Archive for the 'Sauces' Category

Salsa Verdi – the best thing since sliced bread

June 3, 2010

Salsa verdi

This should definitely be on my Julie Andrews list of “favourite things”.

The easiest and most fabulously zingy sauce in the world.

Don’t be put off by the “scary” anchovies (if you are a hater of my furry little fishy friends) – I guarantee if you tasted the sauce and didn’t know it had anchovies in it you would never be able to tell. You would just say “what makes this sauce taste so amazing”. And I would chuckle and say “lots of love”.

Ingredients:

Large bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Baby salted capers (brine will do but definitely not ones in vinegar – yuck)
Anchovies
2 large lemons
Extra virgin olive oil
Pepper

Take a table-spoon of capers and rinse to remove excess salt.

Remove thick stalks from parsley and finely chop.

Crush garlic and add to the parsley.

Add 3 anchovy fillets (or 4 smallish ones) to the parsley with the rinsed capers. Finely chop the whole lot together.

Pop in a bowl and add the juice of one of your lemons, a glug of olive oil (about 2 table spoons) and some freshly ground black pepper.

Taste sauce and add more lemon or oil if desired.

Some people add some fresh mint and also I have seen people add Dijon mustard but I don’t think you really need to. Additionally you can add more capers or anchovies, it really is a “to taste” sauce. If you have a food processor you can pop all the ingredients into it and give it a whiz however it will make a much smoother sauce. I quite like it a little chunkier and rustic.

Serve with grilled or oven baked fish, lamb, chicken or toss through boiled potatoes. Another option is to mix a spoonful through some mayonnaise and use it in sandwiches or salads or as a dip for lovely crisp potato wedges. It is without a doubt a total winner of a sauce and makes every meal something special.

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Apple fennel and bitter leaf salad (for something a bit different)

May 17, 2010

Apple fennel and bitter leaf salad

For many years I have had a bit of an issue with fruit being used in savory dishes. I had a very distressing experience in the hunter valley with a strawberry and scallop dish. Vomit!!

Recently I have started to branch out, throwing caution to the wind, and use the odd pear or apple in a salad. What a success!!

I actually feel a wee bit silly adding this to my recipe collection as this salad really is ridiculously simple and easy to make. However there are still a great proportion of the general public headed straight towards a trusty cucumber, lettuce and tomato combo for a salad. Boring!! (unless you are using AMAZING tomatoes of course).

I hope this inspires you to branch out a little and try fruit in your salads (but not strawberries and scallops – please!)

1 cox’s orange pippin
2 small chicory (witlof)
1 medium size bulb of fennel
1 small bag of wild rocket
1 small bag of baby Italian leaves (beetroot leaves, radicchio, red chard, watercress, lollo rosso, baby cos etc)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley

Dressing

1 table-spoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of runny honey
Extra Virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Finely slicing fennel

Remove outer leaves of fennel and cut of any shoots. Cut in half from top to bottom through the narrow side (leaving 2 wide halves). Very finely slice length wise.

Wash and dry leaves (if not already washed) – make sure you spin the leaves in a salad spinner this is VERY important. If the leaves are wet you will dilute the dressing and it will taste very average.

Add leaves and finely sliced fennel to a large bowl, peel the outer leaves from the chicory (witlof) and cut the bottom 1/3 off. Separate the leaves and add them to the bowl. Finely slice the bottom 1/3 of the chicory and add to bowl.

Separating chicory leaves and adding them to the bowl

Wash and dry small/medium bunch of parsley. Pick off the leaves discarding any discoloured ones or stems. Add to bowl.

Picking leaves from bunch of flat leaf parsley

Wash apple and cut in half removing core. Finely slice and add to bowl.

Finely sliced apple added to bowl

To make dressing I find using a clean jam jar makes life a lot easier.

Add 1 table-spoon of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of runny honey about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar to the jar. Put the lid on and shake, it should quickly form a thick dressing. Taste it and it should taste a little bit too vinegary – this is good. If it is a wee bit mild add a bit more vinegar.

Add dressing bit by bit to salad whist lightly tossing through with your hands. The leaves should be coated but not drenched.

Apple fennel and bitter leaf salad

Serve immediately! This can be eaten as a starter or along side fish, chicken, pasta, risotto etc. You can also make it more substantial and have it for lunch on its own by adding some cheese (goats cheese, brie, Gorgonzola etc) and some toasted nuts (hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews etc).

