Category Archives: Fish

Assorted tapas

20140802-170410-61450910.jpg

This blog post is one I’ve been meaning to do for a while, using a few recipes from a great book I won at work!  With a few colleagues we had a really nice picnic in the park and all brought different dishes.  There was a prize for the most creative/colourful dish and my spicy couscous recipe won!!!

I had some free time today, so randomly selected 3 recipes as well as using some leftovers from a dish I cooked last night 🙂  I prepared them pretty much all at the same time but I will try and put some separation in here so it’s easier to follow and to group the many pictures in this veritable feast!

Broad beans with cheese and prawns

To start this recipe off I boiled 6 large shell-on prawns for 8 minutes and in the meantime chopped half a block of edam cheese (the recipe said gruyere but I went with edam) and boiled the broad beans (whole pods with the edges trimmed and then chopped into large pieces) with some dried thyme in the water for 7 minutes.

Once they were both done I let them cool before peeling and deheading the prawns and adding to a bowl with the cheese.

I then added a bit more thyme to a bowl and mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  I then poured this sauce over the prawn, bean and cheese mixture and served.

 

20140802-170413-61453375.jpg

20140802-170413-61453752.jpg

20140802-170653-61613902.jpg

20140802-171048-61848116.jpg

Aubergine and pepper dip

Luckily I got an array of aubergines in my organic veg box this week so this recipe was perfect to make some headway into them!

I pricked two aubergines with a fork, along with a red pepper, drizzled in olive and oil and baked in the oven for 45 minutes.  You will see the picture below also shows roasting garlic which is for the next recipe!

20140802-170411-61451745.jpg

20140802-170414-61454458.jpg

Once they were cooked, I let them cool a little and then peeled the aubergines and chopped the flesh into large pieces.  I removed the seeds from the pepper and also cut this into large strips before cooking in some oil with the aubergine for 5 minutes.

I then added them to a blender along with 1 tablespoon of coriander, half the juice and rind of a lemon, half a teaspoon of paprika and some salt and pepper and mixed to a puree.  I served the puree on bread but I do think this dip would be better with tortilla chips or something similar.

20140802-170655-61615814.jpg

 

20140802-170656-61616470.jpg

 

20140802-171048-61848417.jpg

 

20140802-170858-61738566.jpg

Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip

For the final dish here (although I did start this first as the potatoes took the longest to cook!), I halved potatoes and then cut the halves into three.  I drizzled over some olive oil, some salt and also one crushed clove of garlic.  Then I put them on a baking tray and cooked for 1 hr 15 mins.

20140802-170412-61452098.jpg

While the potatoes were cooking, I used the cloves of garlic I had roasted from before (1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves, drizzled with olive oil on 200 degrees for 25 mins) now they were cool.  I removed the skin and mashed until relatively smooth.  I added them in a bowl with 1 pot of natural yoghurt and 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and seasoned with salt and paprika.  Then I covered the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill while the potatoes continued cooking.

20140802-170412-61452470.jpg

20140802-170413-61453011.jpg

20140802-171048-61848819.jpg

20140802-171047-61847740.jpg

I did reduce most of the ingredients with the intention of being able to serve 2 but we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow so I would say all of the above would serve 3-4 people.

I enjoyed making all the recipes and was certainly good to make some headway into my tapas cooking experience.  I guess I’m still a bit of a whole dish kind of person so it’s good to extend my repertoire a little further!

And as for the favourite dish… it was probably the potato wedges with the roasted garlic dip!  Really tasty, quite easy to prepare, really enjoyed the crunch of the potatoes with the freshness of the dip!  All were good though and definitely will be repeated.

