Category Archives: Recipes

Favorite recipes I’ve found out and about or my own made up ones

George’s ‘Pipi’ Fritters

To explain, George is the handsome cove who demonstrated this fabulous, fresh, seafood recipe to me. He (along with his wonderful wife Carol) had just happened to have built a stunning beach side villa in a place called Opoutere in The Coromandel area of New Zealand’s north island. I would urge anyone who hasn’t been to visit this incredible area of the world to do so forthwith. By some strange quirk of good fortune, I got to spend three days in this paradise.

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Collecting on the beach, collecting in the bucket and hand

Paphies australis or pipi (from the Māori language) is a bivalve mollusc (so it says here!) which is endemic to New Zealand. The pipi is a shellfish with a solid white, elongated symmetrical shell with the apex at the middle. (To me it was a big clam).
The pipi is abundant on flat sandy beaches, where there is considerable water flow (or in other words just at the back of George’s beach villa!)
By releasing a thread of mucus, which makes them more buoyant, they can move about a bit by floating. They can get up to more than 1000 individuals per square metre. (I can vouch for that! There was loads of them just under us!). You simply rummage around in the sand with your hand at low tide and pick them out. Then throw into George’s bucket! (Mind you don’t get nipped by the crabs though! There’s tons of them too…)

Ingredients (makes around 12 fritters)

Half a bucket of freshly picked Pipis from the low outgoing tide of the Pacific Ocean, preferably in New Zealand. Ours weighed in at about 500g. I reckon you could use a ton of clams or even mussels instead.
2 eggs
Tablespoon of flour
Splash of fish sauce
Pinch of sugar
Pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder and/or chilli powder (to taste. Chopped jalapenos could work well too I reckon)
Oil for frying

1) Leave overnight in clean water. The tentacles will come out and spit all the sand and waste out.
2) Clean and rinse.
3) In a shallow pan, bring an inch of water to a gentle boil. Place the Pipis in batches into the water and wait a few minutes for them to open. Remove with tongs as they open and place in a separate bowl. Repeat until all open.

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The tentacles, steaming, opening up, removing the meat

4) Remove all the meat and discard the shells. This is easy using a your finger thumb. Take care not to eat too many while doing this. They taste wonderful and sweet even at this stage!
5) Finely chop, or ideally mince into a rough paste. (George has a fine old hand mincer)
6) Mix in a bowl with the eggs, flour, fish sauce, pepper, sugar and spices to create a sloppy paste

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Mincing, mixing, dolloping in the pan

7) Cover the bottom of the pan with oil for shallow frying. Heat until smoking.
8) Spoon a good dollop into the pan and flatten down to create a patty around 6-8mm thick. You should be able to do 4 at a time. Fry 3-4 mins on one side until golden brown underneath. Flip carefully with a spatula and repeat.
9) Place on kitchen paper and keep warm.
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We served with sweet chilli sauce, but I’m sure other dips would work too…
I ate mine with my hands.

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Featherblade Steak Casserole – Hairy Bikers

”If youre looking for a decent cut of beef to make a great stew or casserole then look no further than this hunk of wonderfulness.”

Featherblade doesnt seem to be a well-known cut. It comes from the shoulder blade, so there are only two in every cow. I first stumbled on this in my local butchers cabinet. The glorious marbling of fat really caught my eye. My butcher at Red Bank Farm Shop reckons it flies out when he puts it out. Snatch it up when you see it. It cost me about £8 for the 1kg hunk you see here.

The recipe is based loosely on one I got off the Hairy Bikers.

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Ingredients

1kg/2lb 2oz feather blade steak, trimmed and cut into big chunks
3 tbsp oil
3 bannana shallots or 1 medium onion, sliced
2 celery sticks, trimmed, sliced (I used a whole leek instead!)
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250ml/10fl oz red wine
500ml/17fl oz beef stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (I used a tsp of dried)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp English mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas 3.

2 Season the beef with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. I used my large stock pot. Fry the steak pieces over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each sides, or until browned. Transfer the beef pieces to a bowl. (You may need to do this in batches.)

3 Return the pan to the hob and reduce the heat. Add the remaining oil and gently fry the shallots, celery (leek) and carrots for 6-8 minutes or until golden-brown and softened. Stir in the garlic, cook for a further minute.

