Mackerel salad with lemon buttermilk dressing

Ok this is amazing! Truly amazing. It’s the dressing that does it. If you didn’t fancy mackerel you could do this just with Parma Ham or veggies alone or salmon or chicken or…or….or…. You get the picture. Try it, it’s fab. And quick, did I mention it’s just 20 minutes to lushdom?

Ingredients

2 mackerel fillets
3 slices of Parma ham (optional)
4 tomatoes. I used yellow and red varieties
2 asparagus spears
1 little gem or other preferred leaf
6-10 baby potatoes
Zest and juice of one lemon
Half tub of buttermilk (roughly 140ml)
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Method

Boil your potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes. Shave your asparagus into strips with a potato peeler. Cut your tomatoes into quarters and then slice them horizontally. Tear up your Parma ham and mackerel.

Arrange all of this loveliness on a big platter.

To make the dressing add the buttermilk and lemon zest to a bowl and gradually add the juice, tasting all the time. The buttermilk will balance out the lemon for a lovely mellow taste. Add the Extra Virgin olive Oil for richness and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle over the salad and serve!

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A simple fish supper

We had this for a late lunch on Sunday following  a weekend of excess – far too much unhealthy food! Its super easy to make and barely requires a recipe but its always worth raising the profile of simple suppers. I used half a side of fresh salmon but you can easily do this using individual salmon fillets The garlic and thyme is what makes the vegetables sing in this, use as much as you dare!

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Ingredients

4 Salmon fillets / Half a side of salmon
Half a Lemon, cut into slices
4-6 sprigs of fresh Thyme
100ml White Wine

2 Red peppers, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 Courgette, thinly sliced
300g Mushrooms, quartered
2 red onions, chopped into bite-size pieces
300g Cherry Tomatoes
3 Cloves of Garlic, sliced/chopped up
6 sprigs of fresh Thyme, chopped roughly
Half a tsp of Chilli Flakes
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Regular Olive Oil

Method

Mix the oils, the chilli, the garlic and the chopped thyme in a bowl. MIx together with all the vegetables and then pour into an oven-proof pan lined with foil. Pop in the oven for 35 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so until charred on the edges and soft to touch.

Turn your oven onto the ‘Grill and Fan Oven’ setting at 200 degrees. If your oven doesn’t have this setting just put it on regular oven and then you can grill the skin at the end of cooking.

Place the lemon slices in a foil-lined oven-proof dish, put the 4-6 thyme sprigs on top then the salmon on top of that, with the skin on top. Pour in the wine and season the skin with salt. Put it in the oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish and how well done you like it. I like to have mine only just cooked in the middle so tend to do it for shorter time.

Warm some plates as the fish and veg tend to go cold quickly. Pop it all on the table and let the family dig in. Its also nice to serve up some griddled ciabatta on the side or some buttery new potatoes, if you need some carbs. Enjoy the simplicity of such a tasty dish and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Salmon, mushroom and watercress Quiche

I made this last week and it made me feel very spring-like in a week where the sun actually made an appearance. Its still freezing outside but spring is coming, make it more so by making this dish!!

Salmon Quiche 1

Ingredients

Shortcrust Pastry – make your own if you have time or buy some if you don’t, I won’t judge you for it
2 Salmon fillets
1 clove of garlic sliced (don’t use a huge one)
Bag of Watercress – half to go in the quiche, the other half to serve alongside.
Handful of Parsley, finely chopped
Mushrooms, sliced
4 eggs
Splash of single cream or milk
Small drizzle of Balsamic glaze or honey (optional)
Parmesan
Salt and pepper

Method

Set the oven to 180 degrees. Roll out your pastry and put it in your selected oven dish or pastry pan. Bake it for 10 minutes with baking beads then remove the beads and back for a further 5 minutes.

Fry the mushroom and garlic on a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Remove from the pan then put the salmon in and fry that for 3-5 minutes on each side. Flake the salmon.

Take the pastry out of the oven, lay in the mushroom and onion mix, then the flaked salmon and half of the watercress (see note in Ingredients above). Drizzle over your balsamic glaze or honey, if you’re using – it adds a little sweetness to the dish which we liked.

Beat the eggs, parsley and cream together. Pour this over the quiche. Grate over some Parmesan and season. Put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it is just set.

Serve with more watercress and mayonnaise on the side.

Salmon Quiche 2

Special Fried Rice – Your Way

Soooooo erm this may be my new favourite thing for work lunches and easy dinners! I make a basic special fried rice recipe and then let the family customise it how they like! Its really quick to make and is light on pots and pans so no need to worry about washing up AND you can pack it with vegetables!

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Ingredients

Must haves:

2 cups Basmati Rice
Handful Peas
Handful Sweetcorn
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Mirin
2 teaspoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 cloves of Garlic thinly sliced
3-5 Spring onions sliced

Optional items:

Sliced mushrooms
Handful Small prawns
1 diced Red/Orange/Yellow Pepper
1 tbsp Ketjap Manis
3 Ready cooked Mackerel fillets
2 Salmon fillets cubed and cooked
2 cups Cooked chicken – strips, wings, bashed up thighs 

Handful Coriander
2 eggs, either scrambled or cooked as an omelette and sliced up
Crushed chilli flakes
Sweet Chilli Sauce

Method:

I have a fail-proof fluffy basmati recipe but feel free to use your own if you prefer.

Rinse your rice a few times in cold water if you want it really fluffy or leave it to soak in water for 30 mins. Boil the kettle, heat oil in the pan and throw in your (drained) rice , stir to cover in the oil and let it warm a little. Pour the boiling water over the rice, The water should come about 3cm over your rice. Put a lit on it with a little crack and let it simmer.

