Creamy Fish And Squash Curry

This was inspired by Nigella’s delicious pumpkin yellow curry which is both quick and delicious.  My variation uses butternut squash, simply because I had that in the fridge at the time, and I omitted the prawns as I felt there was enough going on with the salmon and squash.  I also add crème fraiche to mine as it makes it really creamy, plus it damps down the heat a little if you need it milder.  I’ve used dried lemongrass in this as that’s all I had in the cupboard, but I reckon an inch (or 4cm) of a  lemongrass stalk would be better if you have it.  Actually, if I say so myself, I actually prefer this to the Domestic Goddess’ version.  Sorry Nige !

This is a medium spiced curry but vary the spices for extra or less kick.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

2 Large salmon fillets cut into fairly big chunks (around 1kg)

Half Butternut Squash cut into chunks (500g)

Tin coconut milk

Small tub crème fraiche

2 tbs soft brown sugar

2 tbs of Benedicts fish stock (in 600ml of boiling water)

Handful of long green beans (fresh or frozen will do)

Chopped Fresh Corriander

 

Spices

 

½ tsp Garram Masala

½ tsp Ground Cumin

½ tsp Ground Corriander

½ tsp hot chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp black onion seeds

2 tsp of dried Kaffir Lime leaves (stalked and chopped)

¼ tsp dried lemongrass flakes (or chop 4cm of a stalk if prefer)

1 cardomon pod cracked

 

Put all the spices to a Large saucepan pour in the creamy top of the coconut milk and gently heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add the rest of the coconut milk and stock and slowly bring to the boil.  Add the squash and simmer for around 10-15 mins until the squash is tender.  Stir in the crème fraiche, sugar and add the green beans (if using) and then the salmon chunks.   Cook for a further 4-5 mins or until salmon cooked. (tip: fish carries on cooking in heat of sauce afterwards so don’t overcook it). And finally throw in some chopped corriander and serve immediately.

That’s it ! Easy Peasy.

 

Serve with Naan bread and prawn and saffron rice (see recipe).

 

ENJOY !

 

Please comment if you like any of my recipes or let me know if you feel it needed improving in anyway.

Minted Minced Lamb With Soft Cheese Mash And Purple Sprouting Broccoli

..or to put another way, Shepherdless Pie really.  I cook the mince and mash, but for speed, I don’t bother to put it together and oven bake it.  I made it to serve my 3 children but if you want more, just double up on the mince, veg and potatoes.  It takes about 10 mins to prepare and 45 mins to cook, depending on meat.  Don’t forget the mint sauce as this is what sets this apart from regular SP and really gives it that unique flavour.

Tip: Stealing a tip I once heard from Anthony W.T, put the hob cooked mince into the oven and cook on a low to medium heat for at least 25 mins.  Mince is from a cheap cut of meat so it needs longer to tenderise.  I used butter in my mash but I don’t see why you couldn’t substitute for another spread.  Make sure you warm the milk for the mash first.

Ingredients

250g Lean Lamb Mince (I used Supermarket brand, but if you can afford it, go to the Butcher and get the proper stuff).

1lb of Potatoes

2 Carrots, washed and peeled.

3oz of Butternut Squash, peeled (or the same amount as the carrot once cubed)

3 Baby leeks, washed.

3 Tbsp Soft Cream Cheese

2 Tbsp Worcester Sauce

1 Tbsp of Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp Gravy Granules

1 Tbsp Concentrated Tomato Puree (or double up on regular)

3 tsp of Garden Mint Sauce (I used Tesco’s)

Milk & Butter for the Mash

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Dice the carrot & squash.  Finely chop the leeks 

Heat oil in an ovenproof frying pan, throw in the mince to brown on a medium heat along with the carrot, squash and leeks.

Meanwhile peel the potatoes and put in a pan of cold water.  Bring to boil and simmer for 10 mins.  Pre-heat your oven on a low setting, around 120 or gas 3-4. ( I think ?)

Once mince is browned off, mix in the water and when it’s hot enough, add gravy granules, puree, soy and Worcester. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for another 10 mins.  Add more water if necessary.

Remove from hob and put in the oven for around 30 mins but don’t let it dry out.

Meanwhile steam some Purple Sprouting Brocolli (And I’m very proud of my one and only homegrown vegetable!)

Strain the potatoes and mash with the milk, butter and cream cheese adding salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the mince from the oven and serve with the delicious mash and tender broccoli.