A big thanks to my work colleagues for letting me win and to Noa for choosing this great prize 🙂

Finally, I wanted to make a brief mention of the fourth dish as although it wasn’t from the book, it did accompany this tapas lunch as well as making a tasty dinner last night!  It was vegetable and salmon bake; another recipe from the BBC.  Really creamy and tasty and a definite recommendation!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/vegetableandsalmonch_84182

The one lonely picture from today (it wasn’t intended to be a blog post but was too delicious not to mention!):

20140802-170654-61614226.jpg

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Cheese, Fish, Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Herbs, Recipes, Salad, Spanish, Starter, Tapas, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Seared salmon with leek mash and mustard hollandaise sauce

20140624-150048-54048104.jpg

Today is a holiday and to celebrate that and reaching 2000 hits on my blog (!!!), I wanted to make something I’d not done before.  I was searching by the ingredients I had in the fridge and found this recipe which is on the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/searedsalmonwithleek_88794

So I’d definitely made mash before (!) and salmon so the unknown piece in this recipe was the hollandaise sauce.  It turned out to be not that complicated despite not really having the full list of ingredients (at least not quite enough butter!).  The BBC recipe suggests that the ingredients listed make enough sauce for 1 person.  Now, I’m not sure if people exist that would eat that much hollandaise sauce but my recommendation is that it makes easily enough for 2-3 people 🙂

Despite cooking quite frequently, new sauces do still seem like a step into the unknown so it was good to have done this one and seen that it is fairly straightforward.  The end result was that it tasted great, especially in the combination with the mash and salmon but perhaps with that much butter, anything would!  Now just to perfect my sauce spreading on the plate…

20140624-150048-54048494.jpg

20140624-150049-54049263.jpg

20140624-150049-54049697.jpg

20140624-150050-54050120.jpg

20140624-150050-54050591.jpg

20140624-151830-55110417.jpg

20140624-151831-55111377.jpg

20140624-151831-55111812.jpg

 

2 Comments

Filed under Fish, Food, French, Recipes, Uncategorized

Alternative Christmas Dinner! – Scallops with a sabayon sauce and Fish Pie!

image

As I stated in my previous post, I cooked for some of my family on Christmas Day what with my mum doing the traditional turkey dinner for all the family on Boxing Day this year 🙂  It’s taken me a while to get this post up as Christmas time at home is pretty hectic and then straight back to Barcelona and work on 30th!

It was nice to choose the recipes for this day; something special that would take a bit more time to cook as I would have the majority of Christmas morning to do it.  It was also very nice to be able to cook for my family on this day and take some of the pressure from my mum during the holiday season (although she just did it all the next day instead, and the next day and the next day!).

I’d cooked the scallops in the sabayon sauce before (from the Little Paris Kitchen book) but this was the first time I’d tried this particular fish pie.

The thought of cooking Christmas Day didn’t daunt me too much but the thought of shopping in a UK supermarket on Christmas Eve did quite a bit!  In reality it was calmer than I thought but things were starting to run out.  We took the last 10 scallops, had to buy frozen prawns and had to used dried dill rather than fresh but apart from that it went very smoothly!  I was also offered a good deal on a carp (presumably with all the fish I was buying I had been identified as a prime candidate to buy) but really didn’t really have a use for that as well!

I started off by defrosting the prawns and then taking the heads and the shells off and putting to one side to use in the sauce of the pie.

image

I mixed the prawn shells with milk, butter, onion, bay leaf and pepper corns and simmered for 10 mins.  When it was done I set it to one side to infuse.

image

Then I put the fish into a roasting pan, skin side up.  I strained the infused milk into the pan on top of the fish and simmered on the hob for 8 mins.  I left them to cool a little before flaking into a bowl removing the skin and any bones before mixing with the prawns.

image

image

Sneak peaks into the guest kitchen…. (much bigger than mine!!!)

image

image

I melted the butter and added the flour and then gradually the flavoured milk left in the roasting pan.  I whisked while simmering for about 15 mins until thick and added a little salt and pepper.  I added the parsley and poured the sauce over the fish and left to cool a little.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Meanwhile I’d boiled the potatoes in salted water for 20 mins and soaked a pinch of saffron in a couple of tablespoons of hot water.  I beat in the saffron to the mashed potatoes before adding the butter, milk and dill.

image

image

image

Now the fish mixture had cooled, I spread the mash on top and baked in the oven for 40 mins on 180 degrees and until the top was brown and crispy.  The saffron gave the mash a really nice colour so will be using this in mash in the future for sure!

