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Squiddies
This is the other recipe in the Marie Claire cookbook Drinks & Nibbles which first caught my eye for its recipe for fried green olives but I've had their stuffed squid in my mind for quite some time now. The picture looked great, but ever so slightly anaemic, and seemed to be crying out for delicious sauces. So when I found some ink and saffron sauce ideas I figured I'd found the perfect foil.
The beautiful colours in the squid and two sauces seemed a perfect opportunity for us to try out Rachel's fancy new camera, which arrived mysteriously in her life today as if to make up for all the other horrors of the past few weeks.

I also found some handy instructions for extracting the squid ink sacs.

Lemon Risotto-Stuffed Squid With Ink And Saffron Sauce
main side sauce fish
Serves 2½

Ingredients
Squiddies
3 medium squids
juice ½ lemon
leftover fish stock or white wine

Risotto
1 portion lemon risotto from ½ cup rice, plus the leftover prawn parts.

Sauces
4 shitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
6 shallots, sliced
few thyme sprigs
glass white wine
single cream
saffron
squid ink
fish stock

Pak Choy
2 heads pak choy
2 cloves garlic
8 Shitake mushrooms, sliced
soy sauce to dress
Method
Prepare The Squiddies
 from the cleaned, more wholesome squid and prawn parts...
Pull the squid innards and cuttle bones from their body, squeeze out and reserve the ink, discard the squid guts.
The black vein-like ink sac is located in the intestines, and there is also squid ink behind the eyes.
Peel the skin and wings from the body tubes.
Peel the prawns to be used in the risotto.
Wash and dry the squid tubes. and set aside.

Make The Fish Stock:
Thoroughly wash the leftover squid bits (skin, head, tentacles, fins) to remove any trace of squid ink, and place in the stock pan. Add the prawn bits. Add a chopped onion, garlic, carrots, peppercorns, fennels seeds, juniper berries thyme, tarragon, bit of sage, few basil leaves, glass of white wine and I suppose any other handy bits of old vegetables you might have hanging around. Bring to a simmer, skim. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Strain the stock through muslin or paper towel. Keep warm.
Second time making the risotto I used a mussel stock. At the same time I brewed up the leftover prawn head and shells (I wasn't using squid) in a little water for 5 minutes, skimmed, and added this to the mussel juice.
The resulting risotto was just gorgeous.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Make The Risotto

Cook The Squid
Season the inside of the squid bodies, Stuff the squid bodies loosely, lest they burst with risotto, close the ends with a cocktail stick to stop the risotto escaping and place in a baking dish. Surround with ½ cup of baking liquid consisting of the other lemon half and the rest of fish stock.
Season. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove, allow to cool slightly, then slice in rounds 2 cm thick. dip your sharp knife in hot water first

Make The Sauces:
Heat a tablespoon or two of butter until foaming, then gently fry the chopped shitaki mushrooms until they start to shrivel. Add sliced garlic and shallots and a few thyme leaves. Fry gently until they just start to colour, add a glass of white wine or two and reduce. Add the remaining stock, bring to a gentle simmer. Skim. Strain through a sieve. Reduce until on the point of thickening.
Divide.
To one half add the squid ink, return to simmer. Reduce further if necessary then gradually add a small amount of cream (don't thin the colour too much - a dark grey colour will be OK). Keep warm or reheat gently.
I ended up with a little concentrated ink from juicing the squids, and a lot more rinsed-off ink since one of the squids burst. So I added the rinse to my sauce first and reduced it, before finishing off with the thick ink.
Probably I would have had enough thick ink - it goes quite a long way!
I now have a better version of the squid ink sauce.
To the other half, add a (generous) pinch of saffron. Simmer, reducing slightly if necessary. Add cream until you have enough sauce and it's not too thin. Keep warm or reheat gently.

Cook the Pak Choy:
Enthusiastically heat a large frying pan. Add a coating of olive oil. Add sliced garlic, and sear until just beginning to colour, then add sliced shitaki mushrooms. Fry vigorously until the mushrooms are beginning to reduce, then throw in the pak choy, shake on the heat until they begin to wilt, then cover and turn off the heat. You can throw in any leftover lemon juice or peel at this stage. Serve with a drizzle of soy sauce (if you can be bothered).

