I have lovely neighbours. They gave me four small lobsters yesterday. They had been cooked the night before just after being caught. We had lobster salad for tea last night, just the best. One lobster each. We are going to do the same tonight. It is one of those things where simple is best.
1 small to medium lobster per person, around half a kilo weight.
1 lemon, allow one decent wedge per person
Salad – include tomato, cucumber, lettuce. Optional extras include rocket, spinach leaves, celery, chives
Mayonnaise – this could be plain, or flavoured with lemon or tarragon.
If you are cooking the lobsters yourself, plunge them into boiling water, and simmer for around 10 minutes. Drain them, and when you can handle it, remove the heads so they drain and cool faster. Keep the claws and discard the heads. Once cool, pop them in the fridge.
I serve the lobster in a bowl on the table, with a plated salad, mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon for each person. I also like a slice of brown buttered toast with this.
If you have people who can’t sort out a lobster, I remove the meat from the tail and claws, chop it into pieces around 1 cm cubed and stir in a good squeeze of lemon. I then mix this with the mayonnaise. Sometimes a little chopped celery or chopped chives can be added at this stage. The resulting mixture can then be served on a bed of lettuce, rocket, tomato and cucumber, with a side serving of hot buttered brown toast.
I’ve been reading ‘Curry Easy’ again. I had some salmon fillet from the reduced section in the co-op and Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe book had several very good ideas. I picked this one, but now I want to go and buy more salmon so I can try the other recipes too. I did tweak it a bit so I didn’t have to go to the shops again.
This is very easy to prepare the sauce and fish in the morning, ready to cook when you get in after work. I served this with rice, and stir-fried chard.
600 to 700g salmon fillet
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can of chopped tomatoes
250ml single cream (approx.)
1 tsp salt
1tsp caster sugar
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp coriander leaves
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
Start by dividing the salmon into 8 pieces. Season with a little salt and black pepper, turmeric and cayenne, and leave to marinade in the fridge. I used a plastic container with a lid, but a plastic bag would do.
Combine the tomatoes, cream salt sugar, garam masala, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander leaves. Use a soup wand to make the sauce smooth. Just before using, stir in the lemon juice.
To cook the fish, heat some oil in a pan, and when it is hot, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 seconds.
Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer before adding the salmon pieces. Spoon the sauce over the top of the fish, and continue this way for another 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
A friend of ours came to the back door with a couple of very fresh large pollack, just as I was contemplating what to have for tea. I was about to make a Norwegian dish from Davidson’s, involving cheese and macaroni, but then I turned to Google.
When I search for recipes online, I type in the ingredients that I have, and then pick out interesting sites to check what they suggest. I sometimes pick up flavour suggestions, or some interesting methods. I don’t like sites with too many photographs, it makes it hard to find and follow the recipe. I also don’t like sites with poor formatting, or dodgy programming that don’t let you download the recipe so that it is readable.
The BBC food website is reliable, informative and full of good ideas, so when I spotted this recipe, I had to try it. I had to tweak it to fit my ingredients and timescale, though. I get all my spices and herbs from Seasoned Pioneers, if you wondered.
coarse sea salt
a pinch of saffron
1 large pollack, filleted, skinned and boned
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped,
4 cooking chorizos (about the size of a standard sausage, and soft) cut into 1 cm lengths
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
200ml chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can chick peas (or 150g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender)
salt and pepper to taste
125g spinach (could be more, but that is all I had)
Cut the fillets of pollack in half to make four good-sized portions, In a close-fitting plastic container with a lid, sprinkle the pollack with coarse salt and a pinch of saffron, and ensure that the fish is well-coated. Cover, and put in the fridge.
After an hour and a half, start preparing the rest of the stew. Preheat the oven to 170C.
Put a casserole dish on a medium/high heat, add the olive oil, and fry the onions, garlic and chillies for 6 minutes or so.
Add the chunks of chorizo, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the cumin, paprika, bay leaves and cinnamon, and continue to cook for another 4 minutes or so.
Add the drained chickpeas, chicken stock and chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and then put it in the oven for 45 minutes.
Next, remove the stew from the oven, check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste. I also reduced the stew a bit on the stove top at this stage.
Take the fish from the fridge, thoroughly rinse off the salt and pat dry, before adding to the top of the stew, and returning the casserole to the oven for a further 12 minutes.
To serve, lift the fish onto warmed dishes, and then stir the spinach into the stew before ladling it onto and around the fish.
We also had some fresh bread and olives at the table, and a Spanish white wine.
I’m home alone this week, Mr Bolton is checking up on family members in the south, sleeping in his van and stocking up on essentials. I have a lot of eggs, and a lot of potatoes, so frittata was inevitable. I also had a box of Salar off-cuts from a local supermarket, so I made this. I had half last night and half tonight.
