Friday, August 31, 2012

Thai Red Prawn Curry with Bak Choi

Just couldn't resist making this,it's fast flavoursome hot and spicy, and I can get away with making this in the last days of Summer.

I found some gorgeous juicy fresh big Tiger Prawns in the Supermarket just had to have them, Shelled them and put the heads and shells in a pan with some water a bay leaf and some salt and brought to the boil then simmered for ten minutes, blitzed the shells with the hand blender, and put through a sieve into a pan which I put on to a boil to reduce this gorgeous stock. I then got on with making a raunchy Red Curry Paste.

In a dry pan, roast some Coriander and Cumin seeds over a medium heat for five minutes. Then add to a pestle and mortar and grind them down. The fragrance is mouth watering along with the stock aromas bubbling away.

I added the spice to the food processor along with, 4 red chillies with seeds , 2 stems of chopped lemon grass, a thumb of grated fresh Ginger 3 cloves of chopped garlic, the juice and zest of a lime 2 large spoonfuls of Paprika Picante,two chopped Shallots and chopped roasted Red Pepper.

Add a little oil and Blitz.

I put a little vegetable oil in the wok, got it smoking hot and added two Prawns in their shell added one spoon of the paste and cooked about 30 seconds each side and put them on a roasting tray in a pre heated oven at 200c for ten minutes.

Now take your Wok add some vegetable oil, get it very hot and add some chopped small Spring Onion and Red Pepper slices. after one minute add the fresh Prawns, moving it all the time along with three tablespoons of the red curry paste.

Give it a minute or so, then ladle in some of the Prawn shell stock, followed by a tin of Coconut Milk,turn the heat down add the Pak Choi a splash of Light Soy Sauce a splash of Fish sauce and some chopped basil and Parsley.

Serve in a bowl adding the Roasted Shelled Prawn from the oven, Taste it may need another squirt of Lime juice. Serve with some Jasmine Thai Rice. Amazing

Crispy Onion Bhaji

I am getting bored to sobs with Summer foods and wistfully longing for those Winter comfort foods we all love and adore.

Casseroles, Big Roast Beef joints with Yorkshire Puddings and above all the allure of spicy Curries.

I fell for Indian food thirty years ago, starting timidly with Creamy Korma's and gradually moving up to Vinaloo's! Such vibrant intense colourful flavours and the spicy Aromas.... I find it undoubtedly addictive.

Decided to settle on Onion Bhaji, after all it's only the end of August and I am in Spain! If I had to choose an Indian Starter or snack this would definitely lie up in the top two.

It has to be light and crisp, so I use a gram flour. It's a very simple recipe slice two onions into half moon rings and sauté in a high sided pan with vegetable oil. Add a tablespoon of Coriander seeds and some ground black pepper and salt and some dried Corriander

Takes around five minutes, meanwhile put a beaten egg in a large bowl add a cup of Gram flour and mix together with a fork,now add 2 tsp of Paprika picante, 1tsp of ground cumin and 1 tsp of Tumeric mix together adding some milk to get a batter.

Once the onions are cooked add them to the batter mixture add 4 or 5 tbsp of Vegetable Oil to the pan and get the oil so hot it's smoking. In small batches take a spoonful of the mixture and carefully add to the Hot Oil, it takes around a minute or so each side for them to take on that gorgeous golden colour. Take out and drain on kitchen towel then add to a roasting tin and cook in a preheated Oven at 220c for five minutes.

They will come out very light and crispy.The first spicy flavours of the Winter dishes to come. There is literally no better accompaniment than a simple Mint and Lemon Raita.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuna Salad

Just about every single Restaurant and Venta in Spain serves a version of Tuna Salad usually with sweetcorn which I think ruins it. Nothing wrong with Sweetcorn, who doesn't love fresh corn on the cob but the tinned variety are not great and don't add them to the salad, or anything else for that matter.

I don't use Mayonnaise, just the Oil from the tinned Tuna with a little Lemon juice. It is simply Iceberg Lettuce and Herb Leaves a little Romano lettuce some chopped tomatoes cucumber and a soft boiled egg. I chop some Spinach leaves finely as a substitute to Parsley.

You could add Red onion, I sometimes do and I often add Parmesan Cheese, I didn't do today. It made a lovely light vibrant lunch and surprisingly filling.

