Tag Archives: lemon

Griddled Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Pickled Red Onions

Cauliflower 4This is another ‘centre of the table’ or ‘mezze’ style dish made for sharing. Seasonally this is a winter salad which can be served warm or at room temperature. You can  prepare this well in advance, just put all the elements together before serving. Cooking cauliflower on the fire with oil gives it a really unique flavour. I also roast off cauliflower in the oven which has the same nuances. This combination is really different and is always well received.  It  works well with any other dish on the table, fish, meat, or as a vegetarian/vegan dish.

Ingredients (serves 4 or 6 if part of a mezze meal)

1 small, or half a large cauliflower
20g roasted hazelnuts
10g parsley
1 small red onion
25ml red wine vinegar
Honey
1 tbsp capers
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Prep List

Cut the onion in half and slice it thinly. Mix the vinegar and the honey (or sugar) together. Put the cut onions into the same bowl and push the onions down with your fingers so they are covered with the vinegar.

CauliflowerCut the cauliflower across the body of it as oppose to florets as seen in the photo. Half of it will hold together, the other half will break into small pieces, but it doesn’t matter.

Make sure the hazelnuts are roasted, quite often they are already roasted, if they have no crunch then pop them in a hot oven for 5-8 mins, don’t forget about them.

Chop the parsley.

Measure out the capers.

Method

Cauliflower 2Put your griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat, or fire up the gas bbq. When hot turn down to medium heat. Toss the cauliflower in olive oil and put each large piece on the pan first, then after do whats left of the smaller pieces. Cook it well, you want some bite left in it but not too much. The cauliflower needs to almost burn a bit, crispy caramelized cauliflower is what you want. When it as all done cut the bigger pieces into bite size bits. Put into a mixing bowl with the capers, half the onion, salt and pepper and half the parsley.

Mix the ingredients in a bowl, taste, always taste everything, for seasoning. Lay onto a plate, then finish off the garnish with the rest of the onions and parsley.

Griddled Aubergines with Sheeps Yoghurt and Pomegranates

This is as good as any introduction to ‘griddling’.  Aubergines really drink oil but cooking them this way will mean you have better control over how much oil you use.  The pomegranates are a great finishing touch but don’t worry if you can’t find one in the supermarket, the dish holds up anyway without them.  This is a sharing dish that goes on the table.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 aubergines
1 small pot (100g) of sheep or goats yoghurt. ‘Total’ brand is perfect
1 lemon
1 pomegranate
2 spring onions
2 green chillies
Maldon sea salt
Pepper
Sunflower oil (or any oil, sunflower is my preference for this recipe)

Method 

Cut the aubergine long ways into three or four thick slices depending on its size. You have to level off the rounded outer bits so it sits on the griddle pan.  Put the griddle pan on the flame and brush with the oil.  Lay the slices onto the pan and turn the heat to medium.  Cook each side until the skin is well marked and the aubergine is golden. Take off the heat and lay onto kitchen roll, repeat the process until all cooked.

Dab off any oil from the aubergine with the kitchen paper then lay onto a large plate.  Put the yoghurt into a bowl and mix a teaspoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cut the spring onions and the green chillies into rings, not too thick.  Empty the seeds out of the pomegranate.  Dress the plate when it is ready to go to the table by evenly drizzling the yoghurt over the aubergines, sprinkle over the spring onions and green chilli then finish with the pomegranate.  There are no problems prepare this dish in advance.

A Warm Salad of Broad Bean, Goats Cheese and Watercress

When I first moved to southern Europe the first sign that Spring was upon us was the mountains of broad beans that arrived at the market.  After  four months of root vegetable and  spinach something in a pod had landed.

The goats cheese melts into the warm beans to create a smooth creamy sauce without using cream.  The cheese gives enough salt so there is no need to add more.  If you can’t get watercress then rocket will be fine, you can use baby gems if that is all you can get as they are firm and hold the warm beans well. Watercress is preferable as it adds a depth of flavour from  its pepperiness.  If you haven’t got a zester then I highly recommend that you get one, you can go ahead with this recipe anyway without zesting and buy one next time you see one.

Ingredients  (four people)

1kg broad beans in the pods ( this will yield about 250grams after podding)
50g  watercress or rocket
125g goats cheese
50ml olive oil
1 medium sized lemon ( zested and juiced)
Black pepper

Method

Cook off the beans in boiling water for about five mins.  Whilst they are cooking break up the cheese into small pieces and put into a bowl, zest the lemon into the bowl with the cheese, grind the black pepper and add the olive oil .  Lay out the watercress onto a large plate and taste the beans to make sure they are tender. Drain the water off when they are ready and pour into the bowl.

Gently start folding the ingredients together until the goats cheese has melted and you have a even consistency. Pour the mix onto the leaves and finish with some more black pepper.

You don´t have to eat this straight away, it can sit for a while.