While the pie was baking, I started the scallops.  First with the sabayon sauce by putting the egg yolks, wine and sugar and salt into a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  I whisked for 10 mins until thick and foamy.

image

I set this aside while I cooked the scallops with a bit of oil.  2 mins on one side and then 3 mins on the other.  I served the scallops in their shells with a bit of rocket on the side and the sabayon sauce dripped over the top.

image

image

image

image

So the verdict and the final pictures; the scallops were great as a starter and went down very well with my family 🙂  Very tasty and a very nice mix of flavours!  Quite a pretty plate too 🙂

image

And the pie was extremely tasty too!  It’s quite a big investment of time but worth the effort with some nice touches in the recipe including the saffron in the mash and the prawn shell infused milk makes a big different to the taste.

image

image

My family seemed happy so that was the main thing!  Mum said the best Christmas Dinner ever but I’m quite sure she was being nice!  It was good to have something different though and these recipes are a luxurious treat for Christmas 🙂

And now as an extra; a peak into the best Christmas Dinner ever (served on Boxing Day this year).  Traditional turkey dinner by my mum 🙂  Really the best ever and something I look forward to a lot with the pigs in blankets always my favourite!!!  All the family together too so a perfect Boxing Day!

image

A belated Merry Christmas to all and hope the New Year has started well 🙂

Ingredients

Scallops with a sabayon sauce – served 5

10 large scallops with shells

Several handfuls of rocket

Olive oil

4 egg yolks

100 ml dry white wine

Pinch of sugar and salt

Fish pie – serves 5 (including seconds!!!)

350g raw shell on prawns (I could only find frozen)

700 ml milk

1 bay leaf

2 peppercorns

450g haddock (or any white fish)

450g smoked haddock (or cod)

75g butter

75g flour

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

For the mash

1.3kg floury potatoes

Large pinch of saffron threads

75g butter

250ml milk

3 tablespoons of fresh dill (if you can get it!)

Leave a comment

Filed under English, Fish, Food, Food blogging, French, Herbs, Pie, Pies, Recipes, Starter, Uncategorized

Tagliatelle con gamberi (Tagliatelle with prawns and a creamy sauce)

image

My second post in two days!  You can tell the holidays are here and I’m getting to do more of my favourite things 🙂  Today I choose another recipe from my Gino D’Acampo pasta recipe book that I got for my birthday.  This time I bought the pasta 😦  But fresh pasta at least!  With two blogs in two days, making pasta as well would have been a big investment of time when I’m supposed to be packing ready for our Christmas UK trip!

So I choose a prawn based dish as I bought close to 40 prawns yesterday!  The remainder are safely put away in the freezer which will be handy as I’ve a feeling I will be repeating this dish regularly 🙂  I’m really trying to believe Gino when he says pasta is a healthy dish and therefore I don’t have to feel guilty at eating it so often!

I used 8 prawns to make enough for two people.  I shelled them, leaving the tails on and put to one side.  I chopped one shallot, 8 cherry tomatoes, about 50g of walnuts and a handful of parsley.

image

image

I melted 20g of butter with 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan and gently fried the shallot with the walnuts for about 2 mins.  Then I added the prawns and the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cooked on a higher heat for about 30 seconds.  I also put the pasta on according to the packet instructions (mine was fresh tagliatelle so 4 mins).

image

image

At this point the recipe says to add brandy which I don’t keep in my kitchen.  I just don’t use enough of it to warrant buying a whole bottle and I would never have it as a drink!  So instead, I used a teaspoon of white wine vinegar which seemed to work fine!  Once I added this, I cooked it for a further minute before adding 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and about 150ml of double cream.  Then I heated it for a further 2 mins.