A proper Summers Lunch,two of my favourite words.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Baked Eggs with Spinach Tomato and Parmesan Cream

Served in a Ramekin as a starter, or in a larger dish as a Supper or Lunch dish this is quick rich and flavoursome.

Wilt some spinach in a pan and add to a Bechamel sauce, with some chopped fresh Tomato, grate in a generous amount of Parmesan cheese, make a little well in which to crack a fresh egg into and bake at 200c for five minutes for a soft and runny yolk.

I had this for Supper with some Crusty Bread and a glass or two of Chardonnay I enjoyed it is rich and it is not a dish I would have ofter but once in a while, why not.

Simple Pleasures

Once in a while I write a little post about a dish so simple, an almost guilty pleasure reminiscent of childhood and this is one of them.

Who doesn't just love good old fashioned Beans on toast? For me it has to be Heinz, but maybe thats an English thing, just isn't the same with any other brand. I do add a spoon or two of Tomato friti and a teaspoon at the end to drizzle some Chilli Oil over them, but they don't need it. I think I just add those tweaks to make it seem a little bit more grown up.

That was my Lunch today, and I thoroughly enjoyed it

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pollo a La Creme

I first had this classic dish in Santini's when I was Eighteen,it has forever been an absolute favourite, I rarely order in Restaurants these days as they simply don't know how to make it properly or can't.

I to this day serve it with Italian roast cubed potatoes with Rosemary and a simple vegetable of Spinach and I can assure you they are the finest accompaniments you can have! and the accompaniments Santini's always served.

Start by reducing a fresh home made Chicken stock by about half, do it properly Stock cubes just won't do with this dish.

Whilst that is reducing, Rehydrate some dried Porcini in a ladle of the stock and slice some fresh Button mushrooms, saute them in butter with a little drizzle of olive oil at a medium heat along with some very finely chopped Garlic.

They will take about 5 minutes to cook, add the mushrooms to the reduced chicken stock and add the hydrated Porcini and the stock you hydrated them in and keep on a simmer.

Clean out your pan and put it on max heat for five minutes. Add a generous knob of butter and touch of     oil and add your Chicken breasts, couple of minutes each side so they have taken on some colour,now add a glass of decent Brandy and Flambé. Before the flames go out add a glass of white wine and let it bubble and reduce.

Take out the chicken and put in a pre heated oven at 200c for about Fifteen minutes.

Add the stock and Mushroom mixture to the pan and keep reducing at full heat for ten minutes.

Take the chicken out the oven, add to the pan with the sauce add some cold butter, and whisk in a drop of fresh cream,some chopped Parsley and serve.

It doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I came across Oleoteca a new shop in Marbella on the Avda Miguel opposite Marbella Cafeteria specialising in Extra Virgin Olive Oils, the place is run by my new chum Claudia an absolute Aladdin's Cave for any cook worth his salt.

Spain is the worlds leading producer of Olive Oil, it's only in recent years that we have seen the emergence of individually branded top of the range Extra Virgin Olive Oils, previously a lot of Oil was bulk packed for export.

There is a wider range of aromas and tastes amongst Spanish Olive Oils than any other oil producing nation.

Some Oils taste smooth and sweet, others have great body and character and fruity aromas. I was a very impressed with the Extra Virgin Olive Oils which had added ingredients from the mediterranean diet, Garlic, Lemons, Chilli, Mushrooms these were divine,I tasted them all, just wonderful added to risottos, lifting a pasta dish on Salads in soups or over vegetables Grilled Meats, the possibility are endless really.

They had little samples to try in the shop,Claudia was an excellent guide if you are in Marbella have a look,it was not expensive and a little can go a long way.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mexican Inspired Fillet Steak

Who doesn't just adore Mexican food? But how often is the idea better than the food you actually get? more than often in my case. I wanted to create a dish with the flavours of Mexican food but keep it fresh which to my mind is where it it inevitably falls down.

I started with making a Red Pepper Tomato and Chilli Salsa. I fried finely chopped Garlic in Olive Oil until it was just about to colour, added Jarred Roasted Red Peppers and spooned in some chunks of Tomato and some very fiery Red Chillies. Turned the heat down add a little, no more than a couple of tablespoons of Chicken Stock.

