Wednesday 28 May 2014

Warm Broad Bean Potato Salad with Mint, Marjoram, Garlic and Lemon

We’re just on the cusp of broad bean season! I can’t wait, I absolutely love broad beans. I got my hands on some of the first ones at the supermarket and they were delicious. They happened to be babies but I love them nice and tender. The only thing about them when they’re that small is they are a bit more tedious to peel. I peeled mine for the purposes of this lovely picture but generally I can’t be bothered to go through all of that! If you want to do it fast, keep your beans in the freezer, boil a kettle and soak them for a few minutes under the boiled water. They should pop out of the case very fast. I wanted to try something fresh, and there’s nothing fresher than fresh boiled new potatoes boiled until al dente and tossed with a few humble ingredients. Simplicity at its best…this serves about four people as a side dish and as a vegetarian main course two. Enjoy!
Warm broad bean potato salad with mint, peas, marjoram, lemon and garlic.
Broad beans and mint are best friends!

600g new potatoes boiled till al dente
100g frozen peas
150g broad beans shelled
1 tbsp. good olive oil
Zest of one lemon
Handful mint and marjoram
Garlic cloves

To Assemble:
Get the potatoes boiling and peel the broad beans.
Zest the lemon and chop the herbs.
Crush as much garlic as you are happy to eat!
Put the frozen peas in a colander and drain the potatoes over them to thaw.
Mix the hot potatoes with the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic and herbs.
Serve immediately, or is okay served room temp or even cold!

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Vietnamese Meatball Buns with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

I’ve been experimenting with meatballs lately. I had some ground turkey and I wanted to make some Vietnamese flavoured ones; ideally they would have gone better with pork, but I only had turkey! They turned out fantastic! I really loved them. They’re basically my take on a bánh mì sandwich. Of course I also didn’t have any baguette either, but I had buns and it worked!! The flavours were all there. I even pickled some carrots and cucumber to give it an extra crunch, since the meatballs are soft. Top with fresh chillies and coriander you’ve got yourself a massive punch of flavour! As an added bonus I’m including the recipe for the spicy tomato sauce I made to go on the bread, if you’re feeling up to it turns into a delicious thick ketchup type of sauce, thick and glorious, wonderful on many things! This recipe can serve 2-3 depending on how many meatballs you make. I got 18 small meatballs out of this, and can fit about six in a sandwich. Enjoy!
Vietnamese Meatball Buns
My take on a bánh mì!

250g turkey breast mince
1 small red onion
1 chilli (or half depending on how hot they are)
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves also grated to a puree
1 spring onion
Small handful fresh coriander
Dash sesame oil
1-2 tbsp. soy sauce
50g bread crumbs soaked in a little milk
1 egg white

To start: (If you’re making the sauce, I would recommend starting that first; see bottom)
Dice finely, small red onion, chilli, coriander and spring onion.
Grate the ginger and garlic into a paste.
In a bowl, mix together minced turkey, soy sauce, sesame oil, bread crumbs, egg white and diced vegetables including ginger and garlic.
Mix thoroughly; hands are best here!

To Cook:
I used a non-stick skillet so I’m able to not use oil, if you’re using oil, only use a tablespoon or two to get it done.
Get the pan on high heat, while it’s heating make your meatballs.
It helps me if you get your hands wet before you dive into the mixture to make the balls.
Form into small 1-2 inch balls and set aside.
When the pan is hot, set them down and fry to get a good colour on them.
Try not to turn them before they’ve got the proper brown color because they’ll just stick and pull apart.
I like to put a bit of water in the pan and cover with a tight lid for a few minutes until they’re done.
Since they are small they will cook really fast.
When they’re done pop some sauce on a bun and get them in your tummy!

If you would like to pickle some vegetables to go with the sandwich all you need is the 1:1 ratio sugar to white vinegar. I use slightly less sugar because I prefer the punch of the vinegar.
Heat up the sugar vinegar mixture until the sugar is dissolved.
Slice some vegetables like carrot, cucumber, chillies and red onion finely and place in the solution and sit for about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Spicy Asian Tomato Sauce

To be honest, I know that tomato isn’t a base for many sauces in Asian cuisine but I wanted to make a thick bbq like sauce. This is dead simple, all you have to do is dump all of these ingredients into a pan, bring up to a boil and simmer for about an hour until it’s thick and syrupy.

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. fish sauce
3 tbsp. honey
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic diced or grated
1 knob ginger grated to a paste
1 tbsp. Chinese five spice
½ tsp. red chilli flakes (I used the hot Korean kind)

Friday 16 May 2014

Carne Guisada - A Tex-Mex Classic!

