When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!
This is a labour saving broadcast on behalf of the mini chopper…
The multitude of curry and pasta sauce dishes require chopped something or other – onions and garlic usually being top of the list. If these dishes feature abundantly in your weekly menu repertoire, do yourself a big favour and invest in a mini chopper; they do the job quick/fast, are small and compact to clean, and will set you back less than twenty quid. I use mine at least four times a week and after two years it is still going strong. A bargain!
Really, I should now place an add here, where you can buy a mini chopper and I will earn 50p out of each sale! Though I will resist – go online and find your own. ;)
On to the recipe…
The sun is at last shining, the kitchen is warm… The bananas that I purchased with healthy virtuous intentions were going brown. Like many, I’m trying to tackle and eliminate waste, though the thought of banana bread did not thrill me!
So what else can you do with overripe bananas? The options usually veer towards the sweet end. If you are more of a savoury fan here is an option for you – curry!
There are quite a few ingredients/flavours that work well with banana – cardamom, cinnamon and coconut being key players. This recipe I made up utilises all three flavours with your bananas and some gentle spice. I made the curry with chicken, although I reckon it would be very good with fish too, and I shall definitely try it with duck. A light, spicy, fruity summer curry…
Chicken, Banana & Coconut Milk Curry with Cardamom
Mash bananas and mix with lime juice, this will stop them turning brown – a mini chopper is great for this job!
Heat oil In a large pan. Add chopped onions, garlic, ginger and chilli. Reduce heat to low and sweat for 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and opaque.
Turn up heat to medium and add the cardamom seeds, cinnamon, coriander and cumin powder, stir and cook for a minute or two until the spices become pungent. Then add the chicken pieces. Cook until the chicken is sealed and very lightly coloured.
Add the banana/lime mixture and pour in the coconut milk. Whack up the heat until the mixture starts bubbling, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take off the lid and stir in the garam masala, leave uncovered and simmer for another 15 minutes to reduce slightly.
Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve with rice or breads.
Top culinary venue, The Cookery School at Braxted Park, is inviting people to try the very best Essex has to offer on its new course built around local produce.
The course – A Masterclass in Cooking Local Foods – will run on 13 August, and leading chef Mark Peters will teach students how to cook exciting and delicious dishes using ingredients and produce sourced from suppliers across Essex.
On the menu for the day is line caught sea bass from Brightlingsea, goats’ milk ice cream from Colchester and gin from Great Slamseys, near Braintree, as well as Maldon Sea Salt and Essex honey.
Duncan Clark, owner of The Cookery School at Braxted Park, says:
“We’re very lucky to be surrounded by suppliers of some of the best produce the UK has to offer, from salt through to gin and everything in between.
“Our new course has been designed so that students can make the most of these delicious ingredients, and create easy to prepare dishes that Essex can be really proud of.”
If you are interested in taking part in the class at the Cookery School at Braxted Park on 13 August, please visit www.BraxtedParkCookery.co.uk or call 01621 890300. Places are limited, so booking early is advisable.
About the Cookery School at Braxted Park
The Cookery School at Braxted Park combines a stunning location with award-winning chefs and a diverse range of courses to suit all abilities. Perfect for corporate hospitality and food fanatics alike, it is the ideal way to learn new skills from the some of the country’s finest chefs. Whether you are looking to explore the world of cooking with a new cuisine, throw the perfect dinner party or create the ultimate team building experience, you will find the ideal solution for you at Braxted Park.
It’s Asparagus Season – the start of which is officially marked by St George’s Day on 23rd April and ends on Midsummer’s day June 24th. Well that’s the official take; the weather of course will have its own way. Generally, we have around 8 weeks to enjoy the asparagus season. Freshly grown sweet tender spears, preferably picked that morning – if you can get it! Your local farm shop will be your best bet.
When I think of asparagus I think of pancetta wrapped around it and a poached or boiled egg to dunk my green and meaty soldiers in. Although asparagus can be pricey, so I took the same ingredients and went down the risotto route – a main meal, where your asparagus is the still the star of the show.
It’s always worth making your own stock for a risotto – the base flavour of your dish will depend on it. I put some chopped carrots, spring onion, celery, a couple of bay leaves and the snapped off bases of the asparagus in the pressure cooker with 1.5ltrs of water – 1 hour on high pressure, job done. Keeps well in the fridge for around five days or put in ice trays and keep for a rainy day.
Asparagus, Pancetta & Egg Yolk Risotto
Recipe type: Main
Author: Sarah Fay
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
1 ltr vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 bunch of asparagus, bases snapped off
1 onion , finely chopped
2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
200g pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into lardons/chopped
300g Arborio or Carnaroli ‘risotto’ rice
1 medium glass of dry white wine (about 175ml)
A good handful (around 50g) grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
4 egg yolks
Bring your stock up to heat in a pan. Add your asparagus spears and poach for two to four minutes depending on how thick they are. Drain and then plunge your asparagus into cold water. Keep stock on a low simmer.
Heat the olive oil and butter in another pan and then add your onions and garlic – sweat over the lowest heat, for around five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.
Turn the heat up to medium and add your pancetta or bacon. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the fat starts to render down.
Stir in your rice and coat well with the bacon/onion mixture. Pour in your wine, give everything a vigorous stir and then let the wine reduce.
Add a ladle or two of your stock to the pan, stir well and then let reduce. Continue this process for around 20 minutes – add stock, stir vigorously, allow to reduce – until the rice is cooked and the all stock used.
Stir in your asparagus, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and roughly three quarters of the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat, and cover.
Pour boiling into a pan (I just used the stock pan), boil rapidly and then add your egg yolks. Poach for just a few seconds until the yolk colour changes and is sealed. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Dish up your risotto, add the egg yolk, sprinkle over the remaining parmesan – eat.