Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Vaguely Thai-ish Salmon and Rice

This dish owes much of its inspiration to Delia’s Summer Collection.  Limes and coriander remind me so much of summer, and of one particularly golden summer – 1994; which I have just realised was all of twenty years ago!  Back then, I was still living in my first home, and the previous autumn we had had my dream kitchen installed, all limed oak and the palest of pink painted walls.  That summer lives on in my memory as one long golden, sunny summer of parties and entertaining!  I’m sure we had our fair share of rain (in fact, I’d be staggered if we didn’t!), but I don’t remember any!  In those days fresh limes and coriander were impossible to get hold of in the small town that was my home then, I used to have to buy them in Cardiff.  How much has changed in the intervening years!

I digress too much!  We’re enjoying quite a sunny spring here at the moment, which had me leafing through my Delia Summer Collection, and set me to thinking about fresh limes and coriander.  I had hot smoked salmon fillets in the freezer and the rest just came together, in the way that only an addled middle aged brain can join dots sometimes!  Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

For two of us I used :

2 hot smoked salmon fillets (any cooked salmon would do)
1 cup of basmati rice
1 lime
1 lemongrass stalk
1 bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)

Pare the lime zest in thick strips and bend/snap the lemongrass stalk in two.  Add both to a saucepan with the rice and cook.

While the rice is cooking, wash and chop the coriander and flake the salmon roughly (not too small because it will break up further when you combine it with the rice).

Drain the rice, remove the lime zest and the lemongrass – this is easier done using two forks, easier still if you use a muslin bag!  Rinse the rice with boiling water, drain again and then return to the saucepan.

Add the flaked salmon, the chopped coriander and the juice of the lime.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sausage and Chicken Pie with Sage and Onion Stuffing

This pie is pretty much Delia Smith’s recipe from the Complete Cookery Course.  I added some leftover sage and onion stuffing and adjusted the sausage layer slightly!

This is a lovely way to use up leftover cooked chicken and stuffing, and stretch the dregs of Sunday’s roast dinner one more day.  If you don’t have any leftover stuffing, you can make it fresh – the method I give below is the way my friend’s lovely late mother-in-law used to make it.

For the stuffing :

3 or 4 thick slices of bread, crusts cut off
½ small onion
2 generous handfuls of fresh sage (or 1 dsp of dry)
Salt and pepper to taste

Simply pop everything into a blender or food processor and blitz.  Heat a little goose fat, duck fat, chicken dripping (or olive oil!) in a frying pan and sautee the stuffing for a few minutes until it becomes slightly crispy.  Set aside to cool.

For the pie :

1 pack of shortcrust pastry
8 good meaty sausages
Appx 1 cup of leftover cooked chicken
Appx 1 cup of leftover stuffing
¼ tsp ground mace
½ tsp sage
Salt and pepper to taste

The dish I used is a 7” diameter quiche dish.

Skin the sausages and place into a large mixing bowl as you go.  Season with salt and pepper, add the sage and mace and then mix together with your hands.

Roll out your pastry and line the base of your dish, spread half the sausagemeat over the pastry, then add half the stuffing, all of the chicken and season with a little salt and pepper.  Add the rest of the stuffing and finally the remainder of the sausagemeat.  Roll out a pastry lid and top and finish your pie.

I cooked mine at 180oC / 350oF / gas mark 5 for an 45 to 50 minutes.  If the pie begins to brown too much pop a folded sheet of greaseproof paper on top.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Welsh Rarebit

This is probably far from the definitive Welsh Rarebit, but it’s how I make it, and I’m Welsh!!  In truth, like most things, there are as many recipes as there are families in Wales.  Some include beer in theirs, I don’t.  If you would like to try one of these recipes with beer, there’s a link at the bottom of the page to Delia’s recipe.

This is a lovely supper/snack recipe, and the quantities below will serve one person generously.

1 egg
½ tsp English mustard powder (or made mustard)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
3 or 4 oz strong cheddar
1 spring onion or half a shallot
1 small celery stalk (outer stalk preferably)

2 thick slices of bread.

Beat the egg together with the mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Finely chop the celery and spring onion or shallot.  Add to the egg mix.  Grate the cheese and add that too.  Give everything a good stir to combine well.

Toast your bread, cover a baking tray with foil and place the toast on top.  Spoon the cheese mixture evently over the bread and pop under the grill (broiler).  Cook until the cheese is puffed and golden.

Delia’s recipe can be found here :

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Dog Treats

Like most dog owners, I sometimes find myself with a poorly pooch on my hands.  Holly has quite a sensitive stomach so these episodes are not infrequent!  I had heard that pumpkin was helpful in settling down tummy upsets in dogs so went on a search for a suitable cookie recipe.

I found this lovely recipe, and charming story while hunting one day, and adapted it very slightly to suit us.

The original recipe can be found here :

The recipe and method I used was :

2 eggs
½ cup mashed butternut squash
2tb dried milk powder
Scant ¼ tsp salt
Generous ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 ½ cups brown rice flour

You need to prepare the pumpkin well ahead of time by peeling, steaming and mashing.  Drain in a sieve for several hours, or overnight, before using.

Beat two eggs and add the prepared pumpkin, beating well together.  Add the milk powder and beat again, then beat in the salt and cinnamon.  Add the rice flour and combine with a wooden spoon, and then your hands.  If the dough is a little dry and won’t come together properly, add a teaspoon or two of cold water.

Roll out fairly thinly and then cut into shapes.  Place on baking parchment on a baking tray.

