Harissa salmon with wild garlic & herb couscous and roasted veg.

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Wild garlic is at is peak now for foraging and should be in most places over the UK in flower. I Love wild garlic and this year I have been experimenting more with it. I think people who come into my kitchen recently must be sick of smelling it, or even on me for that matter! ( Never thought about that until now! ) Also what is coming up great in my kitchen garden are the herbs. My fennel has lasted all through winter and is still going strong.

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One recipe that really stood out through developing was this one on how quick it takes to prepare and cook. Plus it is super healthy.

I don’t usually buy salmon purely on its cost and sustainability but I couldn’t get Loch trout which I would have used instead. I managed to find some Scottish salmon that was MSC certified which had a lovely taste.

Combining the lovely subtle fresh flavours of the wild garlic and herbs in the couscous makes this dish so light. I didn’t overpower the salmon either, just gives it a little gentle heat against everything else. This dish is perfect for lots of occasions and especially with Easter coming up it’s a lovely alternative if you don’t want to have Lamb or any other meats. One key factor to remember…Do not overcook the Salmon then it will keep it’s lovely flavour and just flake away nicely.

I paired this up with some lovely British tomatoes that look fantastic on the dish but if Im completely honest I don’t think they go with the rest of the dish. They have a beautiful taste roasted though. So that’s your choice on whether you put them on the dish or not.

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Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Salmon:

  • 2 responsilbly sourced Salmon fillets ( I used Scottish )
  • 1 tsp of dry Harissa spice mix/rub ( I use Spice Kitchen )
  • 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • Sprinkle of sea salt to season. I use pink himalayan salt on mine but any good quality will do.

Wild garlic and herb Couscous:

  • 150g of Couscous ( you might even have more left over for Lunch the next day )
  • 250ml of vegetable stock ( boiling water )or enough to just cover the Couscous
  • a handful of freshly picked wild garlic leaves, stalks off, washed and finely chopped ( Chiffonade )
  • A good handful of fresh herbs finely chopped such as: Chives, mint, green fennel or fronds of, chervil and parsley. If you can’t get the fennel or chervil use a little tarragon or dill.
  • A little salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.

Roasted vegetables:

  • 1 small red onion roughly diced
  • 1 small red pepper diced roughly
  • 1 small yellow pepper roughly diced
  • 1 stick of celery chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Small handful of lemon thyme, (if you can’t get this use normal thyme and a little lemon zest at the end of roasting)
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season.
  • British Vittoria tomatoes on the side ( optional )

 

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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180c fan.
  • Place vegetables in a roasting tin/dish with the lemon thyme and place in oven for 5 minutes.
  • Place Salmon after 5 minutes in a roasting dish, smother the harissa and oil over it, season and place in the oven also for approximately 12-15 mins or when salmon is cooked.

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  • Continue cooking the vegetables also.
  • Whilst these are in the oven together Pop your dry couscous into a bowl, cover with the vegetable stock and cover with cling film for 10 minutes. Leave aside.
  • At this point pop your tomatoes in the oven if you want to use them.
  • Then when all is ready in the oven, flake your couscous with a fork and will be fluffy at this point. Then add in your herbs and wild garlic, stir and leave to stand until all dished up together.
  • Serve altogether and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey, red pepper and chilli bolognese.

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I cook lots of traditional Italian ragu at home as I love the fact it just cooks for many hours on a slow cook and boy is it worth the wait at the end! I will post one at some point. However there are sometimes midweek when I love a “British” style bolognese but using turkey mince, it’s a lovely lighter alternative and great for children nutritional wise. Even better for adults!  More to the point, its quick to make and cheaper.

I’ve actually been meaning to post the recipe for sometime, truth be told I thought I had until I looked! This recipe is a slightly different version that I made by using up some peppers and chillies I had. My partner loved it and said it was better than the first version, I agree, but if you don’t want the peppers or chillies in it then follow the recipe and take those out.

If I’m making the “British style” bolognese like this one, I actually now prefer it with Turkey so If your young ones struggle a little with beef mince then give this recipe a try. Let me know how it went?

Also if you have any left either freeze it down or pop it on a jacket potato for your Lunch the next day.