I made this recipe a few years ago and blogged about it, but I haven't made it since and I wanted to revisit the recipe, and tweak things and make it work again! In my childhood it was something I ate quite often. If it wasn't for my mother making it for me, I would be getting tacos at the local shop. It’s absolutely delicious and I never really thought about how it compares to other food in other countries. It really ends up being a stew, so I guess I would describe it as a Mexican stew. I even thought when I was done with it that it would be fantastic in a pie with a crust on it! Instead I went for tortillas, which will be cited below as a recipe. This is a simple dish made with cheap cuts of beef, stewed over a long period of time to make it completely tender and juicy. It’s easy to put this one on to cook and forget it, or you could even start it in a slow cooker although that wouldn’t be my personal preference. I decided to re-vamp the recipe and check all of the cooking times; the old recipe for reference is found here. There isn’t much I would change other than cooking it out a little longer. Depending on how you’re using this recipe, IE pie, or tacos or just simply on its own it can yield 2-4 servings.
Carne Guisada - Tex-Mex Classic
Served with hot fresh tortillas :)

400-500g lean diced stewing beef
2 green/red peppers
25g flour (about ¼ c.)
2 tbsp. tomato puree
4 cloves garlic
300ml water or beef stock
1 tbsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. Mexican dried oregano (regular oregano is fine)
½ tsp ground pepper
Salt to taste
Oil (if not using a non-stick pan)

To Start:
I don’t need oil because I use a non-stick pan, but if you aren’t, then heat oil in a large sauté pan.
Start to brown off the meat in a hot pan
Slice onions thinly along with the peppers.
Chop garlic – set aside.
Add to the pan and salt a bit to bring out some liquid.

To Finish:
When the peppers and onions have softened a bit add the garlic, cumin, oregano and flour.
Push the flour around in the pan for about 5 minutes cooking off the flour taste.
Next add the water/stock, and tomato puree, stir until well combined.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 1-2hrs.

Note: It’s easy for the liquid to evaporate so keep adding a little more in ¼ c. increments as needed every half hour or so. The meat will be done when the meat is tender and the sauce is a thick consistency. Happy cooking!

Monday 12 May 2014

The Egg and the Asparagus

There’s nothing better than simplicity, and right now that simplicity is a runny egg yolk, so velvety and smooth. It was made to have things dipped in it, or covered in as lush sauce. One of the other things I love along with eggs is asparagus. They go so well together, maybe even with a little Italian prosciutto, perhaps some sun dried tomatoes? There isn’t much to this recipe; in fact a lot can be left to the imagination here. For me, I’m going with just three ingredients and I know that everyone will know how to make a fried egg, or roasting some veg. It’s a simple fried egg on top of roasted asparagus with a touch of shaved parmesan right on top for seasoning. This makes a fantastic brunch, or starter. Super simple and super delicious when it’s in season! Serves 2.
Asparagus with a fried egg and parmesan.
Delicious yummy yolk. :)

400g fresh asparagus
2 large eggs
20g parmesan cheese

To Start:
Heat an oven to 200C (400F)
Cut off the woody bottoms of the asparagus and peel the ends off a bit with a vegetable peeler.
Drizzle with about ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stick in to roast for about 15-20 minutes.

To Finish:
When the asparagus is done, heat some oil in a non-stick pan.
Lightly drop the egg in and fry it ‘Sunny side up’.
Make sure to leave the yolk runny.
Arrange on a plate the asparagus and egg, top with lashings of shaved parmesan and serve.

How easy is that?!

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Moussaka with Courgettes - Recipe Re-Vamp with Potatoes

This is a recipe re-vamp. Some of my recipes I haven’t revisited in ages! Sometimes it’s good to go back and check to see if they actually work! He he! This one actually does, and it’s absolutely fantastic. In the original recipe Lamb Moussaka with Courgettes, I made it without potatoes for a low-carb meal. It works really well with courgettes but there’s no real benefit of courgette over aubergine, it’s just a change and something a bit different. Something I used to do then in the original recipe is the white sauce from a packet. Even though my cooking has grown so much today and I’m so used to doing everything homemade I stuck to the recipe and I made it with the white sauce packet. It really works! Pat on the back for me, and I will definitely use it as a shortcut in the future. The recipe has changed ever so slightly because I could only get hold of 400g of lamb mince (almost 1lb), and I weighed most of my ingredients to make it right. Enjoy, serves 4.
Lamb Moussaka with Courgettes - Potato Added

400g mince lamb
400g courgettes (about 3)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
350g potatoes peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
1 400g can tinned tomatoes
1 egg yolk
1 packet Colman’s savoury white sauce mix
300ml skimmed milk
50g light cheddar cheese finely shredded
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. flour
Pinch cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

To start:
Slice the courgettes very thinly lengthwise and place in a colander.
Salt liberally and leave to drain.
Dice the onion and garlic and set aside.

For the Cooking:
In a large sauté pan (hopefully non-stick), heat and brown the lamb, rendering as much fat out as you possibly can. Tip the fat off into a disposable container; you can also use a paper towel to swirl around to get some of the fat out.
Next add the onions and garlic soften for a few minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle on the flour stir for 2 minutes cooking out the flour.
Next add the tinned tomatoes and half a can of water.
Bring to a rapid boil and then turn down and reduce for about 20 minutes until a thick paste.
While that’s cooking down par boil your potatoes, peel and slice into 1cm slices and boil for about 5-7 minutes; drain and set aside.

To Assemble:
Rinse the courgettes off and pat dry.
Pour a spoonful of the sauce at the bottom of a casserole dish.
Lay the courgettes down and top with sauce, repeat until there are no more courgettes.
When the courgettes are gone, use the potatoes, and put some sauce on top.
Make the white sauce according to package; when thick add the egg yolk and about ¾ of the cheese.
Very carefully pour the sauce over the top of the casserole, trying to keep the white sauce all on top.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake in an 180C (350F) oven for about 30-45minutes until the top is golden brown.