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Sunday 28 February 2016

Recipe: Scrambled Eggs w/ Soft Yolks (no bother Hollandaise)

Nothing beats a nice relaxed Sunday brunch, with the papers.  Especially when it’s a gorgeous, bright, crisp sunny day! Perfect to pop out somewhere to have it made for you! Well that’s all true but on this particular occasion I thought I’d take advantage of the nice weather to go for a spin on my bike, and when I got back I was in the mood for a solid brunch! 

I fancied something along the lines of a fry up but healthier. I had some smoked salmon and eggs but there was absolutely no way I was making a hollandaise sauce : /

Solution: Salmon with scrambled eggs with soft egg yolks. Add a little toast and soft cheese et voila!

ingredients (serves 2)
for the scrambled eggs w/ soft yolks
5 eggs
30g butter (or garlic butter)
30g cream (or creme fraiche or soured cream)
2 spring onions / 10g chives (chopped)

for the accompaniments 
smoked salmon 
cream cheese 
buttered toast

for the garnish
spring onion
lemon (for salmon - zest & cut into wedges)
sea salt 
fresh ground black pepper

Put some plates on to heat and get the accompaniments ready before hand. 
Make the toast as you make the scrambled eggs!! After all who like cold toast or cold eggs!!

scrambled eggs w/ soft yolks
Separate 4 of the yolks from the eggs, keeping the yolks in their shells so they don’t break.
Add the butter, egg and egg white to a pan on a medium heat. Stir them occasionally to mix in the yolk the butter. I like mine to have a little substance so I let chunks form and then stir a little.
Put 500ml of boiling water into a bowl and add the egg yolks, this will just cook the white and make a thin cooked outer.

Chop the greens and mix them into the egg white and butter. 30 seconds later add the cream and seasoning serve onto toast or a warm plate. Making an indent in the middle to hold the yolks!!
Remove the egg yolks from the water with a slotted spoon - tapping them on some kitchen towel on the way to release excess water - and place them in the centre of the scrambled eggs. 
Add accompaniments and serve immediately!!

Friday 26 February 2016

Experiment - Recipe: Isle of Man Queenies w/ Crispy Mackerel, Riceballs and Avocado & Courgette Salad

Quite regularly I find that I haven’t made any real plan for dinner, and I have lots of bits left over to use up. Now sometimes you’re dead in the water and you know you’ve got to go get some core ingredients. But often there’s a bunch of leftovers that can be turned into something else. 

It’s probably worth accepting right from the start that these experiments aren’t always going to work out! That said you can usually get something edible . . . ahem, or not! I was pretty pleased with this one!

The afternoon I made this dish I happened to be reading Luiz Hara’s Nikkei Cuisine which is where the inspiration for the mayoneizu came from. I made it as close as I could to his recipe. (with what I had to hand that is - it has a couple of adaptions!!). I definitely recommend this book! As far as cookbooks go it’s a breath of fresh air! The recipes are a fabulous marriage of cultures (Japanese and South American), both of whom’s cuisine I love! 

I think on this particular occasion I had some left over tomato rice and some red pepper velouté from a roast pork dinner the evening before. A bit of smoked mackerel . . . this is what I made:

ingredients (serves 4)
for the rice balls (makes 20-30)
600g tomato rice (cumin, onion, tomato, arborio)
125g mozzarella (torn)
3 spring onion (chopped)
4 chestnut / white mushroom (diced, sautéed)
100g red pepper velouté (or red pepper soup)
180g cooked ham (diced)
10g mint (chopped)

egg (to coat)
milk (to coat)
bread crumbs (to coat)

for the courgette & avocado salad
1 avocado (diced)
2 courgette (shredded ~200g)
10g pickled ginger (chopped)