 

Ingredients:

( Serves 4 )

  • 450g Turkey Mince
  • 2-3 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/2 large carrot or 1 small carrot finely diced
  • 1/2 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 mild chilli chopped finely
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 of chicken stock gel pot
  • a good splash of dry white wine ( optional )
  • Handful of fresh herbs chopped finely = Rosemary, sage and oregano
  • A good splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 250ml of water to hand if needed
  • Pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper to season

 

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Method:

  • Heat up your rapeseed oil for a few seconds in a frying pan until hot then fry your onions, carrot and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes then add in your mushrooms and stir.
  • Once your mushrooms are starting to colour add in your peppers and turkey mince. Then add in your garlic and fry until your mince is cooked.
  • Once the mince is cooked pop in your chillies, herbs, stock, wine and tomato puree. Stir for a further 2 minutes.
  • Then add your chopped tomatoes, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. If it starts to go dry, add in a little water. *** A good tip from me is pop your water into the chopped tomato can then none is wasted! ***
  • After this add in your Worcestershire sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until your sauce is lovely and thick. Season if needed.
  • Serve up with spaghetti or the pasta of your choice and add parmesan if you wish. Try a bit without first though.

 

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Cauliflower, leek and chorizo gratin with a parmesan crumb topping.

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So, this is my new blog. What do you think?

I thought what a better way to kick start it off but with a recipe that went out on last Friday for one of my regular shows I do for BBC Radio Leicester, “Food Friday” which I have done for a few years now. It’s on my friends show, that of course is the lovely Mr Ben Jackson. I love cooking on “Food Friday” as I love being able to help people think of ideas for the weekend. I normally do something seasonal, inexpensive, fridge raids/leftovers and family friendly recipes. You get the gist.

This dish is a simple recipe for a family of four all put together in one dish.It’s using seasonal ingredients at its best with a little something extra.

You could also have this as a side dish or starter in smaller sized dishes (how I have shown on the pictures). It’s a dish you really don’t need to be accurate with ingredients. You can play around with it a little, i.e if you don’t want to have the chorizo in it, its also great as that lovely parmesan crumb on top gives a special crunch. It would make a great dinner party dish that doesn’t have you slaving in the kitchen too.

It really is a super, simple supper that is inexpensive to make.

Click on this link to hear to me showing Ben and our listeners just how fabulous and easy it is to make.  

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Half way point!

Ingredients:

Depending on how big your dish is, this is based on serving 4 people in a 25cm gratin dish.

Gratin mix:

  •  1 whole head of cauliflower including using some of the leaves. Florets broken apart and sliced downwards to the stalks.
  • 1 leek sliced thinly
  • 1/2 chorizo ring ( approximately 100g ) chopped into smaller cubes
  • cheddar cheese grated, I used a mature British ( approximately 60-70g )
  • A sprig of thyme, if the leaves are quite large, chop them finely. My herbs are from my garden so I didn’t need to and just stripped off the leaves.
  • 300g carton of double cream ( you may not need to use it all, don’t cover the gratin mix with it )
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few knobs of Unsalted butter
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Crumb topping:

  •  2 slices of bread ( a few days old ) I used wholemeal which gives more flavour
  • 2 spring onions chopped roughly
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 2-3 tbsp Parmesan ( Parmigiana reggiano ) grated some in the crumb mix and some for on top

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At the finish, bubbling away nicely

 

Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 180c fan.

 

  •  Blanch off your cauliflower until just starting to soften.

 

  • In the meantime, in a blender/processor blitz together the ingredients for your topping.

 

  • In your chosen dish place a layer of cauliflower at the bottom. Then layer up with your leeks, chorizo, garlic, cheese and thyme. Then finish with cauliflower again on top.

 

  • Pour over your double cream and place your knobs of butter on top. Pop in the oven for 15 mins until things are starting to bubble and brown. Take out and put your crumb topping on. Place back in the oven for another 10 mins.

 

  • When golden brown onto, serve with perhaps some crusty bread, a nice salad and a lovely red wine.

 

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Diving in!

 

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Wheres that red wine and crusty bread?

Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:



Spring is underway now, tulips are in full bloom in gardens, birds are busy making nests and the weather is…well not the great today. However we have had some glorious days which means a certain Springtime ingredient is at it’s best now and that is wild garlic. I cannot get enough of this stuff every year and try and conserve it in ways I can enjoy it throughout the year. In this recipe, a butter. Once made and popped into the freezer, you certainly won’t be buying shop-bought Garlic bread anymore thats for sure!

This recipe is a quick way of turning some lamb chops into something a little bit more special using Spring’s seasonal ingredients. 
 The wild garlic butter gives colour and full flavour but still allowing the taste of lamb to come through.
 The butterbean mash gives an alternative to potatoes giving it a lighter feel and also being a little more frugal.
Finally, the medley of veg “ Petit pois a la Francais” is a lovely alternative to do as a side dish for this recipe, fish and chicken.