Blitz with a hand blender. Now make a Guacamole and prepare the steaks.

I took the steaks out the fridge half an hour before cooking added some Light Soy Sauce and a little Olive Oil. I got my Griddle pan scorching hot and cooked a minute each side, put them in a roasting tray with a squirt of Lime juice and put in a pre heated oven for 3 minutes.

I used a pastry ring to the plate filled it with Guacamole, Added around the side of the ring some of my Salsa, then placed the Fillet on top after resting for 5 minutes, Added a little more Lime juice some freshly chopped coriander took off the ring, I was more than delighted with the result.

Fresh Vibrant Salsa, Flavoursome colourful Guacamole,And Rare juicy Steak, Acapulco on a plate


Andalusia in a glass, I have seen dozens of versions from jolly posh ones served in London restaurants in a bowl with chopped accompaniments, to Gazpacho made with added onion spices and God knows what, but to be honest this is a peasant dish, brought originally by the Romans,it is simple and should be so.

It's probably the dish most commonly consumed in Spain, It needs very fresh ingredients apart from the stale bread which is essential.

All it is, is fresh Tomatoes, Cucumber, Red Pepper or Green, Garlic, Olive Oil and some stale bread soaked in water with a little Sherry Vinegar, Seasoned with Salt and Pepper and blitzed with a hand Blender.
Refrigerate and always serve in glasses not Bowls with an extra glug of quality Olive Oil. This is a Summer Salad soup ,very Healthy. Don't be tempted to add other ingredients keep it rustic and simple and authentic.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Marinated Beef Kebab

I love kebabs, this is the kebab I dream of having at 3am on a Friday night,but never get! Never really understood why people don't make them properly all the time, just as easy to make it delicious as it is to make something overcooked and horrid.

Key is simple, firstly marinate your meat, I used a rib eye steak which I marinated only for a few hours in ground cumin, paprika picante (the hot one) lemon juice and a little olive oil.

The second secret is not to cook your meat and vegetables on the same skewer, the meat only takes a minute or so,the vegetables about 20 minutes
I always use a metal skewer for the vegetables and a wooden one for the meat, so the meat will stay pink in the middle.

I scatter some dried oregano and parsley over the vegetables and sprinkle with olive oil then season well with salt and pepper.

I serve with Pitta Bread half a lemon and a mint Yoghurt, I loved it

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gilthead Grey Bream

Gilthead Sea Bream, sounds completely horrid, And in most Restaurants in Spain,  I have to say it is Ghastly overcooked rubbery and disgusting. But it is up there with Turbot if you treat it with the love and respect it deserves.

It is without doubt one of the best dishes I serve, Cooked properly. The key, as in all fish is it needs to be fresh, this Bream came off the boat this morning. Look at the eyes feel the fish it should smell of no more than the Sea.

These babies weighed in at half a kilo a piece, Slash the fish to make grooves across its body, this helps the heat penetrate the fish and cook it evenly, it also helps all the lemon and herb flavours get into the fish.

Stuff the fish with fresh Parsley and Dill and wedges of Lemon, I rub dried Oregano into the skin with Rock Salt, Ground Pepper and Lemon Zest freshly grated.

Massage with a good glug of Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, getting into those grooves on both sides of the fish.

I then placed the fish on some Courgette Aubergine Red Pepper and Potatoes which I had pre baked for 20 minutes with a generous sprinkling of Olive Oil and seasoned with Salt and Pepper and dried Herb De Provence, at 200c

Cook for 35 minutes exactly, the fish is beautiful and white and comes away from the bone easily, if your fish is smaller then less, scatter some freshly chopped Parsley and for Gods sake don't overcook this. It was better than perfect, this is the Bentley of Fish and God Knows you have to try

Herb Croutons

Mediterranean Cooking seems to make a great deal more use of bread than we do in England, wether it be in stews, stuffing, Croutons in soups or roasted breadcrumbs over Pasta.

I make these little gems all the time usually from stale Ciabatta bread. There are loads of variations but I just break up the bread into 2cm chunks by hand , just rip and tear it up, I give a healthy glug of Olive Oil and add dried Herbs de Provence or Parsley sometimes some grated Parmesan cheese mix them all together with my hands add a bit more Oil if it needs it season with Salt and Pepper and put in the oven,take about ten minutes but be careful you have to watch them as they can suddenly go from Gold to burnt.

