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Honey, Ginger and Soy Glazed Salmon

10 Aug

It’s summer and some days the weather turns warmer, hurrah!  Lighter, quicker to prepare dishes are firmly on the menu.

This is not an unusual dish, I am sure we all have variations of something similar in our repertoire, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of ways of preparing dishes that we’ve loved and then forgotten.

Sticky Soy Salmon (3)

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 salmon fillet (sustainably farmed if you can find it)
  • ½ teaspoon runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon finely chopped ginger (or grated)
  • ½ clove of crushed garlic

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and leave the salmon in it for at least 15 minutes but up to a few hours if you have time (remember to turn it over occasionally).

Drain then fry the fillets in a non stick pan (you won’t need any oil) for a couple of minutes each side until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and pour in any remaining marinade and cook quickly until it bubbles, pour this over the fish. I served this over a green salad packed full of gorgeous things like rocket and asparagus. A cheeky glass of white wine is most definitely recommended!

 

Griddled Scallops with Lemon and Rocket and a Fish Sauce Dressing

1 Jun

Back in England and Scallops are very much back on the menu for us. This is a simple but luxurious starter or a light lunch or supper. I also served the scallops with some excellent smoked salmon I happened to have but it would have been just as good without.

Scallops & Salmon iwth Lemon & Rocket 002

Ingredients (to serve 4 as a starter or 2 as a light main)

  • 12 scallops
  • Some finely chopped rocket mixed with the finely chopped zest of a lemon (unwaxed)
  • Some finely chopped coriander to sprinkle over

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, half a crushed clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, a little honey (to taste), salt and pepper.

Mix or shake up all the ingredients for the dressing, tasting and adjusting as you go

Scallops & Salmon iwth Lemon & Rocket 004

Heat the griddle pan until it is smoking hot and quickly sear the scallops on each side (about a minute is all they’ll need) then plate them up. Pour the dressing over the hot scallops, and sprinkle over the rocket and lemon mix.

Fast food doesn’t get much better than this!

For more scallop inspired recipes, take a look at this or this.

Pasta with Smoked Pork Belly and Black Olives and Breakfast in Biarritz

1 Apr

Driving through France on our little road trip we bought a few foodie souvenirs to remind us of Bordeaux. Some delicious wines, a piece of deliciously pungent cheese which we ate as part of a picnic and some wonderful cured pork belly. It was sold in a market from a butcher’s stall and was in the section with the salamis and cured meats. My French is a little rusty now but I think the lady who ran the stall was telling me that they cured it themselves and sold two versions – one smoked and one salted and peppered. Of course, we bought both!

I was too busy chatting to the butcher to take a snap, so here's one of the fish stall!

I was too busy chatting to the butcher to take a snap, so here’s one of the fish stall!

After leaving Bordeaux we stopped off for breakfast in Biarritz – it’s somewhere I had often hoped to visit and imagined the glamour of bygone days. It really was a quick pit stop but enough time to enjoy the beautiful coastal views and breakfast!

Le Petit Dejeuner

Le Petit Dejeuner

Back to the Pork Belly….It’s delicious cut into tiny pieces and enjoyed as a nibble with a glass of ice cold rosé wine. It’s equally wonderful when heated, in the same way you would use lardons. I made a quick, fresh tasting  pasta sauce to bring out the smokey flavour of this wonderful cut of meat and if you ever come across it…do buy some!

Pasta with Smoked Pork Belly (2)

Pasta Sauce to serve 2 people

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 ripe tomatoes cut into small pieces (save the juices too)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of tomato purée
  • About half a cup of chopped smoked pork belly (or use bacon or lardons)
  • Half a cup of chopped black olives
  • A good splash of white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Put the water for your pasta on to boil and then start your sauce. Gently fry the garlic for a minute or two, until it starts to soften then add the tomatoes with their juices and cook for a couple of minutes until they start to break down. By now it’s probably time to put your pasta into the water, so go ahead, the rest of the sauce doesn’t take long.

