Friday, August 26, 2005

Mustard Seeded Fish

Serves 4

800g White fish fillets cubed

For the paste
1 tablespoon of grated Ginger
2 Garlic cloves grated or crushed
1 Green Chilli sliced (More if you like)
1 teaspoon of Turmeric
Salt to taste

2 tablespoons of Groundnut Oil
1 tablespoon of Five Spice
1 teaspsoon of Mustard Seeds
2 Tomatoes finely chopped
200ml Stock (Vegatable or Fish)

1 teaspoon of Ground Cumin
Cayenne (to taste)
Half a teaspoon of Sugar

Finely chooped Coriander leaves to garnish

1) Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the Mustard Seeds and Five Spice until the seeds start to "pop".

2) Add the paste and stir gently for 3 minutes.

3) Add the Fish and Tomatoes and coat them in the paste.

4) Add the stock, Cumin, Cayenne and Sugar and simmer for 5 minutes, until the Fish is cooked.

5) Serve with the Coriander sprinkled over.

A good nutty brown rice goes well with this.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Herbie Creamed Ricotta, Toasted Pine Nuts and Parmaggio (Ravioli filling)

(Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)

1 pack of ricotta [typically 450g]
150g of grated parmaggio/parmesan
50-100g of roasted pine nuts [depends on your mood and how strong the ricotta/parmaggio is. Mix in some nuts and taste - its about the balance of nut vs cheese]. Oh, and don't burn those babies, just brown them. Do not take your eyes off them for a moment as you dry fry them. Roasting in the oven works to, but difficult to look at them in there.
Lots of basil [again, do the mix and taste] if you have other fresh herbs, add some to, try flat leaf parsley, sage... Whatever you have fresh to hand.
Crushed peppercorns to taste.
Freshly ground nutmeg [add very carefully. Easy to ruin this with too much]
1 egg yolk

1] Break up the ricotta in a bowl, and fork in the egg, then add the parmaggio. You should have a good texture.

2] Pestle and mortar the pine nuts coursely, you want some crunch from them.

3] Add pine nuts, herbs and nutmeg to the bowl, gentle mix in and taste. [ok, after you have eaten that batch make another load... I have!]

4] Fill your ravioli, making sure you seal them properly. Nothing worse than the salted water getting into the ravioli, or the contents escaping.

5] Drop them in that huge boiling pan of salted water for 3 minutes.

6] Taste one after 3 mins... We are wanting our fresh pasta to be suculent and al dente, not soggie.

7] Drain quickly and carefully, let's not break any of those precious parcels.

Serve right away on those plates you had warming in the oven, with either olive oil, or some garlic butter poured over them. A few basil leaves on top work well to.

Update on that, a little olive drizzled over then, but provide guests with olive oil and melted garlic butter to pour themselves.

I have done this with toasted almonds to... Worked well. Also switched feta chesse fo tthe ricotta with yummy results.

Its about the texture vs cheese vs nuttiness.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Feta Cheese Ravioli filling

(Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)

1 butternut squash
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 dried red chillis
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
2 cloves of garlic
A good glug of olive oil
1 pack of feta cheese

Pre heat the oven to 200c
1] Cut the squash in half. The skin is very tough so be very careful. Use your biggest bastard knife, push the point in at 90 degees to the beast and halve it. Think like you are doing the steak-into-the-vampires-heart kind of thing. Now cut the halves into quarters. Put the eight pieces into a baking tray while you make the spice rub.

2] Put all the herbs and spices in a pestle and motar, except the garlic, and mash the hell out of them. Now juice the garlic into the mix, or slice the garlic and mash it in, up to you. If you have a big bowl to mash in, mix in the olive oil, otherwise scrape out the spices to larger bowl. You need to get your hand in to mix it around so you can massage the paste all over the squash pieces.

3] After you have coated the squash, put them in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the squash has started to get a brown crispy look to its edges.

4] The squash should be nice and soft now. Use a big spoon or knife to strip the flesh from the skin. This is bit fiddly, but worth it to get a smoother texture.

5] Pile all the flesh into bowl and let it cool for a while.

6] Cube, or roughly break up the feta cheese and mash it into the squash. You don't want a puree here, leave some texture.

7] Cover and chill it in the fridge. Overnight seems to do it no harm.

Use to fill ravioli, medium size ones are good.

If any mix is left over it is really yummy spread on good rustic wholemeal toast for breakfast.

Broad Beans in Yogurt

Broad Bean (400g in their pods will serve 2)
Greek Yogurt
Mint, or other fresh herbs

1) Remove the beans from the pods.
2) Boil or steam the broad beans for two or three minutes until they are al dente.
3) Drain the beans and remove the thin film from each bean.
4) Mix the beans into the yogurt and add the fresh herbs to taste.