21 Dec 2010

Salmon Fried Rice

I came across a recipe for salmon fried rice while looking for ideas on what to do with rice to make it more interesting and that would go with salmon cooked in ginger and soy sauce. Of course I decided to cook something I only had 3 of the ingredients for - salmon, rice and garlic! But the idea of salmon fried rice just sounded so good last night, I wanted a bowl of something warming that would keep me away from the cookies and mince pies!
The recipe suggested it was a great way to use left-over salmon, but I can't say left-over salmon is something I've ever come across before!

I had frozen salmon to use so I cooked that plain in the oven while I boiled some rice.

Stir fried onion and garlic in groundnut oil with Chinese 5 spice and some pickled ginger.

Added the cooked rice and flaked salmon and stir fried for just a few minutes before adding crushed chilli almonds and a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce.

Very simple and delicious!

I'm trying to think of what to do with cod for tonight, I'm thinking spaghetti, olives, chilli and tomato with basil.

19 Dec 2010

I *heart* Stir Fry

The problem with doing the shopping for all the Christmas food and drink is, I end up with cupboard, fridge and freezer filled to bursting, yet somehow I have nothing to eat. Everything has been bought according to my Christmas plan and if I eat any of it it messes up the plan. In the interests of saving some money I am trying to make whatever meal I can from the odd bits of pieces that have been in the freezer or cupboard for goodness knows how long. I have a list of 5 possible meals for the week - 4 of them built around fish! For years I have thought I needed a big freezer and I just wasn't coping with the little compartment at the top of the fridge, or sharing a small freezer with 4 other girls while I was a student. Now I have a massive freezer and it's always full. But I forget there are things in there and never eat them. Unless it's ice cream, I never forget about ice cream!

So tonight cod was on the menu. I was going to make a sort of curry with cod, sweet potato, coconut milk and chilli. But when I picked up the sweet potato I put my thumb right through it, it was definitely past it's best. So I decided I would attempt The Greedy Girl's Steak with carrot and noodle salad. It wasn't quite the same as her's - obviously I was using cod and not steak.

I made the sauce with:
2tbsp lemon juice
1 pack pickled ginger from a sushi box
1/2 chopped red chilli
1tsp ground corriander
1 1/2 tsp dried mint
1 1/2 tsp light brown muscovado sugar

The cook was seasoned with salt and black pepper and cooked in the oven for 20 minutes

I heated 1tbsp groundnut oil and stir fried some frozen carrot and swede batons (found in freezer, no memory of buying these but they turned out really nice!) and added noodles (dried noodles which I had soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water). Once cooked but still crunchy (the veg, not the noodles!) I added half of the sauce and some chopped chilli almonds.

I served the cod on top of the noodles and vegetables, poured over the remaining sauce and some more chilli almonds.

I loved every mouthful! I wasn't quite sure about the mint and the lemon as I served up but it definitely just works so well! The chilli almonds were great! Would have been better with fresh herbs but doesn't need them I found.
Can't wait to try with lime and steak!

14 Dec 2010

My Favourite Dinner

I've you've followed me on my previous blog you will have seen this one a few times! It has to be my favourite meal, I eat it every week, it takes minutes to prepare, tastes amazing, is so satisfying, and, it's pretty healthy too!
Oh, I almost forgot, it's prawn Pad Thai!

My original recipe post for Pad Thai is HERE

But since I was enjoying playing with my food and took some photos I thought I would re-post

Serves 1:
  • 100g King Prawns
  • 80g Noodles
  • 20g/2 Spring Onions
  • 50g Carrots Sliced Julienne style
  • 15g Cashew or Monkey Nuts (I used pine nuts this time as I had run out of the others - not quite the same but still works well enough)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tsp Dark Brown Muscovado Sugar
  • ½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Groundnut Oil

Mix together the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cayenne pepper to make your sauce

Soak noodles in boiling water to soften

Finely chop carrots and spring onions

Heat some groundnut oil (or oil/fat of your choice but avoid olive oil since you want to stir fry quickly on  high heat)

Fry carrot and spring onion until soft

Add prawns then stir fry until cooked/heated through

Drain the noodles then add to the stir fry

Add the egg (you can use half an egg but I use a whole egg because it's easier) and scramble it in

Once the egg is cooked pour over the sauce and stir in the nuts

Now eat!

