Monday, 19 August 2019

"Time to eat" beetroot tagliatelle

Eat your heart out Instagram, WOW the colour!
 By default the other night I found myself watching the Nadiya Hussain series "Time to eat". As with all cookery shows these days it was about "watch the programme,now buy the book". This was a programme about quick and easy, short cut recipes for "time poor" people.So how is it that "we" somehow don't have time to cook, but we can always find time to binge-watch endless episodes of cookery shows like this?
Cooking's not even all that time consuming anyway. I cook from scratch every night and most things only take half an hour - and some of that time is just waiting for water to boil or sauce to reduce.But somehow this kind of TV programme works because it is not about food or time-saving at all. It is about putting our feet up, glass of wine in hand for half an hour, wallowing in Nadiya’s rather sweet child like innocence.She is a bright and engaging presenter producing ice cream carton loads of natural charm all served up with large portions of spontaneous banter,the key to which is revealed when she looks up from frying her egg rolls at us and asks “Can you smell that?!” then catches herself. “No, you can’t smell that. I can, though!" Very few presenters can manage to master the art  of this one to one style of broadcasting. Ok some her recipes are a bit bonkers. Haddock and marmalade? No thank you,but when I look at my own personal style of cooking,I tend to err on the side of quirky too.
Beetroot is a no-brainer for me, it tastes fantastic even when it´s simply roasted or cooked or pre-cooked and vacuum packed from the supermarket as in this recipe.
Isn't it time to take a break from roasted beetroot with goat cheese? I think so.It is so yesterday.There are so many other things you can do with this wonderful root vegetable.
This is a classic pairing: the earthiness of the beets and the saltiness of the feta marry quite well with fresh basil, mint or coriander, Nadiya specified dill but I wasn´t keen so I substituted.
All you need for this is a blender,smoothie maker or food processor - whatever you use to make mush - it will work,and the only cooking is the pasta.This tastes delicious,but eat your heart out Instagram, WOW the colour! This recipe will give you two portions of glorious beetroot sauce; but if you just want to make a single batch halve the ingredients listed in purple.
Nadiya Hussains beetroot tagliatelle
with an o cozinheiro twist
Serves 5
500g tagliatelle
600g cooked beetroot,drained
100ml olive oil
1 tsp flor de sal
4 cloves garlic
1 large red chilli ( de-seeded if you want it less spicy)
200g feta cheese
20g fresh basil,mint or coriander or a mix of all three, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
Chives and extra olive oil,(optional) for serving 
Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet
Meanwhile make the sauce.Put the beetroot into a blender and add the olive oil,salt, garlic and chilli
and blend to a smooth paste.
Put half the sauce into a frezable container:now you have an extra batch of sauce ready for another meal.Crumble the feta cheese into a bowl.Chop the mint and basil and add to the cheese,then drizzle over the lemon juice and mix,
Once the pasta is cooked to your liking ( We like it al dente ),drain and put back into the pan.Pour in all that beautiful beetroot sauce and mix through.I cant help but be mesmerized by nature when the colour mixes with the pasta,staining it bright pink.Tip out onto a serving dish and sprinkle over the feat and dill mix,Drizzle with a little extra olive oil before serving.
The frozen sauce will keep for up to 6 months