10g coriander (chopped)
10g mint (chopped)
1/2 lemon (juice & zest)
20g sugar 
20ml groundnut / vegetable oil

for the crispy mackerel 
2 sides smoked mackerel
oil for frying

for the scallops 
24 queen scallops 

for the mayoneizu (makes ~400g)
400g mayo
5g dashi powder
2g smoked garlic
5g sugar
3g msg
5g mustard
1g salt
15g lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

for the spicy plum sauce
40g plum jam
20g chilli sauce
20g red wine vinegar (balance to taste)

for the garnish
1 spring onion (julienned)

rice balls (makes 20-30)
Prep all the ingredients. Heat the rice and mix all together until the mozzarella and all the rest of the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Allow the mix to cool so it’s firm and not to hot to handle.
Spoon the mix into balls then dust them in flour, egg and bread crumbs. 
Fry at 180C until golden brown. (about 2 mins)

spicy plum sauce
Mix the ingredients, simmer until sauce is smooth!! Job done!

courgette & avocado salad
Peel the courgette so that there’s no green left to minimise the bitter flavour from the skin, then julienne them.
Fine dice the avocado and mix it with a little lemon juice to stop it oxidising.
Create a dressing from the coriander, mint, remaining lemon, sugar and groundnut oil, and mix with the avocado & courgette.

crispy mackerel 
Using a sharp knife cut along the centre of the fillet, each side of the line of bones and remove them.
Repeat for each fillet.
Place skin side down in a frying pan on a medium high heat until the skin is crispy.

for the scallops 
A friend gave me a bag of ‘Manx Queenies’ from the Isle of Man. No complaints there!
They’re quite small so they need to be dried and cooked quickly on a high heat to brown them with out overcooking them!
Pat the scallops dry with kitchen towel.
Add oil and a knob of butter to a hot heavy based pan.
As it’s about to start smoking, add the queenies. Turn once after they’ve browned to brown the other side.
Serve immediately. (In other words cook these last!)

mayoneizu (makes 600g)
Dissolve the msg in the lemon before mixing into the mayo, if not you’ll get undissolved crystals in the sauce.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together with a whisk and leave for at least two hours for the flavours to develop.

to serve
Assemble as you se fit it is after all an experiment with leftovers!! 
(No disrespect to the Manx Queenies, they were burning a hole in my fridge! I had to use them for something!! : )

Friday 19 February 2016

Recipe: Sustainable White Fish Ceviche w/ Edamame (or Sugar Snaps)

Ceviche is a great way to eat fresh fish, and in a time when sustainable harvesting habits are important, this technique and its flavours lend themselves very well to sustainable fish stocks. Ceviche has it's roots in Peruvian cuisine. For this dish I've taken a little Asian influenced cuisine too!

If you can't fine edamame, sugar snaps go well too!

ingredients (serves 6-8)

Whack the stone with a knife.
for the white fish ceviche  
1 lemons (juice & zest)
2 limes (juice)
100g coconut cream
1/2 thumb of ginger (peeled & finely grated)
15g chives (finely chopped)
15g coriander (torn)
350g white fish 1cm dice (pollock, river cobbler, bream, pouting or a mix)
1 avocado peeled, small dice (spray with lemon juice to stop oxidation)
1 tbsp fish sauce (season to taste)

for the edamame
500g edamame
smoked salt flakes (Maldon salt )

for the garnish
fennel fronds for garnish 
and some of the chives (or garlic chives if you can get them - supermarket)
Turn the knife to loosen & remove the stone.

Prepare the ingredients. See ginger tip what could go wrong?
Mix the fish cubes in with the chopped herbs, store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 hrs at least.
Infuse the coconut cream with the ginger in a pot: bring to boil then simmer. Reduce the mix by at least a 1/4. (A creamy consistency is required since the sauce loosens considerably when the fish and lime are mixed in.) Leave rest off the heat until required.
As your last guest arrives ceviche the fish with citrus 
Cut a grid into the avocado.
for 20min (15 - 45mins is fine).

Drop the edamame (shell on) into a pot of salted boiling water for 4 minutes.
Drain in a colander, and put into a bowl of cold water (so they retain their colour). Put aside until needed.

thinking ahead
Prepare all the ingredients but don't combine until your last guests arrives or not too long before otherwise the fish will be white all the way through instead of having a gorgeous translucent centre.
The edamame can be cooked early, refreshed and stored in the fridge.  Then heated in boiling water for 1 minute to serve hot when needed.

what could go wrong? (TIPS)

After peeling my ginger, only half of it is left!
And push out the pieces . . simple.