The final step was to add the chopped parsley and then add the pasta and mix everything well together for approximately 30 seconds to let the flavours blend well.

Again, a simple recipe but a really good combination of flavours between the prawns, walnuts and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes.  I’m really enjoying this recipe book!

image

1 Comment

Filed under Fish, Food, Food blogging, Herbs, Italian, Recipes, Uncategorized

Spicy salmon mousse and homemade tagliatelle with chicken and asparagus

image

image

Today’s blog is more than one recipe again 🙂  A starter and a main;  spicy salmon mousse served with rocket and bread followed by homemade tagliatelle with a chicken and asparagus sauce.

The starter is from a book I have from the TV show Come Dine with Me.  Definitely recommend it to anyone who has not watched it although like most reality type tv shows, the earlier shows were the better ones!  The commentator still makes me laugh though even though the contestants have gotten more extreme over time!

The main course was decided as after 3 years living in Barcelona, I finally found the flour I needed to utilise my pasta machine!  I’ve probably moaned on here before about the limited range of flour in Barcelona so this flour came from a specialist Italian store.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a bag of flour 🙂

To start the salmon mousse I added 100g of smoked salmon (keeping a couple of small strips aside for garnish), 1.5 tablespoons of double cream, 150g cream cheese, a squeeze of lemon, half a teaspoon of parsley and a teaspoon of chilli flakes to a blender and mixed until smooth.  This made enough for 3 ramekins where I added the garnish on top and put into the fridge to set.  It goes great with rocket leaves and fresh bread for dipping directly in the mousse 🙂  These ingredients make enough for 3 people (same for the main).

image

image

image

image

For the main, I added 2 cups (200g) of 00 flour and 2 eggs into a blender and mixed until the dough started to form.  Then I kneaded it for a couple of minutes on a floured surface, before putting it into the fridge for one hour (wrapped in cling film).

image

image

After one hour, I removed it from the fridge and sliced in half ready for rolling.

image

I rolled it into two relatively long strips before getting some help from the pasta machine!

image

image

The biggest challenge with the machine was attaching it well enough to a surface!  The table would not work despite my intense level of concentration….

image

…neither a chair, nor a coffee table!  In the end a bedside table seemed to do the trick but still with an element of holding the machine steady!  Another day where I wished for a bigger, more equipped kitchen!  But anyway, got there in the end!

I put the strips through the machine 6 times (twice on three different settings, getting thinner each time).

image

image

Then I used the tagliatelle attachment of the pasta maker, cutting the long strips into two pieces so the tagliatelle was of a normal length!

image

image

I find it quite a fun process, pretty simple but it’s always nice to make something that is shop bought 99% of the time, at home 🙂

image

I put the plate of tagliatelle to one side while I concentrated on the rest of the main course.

I chopped half an onion, one quarter of a courgette, about 5 pieces of asparagus and one chicken breast.

image

I cooked the chicken and the asparagus for 4-5 mins in a little bit of oil, before adding the onion and courgette for a couple more minutes.  Once they were cooked, I added one clove of garlic (crushed), 150ml of double cream and 100ml of chicken stock (I substituted this in place of white wine) and heated until the sauce started to thicken.

image

image

In the meantime I cooked the pasta in boiling water with a bit of salt and olive oil for 3-4 minutes.  I added 1 tablespoon of fresh basil and 50g of freshly grated parmesan to the sauce, mixed well before also adding the cooked pasta.

image

image

The result was so good!!!  I think this is actually one of my simpler posts but actually it has to be one of my favourites 🙂  I even went back for seconds which is not like me!  The taste was really rich and the pasta did taste fresh.  Just a really nice, simple dish that I really recommend!