2 medium potatoes, cooked with the skins on and cooled. (left-over potatoes are the best)
4 eggs, beaten
flaky smoked salmon
Garnish – choose from chive flowers, chopped parsley, or dukkha spice mix
Heat the grill
Cut the potatoes into thick slices, and fry in the olive oil until crisp and golden brown on both sides
Season the eggs with the pepper, and pour over the potatoes, and scatter the salmon and garnish over the top. Stir a little to allow raw egg to the bottom of the pan.
When it is nearly cooked, pop it under the grill so that the top begins to set.
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.
500g potatoes (a variety good for mashing)
500g sliced leeks
250g shredded cabbage
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp capers
500g smoked salmon (or a mixture of salmon, prawns and scallops)
Salt and pepper
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
This dish is sensational. We bought 3kg of small Dublin bay prawns from a local fisherman, and boiled them for a couple of minutes in batches. The cooking water was flavoured with a pinch of saffron. We peeled them after they had cooled. Then I made this sauce and served them with toasted pitta bread and a green salad, as well as a stupendous white burgundy.
Cooked peeled prawns, as above
3 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced and chopped
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
2 small dried hot chillies, crumbled
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp honey or sugar
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, and fry the garlic over a medium to low heat until it starts to brown.
Add the caraway and the chilli and cook for a further 30 seconds before adding the green peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes, so that the sauce is reduced and thickening. Add sugar, salt, and pepper to your taste.
Add the prawns and simmer for another couple of minutes to heat them through.
Serve in a bowl, garnished with chopped parsley. A rocket salad and toasted pitta bread is ideal as an accompaniment.
This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available.
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 red chilli
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp sweet paprika
a pinch of saffron
chopped fresh parsley
mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
1 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper
Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done.
Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done.
Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.
The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience.
We had some white fish in the freezer, so I had another go at making this, from a recipe book called Moro. The first time I made it, the fish was wildly over-cooked, so it is adapted to take cognisance of the random bits of fish we sometimes get.
Approximately 600g fish – white fish fillets, prawns, etcetera
A bag of approx 20 small salad potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
15 cherry tomatoes
4 green peppers
2 tbsp oily black olives
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 tbsp olive oil.
Make the marinade. Crush the garlic to a paste with the salt.
Add the cumin and paprika, and continue to crush together, adding the other ingredients until reasonably well blended.
Cut the fish into portions
Mix about two thirds of the marinade mix with the fish, cover and set aside.
Next, prepare the other ingredients:
Boil the new potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes, then drain, cool and peel. Cut into halves.
Slice the four garlic cloves
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
Take the stems off the green peppers, and scrape out the seeds. Put them in a microwave dish with a lid and cook on high for about seven minutes. Take them out, and remove the lid after a couple of minutes. Peel the outer skin off the cooked peppers. Chop the peppers into strips.
In a medium pan, heat the olive oil, and over a medium heat, fry the garlic for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown.
Add the tomatoes, and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the green peppers and the rest of the marinade, and cook for a couple of minutes
Put the cooked potatoes in the bottom of a large flat casserole dish or tagine dish. Cover with most of the tomato mixture, then add the fish in a layer, still coated with the marinade. Then complete with the rest of the tomato mixture, and the olives.
Add 100ml hot water, and cook for a further 6 minutes or so, until the fish is just cooked through.
We adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Curry Easy. Her recipe uses farmed tiger prawns, which are available frozen. We used fresh local prawns. It was really delicious. We had to adjust quantities as well, as we are only cooking for two people. I added some spices and herbs from similar recipes from Iran.
1 kg fresh prawns
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp lemon juice
chopped coriander and mint leaves
2 cardamom pods
Small pinch of saffron in 1 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tsp Caraway seeds
1 tbsp butter
Put the rice in a large measuring jug of cold water, and leave to soak. Drain off and refresh the water from time to time.
Cook the prawns for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then drain. When the prawns are cold, peel the tails, and cut them in half around the middle.
Put the prawns in a bowl with garlic, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and set aside.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, flavoured with salt, half a teaspoon of caraway and 2 cardamom pods.
When the water is boiling, add the drained rice. Bring back to the boil and cook until the rice is not completely cooked, but almost. Drain the rice.
In a frying pan, heat up a tbsp of vegetable oil and fry the prawns for 2 minutes or so.
Mix the cooked prawns with the lemon juice, coriander and mint leaves.
Grease the bottom of a large pan with the butter, then add half the drained rice, then the prawns, and then the rest of the rice. Sprinkle the top with the saffron water.
Cover the rice and cook over a low heat for another ten minutes or so, until the rice is fully cooked.