To Serve:
The sauces should be thick enough to coat, but runny enough to pour into a plate. Cover the base of a small plate with the two sauces so they cover a half each and divide down the middle.
Pile a small heap of the Pak Choy at one end of this joining line, top with a few of the mushrooms.
Lay a line of the squid rounds down the sauce join, so they lie on each other at an attractive angle.
Present to guests.
Oh My God this was fantastic!
I used a slightly-less-than-dry chardonnay, which worked quite nicely I thought.
Not surprisingly, after cooking for 4 hours I was more interested in eating the product than taking fancy photos of it, so we didn't get around to doing the whole divided-plate thing, but you get the idea. We really need to work on our artistic presentational skills.

Squid Cleaning Squid Display Squid On Ink Sauce Squid On Saffron Sauce Messy Squid On Mixed Sauces Squid Up Close And Personal
Kedgeree
breakfast fish
Serves 6

Ingredients
6 medium eggs
90g butter
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric, or 1 tsp curry powder instead of the 3 spices
800g undyed smoked haddock
300g basmati rice
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt
6 tbsp double cream
2-3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped I used some tarragon, which was OK
Method
Put the eggs into a pan of almost simmering water, then boil for five minutes. Plunge the eggs into cold water, take them out when they're cool enough to handle and put to one side.

Place a large, heavy-based pan on a low heat. Melt 60g of the butter and add the onion. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, and add the coriander, cumin and turmeric, or curry power, after 8-10 minutes. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes in total, so the onion is completely soft and, although coloured by the spices, not browned in the conventional sense.

Meanwhile, put the haddock in a separate saucepan, cover with warm water and simmer gently for about 8 minutes. At the same time, cook the rice according to the packet instructions (usually in a large pan of boiling water for 10-12 minutes).

Peel the eggs while the fish and rice are cooking. Coarsely chop two of the eggs. Cut each of the others into six wedges or thick slices and put to one side.

When the haddock is ready, drain it and, when cool enough to handle, pull off the skin and break up the flesh, removing any bones. Keep the onion pan on a low heat and gently fold in the drained rice, then the fish and the two chopped eggs. Season well with pepper and more cautiously with salt (remember, the fish may be salty). Stir in the cream, then the remaining butter and the parsley. Scatter on the egg wedges or slices and serve with mango chutney on the side.
I served with a horseradish cream, but I think that something fruitier (like a chutney) would have worked better.
Delia adds lemon juice to the finished kedgeree, which might work quite nicely.
Steak 'n' Chips - It's Finger Slicin' Good!
Since I started reading Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook I've had definite cravings for their magnificent Côte De Boeuf and decided to recreate just a flavour of it using Puddledubb buffalo steaks from the Farmers' Market.
The meal would probably have gone smoother if I hadn't sliced off the tip of my middle finger whilst cutting the frites having just sharpened up the knife with typically poor timing.
It didn't stop us from enjoying our dinner though it might have delayed it somewhat whilst we applied bandages.

Steak and Fries with Bearnaise Sauce
main side meat
Ingredients
Steak
1 medium (or 1½ - these chips are good) Russet Burbank potato per person. or Maris Piper if your greengrocer has never heard of Russet Burbanks
A half quantity of Béarnaise sauce
groundnut oil for deep frying.
Method
Start clarifying the butter for your Béarnaise sauce.

Scrub and slice the potatoes evenly into 1cm rounds then into chips I thought mine were just a little fat and set aside in cold water (unless you are one of these fabulous cookbook-kitchens with an endless supply of fresh ice?).

Finely chop the shallots and tarragon, separate your egg yolks and crack your peppercorns for the Béarnaise sauce.

Trim your steaks as necessary, then oil and season them.
Boil water in a pot for the sauce, and fill a serving jug with boiling water to warm it. Turn the oven or grill on low to keep the steaks warm, and set the pan of groundnut oil on the hob.

You need to "blanche" the chips (as Anthony calls it) - which means frying them 2 or 3 times, in increasingly hot oil. So you can do the first round of cooking early and leave the chips to cool in between - rinse and dry them as far as possible, then cook the first round in moderately hot oil (280°F/140°C) for 6-8 minutes until their colour has paled from opaque white to a semitranslucent white. Don't let them start to brown. Set aside, spread out on an oven tray if you can.

Heat a nice heavy frying pan until very hot. Slap on the steaks to sear them, turning them over only when nicely charred. Set them aside to relax under the warm grill or oven.

Make the Béarnaise sauce - then set aside in the warmed serving jug.

