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.
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.