Spice roasted salmon and Cauliflower

I found this recipe on Cooking Light as I’ve been trying to cut some calories but I don’t like eating boring food. Using lightly smoked salmon fillets and giving it a spice rub really packs a punch and I have been thinking of using the salmon in some Indian sushi. I saw Indian sushi on Masterchef the other day and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since. I guess it’s not so dissimilar an idea to the vegan sashimi I had last night at The Allotment in Manchester which was absolutely delicious and way more convincing as a salmon substitute than the carrot sashimi I’ve tried before. I’ve already looked up a recipe for the watermelon sashimi so that will probably be appearing on the blog at some point. I probably should have bulked this recipe out a bit with some greens (or maybe some rice if you’re not on a diet like me). It’s hassle free, quick mid-week cooking that doesn’t result in too much washing up. This would work well with trout if your supermarket is better stocked than mine and it’s a more sustainable option.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets of salmon (about 240g each)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 60g raisins
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • pinch allspice

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray with paper

3.) Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp cumin to a bowl.

4.) Chop up the cauliflower and add to the bowl and coat with the spices and oil.

5.) Spread the cauliflower out on the tray and bake for 20 minutes.

6.) In the meantime, chop up the coriander leaves, add them to the mixing bowl with the raisins and the juice of the lemon.

7.) In a small bowl, mix up the rest of the cumin, the allspice and the coriander powder. Rub the spice mix all over the salmon.

8.) After the 20 minutes, take the tray out of the oven, make space for the salmon fillets, turn down the oven to 200 degrees C and bake for a further 15 minutes.

9.) Put the cauliflower in the mixing bowl and coat with the lemon juice mixture.

10.) Serve the cauliflower with the salmon.

Thai Konjac Noodles

I really hope this post ends up being legible. I was at a hen do yesterday so my brain is in a bit of a fog though the gym sesh definitely helped. Hungover exercising is the best as your brain is not functioning well enough to tell you you can’t get through the work out. For this recipe, I used konjac noodles which are a 0 carb very low calorie noodle made out of a kind of yam. They don’t have tons of flavour but work well for this kind of recipe where you have a punchy sauce. (They have a slight fishy smell so it’s a good idea to rinse the noodles.) Too many pub trips watching England have meant that I need to lose a few pounds hence the konjac noodles but this would be great with normal noodles too. Speaking of England, really hope it’s coming home tonight though gotta say, I’m not feeling too confident. The recipe was in Thailand – The cookbook and I adapted it a little.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 3 packs konjac noodles/1kg cooked rice noodles
  • 600ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavoured stock)
  • 2 birds eye chillis
  • 6 shallots
  • 5 thin slices galangal (I used 1 tsp paste)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (I used 1 tsp paste)
  • 2 fillets white fish
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • coriander leaves/basil leaves to garnish
  • 1 pack pre-prepared stir fry vegetables

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C, line a baking tray and place the fillets on the tray. Bake for around 15 minutes or according to the packet. When done, peel off the skin.

2.) While the fish is baking, crack on with the rest of the recipe. Peel and finely chop the shallots, chop up the chillis, and the galangal/lemongrass if needed. Make up the stock.

3.) Add the stock, chilli, shallots, galangal and lemongrass and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 8 minutes to reduce.

4.) Rinse the konjac noodles and set to one side.

5.) Chop up the herbs for the garnish.

6.) After the 8 minutes, tip the stir fry veg into the pan and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Then tip in the noodles and cook for another couple of minutes until everything is heated through. Add the fish sauce.

7.) Flake in the fish. and sprinkle in the herbs then give everything a gentle toss before serving.

qrf

laksa

Summer may not be the usual season for laksa but Manchester has been living up to its reputation with constant rain. This really is a beautiful dish in taste if not looks. The origin of laksa is not known but it’s somewhere within South-East Asia. I’m avoiding European food until the Euros are over now – I don’t want to be posting an Italian recipe if England have just been beaten by them in the Euros – fingers crossed for tomorrow. (I still can’t get over the fact that one of the Italian players is called Immobile). I subbed some of the noodles with konjac noodles – a few too many pub trips watching the football has not been great for my waistline but konjac noodles work really well within the right recipe and the broth here is so packed with flavour you don’t notice. The recipe was from ‘Nigel Slater – ‘Tender’ ‘, my favourite British celebrity chef (not counting the actual hilarity of Gordan Ramsey’s USA Kitchen Nightmares’).

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 350g squash (I used a mixture of squash and sweet potato – ready chopped)
  • coriander and mint leaves as a garnish
  • 2 birds eye chillis (or others with a 3/5 spice rating)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • thumb sized piece ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (1 tsp paste)
  • 15g coriander leaves (mix of leaves and stalks)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 600ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavoured stock)
  • 1 tin light coconut milk
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 100g noodles

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Spread the cubed squash on a baking tray, season and roast for 25 minutes.

3.) In the meantime, make the paste by peeling the ginger and garlic, chopping the chilli stalks off. Add these to a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder and add the lemongrass (chopped stalks or paste) and 15g coriander. Blitz or pound to a paste – it should be vibrant green. Then add the sesame oil.

4.) Heat a crockpot, add the paste and fry on a low heat for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, make up the stock then add this and the coconut milk to the pan.

5.) Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

6.) Chop up the broccoli.

