Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Bife atum com molho teryaki balsãmico. Tuna steak with teryaki balsamic reduction

I say this is simple, but I do know that there are some people who find cooking fresh tuna a bit daunting.I don’t think it is all that tricky,you just need a good fool proof method.....
I found a recipe for Tuna steak with a Teryaki balsamic reduction and was intrigued to give it a try. I have always used Asian inspired flavours when cooking tuna and this was a new twist. I am very thankful I stirred it up. The Balsamic reduction is so complimentary to the recipe, it made this dish stand out. I liked it so much, I have now repeated the recipe twice this week(see below). Make sure you only sear the tuna briefly on each side so you wont over cook it. Also, it's best to use a cast iron skillet for this recipe so you get a nice sear on the fish.The balsamic reduction sauce I used to glaze the tuna worked so much better than I ever thought it would….the glaze was detectable but let the tuna steak itself take center stage. 
I had lots of leftover syrupy glaze  that I  put in the fridge and have been using on salads and such like ever since….There's nothing quite like grilled Tuna and this recipe does not disappoint.
 An alternative way of serving
Tuna steak with teryaki balsamic reduction
 Long, thin ribbon pasta, approximately 1/8 inch wide.
 Narrower version of tagliatelle.
for 4 persons
4 tuna steaks
250g taglierini  (right)
( 2 nests per person
flat leaf parsley for garnish

(this can be made in advance and re-heated)

250ml balsamic vinegar reduced by 2/3
300ml chicken stock
50g sugar
4 soup spoons of Kikkomam soya sauce
4 soup spoons of mirin or sherry
cornflour to bind
combine all the ingredients in a small pan and reduce by half.
Bind the sauce with a little cornflour.

3 tbsp soya sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp rice vinegar1 tbsp sesame oil
1 pinch of Piri piri flakes 6 thin slices of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves crushed
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
add the tuna steaks and toss thoroughly in the marinade mix.
refrigerate for at least 1 hour but not more than 6,turning once or twice.

Bring a pan of boiling water to the boil with flor de sal and some olive oil.Add the pasta and cook for the time stipulated on the packet.When cooked drain,add the marinade from the tuna steaks and stir through.Keep warm while you cook the tuna steaks on a hot griddle pan.Re-heat the teryaki balsamic reduction.

Quickly heat through the previously cooked pasta and garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley.Divide the pasta between four soup plates,top with the tuna steaks and finish with a topping of teryaki balsamic reduction.

How to cook tuna steaks perfectly every time
Try to buy tuna that’s about 1½ cm thick.
Marinate the tuna steaks and rub all over, so the tuna is evenly coated.
Put a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat and heat up the dry frying pan for 1 minute. Do not put any oil in the pan.
Put the tuna in the hot pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Then remove from the pan immediately.
Eh voila! You should have perfectly cooked tuna that is brown on the top and bottom but pink in the middle. And, if you use a griddle pan, it will have pretty char lines too.
If you prefer tuna that is cooked all the way through (but not over cooked) cook the tuna for 3 minutes on each side and it should be just cooked through. If in doubt, cut one open to check.

Friday, 20 April 2018

A Simple supper.Cauliflower "steak" with cauliflower cheese sauce, poached egg and ham

This is my new spin on cauliflower cheese.So, cauliflower “steaks.”Essentially, we’re talking about cross-sections of cauliflower, seasoned and roasted until tender and succulent.I mean, I sort of think “steak” is a bit far fetched, but I’m fully on board with the method ( and totally not on board with supermarkets climbing aboard the vegan bandwagon and charging a hefty price for pre-sliced cauliflower when you can buy and prepare it yourself for half the price).
A meat-free steak alternative? Possibly, but wrapped in plastic and overpackaged? Many people have expressed concern that retailers have evidently missed the mark by overcharging for a product that is sheer exploitation and shows little if no thought for the environment.
Anyway so,rant aside, a fresh cauliflower locally grown and purchased on the same day it was cut  – just brush with oil, season with salt and pepper, grill or sautee,then oven roasted with a cauliflower cheese topping, a slice of ham and finally topped with a poached egg.Comfort food at its best.Who could sing for anything better than Little Tommy Tucker
 Cauliflower "steak" with cauliflower cheese sauce poached egg and ham
serves 2
1 medium-size head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flor de sal and freshly ground pepper
black pepper to taste
dessert spoon Dijon mustard
60g good quality melting cheese cheddar or provolone,grated
1tbsp butter
1tbsp flour
300ml mix of half reserved cauliflower stock and half milk
2 slices ham
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to medium, about 180-200 degrees C.
Peel the leaves off of the head of cauliflower and cut the stem off of the bottom. Sit the head upright on the flat cut bottom and, with a sharp chef’s knife, cut into two 1-inch thick slices. Generally, you can only get 2 good steaks out of one head of cauliflower, the slices from the middle. Reserve the two middle slices and save the outer sections for later use. Brush both sides of the cauliflower slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.Sear the cauliflower slices in a cast iron griddle pan
until golden brown on both sides and fork-tender in the middle,4-5 minutes.Flip over and repeat on the other side.Remove the cauliflower slices to a baking dish and lay a slice of ham across the top of each slice.Set aside.Put the reserved outer sections in a processor and blitz until you have a coarse grain like cous cous.Add the cauliflower grains to enough boiling water to cover them(approx 0.5 litres).Boil for a couple of minutes until softened but still retaining their texture.Drain the cauliflower saving 150ml of the cooking water and add that to 150ml of milk.
With the flour, butter, milk and stock, make a bechamel and add the mustard and cheese as if you were making a cauliflower cheese.When the sauce thickens add the cauliflower grains  and remove from the heat.Spoon the cauliflower cheese sauce over the ham and top with some extra grated cheese.Place the baking dish with the cauliflower in a hot oven 220C for about 15-20 minutes,finishing under the grill to achieve a nice crusty brown top.Keep the cauliflower warm while you poach the eggs.Transfer each cauliflower steak to a plate and top each portion with a poached egg.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Take it away-home made "Fake away" Thai salmon burger

