Goan Fish Curry

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Goan Fish Curry

If you have read my blog before you will be well aware that my hubby and I love fish and seafood. However, my other half always maintains that fish has no place being in a curry. When he saw me making this dish the other day he, exclaimed ‘oh thats risky’, indicating that there was a chance that he wasn’t going to enjoy the dish!

I took the recipe from  Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks ; a book full of healthy recipes and fitness ideas, which you can complete in just 15 minutes. I’ve tried out several recipes already but this is definitely one of my favourites. The gentle warmth from the chilli and spices combined with the meaty fish and dash of lime really works and it is an excellent alternative to an Indian Takeaway. Despite his earlier misgivings, my hubby declared that if this dish was available at his local Curry House he would be ordering it every time…high praise indeed!

Goan Fish Curry

Prep 15 mins

Serves 2

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, chopped
3cm ginger, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped – with seeds if you like it hot, although I removed them in my version and the curry was just right for me and my hubby who likes spicy food.
2 chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp coconut oil or 6-8 squirts or coconut oil spray
1 red onion, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
500g haddock fillet, skinned and cut into large chunks (or use 300g and add 8-10 king prawns, as I did in this recipe)
Juice of 1 lime
½ bunch of coriander leaves chopped

Method

  1. In a food processor (I used my mini processor) add the the garlic, ginger, chilli and tomatoes and blitz until smooth, then leave to one side.
  2. Spray coconut oil in the pan and fry the onion under a medium heat for 2 minutes, stir throughout.
  3. Add in the garam masala and cumin and then continue to stir as for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the ingredients you blended earlier and bring to the boil before pouring in the coconut milk. Once added, make sure that the sauce is brought to the boil again. At this stage, I turned off the heat and left the sauce on the hob as I wasn’t ready to cook the fish just yet, but if you are ready, you can simply proceed with the next stage of the recipe.
  5. Add the haddock pieces and the prawns to the curry, and simmer gently. Cook the fish for about 3 minutes, or until it is cooked through.
  6. Season and stir in the lime juice and then taste to ensure you are happy with the flavours and add more lime or seasoning as required.
  7. Serve with a sprinkling of coriander and a wedge of lime.
  8. This recipe freezes well, although I would probably freeze the sauce in batches and add the fish or even chicken when needed.

Ricotta fritters with tomato sauce & courgette salad

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Ricotta fritters with tomato sauce & courgette salad

This tasty dish went down a treat when my son’s vegetarian girlfriend came to stay and it was also enjoyed by the rest of my carnivorous family. The recipe is taken from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals and I would definitely cook it again.  The ricotta fritters were light and delicate and worked well when combined with the spicy tomato sauce and courgette salad. It is relatively easy to make as long as you do not disturb the fritters too much whilst they are cooking. A lovely little supper dish for a summers evening, although I dare say it would be well received whatever the time of year it is.

Ricotta fritters with tomato sauce and courgette salad

Prep 15 mins – although took me nearly 25mins to prep and cook

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 700g passata
  • 8 black olives (stone in)
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil

For the fritters

  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 400 g ricotta cheese
  • 1 whole nutmeg for grating
  • 1 lemon
  • 40 g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

For the salad

  • 400 g firm green or yellow baby courgettes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • ½ a bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 lemon

Method

1. Cover the porcini with boiling water and leave to soak.
2. In a bow,  mix the ricotta with egg, finely grated 1/4 of nutmeg, lemon zest, parmesan and flour and then beat together.
3.Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan and then dollop 8 tablespoons of the mixture in to the pan. Turn carefully with a spatula when the bottom is golden and as I mentioned previously try not to move the fritters around too much.
4. Add chilli,  anchovies and garlic to a frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Then add passata and finely chopped porcini with half the soaking water. Season and bring to the boil.
5. Add stoned squashed olives (squashing helps remove the stone) and then add the chopped basil leaves, but don’t forget to keep some to use as garnish later.
6. Using a food processor grate the courgette. Add to a bowl with seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil. Then add finely chopped chilli and some mint from the top half of the bunch. Mix the salad together gently with your hands.