Homemade Mayonnaise

May 10, 2010

1 egg yolk
Squeeze of lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Ideally use a room temp egg, pop the egg yolk in a large bowl (you can keep and freeze the white for a cheeky meringue at a later date).

Add a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt a couple of turns of the pepper grinder and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. You can use an electric whisk but I prefer to use a large balloon whisk. Vigorously whisk these ingredients and while you are doing this very very slowly drip the vegetable oil into the bowl as you whisk. I really do mean drip. All of a sudden the mixture will emulsify – you will feel like it will never happen but honestly it will.

After it has emulsified – it will be really quite thick. I know this sounds obvious but it will be thickish for a while and you will be thinking “is this emulsified?” but it probably won’t be. Keep going until it is like a small bit of thick mayonnaise in the bowl. Once this has happened you can add the oil in faster, once the vegetable oil is finished start adding in the olive oil.

Once you are done season to taste.

Now you have a basic mayonnaise. So easy!

Celeriac Remoulade

May 6, 2010

When I was little I went to France every summer for about 4 weeks there are 2 things that I remember from the ferry trip over. Firstly my hay fever disappeared and secondly I got to eat Celeriac Remoulade from the self-service cafe on board.

I am pretty sure at that age I had no idea what Celeriac was apart from the fact it was fantastic and you couldn’t get it in Scotland.

Celeriac is now widely sold however for many years I have made a rather disappointing version of the wonderful salad found everywhere in France. To be honest I actually gave up making it until last night.

I had been watching the Good Food channel and a very old episode of James Martin’s cooking show came on. He was making Celeriac Remoulade which inspired me to give it another go. There were 2 major things that were different from what I had been doing (and doing wrong quite obviously!). Instead of grating the celariac he peeled it then cut it into thin slices then cut those slices into long thin strips (match sticks) and also he added a ton of mustard….I had only been using mayonnaise. It was delicious and I will definitely be making it again and soon!!

Ingredients

1 medium bulb of celeriac peeled and cut into thin strips
1 small red onion
2 large tablespoons seeded mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup of homemade mayonnaise (see recipe)
Salt and pepper
1 lemon

Celariac sliced

Put finely slice red onion, celeriac, mustard, mayonnaise and juice of 1 lemon in a bowl and mix, season to taste.

Celeriac cut into match sticks

Can be eaten straight away or kept in an air tight container for a couple of days.

It is very nice with fish, smoked fish, roasted meat on a sandwich as part of a crudity selection and just with a spoon.

Thanks James for inspiring me.

Garlic Aioli

April 22, 2010

So easy!!!!

Sounds really difficult making your own mayo but really it is not – takes about 5 – 10 mins and it is really worth it.

Ingredients:

1 egg yolk
1 tspn dijon mustard
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper (always use sea salt preferably Maldon)
Vegetable oil (about a cup)
Extra Virgin olive oil (about a cup)
1 or 2 garlic cloves (depending on how strong you want it)

Put egg yolk, dijon, lemon in a bowl with a wee bit of salt

Get a balloon whisk and give it a good mix.

Add tiny tiny tiny bits of vegetable oil, whisking all the time.

I think it is best to add a wee tiny bit – stop – whisk a lot – then add a wee tiny bit more – stop whisk etc etc.

The mixture will start to look a bit like single cream and you will think this will never thicken up like mayo.

Keep going, whisk whisk whisk.

All of a sudden it will go thick!!

Once this happens you can add the oil without as much care.

I usually try to do half half with vegetable oil and olive oil but it is up to you.

Once you have added all your oil you have a basic mayonnaise.

Take the garlic clove and finely chop add a pinch of sea salt. Use your knife flat side down and press on top of the garlic to make a paste. Add paste to mayonnaise.

Add as much or as little of the garlic as you wish and season to taste.

Other options for favoured mayos:

Anchovy, caper and parsley (chop finely and add with some more lemon)
Saffron (take a small pinch of saffron and add a splash of boiling water let it steep then whisk into mayo)
Seeded mustard
Tarragon
Roasted garlic (instead of using fresh garlic roast a bulb of garlic, squeeze cooked sweet cloves out and make into paste then add to Mayo)
Chopped fresh mango (use as a dip for king prawns)