Ditch the dodgy takeaways and make your own homemade versions instead. 
Healthier, cheaper and far tastier, too.
"Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory to the body and critical for good health. Omega-3s support the body’s health in every way and are vital in the fight against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Omega 3′s also help to lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, nourish the immune system and reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression".
Most of us know we should be eating oily fish due to its range of health benefits, but can't stomach the taste.If I read one more article about the health benefits of my least favorite fish, I honestly cannot be held accountable for my actions.By now, we know from every magazine, newspaper, television and vitamin commercial that the almighty salmon is healthy to eat and it has antioxidants. We see that everywhere, hear about that from friends, family, doctors, hairdressers.Well, salmon is one of the best sources – a 100g serving can give you around 2000mg of omega-3, so it’s hard to beat.
I am trying to eat a healthier diet these days and of course, wild salmon is always recommended as one of the best foods you can eat for good nutrition. The problem is, I don't really like the taste of salmon.So how can I disguise the taste of it? 
Home made curry
We are all aware that we should be eating oily fish due to its range of health benefits but can't stomach the taste.With a bit of imagination and culinary artistry there are several ways to disguise the taste without a layer of ketchup in sight.I am going down the route of trying to make some of my favourite takeaway dishes at home......"fakeaways" they´re called.We all make curries at least once a week and maybe make our own slant on a fish and chip supper.Kebabs are easy, and so too egg fried rice dishes.Its so easy to make your own spring rolls.Self endorsed pizzas are the ultimate TV dinner.Custom made with no waiting time, and fresh and hot out of your own oven. Once you put your mind to it there are  stacks of 'fakeaways'  that save you cash and satisfy your cravings.First up I have tried a Thai style salmon burger with home made cucumber and coriander relish.For the salmon sceptics amongst us I defy anyone to not like salmon after eating these.They are an easy way to enjoy oily fish.  and are a delicious alternative to standard ground beef or pork burgers.As with any burger, they are delicious piled on top of a soft, buttery bun, topped with all your favourite toppings. Instead of the usual lettuce topped burger, however, I stuck with the Thai flavours of the salmon burgers and made a cucumber and coriander relish.You could make a Thai Cabbage Slaw instead.
Thai-style salmon burger
with cucumber and coriander relish

adapted from a recipe by Donna Hay
Makes 4
½ cup (100g) brown rice
1 cup (250ml) water
1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), roughly chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes 
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
½ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
500g skinless salmon fillets, cut into 2cm pieces


1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Place the rice and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until almost tender. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for 10 minutes or until tender. 
While the rice is cooking, preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the lemongrass, chilli, garlic, fish sauce and soya sauce in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl, add the salt, kaffir lime leaves, onion, coriander, salmon and rice and mix well to combine. Place ½ cup of the mixture in the food processor and process until finely chopped. Return to the salmon mixture and mix well to combine. 
Place dollops of the mixture on 2 large lightly greased oven trays lined with non-stick baking paper and flatten into burgers. Cook, turning halfway, for 8 minutes or until golden. 
To make the cucumber coriander relish, place the cucumber, coriander, lime juice, fish sauce and honey  in a small processor and blitz  to combine. Serve the fish cakes with the relish on the side and potato sticks.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sarladaise are here again

