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!
If you have overindulged during the Festive period and require a dietary pick-me-up, this simple, healthy and very tasty Kedgeree inspired dish, may be just what you need. Smoky fish, eggs and spices, balanced with sweet peas and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, well, no wonder this dish has lasted the test of time. Kedgeree is more than a breakfast dish of yesteryear; it makes a great lunch, dinner or supper.
I have changed just a couple of ingredients from my normal Kedgeree recipe (was a favourite dish of mine cooked by my Mum when I were a kid) to boost the health giving properties of the dish, yet maintain the great flavours.
Instead of using smoked haddock, I’ve used smoked mackerel for its high omega 3 fatty acids and reasonable price. I don’t know about you, although at this time of year I want to improve my energy AND bank balance, following the Christmas splurge. Mackerel being oilier than haddock helps to flavour the rice.
Instead of basmati rice, I use short grain brown rice (preferably organic) which is not only a good source of fibre and B vitamins essential for releasing energy from your food and improving your nervous system function, but this small whole grain also helps the movement of material through your digestive system; particularly useful if you are feeling sluggish and bloated – nice. Brown rice also brings with it a slight nutty taste that works well.
OK. Enough on the whys and wherefores and onto the recipe…
Energy Boost Kedgeree Recipe
Recipe type: Brunch, Lunch, Main
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 50 mins incl boiling rice
Total time: 1 hour
300g short grain brown rice (organic is good)
2 (approx 200g) smoked mackerel fillets
100g (frozen weight) of peas
3 medium eggs
1 medium onion
4 medium cloves of garlic
1inch thick thumb of ginger
1 green ‘finger’ chilli
1 heaped tsp garam masala
Bunch of Fresh Coriander
1 Lemon, halved
2 tbsp ground nut oil
Boil the rice until tender – you can do this ahead of time and store in the fridge until needed.
Peel skin off mackerel and then flake the fillets into large chunks.
Peel and roughly chop onion, garlic, ginger. Roughly chop chilli. Blitz in a mini-chopper or processor until finely chopped.
Boil eggs for 6 minutes from boiling point, transfer to cold water and leave to cool for a minute or so. Remove and set aside.
In a large non stick pan heat 1tbsp of oil. Turn heat down to lowest setting, add onion/garlic/chilli/ginger mix and sweat gently for 5 minutes until soft and the onion opaque.
Meanwhile, peel the eggs and cut into halves, then quarters. Chop coriander.
Then, add garam masala to pan and gently heat for a minute or two to release the spice oils and aroma.
Add remaining Tbsp of oil to the pan. Turn heat up to medium and add rice, gently stirring to incorporate the spices.
Finally, add flaked mackerel, eggs, and squeeze over juice of half a lemon. Fold in gently and allow to warm through.
Plate up, sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with lemon wedges.
Cooking Short Grain Brown Rice : Add double the volume of water to rice, bring to rapid boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, put a lid on pan and simmer gently for 35 minutes. Take lid off, put tea towel over pan, lid back on and let sit for 10 minutes to soak up excess moisture.
To quickly thaw peas, place them in a sieve & run under cold water.
This delicious and simple ‘green broth’ has its humble roots in northern Portugal. Initially a dish created to use what was abundant on the land – potatoes and greens, with the addition of onion, garlic and sausage if available – it has become a hugely popular soup, often served as a starter at Portuguese celebrations.
The ingredients in this recipe are few, so it will pay on the flavour stakes to buy quality produce. I’ve used a British made chorizo from ‘The Bath Pig’ in this recipe, and must say it was delicious – juicy flavoursome meat, with a good yet balanced fat ratio, and a big smoky paprika hit. If you have access to a decent deli, Portuguese chouriço or linguiça are ideal, or any form of smoked or cured sausage with paprika. I like to add half of the sausage to the soup for added flavour, and then shallow fry the other half to garnish, this adds a different texture, a more intense flavour and provides beautiful smoky paprika oil to drizzle.
For the greens, I went for cavolo nero from my local farm shop, because it looked and smelt fantastic! You’ve got to follow your senses. Spring greens are ideal for this recipe, bushy kale, or even savoy cabbage – whatever is available and good.
Traditional recipes mostly use water instead of stock, although I find a good chicken stock, watered down, immeasurably tastier and more satisfying.
This soup is substantial enough to serve for dinner, with a couple of hunks of bread it makes for a filling and delicious meal. Anyway, I shall now halt the blurb and get on with the recipe – Enjoy.
1.2 litre water, or half water and half chicken/vegetable stock
200g cavolo nero (or springs greens/kale/dark green cabbage), thick middle stem removed, and leaves shredded finely
Sea salt & white pepper
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add half the chorizo slices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly browned and the paprika colours the oil.
Turn the heat down to low and add the chopped onion and garlic. Gently sweat the ingredients for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions become soft and translucent.
Add the potatoes, water/stock and a generous pinch of salt to the pot, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, skimming off any scum from the surface with a ladle.
Use a hand held masher to mash the potatoes into the stock and form a creamy soup consistency.
Add the greens to the soup, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Taste and check the seasoning, adding more salt and white pepper as desired.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining chorizo slices and cook for a few minutes until lightly brown.
Ladle the caldo verde into bowls and top with the fried chorizo and a drizzle of the pan oil.
Tis the season for warming comfort food, and this beef and spinach curry hits all the rights notes. Tender beef, earthy spinach and rich spices balanced with coconut milk makes for a delicious meal. This is one of my favourite curry dishes to cook on a cold night; it’s even better cooked the night before, stored in the fridge and gently warmed up the next day. I use a mini chopper/processor to chop up the onions, garlic, chilli & ginger; it’s a great labour saving device and does the job perfectly. Buy your spices from your local Asian store or buy supermarket own brands; you’ll get more value for money. Enjoy.
Beef, Spinach & Coconut Milk Curry Recipe
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins
800g braising steak
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red birdseye chilli, finely chopped (or more to taste)
1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon salt
A generous pinch of sugar
2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander & paprika
1 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
300 ml chicken stock
400 ml can coconut milk
200g fresh spinach
3 tbsp ground nut or vegetable oil
Fresh coriander to serve.
Bash the cardamom with the back of a large knife and place along with the cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves in a metal dome tea filter or wrap in muslin.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large non stick pan over high heat and brown the meat in 2 or 3 batches. Take your time over this; you want to get a deep brown crust on the meat, as this will add flavour and richness to the sauce. Remove each batch of beef with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce the heat to low, add another tbsp of oil and sweat the onions, chilli, garlic, and ginger for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
Add the meat and then the cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, salt and sugar. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the meat in the spices.
Add the coconut milk & chicken stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a low, add the tea strainer containing the whole spices, cover and simmer for 1 hr 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the meat is tender.
Add the spinach to the pan and stir in until wilted and soft.
Sprinkle over the fresh coriander and serve with rice or naans.
This recipe is easily adapted; the beef can be substituted with chicken thighs, pork shoulder, shoulder/neck of lamb or butternut squash, using stock to suit and adjusting the cooking time to achieve tender results.