Omelette Arnold Bennett

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Much as I love food, I think I’d be a bit miffed if I was more famous for eating a smoked haddock omelette than for writing ‘The Old Wives’ Tale’.  Arnold Bennett’s books don’t seem to be fashionable at the minute; I have no idea why not.

Anyway, if you like smoked haddock, and don’t mind the occasional rich omelette, you’ll love this.

Firstly, pop about 140g undyed, smoked haddock into a small pan with 250ml milk and simmer for 8-10 minutes until just cooked.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill, grate about a tablespoonful of cheese (I used Gran Padano but parmesan would be fine too) and chop a few chives and about half a tablespoon of parsley.

Lightly whisk 6 eggs with a small pinch of salt..

When the haddock is cooked, lift it out of the milk and flake into juicy pieces, retaining the milk.

Now, melt 40g butter in a pan with a dessertspoonful of cornflour, stirring all the time over a low heat.  When it has melted, add the warm milk and whisk over a medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and just bubbling.  Take it off the heat and stir in the parsley, the haddock, a very small pinch of salt and some freshly grated nutmeg.  Set aside.

Next, let a big knob of butter foam all over a medium-sized frying pan, then pour in the eggs.  When the omelette is practically cooked, take it off the heat and pour the sauce all over the top.  Sprinkle with cheese and grill until golden and delicious.  Throw over a few snipped chives.

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Prawn Curry with Missi Roti

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Firstly, prepare your missi roti breads.  Due to stock limitations in our kitchen, it’s an altered version of the ‘Cinnamon Kitchen’ recipe.

Mix 150g gram flour and 100g self-raising flour with a tablespoon of grated ginger, a chopped red chilli, a chopped spring onion, a shallot, a tablespoon of chopped coriander, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of Nigella seeds.  Add a tablespoon of oil, then gradually drizzle in cold water (about 80-100ml) and stir with a spoon or your hand until it forms a non-sticky dough.  If it does turn sticky, add a little more flour.  It’ll be fine.  Cover with cling film and leave to rest.

Now, the curry.  Take a bunch of spring onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 3 chillis and half a teaspoon of salt and whoosh up in the processor until finely chopped.  Stop short of mush.

Fry this in lots of oil (medium heat) for a good 5 minutes, stirring all the time.  Add a teaspoon of freshly ground cumin, half a teaspoon of turmeric and 3 cardamom pods.  Cook low for a few seconds.  Add 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes.  Cook for a minute.  Add 400g coconut milk and a cinnamon stick.  Squeeze in the juice of half a lime.  Taste and squeeze in the other half if you’re feeling zingy.  Now pop the lid on and simmer very low for 15-20 minutes.  Now back to your breads…

Cut the dough into four equal pieces and warm a non-stick pan to hot.  Roll out the 4 pieces, one piece at a time, sprinkling flour over your surfaces and your dough.  Dry fry on Side A for one minute.  Flip and dry fry on Side B.  Meanwhile, brush the top side with oil; turn over again and brush the other side with oil.  Flip again for a minute and you’re done.  I know that this sounds faffy, but by bread Number 3, you’ll have got it sussed.

Keep the bread warm in the oven while you finish your curry.  Throw in enough raw prawns for two people (I know that what laughingly counts for a prawn in Britain would be scoffed at everywhere else in the world, but anyway..).  Put a good couple of handfuls of chopped coriander on top.  Lid on for a couple of minutes.  Give it all a stir.  As soon as the prawns are cooked through, you can serve it with the missi roti, and if you have a dutiful friend, some freshly made onion bhajis (below).

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Kedgeree

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Fry a chopped onion with a crushed clove of garlic in some oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add a carrot (sliced paper-thin), about 100g quartered mushrooms, half a red pepper (diced), 2 sliced green chillis and a dessertspoon of grated ginger.  Sprinkle over some sea salt and soften for a further 5 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.

After 5 minutes, stir in a teaspoon of turmeric and half a pint of boiling water.  Place 2 smoked haddock fillets* over the top and sprinkle them with black pepper; pop the lid on.  Set the timer for 10 minutes and allow the water to simmer gently and the fish to steam.  At the same time, put the basmati rice (about a mugful) on to cook.  When the rice is five minutes away from ready, add a small cupful of peas to the rice pan, and start boiling 3-4 eggs.

When the haddock is starting to break up, take it out of the pan with a fish slice and  break it into large flakes.

Add the drained, rinsed rice and peas to the onion pan, and stir through a tablespoon of cream and a knob of butter.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in most of the haddock and some fresh coriander, saving a little back as a garnish.  Boiled eggs placed decoratively on top, a careless scattering of haddock and coriander, and you’re done. Serve with a lemon, or – if you have no shame – some HP Sauce.

* I would only cook the haddock in with the onions if I was pretty sure that there were no bones.  If you’re not sure, it would be better to cook it separately.

Tuna Quiche

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Tuna quiche is one of those things that I would never dream of ordering in a restaurant for fear of being faced with some fishy, cheesy monstrosity with an oozing heap of coleslaw alongside.  However, this is mum’s version.  We hanker after it time after time.  It’s just delicious.  Even the children like it.

