Pan Fried Salmon Steaks with lime and coriander mayo

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Pan Fried Salmon Steaks with lime and coriander mayo

Last night’s supper was easy and phenomenally tasty. Salmon, lime and coriander were made for each other. My photo does not do it justice and the plate I was going to use had been whisked away before I could snap it – so this one had to do!

I seasoned the salmon steaks with salt and pepper, heated 2 tbsps of olive oil and 15 gms of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. I cooked them on the skin side for 5/6 minutes and 4 then on the flesh side. You could use skinned salmon steaks – in which case just do 4 minutes per side.

For the sauce mix 110 gm mayo with a small handful of chopped coriander, the zest of a lime and juice of half a lime. Mix well.

I served it simply with steamed broccoli spears and pearl maris piper potatoes in butter.

The flavours zinged off the plate!

Smoked Mackerel Makes a Magical Salad

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Smoked Mackerel Makes a Magical Salad

Lunch today was matching the mood of the day – a hint of sun, a waft of smoke from a spring bonfire and a spread of colours that exude April at its best. It is simple and it is filling for a light lunch. And its textures are a delight for fishy folk everywhere and possibly even for a few who are not! For me, the magic is in the pairing of the smoked mackerel from Cornwall with a vinaigrette. It works on all levels.

For 4

4 smoked mackerel fillets torn into several pieces
4 radishes thinly sliced
4 sweet mini peppers finely sliced
4 spring onions sliced
Salad leaves of your choice – I used rocket, lamb’s lettuce and mizuna – a good handful per person
8 baby plums quartered

For the vinaigrette

100 ml olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsps of Dijon mustard
A little sea salt and black pepper

All you need to do is make up 4 bowls – add enough salad leaves to each, plus the mackerel, tomatoes, radishes and spring onions. Toss gently.

Whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette together and swirl over each of the bowls.

Serve with a seriously good crusty bread.

You could, as ever in the best Alfredo’s tradition, twiddle with this recipe, adding other salad ingredients that you have in, or even for a bit of bite, a sliced, deseeded red chilli.

But this was a fine lunch as it was – try it. Let me know if you like it!

Salmonchanted Sunday…!

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Salmonchanted Sunday...!

I think I may have used that gag before but hey…I’m only human. This is nothing special as such – in so far as it is ridiculously easy to compile but, my wordy word, it is stomach-fillingly marvellous and toothsome in the extreme. I was cognisant of the fact that we had not consumed much fish of late, so, today was the day to put that right in a very easy way. I already have two ham hocks simmering away for tonight’s supper – more of which later – I can smell them from where I sit in front of my log burner and goodness me do they smell fabulous. Anyway, back to lunch, I chopped up 4 freshly cooked and cooled beetroot and added two or three splashes of a French shop bought vinaigrette as I was desperate to eat! The French ones are always so much better than anything one can buy here. (I love making my own but I was on a mission to eat asap)

In a dish I broke up three hot smoked fillets of salmon and added my own mesclun – mizuna, rocket (arugula), endive. Then a swirl of lemon balsamic creme to round off. A poppy seed baguette from our bakers and a few baby plum toms and hey billy whizz…lunch!

Food need not be complicated or expensive – just good quality ingredients and an eye to keep it simple.

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Snowed in? You need a warming fish dish…!

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Snowed in? You need a warming fish dish...!

And they do not come better, or more warming, than…

Smoked Mackerel Dauphinoise!

When I saw this latest painting by Bonnie Lalley – she has been enduring arctic temperatures and blizzards over where she lives in the States, poor thing! – I was put in mind of one of my favourite comfort fish dishes – one to curl up by the fire with and watch the snow fall outside – or in my case the pouring rain – and savour for its benevolence.

For 4

600 gm potatoes peeled and sliced – not too thinly!
250 gm smoked mackerel – skin removed and flaked
2 bay leaves
200 ml milk
300 gm double cream
Black pepper
1 tbsp grain mustard

Arrange the potatoes in a shallow baking dish. Mix in the mackerel. Add te bay leaves and a good grind or two of black pepper.

Mix together the milk and cream and pour over the potatoes and mackerel.

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Bake in a preheated oven – 190c – for about 50 minutes to an hour. The cream mixture should be bubbling and the potatoes pierced easily by a knife.

Serve with rocket and baby salad leaves with a swirl of balsamic over them and a little olive oil.

