Salt and Two Pepper Prawns

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Ingredients

1kg raw banana prawns, peeled, tails intact

50g rice flour

1-2 teaspoons salt flakes

6 peppercorns

1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns

Oil for deep frying

Method

In a mortar, crush the salt and peppercorns.

Combine the pepper powder and flour in a bowl.

Heat the oil until a piece of bread sizzles when added.

In batches, dip 5-8 prawns in the flour mix, cover completely and drop into the oil.

Cook until fully cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Repeat with the remaining prawns, keeping the batches small so you don’t over crowd the pan.

Place the prawns on your serving plate and season again with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Blue Cheese

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These are great way to use up a small piece of cheese and make it the star of a dish. I have used a little Gorgonzola here but feel free to use what ever you have in the fridge.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

4 large portobello mushrooms

100g sundried tomatoes, chopped with scissors

10mls oil from the sundried tomatoes

80g red onion, finely diced

4 large basil leaves, chopped roughly

30g blue cheese

salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms.

In a bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, oil from the jar, finely diced red onion and basil.

Spoon into the mushrooms.

Divide the cheese into four and crumble  over each mushroom.

Season well.

Bake for 15mins.

Salmon Ceviche

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I love the freshness of salmon prepared this way.

We have this as one of our tapas plates, something that just needs mixed at the last minute is very handy when you have lots of things happening on the stove!

You can prepare the onion ahead of time and have the salmon chopped along with the herbs, ready to be combined at the last minute.

Obviously, your salmon needs to be as fresh as possible, I buy the sashimi grade salmon from the fishmonger, he very kindly prepares a fresh fish whenever he knows it is for sashimi, sushi or ceviche, I’m very lucky!

Serves 2 as a starter.

Ingredients

1/2 small red onion, very finely sliced

250mls warm water

150g salmon fillet, skin and brown meat removed

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

salt and pepper

Method

Pour the warm water into a bowl and add the onion, allow to soak for ten minutes.

Drain the onion and squeeze dry on some kitchen towel.

Cut the salmon into small pieces, around 5mm.

When ready to serve, stir the salmon, lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper together.

Line the serving dish with the onion and top with the salmon.

 

Jerk Chicken

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The boys love this, possibly because it means they can say jerk without getting in trouble!

There is enough spice mix here for one large chicken but to be honest I normally make triple and keep it in a jar for three months as we use it regularly, it’s so handy when you just need to find lime juice and vinegar and only one spice jar.

As with many of my recipes, this is not authentic, the traditional spicy chillies that should be used are a no no with one of my sons and I use the powdered garlic and onion to save time and allow me to have a stash in the spice drawer.

I like to buy a whole chook and cut it up, I find wielding a cleaver very satisfying at the best of times! It’s a good skill to have as you are left with the spine and neck which I roast along with the pieces and then use this and the bones from the pieces for making stock. Jerk bones make lovely bean based soups!

Serves 6.

Ingredients

4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground all spice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground onion powder

1 teaspoon ground garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon brown sugar

juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1.8kg chicken, cut into 10 pieces

Method

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix really well.

Cover and refrigerate overnight, if you have time.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Spread the chicken out on the baking parchment, skin side up.

Bake for 25 minutes and then baste regularly until fully cooked and the skin is crispy, around 50-60 minutes total.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Beetroot and Parsnip Rosti With Eggs

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These are so versatile and a nice change from potato rosti or latkes.

Great for breakfast or brunch with an egg or dinner with  barbecued fish and salad.

If you are having eggs with these, I just use the pan that I have cooked the rosti in and fry the eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little pinch of smoked paprika, yummy!

Makes 14 rosti. You can make these ahead of time, once you have fried them, lay them onto the baking sheets and refrigerate until needed.

Ingredients

700g beetroots, peeled

320g parsnips, peeled

30g chives

70g cornflour

3 eggs

1 tablespoon ground cumin

a pinch of chilli flakes

salt and pepper

oil to fry

Method

Using a mandolin or grater, grate the beetroot and parsnip into a large bowl.

Snip the chives into the bowl with the beetroot and parsnip.

In a small bowl, weigh the cornflour, crack the eggs into the cornflour and whisk well.

Add the cumin and chilli to the egg mix and season well.

Pour the egg mix into the vegetables and stir well.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat with enough oil to cover the base.

Take a spoonful of the vegetables and tip onto the pan, use the side of the spoon to spread it a little.

Repeat until the pan is full, I can fit three rosti in my pan.

Cook for three minutes and then flip and cook again for three minutes.

Remove and allow to drain on kitchen towel before placing on the prepared baking sheet.

Continue to cook the remaining rosti.

Once you have finished with all of the rosti, pop them into the oven for ten minutes to crisp up.

Crystallised Ginger Shortbread

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I have mentioned my love for shortbread before, I was brought up on the stuff!

This is another twist on a classic, my Grannie loved crystallised ginger, I think that she would approve of this!

I often makes these as mini biscuits for the lunch boxes, around 2cm diameter. To make the shortbread this size it is easiest to break the dough into four pieces and roll them individually.

Makes 30.

Ingredients

220g butter, room temperature and diced

90g caster sugar plus extra for dusting

330g plain flour

70g crystallised ginger

Method

Process or beat the butter and sugar until creamed and light.

If using a processor add the flour and ginger and process until it forms a ball.

If making by hand, chop the ginger finely, add to the butter mix with the flour and combine well.

Cover a piece of cling wrap with a little extra sugar, and form the dough into a sausage, around 4-5 cm diameter, and roll in the sugar.

Wrap the rolled sausage in the cling wrap and pop in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade.

Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Take the dough out of the fridge and slice into rounds about 5mm thick.

Place the dough on the baking sheets and bake for 25mins until golden.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Salade Nicoise

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My version of the French classic, so good even my boys eat it all, including the anchovies!

The anchovies have a little soak in the milk to reduce the saltiness and make them more palatable to the boys, a thirty minute soak and then dried on paper towel is ideal.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

425g tin tuna in olive oil, drained

8 anchovies in oil, drained

60mls milk

4 eggs, hard boiled, halved

8 kalamata olives

1 teaspoon baby capers in vinegar, rinsed

160g snow peas, string removed, cut in three lengthwise

3 spring onions, topped and tailed, finely sliced

200g mixed lettuce leaves

DRESSING

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper

Method

Prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and set aside.

Layer the anchovies in a small bowl and pour over the milk, give them a wee swirl and then set aside for thirty minutes.

Remove the anchovies and dry on kitchen towel, discard the milk.

I tend to layer the salad, keeping a few pieces from each ingredient back, toss gently and then top with the reserved pieces.

Dress the salad and serve.