Cook the chips for their second round in hotter oil (375°F/190°C) for 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
If necessary, remove the chips, reheat the oil and repeat should they take too long to cook or the oil cools down too much.
Drain the chips and throw them in a basket and season with salt.
Serve it all up.
Steak 'n' Chips

Well, buffalo is rather tasty - though I much preferred the rib eye to the sirloin. It might have been better than cow's steak if I had been able to buy a freshly cut dry slice rather than one vacuum packed to marinate in its own blood.

You can use the leftover tarragon to make a tarragon oil, and then a nice salad dressing with added sherry vinegar and orange juice.
To make tarragon oil: briefly blanche the tarragon then drop into chilled water (if you can be bothered), dry, roughly chop and blend with olive oil. Leave to infuse in the fridge for a day, if you have the time, strain if you need the oil clear.
Ceviche 2
Tried a Mackerel ceviche this time. It made Rachel cry, but that might have been more to do with the recent phone call from her ex than tears of joy at the happy memories it evoked.
This recipe started off at the BBC's Good Food
Mackerel Ceviche
starter raw fish
Ingredients
  • mackerel
  • lime juice
First debone and peel off the papery layer coating the skin (even if you're going to shred the mackerel - it's hard to find the bones afterwards). You can slice the mackerel fillets into 1cm cubes and soak in lime juice for an hour or so.
I quite liked these actually - they were rather tasty.
Alternatively shred the fish off its skin with a fork and cover in lime juice. When you are ready to eat you can squeeze this mixture by working it in a fine sieve with a spoon until it's dry.
This wasn't quite so nice - might have worked better with some grated onion, even the grated carrot that Rachel fancied.
Still, the fried mackerel and salad worked pretty well.

And this is the original BBC Good Food recipe verbatim.
Basil & lemon chickpeas with mackerel
starter main fish
Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 bunch spring onion, sliced
couple large garlic clove, crushed
zest 1 lemon and squeeze of juice
2 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
150ml vegetable stock or white wine if you don't have any stock to hand
85g SunBlush tomatoes, halved
½ fennel bulb, shaved
Grilled red pepper, peeled, sliced
4 mackerels fillets, skin on
1 large bunch basil
Rocket
Method
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large, shallow pan. Add the spring onions, garlic and lemon zest, then cook for 2 mins until the onions are tender but still very green. Add the chickpeas, then stir until well coated in the onion mixture. Lightly crush with a potato masher, then add the stock and tomatoes. Simmer for 3-4 mins or until the liquid is absorbed, stir in the fennel and red pepper, then set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, dry-fry some ground pepper, then heat the remaining oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the mackerel fillets for 3 mins each side, starting on the skin side. You'll probably need to cook these in two batches.

Add the basil, rocket actually a softer leaf would have been better - a frisée perhaps and a squeeze of lemon juice to the chickpeas, then season to taste. To serve, spoon the warm chickpeas spoon onto serving plates, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and top with the mackerel fillets.

Pretty nice combination. Make sure the chickpeas aren't too wet, and it would be nice if they were pretty well softened.
Basil & lemon chickpeas with mackerel
Fried Green Tomatoes Olives
Here's a little dinner I cooked up at 9 minutes past 9 on the 9th of September '09.
Ok, it was actually the 8th of September, but a man can dream can't he?
The olives come from a marie claire cookbook, in fact the only reason I bought the book in the first place was because this green olive recipe caught my eye.
Good job they were so tasty...
Deep-Fried Olives
starter snack
Ingredients
5g, ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
50g, ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
20 large LARGE pitted green olives
30g, ¼ cup plain flour
1 egg, at room temperature, beaten
50g, ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
½ cup grated parmesan
100ml vegetable oil for deep-frying
raisin and sun-dried tomato slivers for stuffing
Method
Mix together the parsley and feta. Stuff a little of the mixture into the centre of each of the olives. Press the odd sliver of raisin or sun-dried tomato too.
Use large olives or you'll be at this for hours.
I also tried stuffing with a caper, but don't do that - it's just too salty.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the beaten egg in a small bowl and the breadcrumbs in another bowl. ln a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Toss the olives, a few at a time, in the flour, then dip into the egg and finally roll in the parmesan and breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the olives for l minute, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining olives.
I rolled the olives in flour, then mayonnaise mixed with lemon juice (I foolishly soft-boiled all the eggs as a side-dish) then grated parmesan then the breadcrumbs.
Be careful not to have the oil too hot or the olives will explode, shrivel and burn

These are very tasty little numbers, but very strongly salty. They need serving with something which can absorb this flavour. I (very) soft-boiled a couple of eggs and was going to serve them on the Greek side-salad but they worked pretty well just served in a dish with the olives on top. Some heavy tomato-based condiment might work well too.

