halved if necessary
  • Large bunch asparagus (about 8 stems)
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 3 slices brown bread, chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 100g pancetta/diced smoked bacon/smoked lardons (optional)
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp each fennel seed, cumin seed, nigella seed, coriander seed.
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Toast the spices in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until fragrant then tip into a pestle and mortar and grind. Set aside
  2. Asparagus – Snap the asparagus where it naturally breaks so you can discard the woody end. Chop the spear ends into half finger length pieces. Blanche these in simmering water for just 2 minutes until just cooked but al dente and drain immediately. Cool under cold water to retain the green colour then allow to cool and dry.
  3. Eggs – Simmer the eggs in boiling water for about 8 minutes depending on their size. Aim for a hard boiled consistency but not overdone. Reduce the time a little if you like them runnier. Drain and cool in cold water. Peel and discard the shell and chop each egg into 8 pieces. Season with a little black pepper.
  4. Salad – Snap the outer leaves of the little gems into a large salad serving bowl and chop the hearts into pieces. Add the cooled and dried asparagus.
  5. Croutons – Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat. When hot, add the bread cubes and some salt and pepper and fry until you have golden and crispy croutons. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside.
  6. Bacon – Add a little more oil to the pan if needed and fry off the bacon pieces until crispy and golden. Drain on kitchen paper then add to the croutons and set aside.
  7. Broccoli – Do this step last so the florets are still a little warm when added to the salad. Either get a clean pan or wipe out the last of the bacon juices and heat a tbsp of olive oil. Add the broccoli florets and season and fry until beginning to char and turn cripsy in places and the stems start to soften. They will have a nice al dente bite to them. As they begin to stir fry and soften, add the crushed spices and fry for a further minute.
  8. Serve – When ready to serve, add the stir fried broccoli to the salad and asparagus and toss well. Add the croutons and bacon and toss again.
  9. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon and a good drizzle of some good quality extra virgin olive oil and toss to combine.
  10. Finally carefully place the eggs on top!

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‘Kedgeree’ restyled

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edgeree restyled = Smoked haddock, chive and parsley risotto topped with samphire, pan fried curried haddock loin, soft poached egg and sourdough crispy crumbs.

A modern take on kedgeree if you like and a recipe thats been on my ‘testing’ list for little under a year? I often come up with ideas of dishes that I want to experiment with but there are never enough meals in the week, pounds in the purse or free blog appropriate evenings to do so. But as I sit and indulge in the Masterchef final I write this post and realise the influence this years competition has had on my food. Restaurant worthy presentation for an otherwise hearty, homely supper. But with all the elements of a traditional kedgeree (smoked fish, eggs, rice and curry) its a winner on flavour combination.

I used poached duck eggs here instead of the traditional boiled egg as I don’t know anyone or any dish that doesn’t benefit from a cascade of delicious vibrant orange yolk. But with the soft texture of the egg, fish and risotto, some crispy baked sourdough breadcrumbs are the perfect textural contrast. Also feel free to use cod or any other meaty white fish.

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Serves 2

  • 200g (or two large handfuls) risotto rice
  • 750ml hot fish stock
  • 1 shallot, diced finely
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 50g butter
  • 125ml dry white wine
  • Handful chives, chopped
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 large filler of smoked haddock (skin removed), chopped into cubes
  • 1 fresh duck eggs
  • 1 x packet samphire (enough for two)
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  1. Start by rubbing the haddock fillets with the curry powder. Season and set aside until ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the sourdough breadcrumbs on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil and season. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove and set aside until serving.
  3. For the risotto, melt half the butter and a tsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the shallot and soften over a gentle heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and soften for another minute or so.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the rice. Toast for a few minutes until beginning to turn a little translucent too. Add the wine and simmer away until fully absorbed. Have the fish stock hot and ready in a nearby saucepan. Keeping the risotto at a gentle simmer add ladle by ladle of the stock to the risotto making sure it doesn’t dry out. You may or may not need all the stock but you want to simmer for 18-20 minutes until the rice is cooked and you have a thick but still oozing consistency.
  5. When the rice is cooked add the chunky cubes of smoked haddock and stir through until cooked. The fish will turn white quickly as it cooks in the hot rice (a matter of minutes). It will flake apart when done so use a fork to flake it through to distribute amongst the risotto.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter, the chopped herbs and the lemon zest and juice. Add plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Once the butter has melted, stir all to combine. Place a lid on top and set aside to keep warm.
  7. Meanwhile, steam the samphire for 3 minutes and keep warm.
  8. Get a frying pan really hot and add a splash of oil and at the same time heat a pan of boiling water for the eggs bringing it to a gentle simmer.
  9. Fry the curried haddock fillets for 1 minute on each side in the frying pan, just to get the coating golden and crisp before adding to the oven and cooking through for about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
  10. In this 5 minutes, poach the eggs. Turn the water down to a gentle simmer and crack your duck eggs into the water. Poach for a few minutes just until the white is set but the yolk is still runny and soft to touch when tested. Remove using a slotted spoon and rest while your plate the rest of the elements.
  11. When ready to plate up make sure you have some pre warmed serving bowls. Serve a generous spoonful of oozing risotto into the middle. Top with a handful of samphire and then the cooked curried haddock. Top with one of your poached eggs and crack over some black pepper. Drizzle with any curried oil leftover in the baking try from the curried fish and scatter with a handful or crispy sourdough breadcrumbs.
  12. Serve!