The first new-season potatoes are out, but its raining incessantly and there is enough of a chill in the air still to justify a generous plate of potatoes with a crispy duck confit.Sarladaise is the name given to a method of preparing potatoes in the Périgord region of France.If you go anywhere in the Dordogne area of southern France you can be sure that you will be served this fabulous potato dish as an accompaniment to meat dishes and salads. Hearty, wholesome and absolutely scrumptious. Sarlat potatoes or pomme de terres Sarladaises is easy for you to make at home and recreate a fabulous authentic French taste in about 30 minutes. The thinly sliced potatoes are sautéed(without par-boiling) in duck fat.When they are cooked they are sprinkled with chopped parsley and garlic,covered and left to sweat.In restaurants,truffles are often added,but this is incorrect,;truffles are however an ingredient of sarladaise sauce,a cold emulsified sauce flavoured with brandy, served with grilled or roasted meat.Potatoes Sarladaises are an absolute treat, with the nutty, velvety richness of duck fat, and the beautiful contrast between the tender middle of the potatoes and the browned crunchy bits.I could eat potatoes sarladaises any day of the year, but early spring is an excellent time of year to make them.
Confit of Duck
Order duck legs from your butcher each weighing at least 300g.Ask him to remove the thigh bone from the legs at the joint,leaving the flesh intact, and also to chop the end knuckle off each duck leg to expose the bone. Duck fat can be bought from a good butcher or delicatessen.Once the legs have been cooked in the fat,they can be left for up to a week until required and the fat frozen and used again.You need to begin this by rubbing the salt into the duck legs and placing them in the plastic container so they fit comfortably in one layer. Then sprinkle them with any remaining salt, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 24 hours.

For the salting:
8 large duck legs
6 oz (175 g) Flor de sal
For the cooking and preserving:
3 x 340 g tins duck fat
8 cloves garlic, bruised (no need to peel)
20 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
¾ oz (20 g) fresh thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves, each cut into 2 pieces
To make the confit, preheat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F, 140°C. Put the goose fat into the casserole and heat gently.
While it’s heating, wash the duck legs thoroughly under running water - it is important to do this very well to prevent the final result being too salty. Then place them in a bowl of cold water, drain and do the same thing again (to make absolutely sure!). After that, put the wet duck legs into the goose fat, along with the bruised garlic, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Bring it up to simmering point, cover and transfer to the preheated oven for 2½ hours. To check the meat is tender, use a small skewer, which should find little resistance when pushed into the duck legs. 
Now cool for about an hour, then remove the legs from the fat and put them back into the (washed and dried) plastic container. Strain the cooled fat over the legs then, when completely cold, cover and store in the fridge ready for when you want to use it, removing it from the fridge about 1 hour before reheating it in the oven.
Salardaise potatoes
Serves 4.
Worth the time. Some things just are—and this is one of them....  only three ingredients: potatoes, garlic, and fat.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) waxy potatoes (i.e. they hold their shape when cooked)
3 tablespoons (35 grams)  duck fat
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and slice them into 5-mm (1/5-inch) slices. Rinse in a colander to remove excess starch, drain, and dry thoroughly in a clean dish towel.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet , heat the duck fat over medium heat.
Add the potatoes and salt, stir well to coat, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes without disturbing, until browned underneath. Adjust the heat as needed so it is high enough to brown the potatoes, but not so high that the potatoes will burn at the bottom.
Flip the potatoes , and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes without disturbing, until browned underneath. Repeat the flipping and browning 2 to 3 times more, until the potatoes are cooked through and browned to your taste.
Add the garlic and parsley, sprinkle with black pepper and turn off the heat, leave the pan covered for a further 5 minutes and then serve.
Smells delicious, tastes divine!
Bon appétit…

