Double Corn Salad

I was only going to post on the blog until half time was over but as ever, my team are making it a painful experience. Cristiano Ronaldo is the only redeeming feature these days. It’s even dimmed my love of football somewhat though I’m still considering taking a week off work in November to watch some of the World Cup. I have to say I was a little bit sceptical when I saw this recipe for a salad containing popcorn in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’ but he’s been right about everything else in that book and I was very pleasantly surprised. The dressing is also really good. I love a tangy dressing. Only thing is I don’t know if it’s just my English mustard or English mustard in general but its very hot and probably 1 tsp of that stuff is enough. The recipe also makes a lot of dressing so you could make some and have it with a lunch salad all week. You can also serve with some toasted ciabatta croutons.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 50g popping corn (ok Jamie pops his own from kernels which is definitely the cost-effective way but I was lazy so I got the microwave stuff)
  • 2 corn on the cobs
  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 4 spring onions
  • 30g mature cheddar
  • 30g blue cheese
  • 6 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp English mustard (or 1 if it’s very hot)
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 10g coriander leaves

Method

1.) Put your popcorn in the microwave or heat in a pan with 1 tbsp oil and a lid until popped.

2.) Cook the corn on the cobs in the pan, turning over with a fork when the side a little charred.

3.) Set the corn to one side. Chop up the lettuce and add to a mixing bowl. Finely chop the spring onions and the coriander leaves and add to the bowl.

4.) Make the dressing by adding the cheeses, yoghurt, garlic, mustard and white wine vinegar into a blender. Blitz until smooth.

5.) Cut the corn from the corn in the cob. Hold in place with a fork if the corn is still hot. Add the corn to the salad bowl.

6.) Mix everything in the salad and divide between the plates. Drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle over some popcorn. Serve.

Herring and Potato Salad Summer Rolls

I guess you’d class these herring and potato summer rolls as fusion food. I’m a big fan of the Summer Roll and have made them a few times now so I was intrigued by this alternative version in Tony Singh’s ‘Tasty’. Actually, they work really well and with the Thai dipping sauce per Tony Singh but I think they would be delicious with some sort of mayonnaise, especially Kewpie mayonnaise. When the herring came, it came with pickled onions and in hindsight I would omit the onion and just use the onions from the herring.

Makes 8 rolls

Ingredients

  • 8 rice paper rolls
  • 120g rocket
  • 150g new potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 16 mint sprigs
  • 16 sprigs coriander
  • 16 sprigs Thai basil (or normal basil)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 150g pickled herrings
  • 1 cos lettuce
  • 4 tbsp peanuts (I used cashews)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 chilli

Method

1.) Put the potatoes on to boil.

2.) While the potatoes are cooking, add the rocket to a large mixing bowl, finely chop the herbs and add them. Peel the carrot and chop into small matchsticks. Chop up the cucumber into matchsticks too. Shred the lettuce, peel and finely chop the onion and add all of that to the salad bowl.

3.) Chop up the drained herring and combine with the salad.

4.) Make the dressing. Peel and finely chop the garlic and finely chop the chilli. Add to a container with the sugar and the fish sauce. Chop the lime in half and add the juice to the dressing. Give it a good mix with a fork.

5.) When the potatoes are done, chop them into small pieces and mix with the salad. Crush the nuts and add those too.

6.) Now, to assemble the spring rolls, get a big bowl and one by one, submerge the rice paper into the water. Pull out and spread out on a plate. It’s best to have another plate ready that you can move the rolls to once they’re assembled.

7.) Grab handfuls of the salad and put in the middle of the roll. Fold up the roll. I find it easiest to do one side length ways, one side width ways, then the other two sides. The rice paper should stick together because of the water. Turn over so the crease is at the bottom and set aside. Repeat until all the salad is used up.

8.) Serve rolls with the dipping sauce on the side.

Curry Sweetcorn Soup

This tasty soup is another recipe from ‘Gordon Ramsey’s Ultimate Cookery Course’ – I’m really smashing it this week but it’s another winner. Gordon uses a tin of creamed corn which I was assuming was some sort of old British staple like corned beef but the supermarket didn’t have it so I just used a normal tin of sweetcorn and added a bit of coconut cream (conveniently left over from when I made Urap Urap). I would serve this with a naan.

Serve 4

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 litre stock
  • 3 x 200g tins sweetcorn
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes/powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

1.) In a casserole pan, lightly toast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant. Move to a mortar and give them a mash with the pestle.