7. Place the fritters in the sauce in a serving dish or if you wish to be more rustic in the pan the sauce was cooked in. Garnish with the rest of the basil leaves, some balsamic and a few lemon wedges on the side.

Watercress Soup

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Watercress Soup

 

This delicious soup has always been a winner in our household, whether it is served as an Amuse-bouche, a simple starter or as a hearty bowl for lunch or supper. The method of making this soup is easy as can be and is based on a recipe for lettuce soup, which I found in a Sainsbury’s Easy Meals For One & Two by Anne Page-Wood many moons ago. In fact I still use up old ends of lettuces and greens to make a soup using this recipe when I’m clearing out the fridge. Just substitute the watercress with any greens you have in store.

Watercress Soup

Prep time 50mins – 1 hr (including cooking)

Serves 4 hearty bowls plus a little extra

Ingredients

1 large onion

5 medium potatoes

2oz Butter

2 bags Watercress (85 grams or approx 3oz per bag)

1 litre of Chicken Stock

Ground  Nutmeg

Lemon or lime juice

Seasoning

Method

  1. Peel and chop onion and then peel and cube potatoes into small squares.
  2. Melt the butter in a large casserole pot on top of the hob and then add the onion and potatoes. Move the potatoes and onions around for a moment until they are coated in the butter.
  3. Add the watercress to the pot with a little seasoning and then put the lid on top. Keep on a low light for 5-10 mins until the watercress is wilted.
  4. When the watercress is wilted give the ingredients a stir and then add the Chicken Stock. Put the lid back on and leave to simmer slowly until the potatoes are soft, which will take up to  25-30 mins.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked through, either leave the soup to cool slightly and then pour in a blender, or use a hand blender directly in the pan to ensure any lumps of vegetables are completely pureed.
  6. Once the soup is blended add a teaspoon of ground nutmeg and squeeze in the Juice of half a lemon. Stir and then taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper (I prefer white pepper for this recipe) as required and taste again. If you wish to add more nutmeg and lemon juice  then do this a little at a time until you feel as though the flavour of the watercress has been enhanced to the required taste.

This soup will last up to a couple of days in the fridge and also freezes well.

 

 

Crispy Polenta Chicken Caesar Salad

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Crispy Polenta Chicken Caesar Salad

This hearty salad from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Cookbook is suitable as a main meal at lunchtime or supper and is probably one of the best caesar salads I have ever tasted. Jamie includes jarred red peppers in his recipe and ciabatta, but as I didn’t have those to hand at the time, I had to make do with what I had in the cupboard. This photograph post on my instagram account @tostadacooking has received a good number of ‘likes’ and I agree with my fellow food bloggers opinion, in that, if something looks this good then it probably tastes good. Trust me and try it for yourself!

Crispy Polenta Chicken Caesar Salad

Prep 20 mins

Serves 4

Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (Jamie uses 2 x chicken breasts)

1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

2 heaped tbsp polenta

olive oil

Salad

1 small petit pan

1 clove of garlic

2 red chicory

100g of bacon lardons (Jamie uses – 3 x Smoked pancetta slices)

3 Gem lettuces (Jamie uses – 2 x romaine lettuces)

10 cherry tomatoes

balsamic vinegar

1 punnet of cress

Dressing

1 clove of garlic

2 lemons

40g Parmesan cheese (plus extra to serve)