Add the rest of the ingredients  and continue to simmer while the pasta cooks. Check and adjust the seasoning, drain the pasta and add the pasta to the sauce. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your speedy and delicious meal.

Spring Salads

28 Mar

I always feel a bit of a fraud posting salad recipes as most of us conjure up salads from what we have in the fridge most of the time. Well, it makes sense.  But sometimes there are some really tasty combinations of ingredients just work so well together, it’s worth searching them out to make them specially.

The first one was inspired by a conversation with my parents at Christmas. We were eating some particularly good smoked salmon and they were reminiscing about their work in London in the 1970s and 1980s when they used to run some very funky nightclubs. I was the envy of the class having a young mum who wore silver platform boots and Green Mary Quant nail varnish to go to work but in typical fashion always wanted to be round visiting best pal Ria’s mum who baked cakes. There’s no pleasing young folk, as I am sure many of you will agree!

Their memory was of Ella Fitzgerald (oh yes, I’m shamelessly name dropping here) asking for English mustard to go with her smoked salmon, so of course we got out the mustard and I have to say, Ella certainly knew what she was asking for!

Smoked Salmon Salad (1)

Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Salad with a Mustard Mayonnaise

(Quantities are up to you, we ate this as a starter between 2)

  • Rocket leaves, asparagus spears (blanch the chopped stems first for a few minutes then add the tips for the last minute or so) slices of smoked salmon arranged to your liking on one of your favourite plates.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil over and a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Serve with a dipping mayonnaise (homemade or otherwise) mixed in a ratio of about 5:1 with English mustard. Put on your favourite Disco collection cd and get on down.

If you enjoy asparagus, try this recipe out and see what you think.

Back in Spain here it’s orange season and we can’t get enough of them. They’re being sold at outrageously cheap prices for massive bags of them so we’re juicing them, eating them au naturel and in fruit salads and savoury salads. Here’s a favourite which we serve with grilled pork – the flavour of the sweet and sour oranges, the sharp onion and the creamy avocado contrast really well with the richness of the meat.

Orange & Avocado Salad (4)

Orange and Avocado Salad

  • Per person a peeled and chopped orange, half a peeled and chopped avocado, some thinly sliced sweet onion and a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley,
  • Sprinkle some coarse sea salt over and a drizzle of olive oil. If the oranges are particularly sweet squeeze over a little lemon juice and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar. I used a Balsamic vinegar reduction which is not only pretty to look at as you can get all cheffy with it, it also has a very delicious intense flavour.

Go on, Spring into Spring and start to throw off those warming winter hotpots and give your favourite salads a chance again!

Fideuá with Chorizo and Mushroom

18 Feb

Fideuá? What the heck? It’s a traditional dish from Valencia, Gandía to be more precise, which is very much like a paella but made with short noodles instead of rice. In Spain you can buy bags of noodles of varying thickness from “0” which is very fine up to 5 or 6, I think. For this dish a number 3 or 4 noodle is typically used but if you can’t find them where you are, use broken spaghetti (a thin one) instead.

Fideua de Chorizo (5)

This dish is made with seafood usually, in the same way as a paella, but I made one recently with some Spanish Chorizo. It’s also a good vegetarian dish – use what you like best! It’s quicker and easier to make than paella.  Measurements are a little rough, use as much or as little “filling” as you like. For a dry fideuá (so that it looks like a paella made with noodles) use about twice the volune of liquid to noodles, for a soupier version (which is how we like it), use up to 3 times the liquid.

Phew, that’s the maths over with, here’s how to do it!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 2 chorizo chopped into small chunks
  • A few slices of finely chopped jamón (or pancetta or bacon)
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • Half a red pepper, finely chopped
  • About 6 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • About half a cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 200g fideos (noodles)
  • About 400ml of vegetable stock (or chicken stock) for a dry dish and 600ml for a soupier version
  • A pinch of powdered saffron
  • A level teaspoon of sweet pimentón
  • A pinch of hot pimentón (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Wedges of lemon and chopped parsley to serve

In a deep frying pan or paella pan gently fry the chorizo, jamón, garlic, celery, pepper, and mushrooms until the chorizo starts to crisp. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute then add the fideos and stir them into the mix then add the stock, spices and season lightly.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 8 minutes until the fideos are nearly cooked. Add more stock if it gets too dry before it’s cooked.  Turn off the heat, cover with a lid or tea towel and allow to rest for 2 or 3 minutes. Check that the fideos are cooked to your liking and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley and wedges of lemon to squeeze over.