2.) Peel and dice the ginger and garlic, add them to the mortar and add the turmeric, salt and chilli. Mash everything together.

3.) Peel and finely chop the onion.

4.) Add some oil to the casserole dish and heat up. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes.

5.) Peel and chop the potato into chunks and open the tins of sweetcorn.

6.) Add the curry paste to the casserole dish and cook for another 2 minutes. Add some more oil if dry.

7.) Make up the stock.

8.) Add the potato and stir around in the casserole dish. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat then add the tins of sweetcorn, Simmer for about 15 minutes until the potato is cooked through.

9.) Add the coconut cream and stir to break it up. Blitz to a thick soup with an immersion blender.

Cod with Hasselback Potatoes

I keep seeing hasselback potatoes all over Pinterest so I’ve been wanting to make some for a while. Slicing them before baking means you just get this beautiful crunch all the way round the exposed bits. I finally got round to it when I saw a recipe for cod with a dill and orange crumb on the BBC Good Food website served alongside them. The orange zest in the crumb really brightens up the dish and should not be omitted.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cod fillets
  • 50g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 orange
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 10g dill
  • olive oil
  • green veg to serve

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Stick a spoon through the centre of each potato and slice all the way around the spoon

3.) Whack the potatoes in the microwave for about 10 – 12 minutes

4.) Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper

5.) Zest the orange and chop the dill finely. Peel and finely chop a clove of garlic. Mix in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper.

6.) Place the cod fillets onto the baking tray and top with the breadcrumbs. Place the potatoes on the same tray and drizzle with oil and a sprinkle of salt.

7.) Bake for 12 -15 minutes. Prepare your green veg so it’s all ready together.

Carrot & Parsnip Soup

The beautiful pumpkin sourdough bread you see in this picture is from Pollen bakery in Manchester. I spent the day after my birthday in the city centre last weekend and popped into Pollen for lunch. We shared a pizza topped focaccia and a slice of egg custard tart and they were both so perfect that I bought some rye bread and some sourdough to take home. I’ve tried making sourdough a few times and failed miserably so it’s good to know where I can get the best. Pollen itself actually has a kickstarter appeal to raise £45,000 to start a second bakery specialising in pastries. I signed up to a day’s patisserie course so I’m really hoping they make the target. Of course, I needed to make the most out of this beautiful bread so I made a carrot and parsnip soup that I saw on the BBC Good Food website.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small bunch thyme
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • salt & pepper

Method

1.) Peel the onions and chop up

2.) Heat some oil in a large casserole dish and add the onion. Chop up the celery and add that.

3.) Pull the leaves off the thyme and throw in with the celery

4.) Peel the garlic, finely dice and add to the pan. Add some water if it starts to catch.

4.) Peel the carrots and parsnips and chop into slices. Add to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.

5.) Boil some water and make up the stock. Pour into the pan, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

6.) Chop up the parsley

7.) Blitz with an immersion blender until smooth.

8.) Mix in the cream, season and stir through. Season with parsley and serve with a slab of bread.

Minestrone soup

I really love this soup from Jamie Oliver’s website. I first came across it during lockdown when he was doing a show to encourage people to home cook filmed by at home by himself and his family. This recipe uses tinned beans, passata and pasta, some of the things some crazy people were stocking up on at that time. Some people must have been pretty bored of pasta with tomato sauce, really Jamie was doing a bit of a service for us. It’s a light soup but also quite filling and is a great choice for when you want to cook in bulk.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 400g passata
  • 2 tins of beans (kidney or butter, whatever you like)
  • 100g dried small pasta e.g. orzo, macaroni
  • 25g parmesan cheese (if you have rinds of parmesan cheese, you can stick them in to simmer with the soup)
  • salt & pepper

Method

1.) Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and dice the onion.

2.) Heat some oil in a large pan and add the onions. Let them soften for 5 minutes or so.

3.) In the meantime, peel and chop up the carrot. Chop up the celery.

4.) Add the garlic to the pan and fry for 1 minute.

5.) Add the celery and carrot and leave to soften for a further 10 – 15 minutes. Close to the end, fill a kettle with water and boil.

6.) Pour in the beans and their juices, the passata, crumble in the stock cube then fill up one of the tins and pour in the water from that. Measure out 600ml of the boiled water and pour that in too.

7.) Throw in the pasta, tear up the kale leaves and put them in too.

8.) Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

9.) Grate the parmesan.

10.) Stir into the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.