Buckwheat, Hazelnut and Raisin Pancakes

It has taken me a long time to  like buckwheat.  I have always used it in my cooking as it is a good, relatively easy to find,  gluten free product.  It wasn’t until I made these pancakes that I started to really appreciate the subtlety of this flour with its  unique earthiness.  It took me 20 minutes to make the stack in the photo.  This is great weekend treat that the whole house would enjoy.

Ingredients

100g buckwheat flour
1 large egg
125ml soya milk
125ml apple juice
50ml water
2 tablespoons (30ml) of Greek yoghurt
60g sultanas soaked in water for one hour
50g roasted hazelnuts
Zest of one lemon and one orange

Method 

The batter

Heat the oven to 200 degrees, and place the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and roast in the oven until nice and golden.  Leave to one side to cool.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the egg, soya milk, apple juice, yoghurt and buckwheat flour together.  Use the 5oml of the water to get a good dropping consistency with the batter.  That means so the batter is thick enough so it retains its shape in the pan when you drop it into the pan. If you think that the mix does not look wet enough you can add another 25ml of water being careful not to make the mix too wet.  Drain the water off the sultanas and add to the batter.  Roughly chop the hazelnuts,  zest  the orange and lemon (optional) and add to the batter.

The pancakes

Take a non-stick pan and a plastic or silicone egg slice.  Put the pan on a high flame.  Get the pan really hot then turn down to medium.  Add a little bit of olive oil and drop in about 50ml of the batter (small ladle),  it should set straight away.  Use your spatula stop the batter running by bringing it back into shape.

After  a couple of minutes add a touch more olive oil and flip. It should be a nice even brown colour. It will take a few attempts before you get the hang of it.

Sweet Potato Fishcakes

Eating a fishcake can vary from being a truly amazing experience to a desperately dull affair.  Normally when I offer this on a menu I call it a ‘Japanese style’ fish cake to make it sound a little more exotic and draw attention away from our pre-conceptions regarding fishcakes.

This for sure is one of my most requested recipes.  It moves away from the normal ratio of fish to potato being 50:50 bringing the fish content to 80:20.  This enriches the texture and flavor giving it a sense of luxury as oppose to a cheap potato cake.  The sweet potato lightens the cake up as well as lending to the seasoning, giving it an original feel and look.

It might appear that there is a lot of direction this is just so that every eventuality in completing this recipe is covered.

Ingredients (Makes 6)

750g of salmon and any white fish (or just salmon is fine)
250g cooked and peeled sweet potato
10g dill
10g parsley
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
35g capers
35g gherkins
10g green peppercorns (optional)
2 large spring onions
2 red chillies de-seeded
100g fine polenta and sesame seeds (50:50)

Tartare sauce 

250g natural yoghurt
35g capers
25g gherkins
25g shallots or spring onions
Juice of one lemon
10g parsley

Method

These fishcakes need a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge before cooking, or even overnight, so make you sure you make them up in advance.

Start by cooking off the sweet-potatoes in boiling water.  Carry on with the instructions below then when they are cooked take them off the heat and strain off the water.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Place the fish into a oven dish and cover with water.  Slice one of the lemons and lay them over the fish.  Put the tray into the oven and let the fish poach for 15 minutes.  Remove the fish from the dish and let it cool on a large plate and put to one side.  Peel the cooked sweet potatoes and break up into a large bowl.

Chop the gherkins as small as you can be bothered.  De-seed the red chilies and cut into small squares.  Run a knife over the capers , don’t chop them too much. Slice the spring onions into thin rings.  Roughly chop the dill, chop the parsley a bit finer.  Zest the other lemon into the mix and add half of the lemon juice.  Season with Maldon and black pepper.  Mix the ingredients together (excluding the fish).  The most effective way to do this is by using your hands to get the ingredients thoroughly mixed through the potato.  If you don´t like using your hands a wooden spoon will do the job.

Flake and break up the fish removing bones and anything  that doesn’t look right (for example I personally don’t like the look of brown meat on the salmon.  There is nothing wrong with it, I don’t like it so I scrape it off).  When you have done that fold the fish into the sweet potato.  When all is even break off a bit and taste it.  You want to be able to taste the lemon and it could very well need a bit more salt.

Once the mix is ready divide it evenly into 6 pieces  (if you have a scales its easier to weigh them so they are the same, each one should be 175g)  wet your hands with water and roll the portions into balls.  Into a bowl put the  polenta and sesame seeds and mix.  Roll each fishcake thoroughly through the polenta and sesame seed mix.  If you have a mould run a tiny bit of oil around the inside.  (A mould being a metal or plastic bottomless ring.)  Drop the rolled ball into the mould which is on a plate and press into shape, repeat with the other balls.  If you don’t have a mould then take the rolled ball onto a board and press it flat with the palm of your hand. With a fish slice transfer to a plate.  The fishcakes will need to go into the fridge at this point.