Bake at 200oC (400 oF / gas mark 6) for approximately 30 to 40 minutes – until the biscuits are firm to the touch.  Leave to get cold before giving to your dog.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Tuna and Courgette (zucchini) Pasta Bake

 This is one of my 10 minute specials!!  You could either have it as a sauce with pasta, or put it together one evening ready to pop into the oven on the following evening.  To be honest, it’s worth making double the quantity and popping one in the freezer.

For two of us I used :

One large courgette (zucchini)
1 x 160g tin of tuna (in spring water by preference)
1 x 450g tin of chopped Italian tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley
Seasoning to taste
1tsp garlic olive oil

200g of cooked pasta.  Actually, you could use fresh, as it will cook in the sauce.

Prepare the courgette by cutting slices away from the core (which can be discarded).  Cut the slices into strips, and then into smaller pieces, roughly the same size as a piece of penne.

Saute the courgette in the garlic oil for a few minutes, seasoning with a little black pepper as it cooks.  *Add the tinned tomatoes and then the drained can of tuna.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and then turn out the heat.

Add the tuna sauce to the pasta, and then add the chopped parsley.  Turn into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake in a hot oven for appx 20 to 25 minutes.  I cooked mine at 200            oC (400 oF / gas mark 6) for 25 minutes.

* If you are preparing ahead of cooking the following day, allow the courgette to cool before adding the tinned tomatoes and drained tuna.  After draining the cooked pasta, rinse with cold water and combine with the sauce only when the pasta is cold.

From cold you will need to increase the cooking time to 30 to 35 minutes, until piping hot in the middle.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Baked Stuffed Leg of Lamb

This lovely recipe is a marriage between two favourite recipes, Italian Stuffed Lamb from Jamie’s Italy and Delia’s Braised Lamb Shanks with Cannellini Beans from How To Cook, Book Three.

I picked up a small boned leg of lamb on offer, and knew that these two recipes would be the perfect way to cook it.  I’ve adapted the recipes to suit my needs, and the cooking time to suit the size of joint I have.

To suit my one and a half pound (750g) joint I used :

For the stuffing : 
3 thick slices of stale bread
1 anchovy
1tsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 small sprig rosemary
1dsp chopped fresh mint and parsley (or 1tsp of dried)

For the roasting tin : 
2 large baking potatoes
1 large carrot
2oz dried cannellini beans (soaked overnight in water)
Approximately ½ bottle of red wine (you may or may not need it all)

To make the stuffing, simply pop everything into the food processor and blitz.  Wash and dry the lamb joint, and then push the stuffing into the boned cavity.  If necessary, you can make the hole a little bigger by cutting at it with a small sharp knife..  Rub all over with a little olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper.  Place in the roasting tin.

Peel and cut the potato and carrot into large chunks.  Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.  Arrange around the lamb joint in the roasting tin.  Pour over a tablespoon or so of the red wine.

Put the lamb into a hot oven (230oC / 450oF / gas mark 8) for 30 minutes.  After the initial cooking time, turn the oven down to 180oC (350oF / gas mark 4) and give it 30 minutes per pound of weight.

Baste the joint with the half bottle of wine, a tablespoon or so at a time, every half an hour until the lamb and the vegetables are cooked.

As the meat is cooked with carrots, potatoes and beans, you will simply need a green vegetable on the side.  I cooked a small sweetheart cabbage with mine.

If you want to try the original recipes, there are links below to help you locate them.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Slow Cooked Duck Ragu

I found this lovely recipe in Jamie Oliver’s book, Cook with Jamie, and tweaked it slightly to suit our tastes.  The original recipe uses a whole duck and serves four, but I used a duck crown and it will serve three nicely, or two more than generously! 

You need to begin the recipe the day before, by slow roasting your duck.  I roasted mine at 190oC (375oF / gas mark 5) for two hours, basting every half hour or so, so that the skin gets nice and crispy in the duck juices.  You can pour off the duck fat and keep in a bowl in the fridge and use it to make lovely crunchy roast potatoes!  Once your duck is cooked and has cooled enough to handle, strip the meat from it and set aside. 

For the ragu, using a duck crown and providing two generous serves, I used : 

1 medium onion
2 sticks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
3 anchovies (optional)
1 medium sized sprig of rosemary
1 x 450g tin chopped plum tomatoes
½ bottle of red wine
A handful of pine nuts (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste 

If using a whole duck you might want to use two tins of tomatoes and a whole bottle of wine 

Finely chop the onion and celery and sweat gently in 1tb of olive oil.  Finely chop the garlic and anchovies and add to the pan (the anchovies will ‘melt’ as they cook and add a meaty richness to the sauce, not a fishy flavour), cook quietly for five minutes or so. 

Add the tinned tomatoes and stir in, then add the half bottle of red wine and give it a good stir.  Add the cooked duck in chunks, and the pine nuts and bring to a simmer on the hob.  Cover with a tight fitting lid (or cover the pan with a square of tin foil before putting your lid on) and simmer quietly in the oven at 160oC (300oF / gas mark 2) for two and a half hours or so.  Stir from time to time and break up the chunks of meat towards the end of the cooking time.  If your sauce dries up too much during the cooking time (as mine did a little!) simply add either a little hot water and Worcestershire sauce, or beef/chicken stock. 

I served mine with pappardelle pasta, but any pasta shape will work.  Alternatively you could serve with chunky roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes, cooked in some of the lovely duck fat.  A green vegetable, or salad on the side will cut the richness of the sauce somewhat too.

In Jamie’s original recipe you cook the duck on the day that you are making the sauce, shred it with forks and add to the sauce towards the end of the cooking.  His cooking time is shorter than mine.