Sunday, 28 January 2018

PORTOBELLO BURGER WITH CARAMELISED ONIONS


This recipe is from a very interesting cookbook 'Green Burgers'. It was first published in Sweden and now has been published in English. All burgers are vegetarian and there are very interesting combinations. I love mushrooms so I thought I would start with this one. I have changed it a bit, so this is my interpretation.

INGREDIENTS:

For the burgers
6 grilled and steamed spring onions
375g portobello mushrooms
vegetable oil for frying
a splash of dry sherry
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
100g breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dukkah (optional)
100ml tomato sauce (ketchup)
1-2 Tbsp garlic and chilli sauce (optional)
1 egg


Caramelised onions
2 onions
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Grilled and steamed spring onions
100ml olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 spring onions

To serve
120g creamy (blue) cheese
burger buns or Turkish rolls
rocket leaves

METHOD
To grill and steam the spring onions, put the oil into a ziplock bag big enough to accommodate the spring onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put the bag next to the stove so it is close to hand.
Put the spring onions on a grill pan over high heat. Cook the onions all over so the surface gets a little burnt.



Using thongs, transfer the spring onions to the ziplock bag. Seal the bag and shake it so the oil covers all the onions. Leave them in the bag for about 20 minutes so they steam in their own heat. 



Chop the mushrooms very finely. Remove the spring onions from the ziplock bag and set aside. Heat the oil left over in the ziplock bag in a frying pan over a high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry them for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every now and then, until all liquid has almost evaporated. Sprinkle with the sherry and stir for another minute.



Chop the steamed spring onions (removing any burnt bits) and add them to the mushrooms in the pan. 



Add the butter, reduce the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes, stirring. 



Remove the frying pan from the heat and allow it to cool a little. Then add the breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, chilli and garlic sauce, dukkah (if using) and egg. Stir so that everything is well combined.


Divide the mixture into four parts and shape into 4 round patties, either by hand or using a food ring. Put the patties in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably longer, then they will hold together better when you fry them.



Peel and slice the onions for the caramelised onion mix. Put the sliced onions and the butter into a cold saucepan. Cook over medium heat and put the lid on. 



The onions will soon start to release liquid, and the flavours will be concentrated as a result of their cooking in their own juices. Stir with a wooden spoon about once every 5 minutes for 30-40 minutes, and check that they are not burning. (If you notice they're starting to get too dry you can add the vinegar earlier.)
Pour on the vinegar, increase the heat and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring, until considerably reduced. Put to one side.



Preheat the oven to 180C using the grill function.
Heat up some oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the patties for a few minutes on both sides, until they develop a nice colour and a crispy surface. Transfer to the oven and grill in the oven for 3 minutes.



Put some cheese on each patty and cook for a little longer in the oven, until the cheese has started to melt. This won't take long, so keep an eye on them.



In the meantime, cut the buns in half and toast them.

To serve, carefully place a patty on the bottom of each bun. Splash on a heaped spoonful of the onion mix and top with the rocket.



Serves 4

Saturday, 27 January 2018

SALMON WITH GREEN BEANS, CHERRY TOMATOES, OLIVES AND ANCHOVIES


This is a very yummy and simple recipe. I had some green beans I needed to use as well as many cherry tomatoes from the garden. I adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver and it turned out very well. It was very delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

2 salmon fillets, pinboned
750gr green beans, trimmed
2 punnets cherry tomatoes (or other tomatoes), cut in half
1-2 handfuls of black olives, deseeded and roughly chopped
a handful of fresh basil leaves, picked
1-2 lemons
2 small red chillies (optional)
10 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
mayonnaise or all i oli for serving (optional)



Preheat the oven to 200C.
Blanch the green beans until tender (2-3 minutes) in salted, boiling water, and drain. Rinse them under cold water.


Put them in an ovenproof dish and add the tomatoes, olives, anchovies, basil and chillies. Drizzle with olive oil.


Put the beans in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes.
Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper on both sides and drizzle with the juice of half a lemon.
Add a bit of oil to a frying pan over medium-heat. Put the salmon in the frying pan, skin side down and cook until nice and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.
Turn over and cook to your liking. 


Take the beans out of the oven.  


Serve on a plate with the salmon, lemon and some mayonnaise or all i oli.

Serves 2


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

ESCALIVADA (ROAST VEGETABLES) WITH TOMATO SALSA & MOROCCAN CHICKEN


Escalivada is another traditional Catalan dish which is served mainly as a side dish for barbecued meats. It is basically made of roast whole capsicums, onions, eggplants and potatoes, then cooled and sliced and dressed with salt, pepper and olive oil. You can add a touch of vinegar if you like, but not too much. I have added my personal touch with a dressing with ingredients I love, but it's not a traditional dressing and don't have to use it if you prefer a more plain flavour.

INGREDIENTS:

3-4 red capsicums 
2 medium eggplants
4 potatoes
2 onions


Dressing
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
6 gherkins, finely chopped
8 olives, deseeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp capers
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chicken
4 chicken thighs
2-3 Tbsp Moroccan spices
salt
olive oil


METHOD
To make the escalivada, preheat oven at 180 C. 
Wrap the whole onions and potatoes on aluminium foil and put on an oven tray covered with baking paper. 
Rub the whole capsicums and eggplant with a bit of oil. Put on tray and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. 



Turn vegetables over and put back in the oven for another 30 minutes.



Remove the capsicums and eggplants (check they are cooked) from the oven and put on a large bowl.



Check that the potatoes and onion are cooked by inserting a skewer. If they are, remove the aluminium foil and put them on a plate. Let them cool down a bit.