Monday, 9 April 2018

Marvellous Martha inspired egg white omelette with avocado and spinach

Ever since the household style expert Martha Stewart appeared on television many decades ago holding a basket of blue eggs laid by her Araucana chickens, the demand for the blue egg laying breeds has skyrocketed and actually became the inspiration colour for her paint shade "Araucana Blue.Ah, Martha Stewart. The name brings to mind so many things ... from homemade apple pie to a popular television show, to volumes of lifestyle magazines, to five or six tweets a day that read like ancient hieroglyphics.
Yes, in just 77 years, she's managed to do, well, everything. She can bake. She can cook. She can sew. You name it; Martha does it. How marvellous,you say but don´t mock Martha.I´ve often wondered in those sometimes confused moments whether I was Martha or Arthur. From how to fold a fitted sheet to how to transition your career, did you know domestic doyenne Martha was one of Glamour magazine´s 10 best-dressed college girls.Yep, Martha stunned us as a model in a previous life.
Always spray your Pyrex measuring cup with cooking spray before using sticky ingredients. Learn how on "Martha Bakes". Twitter
 Before most food bloggers were born and long before Instagram was invented, Martha was already stippling and rag rolling walls and architraves in delicate shades of teal. Heck, she was the first one ploughing and tilling and mulching the soil until its pH-neutralized, aerated soil was ready for the seeds of tomorrow's lifestyle gurus.
 Well when the our dear friends Louise and Paco visited us this weekend ,I was the luckiest enough recipient of some Aracauna hens eggs from their home in Estepona.The soft, delicate turquoise hues conjure up colonial style living rooms in New England mansion houses.The simple ordinary breakfast egg, while looking at it for a minute or two, becomes literally a"palette de poulet."I marvelled at how the colour palate ranged from light sky blue to robin´s egg blue to olive and khaki.
It is so lovely to have farm fresh eggs finding their way to our  breakfast table served in a vintage glass chicken egg cup. Louise also brought us a a windfall of home grown avocados, and speaking of which I am once again reminded of the Martha Stewart inspired egg white omelette, avocado and spinach open faced sandwich I made earlier in the week.I had half a dozen egg whites left over from making a batch of mascarpone ice cream,(more on that story later) and so googled uses for left over egg whites.Apart from starching my wimple or embarking on a batch of Chocolate hazelnut macarons, which I was far too pushed busywise to attempt, I discovered that egg whites are actually good for my cholesterol.When you have high cholesterol, you’re constantly checking nutrition labels and carefully picking your foods so you don’t increase your risk of heart disease any more than it already is.When it comes to egg whites, there’s no cholesterol in the white part of an egg. A whole large egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, but all of that is found in the yolk, or yellow part. "So I woke up this mornin´ feelin´fine somethin' tells me I'm into something good".

 My Martha inspired open faced egg white omelette with avocado and spinach

An egg white omelette sounds like a bland, rubbery, sad excuse for a breakfast or brunch, thats what I thought initially. Once made, I changed my tune."Whisk, whisk, whisk the egg whites" she said. "You might think you don’t have to stir as intensely as a regular omelette because the mixture is already homogenized, but this just isn’t so. Whisking egg whites adds air, which is the secret to a soft, fluffy omelette".Sound guidance I say.
Season generously with Flor de sal and pepper. Coat a medium nonstick pan lightly (a la Martha) with a film of sunflower oil,(Martha suggests cooking spray) a little bit will go a long way here. Using sunflower oil is a great way to add fat back in, but without the levels of cholesterol that scare people away from egg yolks.Heat over a medium heat and add egg whites.Using a rubber spatula,stir to create curds,pushing the egg whites from the edge of the pan towards the middle.Drop in a handful of baby spinach leaves and cook until set, about 3 minutes.Fold over to enclose the spinach inside.Place avocado slices on some multi grain bread,top with the egg white omelette,serve immediately.Thanks Martha,and thanks mis amigos de malagueña for the abundance of home grown and reared Esteponan produce.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

En el estilo español, roasted peppers with cod's roe

I know I am always banging on about feeling like I am being transported to a Spanish tapas bar. Well its not as silly as it sounds.Most tapas items are easy enough to make at home.A tapa is simply an appetiser - the gutsy Spanish version of a canape - but it can also double up and multiply to become a grazing-style feed. You can easily get carried away, so first decide what role tapas will play in your evening. For a pre-dinner drink, you need only prepare three types; if they are replacing dinner at least five or six will be needed, and portions increased. Here is a rather original tapas or petisco,ideal as an accompaniment to a pre dinner drink and oh so easy to make at home.In principle tapas is a slice of bread topped with any ingredients, served hot or cold, and eaten with fingers or a fork. It's something to be done before a meal, but then tapas can often replace a meal. The point of tapas is that you're not locked into a formal meal. There's very little commitment in sampling tapa. The only thing universally agreed on is how it's eaten: invariably with a drink.I have long been making something similar but with tuna and mashed potato, a classic Spanish combi.This one is perhaps even simpler. Serve them up en estilo español with a little nicely chilled La gitana manzanilla.The lady´s not for tippling.
Roasted baby peppers with cod's roe
Serves 8 with drinks.
peppers 24 (about 400g), small and mild
smoked cod's roe 200g
breadcrumbs 60g, fresh and white
olive oil 4 tbsp in mix and roast
spring onions 5 thin

Slice the top from each pepper and scrape out any seeds or cores.
Peel the skin from the cod's roe, then crumble the flesh into a mixing bowl. Put the bread into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until you have coarse crumbs, then add the olive oil and process again briefly. You will need neither salt nor pepper. Add the breadcrumbs to the cod's roe and mix well. Chop the spring onions and add to the breadcrumbs.
Stuff the cod's roe and crumbs into the little peppers and lay them in a single layer in a baking dish, then trickle lightly with olive oil. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4 and bake for 35 minutes.