Serve with a nice Greek salad. Fried Green Olives
Ceviche
Rachel has been demanding ceviche "like her Mother(-in-law) used to make" for ages now, unfortunately the ceviche her Mother-in-law used to make was apparently shredded with a fork before being soaked in lime juice, which is a bit hard on any less-than-stridently flavoured fish, and tends to turn my face inside out. Rachel says they used to mix in grated carrot, coriander and possibly onion, leave it overnight, then squeeze out the lime from the fish by hand, which might help I guess (though the implication is - you need to make handfuls). This was then served with onion and chopped tomatoes on tostadas.

Apparently Mexicans prefer "fatty" seafood, such as mackerel and pompano, though I've also seen plenty of recipes using red snapper

The Starbucks where I buy coffee. every. day. has a Borders bookshop around it, and since they have strategically placed their bargain cookbook island between the entrance and the coffee, I am forced to examine their latest cheap(ish) cook book offers. every. day.
Today's book has a ceviche recipe so I decided to give it a bash for tonight's offering, and also, rather foolishly, decided to scrape the lemon sole off its skin with a fork rather than slice it into strips for the marinading.
Lemon Sole Ceviche
starter raw fish
Ingredients
400g lemon sole fillets
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely diced
juice of 4 limes
1 small chicory bulb, quartered lengthways and cut into 1cm strips
2 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado
3 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves
100ml extra virgin olive oil
salt
Method
Scrape the lemon sole from its skin with a fork (the original recipe calls for skinning the fillets then cutting into 5mm strips) and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with the diced chillies and pour over the lime juice. Toss to coat, then cover and leave in a cool place to marinate for 15 minutes. (The acid from the lime will cure the fish and turn it opaque.) If you prefer your fish 'cooked' a little more, leave it a bit longer.

Drain the fish of the lime juice and toss with the chicory, onion, tomatoes and green pepper. Halve, stone, peel and dice the avocado. Add to the fish mixture with the chopped coriander, pour over th olive oil and toss well. Leave to stand in a cool place for 10 minutes.

Season the ceviche well with salt and spoon into the centre of coool serving plates. Drizzle any remaining dressing around the plates. Serve immediately, as a starter.
OK, so the ceviche was mouth-twistingly misjudged, with the lime hopelessly overwhelming the poor delicate lemon sole but the salad was still surprisingly dull.
You can liven it up a little by dressing it with the tarragon vinaigrette, which helps some.

Rocket or Watercress Salad
salad raw veg vegan
Ingredients
Rocket and spinach or watercress or other leaves

Tarragon Vinaigrette
Juice of ½ lemon
120ml white wine vinegar or maybe a bit less
salt and pepper
pinch of caster sugar
500ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 tarragon sprigs or more
Method
Make the vinaigrette - blend the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and a few tarragon leaves, pour in the olive oil slowly whilst blending.
Store in a jar with a few extra tarragon sprigs.

Dress the salad and serve.

Squid Tempura
starter main fish

Ingredients
500g fresh baby squid
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
groundnut oil for deep-frying
flour for dusting
lemon juice to taste

Batter
45g plain flour
30g cornflour
15g baking powder
125ml sparkling water, chilled
4 ice cubes

Minted Mayonnaise
150ml mayonnaise
15g mint leaves, chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
Tablespoon crème fraîche (optional)
Method
First prepare the mayonnaise (you can do this the day before to allow the mayo to take on more of the mint flavour if you like). Mix the chopped mint into the mayonnaise and add salt, cayenne pepper and a little lemon juice to taste.
I substituted a minted hollandaise.
But a wasabi mayonnaise - just generous wasabi paste, mayonnaise and some crème fraîche is lovely.
Clean the squid, rinse well under cold running water,separate the tentacles. Cut the pouches into 1cm thick rings, pat dry on kitchen paper and set aside with the tentacles.