TIP: Try peeling ginger with a spoon, I know what your thinking but it works really well! Turn the spoon upside down and scrape it along the surface of the ginger - the skin will come away with very little effort, and very little waste!

My avocados look rank! 

TIP: coat them in a little lemon juice after you've cut them up to stop them oxidising.

My fish is cooked all the way through! 

TIP: Don't make the pieces too small, they will cook faster in the lime juice, and don't leave them in the lime for more than 45mins.

to serve
Add the edamame to some boiling water for 1 minute then drain through a colander, serve in a large bowl and sprinkle with smoked salt.
Drain the lime from fish and mix it with the coconut sauce and avocados, season with lime juice, and fish sauce to taste.
Place the ceviche into serving bowls, garnish with chives and fennel fronds, serve with chopsticks and a spoon. (that should entertain!)

techniques used
Ceviche, refreshing, peeling ginger

Friday 5 February 2016

Experiment - Recipe: Pearl Barley with Mushrooms & Aubergine (Vegetarian)

I tried this with and without mint and coriander as an experiment. Wow, the fresh herbs add a light and fragrant touch to the dish and balance it nicely - they make such a difference!!

I love this dish. The barley gives it bite. It’s packed with earthy goodness from the mushrooms, nuts and aubergine, and balanced with apricot, mint and coriander! A cracking flavour profile.

ingredients (serves 4)
for the pearl barley
250g pearl barley (+500ml water / veg stock)
250g chestnut mushrooms (cut into 1/4’s)
200g onion (1 large, sliced)

6 dried apricots (medium dice)
3 sprigs thyme (picked)
200ml apple juice

1 large aubergine (large dice)
couple pinches paprika salt (50/50 smoked paprika / salt)
olive oil

25g toasted sunflower & pumpkin seeds (you’ll need some butter for toasting) (link 720)
5g coriander (chopped)
5g mint (chopped)
2 spring onion (sliced into rings)
1 tbsp apple chutney (optional)

for the garnish
1 spring onion (sliced into rings)
5g chives (chopped)

Cook pearl barley 2:1 by weight - up to 3:1 if you like it softer and with residue liquid. I use a rice cooker for this. If you’re doing it in a sauce pan, use a nonstick pan, bring to the boil then reduce to simmer with a lid on the pan, cook until all the water is absorbed and the grain is soft but still has bite.

Cook each of the ingredients separately, putting them aside until needed. (I use takeaway boxes, they stack well and take up very little space when stored!)

Put the dried apricots and apple juice into a small saucepan and bring to the boil then set to simmer for 10mins until they’ve softened. 
Turn off the heat and add the fresh thyme leaves, put aside to infuse until needed.

Brush the mushrooms to remove any soil, then take the stalks off, and quarter them lengthways.
Cook the mushroom stalks w/ the onions in a little oil until the onions have started to brown. Don’t forget to season them. 

Combine all the ingredients except the nuts, spring onions, chives, mint and coriander and heat up in a large pan.

Then add the nuts, spring onions, chives, mint and coriander and mix through.

to serve
Serve in a serving bowl or in the pan, dressed with the spring onion, chives and a sprig of thyme.

It’s quite nice with a poached egg and garlic bread!

If you like things spicy, add a finely chopped scotch bonnet and serve with coriander and mint greek yoghurt. (season the yoghurt with salt and lime juice) 

I had it with a pork shoulder chop done in a pimientos de padron and white wine sauce with garlic bread. That, methinks, will be another post!! : )

Or use it as the stuffing for a deboned leg of lamb!! Think I'd probably replace the mint and coriander for 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, coriander, garam masala, and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. And bump up (as in double or triple) the amount of dried fruit and nuts. And add cranberries for a touch of acidity!

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More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
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