They are delicious and the crunchy texture is great against so many dishes,one of lifes simple pleasures

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tomato & Red Pepper Tortilla

I have always enjoyed a classic Spanish Tortilla with simply Onion and Potato, But for a change I like to add Spinach or as I have made tonight Tomatoes and Red Pepper.

Start as you would making a classic tortilla gently frying in about a centimetre of olive oil the cubes of potatoes and sliced onion until the onions and potatoes are golden, should take about half an hour.

Drain the potatoes and onions and add to a bowl of beaten egg mixture, about 3 eggs per tortilla.

Now saute the chopped Red Pepper and sliced Tomatoes only for about a minute and add those to your bowl of beaten egg mixture.

Season the mixture quite generously with salt and pepper.

In a small non stick frying pan add 1 tbsp of virgin olive oil and have the heat at medium,add your mixture and cook for two minutes using a spatula to round up the edges, the tricky bit is turning it! Put a plate over the pan turn upside down and slide the tortilla into the pan cook for another minute or two, don't overcook you want the Tortilla to be runny in the middle and serve.

Great as they are or serve cold as a tapas, try it, I usually have a glass of chilled Manzanilla with it and some crusty bread.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feta & Tomato Salad

It's got Greece written all over it...Well very nearly, My version does away with those black Olives and has herbed Croutons and Salsa Verde as a substitute dressing but it's all the better for it on a hot Summers Day.

Like any Salad, cut the Tomatoes in any shapes or slices you like, I do like to vary the cuts to make the salad more interesting. I do the same with Cucumber.

Then make a simple Salsa Verde with whatever fresh herbs you have. I happened to have a huge bunch of the freshest Parsley and some Mint and Basil from my Friends Bob and Jasmines garden. I mixed that with some Dijon Mustard White wine vinegar and Olive Oil and stirred with a spoon.

Pour that Salsa over those beautiful Tomatoes and Cucumber and add some Herbed Croutons, mix everything together with your fingers.

Now break up some Feta Cheese all over and carefully mix again, add a glug of Olive Oil a squeeze of fresh Lemon Season with Salt and Pepper and enjoy with a crisp White Wine,well chilled

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vodka Colonel

It is so hot and humid I just have to have this as a desert Vodka colonel. I first had this many moons ago in an Italian restaurant on the Amalfi coast, loved them in hot weather ever since.

There is nothing much to it,like most good things a simple lemon Sorbet made from beautiful Spanish lemons with Vodka poured over the top, but wow it's like a whole hillside of lemon trees frozen on a spoon, with the vodka acting like an anti freeze. You have absolutely got to try

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Roast Belly Pork

Sunday wouldn't be Sunday without a Roast, to be honest it was too hot and clammy to make a roast, but I did anyway.

Roast Belly Pork, this is a recipe partly Jamie Oliver partly with the help of The Ample Cook, I scored the skin with a Stanley knife and rubbed in rock salt ,turned it over and seasoned with salt and ground black pepper, put it in a heavy based roasting tin at 240c for 30 minutes.

The skin crisped up and went golden, at the end of the day this is all about crackling and juicy meat. I turned the oven down to 160c, half way between what Jamie suggests and the Ample cook!

After an hour, I lifted the meat to a board and added carrots,  garlic cloves, an onion chopped in half and some pre par boiled potatoes and thyme, then placed the meat on top turned up the heat to 180c and cooked for a further hour. The kitchen by this time had reached screeching temperatures it was like a wretched furnace, drank an Ice cold beer, which helped!

After the hour was up, I took the meat from the oven put on a board covered in tin foil, put the roast potatoes in a serving dish and kept warm discarded the carrot,Plated up the roast onion, spooned off the fat from the roasting tray to a bowl and added Chicken stock to the roasting tin and stirred scrapping all the black bits from the tray to make a lovely gravy,Poured through a sieve into a pan and kept on a low heat.

Then served and loved it,Make no mistake this really is an absolutely belting dish, But probably not mid August in Andalucia! Only mad dogs and Englishmen...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pollo Salteado

This is my Fathers dish, a true aficionado of Spain who came here in the 1960's travelled,learnt the language and learnt to play the Flamenco guitar.