I apologise for the lack of posts lately, I'm stuck in bed with flu just now and struggling to find the energy to do anything and rather oddly my appetite is gone so food is the last thing on my mind right now!

9 Dec 2010

Time for a Toddy

It's that time of year again for me to get hit with a stinking cold. I feel truly awful and I have lost my voice. However, there is a plus side to feeling so miserable and run down - I get to drink hot toddies! I swear it's a magic potion with actual magical powers. No amount of pills and syrups and sprays make me feel as good as a hot toddy does when I have a cold.

One shot of whisky, 1 generous teaspoon of runny honey, top with hot water - maybe add a teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a clove too for little hint of Christmas!

I had some cheese and crackers too. I ran out of Red Leicester with onion and chive so had to go half and galf with some Brie! I topped the other cracked with Brie and a pear and ginger chutney - this stuff is beautiful!


Apologies to any cat-haters out there!

Since I'm feeling really un-well and struggling to get my brain to work I'll leave with some pictures of our cat Jeff! (hope this is satisfactory Janet! :D )

Excuse the ugly old sofa from our last flat!

When Jeff went to the vets to get his bits snipped there was a bit of a problem leading to a bigger operation and weeks of wearing the giant cone. :(


Air guitar!

And a couple of videos - sorry I can't help myself after looking through all the old photos!

This is Jeff discovering the washing machine:

Eating and growling at a prawn - you need sound for this one!

And playing in the kitchen sink:

And I'm going to leave it there because I'm sure by know you all think I'm some crazy cat lady!

Hope everyone has a good weekend! Anyone got anything exciting planned? I'm hoping to get out Christmas tree this weekend!

7 Dec 2010

Last Christmas

This week I'm going to make a start on planning what to eat and drink over the festive period - and my Birthday, more importantly! I've already bought a few Christmas magazines and I'm going to be giving in and buying all the foodie magazines too, I just adore looking through all the amazing looking Christmas recipes and picking out a few new things to try each year.
So far, I'm thinking of doing a version of Beef Wellington I found in the Sainsbury's magazine, using duck and butternut squash instead of beef and mushrooms, we'll have this on Christmas Eve, or maybe on the 23rd - I like to spread out the indulgence for as long as I can! If we have this on the 23rd then Christmas Eve will probably be a cheese board with meats, chutney, pate and some home made pastry-based nibbles with a couple of Christmas cocktails. 
For Christmas Day, we'll probably start with a champagne breakfast, pancakes, bacon and maple syrup or crispy bacon in warm croissants. We don't usually have lunch, just something to snack on. Dinner I think will be a gammon joint with all the usual trimmings, duck fat roast potatoes, roast veg (probably involving honey), little sausages wrapped in bacon (proper meaty sausages), sprouts with pancetta, gravy and sauce. I do love having turkey at Christmas time but it's just the two of us so a whole bird is a bit overkill! And it's just not the same getting turkey in any other form than a whole bird. I'm also considering a small beef joint too - it would be a lot of food but we like having a platter of cheeses and nibbly things to bring out for a few days after Christmas.
For my Birthday it will be afternoon tea, something light (and cheap) for dinner then a night in a posh hotel
On New Years Eve we'll be back to the cheeses, meats and pastries. And New Years Day, it has to be steak pie! I've never made one before - last year we just had a beef joint in pastry with roast vegetables and potatoes, but I really fancy making a traditional steak pie.

To drink there will be some Champagne, Prosecco, Bellini's, Peppermint Martini's, Baileys, Jim Beam and mulled wine - I'll be trying red and white! That makes us sound a bit alcoholic but my hangovers these days are so bad I really don't drink much as it's just not worth losing a whole day for the sake of a few drinks.

I'll also be making champagne jellies and either a chocolate roulade or a cheesecake, I'm not a big fan of Christmas cake but I would love to make one someday. My boyfriend will definitely be making cinnamon swirls and I might see if I can persuade him to make some chocolate truffles again.

Here is last Christmas in food pictures:

table setting for our duck with cherry sauce - thankfully we decided to have this on the 23rd and not Christmas Eve when our electricity went out at around 2pm and didn't come back on until after 11pm! We ended up baking cake and preparing food for Christmas Day long past midnight on Christmas Eve!

Duck breast with mange tout and sweet potato chip with some rose Prosecco

Followed by champagne jellies

This was supposed to be dinner on Christmas Eve but instead we spread out Christmas dinner and had this late afternoon.

