Salmon and mash

Our fridge went on the blink, so we are making our way through a selection of ingredients that need eaten up. At the same time, we have got a lot of vegetables, mostly home-grown. Tonight’s triumph sorted out the massive bit of smoked salmon, a jar of capers and a lemon that needed used, plus some of the potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g potatoes (a variety good for mashing)
  • 500g sliced leeks
  • 250g shredded cabbage
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 500g smoked salmon (or a mixture of salmon, prawns and scallops)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • Peel the potatoes, and boil in salted water for 15 minutes until cooked. Drain when cooked. 
  • Meanwhile chop the leeks and boil in salted water for 10 minutes. 
  • After around 5 minutes, add the shredded cabbage to the leeks, so that the cabbage cooks as well, and is ready at the same time. 
  • Melt half the butter in a pan, and roughly mask the potatoes. Add the cabbage and leeks, salt and pepper. 
  • Quickly fry any raw shellfish in the rest of the butter, if you are using these. Add the lemon juice, capers and the salmon, and season with salt and pepper, heat until warm. 
  • Serve each scoop of mashed potato with a scoop of the salmon, garnished with chopped parsley

Beef stew with fried peaches

This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large white/yellow onion
  • 450g beef, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 firm peaches
  • 20g butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Tiny pinch of saffron
  • chopped pistachio nuts

METHOD:

  • Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
  • Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown. 
  • Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned. 
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated. 
  • Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender. 
  • Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments. 
  • Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. 
  • When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water. 
  • Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
  • Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice. 

Raisin and Oat Cookies

This is a classic American recipe. I was taking advice from my daughters about what sort of biscuits to bake for some visitors, and I was asked to make something like flapjack, but softer. This fitted the bill. It is an easy and delicious recipe. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or allspice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 115g butter
  • 100g muscovado sugar (or other soft brown sugar)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g rolled porridge oats
  • 150g raisins or sultanas

METHOD:

  • Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  • Cream the butter and both types of sugar together, until well combined and soft. 
  • Beat in the vanilla extract, and then slowly beat in the egg. 
  • Add the flour mixture and then add the oats and raisins, and mix until the cookie dough is even and all the ingredients well dispersed. 
  • Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line two baking trays with grease-proof paper. 
  • Once the dough is chilled, take a teaspoon and scoop out lumps of cookie dough. Each lump should be rolled into a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. Put each ball on the prepared baking trays and gently squish a little to make the ball a little flat. The cookies should be well-spaced to make sure they don’t coalesce whilst baking. You should be able to get 11 to 12 cookies on each tray. 
  • Bake in separate batches for 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are beginning to go golden brown, and the top is set. 
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking tray for around 5 minutes, before transferring them onto a wire rack. 

If you skip the bit about chilling them for 30 minutes, the biscuits will end up flatter; a personal choice. They are nice slightly thicker because they are soft in the middle. 

Baby carrots in cumin and lemon dressing

I was a bit late in thinning my carrots this year, so I have a lot of finger-sized carrots. I used a Moroccan-style dressing for a delicious side-dish. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g finger-sized carrots
  • 1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • juice of around 1/2 small lemon
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • a tiny bit of honey, to taste
  • coriander leaves
  • Salt

METHOD:

  • Clean the carrots and boil them for around 5 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool a bit
  • In a pestle and mortar, crush the clove of garlic with a pinch of salt and the cumin, then add the lemon juice, honey and olive oil. 
  • Pour the dressing over the warm carrots and coriander leaves, mixing well. 

Polenta and Mushroom bake

I think I have persuaded Malcolm that polenta is delicious. This is a dish from Elizabeth David’s book, Italian Food. I’ve recorded what I did, rather than what is in the book. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g polenta
  • 1 litre of water
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional 200g fontina or talegio cheese
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 600 ml milk
  • 1 bayleaf
  • a grate or two of nutmeg
  • 40g grated cheese
  • 500g mushrooms
  • another 25g butter
  • 25g grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Start by cooking the polenta. Set the water to boil, and when it starts to bubble, swirl it and pour in the polenta flour in a thin stream, stirring the mixture as you pour to mix it well with the water. As it becomes like the caldera in a volcano, season with salt and pepper, and cook for around 8 minutes.
  • Pour the polenta into a large dish and let it cool. If you are adding Talegio or Fontina cheese, melt this into the polenta before pouring it out. 
  • Make a white cheese sauce. Melt 50g butter in a pan, and then add the flour. 
  • When the flour is beginning to brown, and the butter is foaming, add the milk, pouring in steadily and mixing to make a smooth white sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and add the bayleaf, and simmer for 15 minutes, before adding the grated cheese. 
  • Next, slice the mushrooms and fry in butter for 5 minutes. Elizabeth David suggests using white truffles, which are in short supply in South Uist. 
  • Slice the polenta. In the bottom of a buttered lasagne dish or similar, layer 1/3 of the polenta, then 1/3 of the bechamel and 1/2 of the mushrooms. Then 1/3 polenta, 1/3 sauce, 1/2 mushrooms, then 1/3 polenta, 1/3 bechamel, topped with parmesan. 
  • Bake in a hot oven, 180C, for 30 minutes. 