6 Comments

Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Fish, Food, Herbs, Italian, Pasta, Recipes, Starter, Uncategorized

Blogging 1 year on! – Razor clams (navajas) with chorizo, Seafood and cava risotto, Arancini and Stewed plums!

image

It is hard to believe but one year has passed already that I’ve been blogging!  On average, I’ve stuck to my one blog a month rule but it is true that I was much more productive in the beginning!  However, to celebrate this one year, try to put this right and make the most of the fact I had friends staying who also love cooking, we managed all of the recipes listed in the title over two meals this weekend!  The cava recipe was chosen especially for the one year celebration 🙂

The starter was Rob’s inspiration following a visit to the local market:

image

image

image

image

image

image

Razor clams (navajas) with chorizo, shallots and red pepper!  When I met Rob he was always quite random with his cooking ingredients, never measuring anything with sometimes amazing results and sometimes not so amazing… I think he will forgive me for mentioning his syrup sponge pudding which was more like a soup (although it still tasted amazing!).  Over the years he has perfected many techniques and is a great cook so now the random recipes are usually great too 😉  which included this one!

I’d never cooked razor clams before and it was quite a new experience as I discovered they were still alive while washing them.  They made some noise and were kind of pulsing a little.  I’ve come a long way with food but still, this gave me the heebie-jeebies!  If in doubt, you can find the definition here:

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/heebie-jeebies

We grilled them (alive! yes we felt kind of bad for some seconds…) for a couple of minutes until the shells opened and then cleaned them again (removing the dark parts) although I have to say thanks to Kristine and Rob for doing this dirty job!  In the meantime we had chopped up about 10 shallots (after soaking them in boiling water to make the skins come off more easily), roasting a red pepper for 20 mins, removing the skin and chopping and also chopping about 100g of chorizo.  We cooked the shallots, red pepper and chorizo in a bit of oil on the hob for about 5 mins before adding the razor clams for a couple more minutes.  Then we put all the ingredients back in the shells to serve.  We used about about 15 razor clams for 4 people.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

The next course was inspired by my blog entries.  In honour of the anniversary, the guest chefs had to choose one (or two as it turned out!) recipes from my blog from the past year.  They chose risotto and arancini but with a slight variation this time in that it was seafood and cava 🙂  Again we took the inspiration from the market and chose razor clams and shelled and unshelled prawns with Kristine being head of ingredient sourcing!  The remaining ingredients were shallots, asparagus, fish stock, rice and butter.

We snapped the asparagus ends off (using about 15 in total).  This was Rob’s tip for knowing how much to remove from the end;  bend them until their natural point of breaking and then all the “bad” part is removed.  We boiled the ends in about a litre of water for about 30 mins with 2 fish stock cubes to make the stock before blending.

image

In the meantime we melted a knob of butter and gently fried the chopped shallots (approx. 10) before adding about 300g of rice and one glass of cava.  Once the rice had absorbed the cava, we started to gently add the stock, one ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid was soaked up before adding another one.  We added the remaining asparagus and continued this process for about 25 mins.

image

image

image

We added 8 unshelled prawns and cooked for about 4-5 mins before removing and then adding the shelled prawns (approx. 12) and cooking for 2 mins.  We added a little more butter and ground pepper, mixed well and placed the unshelled prawns on top before serving.

image

image

image

For the next day we decided to use the leftover risotto for arancini.  We used about a quarter of a baguette to make breadcrumbs and added flour to a plate and one beaten egg to a dish.  We rolled the rice mixture into small balls, rolled in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.  We cooked them on an oiled baking tray for 25 mins at 200 degrees.

image

image

image

image

image

The final dish went through various interations due to when we were going to cook it and the remaining time available before their flight home!  So in the end we did stewed plums 🙂  We cut the plums into quarters, removing the stones and added to a pan with 4 tablespoons of water, 6 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  We stewed in the pan (with the lid on) for about 15 mins until the plums were soft.  Fairly easy but delicious!