For the batter, combine the flour, cornflour and baking powder in a bowl and add a pinch each of salt and cayenne pepper. Slowly add the sparkling water, mixing the batter with a spoon or chopstick. Don't worry if there are a few lumps - this is normal for tempura batter. Finally add the ice cubes and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

When you are ready to eat the squid, dress some rocket leaves with a tarragon vinaigrette.

In a suitable pan for deep-frying, heat the oil to about 180°C. Dust a handful of squid with seasoned flour, dip into the batter to coat, then immerse in the hot oil. Fry until the pieces rise to the surface and float, indicating that they are ready - this only takes a minute or two. Don't overcook the squid otherwise it will be tough and rubbery. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the squid is cooked.

Make up the hollandaise. Season the squid with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the hollandaise (or serve with minted mayonnaise alongside). Garnish with the rocket salad.
Much more of a success. The original recipe called for mint mayonnaise, and although my hollandaise was nice, I think the thicker mayonnaise might have worked better.
The squid was lovely and tender, though the tempura might have been crisper.

Monkfish Ceviche
starter raw fish
Ingredients
  • monkfish
  • lime juice
Prepare the Monkfish as for the Lemon Sole Ceviche.
I served it with the Fennel Salad and its Blue Cheese Dressing below.
Nope. Not good. The monkfish goes rather chewy, and the flavour is a bit dull.
Rachel thought the blue cheese dressing rather overwhelmed the Fennel salad. She might be right.
Must try cooked monkfish with that dressing.
Yeah that works, monkfish and blue cheese dressing are nice together, but I pan-fried the monkfish rolled in flour, and it was still rather chewy. I wonder if it might not be better grilled (or roasted) with a blue cheese stuffing?

Fennel Salad
salad raw veg
Ingredients
Fennel, thinly sliced
Carrots, thinly sliced or grated.
Red onion, thinly sliced.
Physalis, sliced.
Coriander leaves
Capers
Red chillies, sliced as a garnish
Pine nuts or walnuts might have worked

Blue Cheese Dressing
Shropshire Blue cheese (Roquefort was better)
Lime juice (still prefer lemon)
Tarragon


Method
Dress the salad with olive oil, a splash of sesame oil, and a drizzle of lime juice.
Muh. S'OK. Wouldn't go out of my way to make it again.
Indoor Barbecue 2
This time I half planned the backup rainy day alternative of grilling the kebabs. It had to be done though - I've been promising Rachel something in a Satay Sauce for ever.

Oh, by the way - if you ever get to cook on a real barbecue - blackened pineapple slices (about ½" thick) are absolutely lovely. Peel off the outside, but don't core them or they'll fall apart.
Tomato and Feta Salad
salad raw veg
Ingredients
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Red onion, sliced
Mixed salad leaves
basil leaves
Feta cheese, diced

Dressing 1 lime, juiced
Olive oil
Seasoning
Method
Quarter the tomatoes, slice the onions, dice the Feta into generous cubes and mix with basil leaves.
Wash the salad leaves and serve piled with the tomato salad.
Serve.

Mixed Kebabs
main meat fowl fish

Kebabs1 Kebabs1 Kebabs1

Ingredients
Fennel bulbs, quartered or wedges
Chicory heads, halved

Kebabs
Bamboo skewers, soaked
Chicken
Chicken breasts, cubed.
Banana chunks plantain, sweet potato or even butternut squash might work
Pork
Pork fillet, cubed
Fresh/tinned pineapple chunks
Onion segments
Scallops
Scallops
Bacon
Prawns, peeled
Fresh coconut flesh pieces

Marinade
For the Pork and Chicken
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 Tbsps soy sauce
finely grated rind of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp dark muscovado sugar

Simple Satay Sauce
For the Pork and Chicken
6 fl oz/¾ cup coconut milk I used all the creamy part of a can
6 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
couple garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dark muscovado sugar
splash fish sauce
a touch of chilli paste

Lime Butter
For the Scallops
1 lime, grated and juiced
1 egg yolks actually I used two - one didn't look like being enough
6 Tbsps melted butter
feathery fennel leaves
Method
Marinade
Place the onion, garlic, soy sauce, lime rind, spices and sugar in a blender or food processor. Add two pieces of pineapple and process until the mixture is almost smooth. Add a little lime juice if necessary.

