All posts filed under: Seafood

Almond Crusted Tuna with Chilli Roast Pumpkin, Wilted Lettuce, Tomato & Curry Leaves

Almond crusted tuna frequently pops up my idea periscope when my mind wanders. I first had it in Sicily a few years ago in San Vito Lo Capo, when I was a judge for the International Cous Cous Festival (yes, I really was, and it was bonkers, and a lot of delicious fun). There are many almonds in Sicily, pistachios too, and they appear a lot in the cuisine. Almond crusted tuna was one of my favourite dishes that I tried, a fabulous alternative to breaded fish, the tuna remains crisp and is – obviously – nutty.

Taste Portugal: A Day on the Algarve Clam Digging & Cooking with Heinz Beck [Part 2: Heinz Beck's Recipe for Green Tortelloni with Frutti di Mare]

Making Heinz Beck’s Green Tortellini with Fruitti di Mare  So,  you have just been out foraging for clams with a 3* chef. You have fallen over on the boat (just a few scratches), and you have a wicker basket full of clams. What do you do next? Head to the kitchen, of course. Getting a chance to cook with Heinz Beck in his kitchen at Gusto at The Conrad, Algarve was a treat. He is (obviously) talented, but he is also very thoughtful, helpful and open to food writers blundering around his kitchen. We cooked 2 dishes, Bacalhau with Herbs, Pepper sauce and Fennel and Green Tortellini con Frutti di Mare, both flavourful, light and healthy, and just what my body is screeching for at the moment. I am on a bit of a fresh pasta kick – you will have noticed – so I will share the pasta recipe with you now. It seems complex, but it is all achievable, and it is a perfect lunch for friends. Just give it time, perhaps get your …

Ras El Hanout Prawn Kebabs with Cous Cous & Chilli Tomato Sauce

It is hot. It is muggy. I know we aren’t supposed to complain, but hey, I have no air con and I work from home. I do love the bright light and long evenings, and firing up the BBQ, though. For the first time in 12 / 13 years in London, I have a little garden (same one as last year, but I am still rejoicing in it). Summer has been busy, in a good way. I have had work related travel, travel related work, and lots of recipe development to get on with. Project Bacon is nearly there. I had forgotten how traumatic writing a book can be, or I thought that the second would be easier. Right now, I am the bottleneck and I have to finish it and let it go. I have a fabulous team who are waiting for me too, and have other projects that they are juggling. Project: Bacon means a lot to me. It is a very personal project that will be a limited edition, firstly. So, it …

Thoughts On Dry January, Diets and a Recipe for Salmon Tacos

It won’t surprise you, but I don’t do dry January. Nor do I do diets. I reign myself in, become a little more pragmatic and try and restore balance by eating a little lighter but still in normal amounts. Or rather, I start eating normal amounts. Replacing sour cream with yogurt. Eating more fish and less meat. A bit more salad. Lots of avocados. Frying less, although still a little. Lighter Brighter cooking is what I shall call it. It is all about being aware that every little bit makes a difference but not killing the enjoyment of it. Food is sustenance and a source of great pleasure. The key to health is home cooking, moderation and exercise. And good sleep. With diets, I think a lot of people feel better not because they have cut out a food group (don’t get me started), but because they have started paying attention to what they eat, and what they cook. One very big thing is cutting out processed food. Some go from not cooking at all …

Recipe: A little Indulgence with Chorizo, Smashed Pea, Mint & Scallops

We don’t eat enough fish. We really don’t. I don’t know why, for islanders, we have such an aversion to it and why it is so difficult to source good fresh fish. Of course, there are great fishmongers and we need to support them. Fish is so good for us, healthy and quick too cook too. It’s an ethical minefield but your fishmonger will advise what is good to eat. Ethical fish is often inexpensive too, there’s a lot of fish which we usually don’t eat – and therefore over fish – that tastes great too. Now, you hear scallops and you probably think ‘eeeek, they’re so expensive!’ And they are. Especially if you buy the ones that don’t harm the sea floor and taste better – and please do buy hand-dived scallops from your fishmonger if you can. However, there are ways of serving a scallop dish where it becomes a bit of a bargain. And that is to serve them with other ingredients that suit and also bring down the cost of the …