And if you have a few minutes and want to see a master in action, enjoy this video…(it takes a few seconds to start and is in Spanish bu the chef is … er… easy on the eye!)

Stir Fried Kale with Bacon – A Speedy Side Dish or Pasta Topping

4 Feb

Don’t you just love winter greens? So green and vibrant – maybe their colour reminds us of the spring that is on its way, whilst doing us so much good packed full of iron and vitamins.

Kale (3)

Kale is a current favourite, although it can sometimes be a little tough. Not a problem if you like your vegetables really crisp, but easily dealt with by blanching for a few minutes first.

Ingredients to serve 2

  • About a dozen leaves of kale, washed, tough stalks removed and then finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 4 rashers of finely chopped smoked streaky bacon (or use mushrooms for a vegetarian dish)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil for frying

Blanch the chopped leaves for about 3 minutes if they are large and drain. Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the bacon until crispy then add the kale and garlic. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, season and enjoy as a side dish or mixed with pasta (add a little raw olive oil and a few drops of the pasta cooking water).

Bounce around the kitchen as you will be packed full of vitality!

If you’re lucky enough to have access to Baby Kale, check out this beautiful recipe for a Sunshine Salad from our blogging pal Smidge. Or how about Frugal’s Kale with Pasta – delicious!

Fish Man has become Fish Lady! Mussels with Chorizo

26 May

A week, so it is said, is a long time in politics and an extended absence from the mountain is a long time in terms of what arrives at our doorstep. Bread Man was a bit all over the place for the first few days, but we seem to have settled back into a routine. I’m also getting going with my sourdough starter, using Sawsan’s brilliant tutorial, so I’ll let you know how my adventures in sourdough bread making go once I’m ready.

Fish deliveries continue but Fish Man has been replaced by a very jolly young lady who hails from Big Man’s home town, so she can clearly be trusted to bring us nothing but the best (according to Big Man). Yesterday she had some beautiful mussels, and for once they didn’t need too much scrubbing to get them ready for the pot.

A simple, hearty lunch of mussels with chorizo was made in minutes, and thanks to Bread Man, we were able to mop up any juices that had escaped our slurping.

Mejillones con Chorizo (1)

Ingredients (for 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter)

  • 1kg cleaned mussels (discard any broken or open shells)
  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh chorizo sausages (or about 30cm of dried chorizo) sliced
  • A small glass of white wine
  • Freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges to serve

Simply sauté the chorizo until it starts to brown (no olive oil needed usually as chorizo is quite fatty) then add the garlic. Stir into the oil for a minute or so until it starts to soften then add the mussels and wine (or a glass of water if you don’t like to cook with alcohol). Cover with a lid and continue to cook for a few more minutes until all the shells are open.

Serve with all the juices poured over, sprinkle over the parsley and let each person add lemon juice to taste. ¡Buen provecho!

Staple Guns and Happy Accident Pasta

24 Mar

It’s been a busy old time here and writing has been virtually impossible. Floorboards are up, plumbing is going down, kitchen units have been delivered and it’s freezing cold. Oh well, I think we’ve got to the stage where it can’t possibly get any worse, just better, so onwards and upwards.

In between the mucky stuff, we’ve continued to eat well. Never fear, Chica and Big Man won’t fade away. I had planned one evening to make a carbonara but got home to find, shock horror, not an egg in the house. As we have no chickens here, I had to make do and ended up with what I call my Happy Accident pasta.

Happy Accident Pasta (1)

I fried some garlic and finely chopped onion then added a few rashers of finely chopped smoked streaky bacon and a handful of sliced mushrooms.