Enjoy !

Fishing v. Cooking – Part I

I have come to the conclusion that my husband and I are obsessive, or should I say we both have an obsession for one thing.  Unfortunately his is catching fish and mine cooking them and our paths cross somewhere in the middle.  Alas, life would be harmonious if the fish he caught, I COULD actually cook, but sadly not.  Aside from the legalities and dare I say, not being from Eastern Europe, the thought of stuffing and baking one of the specimens from the Grand Union doesn’t really appeal as it would probably kill us !

We often fight for space in the kitchen to prepare delicious morsals, me for the kids, and him for his precious fish !  Our passion for ingredients match our enthusiasm in preparing and experimenting with different flavours.  HIS latest thing is making his own boilies (for those not in the know, these are little bait balls you stick on the end of a hook)!  My cupboards are crammed full of spices which I often find half emptied due to his desire to come up with the next greatest fish-catching flavour of the year.  I should thank him really as his need for a blender to grind up the cat biscuits (don’t ask!), peanuts and anything else that will blunt the blade, I gave him my cheap one and bought a new Kenwood !  The fact that he has ribbed me for a month that I haven’t actually used it yet in order to justify 120.00 purchase price is neither here nor there.

I have, however, been able to help him with my almost vast knowledge of ingredients, for his attempts at preparing his homemade bait.  He often asks me ‘what can I stick in this to make it sweeter?’ or, ‘If I blend this with this, what will it taste like?’

Fortunately for my children, I don’t need his advice for my own compulsion.  ‘Which brand of cat biscuits shall I put in their lunch box today ?’ or, ‘What colour maggots should I stick in the beef stew tonight dear ?’ are not usually questions that pop into my head. 

So, today, after returning from a 24 fishorama at a local lake, windswept, cold, wet and hungry, I have to ask him the inevitable question ‘What’s the point? You could have stayed home, eaten salmon and got a decent night’s sleep?’.  I guess the answer to that is simple.  For the same reason I purchase 3 or 4 cooking magazines a month, record, and watch every single episode of Saturday Kitchen, Something for the weekend, Nigella or Masterchef, and, subsequently scour the shops for my all important ingredients.  It’s an obession, a compulsion, an overwhelming need to prove to oneself (and anyone else who’ll listen) that you could actally be GOOD at something.  

My desire to cook, and his desire to fish may be miles apart, but one things for sure.  The Garam Massala is ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY MINE !!

Salmon Fish Cakes with Sweet Mandarin Drizzle.

I know for some that the thought of fish cakes conjours up tasteless mash coated in breadcrumbs with only a very slight hint of fishiness but I promise these will banish those memories.  The drizzle sauce came about when I ran out of sweet chilli but I think it tastes just as good and it evokes warm memories of my mum serving me mandarins and cold tinned Ambrosia custard for pudding when I was little.

Anyway, you can always call them Salmon Patties if you want to be posh !

 Tips:  “Don’t be tempted to add butter to the mash before you make the cakes as it’ll make them soggy.  Let the mash cool before you make the patties and don’t mash the mixture into a pulp, keep the texture.  I’ve also used Salmon Trout in this recipe which works just as well”

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For Fish Cakes:

2 Salmon Fillets – Cooked & Cooled

2 Medium Potatoes – Cooked & Mashed

½ tsp Mixed Spice

½ tsp Turmeric

¼ tsp Crushed Root Ginger

1 Clove Garlic – Crushed

1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes 

½ Red Chilli – Seeds Removed & finely chopped

Juice ½ Lime

1 tbs Soy Sauce

Salt & Pepper

For The Coating:

6oz Fresh Breadcrumbs [Stale bread works best]

1 Free Range Egg

Flour To coat

Oil for frying

For The Sweet Madarin Drizzle:

Half Tin Chopped Tomatoes

1 Tin of Mandarins In Syrup

1 tbs Red Wine Vinegar

1 tsp Soy Sauce

1 tsp Mixed Spice

Splash Pepper Sauce

 

Method:

Flake the salmon taking care to remove any residual bones and through into a bowl with all the other fishcake ingredients.  Ensuring your hands are damp to avoid stickiness, mould them into patties about the size of a small burger.  Dip them first in the flour, then egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pre-heat the oil in a pan and gently fry until golden on both sides.  Remember the salmon is already cooked so don’t overdo it.

