Posts tagged rice

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.

 

Porcini and Chestnut Risotto, Truffle Cream

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fter the indulgence of Christmas sometimes something a little less meat-dominant, goose fat roasted or gravy soaked is required. Although don’t get me wrong, it still is a festive, celebratory and just that – indulgent – season so lets not be eating green salads and spag bol just yet. Risotto is perfect for using up leftover scraps and cheeses but can still be pimped with indulgence and provides a warming hearty bowl of soul food when the fun of Christmas is behind you but the frost and cold still linger outside. Feel free to tag team in any other ingredients you prefer or have hanging around using rice, parmesan, shallots and stock as the foundations in all variations.

This recipe was particularly perfect after Christmas when chestnuts, cheese and leftover mushrooms were lingering in the fridge! And if you were lucky enough to be given a nice bottle of truffle oil..ahem..then a spike of it here goes a long way into disguising even the greediest of carnivores into noticing that this is in fact a vegetarian supper….

Happy New Year everyone. If not made before 2017 this is certainly one to make in the cold and bracing January days!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 350g arborio/risotto rice (about 4 large handfuls)
  • 3 shallots/2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30g butter and tbsp olive oil
  • Large glass dry white wine
  • Hot vegetable stock (about 700ml)
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 100g parmesan, grated
  • 50g butter, diced
  • Large bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 180g pre roasted and peeled chestnuts, finely chopped or grated.
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 200g mascarpone/creme fraiche
  • Truffle olive oil (You can also use fresh shaved truffle here!)
  1. Begin by soaking the dried porcini mushrooms in a jug with enough boiling water to cover and leave for about 15 minutes until softened and hydrated again.
  2. Next, heat 15g of the butter and a splash of olive oil in a large high sided frying pan or saucepan. Soften the chopped shallot gently on a low heat until translucent and soft. After about 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Next add the rice and turn up the heat to medium and toast the grains while stirring consistently. The grain should begin to turn translucent too and ‘toast’.
  4. After a minute or so of toasting, add the white wine which will bubble briskly and stir until just absorbed.
  5. Drain the soaked mushrooms, chop and set aside. When draining, reserve the mushrooms soaking liquid but discard the final part that will contain any grit from the mushrooms.
  6. Use this hot liquid first before using the hot stock to add to the rice. Stir in the liquid ladle by ladle absorbing the liquid into the rice before adding the next but ensure it does not dry out. Add the liquid after 3/4 of the ladle before has been absorbed. This should take about 18 minutes stirring consistently.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the other 15g of butter and a splash of oil in another frying pan. Fry the chopped chestnut mushrooms until golden and then set aside until needed.
  8. When the rice is just al dente to taste, add in the chopped porcini and continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked to your liking and the texture is still loose. (Don’t allow it to stiffen). Taste and season as needed with plenty of black pepper.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, add in the fried chestnut mushrooms, the chopped parsley and chestnuts and stir to combine.
  10. Finally, scatter over the parmesan, the 50g diced butter and the juice of the lemon. Cover the pan with a lid and remove from the heat and allow it to rest.
  11. Meanwhile, combine the mascarpone/creme fraiche with about 1 tbsp truffle oil or enough to taste depending on the strength that you like it.
  12. Once done, remove the lid from the risotto and stir in the melted cheese to combine evenly. If the texture is a little stiff, add a splash of hot stock to loosen so you get an ‘oozing’ consistency.
  13. Give the risotto once final stir to combine and then serve in warmed shallow bowls and top with the truffle cream and any reserved chopped parsley.

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.

Jess - Salmon and Thai rice2

Leek and Parmesan Arancini, Smokey Bacon Mayonnaise

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Jess - Leek Parmesan Aracncini 2

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hen I first say James Martin make this mayonnaise my mind immediately jumped to all the decedent foods it could accompany. Surprisingly it only briefly lingered on the monstrously unhealthily nature of mayonnaise and bacon!? But once in a while, a Saturday evening needs a decadent dish lovingly and patiently made – think of it as a culinary pat on the back for a hard working week. James Martin is one of those humble chefs that I trust when it comes to recipes (not to mention our matching appreciation for the use of butter) so all that was needed here was something to accompany it. One of my favourite staple flavour combinations being leek and bacon and a need for something fried and crispy for this gourmet mayo, arancini sprang to mind. In preparation for my up and coming supper club where arancini feature as my starter I thought a little more practice couldn’t go amiss. So out came the rice, butter and wooden spoon, the Italian red was decanted and dinner was set…

Serve with a lovely lemony rocket salad to cut through the oil.