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4 Deglaze the pan with wine and allow to bubble for a few seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato puree for a few mins and then add the stock. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and scatter into the pan, add the bay leaf and mustard and stir until well combined. Bring to the boil and remove the dish from the heat.

5 Add the meat back into the pot. Place a lid on top and cook in the oven for 3-3½ hours or until the beef is very tender. Skim any fat away from the surface that appears during cooking.

6 Transfer the meat to a plate. Strain the cooking liquor and vegetables through a sieve into a large non-stick frying pan. Press the vegetables with the bottom of a ladle to extract a rich purée and stir into the cooking liquor. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Alternatibvely I kept it going for over 5 hours, (which did break it down a bit too much. Stick to the 4 hours to keep the big chunks). Removing the lid with an hour to go to help reduce the liquid. I kept all the veg in without straining. Therefore ignore the next step and serve with mashed potato.

7 Bring the mixture to a simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce is well reduced, thick and glossy. Add the beef to the liquid and heat through for 3-4 minutes, spooning over the sauce to glaze. Serve with some green vegetables and mashed potatoes.

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The meat really is superb tasting and well worth seeking out.

Baked Crab – Sophie Michell

I absolutely love crab. Ive often dreamed that if I was on Saturday Kitchen then crab would be my heaven (beetroot my hell)! Whenever we go on holiday to the coast I live on crab sandwiches, it’s the law. So when watching a hidden away programme on Channel 4 called ‘Meet What You Eat,’ I was blown away by this dish, which was beautifully demonstrated by the rather striking and talented chef Sophie Michell. The ingredients and method below are from the show with small tweaks by me.

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Ive included some images of the prep, which included disembowelling said crab and extracting the luscious bounty within. My crab although a fairly decent size (from the wonderful Lanigans in Lytham St Annes) was only 750g so I halved the ingredients listed.

Ingredients

1.5 kg crab, cooked and prepped (to make 250g white crab meat and 100g of brown meat approximately). Like I mentioned In had  750g crab.
1 tbsp of clarified butter
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1tbsp diced red chilli
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp celery salt (I didn’t have any!)
½ tsp of Espelette pepper (I used normal black pepper!)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ smoked paprika
Zest of 2 limes
1 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
1 handful of dried breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of hollandaise
1 tsp jalapeño hot sauce (I just used diced, from a jar)
1 tsp diced jalapeños

Method

Remove the legs off the crab. They simply twist off. With the body upright and the shell towards you, prize the centre of the crab away from its shell with your thumbs. Takes a bit of effort. Remove the ‘dead mans fingers’ from the body. These are the tentacle like protrusions about an inch and half long.

imageKeep the main body shell for presentation purposes. Flick the oven on to 180 deg C.

Scoop out all the meat from inside the shell and place in a bowl. Scrape off the meat from the head you’ve extracted. Then break the claws with the back of a large knife and with a skewer scrape out the chunks of flesh (this is the main bit, don’t throw these away)!. Repeat with the legs (messy but worth doing).

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Fry the onions, chilli and garlic in the butter, along with the paprika and oregano for a couple of minutes.

Then add the crab, zest, parsley and seasoning. Give it all a stir. Finally mix in the zest, breadcrumbs and egg yolk and give it another stir.

Spoon all the meat from the pan back into the shell pressing it fully in as you go. I then mixed the hollandaise with the jalapenos and topped the crab with it.

Pop in the oven and bake for 4 minutes. Serve with toasted bread and lime wedges. I served it with a bit of poncey garnish and some lovely, buttered granary bread.

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I now have the confidence to dress my own crab. Reckon I will do a cold one with mayo next for those ultimate crab sandwiches……

Thanks to the original recipe here by Sophie Michell.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/meet-what-you-eat/articles/all/baked-crab/4159

Egg Rougaille – Shelina Permalloo

“What a brilliant way to cook eggs! Even better as spicy as this!”

Shelina Permalloo made her first mark as a contestant and winner on Masterchef. Since then she has released two books ‘Sunshine On a Plate” (where this dish was first aired) and lately ‘The Sunshine Diet”.

