Spiced Cod Flatbreads

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turmeric fish 18/06/2017

Spiced cod flatbreads with preserved lemon and avocado salsa, pul biber onions and harissa lime yoghurt

A vibrant dish of aromatic spiced cod with fragrant yoghurt and zesty salsa all wrapped up in a crisp, garlicky flatbread. The flavours going on here are insane. Zesty freshness from the lemony salsa, velvety cod in delicate spices, garlicky charred bread, zingy crunchy onions, creamy avocado, peppery heat, I could go on but I won’t hold you from the recipe any longer. This takes a bit of time to prepare as there are a few stages but it is in no way difficult and the result is so worth it!

You can use turmeric powder if you can’t find fresh turmeric root but it is quite readily available in most large supermarkets and gives a beautiful flavour, not to mention the health benefits.

Similarly, you can substitute paprika for the Aleppo pepper but if you can, try and source it as it has a mild fruitiness that is particularly tasty in this dish.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the spiced cod:

  • 2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 300g cod loin, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the flatbreads:

  • 30g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • 100ml/3½fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the harissa and lime yoghurt:

  • 280g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 heaped tbsp rose harissa
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa:

  • small handful dill, roughly chopped
  • 4 preserved lemons, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp barberries (optional)
  • ½ ripe avocado, finely diced
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds

For the pul biber onions:

  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp of pul biber/Aleppo pepper chilli flakes

Method:

  1. To make the spiced cod, mix 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt with the turmeric and crushed garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and marinate the cod for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the flatbreads, melt the butter and combine with the remaining ingredients, except for the oil. Mix until a firm dough has formed. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. To make the salsa, mix the ingredients together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. To make the pickled onions, combine all the ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Put the lid on and shake until the onions lose their rigidity. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. To make the harissa and lime yoghurt, mix everything together, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Divide the dough into four and roll into thin rounds. Preheat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the hot pan with the oil and grill the flatbreads for about 45–60 seconds on each side until lightly browned.
  7. To make the cod, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the cod and brown on all sides until just cooked through.
  8. To serve, divide the cod between 4 flatbreads and dollop a generous amount of the yoghurt on top. Add the salsa, some onions and sprinkle over extra Aleppo chilli flakes or nigella seeds.

Cheese & Wild Garlic Scones

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wild-garlic-and-cheese-scones 12/02/2017

I’ve been wanting to try wild garlic for ages but have never been able to find it… until now. I came across some at a local market and in my excitement, bought way more than one person could possibly eat. I have now stocked up the freezer with a variety of garlicky infused meals and baked goods. It’s going to be a good week.

These scones are wonderfully fluffy, and cheesy. The wild garlic is quite different to using garlic cloves. It has a more subtle onion flavour, very similar to chives but more… well, garlicky.

Makes about 6 whoppers

Ingredients:

  • 220g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Milk
  • 120g grated cheddar cheese
  • a generous handful of wild garlic, finely chopped (if you haven’t got any wild garlic snipped chives work well instead)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a good pinch of English mustard powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl
  3. Rub the butter in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  4. Stir in the grated cheese and finely chopped wild garlic or chives
  5. Add the pepper and mustard and mix
  6. Add enough milk to the beaten egg to make it up to 150ml of liquid
  7. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg/milk mixture
  8. Mix to a soft dough with a metal knife
  9. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently and lightly until it is just smooth
  10. Press out to about 2½cm deep and cut out rounds with a 7cm pastry cutter gathering the scraps together each time, re-rolling and stamping until you have 6 or 7 scones
  11. Pop the scones onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, brush the tops with a little milk and bake them for 15 – 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown and your kitchen smells divine
  12. Leave to cool on a wire rack or scoff straight from the oven!

Cheesy Stuffed Garlic Dough Balls

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Screenshot_2016-08-25-14-56-09-1[1] 28/08/2016

I only made these because I had a bit of pizza dough that needed using up in the fridge but this is how most of my tasty creations begin and this is no exception. Warm fresh dough encases a gooey cheese centre topped with rich garlic butter. They are fantastic served with a fresh tomato and basil sauce to dunk into. Far superior to anything you can buy, these go down an absolute storm when served in the middle of the table for everyone to dive into.