This is delicious, and very filling. We had 2 servings each and there is loads left. We had a side dish of steamed kale with pepper. 

Red pepper and Aubergines with yoghurt and garlic.

You know how it is: You go to the shops to buy a green pepper, and they are only available as a pack of three mixed peppers. I ended up with a couple of red peppers, and then found this recipe in Moro. I adapted a little to locally available ingredients. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 red peppers (I had one red and one yellow pepper, which made for an attractive dish)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g Greek-style yoghurt, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 25g caramelised butter
  • fresh coriander leaves

METHOD:

  • Turn the oven to 220C. Pierce the skins of the aubergine and peppers, and put them in the oven on a tray for 40 to 45 minutes. I turned them a couple of times, and took the peppers out earlier than the aubergine. 
  • When the skins of the peppers and aubergine are cooked, cool the vegetables until you can handle them, and peel off the skin. 
  • Chop the aubergine coarsely, and mix in the crushed garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season to taste. Spread the mixture over the base of a serving plate
  • Remove the seeds from the peppers, and chop them coarsely, season lightly and strew artistically over the aubergines. 
  • Pour the yoghurt in blobs over the dish, and spoon over with caramelised butter. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with pitta bread or other flatbread. 

To make caramelised butter, melt butter in a small pan, and heat gently until the milk solids turn a golden brown. Watch carefully, or it will all go wrong. 

Chicken with white wine, garlic and bay leaves

This dish is not always photogenic, but it is delicious, a very simple standard recipe. I jointed an organic chicken to make this, and used Viognier, and bay leaves and garlic from the garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1.5kg chicken joints, 
  • 50-60 ml Olive oil (4 tbsp)
  • 2 garlic bulbs, separated into cloves with the skin left on
  • a sprig of bay leaves, around 6 leaves
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100ml water
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and leave to stand while you prepare the other ingredients. 
  • Use a large casserole dish or pan with a lid. Heat the olive oil, and fry the garlic cloves over a medium heat, until they start to brown. Remove them from the oil and set aside. 
  • Fry the chicken in the olive oil, for around 3 minutes, until browned all over.
  • Return the garlic to the pan with the white wine and bay leaves, and agitate the pan to mix the ingredients.
  • Simmer for a few minutes, before adding the water, and bring back to a simmer to cook for another four minutes. 
  • Take out the white breast meat, and set aside: the thigh, leg and wing joints will need another 10 minutes. 
  • When the thigh meat is cooked, add the breast meat back in, bring back to a simmer and then serve. 

Salad of flowers

This looks so beautiful, adding flowers to salad, and the extra flavour that they bring just lifts the whole thing. I usually make a basic Greek-style salad and layer the flowers on top. The ingredients depend on what is available. I add the ingredients in layers, only mixing together when serving. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber 
  • Spring onions
  • Chopped tomato
  • Black olives
  • Crumbled feta cheese 
  • Flowers – borage, nasturtium, chives, violas, dill, rocket, rose, rocket, stocks, pinks, kale, chamomile, marigold, dandelion
Salad of flowers

Bucks Fizz, Iochdar style

This Saturday’s cocktail was Bucks Fizz. I like my Champagne really dry for this, and all the ingredients and glasses well chilled. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 bottle of brut Champagne
  • 100 ml triple sec, such as Cointreau
  • 200 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

METHOD:

  • Mix the triple sec with the orange juice
  • Pour the champagne into champagne flutes, and top up with the supercharged orange juice, in a ratio of 2:1. This makes about six moderate glasses of Bucks Fizz. 

No pictures – it is all gone. 

 

Leek and Yoghurt soup with dried mint

This is totally delicious, much more than you’d think. I made this tonight, because of a constellation of ingredients in my fridge that inspired me to try. The trick with the egg and yoghurt really works for keeping the soup smooth. 

INGREDIENTS;

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/2 tsp Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber) or paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried miint
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 150ml greek yoghurt
  • 250ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 20g/person caramelised butter
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Chop the leeks: slice them in half lengthways, rinse and slice finely. 
  • Heat the olive oil and butter together until the butter starts to foam, and then fry the leeks over a low heat for ten minutes. 
  • Add the chilli and dried mint, cover and continue to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes, checking regularly to ensure that the leeks don’t stick or burn. 
  • Meanwhile, mix the egg yolk with the flour, to a smooth paste, and then beat in the yoghurt and stock. I used a soup wand to do this. 
  • When the leeks are cooked, sweet and soft, pour on the yoghurt and stock, and heat gently, do not allow to boil. Keep stirring as the soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • To make browned butter, put around 20g per person in a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. The white milk solids will sink to the bottom. Keep cooking until the milk solids start to turn a gentle brown. Remove from the heat. 
  • Pour a little browned butter into each bowl before serving.