For the sauce, gently bring all the ingredients to the boil in a saucepan and then simmer to reduce until the mandarins break down a little and the sauce thickens.

And Finally..

Well it’s not called drizzle for nothing.  Drizzle the sauce over the fishcakes and serve on a bed of rocket and spinach leaves as a starter or light lunch.

ENJOY !

I’m an amateur cook who enjoys to create so if you have any ideas on improving anything, please let me know.

 

 

Delia, The Return

Fear not dearest Nigella. Delia will definitely NOT be overtaking you in the express cooking stakes. 

I must say that I was sadly disappointed with Delia’s comeback on TV last night (BBC2).  Yes, I know I tread on unsafe ground when I say I feel Delia should probably retire and stick to football, which has obviously overtaken her food obsession since we last saw her in the kitchen.  Gone is the plum in her mouth, and the condescending tone, but both at a price.   Us busy people should now be cooking with tinned mince, which, even my cat wouldn’t eat if his young life depended on it.  And, pray what IS our food icon’s latest, seemingly, just use it in everything ingredient ? Wait for it..frozen mashed potato ! Yes, that’s right, peeling a potato has ever been so easy.  Our children never need know what that small brown jewel of the soil either looks, or tastes like, thanks to our Delia.  Never mind, that she used enough of the tiny frozen demons to plaster a wall, there was no mention of how much they would cost the oh-so-busy would-be-cook.  My tip on this: Give up the job, lose the salary and actually prepare it yourself. I bet you’d still have enough money left over for a takeaway !

Every meal she prepared last night contained her new found friend.  Fish bake, shepherd’s pie and, the ‘queen’ of the cooking world, even managed to bung a couple in a soup AND make bread out of the gruesome stuff ! 

The only thing worse than the mash portions was the unconvincingly grovelling support of that other irritating TV cook, Nigel Slater. 

I ask you. Are our lives really too busy to peel a spud ?  I thought the days of Mash get Smash were dead and buried ! Dearly departed Fanny.C. is turning as we speak.

Today’s Food TV..

My Sundays are usually spent minus 2 of my 3 beautiful but noisy kids so I can happilly veg in front of food TV for the best part of the day.  Today was the usual starter of my current favourite, ‘Something for the Weekend’ (10.00am, BBC2) with Mr Veggy himself, Simon Rimmer.  Tim Lovejoy and Simon are great entertainment and even my husband sits and watches this one with me. The stuffed pork loin looked very tasty & tender but my Mr Fussy won’t do stilton stuffing, and since 2/3 of my best friends are vegies, this won’t get an airing anytime soon.  Getting a small hole through the middle of the loin to insert the stuffing however looked a bit too poncey for my efforts – surely you can just slice the loin and bung it in Simon ?? On a sweeter note, I’ll definitely attempt those yummy looking chocolate caramel squares with the kids, but I reckon my caramel might need to be a bit softer – Tim and Amanda struggled with the autoqueue after one bite so it would be a definite brace remover recipe for my eldest.  Having said that, could be a blessing in disguise !

Now that the brilliant Masterchef has finished, much to my hubby’s elation, I’m not sure what I’ll do with the 8.30 slot every evening, but I’d really like to know what happens to the winners of past series?  Do they really go onto work in a professional kitchen ? One girl from a couple of years ago is now in a show about cooking in the wilderness, but I’d love to see a follow up series of where they all ended up.  We need to know that after almost sharing their blood, sweat and tears for Jon and Greg, they do actually get a job or end up running their own restuarant.  (Masterchef Goes Large currently repeated on UKTVFood).

Moving onto Come Dine with Me…please, please, please can we have a new series as the constant repeats of old ones are doing my head in.  Surely the whole world and it’s cousin have watched all of these out-of-date episodes by now !  The celebrity shows were definitely my favourite !

Now I know she is the original queen of the kitchen for our generation and the inspiration for many a celebrity chef, but I’ve never really be a big fan of ‘our Delia’ on TV.  Her presentation skills are a bit stale and then she gave us tips on boiling eggs,which personally, I felt was an insult to anyone who actually enjoys being at one with food.  However, I must admit to being more than slightly intrigued with her latest show hitting our screens tomorrow night (8.30pm BBC2).  Please don’t tell me she is going to show us how to open a jar of curry sauce ! C’mon Delia impress me !