Here is the recording when I cooked this on BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson showing just how simple, quick yet so effective this recipe can be :- LISTEN HERE




Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:








Ingredients:
(serves 2)

  • 2-3 Spring lamb chops each depending on how big they are
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt ( I use pink himalayan but any will do ) and cracked black pepper to season

Wild garlic butter:

(Make this before hand and pop into the freezer)

  • A block of unsalted butter
  • a good handful of wild garlic ( if you haven’t got it, use normal garlic )
  • a handful of fresh herbs chopped- flat leaf parsley, basil, I had. You could use Rosemary instead if you wanted to.
  • 1/4-1/2 a lemon zest
  • season if you wish

Butterbean Mash:

  • 1 tin of Butterbeans drained and rinsed
  • a drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season


Medley of Veg:

  • 6-7 lettuce leaves such as romaine, little gem or the innards of a round lettuce
  • a few handfuls of frozen peas ( roughly 150g ) petit pois or garden peas defrosted and drained.
  • 3-4 spring onions or baby leeks cut into 3 including the green ends
  • 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
  • knob of butter
  • a couple of sprigs of garden mint chopped finely
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season 




Method:

  • Just cover your butterbeans in a saucepan with water, bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • In the meantime oil your lamb…not your pan and heat up your frying pan. Cook your Lamb for about 4 minutes each side for rare, more time for more well done.
  • Drain your butterbeans and crush/mash with a masher only slightly, drizzle with oil and season. Keep warm.

  • Rest your Lamb for about 5 minutes.

  •   Whilst this is resting bring to the boil your stock in 200ml of water and a knob of butter. Also season.

  • Add in your Spring onions and cook for a minute, then add in your lettuce and peas, cover and cook for a further minute.

  • Drain most of the liquid, add in a little more butter. Season if needed more, Pop in your chopped mint and stir.

–  Melt your Wild garlic butter.


–  Everything is now ready to serve.





Singapore stir-fried noodles with king prawns

I have a couple of Dishes that I always cook for myself be it every week or at least every other week and this recipe is one of them. I love eating all types of Asian cuisine but this is a great one to do if you don’t want to break the bank balance and order a takeaway.

  You may not have all the store cupboard ingredients in at first, but once you do have them in, you can use them for other recipes I will be doing or have already created, so they won’t go to waste and will last for a long time.

  This dish can be cooked in 10 minutes (15 if you include the prep), it’s a super quick, simple recipe that has lots of flavour in there of you. 
 If you are one of these people that when you order a Chinese takeaway you choose a chow mien dish and then put curry sauce on top of it, well this is the one for you! 

  This recipe can be cooked at any time of year and also is so great for using up any odd bits of vegetables you have in the fridge. Perfect for a Friday or Saturday before you do a shop for the next week ahead. 
 A Frugal takeaway made at home… A “Fake-away” 



Singapore stir-fried noodles with King Prawns:






Ingredients:
( Serves 2 approximately)
  •    A good handful of king prawns ( I normally would say at least 8 per person but I love Prawns!) I tend to buy a 225g frozen packet of raw or cooked ones as they are more economical. Just defrost thoroughly first.
  •  1/2 250g pack of  Singapore noodles ( thin type )( I buy mine from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)
  •  2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or groundnut oil
  •  2 Cloves of garlic chopped finely
  •  Thumbsize nail amount of fresh Ginger grated or chopped fine
  •  half a red chilli chopped finely
  •  1 small onion sliced
  •  2-3 Chestnut mushrooms or shitake sliced
  •  1 small carrot sliced thinly
  •  1/2 red pepper sliced lengthways 
  •  1/2 yellow pepper sliced lengthways
  •  1/4 celery stick sliced thinly on an angle 
  •  2-3 Chinese leaves sliced or you could use pak choi or even both( Again mine are from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)
  •  A good handful of Bean sprouts ( Wang Fung Hong as they are in bigger packs )
  •  2-3 spring onions sliced diagonally 
  •  small handful of chopped coriander to finish
(Stir fry sauce):
1 tbsp light soy sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
1 tbsp oyster sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
1/4 chicken stock pot
1 tbsp Chinese hot and spicy curry sauce concentrated paste ( Mine was from Wang Fung Hong ) you can use a mild or medium curry powder if you can’t find
pinch of caster sugar 
150 ml of water
Method:
*  Cook noodles to packet instructions and rinse under cold water to cool, if you don’t, they stick.
  •  In a wok add your oil and start to fry off your sliced onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms for a minute or two until starting to colour and soften.
  •  Add your Garlic, ginger and chilli but be careful not to burn, stir and then add in  the sliced peppers, and stir for about another minute.
  •  Then add in your prawns, chinese leaves or pak choi or both and continue to toss the ingredients around the wok.
  •  Start to add in your sauces i.e. soy, oyster, chicken stock and just make a little area by moving the veg away in the wok and pop in your curry paste, using a spoon stirr in the paste, add water and start to coat all the veg.
*  Add in your noodles, stir, add then spring onions and coriander plus if it needs a little extra of any sauces. Serve in a bowl and enjoy.