His version I knew well as a child,I have adapted it a little, mostly because I live in Spain and have more ingredients readily available to make it more authentic.

Fry some chicken legs at a high heat in Olive Oil until they have taken colour, remove from the casserole pot and set aside with a sprinkling of rock salt.

I then add a little more Olive oil turning the heat down to a low setting and add a finely chopped Onion,   let it soften for at least five minutes, stirring all the time to stop it burning add two cloves of finely chopped garlic. I add a touch more Olive Oil over them and let them gently soften and add 1cm Slices of carrot. (about two to three Carrots in total)

Now add 1 tsp Pimenton Picante, 2 tsb Pimenton Dulce and a chopped dried Sweet Pepper. Then a few slices on Serrano Ham roughly chopped turn the heat up and add a glass and a half of white wine, let it reduce.

Then add a pint of chicken stock,bring to the boil,and reduce to a simmer,add two bay leaves...cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally

Before serving finely chop a handful of Fresh Parsley,half in the casserole,let it cook two or three minutes,and sprinkle the remaining half over the plate.

Its's a flavoursome hearty meal,great with Crusty Bread or in my case some Cannellini Beans cooked in Chicken stock with Rosemary and Drizzled in Olive Oil.

The carrots will still have a bite and the Chicken is succulent with the savoury sauce. Yummy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mario & Franco Zucchini Fritti

I first had this dish at Mario & Franco's "Trat" I loved it had lots since but their version was without doubt the best. I have tried lots of different ways of making them with varying degrees of success and failure,This recipe is the best I have achieved through trial and error,the key is the dry crispness.

I cut the courgettes lengthways into little batons about 3mm thick,then put them in a colander and dry them out with salt,about 30 minutes.I don't dip them in milk which most recipes call for just seasoned flour shaking off any excess and then leave them out at room temperature for another 15 minutes.

I put my deep Fat Fryer on it's hottest setting 190c, and cook them in small batches until they are golden and crisp, drain them on kitchen paper and serve immediately.

Make a lot they are addictive, both as a side dish or on their own with a basil mayonnaise dip, They always remind me of wonderful Lunches at the Trat!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

French Cod Provencal

The taste of Provence,Cod, on what is really Boulangere Potatoes with Tomatoes and Charred Peppers, the result is stunning.

Start by buttering a clay earthenware dish,then finely slice your potatoes and onion, layer in the dish. I then added some leftover Creamed Spinach in the first layer and continued with the second layer of potatoes with a liberal sprinkling of Herbs de Provence,I then Sliced some tomatoes and added some Red Pepper horizontally sliced added some dried Parsley, some knobs of butter some Vegetable stock,about half way up the Potatoes and placed in a pre heated oven at 220C for one hour.

The fragrance in the Kitchen as this cooks is wonderful...After an hour I added two Cod Fillets,and a little Noilly Prat to the dish,Pernod would be better,and cooked for around 7 minutes, could take longer or less depending on thickness of Cod,So keep looking,the fish should be opaque and easily flake but don't overcook, or you will kill the dish

Served with grated lemon zest and freshly chopped Parsleyand a couple of wedges of fresh lemon, Provence on a plate.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pollo Milanese

I love Costaletta Milanese, but didn't have any Veal cutlets today so used a Chicken breast. Milanese means the food of the people of Milan. Its such a scrumptious dish, in Italy its traditionally served with with a bowl tomato and Basil spaghetti and I would have done but August in Spain, it's just too hot, I had a tomato salad on the side.

I marinated the chicken in lemon juice parsley and garlic for around four hours. For the coating,I mixed a beaten egg with a drop of milk in a bowl.

On a plate I mixed Panco breadcrumbs with Finely grated Parmesan and added a tsb of dried Parsley, I seasoned the Chicken breasts which I had beaten down between to sheets of cling film and immersed them in the beaten egg mixture and then the breadcrumb mixtures wrapped loosely in baking paper and put in the fridge for ten minutes.

In a heavy based frying pan I heated a knob of butter with vegetable oil,enough to cover the whole of the base of the pan until almost smoking hot,and added the chicken sautéing, shaking the pan continuously for about 3 minutes each side added to a roasting tray on baking paper and put in a preheated oven at 200c. for 18 minutes.