4 anchovy fillets

4v heaped tbsp of natural yoghurt

1 splash of Worcester sauce

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp English mustard

1/2 bunch of fresh basil

Method

  1. Prepare the salad dressing by blitzing all the ingredients in a processor until smooth and then season to taste. It may be worth noting that it is best to crumble in the parmesan before you blitz.
  2. On a large sheet of greaseproof paper scatter seasoning, the paprika and polenta then place the chicken on the paper and ensure both side sides of the chicken are coated with the mixture.
  3. Fold over the greaseproof paper on top and bash with a rolling pin until approximately 1.5cm thick.
  4. In a frying pan heat a splash of olive oil and then place the chicken in the pan, turning every 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Whilst the chicken is cooking, slice the petit pan lengthways, so that you have about 3-4 slices of bread. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and rub half a clove of garlic gently over one side of each slice. Place the bread slices on a heated griddle until charred with stripes (both sides).
  6. Once the bread is charred you can use the same pan to cook the lardons.
  7. Whilst the bacon and the chicken finish cooking prepare the salad by roughly slicing the lettuce and placing this on a large serving platter. Halve the cherry toms and also add to the platter.
  8. Remove the cooked chicken and slice into strips and arrange around the salad. Drain any fat from the chicken pan and then quickly toss the chicory in a splash of balsamic in the same pan. Add the chicory to the platter and then slice the petit pain slices into soldiers and add to the salad.  Drizzle the dressing on the salad, sprinkle the bacon bits over and then snip the cress onto the top.
  9. Finally use a potato peeler to shave over a little extra parmesan.
  10. Tuck in!

 

Sticky Kicking Chicken with a Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

Sticky Kicking Chicken with Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

Sticky Kicking Chicken with Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

I really enjoy cooking Jamie Oliver’s recipes, and with the kids home from university, his recipes offer a youthful approach to family cooking which seems to appeal to their tastes. Dont get me wrong, they still enjoy traditional home cooking, but they also like to try new dishes, just as much as I enjoy experimenting with new flavours, ingredients and techniques. I have used Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Cookbook several times over the summer break and I am going to post the best three recipes to date, as voted by the family, the first dish being the delicious and extremely attractive Sticky Kicking Chicken. It took longer than 15 minutes the first time I cooked this, but when I made the same dish last weekend it was much quicker, although I have to say I did play around with the order in which I prepared things…apologies Mr Oliver.

Sticky Kicking Chicken with a Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

Prep – 25 mins (unless you have everything ready and close to hand)

Serves 4

Ingredients

Salad

200g thin rice noodles

sesame oil

800g watermelon

2 little gem lettuces

1 handful of radishes

1/2 a bunch of fresh mint

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 tbsp Chinese five-spice

olive oil

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp sesame seeds

Dressing

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Fish Sauce

1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli

1/2 a thumb sized piece of ginger

2 spring onions

2 limes

1 small clove of garlic

Method

Place the coriander stalks in a small processor or liquidiser along with the soy and fish sauces, peeled ginger, chilli, crushed garlic clove, prepared spring onions, a splash of water, 1 tbsp of sesame oil and the lime juice. Spritz together until the sauce is smooth and then leave to one side until you are ready to dress the salad.

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Use a large sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle salt, pepper and the five-spice on to it. Open out the thighs and lay them on top of the paper and sprinkle the upper side of the chicken with seasoning and then fold over the paper on top of the chicken. Using a rolling pin bash the chicken to flatten it until it is 1.5cm thick.

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Using a large frying pan (I used two pans) add a little olive oil before placing the chicken in the pan. Turn each piece of chicken after 3-4 minutes of cooking and keep repeating this process until the chicken looks charred and is cooked through.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad. I used fresh thin rice noodles for this dish so I simply poured over boiling water to heat them through and then drained them. Drizzle the sesame oil onto a serving platter and toss the noodles in the oil. Slice the watermelon and cut into chunks (these do not need to be uniformed pieces) and add to the platter. Cut the lettuce into wedges, halve the radishes, finely chop the mint and most of the leafy coriander, and scatter over the platter.

Once the chicken is ready, remove the pieces and arrange on a platter or board. Pour away any excess fat, put the pan back on the heat then pour in the sweet chilli sauce and toss with some sesame seeds. Pour the dressing made at the start of this recipe over the salad and toss through the salad and noodles gently, until everything is well coated. Pour the chilli sesame sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with coriander leaves.