Thursday, 15 August 2019

How about some limoncello? keep it cool with a soothing summer snifter

 Pure bottled sunshine
The months between June and September tend to be our most social ones, punctuated by barbecues,eating alfresco, and glasses of pink port on the patio. These are evenings when we want to encourage our guests to have one for the road, to hang around just a little longer and enjoy those precious few moments when the heat finally dissipates. 
How about some limoncello?
There are many legends and stories on the origin of this liqueur; some say the limoncello is as ancient as lemon cultivation itself. Others say that it was used by fishermen and farmers to fight off the cold of the morning. Some others say that the recipe originated in a monastery. We’ll probably never know the truth, but what is certain is that today limoncello is an international success, which is exported by many Italian companies that follow the original recipe using only lemons from Capri, Sorrento or the Amalfitana coast. Peel from lemons, picked no more than 48 hours before, are cut by hand and left to marinate in a solution of alcohol, water and sugar. The jugs are well covered and kept at room temperature so that the blend can marinate and gain the lemon taste and yellow colour. After resting for a month, the preparation continues by adding a pan of boiled water and sugar and then by leaving it to cool with some more alcohol. After 40 more days of resting, the infusion is filtered and bottled. Limoncello is stored in the freezer and is an excellent digestif, at the end of meals it’s become a social ritual as much as coffee.If you grow lemons it is a great way to make use of an excess harvest and for the price of a bottle of vodka it is astoundingly easy to make yourself,following the original recipe.I had this notion that limoncello must be a closely guarded secret , kept by a sect of weathered Italian Nonnos. Well, as it turns out,how wrong could I be.All you need to make truly incredible limoncello are some good lemons, a bottle of stiff vodka, and just a little patience.
The lemons may not be from the Amalfi coast but there is nothing wrong with a good Algarvian lemon.There is also an Alentejan version,Limontejo, should you be visting the area.So if you can’t make it to Palermo this summer, never fear Limoncello is here: It is cheap and easy to make at home, requiring only organic lemons, high-proof vodka, and sugar. Best of all, by making your own you can balance the limoncello to your liking, reducing the sugar content for a more tart sipper or upping it for something a little sweeter, and adding water if you want to reduce the alcohol. 

Monday, 12 August 2019

Using your noodle Basil-Cashew-Lime noodles with pork and green beans

It was not long ago that I learnt the magic of soaked cashews. Briefly soaking cashews in hot water softens them enough that you can blend them into a creamy sauce.Well summer is basil season, and by adding some basil, lime and mint to the mix you can achieve a gorgeously fresh green-hued sauce for noodles. Top those noodles with pan-seared pork and green runner beans and you have a nutritious bowlful of summery supper.

Basil-Cashew-Lime noodles with pork and green beans
1 cup salted, roasted cashews, divided
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
2 1/2 tsp. light brown sugar, divided
2 large boneless pork loin chops (about 1 1/4 lb. total)
8 oz. udon noodles
2 cups basil leaves
2 small serrano chiles, seeds removed
1 Tbsp. finely grated lime zest
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. green beans, trimmed, halved crosswise
1 cup mint leaves
Lime wedges (for serving)

Place 3/4 cup cashews in a blender and cover with 3/4 cup boiling water. Let soak 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix turmeric, pepper, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Working one at a time, place pork chop flat on a work surface. First, butterfly the pork chop so that it’s thinner, which will reduce cooking time and create more surface area for seasoning. Using a sharp knife and starting from an outside edge, slice three-quarters of the way through the centre of chop, as though you’re slicing a bagel in half, then open it up like a book. Place butterflied chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or inside a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and pound to 1/4" thin. Repeat with remaining chop. Rub chops with turmeric mixture and let sit 10 minutes.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Run under cold water to stop the cooking, then transfer to a large bowl.
Add basil, chillies, lime zest and juice, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar and 3/4 tsp. salt to cashews and cashew soaking water in blender and purée until smooth and creamy. Pour sauce over noodles and toss to combine.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high until shimmering. Cook chops one at a time until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice into 1/2"-thick strips.
While pork rests, cook green beans in same skillet over high heat, stirring often, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Divide noodle mixture among bowls. Arrange pork and green beans over. Top with mint and remaining 1/4 cup cashews. Serve with lime wedges alongside.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Hey Pesto!