Makes 15 large arancini (2-3/person)

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 70g butter
  • 200g Alborio rice
  • 1 large glass dry white wine
  • 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • 5 leeks
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • 100g plain flour
  • Sunflower/Vegetable oil for deep frying (About 1 litre)

Arancini

  1. Begin by making the risotto either in the morning before eating these or a day ahead of when you want to serve them.
  2. Melt 20g of the butter in a large saucepan or high sided frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  3. When hot, sweat the onion and garlic, lid on, for about 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. You shouldn’t allow it to colour.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the rice. Fry for a few minutes until the rice starts to turn translucent. While the pan is still hot, add the wine and allow to bubble vigorously and absorb into the rice. Immediately turn the heat down to a medium low.
  5. Now add the hot stock ladle by ladle once each liquid addition has been absorbed. Between each spoonful allow to bubble at a very gentle simmer. Cook the rice in the stock in this way for about 20 minutes testing the rice after about 18 minutes by which time it should be soft with a slight bite but not mushy.
  6. Meanwhile while the rice is cooking fry the leeks. Melt 20g of the butter in a frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Top and tail the leeks then slice in half and chop on the diagonal into thin slices. Fry on a medium heat with plenty of salt and pepper for about 10 minutes until soft and just starting to caramelise and colour. Set aside once done.
  7. Once the rice is cooked and most of the stock is absorbed you should still be aiming for a loose consistency. Remove from the heat and add plenty of seasoning to taste and then then tip in the leeks. Add the grated zest of the lemon and the juice of half.
  8. Add the parmesan and the rest of the butter and place a lid onto the pot and set aside for 2-3 minutes. After this time remove the lid and stir in the melted cheese to combine.
  9. Tip the risotto onto a shallow dish/baking tray levelling it out thinly to allow it to cool quickly and place in the fridge to chill.Jess - Leek Aracncini
  10. Once chilled, take just bigger than golf ball sized spoonfuls (or smaller depending on how you want to serve them. I suggest one large one each as a starter or 2-3 for a main) and roll into rounds. Arrange your flour, egg and breadcurmbs into 3 bowls in front of you. Dip the risotto balls first into the flour then the beaten egg and finally coat in breadcurmbs and place each on a plate. Continue until you have used up all the rice. This should make about 15 balls.
  11. Place in the fridge until ready to fry.
  12. When ready, heat a saucepan full of the vegetable oil (deep enough to immerse the arancini by at least half) or turn on your deep fat fryer. You will know when it is hot enough as a cube of bread added to the oil will sizzle and turn golden in a matter of minutes.
  13. When the oil is hot enough, fry the aracini, turning as needed, until golden brown and crisp all over. Once golden, remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Keep warm while you fry the rest.

Jess - Leek Parmesan Aracncini Mayo

Smokey Bacon Mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature (this is important to prevent it splitting)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 rashers streaky smoked bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 350 ml rapeseed or olive oil
  1. Begin by frying the bacon in a hot pan ahead of time until really crisp. Set aside in a bowl with the fat juices and cool in the fridge completely.
  2. Next, place the eggs yolks, mustard, juice of 1/2 the lemon and the white wine vinegar in the bowl of a food processor and set the motor running.
  3. In a very steady stream add the oil. The more slowly you add it the less chance it will split. The mixture will begin to thicken the more oil you add. Continue until you have combined all the oil and the consistency is thick and smooth.
  4. Next add some freshly cracked pepper and tip in the bacon pieces. Pulse until mixture to combine the bacon.
  5. Spoon into a small serving bowl and cover at room temperature until ready to use.

WINE: By no means do you need to fork out on an extravagant Italian bottle such as the below ‘Gaja Conteisa’ that I devoured these with. But there is something quite ironic about a greasy and mayonnaise laden ball of buttery risotto with a Super Tuscan that I won’t lie….went down like a house on fire. Italy, you made my weekend.

Jess - Leek Parmesan Aracncini Gaja_

 

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.

Jess - Squid Ink Octopus 3

Asian Sea Bream and Raw Courgette Noodles

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

Serves 2

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

Jess - Seabream2

 

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.

Sticky Soy and Sesame Pork

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peedy and delicious. If you get embarrassingly excited at the idea of sticky sweetly glazed tender strips of pork on soft oozing coconut rice then I suggest you give this recipe a try. Another long week at work, Friday nights recipe choice had high expectations to satisfy a variety of needs. I craved nothing more than comfort, flavour and relative speed. If you serve this on plain rice then you’ll have an even speedier dinner in minutes but I can never resist a coconut infused creation. Except coconut water. Whats the fad about? Dishwater disguised in a eco-friendly carton. Having been found on numerous occasions unashamedly desperately corkscrewing a hole into a fresh coconut only to slurp the fresh juicy ‘milk’ from inside with a straw this is a far healthier (economical) and dramatic way to get your coconut hit! Its fresh and delicious. Plus you get the joyful task of angrily throwing the empty coconut onto a hard floor (outside recommended) to crack it open to access the meaty pure white flesh. Perfect for grating into curries, porridge, use in cakes (see here) or into your coconut rice!