Serve with a lemon wedge, perfect

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tomato & Basil Risotto

A lot of people in England are put off making a Risotto because they think it's slow and difficult, truth is it's a fast food, only takes twenty minutes and makes a change to Pasta.

It's not a dish I have often, but I had some fresh Chicken stock I had made from the carcass of the Roast Chicken, you can use stock cubes ,but you know I wouldn't won't be that good, it was the fact that I had this stock that I thought I really ought to make a risotto.

Start by heating olive oil in a pan add finely chopped onion and a clove of grated garlic and under a low heat cook slowly,stirring occasionally, takes around 5 minutes, until the onions and garlic are transparent, but be sure to give it five minutes.

Add the risotto rice and continue to cook for two minutes I turn the heat up slightly and when the rice is singing I add a glass of White Wine and stir.. add the chicken stock a ladle at a time,let it absorb into the rice and keep stirring.

After 15 minutes it is three quarters there,I take it off the heat,finely chop some basil and added chopped beef tomatoes and halves of little cherry tomatoes,  to another pan in Olive oil,quite hot..

Back to the risotto,add 5 cubes of butter about 200g and freshly grate a handful of  Parmesan cheese to make a rich creamy texture, risotto should not be dry.

I added the risotto to the Tomatoes added some chopped Parsley served on plates or bowls if you like grated a little more Parmesan and drizzled with Chilli Oil.

There are hundreds of variations,Pea and Mint, Wild Mushrooms, grated Truffle, Sliced Courgette, Pesto, Seafood you name it you can do it.

You can make the basic Risotto blanco in advance it will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Experiment.....

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre has always been an old favourite of mine, I just love it always have. It's rumoured to have originated in Maxim's of Paris in the 1920's the first restaurant I managed to spend over a thousand pounds for Dinner in the 1980's, still remember the Dinner long after the Girl I dined with is long forgotten.

It's so very much a dish of the 1920's there's a decadence, a richness about it thats hard to beat, there are a great many variations of it this is mine and to my mind the very best.

I used some matured Argentinian Rib Eye steak,took it from the fridge early to bring it to room temperature. Mixed some ground peppercorns with beef stock and reduced on high heat vigorously for about ten minutes got my griddle pan scarily hot and seared the steaks about one minute each side.

Then I added them to a frying pan on high heat that had some melted butter in,and added a glass of Brandy and Flambed, took the steaks out the pan and put in the oven for 4 minutes, added the reduced beef stock to the brandy and a glug of double cream, stir with a wooden spoon.

Remove the frying pan from the heat add the steaks from the oven and  some chopped Parsley..let it rest for five minutes the delicious juices will seep into the sauce, check the seasoning may need a pinch of salt I add a dribble of Worcestershire Sauce. Serve with a decent Claret and enjoy.....

Spanish Coolant

Scorching hot,I think it's the hottest day of the year, sat on the terrace with Rick Stein's French Odyssey   great book, enjoying the coldest San Miguel in the world in a frosted glass, Liquid coolant!! What a great life it really is......

Friday, August 10, 2012

Roast Chicken with Basil and Lemon

I adore all roast meats but Roast Chicken is always popular in our house,I wanted to give it a Summer twist so French Slow Roasted(see my previous post for Slow French Roast Chicken) but made a herb butter with a dozen basil leaves and a clove of Garlic bashed up in the pestle and mortar,with a small drizzle of Olive Oil to loosen it slightly, And some grated lemon zest and mixed into the butter to stuff under the skin and smothered over the legs and skin.

Stuffed the cavity with a lemon,which I blanched with the potatoes pricked it with a fork so the steam would escape into the bird put in handful Basil Stalks a bay leaf. Sprinkled from a height over the bird some dried parsley salt and Pepper, lemon zest and a little glug of Olive Oil.

I served with some roast potatoes which I had cooked with the chicken and then finished them off in a hot oven with some sunflower Oil until they were beautifully crisp and golden,and some Courgette sautéed in a little Olive Oil.Mind blowingly good.....

