Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca

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Brazilian-Fish-Stew_680px_4 (2) 23/04/2017

A traditional Brazilian dish of fish and bell peppers (capsicum) in a delicately flavoured coconut base broth, this stew really is quite unique.

I made this after being inspired by a visit to a Brazilian restaurant where they carved copious amounts of tender meat onto your plate quicker than you could eat it. I was in heaven. While the selection of meat was absolutely beautiful, what stood out for me most was the ‘salad bar’ that was on offer. There was a variety of Brazilian delicacies ranging from lentil salads, herb and garlic roast potatoes, black bean stew, rices, pastas, salsas, olives, garlic mushrooms, fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other things including moqueca. The spices were subtle but flavourful and the fish was welcome change from the heavy going grilled meats. I cooked up a batch for the family the day after and it was a total success.

This is actually quite refreshing rather than rich and heavy. In addition to coconut milk, the broth has in it canned tomatoes, lime juice, paprika and cumin powder. The paprika and cumin flavour is subtle, and to me, the standout is the lime flavour which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.

The broth is quite refreshing and not too rich, unlike many strong flavoured, rich coconut based curries. I made this just using fish but it is also made as a seafood stew with prawns and calamari.

Ingredients:

Fish:

  • 3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Broth:

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved and sliced
  • 1 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml fish or chicken broth

Finishes:

  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. For the broth: Heat a large pan over a medium high and add 1½ tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1½ minutes or until the onion is starting to become translucent.
  3. Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
  5. Add the salmon chunks, stir to coat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the salmon is tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir through lime juice.
  7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.

Raspberry & Coconut Loaf Cake

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Screenshot_2017-04-15-22-50-27-1 15/04/2017

An absolutely delicious bake with a hidden layer of jam and a beautiful coconut flavour throughout, what’s not to like?

Ingredients:

  • 150g Butter
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 100g Desiccated Coconut
  • 4 tbsp. Milk
  • 6 tbsp. Raspberry Jam

For the icing:

  • 80g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tsp Raspberry Jam
  • 2 tsp Water
  • 2 tbsp. Desiccated Coconut

Screenshot_2017-04-15-22-51-37-1

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract, before adding in the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
  3. Fold in the desiccated coconut, and then add the flour and milk a bit at a time.
  4. Spoon a third of the batter into the loaf tin, before spreading the raspberry jam in a layer on top of the batter. Cover the jam with the remaining cake batter.
  5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then cover with tin foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until cooked.
  6. Leave the cake to cook on a wire rack, and meanwhile you can prepare the icing.
  7. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add water until it reaches the right consistency. Then add the raspberry jam until you get the desired shade of pink.
  8. Once the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top, and then cover with some more coconut.

Leftover Turkey Curry

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turkey2 27/12/2016

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Everyone has eaten way too much and there is still more turkey than you know what to do with but have no fear. If in doubt, chuck it in a curry! Not just any old boring curry though, a vibrant Sri Lankan curry with creamy coconut, tangy lime and tomato and freshly ground spices for a flavour punch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsps groundnut oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 10 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g peeled root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp medium Sri Lankan curry powder (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 x 230g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 3 green chillies, seeds removed, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsps coconut yoghurt
  • 500g cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • fresh coriander, to finish

 

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

One of the characteristics of Sri Lankan cuisine is their preference for freshly prepared curry powders rather than pastes. The roasted curry powder is predominantly used in meat and fish dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp uncooked white rice
  • 50g coriander seeds
  • 25g cumin seeds
  • 25g fennel seeds
  • 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds (from about 10 green pods)
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 dried red Kashmiri chillies

Method:

Heat a dry, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the rice ad shake the grains around for about 3 minutes until medium brown in colour. Tip the rice into a bowl and leave to cool while you do the same to the spices and then to the dried chillies. Mix the rice, spice and chillies together and grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Store in a screw top jar and use within 3 months.

turkey

For the Curry:

Method:

  1. Heat a large, deep heavy-based frying pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves and leave them to become fragrant for a few seconds. Remove them and grind in a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  2. Add the oil then the onions and bay leaves to the pan and fry them gently for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute, then add the curry powder, chilli powder and turmeric and fry gently for another minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes (crushing the plum tomatoes with your hand as you add them), coconut milk, green chillies and a little salt. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover, add the coconut yoghurt and the cooked turkey, recover and simmer for 5 minutes until piping hot. Stir in the lime juice and serve sprinkled with coriander.