Ingredients:

  • 300g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Garlic granules
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 30g Butter, softened
  • 160ml luke warm Water
  • 50g-60g block of Mozzarella Cheese
  • Boursin, optional

For the garlic butter:

  • 20g Butter, melted.
  • 2 Garlic cloves, grated

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Directions:

  1. Measure the flour into a bowl.
  2. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt, sugar and garlic to the other side.
  3. Add the oil and butter and begin to mix, slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Once it has all come together, don’t add any more.
  4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough begins to look glossy and becomes stretchy.
  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave the dough somewhere warm to rise for an hour or so until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220C/200Cfan.
  7. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back to remove the air bubbles.
  8. Weigh the dough out into balls weighing approximately 30g
  9. Add roughly 3g of the cubed mozzarella to each piece of dough. At this point you can also sneak a mini scoop of garlic and herb boursin into the centre to intensify the oozy cheesy goodness. I only did it because I had a bit to use up but am so glad I did. Fold the dough around the cheese and roll into a ball.
  10. Arrange the doughballs (you should have about 15-20) onto a greaseproof lined baking sheet in a circle, leaving a little gap in between each one.
  11. Mix the melted butter and garlic together and brush half over the top of each dough ball.
  12. Place the dough balls in the oven for 15 minutes until golden. Brush the remaining garlic butter over the balls once baked for an extra garlicky flavour.

Garlic & Herb Flatbreads

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IMG_20150518_221024[1] 20/10/2015

Bread that requires no kneading, no waiting to rise and takes just minutes to cook? Oh yes! And the garlic and herb butter is uber simple and tastes amazing. This bread goes so well with so many dishes. Bubbly, charred, light and fluffy bread covered with garlicky, buttery yumminess. No need to thank me.

Makes 6

Ingredients:

For the flatbreads:

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 350g natural yoghurt

For the garlic and herb butter:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a bunch of fresh soft herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, basil, dill
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Add all the flatbread ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon and then use clean hands to pat and bring everything together.
    2. Dust a clean work surface with flour and then tip out the dough.
    3. Knead for a minute or so to bring it all together (this isn’t a traditional bread recipe, so you don’t need to knead it for long – just enough time to bring everything together).
    4. Put the dough into a floured-dusted bowl and cover with a plate, then leave aside.
    5. For the garlic butter, peel the garlic cloves and grate them finely.
    6. Pick the herb leaves onto a chopping board and finely chop them, discarding the stalks.
    7. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, then stir through the garlic and chopped herbs and set aside.
    8. Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour, then divide the dough in half and then divide each half into 6 equal-sized pieces (roughly the size of a golf ball).
    9. With your hands, pat and flatten the dough, then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into 12cm rounds, roughly 2mm to 3mm thick.
    10. Use a knife to cut 6 lines into the centre of each round, leaving about 3cm at each end.
    11. Place a griddle pan on a high heat, then once hot, cook each one for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until bar-marked and puffed up, turning with tongs.
    12. Brush the flatbreads all over with herby garlic butter as they come off the griddle, then pile onto a serving board so everyone can dig in and help themselves.

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Tip: If you don’t need so many breads or you need even more, the great thing about this recipe is you use half the yogurt to half the flour so adjust the weight accordingly. 100g each of yoghurt and flour will give you 2 flatbreads as a side to a meal.

Black bean & Garlic Chilli Chicken Chow Mein

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IMG_20150401_210634[1] 06/04/2015

This is a really easy, super quick meal of steamy noodles in a spicy, salty sauce with fresh crunchy veg and a bit of a chilli kick for good measure.

Slicing the chicken super thin not only means it cooks really quickly but the marinade also coats it really well and gives the meat a velvet texture and wonderful savoury flavour.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets of medium egg noodles
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced very thinly against the grain
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 Tbsp groundnut oil
  • ½ red pepper and ½ green pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp Black bean garlic sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • Coriander leaves to serve

Method:

  1. Place the sliced chicken breast into a bowl and mix with the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine and cornflour. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, drop the noodles in and cook for 3 minutes or until the noodles are al dente. Drain and add a small drizzle of sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wok until it is very hot then add the groundnut oil. Stir-fry the chicken pieces and marinade for about 5 minutes until lightly browned and just cooked. Remove the meat from the wok and set aside.
  4. Add the peppers and onions to the wok and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until softened slightly. Add the garlic and chilli and stir for a minute more.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and return the chicken to the pan along with the black bean garlic sauce. Mix everything together.
  6. Add the noodles to the wok and stir everything really well to combine. Add a splash of water if the sauce seems too thick or dry.
  7. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with coriander to garnish. Eat immediately!

Zesty Chicken Tacos with Guacamole and Roast Vegetable Salsa

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IMG_20150321_190101[1] 21/03/2015

I have included a recipe for homemade corn tortillas using masa harina which is a bit tricky to come by in the UK but is available in some international grocers or online. The flavour from this very fine cornmeal is unrivalled by anything you can buy in the shop and is totally worth a little extra effort. You can of course use shop bought tortillas – corn or flour – if you prefer.

The vegetables in the salsa are grilled to char them before blending which gives a sweetness to the onions and garlic and a deep flavour to the tomatoes.