A traditional Italian favourite,the original basil pesto has inspired countless variations that feature such fragrant herbs as rocket,garlic-chives,oregano,dill,sage,thyme and tarragon.The famous pesto alla genovese is without doubt one of the classic  sauce recipes of Italian cooking.Its true home, however,is in Liguria,where the ingredients needed can be obtained all the year round.In summer when basil is in season and abundant,it´s worth not only making pesto freshly,but making a quantity large enough to freeze.Make the sauce in the food processor up to the end of the first step,and freeze it without the cheese and butter in it.Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed,just before using.
 Nowadays we find ourselves throwing caution to the wind with innovative combinations such as ginger, mint, basil and coriander, sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic,fava bean and rocket and pestos made with both black and green olives.The traditional pine nut too is often now traded in favour of more exotic nuts like pistachio,marcona almond,walnut and dry roasted peanuts.I bet the queen of Italian gastronomy Marcella Hazan is turning in her grave at the very thought of a beetroot and lemon pesto.And it is she that I turned to seek advice on how to make the best home made pesto.I am so glad I did because having pestle and mortared my way through the process over the years I suddenly found new tips that proved more than worthwhile.If you are using the processor method she suggests washing the basil before you blitz it and then only process the garlic and pine nuts with it, saving the cheese element to be stirred through with a wooden spoon only when you are ready to use it.It is well worth the slight effort to do it by hand to obtain the notably superior texture it produces.When the cheese has been evenly amalgamated with the other ingredients she mixes in softened butter,distributing it evenly into the sauce.This dramatically lifts the dish to a level I have never tasted before.When spooning the pesto over the pasta,she dilutes it slightly with a tablespoon or two of the hot water in which the pasta has been cooked.The late Antonio Carluccio applies the same method,perhaps it was a generational thing?
 Trofie is the traditional pasta to serve with pesto,but fusilli works just as well.Pesto should always be used raw, at room temperature,and never warmed up. 
For the `improved´pesto sauce
 100g /3.5 oz fresh basil leaves
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
50g / 2oz freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 tbsp freshly grated romano cheese
45g / 1.5 oz butter softened to room temperature

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

 Anyone who grew up in the 1970s will remember Angel Delight getting so much marketing attention you would have thought it was critical to human survival. It was taken to a level that made it as important as getting your 5-a-day.We all loved our Angel Delight.It was a firm family favourite, and a vegetarian friendly mousse too.Angel Delight contains no gelatine and is therefore suitable for those suffering with vegetarianism.However, the product does contain milk products (aside from adding your own milk to mix it with) and therefore is not suitable for vegans.But I’m sure vegans will tell you this before you offer it to them.They just love telling people about their beliefs.
This dessert started its life simply as powder in a packet but when whisked with milk,it transformed into a gelatinous mousse which pleased many a child growing up at the time.
It’s not a million miles from custard, but it came, and still does come in several flavours, which made it a bit more exotic (If I am right in thinking butterscotch was the best seller). It is one of a family of instant, whipped up desserts appealing to working parents who found themselves time short in the food preparation area,and answerable to whining ankle biters who needed pandering to.It’s a wonder Angel Delight isn’t at least a Category B substance really.

   "We all mucked in on the nosh. I did my butterbean whip. It's over there in a bucket".