Home made sausage rolls and Christmas shape pastry puffs with parma ham and padano cheese with a sage leaf on top, smoked salmon wrapped lemon and pepper cream cheese with rocket, goose pate and some left over duck.
This was followed by soup, I can't quite remember what soup but the main ingredient was chestnut puree.

The main event! Pork, duck fat roast potatoes, sausages in bacon, roast carrots and parsnips and sprouts. with gravy (this was our first ever proper gravy not from a packet!) and cumberland sauce.

Chocolate roulade to finish - made at midnight the night before so not a bad attempt really! This lasted us almost 2 weeks it was so huge and rich!

Boxing Day dinner - the platter came out again with added cheeses, more sausages in bacon, home made gruyere cheese pastry sticks, left over roasties and mini popadoms and chutney

With Peppermint Martini's and chocolate roulade for desert.

New Years Day beef in pastry

I can't wait to do it all over again!

What will you be cooking.eating this Christmas?

2 Dec 2010

Mulling Things Over

Sorry, that's a terrible title!

I'm being a bit lazy here and posting this so that I remember the recipe! Last night on Twitter, Becky posted that she was enjoying some mulled white wine while putting up her Christmas tree - being a bit lover of white wine and of mulled wine I had to know how to make it! This is what she told me:

Doesn't that sounds amazing?

I can't wait to try - thank you Becky!

1 Dec 2010

Risotto for One

My boyfriend and I are currently living apart as we are in the process of moving to another city. He has a job down in Glasgow so has moved down there already while I am still in Aberdeen until we sell the house or I get a job, whichever comes first. This is only our second week apart, and he came to stay for the weekend, but it's still been really tough! Not helped by the fact that his journey back down to Glasgow the first weekend took him around 26 hours instead of 4! Heavy snow meant a lot of roads were closed and hundreds of drivers were stranded in Perth for the night, sadly, my boyfriend was one of them. I normally love snow but I'm really hoping it will stop so we can still see each other at the weekends.
I have to be honest, part of me was quite excited about cooking for one during the weeks and cooking foods my boyfriend doesn't like! Mushrooms and prawns in particular! The other part of me.... well, that part was kind of looking forward to being able to get away with having a couple of bowls of Coco Pops for dinner instead of cooking. Fortunately, the novelty of Coco Pops quickly wore off and I remembered how much I love cooking, plus I had half a butternut squash needing to be used up - I hate throwing away food.

My favourite thing to do with butternut squash is a risotto - well I say this is my favourite but other than soup it's the only thing I've ever done with butternut squash! Risotto's are a pretty frequent occurrence in our house - I always have the basic ingredients to hand: arborio rice, stock in some form, hard cheese and onion as well as a wide selection of herbs and spices. I just add whatever vegetables and or meat we happen to have, but favourites are butternut squash or pumpkin with chorizo or salmon and asparagus. Last night it was butternut squash with chorizo, some tarragon and paprika.

I like to get all my ingredients out before I start, otherwise it's quite likely I'll forget something.
Lemon juice - I just use maybe 1tsp in risotto so bottled is fine fir that
Butternut squash butt - by the time I hacked off the skin and scooped out the seeds this was just right for 1 person.
Pecorino cheese - I don't always weigh but use around 15g and will either have pecorino, padano or parmesan
Knorr vegetable stock pots - I have only ever made my own stock once and somehow got a bit confused with the pot and the sieve and poured all the liquid down the sink. I haven't bothered since. These stock pots are great though, flavour is better the powder or cube I find.
Salt & Pepper

And an onion - I used a sweet onion, it was a bit tasteless, possibly because it was so old....
And not forgetting the arborio risotto rice - 75g per person, with that much butternut squash was plenty.

All chopped up and grated - I actually went a bit overboard with grating the cheese

Some sprays of olive oil to fry the onion and squash in

Fry the veg for a few minutes until it begins to soften

Add boiled water and stock - I add just a little here to cook the squash in

I then add boiled water gradually over 20-30 minutes, just keep going until the texture and consistency is to your taste. I also stir mine, not quite continuously, but a lot!

Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid I top up

And towards the end I add my chorizo, salt, pepper and herbs and spices

My huge bag of paprika, possibly my favourite spice! I buy most of my spices in Indian or Chinese shops as it's a fraction of the price compared to supermarkets.

Once it's done, I stir in the cheese

Heat through and serve

Please let me know if you try this!

What are your favourite risotto flavours?

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