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

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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

Honey-roast figs and mozzarella on sourdough toast

Ah, figs and cheese on toast. This isn’t really bringing anything revolutionary to the table, but let’s be honest, I’m not even trying to do so. This combo is a classic, and for good reason. This is another assembley-list with figs, but I love figs on toast, and I also just sort of wanted to show off my pictures for this one (shameless).

Serves 4, as a snack.

You’ll be needing;

4 slices of sourdough bread
4 figs, halved
2 tbsp of runny honey
pinch of sea salt
200g of mozzarella
black pepper for serving

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly oil a small roasting tin, and pop in the fig halves. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle over the sea salt, and roast for twenty minutes. Near the end of the roasting time, preheat the grill (or BBQ, I guess), and grill the bread on one side, before turning over, tearing the mozzarella and scattering it over the toast. Grill again until the cheese has melted, then remove both the toast and figs from the heat.

Serve two fig halves over each slice of toast, and finish with some cracked black pepper if desired.

Fig, goat’s cheese & rocket pizza

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I am so over store-bought pizzas. I guess I should be saying I’m over a lot of store-bought pizzas, but store-bought pizzas are just depressing me lately. Soggy crust, or just plain uncooked and floury, too much toppings or too little, not enough crunch, not enough flavour–no thanks.

Thankfully, what I am so into at the moment, is making my own pizzas. Okay, I cheat a little because I usually use a pre-made base (basically, I buy a frozen pizza dough which you defrost and roll out yourself — if you’re in the UK, I really recommend this company, since my dough always comes out crispy, it only takes four hours to defrost on the counter-top, or 12 in the fridge, there’s no icky flour mixture for me to freak out over (I have a phobia of the texture of flour), and they have interesting flavour combos–chilli is the next on my list). But, hey, we all cheat a little sometimes, and this way things work out the best for our family.

If, however, you’re interested in being a champ of pizza, here’s a recipe to make your own, which I’ve shared before as I think it’s pretty good (makes a heck of a lot of dough though, so keep that in mind!)

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Ever since my summer of dairy basically being a full on no-no for my body, I’ve been loving cheeseless and tomato-sauce less pizzas. I’ve found some pretty great lactose-free cheeses since then, even soy varieties, that I think are pretty good, but I am really loving the delicate flavour combos you can get by getting rid of the classic margherita base of cheese and passata.

This uses goat’s cheese, which I think is under-rated in general anyway, and I used a classic pairing with figs (which I had forgotten just how delicious they are, particularly after they spend some time in a hot oven!), and topped with fresh rocket once out the oven. I imagine drizzling honey over would make it even better, pity I hadn’t thought of that at the time…

Serves 2 for lunch or a light dinner.  Read More

Vegetable okonomiyaki

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It’s not easy to find the time to cook properly in amongst my hours for university. Lunch is pretty easy, since most of my classes are in the evening, but that does make dinner a bit of a pain when I don’t get home until after 8, even 9 on Tuesdays.

Even more annoyingly (for me), it makes trying to make recipes that are recipe-photography-worthy nearly impossible since of course the sun makes its exit around 5 o’clock and then it’s pitch black. I’ve become pretty strict with myself with the whole natural-light-is-a-must, because nothing else quite compares in my opinion, particularly with the artificial lighting I have at my disposal (and budget). That’s why lunch these days has become my recent labour of love, which feels a little strange to me still considering I used to just fry up some dumplings from the freezer last year (oh, the benefits of having a Korean superstore really close to campus!) or even just skipping lunch altogether.

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This, like the shakshuka before it, is a very versatile recipe. Okonomiyaki is what I consider the Japanese version of a Swedish flaskpannkaka of my childhood, whereby a pancake is fleshed out to make a more considerable meal by adding various veg and cooked meats. This version uses carrots, leeks, and kale, fried in a pancake batter and cooked until crisp, before being coated in hoisin sauce and a soy + chilli dressing (though I wish I had had siracha chilli sauce at the time, instead of hoisin–next time). Even just soy sauce would be great.

The end result? A delicious, filling, healthy start to the day (or for lunch, or dinner).
Serves 1 as a very filling meal, or 2 for a lighter breakfast-lunch. Read More

Sweet potato, butternut squash and kale shakshuka

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Shakshuka is one of those dishes that’s been having a bit of a moment, and it’s obvious why. Bar the fact that it’s delicious, it’s easy to make and versatile enough to customise nearly every aspect of its ingredients (bar its arguably two most important ingredients–canned tomatoes and eggs) to boot. Did I mention it’s delicious? Because it is.

It’s not a new dish in the slightest, but as part of my own little shakshuka craze (I’ve even written about them before on studentjournals.co.uk), I’ve shared with you a vegetarian version, complete with yummy cubes of butternut squash, sweet potato and shredded cavolo nero (a dark, leafy type of kale).

So, let’s get cracking, eh?

This is such a perfect meal — for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. I even like to slice avocado to layer on top, particularly if I’ve bucked the rules a bit and added chicken to mine.
Serves 2 as a lunch or light dinner. Serves 1 if you’re seriously hungry.

Note: I am not a fan of bell peppers, or any peppers if they’re not of the chilli variety, so feel free to stay more traditional and add one half of a chopped bell pepper when you add the onion.  Read More

Trip to Naples, FL, USA – Dec 2014.

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You may well have noticed I’ve been AWOL for a while. I have to admit, in amidst everything going on, I completely forgot to check my posting schedule. Oooops. However, part of that blip in posting has been due to being away for quite a while in Naples, Florida, just a few hours away from Tampa and on the opposite coast from Miami.

In case you were interested in catching up on all the good food I ate (there was SO much), I sincerely recommend checking out my instagram (there’s a link to the right that should help, and my username would be emmasarahax), and scrolling a little bit down to see all the delicious plates.

And, man, I get the hype about Florida now.

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I mean, it’s just gorgeous. Blue sea, blue skies, so green, and errr….gators? Great times. But to get back to things, it’s such a beautiful state, full of good food and good sceneries. I totally see why it’s a retirement haven. So in amongst all the outlet shopping and lazing like a gator on the beach, I did have some killer food. Those chicken, avocado, three cheese, salsa and veg quesadillas? Killer.

This lobster roll?

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Fab. Enough lobster to feed an army. I’ll tentatively say I get the love for lobster rolls now. It’s pretty damn good.

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We stayed right by the beach in Naples, but most of the place is just so lush and green. I’m totally in love.

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And to have a quick glance at some other things I ate, here’s a few other snaps (but like I said, instagram’s gonna be the best catch-up around for my trip. Just scroll down a little until you hit mid-Dec–you’ll be able to tell by the palm trees!)

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A fantastic dulce de leche sponge cake. So fluffy!

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Some brown-rice sushi from the Whole Foods Store for breakfast in bed. This was just a normal store in Naples, but it kicks the butts off the ones in London for sure! I wonder what the giant flagship ones would be like…

So all in all, I’m a bit like this gator right now…can’t…move…after…eating. Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and have a wonderful New Years!

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