So why did we get so carried away with this "junk food",when there was a healthier and more natural alternative available.Well sorry to spoil all this mustering of nostalgia but we have to talk about where this convenience food might have originated from.It was a beautiful English summer dessert called a fool.Dating as far back as the sixteenth century, this classic British dessert has seen its popularity ebb and flow. A Fruit Fool is a delicious mixture of lightly sweetened fruit that has been pureed and then haphazardly folded into whipped cream,custard or more recently Greek yoghurt. Tart fruits such as raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, loganberries, and rhubarb are the most popular choices to make Fruit Fools, as they pair so beautifully with sweetened cream. A Fruit Food is aptly named, since the word "Fool" is believed to have originated from the French word "fouler" which means "to mash" or "to press". And this is exactly what is done with the fruit to make this dessert. A Fruit Fool begins with making a puree from fresh fruit.You can make the puree the day before it is needed so it has time to thicken, and the flavours to meld together. Although I always think it best when made shortly before serving, you can make the fruit fools several hours in advance. It is best showcased when served in a long stemmed parfait or wine glass, garnished with fresh fruit. A homemade artesanal biscuit is also a nice accompaniment. There are a few things to keep in mind when making fruit fools. There is no way to know, without tasting, the exact amount of sugar needed. So tasting is very important here. Make sure you taste the puree and adjust the sugar as needed. The same is true when you mix the puree with the whipped cream. Taste and adjust the sugar and amount of puree as you might want to, adding a little extra puree if a stronger fruit flavour is preferred.So what kind of fool are you? A custard fool,cream fool, a greek yoghurt fool or some other kind of fool entirely? Glorious fools! All of them. I can't make up my mind which one I like the best . . . Feeling like a kid in a sweet shop I have opted for blackberry greek yoghurt fool and I will tell you why.I was reading a food blog about blackberries and the brand name Driscolls came up.
The name sounded familiar and I realised it was the brand of berries - raspberries,blueberries and blackberries that I buy in LIdl.On investigating  I discovered that Driscolls is responsible for most of the berry growers in Portugal.
Driscoll's grow berries in Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Right now, Portugal is the largest of the three regions,where the company produces all these strains. I further discovered they are working closely with berry growers in the Algarve and Alentejo and this fits in perfectly with Lidl´s policy of locally sourced produce.
 Brambles, blackberries whatever you call them they are one of the hedgerows most precious jewels.
It’s amazing how nowadays we just expect things. We live in a world where you can practically buy what you want when you want. We eat foods out of season, at the wrong time of the year when good old mother nature would have them sound asleep, tucked in their beds of hybernation for the season to come.Some may call this progress and moving with the times. Man calling the shots and dominating nature more and more with his use of technology and his chemical tool kit. Driscoll´s have developed a unique type of blackberry, they are really next level fruit, and a huge step up from those one would forage in the local hedgerows.
Having some production indoors allows growers to spread the harvest out to more of the year, meaning that we get fresh blackberries for most of the year.
The goal is for year-round blackberries, which is great news for those of us with an addiction for the berries. For now, we can find them in supermarkets and many other outlets from May through October.
The science involved doesn’t mean the human touch is ignored. Each berry is handpicked at peek ripeness to ensure we get the best fruit possible.These blackberries are sweet, plump, and huge – two bites to get one down!
If they cost slightly more, it is money well spent. The taste is extraordinary, meaning that they can be used in ways others cannot, especially if you like to sit down with a pile of berries as a snack or make this magnificent Blackberry Fool.
I am in two minds on this one. I celebrate the joy that comes with the changing seasons and the excitement of the first foods that compliment that time of year. There are so many memories and feelings tied up with seasonal food. But there are those times when compromise or canned fruit wont suffice and you really need that out of season apricot for an autumn trifle or raspberries for a Cranachan on New Years Eve. 
Blackberry fool 
with blackberry balsamic jelly

For the fool 

300g blackberries, plus a few for garnishing1tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
500ml / 2 cups Mascarpone or double cream/whipping cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

Put the blackberries into a saucepan with the sugar and one tablespoon of water. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat, until they are juicy. Add the lemon juice and set aside to cool completely.
Attach the knife blade, add the blackberry mixture and pulse to a coarse texture then remove from the bowl and reserve.Attach the whisk attachment and add the greek yoghurt and icing sugar. Turn the machine to high speed and process until the yoghurt thickens. Pour the blackberry mixture into the machine. Use the pulse button in quick bursts to mix in the fruit. Pour the mixture into your serving glasses on top of the jelly and return to the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.garnish with blackberry and mint before serving. 

For the jelly

500g/1lb 2oz blackberries, plus extra for garnish
½ lemon, juice only
100g/3½oz caster sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
80ml/2½fl oz water
3 sheets gelatine, soaked in water

Place all the ingredients apart from the gelatine into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for six minutes. Remove the fruit mixture from the heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl.
Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and stir it into the fruit mixture. Leave the jelly to cool slightly, stirring regularly.
Place two blackberries in the bottom of each of six serving glasses and divide the jelly mixture between them, leaving some space at the top of each tumbler. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Rillettes de porco é muito delicioso!