7.) Add the noodles and broccoli continue to simmer until cooked. Slice the lime in half. Chop up the coriander and mint leaves.

8.) Add the fish sauce, the soy sauce, squeeze in the juice of the lime. Tip in the cubes of squash. Give it a stir then serve in bowls. Garnish with mint and coriander.

Thai Rice Salad

The Euro football tournament has been a bit of a lifesaver recently and I’m sooo happy England are still in the running at this point. After beating Germany it was lucky that the game was on at the 5pm slot as I had to spend the rest of the evening sobering up. There’s been some dull pub food and it was great that this homemade Thai salad turned out to be so delicious. Rice and noodles might sound weird together but I think it works as the rice soaks up the dressing more than the noodles and so it’s a nice balance. The recipe was in ‘Thailand – The Cookbook’ and I’ve played around with it a little to make it a little easier.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 400g jasmine rice
  • 1 pack cooked prawns
  • 300g rice vermicelli
  • 150ml coconut milk (I used light)
  • 250ml fish sauce
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 3 lemongrass stalks (I used 1 tsp lemongrass paste)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 galangal roots – pounded (I used 1 tsp galangal paste)
  • 1 mango
  • stir fry vegetables – mangetout and baby corn are recommended

Method

1.) Soak the vermicelli in a bowl of water

2.) Put the rice on to cook ( I have a rice cooker)

3.) Make the dressing by adding the fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal to a pan. Heat to boil and then reduce to a thick sauce. If you taste it on its own at this point it will taste disgusting so don’t worry. Assuming you’re using dried kaffir lime leaves, fish them out.

4.) In a wok, stir fry the veg for a couple of minutes then add the coconut milk and the drained vermicelli noodles. Cook off the coconut milk.

5.) Peel and chop up the mango. Add the slices of mango to a big mixing bowl. Add the vermicelli and veg, the cooked rice, the prawns and the dressing and mix it all up. Serve.

Date & Goat Cheese quiche

In the UK we do love a quiche, it’s great picnic food along with a scotch egg, pork pie and some Pimms. I make these on a regular basis so expect to see some more on the blog in future. On the Great British Bake Off, there seems to be a snobbery towards having super fine pastry but personally I like a nice thick pastry as long as it’s cooked properly and no ‘soggy bottom’ as they say in the show. When I complained to a colleague about no longer being able to eat pork pie as I don’t eat meat but I love the pastry he said ‘You are so Northern’ so maybe it’s a Northern thing. I went a bit overboard on making the pastry as my tin is quite deep (5cm) and I had some leftovers. I would go for 250g flour to 125g butter if I was doing it again which I will put below. Typically with pastry you want to go with half fat to flour. Goat and date cheese is my own combination. That’s the beauty of quiches – you can pretty much put whatever you want in them.

Serves 8 – 12

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • cold water – about 30ml
  • pinch salt
  • 150g goat cheese
  • 130g stoned dates
  • 4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 300g crème fraiche

Method

1.) Chop up the butter into cubes and add to a mixing bowl. Measure in the flour and add a pinch of salt.

2.) Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it turns into breadcrumbs.

3.) Crack the two egg yolks into a bowl and beat with a fork then add the egg to the pastry,

4.) Mix a little with a wooden spoon then gradually add the water. Mix with a spoon until it looks like it will hold together then bring it together into a ball with your hands. Only add the water you need to bring it together. Squash the ball of pastry into a disc, wrap with clingfilm and put in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

5.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

6.) Lightly dust a surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the pastry and line a 20cm tart tin. Use a bit of pastry to push the pastry into all the corners. This will help it to not shrink down the side as it bakes. Put parchment paper over the pastry and drop in some baking beads.

7.) Bake for 15 minutes. Take out the oven and remove the baking beads and paper. Bake for another 10 minutes.

8.) While the pastry is baking, make up the filling, beat the eggs and add the crème fraiche. Slice up the goat cheese and chop up the dates. Dot the sliced goat cheese around the pastry and sprinkle over the dates. The pastry does tend to puff up a bit in the middle and I got a bit impatient and pushed it down to put the filling in. Pour in the egg/crème fraiche combination.

9.) Bake for about 40 minutes until the middle is set and golden brown. You should be able to test it with a fork and it will come out clean.

Moutabal

I think most non-meat eaters love eating aubergine. It’s such a versatile vegetable. This moutabal is a blend of aubergine, tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon. All the good stuff. It doesn’t look great but as Lumiere says in Beauty and the Beast – ‘try the grey stuff – it’s delicious’. The recipe was in Nigel Slater’s book ‘Tender’. Nigel Slater was a chef at Claridges who now is a food writer. His book has a chapter on each kind of vegetable that he’s grown in his own garden. I had the moutabal with a feta salad and some pitta bread but it would work great as a paste on a sandwich or dip for crudités or pitta chips.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray

2.) Place the aubergines on the tray and make a few slits in the skin

3.) Bake for forty minutes – the skin should be blackened which will help give the dip the smoky flavour

4.) Peel the garlic cloves and chop finely (or use 1/4 tsp garlic paste)

5.) Let the aubergines cool for 10 minutes so they are not too hot to handle.

6.) Peel the skin from the aubergines and transfer them to a bowl

7.) Mash them up to a pulp with a fork

8.) Add the tahini, garlic and olive oil and stir until combined.