There’s nothing more I like that cooking outdoors. Wherever I can do it, I will. Yesterday was in my lovely little garden which is great as I can pick whatever herbs, fruit and vegetables I want. I get really bored of typical bbq food, i.e. burgers, hot dogs, sausages etc…that a lot of us Brits do. So if you are like me and want to cook something easy but a little more adventurous then this recipe will be for you. Especially if you like seafood!
The only thing I would stress is that cooking outdoors, some bbq’s, fire pits, outdoor ovens with have different strengths to how hot they are and how quick things will cook. It also will change in time to how much other ingredients you put in there along with the mussels.
( Serves two as a main course portion )
- A 1kg bag of fresh Mussels ( Mine were Scottish )
- half an onion diced finely
- 1 small courgette diced finely
- A good handful of tomatoes. Sliced in half. I used my own homegrown ones which were golden ones and some piccolo red ones.
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- A few slices of a funnel bulb diced finely and also a few fronds
- A handful of parsley ripped roughly
- a pinch of sea salt
- A good splash of white wine. I used Sauvignon blanc. Plus a good splash for yourself!
- 2 knobs of unsalted butter
- Also I used a branch of bay, thyme and Rosemary to smoke underneath the embers. The smell is amazing!
- De-beard and clean your mussels including taking off any barnacles. Rinse them under cold water.
- Make a bag/parcel with foil and place in your Mussels plus all other vegetables and herbs. Add your wine and place the butter over everything.
- Close up your foil parcel and place onto your bbq.
- This will Cook for roughly 12-15 minutes ( Times may vary ) If you are cooking with just the mussels, it will take less time.
- After half way through take off and check how far it is cooking. Stir will a spoon and place back on the bbq.
- When everything is cooked through, take off, pour into large bowls and serve with some crusty buttered bread.
Even with how many recipes I develop on a day to day basis, it still begins to amaze me when a dish turns out fantastically especially when you were just using the odd thing up in your cupboards and fridge.
It was last month on a Sunday and I said to my partner I was going to do a bit of a fridge/cupboard raid for dinner. I called it a chasseur at the time just because it was cooked in red wine but I’ve decided to call it a casserole as it was cooked the same way.
This recipe blew my mind with how the red wine tasted in it. The wine I use isn’t too expensive but one of which we love in our house. A South African Stellenbosch.
Earlier on in the day we had been to our local garden centre to actually look for another blueberry plant to help with pollination. We did get one. However when we first turned up, they had these huge King cabbages for sale at only 40p! As you can see by the picture below, it had these vivid green and purple tones that were just mesmerising. I knew it would taste nice and would stretch to lots of meals for us.
This was the sort of meal that for an occasion, date night maybe or a Sunday that you are fed up of the same roast, this a great alternative and so easy to cook. It somehow feels a little extra special but still comforting and warming at its best.
- 3 chicken breasts ( Or 1 per person )
- 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 1 onion diced
- 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- a knob of unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped/sliced however you like
- 1 large leek sliced
- 1/2 celery stick chopped
- 3/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- a sprig of thyme
- a good handful of chervil, if you can’t get use a little parsley and tarragon
- 250ml red wine ( I used a South African Stellenbosch )
- 1 tbsp tomato puree, may need to use a little more
- Chicken stock, Use a 1/4 gel pot or homemade. You need enough to create a lovely sauce. I used about 300ml of water. Add more if need be.
- salt and cracked black pepper to season
- 6/7 medium sized potatoes, I use marfona Peeled and chopped into squares
- A handful of rosemary
- 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
- Plain flour for dusting
- sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
- 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- Preheat your oven to 190c
- In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, seal off the chicken breasts in some rapeseed oil.
- Take out your chicken once starting to colour and pop aside. Then in the same pan add a little more oil and a knob of unsalted butter and fry off your onions until starting to soften.
- Add in your carrots and celery and stir. Then add all other ingredients . Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 45 mins-hour.
- In the mean time you can prepare and cook your potatoes. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3-4 mins.