Rustic, unctuous and seriously scrummy
Slap me with bread and call me a sandwich.Imagine sinking your teeth into the most exquisitely flavoured fork-tender pork that has been simmered for hours in aromatic herbs and then spread on crispy baguettes…é muito delicioso!
I’m always amused by dishes that were in the  past ridiculed and written off as peasant food.Foods like lobster, oysters,foie gras, and famous dishes like cassoulet, panzanella and gazpacho used to be the food of the poor – now they’re only served in the smartest restaurants and come with high price tags.
This process like many others was originally used before refrigeration was invented to keep meat from spoiling. The fat, while providing an incredible flavour, sealed the meat in the pot keeping it fresh and delicious for weeks longer than would have been possible otherwise.Because of the richness of rillettes, a little goes a long way making it a very budget-friendly option.
Be sure to select quality, pasture-raised pork for the best and most flavoursome result.  
Coarse-textured and deliciously old-fashioned, rillettes make a great alternative to paté for that sumptuous summer picnic and something that is a blessing to find in the fridge on a hot summer’s day.
Often made with pork, duck or goose, the savoury quality of rillettes comes from using traditionally fatty meats and a generous quantity of salt. It keeps for weeks if covered with a layer of fat.
 Coupled with the seasonings and quality lard, once you try these rillettes and let the flavours permeate your mouth, I swear you will be hooked and its so easy. Long, slow cooking is the key. Removing the meat from the bone with a fork will help keep the fibres separate. Don't be tempted to use a food processor, as the texture will end up too smooth.The best and most moorish part is shredding the belly pork with a couple of forks, tearing the meat rather than pulling it off with your fingers to keep it light and open.
The success of any pâté or terrine is as much about texture as flavour. My personal preference is a soft, open texture, more like traditional pork rillettes than a dense pâté you can slice oh so neatly with a knife. My heart seeks the sort of soft terrine that falls loosely on the plate, something to scoop up with soft wodgy bread.
So gorgeously french, I love it
1 kg entremeada sem ossos e pele   1 kg belly pork in strips trimmed of bones and skin
300g banha de porco                       300g good quality pork fat or lard

250ml vinho branco seco                 250ml dry white wine

3 folhas de louro                              3 bay leaves

3 raminhos grande de tomilho         3 large sprigs of thyme

3 dentes de alho grandes                3 cloves garlic

Put the pork fat,white wine,thyme and bay leaves in a casserole with a lid.
heat gently until the fat has melted.Add the meat and cook over a very low heat covered for about 3 hours or until the meat is completely tender. Remove the lid.lift the meat from its juices and on a chopping board very finely shred the meat and fat with two forks.Pack tightly into ceramic or eathenware pate dishes or a china terrine;alternatively you could use individual ramekins.Strain the cooking liquid and residue from the casserole,through a sieve over the rillettes and mix lightly.Leave to cool,then refrigerate till the fat on top has set to form a coating.

To serve: simply tear up some baguettes, slather them with rillettes, and place them on a serving platter with things like olives, pickles, pepperoncini, pickled asparagus, pickled onions, pickled peppers, etc. and you’ve got a wonderfully elegant and perfectly delicious option for hors d’oeuvres,picnic, or even a light lunch.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Roasted, toasted, nutty sticky rice powder (Khao Khua)

Khao Khua or toasted rice powder is simply just rice, quite often sticky rice, pan toasted to a deep golden brown, cooled, then ground to a coarse powder using a pestle and mortar. It really is just like pan toasting dry spices for an Indian recipe.It is debatable if ordinary rice, arborio (risotto), bomba (paella), any white or even brown rice will do just as well if you don’t have access to sticky rice or glutinous rice.
It is used in salads like larb (laab), in soups as well as dipping sauces. Not only does it add a nutty, smoky flavour to your dishes, it also adds a pleasant texture and as far as soups go, it acts as a mild thickener.
Khao Khua is a common pantry ingredient in Northern Thai and Lao cuisines. It lends a textural element and nutty flavour to dishes, and is also used as a thickening agent in soups and dipping sauces.Making it at home is a breeze, though it does take some patience: This recipe calls for an extra-long toasting process in order to evenly cook the grains of glutenous rice and bring out all of their deep nutty flavour and popcorn-like aroma.Slow and steady is the best way to coax these flavours out of toasted-rice powder.
Khao Khua ( toasted rice powder )