Kebabs
Marinate the pork and chicken pieces.
Wrap the scallops in the bacon I used smoked but I think it was a little overpowering - try unsmoked
Thread the skewers with pork, pineapple and onion, with chicken and banana, and with wrapped scallops, prawns and coconut.
The chicken and banana was pleasant enough, but they didn't quite work together.
You could try chicken and mushrooms (been there, done that), kiwis (interesting but rather tart), plums (nice contrast)
The coconut scorches nicely though it does have a tendency to burst into flames

Satay Sauce
To make the sauce, pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and stir in the peanut butter. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and heat gently over the barbecue, stirring until smooth and hot.
Cover and keep warm on the edge of the barbecue

Lime Butter
Place the egg yolk the finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime in a small bowl and whisk until pale and smooth.
Gradually whisk in the melted butter and continue whisking until thick and smooth. Finely chop the reserved feathery fennel leaves and stir them in. Season to taste.

Serve the pork and chicken kebabs with the satay, the seafood with the lime butter and salad and lime wedges on the side.
All quite delicious, except that the scallops were huge and the prawns tiny, so being on the same skewer the prawns ended up being rather overcooked. It might be better to use smaller scallops, bigger (fresh) prawns, or cook the scallops straight on the grill or barbecue (if you're lucky) with the bacon secured by cocktail sticks.
A salad with a yoghurt dressing might work better than the feta cheese here.
A More Complicated Satay Sauce
dip veg
Ingredients
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 asian shallots, finely chopped
1 lemon grass stalk, white part only, finely chopped
2 tsps Thai curry powder
1 Tblsps tamarind purée
1 Tblsps chilli paste
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups coconut milk
2 tsps palm sugar

Method
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic, Asian shallots and lemon grass for a minute.
Add the Thai curry powder and stir until fragrant.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring slowly to the boil.
Add enough boiling water to make a spoonable sauce and simmer for 2 munutes.
Season with salt to taste.

I need to see if this is any more popular than the simple version!

Another Satay Sauce
dip veg
Another, simpler, satay sauce recipe found amongst an old recipe collection.

Ingredients
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • ½ tsp chilli
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tblsp soy sauce
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
Method
Slice the onion and saute with the crushed garlic in 1 tablespoon oil until transparent.
Add the chilli, water, peanut butter and sugar.
Stir well and bring to the boil, then stir in the soy sauce and lemon juice.

Jamie's Satay Sauce
dip veg
Jamie Oliver's Amazing Satay Sauce. Very popular on the interwebs. Apparently.

Ingredients
  • ½ a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • ½ a clove of garlic
  • 3 heaped tablespoons good-quality crunchy peanut butter
  • soy sauce
  • a 2cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 limes
Method
Put the coriander (stalks and all) into the food processor with the chilli (seeds and stalk removed), peeled garlic, 3 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter and a lug ooh a lug - mockney tosser of soy sauce. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and add. Finely grate in the zest of both limes, then squeeze in the juice from 1 of them. Add a couple of splashes of water and whiz to a spoonable paste. Season to taste. Spoon into a nice bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. But don't do that - that would be horribly inappropriate.
An Indoor Barbecue
No sooner had we decided on a barbecue for dinner, and I'd spent quite a lot of pennies on a lovely big chunk of monkfish and some monster tiger prawns, the heavens opened, it poured rain for the rest of the day and I was forced to resort to grilling as a pale imitation of a bed of hot coals.
Monkfish With Peppered Citrus Marinade
main fish
Ingredients
Courgettes, sliced
Fennel bulbs, quartered
2 Monkfish tails or one huge one
1 lime
1 lemon
2 oranges
handful fresh thyme
2 Tbsps olive oil 1 Tbsp crushed mixed peppercorns
salt & pepper
Method
grill courgette slices.
grill quartered fennel bulbs brushed with the dressing or olive oil

Using a sharp kitchen knife, remove any skin from the monkfish tails. Cut carefully down one side of the backbone, sliding the knife between the bone and flesh, to remove the fillet on one side.

Turn the fish and repeat on the other side, to remove the second fillet. Repeat on the second tail. (If you prefer, you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you.) Lay the four fillets out flat on a chopping board.

Cut two slices from each of the citrus fruits and arrange them over two of the fillets. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkle with plenty of salt anf freshly gound black pepper. Finely grate the rind from the remaining fruit and sprinkle it over the fish.

Lay the other two fillets on top and tie them firmly at intervals

Squeeze the juice from the citrus fruits and mix it with the olive oil and more salt and pepper. Spoon over the fish. Cover with clear film and leave to marinate in the fridge for about 1 hour, turning occasionally and spooning the marinade over the fish.

