That Summer Eatin’

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‘To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.’

-Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Hello ample darlings and welcome to another instalment from the ample servings’ kitchen! One cannot deny that June has brought a vast array of weathers to our British shores which to a chef in training, can only mean one thing, an opportunity to be a little experimental in the kitchen! This week I have a brilliant Thai coconut soup to share with you, not to mention a little chilli cucumber side salad to keep you cool and calm during these humid nights, and a number of Ottolenghi summer salads to tantalise your taste buds and bring a little colour to your dinner tables this month. For all you meat lovers out there, I also have the most delicious recipe for Chinese ribs from Miss Lawson. Prepare yourselves for a culinary fiesta of fresh ingredients, exotic flavours and a whole lot of healthy living!

Technique of the Week

To my horror, the aga has been switched off this week and I am without a stove. Learn how to scramble eggs to perfection with Mr Oliver

 

Seemingly seasonal:

Fruit and Vegetables:

  • Broad beans
  • French green beans
  • Mangetout
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory
  • Avocado
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Figs
  • Cherries

 

Meat and Fish:

  • Sardines
  • Crab
  • Lamb

 

Culinary query:

Rebecca Gordon, Esher

How do I make a really good curry?

For me, the real secret to making a top notch tasting curry is by making  your very own curry paste. Whether you’re cooking Indian, Thai, Malaysian (the list is endless!)  the paste is your secret weapon to dazzle your guests. Not only does a homemade paste taste so much better than pre-made pataks or waitrose own, you can cater to your own tastes! If you like a little more heat, add more chilies and if you don’t, don’t! Making your own paste sounds awesome to others and yet, in a little blender, it takes seconds to make. For Indian cuisine of which I know you’re a fan of, I recommend getting your hands on Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Curry Easy’  and trying the lamb korma in an almond-saffron sauce. All of Madhur’s recipes have the paste built into the ingredients list and her curries are out of this world! For more of a Thai, Korean feel try Bill Granger cookbooks. They are very simple yet deliver on taste beyond reason.

 

This Weeks’ Recipes

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 Chicken, Mushroom and Coconut Soup

Let us begin with our Thai soup, which can only be described as a heart-warming, fragrant broth from the slightly lesser known Australian chef, Bill Granger and his ‘Everyday Asian’ cookbook. This book is absolutely beautiful and acts as a perfect gift to any Asian food fan. The recipes are simple yet divine and would win you the ‘come dine with me’ crown over and over again! The photos are so glorious it makes you want to cook absolutely everything however, for some reason my eyes fell upon the less colourful (white in fact!) coconut, chicken and mushroom soup. To me it looked soothing, ideal after a busy day and I’m a sucker for anything with coconut in it! In my version, I used normal chestnut mushrooms as opposed to the Asian kind and also added a few tinned bamboo shoots and bok choy. Equally, water chestnuts would work just as well as another vegetable option! Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

200ml coconut milk

500ml chicken stock

3cm ginger, peeled and sliced

2 lemon grass stalks, cut into 5cm pieces and flattened with a knife

5 kaffir lime leaves

400g skinless chicken breasts

200g mixed Asian mushrooms

2 tbsp of lime juice

2 tbsp of fish sauce

1 tbsp caster sugar

Handful of baby spinach leaves, finely sliced

 Method:

Put the coconut milk, chicken stock, 500ml of water, ginger, lemon greass and limes leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken and simmer for 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar and remove from the heat.

Lift the chicken from the soup and cut into chunks. Place in each serving bowl, top with the spinach leaves and mushrooms from the pan, then ladle the soup over the top. Serves 4.

 

 

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Pickled Cucumber Salad

An ideal little side salad with a bit of a kick! This is delightful and looks wonderfully elegant.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

Half of a cucumber, peeled

Method:

Combine the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli flakes in a large bowl. Add the cucumber slices, cover and leave in the fridge to marinade for an hour, stirring occasionally.

 

 

 

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Sticky Chinese Ribs

These ribs are simply to die for! My mum made these from a Nigella Lawson book and they went down an absolute storm. A must for all meat lovers! Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

 4 tbsp vinegar

3 tbsp soy

dash of sesame oil

2 tbsp honey

cinnamon stick, crumbled

a few star anise

6cm of ginger, cut into sticks

4 shallots, chopped into finger-length lengths

2 long fat chillies

One box of pork ribs

Method:

Place all the ingredients into a plastic sandwich bag or a big baking tray and cover the ribs with the marinade thoroughly. If you have the time to leave the ribs to marinade (1hr+), let them sit in the fridge covered with foil. When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the ribs on a tray, cover with foil and bake in the oven for an hour. Then, uncover the ribs and add a dash of honey and 2 tsp Chinese five spice. Raise the heat to 230ºC and cook the ribs for a further 30 minutes. You can add a little hot water is the ribs start to burn.

 

 

 

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 Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad

Fresh, beautiful and terrifically tasty! Senor Eight-Legs (Ottolenghi) strikes again in Plenty with a super salad that will wow dinner party guests with its elegance. Serves 2.

 

Ingredients:

 400g beetroots

2 sweet oranges

1 red endive (red chicory)

½ red onion, thinly sliced

3 tbsp chopped parsley

40g wrinkled black olives, pitted and halved

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tsp orange blossom water

1 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Method:

Cover the beetroot with cold water in a pot, bring to boil, cook 1 to 2 hours, depending upon size, until they are easily pierced by a knife or metal skewer. Let  the beetroots cool in the water, then drain and peel them. Cut each bulb into wedges about 1 inch wide and place them in a mixing bowl.

Cut the oranges into supremes by cutting off the tops and bases, then cutting down the sides, following the natural curve, to remove the peel and pith. Over a small bowl, remove the segments by slicing between the membranes. Add the segments and any captured juice to the bowl of beetroot wedges.

Coarsely chop the radicchio into one-inch pieces and add to the bowl of beets. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.

 

 

 

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Burnt Aubergine with Tahini Dip

A real treat for those in want of a dip that is a little more special than a bog standard houmous. It both looks and tastes delicious. You can dip in pitta bread or any kind of raw vegetable that you fancy. It works well on the side of the beetroot salad….Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 large aubergine

70 tahini paste

60ml water

2 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 tbsp chopped parsley

180g of cumcumber

90g cherry tomatoes

90g of pomegranate seeds

A little olive oil to finish

Salt and pepper

Method:

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Until next week ample followers! Enjoy the sunshine…

E. Wells Xx