12 tbsp ( 1/2 cup )  sticky rice or rice of your choice
        Heat a frying pan or wok on medium heat.
        Add the plain raw sticky rice (not rinsed) to the hot pan, and dry roast, slowly stirring continuously. After about 10 minutes, the grains of rice should begin to turn from milky white to golden yellow, and they should also start to smell like popcorn.
        Keep dry frying for about 15 minutes, until the sticky rice is golden in color, then remove from heat and set aside.
        To grind the sticky rice into powder, you can either do it by hand using a mortar and pestle, or you can grind it in a food processor or blender. You're looking for a coarse powder.
        Use the toasted rice powder immediately for best taste, or you can store in a bag or jar for later use (probably within 1 - 2 weeks is best)

          Thai sticky rice (also sold as "sweet" and "glutinous" rice) can be found online and at Asian shops.

          Wednesday, 24 July 2019

          Sweet, Salty, Sour and hot

          Simple though they may be in technique,Thai soups encompass an enormous array of tastes and textures.It can however be so easy to get carried away when making these stock based soups. Since the essence is in simplicity,you are relying on the quality of your stock and only a few ingredients need to be added to perfume that stock.Contrary to what you would normally expect of me, I would recommend exercising restraint.A little fresh ginger,some garlic,some spring onion, coriander and perhaps a cabbage leaf is all that is required. This particular soup is an exercise in that simplicity.
          Dtom yam gung 
          Hot and sour prawn soup 
          Tender prawns and squishy, slurpable noodles swim in this spicy broth of deliciously satisfying hot and sour soup. To most people dtom yam is this ubiquitous hot and sour soup of prawns, but dtom yam in fact encompasses a vast range of dishes from extremely basic to highly complex - dtom simply means to boil and yam to mix or toss together.At its most identifiable a dtom yam is a soup that is flavoured with lemongrass,perfumed by kaffir lime leaves and seasoned with lime juice,fish sauce and chillies resulting in a balance that is sweet salty, sour and hot.When done well,and it can easily be achieved at home, it is easy to understand why this dish has become a culinary classic,However when poorly executed it becomes a culinary cliche.This can be avoided simply by using fresh quality ingredients:freshly squeezed lime juice.pungent birds eye or piri piri chillies,fresh kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.
          Servings 3
          12 uncooked prawns,unpeeled
          1 medium sized chilli sliced
          4 cups stock,chicken,fish or vegetable
          6 birds eye chillies
          large handful coriander stalks finely chopped
          2 stalks lemongrass.finely minced
          4 kaffir lime leaves
          2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
          3 garlic cloves, minced
          teaspoon Sriracha sauce
          dessert spoon golden caster sugar
          4 cups prawn broth
          tablespoon lime juice, half a lime,reserved after juicing
          reserved half a lime quartered
          for serving
          chopped spring onion
          fresh coriander and basil leaves

          Peel the prawns, keeping the heads and shells. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the prawn shells and heads with the sliced chilli until they have toasted and changed colour. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.after 8 to 10 minutes strain and set aside.
          Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and submerge. Allow to soak according to package directions. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water. 

          Set aside.
          Coat the bottom of a medium pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass coriander stalks and chillies. Cook about 5 minutes to soften. Add sriracha  lime juice, quartered lime sugar, soy sauce and prawn broth, Taste test and adjust seasonings if desired. Raise heat and bring to a simmer.Add the reserved shelled prawns at the end and cook until they change colour.
          Divide noodles and prawns into bowls and ladle broth and over noodles and prawns. Top with spring onion, coriander and basil leaves.

          Monday, 22 July 2019

          In times of peas

          I have always believed......

          "Someday it'll come along
          The dish I love
          It'll be bold and strong
          The dish I love
          And when it comes my way
          I'll do my best to make it stay
          It'll  look at me and smile
          I'll understand
          Then in a little while
          I'll take my fork
          And enjoy the sensation
          I know I won't say a word
          about the dish I love..."
                                                                with apologies to George Gershwin