Serves 2

Sticky Pork

  • 1 pork fillet, sliced into thumb sized slices
  • 1 knob ginger, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50g salted peanuts, crushed lightly

Coconut Rice

  • 4 oz brown rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Good handful desiccated coconut
  • 1 lime, zest
  • Handful chopped coriander to serve
  • Green vegetables to serve
  1. Begin with the rice. Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan with about ½ cup of water (you may need to add more water as it cooks). Bring to a light simmer but be very careful as the milk will boil over if left unattended on a high heat.
  2. Let it simmer on a fast simmer for about 25 minutes. You want to end up with cooked rice that has absorbed mostly all the liquid but is still loose so it oozes on a plate. Keep an eye out and add more water if it dries out before fully cooked.
  3. When cooked and still oozing, add the desiccated coconut, chopped coriander and lime zest and keep warm.
  4. Start on the pork which is a pretty speedy process so have your green vege and warming plate ready to go not soon after!
  5. Combine the cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water in a jug. Add the soy sauce, sesame, vinegar and honey and mix well.
  6. Heat a frying pan or wok on a medium high heat. Quickly flash fry the chopped chilli, spring onion, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks in a splash of sunflower oil until softened. Add the pork and turn up the heat to get a nice colour on the outside.
  7. Fry for about 5 minutes or so until the pork is just cooked but still soft and not dry. Immediately add the soy mixture and stir quickly.
  8. This will thicken and bubble and glaze the pork. If it turns too thick too quickly loosen with a splash more water!
  9. Remove from the heat to prevent it overcooking and add the chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.
  10. Serve atop your coconut rice scattered with extra coriander, any spare sesame seeds alongside your green vegetables with a wedge of lime.
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Thai ‘Papaya Noodle’ Salad

 

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

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

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite!

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

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

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Wild Mushroom and Black Garlic Rice

 

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This mushroom rice dish was thrown together whilst I was at uni when embracing the challenge of living on a second hand shoestring. It is one of those staple vegetarian meals I often make when I fancy an evening off meat. Mushrooms have such a deep and earthy flavour that you never miss the meat here and this really is just as satisfying. I like to top mine with a quenelle of cool, smooth cream cheese to off set the garlic hum but a molten poached egg with a cascading larva of golden egg yolk would also sit on top here as naturally as clotted cream on a pillowey toasted scone.

However, today I experimented with black garlic. Garlic is undoubtedly good for you. From warning off infections and fighting your bodies battles to pungently and helpfully keep away any unwanted attention from the opposite sex….! Double bonus. I don’t think anyone walks past their local pizza place or Indian with the waft of freshly baking garlic bread suctioning up their nostrils not to momentarily drift into garlicky cloud nice. I love nothing more than the delights and simple efforts of roasting a whole garlic head in the oven before squeezing the obliging sweet contents into a pestle and morta, mashing to a paste and stirring into risottos or sauces. There is nothing as effortless that imparts so much amazing flavour.

So surely black garlic is to be even better. Delicious I can conclude but on a totally different level. Sweet but amazingly deep in flavour these gooey and pastey gloves are like jelly cubes of balsamic vinegar, a ‘fruit pastel’ of balsamic if you will. It is only a matter of time before Heston makes this imported Korean fad into an ice cream (I will await this patiently….very patiently, no rush Heston.) I’m only at the tip of my black garlic experiments using it tamely sliced here. But mashed to a paste, stirred into stews, risottos and sauces I am sure I will be sharing these soon…..the ice cream however will have to wait for now. Black garlic pasta or gnocchi…however…!

Serves 2

  • 250g mixed mushrooms, chestnut, oyster etc, chopped roughly in chunks
  • 4oz wild rice (a mix of brown, Camargue, wild rice)
  • 2 gloves of black garlic OR 2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large knob of butter
  • Handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese/2 poached eggs to serve
  1. Begin by simmering the rice for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a generous knob of butter with a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat until the butter foams.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms and some generous salt and pepper and fry for about 10 minutes over a medium heat.The water will be released so continue to cook until this evaporates and the mushrooms are soft and golden. (Now Julia Child fans, remember- don’t crowd your mushrooms, they won’t brown! So cook in batches if necessary)
  4. If using normal garlic, chop finely and add now and fry for a few minutes turning the heat down if starting to catch.
  5. Now, tip in the rice and stir into the mushrooms with the sesame oil and fry for a few minutes.
  6. Add the chopped black garlic and the parsley and mix to combine and heat through.
  7. Serve in large warmed bowls with an extra scatter of parsley some slices of black garlic and a creamy quenelle of cream cheese. Alternatively add that molten poached egg and crack on with devouring.