To make the tartare sauce chop the gherkins into small cubes  and the shallots or spring onions even smaller. Roughly chop the capers, chop the parsley as fine as you can. Dry off herbs with a paper towel. Squeeze in the lemon juice into the mix, season and add the finely chopped parsley. Mix well, cover and put into fridge before serving.

Line a flat oven tray with baking parchment and turn the oven up to 200.  This is to heat the fishcakes through once they have been sealed in the frying pan.  Take your frying pan and you will need to put minimum 50ml of sunflower oil into it.  Heat the oil and lay the cakes into the pan.  Once the bottom has a nice golden colour turn them over and repeat the same on the other side.  Put the fishcakes onto the baking tray and put into the oven for around 15 minutes, until completely heated through.  You can normally smell them once they are ready.

Serving suggestions; as there is sweet potato in the cake, you don´t need to serve another carbohydrate with them.  Here I have dressed green beans with olive oil, roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh mint.  Any mixed salad or  green vegetables will work.

Crispy Fish Fillet with Tahini Sauce

This is a meal that once you have done it you will keep using it. It’s got a nice Mediterranean feel to it as well as an interesting twist with the tahini sauce.  A recipe like this can be used as inspiration. Don’t get put off with what ingredients you don’t have, fish and tahini is the magic combination here, the rest of the ingredients just keep lifting it up.

Ingredients(serves 4)

4 fillets of white fish, trimmed and boned skin on (eg sea-bream, snapper, sea bass, salmon or cod)
2 oven roasted red peppers
1 aubergine
2 courgettes
2 lemons for garnish
Olive or sunflower oil for griddling

Tahini sauce ingredients

5 cloves (half a bulb) of garlic
125g tahini
Juice of a whole lemon
1tbsp (15ml) tamari
50-100ml water

Method

For the roast red peppers see Side Dishes.

Cut the aubergines into discs and the courgette into 1cm thick slices. Put a cast iron griddle pan onto a high flame, lightly oil the courgette and aubergine and sear either side so the lines of the pan are prominent on the vegetables. Aubergines take longer than courgettes.  When cooked, squeeze lemon juice over and season.  Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, ready for re-heating in the oven.

To make the tahini sauce the first thing you need to do is roast the half bulb of garlic in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.  You can use raw garlic but when garlic is roasted the taste is subtler and works better with fish.Put the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and tamari into a bowl. Take a small whisk and bring the ingredients together.  The mix will become very thick at this point, you will need to slowly add the water until you get the right consistency.  We are looking for a single cream type pouring consistency.  For this dish, the sauce needs to be fairly thick as it will sit on the plate with the fish and the vegetables (if you were using this as a salad dressing, the sauce would be of a thinner consistency).

Buy the fish filleted and pin-boned, if possible.  If you do find any protruding bones then remove with pliers or tweezers.  To stop the fillet curling in the pan, pinch it on either side and score small incisions just below the skin, being careful not to cut too deep.

To cook the fish you will need a good non-stick frying pan.  Brush the pan and the skin of the fish with oil (sunflower oil works well as it has a higher heating point).  Lay the fish skin side down into the hot pan giving the pan a good shake until the fish starts to cook, this prevents the skin sticking and peeling off.  Don´t turn the fish until the skin is really crispy approximately 8 minutes cooking time.  When the skin is crispy turn the fillets over and turn off the heat.

To serve;

Whilst the fish is cooking lay out the four plates, distribute and arrange the courgette, red pepper and aubergine in the middle and pour the tahini sauce around them.  Then sit your fish on top of the vegetables and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Hummus

If you are going to have one dip nailed and down in your repertoire then let it be hummus.  There are a lot of different dips out there but hummus without a doubt is King.  It´s good for a week in the fridge so don’t worry if it seems like a lot when you make it, keep it in covered in the fridge for ‘snack attacks.’  Raw vegetables, rice crackers anything like that with hummus fills the hole in a low fat and healthy way. It also works  well as an accompaniment with lamb, chicken, boiled egg and salads.The main ingredient in this dish is tahini (sesame paste) – readily available in UK supermarkets and health food shops – so don’t scrimp on it.  Here I use 125ml, you could get away with 100ml, any less and the hummus will not taste right.  It seems like a lot to use, but tahini is the money shot ingredient.Hummus is a double dose of protein from the chick peas and the sesame paste as well being of high fibre content.

Ingredients

250g cooked chickpeas (soaked and cooked or from a tin)
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
125ml (half a cup) tahini
80ml (third of a cup) olive oil
175ml (1 cup) of water
Three large pinches of Maldon sea salt

Method

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender, until smooth  (you can use a stick blender if you don’t have a Magi-mix type blender).  You may need to add more water – as there are so many different sizes and types of chick pea, its hard to quantify, just add water bit by bit.  You are looking for a smooth consistency and not too thick.  Taste for seasoning.

Place into a serving bowl, pour a little olive oil over before serving.