Then there is the guacamole with creamy avocado and fresh citrus flavours. Splodged on top of zesty, spicy, smoky pulled chicken, what more do you need?

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the corn tortillas:

(Makes 12-24 depending on how generous you are)

  • 150g/5½oz masa harina
  • pinch salt
  • 100ml/3½fl oz cold water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough is achieved. (If it’s too sticky add a little more masa harina, or, if it’s too dry, add a drop more water.)
  2. Divide the dough into 24 balls. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  3. Flatten the balls of dough with your hands – alternatively, use a tortilla press or roll them between two layers of cling film. Flatten to approximately 3mm thick.
  4. To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a flat griddle pan or frying pan and place over a hot heat.
  5. Cook the tortillas for approximately one minute on each side, or until lightly coloured.
  6. Cover in foil or with a damp towel until ready to serve.

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Ingredients:

For the spicy shredded chicken:

  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 limes, zest and juice only
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin removed

For the roasted tomato salsa:

  • 6 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 fat red or green chillies
  • 2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small bunch coriander
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • salt and pepper

For the guacamole:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 3 tbsp soured cream
  • ½ lime, zest and juice
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • salt and pepper

To serve (optional):

  • soured cream
  • Monterey Jack or strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • spring onions, finely chopped
  • fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh green salad

Method for the fillings:

  1. For the spicy shredded chicken, preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and the lime juice and zest to a bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Pat dry the chicken thighs using kitchen paper and then place the chicken thighs into the bowl and coat in the spice mix.
  4. Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour. Remove the chicken from the bowl, place the coated thighs on a foil lined baking tray and cook for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile make the roasted tomato salsa. Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, red onion wedges, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray. Lightly brush with oil.
  6. Place under the hot grill and cook until the tomato skins are blackened, approximately 10 minutes.
  7. Place all the charred ingredients into a food processor with the chipotle paste, coriander and lime juice. Pulse until a chunky consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  8. For the guacamole, cut the avocados in half and remove the stone. Remove the flesh from the skin and roughly chop.
  9. Place in a bowl and lightly crush using a fork. Add the soured cream, lemon and lime juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  10. For the spicy shredded chicken, once the chicken is cooked set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred.                                                                                             IMG_20150318_220321[1]
  11. To serve, simply place a dollop of whichever fillings you desire (I recommend a bit of everything… yolo) into your corn tortilla and apply to face!

Roasted Garlic Ciabatta Bread

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IMG_20150217_144818[1] 18/02/2015

(Makes 2 loaves)

A whole head of garlic is used in this recipe which may sound a little excessive but when roasted, the garlic becomes sweet and sticky and imparts a subtle flavour throughout the loaves.

Ciabatta is typically a lot looser than regular bread dough making it trickier to work with but resist the temptation to add more flour when kneading as the wetter dough is what gives the characteristic airy structure to the finished loaf.

An overnight starter is also made here. The slow fermentation process produces a sour, alcoholic aroma almost like rotting apples. While this does not sound appealing at all, this bitter note adds so much flavour to the bread.

Ingredients:

OVERNIGHT STARTER

  • 120 ml tepid water
  • ½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 90g strong white bread flour

BREAD

  • 1 head garlic
  • 325 ml tepid water
  • 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • Starter (from above)
  • 480g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions:

To make the starter:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the bread flour and whisk to make a wet dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 15 hours. The next day the starter should be soupy with a bubbly surface.

To make the bread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wrap the garlic in foil and bake for about 30 minutes until fragrant. Let cool, then slip garlic cloves out of their skins and roughly chop.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add all of the starter and use a dough whisk or spatula to break it up into the water. It doesn’t have to completely dissolve into the water.
  3. Add the bread flour, salt, sugar, and chopped garlic. Knead the dough with the mixer on medium speed for about 12-15 minutes. At first the dough will be very wet, but eventually it will thicken and clear the sides of the bowl, and turn glossy and smooth. (I have included instructions here for a stand mixer as the dough is very wet and not easily workable by hand but if, like me, you do not own a fancy mixer then you can beat the mix together with a large metal spoon for the same amount of time in a large mixing bowl. This does require some serious elbow grease but achieves the same results… plus a workout!)
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until tripled, about 90 minutes.
  5. With generously floured hands, scoop the dough out of the bowl onto a well floured surface. Divide the dough in two. Working very gently, and re-flouring your hands as necessary, shape dough into oblong loaves and place each on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Let rise uncovered, until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C.
  7. Bake until golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped, 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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If you like really crusty bread, as I do, Just before baking fill a deep tray with boiling water and place it at the bottom of your oven. Then put your bread in the oven on the middle shelf. This will create a steamy environment that develops an intensely tasty and chewy, crunchy crust while maintaining a springy, light interior. Mmmmmmmm