First, THE PASTRY:

Crumble 6oz of self-raising flour with 3oz butter in the usual way, with fingers or a pulsing processor.  Add just enough cold water to combine it into a non-sticky ball and leave it in a plastic bag in the fridge while you do the other stuff. (NB.  We’ve gone imperial because this is a Mum Recipe).

Now, THE FILLING:

Finely chop 2 small onions and 2 cloves of garlic and fry them gently for 5 minutes in a little oil and a little butter.

Stir into the onions a 7oz tin of tuna (drained and flaked), half a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper and quarter of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Turn the heat very low and keep cooking for about 5 minutes before setting aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, combine 4 large eggs, 4oz cream (single or double), 2 tablespoons of  milk and 2oz grated cheddar.

Roll out your pastry and pop into a 9″ flan dish.  Bake blind if you want to; I never do.

Mix the tuna and onions thoroughly into the egg mixture, then pour into your pastry case.

Place in a pre-heated, moderate oven (190 – 200 degrees) for 30 – 40 minutes until  it is firm and beautifully golden.

Five-Spice Salmon with Sweet Potato and Broccoli

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To serve 2:  Prick a few holes into your 4 sweet potatoes and bake whole in a medium oven (170 degrees) for about an hour.

Slice the broccoli stalks and break off the florets.  Fry gently in a lidded frying pan with a sliced red chilli, a few slices of ginger and some olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of dry sherry, a tablespoon of soy sauce and a little water.  Pop the lid on and steam on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

When the sweet potato is ready, slice off the pointy end, then squeeze out the sweet potato into a bowl (it’ll be hot, so gloves recommended), then mash with a little butter.  Cover the bowl with a plate and keep warm.

Sprinkle the salmon with five-spice, then fry in a hot-medium pan for 3 minutes each side.  Turn down the heat, pour over a tiny bit of sesame oil, a little soy sauce and a little honey.  Wait until it starts to stick, then it’s ready.

There you go.

Pan-fried Sea Bass with Ratatouille and Basil Drizzle

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From the title, you might think that the basil drizzle is an afterthought, but it is what makes this  dinner special, so don’t miss it out, even if you don’t normally eat raw garlic on a school night.  The recipe will make a disproportionate amount of ratatouille, but it’s so handy to freeze or chill to use with couscous, pasta or rice.  Enough preamble, here we go.

Ratatouille

Fry 2 onions and one clove of garlic in a lot of olive oil (about 4 tablespoons).  Once soft, add a sliced aubergine, letting each slice absorb the oil and colour a little before turning over.  Now add 2 sliced red peppers, a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, some black pepper and a teaspoon of dried basil.  Stir a couple of times, then add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes.  Pop on a lid, then simmer for half an hour.

Basil drizzle

Take a good handful of basil leaves (20 – 30 of them, probably) and put them into your mini-processor with half a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, 4 dessertspoons of balsamic vinegar and 5 dessertspoons of olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Fish

Sprinkle your sea bass fillets on both sides with salt and pepper, then fry in some hot olive oil for three minutes each side.  Do the skin side first.  Drizzle the basil vinaigrette sparingly over the fish and the ratatouille.

Zested Salmon with Lemon Risotto

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There comes a time when even the most committed Pudding Person craves something springy and zingy.  And here it is:  vegetable risotto with the tiniest hint of lemon and a good, healthy salmon fillet on the side.  What’ll be next?  Twice weekly Pilates or a jog around the block?

Peel and slice 4 shallots, and soften them in butter with one chopped celery stick and a finely diced carrot.  You want a non-stick, lidded frying pan for this.  Add some salt.  After a couple of minutes, add about 10 small mushrooms, quartered, and a chopped courgette.  Fry gently for another 5 minutes before turning the heat to minimum and stirring in 100g arborio rice.  Add a glass of white wine or marsala, and stir until all of the wine has been absorbed.

Make up a pint of vegetable stock (2 teaspoons marigold powder is fine) and cut 3 florets of broccoli into bitesize pieces.  Slice the stalks.  Pour half a pint of the stock into the rice and add the broccoli.  Stir well, then pop a lid on and set the timer to 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare your salmon fillets by grating over the zest of half a lemon and sprinkling on some tarragon and salt and pepper.  Turn over in some olive oil and set aside.

When the timer has beeped, check your risotto.  A little taste should tell you that it’s about 8-10 minutes away from being perfect.  Add about a quarter of a pint of the remaining stock, and stir well.  Wait a couple of minutes, then fry your salmon in a separate pan (along with the oil from the marinade) on high for about 2 minutes.  Turn over carefully until the flip side is golden and crispy too.  Put to one side while you finish off the risotto.  Check first that the rice is as you like it.

Add about 4 tiny knobs of butter to the risotto with a small amount of freshly grated parmesan (about half a tablespoon).  Stir in the zest of half a lemon and some fresh parsley.  Check the seasoning.  Use a potato peeler to make some parmesan shavings.