The picture below does not do the dish justice – but last night it warmed us to the core – it is a dish that brings an instant sense of well-being to all gathered around the supper table.

And there is a serene simplicity to this dish, just like the painting of the American farmstead snowed in.

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Simple Salmon says…eat this….!

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Simple Salmon says...eat this....!

Ok…a few quick fire posts…last night we had 4 gorgeous salmon fillets to deal with and my kids wanted pasta – so I did a version similar to another earlier dish on this blog but with a few differences. Firstly, it was fresh salmon which I wrapped in foil with a little unsalted butter and baked for 20 minutes at 160c. I then skinned it and flaked it. In a frying pan I popped a carton of crème fraîche and 50 gm of unsalted butter and stirred over a low heat until it melded together. I then added a teansy weansy dash of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper and about a teaspoon or so of dried tarragon-fresh would have been better but forgot! I then added the flaked salmon and stirred it gently once more.

I left this to one side whilst the pasta cooked al dente, drained it and tipped the creamy unctuous salmon mix in and allowed it all to get very friendly.

Variations – well, you could first pan fry a small onion finely chopped until soft, then add a glass of dry white wine and let it bubble together, then add the crème fraîche or single cream if you prefer – no need for butter in this case. You could also add a cup of peeled prawns as well as the salmon. You could also plump for dill instead of tarragon.

Choices, choices!

The symphony that is kedgeree…..

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The symphony that is kedgeree.....

Friday night last week I indulged in a dish I do not often make but probably should as it is favourite of mine. It is one of those dishes that is great fun to construct – it is a coming together of several key elements – eggs, rice and fish – in a most blissful harmony that makes supper rather rapturous in a way one would not think plausible. Kedgeree is hundreds of years old as a dish – originally called khichri and there was no fish – it was chiefly a dish of rice and mung beans with butter eaten at breakfast. As the British Empire builders descended on India, they rather took to the dish and threw in some of their breakfast staples, boiled eggs and fish, creating more of what we now know as kedgeree – a British corruption of khichri.

And it has all sorts of possibilities, like any curry dish or rice dish there are so many versions. This is my current favourite version.

FOR 4 FOLK

3 or 4 free-range eggs
600g undyed smoked haddock fillets
2 bay leaves
180 gm long-grain or basmati rice
Sea salt
50 gm unsalted butter
Thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 fresh red chill deseeded and chopped finely
1 level tsp of turmeric
6 black peppercorns
Juice of 2 lemons
2 handfuls fresh chopped coriander
Sea salt and black pepper
Natural yoghurt to serve with

Hard boil the eggs for about 6 minutes – pop into a bowl of cold water to let them cool. Cook your rice and drain and rinse lightly in cold water. Then pop the butter into a large frying pan or sauté pan and once melted add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium heat until onions are soft. Add the garam massala, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ginger, salt and pepper to the pan with the onions. Add the chill and the stalks of the coriander and stir fry for 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs and quarter them.

Prepare a saucepan with enough water to cover the haddock fillet. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns to the pan of water and poach the haddock for five minutes. Remove fish with a slotted spoon gently and set to one side to cool, then skin and flake the fish making sure there are no bones.

Add the rice into the frying pan with the onions and spices, season and mix well. Add the juice of one and a half lemons and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Roughly chop the coriander. Sprinkle the turmeric and half of the coriander into the pan and add half the eggs and half of the flaked haddock too. Stir gently. Let it all warm through. Taste and adjust seasoning as you wish.

Then add the rest of the egg quarters and the rest of the coriander and the lemon wedges.

Pop the lid on and leave it to steam together and create the symphony that is kedgeree! Serve with natural yoghurt.

You could use other fish if you like, smoked mackerel works, but I love undyed smoke haddock the best.

You could also use curry powder instead of garam masala.

Fiddling with this dish is what it is all about – but I love it as it is.

Lime and coriander prawns….sex on a plate….

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Lime and coriander prawns....sex on a plate....

Hello! Where have you all been? I know, I know….only joking…tis me…I have been ignoring my duties here in my real life as a blogger whilst trying to earn a decent penny pretending to be grown up, struggling towards the end of the December work schedule that has, frankly, left me plum knackered. Still, I have dusted myself down, had a monumental sleep, ventured out into the real world, breathed it all in and here I am before you, ready to bare my cooking soul. Now, you will all be thinking….’he’s been at the wine again’…..which is true…but I feel liberated, shackles are off and I am rolling into Christmas Drive, foot off the break and in top gear.

