Friday
Mar132015

fish yassa

this is a quirky dish but delicious nonetheless. it was inspired by a senegalese dish and was developed as a result of wanting to recreate a much-loved restaurant dish - i’ve not eaten at the restaurant, nor eaten senegalese food but it is something i enjoyed and am keen to make again.

the quirkiness is because of the lemon juice, cider vinegar and mustard marinade, which is oomphed up with plenty of black pepper plus chilli and coriander seeds. in the recipe this is used with the fish and sliced onions but in reality it was mostly the onions i marinated, not wanting to  risk affecting the fish’s texture too much – i did top the fish with marinade-coated onions but didn’t push it down into the liquid.

the fish is fried briefly, set aside and then the onions are cooked and allowed to brown. add the marinade and cubed potatoes and let the mix simmer away until it is ready. the fish is then added at the end to warm through and then it is served.

there’s no final garnish but it really isn’t needed - the flavour is complex and delicious. it was nice to have potatoes for a change and to treat them as something special in their own right.

i don’t agree with the serving suggestion of rice, quinoa or another grain – we didn’t have anything which was fine or if i was feeling in need if vegetables, i think something like wilted spinach would be perfect. i think fennel would also work well, cooked in the same way that the potatoes are.

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Saturday
Mar072015

rose negroni

the negroni is one of my favourite drinks and one that i enjoy trying different versions of. this is perhaps the simplest variation, simply adding a little rose water. i think the resulting drink, which has just a hint of rose and doesn’t lose any of its usual bitter freshness, is perfect as spring arrives. the rose is a nice alternative to the flavour provided by the usual orange garnish.

to make, shake equal amounts of gin, campari and red vermouth plus ¼ of a teaspoon of rosewater (make sure it is unsweetened) with ice, strain and serve over (more/giant) ice or in a martini glass.

Thursday
Mar052015

tomato and coconut white bean cassoulet

i’m really loving dishes with rich tomato sauces at the moment – tunisian chicken and spicy chickpeas with ginger are two recent favourites. obviously, given it’s winter and fresh tomatoes are fairly flavourless, i’m relying on tinned tomatoes but that’s no now found good whole tomato and cherry tomato options.

this is another recipe from anna jones’ a modern way to eat and is one that i expect to make time and again, albeit in a tweaked format. the flavours are delicious and a nice mix of comforting and a little exotic - leeks, garlic, chilli and ginger are cooked until they sweeten, tomato and white beans are added with a little coconut milk and then baked topped with torn bread and cherry tomatoes. basil leaves should have also been tucked into the dish but i forgot this step and while i know it will be a great addition, the dish was fine without them - although it might have looked a bit less lurid with a few flashes of green!

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Tuesday
Mar032015

spaghetti with garlicky breadcrumbs and anchovies

 

oh my, this is such a delicious plate of umami flavours. spaghetti dressed with a carbonara-inspired sauce of egg yolk, asian fish sauce and chilli sauce is mixed with crispy breadcrumbs that have been fried with plenty of garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes. add lots of black pepper, some parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness plus a drizzle of some grassy olive oil. demolish the pile of pasta and then lick your plate clean.

the original recipe is here, below is my adapted version for 1 person. next, i'd like to do a version with rosemary instead of parsley, although i'll add this to the breadcrumbs when they are toasting.

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Tuesday
Feb242015

dark chocolate puddings

i don’t tend to make rich or heavy puddings, preferring something light and fruity most of the time. however valentine’s day was a good excuse to try something different and i was intrigued by the description of these dark chocolate puddings as having “a dense, satiny texture and a fudgelike flavor from the combination of bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder and brown sugar” and the video that made it look very easy to make. it also coincided with finding a frankfurt source for dark muscovado sugar – yay!

they ticked all the boxes i was expecting and hoping for – easy to make, interesting dark chocolate flavour plus a rich and creamy texture. all kinds of delicious.

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