Its an easy dish really, but with bags of flavour. It takes about 40 minutes all in to prepare and cook. Lovely with some crusty bread to mop up.

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Ingredients

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 red bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
4 sprigs of thyme
1 x 400g tin peeled plum tomatoes
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander (the more the better for me!)
3 large eggs (I did 4 medium eggs)
freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, to garnish
salt

Method

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat and fry the onion until just beginning to brown. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and thyme and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally

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Add the tomatoes and cook for 20–25 minutes until the tomatoes are beginning to break down and the oil has started to rise to the top of the mixture. Season with salt, add the chopped coriander and stir

Crack the eggs into the pan, cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until he eggs are softly poached. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

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For more of Shelina’s recipes go to http://www.shelinacooks.com

Bircher Muesli – Anna Jones and Jamie Oliver

I quite like a cereal type, healthy breakfast. Porridge is good, muesli, bran flakes all get an airing. I also have a go at the 5:2 diet (see here). I then look for a good low calorie, filling breakfast. This is where this Bircher muesli recipe comes into play. It’s basically porridge oats prepared the night before and soaked overnight in a suitable liquid (in this case milk, but I’ve come across apple juice) with some extras. Half this recipe provides a good, long lasting feed and comes in at about 400 calories.

Weighing up the night before.
Weighing up the night before.

This recipe adds chia seeds because they give a rich creaminess – if you don’t want to add chia, just don’t add as much milk. Chia seeds are little seeds that boost the nutritional value of the breakfast tenfold. They look a bit like poppy seeds and come in a variety of colours: black, white and grey. I use the white ones here. You’ll find them in health food shops and in big supermarkets beside the nuts and seeds. Chia seeds were the food of choice of Aztec and Mayan warriors, and a single tablespoon would keep them going for 24 hours. They are high in protein, so they’re perfect for breakfast time. You can use them in smoothies and in baking.

The night before, put the oats, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds into a bowl or container, pour over the milk, and add the maple syrup (or honey), vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well, then cover and pop into the fridge overnight. I won’t lie at this point it looks like the slurry you get when you unblock the sink! But next morning it all comes together as the seeds and oats soak up the milk. It then takes on a gloopier and altogether more appealing look.

The finished results
The finished results

In the morning, chop the pears into little chunks, sprinkle over the cinnamon and add the sour cherries. You can vary this bit really, grated apple works or a bit of banana. This recipe does two pretty big portions or could divide into three.

Ingredients

100g oats
2 tablespoons white chia seeds
1tablespoon pumpkin seeds
350ml milk (400ml for a sloppier mix) of your choice (I use almond or coconut)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I use honey)
a dash of vanilla extract
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 ripe pears
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
a small handful of dried sour cherries, or cranberries

Recipe from ‘A modern way to eat’ by Anna Jones and then taken on by Jamie Oliver www.jamieoliver.com

Tomato, Asparagus, Cheese Tart

This is a brilliant, tasty and simple dish to make. I did it as a starter for six people. I just threw it in the middle and carved it up with a pizza wheel. Went down a storm. The recipe comes from the ever reliable Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (River Cottage) and his equally reliable Veg book.   The basic ingredients are the puff pastry, some veg, some herbs and some cheese! You could apply some variations quite happily with equally good results. Ive done a few versions. They all work. The basic principle is the same: crisp pastry, soft caramelised tomato, tangy cheese.

ingredients, a bit of prep
ingredients, a bit of prep
  • A little sunflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine cornmeal or polenta (optional)
  • 375g all-butter, ready-made puff pastry
  • Beaten egg, for brushing
  • About 350g tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • A little extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
  • 100g rinded goat’s cheese (I used mozzarella)
  • 125g Asparagus (trimmed and sliced lengthways)
  • A handful of thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • Sea salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper

  Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Lightly oil a baking sheet and scatter over a little fine cornmeal or polenta, if you have some – this helps to keep the pastry really crisp.
  • Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and trim to a rectangle about 30 x 25cm. Put it on the baking sheet. Cut a 1cm strip from each edge. Brush these strips with a little beaten egg, then stick on to the edges of the rectangle, to form a slightly raised border. Brush the edges with a little more egg.
  • Thinly slice the tomatoes across into 2–3mm slices; discard the stalky top and skinny bottom slices. Scatter the garlic over the pastry, then arrange the sliced tomatoes on top, overlapping them only slightly. I used cherry tomatoes on this occasion and simply scattered them over. Season with salt and pepper and trickle with a little oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and lightly browned.
  • Take the tart out of the oven, scatter over the cheese and thyme, add another twist of pepper and a trickle of oil, and return to the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and the pastry golden brown. You can serve this hot, but I think it’s better half an hour or so after it comes out of the oven, with a green salad.image

VARIATIONS Basil and mozzarella tart

  • Replace the goat’s cheese with 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella (about 125g), torn into small pieces. Replace the thyme with a couple of tablespoons of shredded basil – but add this after the tart is cooked, not before.

Rosemary and pecorino tart

  • Replace the goat’s cheese with a generous grating of pecorino or Parmesan, and the thyme leaves with 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary.

Blue cheese and chives tart

  • Replace the goat’s cheese with crumbled blue cheese. Omit the thyme. Scatter a chopped handful of chives over the tart once it is cooked.

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Beer Battered Fish with Tartar Sauce

It’s Good Friday, The Flame has left out a pretty decent piece of cod. “It’s fish for tea, we can have it steamed with some roasted veg”. I think not. Within seconds I have decided I’m doing my own chippy tea. A quick check reveals a worthy instruction from Hugh and his mates at River Cottage. It works a treat. Even done in a pan it cooked beautifully. Well worth a go. I knocked up a tartar sauce as well. That was a revelation.

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He asks “What makes a good batter? What creates that crisp, savoury, golden coating that seals in all the moisture of the fish it covers?” The answer he reckons is beer. It not only adds lightness to the mixture but adds a nutty, wheaty edge of flavour to the crunch. Beer isn’t the only important element. A good batter needs to have the right consistency: too thick and floury and you’ll end up with a pancakey, chewy result; too thin and it won’t stick to the fish. He reckons the thickness of emulsion paint is what you are after! This recipe is useful because you can use it when you’re deep frying almost any fish or shellfish.

Ingredients – could halve this for two, I had quite a bit over.

200g plain flour
Groundnut oil, including plenty for deep frying. (I used vegetable oil)
About 250ml good beer –- anything really, including stout, but preferably not cheap lager. I used a nice Staffordshire IPA
Mixed fish of your choice. I had a nice piece of cod.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prep 30 mins
Cook 5 mins
Serves 4

Method

To make the batter, sift the flour into a bowl, or put it in a bowl and whisk it (which is almost as effective a way to aerate the flour and remove lumps). Add 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil, then gradually whisk in the beer, stopping when you have a batter with the consistency of thick emulsion paint. Beat it well to get rid of any lumps, season generously, then leave to rest for 30 minutes or so.

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Heat the oil in a large, deep, heavy-based pan until it reaches 160°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into it turns golden brown in 1-1½ minutes. I used my digital thermometer. It seemed to work a treat.

Dip your chosen piece of fish into the batter so it is thoroughly immersed, then lift it out and hold it over the bowl for a few seconds so any excess batter drops back in. Now lower the battered fish into the hot oil. Do this one piece at a time, if using large portions, or in small batches for smaller pieces, so as not to crowd the pan.

Fry large pieces of fish for 4–5 minutes, and smaller items, such as squid rings, for 2 minutes or so, until golden brown and crisp. Scoop them out with a wire basket, or ‘spider’, and transfer to a warm dish lined with kitchen paper. Keep them warm while you fry the remaining fish, then serve straight away, with your homemade tartare sauce. (See below)

As well as the obvious fillets of white fish, such as plaice, pollack, coley, cod, haddock and whiting, we’ve had great success with beer-battered dogfish goujons, squid rings, even scallops.

Quick tartare sauce (by Jo Pratt)
Ingredients
200ml/7fl oz mayonnaise
3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
3 tbsp gherkins, drained and chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

The finished result
The finished result

Preparation method
Mix together all of the ingredients in a small bowl and serve straight away or store in the fridge until needed.

https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/fish-in-beer-batter
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/quicktartaresauce_67777