- Drain and sprinkle your flour over the potatoes coating them.
- Place a baking/roasting tray in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in it. Once hot pop the potatoes onto it ( it should sizzle ) with the herbs and garlic and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or when crispy, golden brown.
- Once the casserole and potatoes are done. Best way to cook this cabbage is boil your water first and then once rapidly boiling plunge into the hot water. It will only need about 4-5 minutes cooking maximum and will stay vivid green.
- Once the cabbage is cooked, serve all together and enjoy.
I actually did this recipe back in June this year for my column but I thought it would be perfect to share now as a nice meal change in-between all that Christmas shopping.
These fishcakes are a great alternative for a fish Friday supper. The green bean salsa gives it more of a lighter feel but will still fill you up.
So I wanted to show you how easy making fishcakes can be, as having no egg and breadcrumbs to this recipe, it takes less time. Also this version is healthier than the usual mashed potato used with butter and cream.
I have added the peas into the fishcakes as it’s a great way of getting vegetables into your children’s diet.
You can use other strong fish in this recipe but I prefer the mackerel and its great for budget shopping.
This dish will be a perfect, lighter alternative for you before all that meat is consumed over Christmas.
Oh and a little tip from me also…they are great eaten cold the day after.
Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa:
- 2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil for frying
- handful of plain flour to dust the fishcakes
- 4 skinned Fresh Smoked mackerel fillets
- 2 Spring onions chopped
- 500g bag of Jersey Royal potatoes or any other New potatoes halved
- A good Handful of petit pops defrosted and drained
- fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- A good squeeze of lemon
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
Green bean salsa
- Fine green beans blanched for 3 minutes and halved
- 2 large tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1 medium red onion diced finely
- small handful of baby capers chopped
- half a 180g tin of sweetcorn drained
- Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste as above
- Boil your potatoes until just starting to break/soften
- Blanch your green beans for about 3 minutes as they still need a “bite” to them then place into ice cold water
- When your potatoes are done crush them using a potato masher, leaving them still with chunks and add a little seasoning to them.
- Take a bowl, pop in your crushed potatoes, flake in your smoked mackerel but also leave chunky.
- Add spring onions, peas, lemon and seasoning and mix together with your hands.
- Start to form in your hand a ball like shape and flatten to form a fishcake. dust in flour and place on a plate.
- Continue with the rest of the mixture.
* If you aren’t using them all, you can freeze at this stage.
- Once all formed, in a frying pan heat a little oil and start to fry. Turning every couple of minutes. Once golden brown after approximately 5-6 minutes, they will be done.
- Place all fishcakes onto Kitchen paper to drain the oil.
* Put all your salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve.
This recipe sent me back thinking to my childhood, not because it was something we always ate, but because it reflected on something that happens all over our country at this time of year, in Churches, schools, Farm shops and that is of course…The Harvest festival.
Farmers and vegetable growers of all levels gather their crops in Autumn as a celebration to show the general public where their food comes from and also it’s a chance to raise money for Charity.
Last Saturday was also the start of British food Fortnight, (19th Sep-4th Oct 2015) so the two fit perfectly together.
This soup is packed full of most vegetables that are being harvested now and they certainly were from my little Kitchen garden that Im so very proud of.
Soup always makes me feel good inside and warm,when Ive had it. Maybe after a long day or when a cold is drawing near. With this recipe, Im sure it will give you quite an amount of your Five-a day.
This is a one pot dish that is so economical but with the added pearl barley and lots of vegetables it will keep you feeling full – Fit for the Harvest festival!
Tomato Barley and vegetable soup:
( Serves 4 approximately)
- 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- a couple of handfuls of pearl barley
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 Large carrot finely diced
- 1 large celery stick finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or grated
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp of tomato puree
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 leek finely sliced
- 1 gel pot of vegetable stock or Chicken stock
- handful of fresh herbs : Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary finely chopped
- 1-2 runner beans sliced
- 1 courgette chopped finely
- salt and cracked black pepper to season
- Handful of finely chopped fresh basil to finish
- Cook Pearl barley to packet instructions but add in some stock to your water, whichever you are using.