Drain the monkfish, reserving the marinade, and sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns. Cook on a medium-hot barbecue for 15-20 minutes, basting with the marinade and turning occasionally, until the fish is evenly cooked.

Meanwhile, thickly slice the courgettes diagonally and quarter the fennel bulbs. Grill these with the fish, basting also with the marinade or with olive oil.
Serve with a blue cheese salad
Hmm, really tasty way of doing the fish.
I noticed in passing that the St Agur was nice with the monkfish too - would a nice blue cheese dressing work instead?
Yes, but!.

Monkfish With Peppered Citrus
Macaroni Cheese
main pasta
Totally has the Georgina seal of approval
Probably feeds 8, or 1 Eldorado family for day after day after day after day...

Ingredients
1lb Macaroni
6 oz mascarpone
4 oz Gruyère, finely grated or maybe 6 oz
4 oz Parmesan, finely grated
1 oz butter
2 Tblsps olive oil
8 oz cubed pancetta
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed
2 oz plain flour
20 fl oz milk
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
4 large eggs, separated
salt & pepper
Method
Weigh out all the ingredients, grate the cheeses, separate the eggs, mix the mascarpone and egg yolks to a smooth paste, chop the onion, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry up the pancetta until cooked through, add the butter and onions and let them soften uncovered without browning for 5 minutes, add the garlic purée.
Add the flour to the pan, stirring in to make a smooth paste, then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring vigoroulsy with a wooden spoon. Then switch to a balloon whisk and keep whisking until you have a smooth sauce you may need extra milk. Season and add the nutmeg and leave the sauce to cook gently for 5 minutes.
After that turn off the heat and whisk in the mascarpone and egg yolks, followed by the Gruyère and half the Parmesan. Preheat the oven to 180-200°C, Gas Mark 6 and put in the baking dish I just used the pasta water to warm the baking dish, but maybe you need it hotter?.
Boil the macaroni 4-6 minutes until al dente (it will cook further in the oven).
Whilst the macaroni is cooking whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Drain the pasta in a colander, shake off excess water then tip it back into the pan and stir in the cheese sauce until evenly coated.
Now lightly fold in the egg whites, using a cutting and folding movement so as to retain as much air as possible. Don't overdo it. Remove the warm dish from the oven, fill with the pasta mix, scatter the reserved parmesan over and return to the oven top for 15 minutes or until the top is puffy and lightly browned.
Serve immediately

Really tasty - the topping is deliciously crunchy if the egg whites are not too well mixed in and there's something of a cheesy meringue layer still floating on top.
It really cries out for a tomato and red onion salad on the side, rather than the crispy leeks.

Macaroni Cheese

Crispy Leeks
side veg vegan
Ingredients
Oil for deep frying
A leek
Plain flour
Method
Heat the oil in a small deep-sided pan
Shred the leek into matchsticks My strands were quite long - probably around 6 inches which might explain why they were a bit chewy
Test the oil with a leek strand to see if it fizzes up. Fry the leeks in batches until starting to colour then remove and strain. Dust with plain flour through a sieve. I thought this might help make the leeks crunchy, but I don't think it did.
Reheat the oil and when it is hot enough finish off the leeks until golden.
Drain on kitchen roll and serve.
As mentioned, the leeks were rather chewy.
All the online methods I've found don't use flour, and seem to have shorter lengths of leeks - I could try that...
Fishy Friday II
Trying out the method I used earlier on Razor Clams...
Mussels with Fennel Seeds
starter main fish
Ingredients
Couple pounds cleaned mussels
Fennel seeds
Olive oil
Butter
Minced red onion
Minced garlic
Diced tomato
Red wine NO!

Method
Dry-fry the fennel seeds until they release their aroma, add olive oil to the pan and crisp the garlic and onion.
Throw in the tomato, stir, then add the red wine and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, cover and steam until they open (5 minutes) shaking regularly.

Strain the mussels into a colander, discarding any that didn't open. Return the liquor to the heat and reduce to a sauce consistency.
Add the mussels back to the pan, stir and warm through, then serve in the pot or decant to bowls.
Turns out that red wine does not go with mussels. Should have used white wine!
Some butter would probably have been nicer than just olive oil.
Oh and make sure the mussels are well enough cooked (and have opened nicely). They can be a bit slimy otherwise.
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