This dish is a real crowd pleaser, but for those who do not like chilli you can omit this and use honey for a glaze instead, which my chilli phobic daughter prefers.

La Tasca, Jesús Pobre, Spain

La TascaI have visited this restaurant every summer for the last four years and it never fails to disappoint.  The food is always fresh and seasonal and everything, including the pasta is homemade. I have already mentioned La Tasca in a previous post, in which I attempted to recreate my favourite Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini with a butter and sage sauce, but its never quite the same as when you are sitting in this unique courtyard setting under the spanish sky.

This year we were lucky enough to book a table on a Tuesday evening, which is music night and we were entertained by a traditional gypsy family performing flamenco dancing and singing. The atmosphere was extremely magical and special and is something I will remember for many years to come.

To start, my husband and I shared a Burrata, which for those who don’t know is a delicious buffalo mozzarella, from Napoli in Southern Italy. This was served with toasted bread, topped with fresh spanish tomatoes and drizzled in basil oil. My mouth is watering as I write, as it is such a delight to eat.

The pasta at La Tasca is made daily and their speciality is the ravioli, with a different choice of fillings each day. On this particular evening I could have had ravioli with pear and gorgonzola, salmon and lemon cream, meat, or luckily for me, on this particular evening, the spinach and ricotta. However, the problem of which pasta to choose does not end there, you then have to choose a sauce to accompany the dish. The waiting staff are always on hand to recommend which sauces suit each pasta dish, but it really is up to individual preference. I was torn between Burro e Salvia ( melted butter and crispy sage leaves), Nata y Nueces (cream, walnut pieces and a touch of pepper) or their delicious Nata y Parmigiano (cream and melted parmesan cheese). After a good deal of deliberation I opted for the rather indulgent parmesan cream sauce to accompany my spinach and ricotta ravioli and it did not disappoint. Hurrah for pasta!

To finish, my husband enjoyed a Panna Cotta with berry jam and I opted for a second calorific, but to die for option, of a Crepe Suzette, which was heavenly.  Another fantastic evening at this atmospheric,  warm and friendly venue. La Tasca, I miss you already, but I know I will return…adios amigo!

For more information check out TripAdivsor

El Chiringüito Beach Bar, Denia, Spain

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el Chiringüito Beach Bar

There are many beach bars and restaurants along the Denia coast line, but we always seem to gravitate towards Chiringüito beach because it is well away from the centre of Denia and less crowded. The front of the bar is furnished with cushioned seating in attractive blues and pinks and it has a wonderful view overlooking the sea. A little further back is the restaurant area and whilst there is a regular menu the specials change daily, many of which are seafood.

My husband and I opted to share several plates of food, starting with locally grown organic tomatoes, dressed in oil and sherry vinegar, accompanied with pickled olives, chillies and topped with fresh anchovies. The clean flavours and the freshness of the salad was sublime and in our opinion the epitome of ‘health on a plate’. The salad provided an excellent accompaniment to the two fish dishes we chose. Firstly a sumptuous plate of freshly grilled sardines, which brought back childhood memories of eating grilled sardines and boiled potatoes in the tiny port of Ericeira in Portugal, but the star of the show was the cuttlefish. It is the first time that either of us has eaten cuttlefish (sepia) and it was a revelation.

Cuttlefish is of course very similar to octopus and I am well aware that you either cook it for a very short time or cook it slowly for a long time. I was expecting this dish to be rubbery, but it was far from that and instead we found it deliciously soft and tender and the accompanying garlic and parsley dressing worked perfectly. The restaurant is a ‘no frills’ kind of place, but the waiters are helpful and attentive, despite their limited English and our even more limited Spanish. It was quite simply a delicious lunch in a wonderful location.

For more information and reviews check out TripAdvisor.