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Bream, Fennel, Prawn Bisque

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struggle with choosing my ‘last meal’ when asked on occasion but a bouillabaisse, bisque or seafood dish comes high up there with my true foodie loves hence my adoration of this simple bisque sauce. I have previously blogged this but due to its rich and deep flavour it only requires a simple and fuss free accompaniment so served here with roasted fennel and bream its devine. I am always staggered and amazed at the amount of flavour that the otherwise wasted shells and heads of the prawns make to a sauce! Such a depth of traditional flavours. Topped with fennel, simply fried fish and the meaty rewards of the prawns its a simple weekend feast that takes relatively no time, just some organisation, prep and speed and focus on delivery! Voila…

Note the lack of carb here purely due to the richness of the rest of the ingredients. But this would be lovely served with some buttery chive mash as seen here or with a thickly sliced and toasted sour dough crouton and punchy rouille seen here.

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Serves 4

  • 1 x Prawn bisque recipe (see here) using about 12 large, shelled king prawns (see note for shelling and deveining prawns)
  • 4 sea bream fillets
  • 2 bulbs fennel, halves vertically
  • Small glass white wine
  • Handful parsley and chives, chopped finely
  • 1 large bag spinach
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 lemon

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  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with foil. Add the halved fennel bulbs and season well. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and then pour over the white wine. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender and beginning to char.Jess - fennel
  2. Make the sauce as per the instructions and keep warm while you cook the seafood.
  3. When the sauce is done and warming and the fennel is cooked the next few steps need to be done quickly so ensure that everything else is ready to go and at hand. I advise that you pop your serving dish (shallow bowls recommended) in the oven at this point so that they are warm on serving.
  4. Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cut each bream fillet in half and then score the skin to prevent it curling up on the hot pan. Season. When the oil is hot, add the fish skin side down and then throw in your cleaned shelled prawns.
  5. Cook skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until he flesh on top is only pink in the centre and the flesh is starting to cook through. Add the knob of butter to the pan and flip the prawns and the fish and finish the cook for a final minute coating in the butter. Add the lemon before removing the prawns and fish from the pan and setting aside for 1 minute to rest while you cook the spinach.
  6. Add the spinach to remaining pan oil and butter and wilt as you like.
  7. To serve, place a handful of the spinach in the base of your serving bowl and top with a wedge of the fennel.
  8. Top each with two halves of the bream.
  9. Roll the prawns briefly in the chopped herbs and arrange around the outside.
  10. Finally, spoon over around 4 tbsp of the sauce around the dish and scatter with any leftover herbs.

Jess - bream3

NOTE: To shell and devein a prawn. Take your raw prawn and crudely snap off the head and set aside. Now take the legs and peel outwards away from the body. The prawn has a thin and plastic like shell which peels away easily. You should be able to take this off in one piece, legs and tail too but its usually required broken into pieces. Set these aside too and then rinse the prawn in cold water.

Deveining is important. It removes the outer backbone intestinal vein which is unpleasant and unprofessional to leave in and eat. With a sharp knife carefully slice down the back of the peeled prawn vertically only cutting about 2mm into the flesh. You should see a black vein. Very carefully as it will break easily, get your knife tip underneath and prize out the vein and discard. The prawns will now also have a fanned outer edge giving the look they have when fried.