It’ll start to hiss once all the water has evaporated – this can take anywhere between 10-15 mins. Take a look at it. If it looks done, turn the heat off, remove the lid and place a tea towel/cloth over the rice and put the lid back on. Leave it for as long as you need to, it’ll keep warm and the towel will soak up excess steam to keep the rice fluffy. If it doesn’t look done, sprinkle on a little more water, put the lid back on and keep checking every 2-5 minutes.

 

The rest is just an assembly job – fry off the garlic, spring onions and any of your selected food items from the optional list that require cooking. I don’t bother with sweetcorn and peas as it takes seconds for them to warm through. Add in your sauces then add your rice to the pan to fry off. Put it all together, decant to a serving bowl and dive in!

Serve with some sweet chilli sauce on the side or some extra Ketjap Manis.

Japanese Salmon, Coconut Rice and Kale

I’m not sure of the health benefits of this one as I can imagine the white rice cooked in coconut milk is probably very bad for you but the fish is spectacular and it is perfect for during the week when time is tight.

Ingredients:
60 ml mirin
50 grams soft light brown sugar
60 ml soy sauce
500 grams salmon, cod, monkfish, mackerel (any fish basically)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 – 2 spring onions (halved and shredded into fine strips
400g can of coconut milk
400g can of coconut milk filled with basmati rice (see notes)
400g can of coconut milk filled with boiling water
Curly Kale (green beans, spinach or bok choi also works well)

Method
Mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce in a shallow dish that will take all 4 pieces of salmon, and marinate the salmon in it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan on the hob.
Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn the salmon over, add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove the salmon, add the rice vinegar to the hot pan, and warm through.
Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the spring onion

Coconut rice
Pour a can of coconut milk into a pan. Keep the Can!!
Fill the coconut milk can to the top with basmati rice
Pour into the pan of coconut milk
Fill the coconut milk can with boiling water
Pour into the pan
Add salt
Lid on, cook for 15 minutes

Put some Kale in a pan, boil with water for 4 mins and serve

Super simple. Super tasty.

Prawn and Aubergine Curry

I had this for lunch today, obvs it was lovely, but I realised I have about 4-5 prawn curry recipes. I love this one for its simplicity and speed.

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INGREDIENTS
Glug of oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Stick of cinnamon
4 vine-ripened tomatoes chopped small
500g raw tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined
Small can of coconut cream (about 150ml)
1 Aubergine remove skin and cube
bunch of chopped fresh coriander, separate the stalks

For the curry paste

1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
2.5cm fresh ginger, chopped
OR 1 cube of my frozen green massalla
4 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice

METHOD

Get your food processor out. Put the curry paste in and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the cinnamon and mustard seeds until they begin to pop, uncover and add the prepared curry paste. Fry for 4-5 minutes until it seems to be splitting from the oil, then add 250ml hot water and simmer for a further 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and chopped coriander stalks and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until they have broken down in the sauce. Let it cook out and then add the aubergine. Cook for about 5-7 minutes and then add the prawns and coconut cream and simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, until the prawns are just firm and pink. Season to taste. Stir in the coriander and serve immediately with rice or roti/chappati.

My Green Massalla

Passed down to me by the experts, here is my green massalla which will be your flavour saviour for many a dish.

Ingredients

1kg green chilli
1/2 kg ginger
1/4 kg garlic
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

Method

First don some suitable rubber gloves! Take the stalks off the chillies and drop them into your food processor. Take the skin off the ginger and chop it into a couple of lumps. Crush each garlic clove slightly to make it easier to remove the skin and add it all to the food processor. Give it a good blitz then stop, scrape down the sides and add the oil and salt and blitz again. You want it to be pretty fine.

Put the mix into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight and then pop them out of the tray and put them into a freezable bag.

You can just take one or two out each time and add it to whatever you are cooking. We use this for every curry we make including Butter Chicken Heaven and also my Hardcore Hot Ribs.

Indian fishcakes

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Ingredients

3 Spring onions
2/3 cloves of garlic
Thumb of ginger
3 chillis
Handful of Parsley
Handful of coriander
Lime zest and juice
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp Madras Curry Powder
1 tsp Paprika
250g smoked mackerel
3/4 mini chicken fillets

Method

In a food processor put spring onions, garlic, ginger, chillies (or less if you’re a wuss), parsley and coriander, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper.

Give it a whizz and then add the smoked mackerel, paprika, curry powder and chicken fillets.

Form into little patties and put in the fridge for 20 mins.

Fry in a non-stick pan without oil for 4 mins or so on each side and serve with a salad of onions macerated in lime/lemon juice, add tomatoes, coriander. Serve with sweet chilli sauce

This is a lovely summery light supper or great if you made them smaller for nibbles at a dinner party or bigger for a fish burger

Sicilian Pesto Rigatoni with Lemon Sole

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This is a lovely mid-week meal, delicate flavours and simple to make. By having the pasta as a side accompaniment I found that this wasn’t too heavy for an evening meal as I sometimes experience when I have a usual pasta dish.

Ingredients:

Big bunch of basil
75g of Almonds
Hunk of Parmesan
1 Red Chilli
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
1 tsp of Anchovy Paste
3-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
4 lemon sole
Tarragon
A sprinkle of white wine
Pasta of your choice

Method:

In a food processor – throw in a handful of basil, the almonds, parmesan, chilli, tomatoes, anchovy paste, and extra virgin olive oil and blitz for a few minutes, add more oil if you think the mixture requires it.

Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions, (I used Rigatoni) and then drain and stir in the pesto. Whilst the pasta is cooking, make 2 parcels out of foil or baking paper – add 2 soles to each parcel and throw in some tarragon, white wine and salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or so – really shouldn’t take long. Alternatively you can simply grill the soles without the marinade and they are equally as delicious.