Recipe: Passion Fruit & Lime Salmon Ceviche

I went to Argentina, and I fell in love with Peruvian food. I loved the Argentinian food too, the sweetbreads particularly and the empanadas, especially those gorgeous beef ones from Mendoza. I have long been a fan of chimmichurri with steak, although, controversially, I like to make mine with fresh herbs.I prefer the fresher flavour and softer texture. The Peruvian food though, that was a revelation. I have been interested in Peruvian food for a while, and bought a number of Peruvian food ingredients when I visited Florida in February. Then my interest was piqued further when Astrid Y Gaston in Lima was selected for the Worlds 50 Best list (I tried the tasting menu at their Buenos Aires branch recently – more on that later). Then I met Martin, a Peruvian entrepreneur in London opening a Ceviche and Pisco bar in London later this year. It seems Peruvian food is in, and I can absolutely understand why. I just wonder why it took so long?! I arrived back in London last week obsessed and …

Decadent Snacking: Crayfish with Lime Mayonnaise

You will have cottoned on to the fact that I am in lovely Nova Scotia. A great friend of mine lives here and we are catching up, exploring, cooking, eating, and imbibing plenty of wine. She is a bit of a wine buff so I had to bring her a bottle of Nyetimber English sparkling wine (the award winning 2005 vintage) to try. Happily she loved it. I love wine, but food is where I am happiest. So what to eat with that? Seafood is plentiful, super fresh and reasonably priced here so I am in my element. I have eaten it every day and will continue to. The local fishmonger had lots of shell on crayfish which looked too great to leave behind, so we bought a bunch of them, and then I whipped up some decadent lime mayo to dip them in when we got home. Home made mayonnaise is beyond easy, luxurious, cheap to make and very quick (with a mixer). It is really tricky by hand with the drop by drop …

Crab Claws with Wild Garlic & Chipotle

Crab claws are very common on restaurant menus by the sea in Ireland, but I rarely see them here. Perhaps this is because I don’t spend enough time by the sea here (I don’t), or perhaps we just love them more in Ireland. Either way I bet many of you don’t cook them much at home? I don’t either. I don’t know why that is. At the market at the weekend, the fish stall had 1 kg of crab claws just sitting there, and I thought, oooh, I bet they would be lovely in a wild garlic butter sauce! They were, they were really good, but not just because of the wild garlic but also because of the robust smokey and warm undertones provided by some chipotle that I had brought back from the US with me on my recent trip there (you can get it very easily online here too). They look like a lot of work, both to cook and to eat, and they are a little bit for both. I had to …

Light Lunch: Calamari with Cous Cous,Jammy Roast Tomatoes, Scallions, Pine Nuts & Parsley

So, you’ve bought some squid to make the last recipe, and you’ve a little leftover. What to do with it? Lunch! Or supper. Make this lovely light dish in no time at all. It’s packed with flavours and textures and is really delicious. Don’t tell anyone, but I think it might even be healthy too! I had this today, and in the interest of speediness and keeping it light, I didn’t egg-and-cornmeal the squid as before but just dipped it in seasoned cornmeal on its own, which resulted in a super light and delicious calamari. The cous cous was easy, just normal cous cous, covered in (boiling) hot water in a covered bowl, and left for 10 minutes or so until it absorbs it and becomes fluffy. I’ve taken to roasting tiny tomatoes at a high temperature until they caramelise and become rich and jammy, they are like a gorgeous flavour bomb when you hit them as you eat. Scallions, well they’re sharp and have a great texture that bounces against the rest. Toasted pine …

January Charmer: Calamari with Blood Orange & Fennel

January should be the worst month of the year, and it has all the potential to be. The build up to Christmas is lengthy and intense, Christmas itself whizzes by in a flash and, thud, hello January. Quiet and long, we’re all reeling from spending too much money and January just doesn’t have anything going for it. Or does it? It does, it really does.  And I love January for it. At least, I do at times. I love it for two reasons, both bright and varying shades of red. Fruity and juicy and special, January is the month of the bright red blood orange and spindly, pink, sweet and sour forced rhubarb. These are possibly two of my favourite ingredients, particularly after the sensory deprivation of the preceding weeks of kale, cabbage and sprouts. They are intense and bright and – smack – that flavour when you bite into them is so big, sweet, sharp and divine. Fantastic in sweet dishes as you would expect, but they are both equally brilliant in savoury. Tonight …

Fish pie for the soul

This month has been one for comfort foods, certainly not one for diets, not that I’ve ever gone beyond thinking that it might be a good idea to cut out x or y (usually x = crisps & y = cheese) and planning how I should successfully do so, usually to fall at the first hurdle, whichever shop crosses my path that sells the finest of either. I am not unhappy about that, I’ve never approached diets or the thought of them too seriously, moderation is best in all things (with the occasional lapse of course). Life is for living, might aswell just get on with it and make the most of it, eh? Especially when food gives such pleasure. Once in school, we made a dish called fish crisp, a baked mackerel dish topped with irish tayto crisps (I kid you not). I was 13 or so, and hated fish at the time. When my mother would grill fish I would leave the house in protest and not return until I had deemed the …