          And it has come along in the form of Nigel Slater’s squid with pea and coriander chutney.Fresh and raw,still in the pod, peas makes a delicious snack. But even in a cooked dish like this, they can become the star ingredient.
          Whether you toss them in a salad, mix them with bacon into a gorgeous risotto, or turn them into a bright green soup, nothing embodies the sweet, light freshness of summer like the humble pea. For me this  is such a superb summery supper or part of a lazy langorous lunch in the jardim. I will be making it again and again before the season´s out.
          There is an ease to early summer cooking that comes from a starting point of having the finest of the season’s ingredients to hand. Fuss free, carefree and effortless,we should enjoy this as long as it lasts.
          Our verdict:The dish overall is very rich,and I thought the given quantity for the squid was enough to make a decent main course for two.As it turned out it was only enough for two starter portions.This did not matter as we found it very filling.The quantity of green chutney was more than enough and I put what was left over in the fridge to use in place of mayo in sandwiches as Slater suggested.

          Other pea dishes I love
          Pea fritters
          Risi and bisi
          Peas pappardelle and parmesan
          Pea crostini with goats cheese and burrata
          Pea pesto
          Pea kachori

          Friday, 19 July 2019

          Poke fun.Barely seared and and cured teriyaki salmon poke

          Let’s be frank, the Hawaiians stole the poké (po-kay) bowl from the Japanese and their original“chirasushi”,just as the Japanese borrowed tempura from Portugal.Poke and “chirasushi”, or scattered sushi, are flavours united by the huge Pacific Ocean.
          The Hawaiian dish poké was traditionally made by fishermen, combining trimmings from their catch of “ahi” tuna (or sometimes octopus) with seaweed and sweet onions. Serving it on a bowl of rice with soy sauce and sesame oil is a nod to the Japanese migrants who worked on the Hawaiian pineapple and sugar cane plantations in the late 19th century. 
          Far more recently, poké’s popularity has been lifted by hipsters and health-faddists. For the former, it fits with their obsession with sriracha, mayonnaise and pickly, fermented stuff, and for the latter with their carb-, gluten-, meat-free urges. As poké slips neatly into both camps’ food arsenal, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.
          Gone are the days when pasta restaurants were the only ones where one could choose everything that made up the dish, from the type of pasta to the ingredients and the sauces. The same logic is now available in spaces with poké bowls, trendy Hawaiian bowls that look good on any Instagram feed and are eaten with chopsticks.
          They began to become famous a few years ago in cities like New York or London. The Portuguese are among the largest consumers of rice and fish in the world and so the Portuguese cities not wanting to be left behind now abound with establishments where you can poke to your hearts content.
           Having become a dedicated follower of the new fashion of the tropical Hawaiian poké and the delicate Japanese chirasushi, I am stealing the concepts back and making them even better by combining the the smokiness of slightly scorched salmon pieces with the delicacy of smoked salmon,avocado, cucumber and shredded nori for a more interesting poke.
          Barely seared and and cured teriyaki salmon poke bowl
          150g skinless salmon fillet, pin-boned 
          150g smoked salmon
          2 spring onions, white part very finely chopped, dark green part finely chopped
          1 garlic clove, crushed
          1 tsp minced ginger
          1⁄2 tsp shichimi togarashi or dried chilli flakes, plus extra to serve (optional)
          1 tbsp soy sauce
          3/4 tbsp honey
          1 dessert spoon sesame oil
          150g sushi rice, well rinsed
          2 baby baby cucumbers, sliced into rounds
          dessert spoon rice wine vinegar
          1 small ripe avocado, sliced
          1/2 sheet nori, shredded

          Cut the salmon into 1.5cm cubes and place in a bowl. Add the white part of the spring onion, garlic, ginger, shichimi togarashi or chilli flakes, soy sauce, honey and 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil and toss until well combined. Set aside in this pimped-up teriyaki sauce to marinate for 15 minutes.
          Meanwhile, place the rice in a saucepan, add 500ml water and bring to
          the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stand, without removing the lid, for 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir through the dark green part of the spring onion and the remaining sesame oil.
          Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the marinated salmon and cook, turning, for 1–2 minutes or until the sides are slightly scorched. Remove from the heat.
          Toss the cukes with the vinegar in a bowl.
          Divide the rice among four bowls and top with the smoked salmon, scorched salmon, cucumber, avocado and shredded nori. Scatter over extra shichimi togarashi or chilli flakes, if desired, and serve.