image

I guess this must be my longest blog ever!  Definitely the most recipes at one time which is fitting for the one year anniversary!  I’ve really enjoyed the blogging experience and over this weekend, it’s been really nice to look back at all the recipes I’ve done and hope that I’ve learnt something along the way.  The best part of this though was to celebrate it with friends, friends who share the love of cooking and eating.  A very special occasion and photographic evidence is provided below demonstrating just quite how small this cuineta is!

image

8 Comments

Filed under Desserts, English, Fish, Food, Italian, Recipes, Rice, Uncategorized

Empanadas and chocolate fondant

My realistic target is to blog once a week now on weekends so with this weekend be relatively clear, I thought I would go for 2 dishes in the same post and my first blogged dessert. Usually I don’t cook many desserts (which is not to say I don’t eat them!!!). Normally I prefer to focus my attention on savoury dishes but this chocolate fondant has been on my mind for a while…  Also as I am gaining a little more confidence with my cooking, I wanted to see if it really was so simple to make a pot with a gooey centre… And actually it was!

For now back to the empanadas! Again I’ve wanted to make these for a while as they are quite a typical spanish dish. I made these with tuna but there are many different varieties of course. The full list of ingredients is at the bottom of the post. From the original recipe I made 3/4 of what was recommended, partly as there are only 2 of us at home so 24 portions seemed a bit gluttonous but also because we were close to a flour shortage and i could not forego the chocolate fondents now that they seemed so close!  So the adjusted ingredients below should make you between 16-18 empanadas.

I mixed the flour with the butter by hand trying to get close to a breadcrumb like consistency. Then i added about 1.5 eggs with the wine (keeping the remaining half aside for basting at the end). I was a bit worried at one point that the consistency didn’t look right but after a little while longer it looked fine. The recipe actually says do not knead the pastry too much else the end product will be tough. I’m not sure whether I did or not but for a first attempt I needed the pastry to be solid at least and not breakung apart! So after being happy with the consistency, I wrapped it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, i cooked the chopped onion for about 5 mins, added the tomato sauce and cooked for 10 mins to thicken.  Then I added the tuna, roasted pepper, parsley and freshly ground pepper and mixed together.

I rolled out half the pastry and used a mug to make as many circles as possible.  I repeated this process with the left over pastry until I had used it all (it made 16 circles for me).

Then I put a little bit of the tuna mixture in each circle, folded and pinched together at the sides to seal them.  I put them on an oiled baking tray and basted them with the leftover egg.  Then I cooked them for about 30 minutes at 190 degrees until they were golden.

While they were cooking I got on with the preparation for the chocolate fondants.  I melted the chocolate with the butter in a glass dish over a pan of simmering water.  Meanwhile I mixed the flour with the beaten eggs and sugar until smooth.  Once the butter and chocolate had fully melted I left to cool for about 30 mins before adding to the flour mixture and mixing again until smooth.  I poured this mixture into 4 buttered ramekins and put in the fridge for 10 mins before then cooking for 15 mins at 200 degrees.

The results were great!  The empanadas were a little harder than the ones you get in the bars here (according to my photographer!) but I put this down to the fact of maybe kneading for longer and also because they were oven baked rather than fried.  The taste was still great in my opinion.  They are quite fiddly to make but it’s another recipe ticked off my list!

The best was the fondants!  They were very gooey inside when we put our spoons into them and the taste was really good too.  I will definitely be making these again as they are fairly simple to make and look and taste great!

Ingredients

Tuna empanadas

  • 300g plain flour
  • 60g softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 ml white wine
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 150g chopped tomatoes (from a can)
  • 200g of tuna (from a can)
  • Half a roasted pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Chocolate fondants

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g chocolate (I used cooking chocolate)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 20g plain flour

Leave a comment

Filed under Chocolate, Desserts, Fish, French, Pudding, Spanish