Lamb & Coconut Kofta Curry

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screenshot_2016-09-29-19-56-54-11 30/09/2016

A fragrant lamb kofta curry recipe that won’t need hours on the stove. Make it as mild or spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chillies in the recipe. Sadly, my lack of photography and presentation skills does not do this justice but the taste is beautifully fragrant, aromatic and deep.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • A few sprigs fresh mint, finel chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 400g lamb mince

For the curry sauce:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsps natural coconut yogurt
  • Fresh coriander, to serve
  • Lime wedges to serve

Method:

  1. Toast the fennel seeds and coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in a pestle and mortar then add to a bowl with all the other meatball ingredients. Mix all the meatball ingredients together with your hands. Season and roll into balls then chill until needed.
  2. In a little oil, fry the onion, fresh ginger, garlic, garam masala and ground turmeric for 5 minutes. Stir in the tin of tomatoes and a splash of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir through the natural coconut yogurt and serve with coriander, lime wedges, steamed rice and extra yogurt.

 

Coconut Chilli Prawns

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screenshot_2016-09-21-19-57-16-11 23/09/2016

I absolutely love rolling my sleeves up in the kitchen to undertake a big Indian feast. Nothing pleases me more than mixing the fresh spices, toasting and grinding them to create beautiful aromas and tastes. But sometimes, there isn’t always time in the day to get so hands on as less important tasks such as the day job get in the way. That doesn’t mean that a wonderful Indian meal is out of bounds though. With the help of a jar of curry paste, you can whip up a delicious curry in about 15 minutes.

I’d like to urge that this recipe uses a curry PASTE and not a curry SAUCE. Ready made curry sauces are full of sugar and additives and don’t taste anywhere near as good as a freshly prepared curry. Paste, on the other hand, is a perfectly selected blend of freshly ground spices with the addition of ginger and garlic which are immediately preserved in vegetable oil so that the air does not get to them and alter their flavour profile.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Rogan Josh curry paste (or your choice)
  • 450g raw peeled prawns
  • 50g creamed coconut, roughly chopped
  • 150ml hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes until it looks like it is splitting from the oil.
  2. Add the prawns to the pan and stir fry over a high heat for 3 minutes until pink. Add the creamed coconut and hot water and stir every now and then until the coconut had melted. Simmer for 1 minute.
  3. Mix the coriander with the red chillies and spring onions. Stir into the prawns and serve immediately.

This is great served with rice and chapatis and even more fresh coriander.

Thai Prawn Noodle Soup

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Screenshot_2016-08-03-21-53-42-1[1] 04/08/2016

Spice up your mid-week with this deliciously fragrant broth packed with soft rice noodles and juicy prawns. Using vibrant curry paste, zesty lime, rich fish sauce and creamy coconut milk you can achieve an authentic taste in minutes with this recipe.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets Thai rice noodles
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 200g large cooked king prawns
  • 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, and sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Dash of fish sauce and soy sauce
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish

Method:

  1. Put the noodles into a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave for 4 minutes until they swell up and turn white.
  2. Add the oil to a wok over a medium heat. Fry the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the Thai curry paste to the wok with the coconut milk. Heat gently, stirring.
  4. Add the prawns, spring onions, red chilli, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and soy sauce. Warm through for a couple of minutes.
  5. Drain the noodles and nestle them in the centre of your dinner bowls. Pour the coconut curry broth around the outside and top with the prawns. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Puy Lentil Dahl with Coconut & Indian Spices

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Screenshot_2016-07-08-18-22-02-1[1] 12/07/2016

Addictive and comforting, this lentil soup is rich and creamy, yet still manages to be light and delicate, if that makes any sense at all. It also uses puy lentils. They become tender in a relatively short amount of time but don’t lose their shape, unlike most other lentil varieties.

Make this soup for a crowd and I guarantee you everyone will be scratching their heads, wondering what is in it that makes it taste so special. Also, as is the case with practically all soups, this one tastes even better on day two or three.

The use of ghee and gently frying the spices really intensifies their flavour while adding rich, buttery goodness.

Screenshot_2016-07-08-18-19-58-1[1]  Screenshot_2016-07-12-09-35-14-1[1]

As shown in the pictures, you can vary the amount of stock and coconut milk added and have this dish as a dahl served with paratha or as a soup. I made a big batch and added more stock and coconut milk to one half. Best of both worlds!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 500ml-1.5 L (6 cups) chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Lentilles de Puy (French green lentils), rinsed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the unsalted butter in a large soup pot. Add the diced onion and garlic, and saute over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and translucent. They will reduce in volume significantly.
  2. Add the fresh thyme and turmeric, and continue to saute for an additional 7-8 minutes, until the mixture is very soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the stock and the lentils and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (yet still hold their shape).
  4. In a small saucepan, heat the ghee (or clarified butter or unsalted butter) over low heat. Add the spices and fresh black pepper, and saute, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or so, until the butter is fragrant. Watch the pan carefully, as it can easily go from fragrant to burned quite quickly.
  5. Add the butter-spice mixture to the soil. Pour in the coconut milk, and heat soup over medium heat for 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.