Thursday, 29 October 2009

Mackerel served with a delicious mango salsa

Mackerel is a delicious fish, it's sustainable and it's really cheap too, yet despite this it remains one of the most underrated, under appreciated fish.

One of the great things about mackerel is how amazingly quick it is to cook, 5 minutes in a pan and it's done, ready to serve. It's a bargain too, for this recipe I bought enough mackerel for three people for the grand total of £1!
I served my flash fried mackerel with a delicious mango salsa, it sounds weird but it really works! I based the recipe for the mango salsa on a recipe from the fantastic book Go Faster Food by Kate Percy, she suggests serving it with tuna steaks but it's equally delicious with mackerel.

For the salsa chop into smallish dice:
  • Half a mango
  • 2 or 3 de-seeded tomatoes
  • A small red onion
  • An avocado
Mix with:
  • A finely chopped chilli
  • A large bunch of fresh green coriander
  • 1-2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • The juice of a lime
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • A generous pinch of salt
Stir everything together and serve with grilled or fried mackerel.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Rocket risotto with scallops and crispy ham

Scallops seem to be very in vogue at the moment, if you watch Masterchef you'll have noticed that every other dish has scallops in it, not to mention they're on every restaurant menu and in every supermarket too. I didn't understand what all the fuss was about until I tried one at a food show in Birmingham last year, they are possibly the most delicious seafoody thing I've ever eaten! I picked up some perfectly fresh and delicious looking scallops last week, unfortunately they weren't in their shells but you can't win them all.
I wanted to cook a main dish with my scallops rather than the usual starter, I wanted to incorporate ham into the dish too. It's a delicious combination. I settled on making a risotto -nothing fancy, just a basic risotto- stirring through some peppery rocket leaves and serving the fried scallops on top with some crisped up ham.
Black forest ham
Although Parma ham would have been really tasty I used German Black Forest ham, it's similar in texture to Parma ham but has a darker colour and a smoky flavour. Well worth trying if you come across it, it tastes superb!

The risotto was really good way to serve scallops and the ham that I crisped up in a pan complimented the scallops perfectly. My scallop dish repertoire is extremely limited, I'd love some more ideas. How do you cook scallops?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A tribute to Keith Floyd

If you're from the UK and perhaps even if you're not then you'll probably have heard the sad news that Keith Floyd, TV chef, one of my food heroes and all round great guy died on September 14th. He was one of the first people to make cooking shows entertaining rather than just educational, his passion for food, his flamboyance and his willingness to visit unusual places and put himself in strange situations made his programmes unmissable TV. He will be sadly missed.

If you've never seen Keith Floyd then here's a classic Floyd moment.

As a tribute to Keith Floyd I made this Andalucian paella using his recipe. The recipe is quite basic, it's what I would consider to be a traditional recipe.I browned some chicken pieces in a paella pan, added rice which is cooked with onions and peppers in chicken stock for flavour. Then saffron and turmeric were added for both flavour and to give the rice a fantastic golden yellow colour. Just before the rice was cooked I added prawns, mussels, tomatoes and a handful of chopped parsley.Paella is undoubtedly one of my favourite dishes, it's brilliant for sharing if you have friends over. Just put the pan in the middle of the table with lemon quarters for squeezing over and let everyone dig in!

You can find the recipe for Keith Floyd' paella here.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Toffee apple muffins

Autumn is well and truly upon us now, the leaves are falling and there's definitely a chill in the air. It's not all bad though, with Autumn comes Autumn fruits, blackberries, plums, pears, and of course apples.

Bramley apples are undoubtedly one of the best varieties for cooking, they have a fantastic slightly sharp flavour which becomes sweeter and milder with cooking. They are perfect for adding to cakes and muffins which is exactly what I did.Toffee and apples is a truly delicious combination and it works fantastically well in these muffins.

I made a traditional muffin batter to which I added big chunks of peeled chopped apples, pieces of soft toffee and of course cinnamon. To give the muffins a nice crunch I sprinkled the tops with demerera sugar.Supermarket muffins are so often disappointing, being bland, doughy and with hardly any fruit. These muffins are so easy to make there's really no need to buy them again, they taste great too!

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 120ml Vegetable oil
  • 120 milk
  • A large handful of soft toffees chopped into chunks
  • 3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped (you could use other apples, try Cox or Granny Smith)
  • Demerera sugar for sprinkling
  • Preheat your oven to gas 4/180c and line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases
  • In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar)
  • Add the wet ingredients (eggs, oil, milk) to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix to a batter, a few lumps don't matter so don't over mix
  • Add the chopped apples and toffees to the batter mix in well then divide the mixture between the muffin cases.
  • Sprinkle the tops with the demerera sugar and bake for about 30 minutes
  • serve warm or cold