29 November 2013

Salmon in Foil with Wild Rice and Steamed Veggies

Last weekend I spent looking after my father and as a treat did him, a little improvised because of what I found in the fridge, this salmon with steamed carrots and broccoli and wild rice mix. It is dead easy and will take about 15 minutes max, but it needs to be done and served straight away. The amounts below serve 2.
Oh and apologies to veggie friends: salmon is hardly a vegetable…

What you need

  • tin foil
  • 300-400 g salmon fillet, ideally without skin
  • herbal salt
  • Bombay or Cajun spice mix
  • 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes, halved,
  • some flakes of butter
  • a generous dash of dry white wine

What you do

  1. Fold a piece of tin foil big large enough to hold the salmon so that the sides stand up and keep in any liquid.
  2. Put in the salmon fillet seasoned with herbal salt, then sprinkle with the spice mix.
  3. Cover the top of the fish with the halved cherry tomatoes. Add the butter flakes.
  4. Pour in a generous dash of dry white wine, to moisten the bottom but not enough to reach up further than the edge of the fillet.
  5. Put under the grill and allow to sit for between 8 and 10 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

Wild rice and steamed veggies

I would do this first, perhaps along with steaming the veggies. Sauté a tablespoon of chopped onions and garlic in a dash of olive oil, then add the rice and stir till glassy. Add the same volume of white wine, then  the same again in vegetable broth. Allow to simmer gently until the liquid is soaked up and the rice is dry (about 15-10 minutes). After adding the liquid I steam the veggies until they still have plenty of bite. I then put them in an ovenproof dish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some high quality olive oil. This can be kept hot in the same oven as the salmon if necessary. Alternatively, I use some pumpkin seed oil, which I add just before serving.

15 November 2013

Watercress and Spinach Cream Soup

We have quite a lot of spinach and watercress in the garden at the moment. This and the following recipe make use of this. The basis of this recipe Caroline found online, but with what we had in the garden and in the house, I have made a few changes. Caroline’s online recipe used ice cubes, I decided to use chilled sparkling water. The effect is the same, to shock-cool the wilted leaves, but, even though I have read of chefs who use it amongst other things in risotto, I would never have believed the claim that it makes the dishes “airier” or “fluffier” – but sparkling water really does seem to do this…

What you need

  • 400 g spinach and watercress leaves
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 generous nob of butter
  • 750 ml chilled sparkling mineral water
  • 1 tbsp veggie broth powder or 1 – 2 veggie stock cubes
  • 150 – 200 ml crème fraiche
  • salt if needed


What you do

  1. Sauté the shallots and garlic in butter until they are glassy.
  2. Wash the water cress and spinach, but leave plenty of water on the leaves.
  3. Wilt the watercress first (less than a minute) then add the spinach and stir until the leaves are soft, splashing with a little water if the pan goes to dry.
  4. Take off the heat, put in a liquidiser and quickly pour in the mineral water and get the leaves to the desired consistency. (I quite like them to be still a little leafy, others like them finely puréed.)
  5. Put back in the pan, add the stock powder or cube(s) and warm up (don’t boil) while blending in the crème fraiche.
  6. Serve with some freshly baked bread for a light supper. 

05 November 2013

Spanish Omelette with Bean Stew

Today was remarkable because my son Andri, who realises that, along with writing a song, cooking for a lady is a pretty good way to her heart, really did much of the work, from chopping to cooking.

What you need

  • 200 g of dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked until still pretty firm.
  • 5 largish potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 2 onions/shallots, one diced finely, the other quartered and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp Berbere
  • 250 ml tomato passata or chopped peeled tomatoes (supplemented with a tbsp tomato puree to thicken the stew if necessary)
  • 1 bell pepper in strips
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optionally ½ to 1 finely diced chilli pepper

What you do

  1. Fry the diced onion and the sliced potatoes in a generous dash olive oil until golden or lightly brown.
  2. Beat the eggs, add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the onions and potatoes.
  3. Cook on a low flame until the top of the egg is dry, then using a plate to flip over and fry on the other side.
  4. In the meantime sauté the onion and garlic slices in some more olive oil until the garlic begins to look crispy.
  5. Add the beans and the berbere as well as some salt and keep stirring.
  6. Pour in the wine and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato passata.
  7. Allow to simmer while the omelette is fully fried.
  8. Add the bell pepper strips and the chilli, if using, thicken with tomato purée should the stew be too liquidy.
  9. Season to taste.