Salad therapy – lambs lettuce with pear and Sharon fruit

We can’t believe that neither of us had tried Sharon fruit (persimmon) till earlier this year but having done so it is now a regular feature in our fruit bowl.  Tonight we had a simple salad combining thinly sliced Sharon fruit and pear (used a mandolin slicer) topped with lambs lettuce dressed in olive oil, balsamic white vinegar, salt and pepper and finished with shavings of flavoured Gloucester cheese (onions and chives).  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

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Stir fried prawns on a bed of brown rice soba noodles

For all you prawn and Chinese food lovers here’s a simple recipe for some delicious jumbo prawns with healthy brown rice soba noodles.  We had it for supper last night with some stir fried vegetables dressed with garlic, soya sauce and Shaohsing wine.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 20 prawns de-veined, washed and patted dry
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 2 handfuls of brown rice soba noodle boiled and drained (keep in cold water to keep them separate)

For the marinade

  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp spiced black rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp Shaohsing wine
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • Dash of salt

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

First mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add the prawns and allow to marinade for a couple of hours in the fridge.  Heat the wok and stir fry the prawns till cooked through.   Garnish with spring onions and add the cooked noodles.  Give it a good toss and serve in bowl.

Radish salad

On a blistering summer’s day as today (temperature expected to reach their highest for the year!!) thought it would make sense to have a radish salad for lunch.  Radishes are a naturally cooling food and their pungent flavor is highly regarded in eastern medicine for the ability to decrease excess heat in the body that can build up during the warmer months.  Something I wasn’t aware of was that radishes are supposed to increase one’s appetite and therefore normally eaten at the end of a meal in Eastern cultures.

Radish salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large white radish cut into small pieces
  • 1 green chilli chopped finely
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • Handful of chopped basil leaves
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste – I used an Indian onion salad seasoning instead

How do I make it?

Put the cut radish in a bowl and add the other ingredients.   Give it a good mix and serve at your next summer barbecue.

Summer treats

Some of the things we look forward to during the English summer – strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, asparagus and Jersey royal potatoes.  Tonight we had 2 out of the 3 treats and I managed to whisk a hollandaise sauce for the first time.  I expected to scramble the eggs but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome (next challenge will be to make a poached egg breakfast with ham and hollandaise).  If you have never made this sauce try the recipe below which was straight forward (recipe courtesy of Love Food – Sauces).

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Hollandaise Sauce

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 115 gm unsalted butter – slightly softened and diced
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Around 175 ml

How do I make it?

Pour the vinegar and water into a small heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, or until reduced by half.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.  Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and beat in the cooled vinegar water.  Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, ensuring that the the base of the bowl does not touch the simmering water.  Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly and lightly coats the back of the spoon.  Keeping the water simmering, add the butter, a piece at a time, stirring until the sauce is thick, smooth and glossy.  Add a little lemon juice if the mixture is too thick and to give a more piquant flavour.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.  We had the sauce over some steam asparagus .

Jersey royal potato salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 750 gms Jersey royal  potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
  • 4 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 150 ml sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Place boiled cubed potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and give it a good mix.  Enjoy.

Chinese stir fried vegetables

I absolutely enjoyed pulling together a stir fried vegetable dish for lunch today.  As previously mentioned there are a few cupboard essentials when wanting to make Chinese food taste slightly more authentic (rice wine, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil) and today I want to add another one to the list – spiced black rice vinegar.   I was in my local Waitrose earlier today and was browsing the specialty oils and vinegar aisle when I spotted three combinations I haven’t come across before – apple balsamic vinegar, apply & cranberry balsamic vinegar and black rice vinegar.   I picked up all three and used the black rice vinegar in the stir fry.  I am looking forward to using the other two in a salad vinaigrette soon.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Handful of green beans cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 green pepper cubed
  • 2 carrots chopped into wedges
  • 6 large closed cup mushrooms quartered
  • 8 florets of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of choi sum (each stalk cut into 3-4 pieces)
  • 3 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chili
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • Handful coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 tsp Shaosin wine
  • 3 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tsp spicy black rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
  • Dash of salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Heat wok and pour oil in once hot.  Add ginger and garlic mince and stir for 30 seconds before adding the crushed red chili flakes.   Stir for another minute before adding green pepper, celery, carrot, beans, mushroom and broccoli.  Stir for five to eight minutes before adding the choi sum (choi sum only takes a couple of minutes to cook).  Then add the rice wine, vinegar, soya sauce and white pepper.  Adjust the seasoning before garnishing with spring onions and fresh coriander.   Serve hot with rice or noodles.

Chinese style pan fried fish

We’ve been pretty quiet for the last week and have not had time to  put pen to paper or keys to computer in this case 🙂  A couple of nights back I pulled together a wicked marinade which works incredibly well with either salmon or trout.  There are a few cupboard essentials that help bring out amazing Chinese flavour to dishes – rice wine vinegar, Shaohsing wine (rice wine), good quality soya sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Here’s a recipe that has worked well on the hob and now waiting with bated breath for good weather to try it on the barbecue.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 fillets of salmon or trout
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1″ ginger skinned and grated
  • 1 red bird’s eye chili chopped finely
  • 2 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • dash of black pepper
  • pinch of salt (optional)

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Wash and pat dry the fish fillets.  Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and place fish fillets in and ensure that the marinade is covering the fillets evenly.  Keep refrigerated for an hour minimum and allow the fish to get to room temperature before cooking.  Heat pan  in high and place fillets with marinade skin side down and cook for 6-8 minutes before gently turning over and cooking till done.  Serve with egg fried rice or salad of your choice. On this occasion I made a simple red pear and baby leaves salad and dressed it  with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A little taste of Jamaica

To celebrate our weekly indulgence in rice and Shiv’s return I decided to make a Jamaican inspired meal of jerk chicken with black bean rice.  Whilst the process might appear laborious it is actually quite straight forward and easy to make.

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Jerk Chicken

What do I need to make it?

  • 4 chicken thighs with bone

Marinade I

  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1/2 lime
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Marinade II

  • Bunch of spring onions chopped
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers deseeded
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp all spice powder
  • 6 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

How do I make it?

Mix all marinade I ingredients and rub chicken thighs with marinade and keep aside.  Place all marinade II ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste.  Heat a griddle pan and brown chicken thighs on both sides before placing them in the second marinade.  Pre heat oven to 200 degrees centigrade.  Place chicken thighs and second marinade (ensure the thighs are full coated with the marinade) in a baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes till chicken is done.  Serve hot with black bean rice.

 

Black bean rice

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 1/2 cups long grain rice washed
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (soak overnight and pressure cook if using dried variety)
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 4 sprigs of spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 hot red chili pepper chopped
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat pan and add butter to it.  Add garlic and onion and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add cinnamon, baby leaves and dried thyme and stir.  Add spring onion, carrot and peppers and saute for another five minutes.  Add the washed and drained rice with the black beans and adjust seasoning and stir for a few minutes before adding the vegetable stock and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and then reduce flame and cover the pan and cook till all the liquid has been absorbed.  Serve hot with jerk chicken.