When ready to handle, peel the capsicums and the eggplants. 



Peel the potatoes and the onions.



Cut the eggplants and the capsicums into small bits and slice the potatoes and onion thickly. Put them on a serving tray and cover with glad wrap. 


Keep them at room temperature. 

To make the tomato salsa, just mix all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.


For the chicken, cut the chicken thighs into thick slices, add some salt and the Moroccan spices and mix well.


Put some oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken and fry until it's cooked through and it's nice and golden.


To serve, put some vegetables on a plate, dress with the tomato salsa and add some chicken. It's sooo delicious and healthy!!

Serves 2-4



VARIATIONS:
Another delicious recipe:
Escalibada with anchovies and goat cheese with Bagna Rotou dressing.

125g goat cheese, crumbed
a few anchovy fillets

Bagna Rotou dressing
8 basil leaves
4 anchovy fillets
1 small onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp parsley

Put the anchovy fillets and the crumbed cheese over the cooked veggies.
Put under a preheated 180°C for about 2-3 minutes.
Pour the dressing over and serve.

Escalibada with pork with sage and halloumi filling



Make the escalibada as per recipe, but don't add any salsa. Just season with salt and pepper and then drizzle with olive oil.
To make the pork fillet with halloumi, please click here to see the recipe. It's just so yummy!!



Sunday, 21 January 2018

PRAWN RISOTTO


This recipe is sooo yummy you have to stop yourself from eating more than you really need. You can add some scallops if you have some or even some fish fillets cut into small-bite size. If you do, cook them in batches at the beginning and add them to the risotto at the same time you add the prawns.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups risotto rice - I used arborio
500g fresh prawns, peeled with tails kept intact and prawn heads kept aside
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 leek, finely chopped
3 medium ripe tomatoes, grated and skins discarded
250ml dry white wine
1.5 lt fish stock
1 Tbsp butter, chopped into cubes
1-2 Tbsp dill, chopped
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper


METHOD:
Put fish stock into a saucepan and add the prawn heads. Bring to the boil, cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep warm.


Add some olive oil to a large frypan, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the prawns to the pan and fry until just cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.


Add a bit more oil to the pan and fry the leek until tender, about 4 minutes.


Add the grated tomato to the frying pan and cook until pulpy, about 4-5 minutes.


Add the rice and mix well. Add the white wine and cook until it's been absorbed. Make sure you stir the rice.


Start adding some stock to the rice, a ladle at a time, and stirring after each addition. (I use a small strainer to make sure no solids from the stock with prawn heads get into the pan.)


Keep adding ladles of stock, and stirring the rice until almost al dente. Make sure you don't overcook it. Try a bit if not sure. It should take you about 20 minutes.


When it is almost done, add the prawns and any juices left in the bowl and the dill. Stir them through the rice. Add the last ladle of stock.


Turn off the heat and add the butter stirring carefully.


Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 

CALAMARS FARCITS - STUFFED CALAMARI


This is another very traditional Catalan recipe and every family has its own variation. I have added some mushrooms to mine and a combination of beef and pork mince. It takes quite some time to prepare, so it's certainly a weekend or especial celebration recipe. However, it's worth the effort, it's just delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

6 medium size squid tubes, cleaned and with tentacles and wings kept separate

Stuffing
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
squid wings and tentacles, chopped
10 medium mushrooms, chopped finely
3 boiled eggs, chopped finely
salt and pepper
oil
splash of dry sherry (optional)
toothpicks to secure tubes



Sauce
400g tin chopped tomatoes 
250ml dry white wine
1 1/2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp parsley
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped or grated
1 fresh bay leaf
flour for dusting
liquid set aside from squid stuffing
250ml water
salt and pepper
2 small red chillies (optional)



METHOD
Put some oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms. Cook until there is no liquid left and add a splash of sherry if using.
Add the chopped squid tentacles and wings and fry until just tender, about 2 minutes.


Add the mince and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes.


When the liquid has been reduced by half, turn off the heat. Season well with salt and pepper.


Strain the mixture over a bowl. 


Set aside the liquid for later.


Put the mince mixture in a big bowl and add the boiled egg. Mix well.


Rinse the tubes and pat dry with kitchen paper.


Fill the tubes with the mixture. Make sure you don't over fill them, they will shrink when cooking.


Secure the tubes with toothpicks.


Put some flour on a plate. Dust the tubes with the flour.


Add some more oil to the same frypan and fry the squid until just lightly golden.


Put squid in an ovenproof dish and keep warm.


To make the sauce, put some salt in a mortar and add the garlic. Pound with a pestle until mashed.


Add the chopped parsley and keep pounding until well combined.


Add the pine nuts to the mortar and pound it until a fine mixture. 


Add the liquid from the squid filling mixture and mix well. Set aside.


Put some oil in a clean frying pan and add the onion and the chillies, if using. Fry until the onion is tender, about 6-7 minutes.


Add the tomatoes and the bay leaf. Cook until the tomato has a pulpy consistency.

Add the white wine and cook until the liquid has been reduced by half.


Add the mixture from the mortar to the tomato. Mix well. 
Add the water and season with pepper. 


Bring it to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes.


Drain the sauce over the squid tubes. Use a colander to sieve the solids using the pestle until all solids are sieved onto the pan.


It will take a bit of time, but make sure that all solids have been added to the squid. That is what is going to give your sauce a fantastic flavour! (I chopped the onion and it was harder to sieve. It is much better to grate the onion, that way it will sieve easier.)


Preheat oven to 180C. Put squid with the lid on in the oven and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
Turn over the squid and let it cook for another 10 minutes. 


Take the lid off and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the sauce.

Serves 4-6


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