Quails Eggs

I have always loved fresh eggs, but Quails eggs are in a league of their own, they are beautiful to look at so pretty and always seem to me somehow luxurious, up there with Caviar,  but at a fraction of the price.
Great for an amuse bouche at Dinner parties placed in a sort of straw nest,so sociable everyone helping themselves to the little bundles of joy.
I simply boiled them in salted water with a splash of vinegar, at a simmer rather than a boil for two and a half minutes exactly, refreshed them under cold water and roll them on the plate to crack the shell which peels of relatively easily, well most of the time. It gives a runny centre and a firm white delicious dipped in a little salt

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spicy Hot Prawn and Courgette and Mint & Spinach Soup

This is undoubtedly the King of Soups, no question, Its mega,the ice cold Courgette and Spinach with the back drop of of fresh Mint and the hot Morunos Prawn, this is michelin star food without the grief.

Like everything I make it's not difficult you can make it, and it's the perfect Dinner Party dish without hassle

Start by frying some finely chopped shallots in olive oil, so that they are translucent not browned, add some chopped courgette and give a good stir around, then when they are heated through add chopped fresh Spinach

Now turn the heat to full blast and add a large glass of white wine,let that reduce for two or three minutes.

Add a pint of Chicken Stock,and reduce the heat,season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for ten minutes

Now add a handful of finely chopped Mint, and take off the heat. when its cooled slightly blitz with a hand blender and let chill in the fridge.

Marinate the Morunos Prawns, See previous post, and chill the bowls in the fridge.

Get your griddle pan or BBQ very hot and cook the marinated Prawns on skewers couple of minutes each side until they are pink and succulent, pour the soup into the chilled bowls, drizzle some Chilli Oil on top and place the skewered Prawn on top. The very best King of Soups in our house enjoy with a glass of Champagne,I have had several, heaven.......

Chilli Oil

This has got to be the easiest thing in the world to make, and yet people still buy a pre prepared bottle in the supermarket,never as good or as hot as doing it yourself.

I use this all the time,more than I do Pesto,it lifts any dish whether in Pasta, or in Sauces, dressings,or a few drops on grilled meat.

It doesn't have to be used to add heat, Chilli oil gives a subtle background flavouring if used in small amounts.

Simply put some fresh Chillies in a pan with olive oil, cook them so they sizzle and the oils come out add to a bottle or a bowl. I make a fresh batch every week.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cheese Platter

When I was a child Cheese was served after the meal,and a very welcome course it was, I would get the chance to sip my Fathers Port. Cheese for us tonight was a main course for supper with our old friend Evan.

I like all cheese,We had some Wensleydale with Cranberry,very much the star of the show with the usual suspects of Cheddar, Brie, and Red Leicester. I would have loved a stinky cheese a soft goats cheese, and we would,  but simply couldn't source it today.You have to try things, Cheese is the best way to experiment don't be afraid there are thousands of cheeses and to be honest be prepared to be surprised you may very well like what you thought you hated.

We served with a decent house claret nothing overly special but good enough,slices of Pear and compulsory graves, they kind of cleanse the palate between cheese's.

With the Board in the middle of the table, everyone digging in the conversation flows, very sociable dish which I will definitely have as a main course again and again,try it, experiment and for god's sake have a glass of wine

Monday, August 6, 2012

Morunos Prawn and Courgette Salad

I haven't had any prawns in weeks, they haven't been great in the market last week,today I found some gorgeous fresh prawns and absolutely had to have them, you know the feeling when you see something so good, you just have to have it and I kind of wanted a light and healthy dish to compensate the excess of the weekend.

I shelled and beheaded the fresh prawns, love that expression beheading, put them in a bowl with Morunos spice mix which is no more than crushed coriander and cumin seeds picante paprika and a little oregano,  crushed garlic,  splash sherry vinegar and olive oil, and left to marinade.

I grated a fresh courgette into a bowl finely sliced a red pepper,and added some herby salad leaves only a handful, and chopped some fresh parsley added a handful of that too.

I got my pan scorching hot and tipped in the prawns with the marinade and cooked for a 3 or 4 minutes until they were beautifully pink.

Dressed the salad with the juice of half a lemon, half a lime, a glug basaltic,plated up and pored the prawns in the spicy oil on top...what a joy and very filling, had a bottle of the lightest crispest Orvieto, a delight, please you have to try this quick flavoursome and easy