So, what have I been eating – nothing exciting sadly – until a day or two ago – and I had these prawns served as a canapé.
So, I rushed home and replicated them. And it didn’t hurt!

A slither of patience is required…but all worth it. Simply add 200 gm of the best tail-on-king prawns you can afford – this for maybe 2 or 3 of you as a nibble cum starter – you could even pop a spoonful into half an avocado if you felt so inclined – then squeeze over the juice from 3 limes. Chop a deseeded red chilli finely and add this, plus a hearty bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped and a smidgen of rock salt and black pepper. Mix well and cover with cling film – pop into your fridge for at least 12 hours – 24 would make them sublime – then simply feast on them with a decadent glass or two of sauvignon blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand.

This is so zingy and sexy and fizzingly tasty that you will have to make it again a day or two later and find friends to invite round to indulge.

Do this as soon as possible – before Christmas – it is GOOD!

Life is good, lunch proved it today…

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Life is good, lunch proved it today...

And it was really so simple. As are all the best things in life. I bought some marvellous kiln smoked salmon from a local farm shop and served it with a salad that was light, but satisfying and sexy, as all the best salads are. Pea shoots, baby spinach, rocket and lambs lettuce formed the bed to which I added halved cherry tomatoes, sliced fennel and baby buffalo mozzarella balls. I drizzled my own salad dressing over, lightly – 3 tbsps olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp og dijon mustard and a little salt and black pepper.

We had a little olive and sun dried tomato focaccia on the side and the flavours overall were immense. Just sitting here waiting for supper now – neck fillet of lamb in red wine with mint. Wood fire is roaring away and all well with the world – well this particular corner of the world. Happy Wednesday.

Chilli prawn pasta…wowza!

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Chilli prawn pasta...wowza!

Came in last night feeling v peckish but wanting something with real zing but not heavy. Decided to go for a simple prawn dish that took less than 11 minutes – the time the pasta took in fact!

120 gm of fab king prawns, tails on – leads to serious finger licking later. One green chilli, one red chilli – both deseeded and chopped. 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely. A handful of flat leaf parsley chopped. A small glass of white wine. 100 gm of passata or chopped tinned tomatoes. Olive oil. That’s it – for two – oh, and 300 gm of fusili and rigatoni pasta ( I keep and odds and sods pasta tin to which I add all the pasta left over from a packet – and every few weeks I have an odds and sods pasta mix!) – though, had I had any in, it would have been better with spaghetti. Must buy some!

You just pan fry gently in the oil, the chilli & garlic for two minutes, then add the prawns. Fry for another two or three minutes whilst the prawns colour – or if they are already cooked just 2 minutes – then add the white wine and the parsley – move prawns to one side and let the wine bubble and reduce a little for a few minutes, then add the passata. Stir gently together – by the time the pasta is cooked and drained – it will be beautifully wonderful. Spoon over the pasta. This one was hot – I mean lip zingingly hot – which we like – if you prefer it less zingy – just use one chilli. But be brave if you can. Tis worth it.

The poetry of prawns…

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The poetry of prawns...

Saturday evening saw just the two of us, so we indulged in one of our favourite supper dishes…prawns with chilli, parsley, garlic and ginger on lightly toasted ciabatta. I am sure you have all done this before but I make no excuse for recording it here – this is, after all, as much a record of what I eat, as it is to inspire others…though hopefully I do do that from time to time as well!

The succulent nature of this dish, the fizz of the chilli, the dripping ooziness of the oil as it dribbles down your chin, the tenderness of the lemony gingery prawns as they gently massage your tastebuds make this a very sensual supper – I love it!

Ingredients for 2

2 small ciabatta loaves cut in half lengthways and lightly toasted.
Good olive oil
Thumb size piece of ginger peeled and chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 red chillis deseeded and chopped roughly
200 gm of raw tiger prawns – about 8 each
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Into a large hot frying pan add a glug of olive oil – add the ginger, garlic, chilli and the lovely prawns. Fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes until prawns colour up. Turn heat down and add the lemon juice, parsley and another little smidgen of olive oil. Toss together for a minute or so. It should be a nice juicy sauce now – season a little – just a little salt and a tad more pepper. Serve over the warm ciabatta slices – and, being an olive oil freak, I added even more of the golden glory!

All I could do afterwards was simply sit in silence and stare at my plate as the tastes continued to roll around my mouth.

Then I poured another glass of chilled white wine and turned the music up…….