“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch”
Beloved ample darlings! It has been far too long an absence since I last shared my culinary ramblings with you all and for this, I sincerely apologise. If only I could excuse my lack of foodie chatter by means of an exotic voyage or a whirlwind romance (I have that already!) and yet, it is sheer, menial work that has kept me from you all this time! That, and a broken aga, no internet connection and a touch of laziness all mixed in together. The good news is however, that my Cordon Bleu teachings are just around the corner meaning, that this blog is going to be “crème pâtissière packed” with recipes all year round. Truly, this blog is going to be bursting at the sponge seams with fabulous techniques, teachings and ideas from an internationally recognised culinary hub! I can’t promise to share the exact recipes (I’m sure that’s quite naughty!) but I will point you in the right direction without a doubt. Right, let’s get on with this week’s edition already!
Video Kitchen Aid
I had to let you down straight off didn’t I! Or perhaps not…this week my internet it down and I don’t think it appropriate to film a kitchen aid sequence in pret! I’m going to let the great Gordon Ramsey teach you how to do a perfect steak. Lads and ladies, get excited! This is a brilliant video.
Fruit & Vegetables;
- Berries (end of season)
- French Beans
- Globe Artichoke
Fish & Meat;
[*coming into season]
This sounds stupid, but how do I cook dried pasta properly?
Funnily enough, you’re not the first person to ask me this. When cooking dried pasta, your water must be boiling hot! The quickest way to do this is, to boil a full kettle and take out your largest pan. Once the kettle has boiled, pour the water into the pot and add a teaspoon of salt. Turn the hob on fairly high and pour in your desired amount of pasta. For one healthy sized portion, I would recommend between 75g-115g of dried pasta. Don’t put a lid on the pot as this will encourage the water to boil over. The pasta should take 8-10 minutes to cook but keep checking and don’t forget to stir occasionally in order to prevent the pasta from sticking to the pan! Once cooked to your preference, drain and serve on a hot plate.
This Weeks’ Recipes
Super Healthy Salmon Fish cakes
An ideal dinner alternative to a salmon fillet with salad. These fishcakes use neither potatoes nor breadcrumbs and still taste fab! I served mine with some sweet chilli sauce and a soy & rice noodle stir fry with grilled broccoli. It was utterly delicious and was wonderfully quick and easy to put together.
4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets, about 550g/1lb 4oz in total, cut into chunks
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, grated
1 tsp soy sauce
1 bunch coriander, half chopped, half leaves picked
1 tsp vegetable oil
lemon wedges, to serve
Tip the salmon into a food processor with the paste, ginger, soy and chopped coriander. Pulse until roughly minced. Tip out the mix and shape into 4 patties. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then fry the fishcakes for 4-5 mins on each side, turning until crisp and cooked through.
Bean and Chorizo Broth
I call this a broth because it’s a halfway house between a stew and a soup. When I am trying to eat well but not compromise on flavour, I tend to make a pot of something so when it’s feeding time at the zoo (any meal time for me!) I can heat it up and eat straight away. This one pot is great on its own but equally, words well served with chicken or fish. Also, kale works as a rice substitute for all you health buffs out there and tastes pretty darn good.
1 white onion
5” of chorizo, sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
400g of ready to eat haricot beans
250ml beef stock
A glug of red wine
A few heads of parsley
Salt and pepper, oil for frying
Finely chop your white onion and fry in a big dish on a medium heat with a little oil, till translucent and soft. Add the chorizo next and watch the beautiful orange oil run all over the onions. Let the chorizo cook a little on both sides then add the tomatoes. Stir the ingredients together, adding the stock and red wine at the same time. Finally, throw in the beans, parsley and season to your liking. Leave it to reduce with the lid on for a further 25-30mins on a low heat.
Cauliflower based pizza
Peeked your interest?! I know this sounds a little bizarre but honestly, it’s quite pleasant. Introduced to the concept by a good (gluten intolerant) friend of mine, Francesca Miller, using ground-up cauliflower florets, almonds and 2 eggs makes a healthy alternative to your usual flower-based pizza. It went down a storm with my friends and I would make it again without hesitation. And yet, I feel like I should admit that although the cauliflower has a good texture etc….I’d still choose a gorgeous and floury, thin Italian pizza base any day!
4 tbsp ground almonds
Take off all the leaves and greenery around your cauliflower and remove the bitter root at the base. Using a sharp knife, cut off the florets (the flowery bits and their stalks), place in a blender and blend till they resemble small breadcrumbs. Next, steam the blended cauliflower for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat. I made my ‘steamer’ with a sieve resting on top of a big silver saucepan. Make sure the water does NOT TOUCH the cauliflower.
Once the cauliflower is nicely steamed, place the crumbs into the centre of a clean tea towel and pull up the edges so it makes a tight little bundle. Squeeze the cauliflower bundle gently and watch as a huge amount of water will be forced out! Once you think you have removed all the water, place the cauliflower crumbs into a bowl and add the eggs and ground almonds. Mix together until nicely combined. Finally pour onto a greaseproofed baking tray and using your hands, shape the mixture into your desire shape. Don’t spread your ‘dough’ too thinly as it won’t rise when in the oven. Try and keep it around half an inch thick minimum. Place the finished and shaped dough into a preheated oven of 200°C for 15-20 mins. It should be slightly golden brown when you take it out. The last thing you do is add your passata, mozzarella and toppings and cook for a further 10 mins until your pizza is ready!
Note: If you want to use aubergines on your pizza, I recommend that you grill them first, likewise with courgettes as they can be a little tough.
Before I go, I would like to thoroughly recommend a newly set-up bakery in Putney. It is an ethical bakery named Lazaro which specializes in soda bread. Ruben, a Venezuelan baker and co-founder of Lazaro is wonderfully charming and a skilful bread maker! Not only is the soda bread gorgeous (they do a chorizo & green olive as well as their signature potato variety!) but they offer brioche, classic baguettes, homemade pastries and the most wonderful sweet loaves such as butternut squash tea cake. If you find yourself in the Putney area, please do check this place out as it is artisan baking at its best!
Lastly, here is a picture of my father’s proud pooch who won second prize as most handsome dog in Peckham Rye’s annual dog show. Who doesn’t love a sausage dog?!
Until next week little chickens!
E. Wells xX