When the pasta was cooked I kept a little of the cooking water and stirred in the bacon and mushrooms plus a good dollop of crème fraiche, some finely chopped spinach and about half a cup of chopped up dolcelatte.

Result? Creamy, delicious, quick pasta but most definitely not carbonara.

Then it was back to work tidying up some dining chairs we bought second hand. Quite a traditional style but it will work in the house. The chairs had a regency stripe silk material covering them but it had seen better days…many bottoms had clearly sat on them and enjoyed countless meals around the table.

Dining Chair Seats (3)

So it was off with old material.

Dining Chair Seats (4)

Cutting out of a new piece using the old one as a template (and the fabric was recycled too from a friend’s kind donation of unwanted curtains). Fortunately Luna and Alfi (who appears to be headless in the photo) were around to comfort test the fabric.

Dining Chair Seats (6)

A staple gun frenzy followed.

Dining Chair Seats (10)

Now we have six fancy new dining chairs…who wants to come round and help wear them out?!

Dining Chair Seats (13)

One Dish, Two Ways. Trout and Prawns Go Asian and Mediterranean.

19 Feb

I have to confess, I’m not a fan of cooking different meals to accommodate different tastes. Maybe I’d have been a horrible mum if I’d had children. I can imagine them all demanding their favourite meals and me refusing point blank and screaming something along the lines of “this is not an a la carte restaurant you know”. But sometimes, just sometimes, I go all contrary and make something different for me and Big Man. As long as it doesn’t involve anything too stressful in terms of extra work.

Asian Style...

Asian Style…

We were in the mood for fish and I had bought some gorgeous trout steaks and langoustines from the fishmonger. Having made a recent trip to a wonderful Chinese Supermarket I had been dreaming all day of oriental flavours. Big Man was coming down with a cold and feeling in need of a taste of home. No problem – this was an easy fix and we would both be happy.

Asian Style Dish

  • 1 trout steak and 2 large langoustines marinated for 30 minutes in a little freshly grated ginger, a large clove of crushed garlic, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a splash of fish sauce

Mediterranean Style Dish

  • 1 trout steak and 2 large tiger prawns/langoustines marinated for 30 minutes in the grated zest of half a lemon, the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil

Both dishes

  • Steamed pak choi and sautéed sliced mushrooms

Griddle or grill the trout and langoustines on a high heat until the trout is almost cooked through (I like it a little pink in the middle but cook for longer if you like) and the langoustines turn from black to pink.

Mediterranean Style...

Mediterranean Style…

To serve the Asian Style Dish

Drizzle a little chili oil over the fish and prawns and some oyster sauce over the vegetables and top with finely shredded spring onion.

To serve the Mediterranean Style Dish

Drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice over the fish, prawns and vegetables.

Easy, healthy, fairly quick to prepare and cook, and everyone is happy!

Broad Beans with Griddled Pork Belly

16 Feb

Reading a beautiful recipe over at Cooking in Sens which involved broad beans stimulated a craving for those little green beauties. Back home in Andalucía right now I would normally just pop out into our veggie garden and pick me a basket full.  I haven’t seen any here in England yet but they do have excellent frozen broad bean pods.

Broad beans with pork belly (3)

I decided to make a little dish with echoes of home as a pretty substantial tapas which we enjoyed with some lovely crusty bread from my dad’s Italian baker pal, wine from a recent jaunt over the channel to France, juice from some of our lemons that Big Man bought back recently and locally reared pork. You can’t say we don’t embrace all that is available to us!

Ingredients as a main course for one or starters for two

  • 1 cup of broad beans cooked until tender and drained
  • 2 thin slices of pork belly cooked on the griddle until browned and cut into small pieces (or use bacon or lardons, or mushrooms for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 avocado cut into small chunks
  • Olive oil
  • The grated rind of one lemon and the juice of half
  • Sweet pimentón
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chopped parsley to finish (I didn’t have any but I think it would be perfect)

Mix together the still warm beans, pork and avocado. Add the lemon rind, about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more if necessary) and the lemon juice. Season with the pimentón, salt and pepper and mix again. That’s it. Tricky wasn’t it?!

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