- Sweat off your carrot and celery with your rapeseed oil in a pan for a minute or two, then add in your onions. Cook until starting to soften.
- Then add in your sliced leek, stir and sweat down for about 2 minutes. Add in your Garlic and stir again.
- Pop in your chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar and turn down the heat slightly. Stir in your stock and add about 1/2 litre of water. (I prefer to add as I go)
- Leave this now to simmer away for about 15-20 minutes allowing your veg to soften. Keep checking and if it needs more water, add a little more.
- After this point, add in your courgettes and runner beans and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Then add in your cooked pearl barley and herbs, stir, add more water if it needs it and cook until your beans and courgettes are softened.
- Taste and see if it requires seasoning or sometimes a little sugar if tart.
– Serve into bowls, sprinkle on the basil and dive in with some crusty bread.
So last weekend was August Bank Holiday weekend, the last of the year. I was on BBC Radio Leicester for my regular cooking slot with Ben Jackson on his show on the Friday and I was determined more than ever to keep summer alive for one last time at least this year. I’d met Ben for Lunch earlier on that week and already Ben was talking about Blackberries, chutneys etc… The reaction from me was just not yet, not THIS weekend.
As you know by now, all of my spices are from Spice Kitchen and they have sent me recently some extra Middle Eastern and African spices to develop with. One in the pack is Berbere which is an Ethiopian spice and is amazing! Lovely flavours with a slight kick of chilli as you’ll hear in the recording.
I used salmon as I just happened to still have more in the freezer from the Whole one I bought for only a fiver! But you could use other fish such as Loch trout, pollack, coley or even turkey or chicken. I teamed this up with a melange of colourful, garden, summer vegetables to try and keep that summer feeling alive.
Little did I know how quickly the weather would change this week. So if you aren’t ready to bring out the casserole pot out yet, this is for you.
Listen here to hear myself and Ben on the Radio:
Berbere spiced salmon with warm summer garden vegetables:
* Please excuse some of the pictures as I sometimes forget to take photos and just dive into the food! Including Ben.
(2 people approximately)
– 2 salmon fillets
– 2 tsp of Berbere spice ( Ethiopian spice ) Or you could use, piri piri, cajun, jerk etc Mine is from Spice Kitchen
– salt and cracked black pepper to season
– a couple of slices of red chilli chopped finely
– Few sprigs of fresh coriander
– 1 slice of lemon
For the Garden Vegetables:
– 1 tbsp Rapeseed oil
– 1 red pepper sliced lengthways
– 1 orange pepper sliced lengthways
– 1 courgette sliced into ribbons
– 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
– 1 small red onion sliced
– 1 Corn on the cob ( kernels taken off when cooked )
– handful of cherry tomatoes sliced
– a couple of slices of red chilli chopped finely
– handful of fresh herbs: Oregano, lemon thyme and mint chopped finely
– Salt and cracked black pepper to season
– chopped fresh coriander to finish
– Marinate salmon fillets with berbere spice and season a little for at least an hour ( the longer you can the better)
– Preheat oven to 190c
– Pop on a pan of water to boil for your Sweetcorn and cook until tender
– Pop salmon into foil in a ceramic/metal baking tray. Pop a little water into the foil. Place lemon, coriander and chilli on top of salmon and create a little parcel. Place into the oven for approximately 10- 12 minutes
– Drain off your sweetcorn and pop aside to cool slightly
– Fry of peppers in a frying pan, stir for a couple of minutes. Add your onion and cool for a further minute or two.
– Add to your mix your Garlic and Tomatoes. Then your Courgette ribbons. Cook for a minute or two and stir.
– Take off your sweetcorn kernels with a knife and add to your vegetable mixture. You could even grill the sweetcorn or bbq.
– Add the fresh herbs and chilli, season to finish if needed.
– Take out your salmon, serve vegetables on a plate, pop on salmon and juices and finish with fresh coriander.