Sea bream in ‘crazy water’

I can’t tell you why this dish is called sea bream in ‘crazy water’. Even when I tried to do a little digging via the internet, there were only articles that repeated the question surrounding the name. I can tell you, however, that this is a very good dish, with simple and clean (no crazy) flavours. Just good fresh fish, amped up a bit with garlic, parsley, tomatoes, and chilli. This dish has little to it, but you don’t need a dictionary’s worth of ingredients to make something good.

Serves 2-3, as a light dinner.

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Passion fruit & lime marinated tuna

The days are finally getting a little bit longer and brighter, and I’m loving it. It’s not that I don’t like autumn or winter (I love them!), but after December and if there’s a decided lack of snow, my interest tends to wane a little…it’s not even that I long for warmer temperatures, I just prefer to come home and not have it be so pitch black my brain thinks it may as well be the middle of the night!

This dish was created when we were having an abundance of gorgeous tuna — whether we went to the farm shop halls or the local supermarket’s fish counter, slabs of tuna steaks were waiting for us, and often at a much cheaper price than usual. So I mean, we had to buy it then, right…?

And as much as I love a grilled piece of tuna steak, there’s something so amazingly fresh about tuna that it sometimes seems a shame to do anything to it. It’s probably why my family and I love sashimi so much — when you have a piece of fish this good, why try and change anything about it?

So here we have it; a dish that’s a bit of a ceviche and a bit of sashimi combined together. The passion fruit part is a little fussy, but goes wonderfully with the tuna to cut through its richness. It’s pretty handy for serving at a party or gathering, since you can pre-slice the fish and arrange on a plate, and make the dressing, and keep both in the fridge before plating up just before serving.

Feeds 4 as a starter. Read More

Harissa & rose water chicken wings with spicy mint yoghurt dip

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My family just loves wings. Partly because they’re usually pretty quick and easy, unless you’re going down the fried route (and even that doesn’t necessarily take too long), but mostly because they’re delicious of course. If you’re a person who hates eating meat on the bone, then there might be a problem. But in my opinion, you should try and change that hatred, cause so far you’re actually doing yourself a disfavour and missing out big time.

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These wings are an awesome combo of spicy, sweet and sticky. The rose water is mild, like a slight afternote, so there’s no soapy flavour here at all. If it really messes with your mind to have rose water in this dish, leave it out, I guess…though I do recommend you give it a go, just the once.

Serves 2-3, as a light lunch
Adapted from hereRead More

Parmesan & garlic stuffed swordfish rolls

I have never been all that crazy about pasta. Sorry, but it’s probably just not gonna happen. It hasn’t happened yet for twenty years, and I’m still not nuts about it. Like it’s good, but I will probably pass on it if I have the chance. Sometimes, this means people stare at me like I’m from outer space and ask “so that means you don’t like Italian food, then?”, which is totally false. But I guess for some people, Italian food begins and ends with pasta and pizza (which is probably why I have so many friends who have been rather whiney about the food when they’ve returned from a holiday in Italy).

And that just shouldn’t be the case. Yes, the Italians win at pizza and pasta (sorry Chicago, but your deep-dish style is just too much bread for my liking, and I love bread), but their cuisine goes beyond that. Which is why, we come to this recipe. I find it just as comforting and slightly-naughty like a bowl of pasta, but betterYeah, sorry, I went there. It’s the perfect way to keep the meatiness of swordfish still succulent, but keeping all the great flavours from the slightly burnt, crusty bits that sear on the pan, and when those crispy bits get soaked up by the white wine sauce? Oh, man. This one’s a goody. I hope you love it just as much as my family do, because it’s become a real favourite treat when set on the dinner table at our house.

Serves 4 with sides.  Read More

Pork meatballs in lemongrass coconut curry sauce

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I cannot believe there’s finally some nice summery weather, and I have a cold. Really? Why, body, why? I guess it’s because I’m finally relaxed after leaving university for the summer and returning to home home, but I can’t say I’m a fan.

And as a pick-me-up, we have these meatballs. There’s something comforting about them, with the quietly warm spiced coconut curry sauce that combines ginger and lemongrass and cardamom to name just a few, and the gentle heat of the chilli in the meatballs. Here’s to hoping they help to kick this stupid cold.

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I chose to bulk it up just a little with some sliced shiitake mushrooms, though other meaty mushrooms, like oyster mushrooms, would do a fine job too. To make it a full meal, I added my father’s favourite; rice cakes. I don’t know what it is about rice cakes, but he absolutely adores them. So he was happy.

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And there’s my new little addition to my bowls for photography and styling, as I mentioned in my instagram post. Ain’t it cute? It came pretty cheap too, so I’m pretty pleased. It looks nice against the warm yellows of this dish.

Serves 3-4, as a light meal.  Read More

Soy & ginger chicken wings with pickled radishes

They’re certainly messy, but I do like making (and eating) chicken wings. They feel a bit like bar food, but you can pick up a pack of like 20 of them for almost nothing here in England, and they make a great family lunch for all of us, and all things considered, don’t take all that long. I think they’re more popular over in the States, but the UK is slowly catching on in my opinion, since the town close to us has chicken wings popping up on menus all over the place these days.

(One thing that does confuse me though, is that I’ve seen the phrase “boneless chicken wings” (mainly on America-centric websites) and surely then it just becomes a chicken nugget?? It’s just one of those weird little things that niggle me ever since I’ve seen it)

These are just marinated and grilled in a simple soy, ginger, garlic and honey mixture, which is slightly salty and sweet, and served with a quick home-made radish pickle that pickles as you cook the chicken. Obviously, you’ll get the best results if you marinate the chicken wings overnight, but don’t sweat it if you find you’re starting barely an hour before you want to eat. Just make sure  to glaze the chicken wings constantly as you BBQ them (which I recommend over the oven, because that BBQ flavour is something you can’t cheat at).

Serves 2-3 as a light lunch. Read More

Soy-fried prawn and steak noodle soup bowl

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I love bowls of noodles, filled with comforting soup and various toppings. It feels like a cure for sickness. There’s something so lovely about warm noodle soup, whether it’s summer or winter.

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This version is the fancy kind, like an upgraded noodle bowl. I chose a nicer piece of steak (rump, to be precise because I prefer it over sirloin) so though it ended up with smaller amounts for each person, the bits we had were lovely. But more importantly, I don’t find that you need that much meat in any case, because there’s so many other lovely things alongside the steak in the noodle bowl.

Like the prawns, which are flash-fried in soy sauce so that the latter kind of caramelises around the shell of the prawn, and creates a delicious, slightly smokey flavour that really sets in when you peel them. If you’ve never had prawns this way, I suggest you try it, with or without the noodles — it’s my favourite way of cooking shell-on prawns or langoustines, or even crawfish!

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As you may have read before, I love recipes where elements are easily swapped or changed or added or detracted. So this recipe is my kind of heaven. Don’t fancy steak? Just sub in some slow cooked pork belly, some teriyaki chicken, or some baked tofu. Don’t want prawns? Change it for some other type of seafood, or skip it altogether and add more of the mushrooms. Don’t like parsley or mint? Try coriander. Prefer egg noodles to rice udon noodles? Go ahead. Want to change the vegetable stock? Go ahead.

It’s a superb sort of base recipe to implement your ideas and what you fancy on the day. So have fun, and get creating!

Makes enough for 3 light dinners, or more for 2 people.  Read More