Mercat Del Riurau, Jesús Pobre, Spain

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MERCAT DEL RIURAU

Jesús Pobre may be a small traditional Spanish village nestled in the heart of the Montgo National Park, but every Sunday from June to September between the hours of 6pm and 11pm, the world and his wife can be found enjoying the Mercat Del Riurau in the main village square. This a village market where you can taste the local produce and buy directly from the farmers, bakers and crafts people, much the same as the farmers markets we get back at home in the UK. Seasonal, organic and local produce is in abundance and there is live music to accompany as you shop and taste the local food and wine. We bought a selection of Spanish Empanadas which is a stuffed bread or pastry (similar to a Cornish Pasty) and then baked or fried. Traditionally in Latin America they are stuffed with spiced beef, but in Spain seasonal vegetables are often used as a filling. We tried one, stuffed with peas and another with tomatoes, but our favourite empanada contained juicy, garlicky spinach. We ate them as a picnic on the beach the following day and they went down a treat. We finished off the evening with a bottle of chilled red and a Queso Raclette Fundido, which quite simply is melted cheese on a toasted piece of bread with vegetables or ham. The smell of the cheese was simply too much to resist, so we spent €4 each and tucked in. It may have been a cheap supper but the flavours ensured we felt that we were dining like kings!

La Trastienda, Javea Old Town, Spain

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La Trastienda

La Trastienda is a traditional Spanish Tapas/Wine bar situated in the heart of Javea Old Town. We have been visiting this warm and friendly restaurant for a number of years and it never fails to disappoint. The selection of wines is impressive and the prices are very reasonable, and there is even the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two to take home. A favourite from the wine list is the Berrol i Miró Brut Reserva Rosado (berralmiro.com) which is fruity, crisp dry and clean. Served cold it is a superb accompaniment to a casual tapas lunch.

The tapas menu is a Spanish-Asian mix but many of the meats and cheeses are regional. The tasting menu at lunchtime is extremely good value at €9.90 per person and consists of six different plates. When we visited last Thursday we were treated to several slithers of moist salty Serrano Ham with a small bowl of greens leaves, dressed in truffle oil and sprinkled with pine nuts and Parmesan shavings. the combination of flavours in the salad was delicious and definitely something I will replicate back at home. For the second course we were treated to hot Croquetas de Jamón and a slice of the juicy roast beef on toast with a smattering of mustard. Finally we sampled a sumptuous mouthful of Estofado (Spanish Beef Stew) with crispy potato slices and a second dish of oriental vegetables dressed in soy sauce. Small bites superbly delivered and executed.

You will find a number of reviews for La Trastienda on Trip Advisor and you will see that this small intimate bar scores extremely highly for service, wine and food. A wonderful atmosphere and a place that we intend to return to again and again.

Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée

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Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée

Yet again my husband gets a mention and I’m beginning to realise that much of what I cook is dictated by his own likes and dislikes. He believes he is a connoisseur of the french classic, Crème Brûlée and will weigh up the quality of this dessert in restaurants compared to my own meagre offering. He still claims my version is the piece de resistance, but what he doesn’t know is that my recipe is a cheat version, as it is not cooked in a bain marieI’m not sure why he likes my recipe so much, but I think it is a combination of the crack of the caramelised sugar, the thick, but not quite set custard of the brûlée and the taste of fresh raspberries at the bottom.

We had some friends for supper last night and yet again he requested Crème Brûlée as his choice of dessert. I agreed, but decided to add my own twist by introducing Passion Fruit instead of raspberries. I recently visited a local restaurant (The Green) for lunch as part of a work related event and for pudding I ordered a Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée. Whilst I didn’t ask the chef for the recipe I thought that the combination worked really well. So with my age-old cheat recipe from a Cooking for Two Sainsburys cookbook committed to memory, (I don’t even have this recipe any more) I began to shake up my life some what by introducing a little passion (fruit) into the situation!

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