Salmon Fish Cakes

I was at a BBQ at a friends house at the weekend and came home with lots of leftovers. These leftovers included a side of uncooked salmon and leftover boiled potatoes. I also raided their herb garden and came home with a bouquet of herbs including chives, mint, basil, thyme and rosemary. What to make? Could be fish pie but it’s not Winter (although it feels like it again today) and I wanted something light with some salad on the side. Quick and easy was also important. I had one of those days yesterday and wanted to sit down with a glass of wine, pronto. So, fish cakes it was. Perfect, ready in half an hour and before I knew it I was plonked in front of the tv browsing a stash of cookbooks while watching some food shows, Sanjeev Baskars India, and, dare I say it, Big Brother. Don’t judge me. I was weak. It wasn’t me, yer honour! ;) Food like this makes me think back to Home Economics class when I was …

Wild salmon with samphire, broad bean & tomato salad and crisp sauté new potatoes

Samphire is the ingredient of the moment. It’s on TV (e.g. Great British Menu), in the newspaper food sections (Independent last week, Guardian last month) and on the web (Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini for example). Samphire has many names, sea asparagus, sea beans & salicornia. There are two types of samphire – Marsh Samphire & Rock Samphire, the one you’ve been seeing everywhere is marsh samphire, found growing in the tidal zone and found all along the coast. The Norfolk coastline is particularly rich in it. You can buy it from most fishmongers and farmer’s markets. It’s not cheap, mine cost £1.50 per 100g, 100g works out at approximately a handful so I bought a couple. If you’re having it on it’s own with fish you’ll need about 100g-150g a person, maybe a bit more. I first had samphire two years ago when we went to the Salusbury Pub & Dining Room in Queens Park for my birthday. It was served with sea bream and roast potatoes and was absolutely delicious. I have been …

Prawn Laksa – an interpretation

Laksa is food for the soul. It’s delicious – spicy and fragrant and packed full of goodness. I always feel so good after eating it! It’s messy, it’s true, but I think that adds to the value. Although, I did have to suffer through an afternoon at work recently with laksa all over my top having treated myself to one for lunch. My lunch partner, who shall remain nameless, was also drenched in laksa. I think we pulled it off. Looked like it should have been there! Erm, maybe not. There are several types of laksa originating from Malaysia and Singapore. It’s essentially a spicy noodle soup, usually containing seafood, sometimes chicken. It’s hugely popular in Sydney which is where I came across it. There are many types, the ones I normally make (and haven’t blogged yet) are penang & singapore laksas – I’ll blog these soon. This one is a little different, fruity with the addition of tomatoes with a lovely sourness provided by the tamarind. Laksa recipes seem fiddly and time consuming but …

Tuna steak with warm new potato, chorizo & tomato salad

  We’ve just had a long sleepy bank holiday weekend in London with plenty of time for cooking. We brightened up a rainy Sunday with a tuna steak and a warm salad accompanied by some lovely rioja. It was very quick, the tuna itself takes only a few minutes to cook and the salad is very straightforward. The recipe is for one as everyone else was eating steak, double it for two. Ingredients (for one): Tuna Steak Salad: Chorizo sausage – as much as you fancy a handful or ripe, juicy cherry tomatoes salad leaves – we used rocket, watercress & baby spinach baby new potatoes – we used jersey royals red onion lemon extra virgin olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper Method: Chop the potatoes into halves or quarters (depending on how big they are) and boil until soft. Finely slice the onion and squeeze some lemon juice over the onion slices. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Slice the chorizo and fry in some olive oil until tender (a few minutes). Once the …

Eating in Japan: Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

I was extremely fortunate to have a work trip to Japan this year and while it was a very busy week I did get an opportunity to sample some of the wonderful food and sights that Tokyo has to offer. I had never been to Japan before but had heard a lot from varied sources. I have always had a fascination with Japan, from the history and clothing to the food. I went through a phase of buying vintage kimonos from Japan for the beautiful silk, but, until now I had never had an opportunity to visit. I had heard that Tokyo was a very busy city and was very expensive – even worse than London. Well, I live in London, and thought, really, how much more busy/expensive can it be?! The answer is it’s not. Perhaps London is the best leveller for world cities, I have been to a few and each one has been calmer and less expensive (I haven’t been to NY yet before you comment). Relative to London, Tokyo is actually …