24 March 2023

Salmon & olive pasta - a nice change from tomato sauce.



Served 3 

Ingredients :

1 tablespoonful of olive oil
20g butter
3 large banana shallots, halved and sliced finely
Sea salt
White pepper
1 lemon, zested
Half a lemon, juiced
15 or more green olives (in brine) halved
3 dessertspoonfuls of rinsed capers
As much as you enjoy, chopped fresh dill (save some for decoration)
Your choice of dry pasta shapes (I used approx 200g)
Half a teaspoonful of vegetable stock powder
Your favourite good quality extra virgin olive oil  (I used one from Puglia)
3 skinned and rinsed fresh salmon fillets
Three tablespoonfuls of frozen peas.

Method :

Fill a decent sized saucepan with cold water and add a big old pinch of sea salt.  Place on the heat to boil.

Add the butter and olive oil and once the butter has melted, add the shallots, a pinch of sea salt and some white pepper.  On a medium heat, fry and stir, fry and stir until the shallots are beginning to take on a golden colour.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive halves, capers and fresh dill and stir through.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the pasta water is boiling, add the dry pasta and cook for the manufacturer's recommended time - then carry on cooking, because they never get it flipping right.  Add the peas for the last few minutes and cook until the pasta is either al dente or to your liking, then drain and set aside to keep warm.

Bring the contents of the frying pan back up to heat and add sufficient extra virgin olive oil to comfortably coat the pasta.  Add a little cold water and the vegetable stock powder and stir through until simmering.  Push everything over to the one side and add the salmon fillets in the gap.  Place a lid over the pan and gently cook the salmon until just firm, then remove the fillets out onto a warmed plate and put to one side to stay warm (under the grill works for me).  Add the drained pasta to the frying pan and stir through until the pasta is well coated with the flavoured oil.

Dish the pasta up into warmed bowls and add the salmon fillets on top.  Sprinkle the reserved dill over, to make it look pretty.  (I forgot this bit when I made it).

Serve with oven baked garlic bread, if you can remember to put the blinking stuff in the oven in time.  I rarely do.

Ta daaa!  There you are - a relatively healthy dinner.  Aren't you impressed?  lol

It's been a long time, for sure!


As the title says, it's been a long old time since I was here posting new and delicious recipes!

In that time, all kinds of things have happened - most of which I'll no doubt get around to telling you as we go along.  However, I've had a number of sad losses which have gone a long way towards de-tuning my desire to blog recipes, not least of which was because I just didn't have time!

Anyway, I'm here now and I'll be blogging recipes for food that was particularly good and enjoyable.  Largely, because if I don't type them up almost as soon as I've eaten them, I'll forget how I made them and/or forget that we even had them in some instances.  *sigh*  Old age, it's a bugger for sure!

The new posts will also be a LOT shorter, to reflect the trend towards people complaining about recipe blogs that blather on for pages and leave the recipe right until the end.  Oh right, *cough* that'll be me then.  Hey ho!

30 June 2020

Bacon & Mushroom Risotto


Ingredients :

1 tbsp rapeseed oil
300g smoked back bacon, fat chopped finely, remainder diced
1 medium onion, chopped finely
quarter tsp of ground black pepper
20g unsalted butter
250g mixed white and chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1.5 tsp dried tarragon
0.5 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
300g Arborio rice
175ml (miniature bottle) of Sauvignon Blanc white wine
1.5 litres of simmering mixed chicken & vegetable stock
finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese for garnish
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley for garnish.

Method :

Heat the rapeseed oil in a deep saucepan or wok over a high heat and add the bacon pieces.  Cook until the moisture has all burned off and the bacon is just beginning to turn golden.

Reduce the heat and add the onion and black pepper.  Stir and fry until the onion is softened and transparent, but don't let it brown.

Add the unsalted butter and mushroom slices.  Stir regularly until the butter has melted and the mushrooms have softened.  Add the tarragon, thyme and Worcestershire sauce and stir through.

Increase the heat and while the pan contents are heating up, add the rice and stir to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan but becomes coated in the flavoured oil.

Once the rice is well coated and the temperature is up, add the white wine.  This should sizzle as it hits the pan and the rice gives what is known as a "sigh" as it begins to absorb the liquid.  From this moment on, you should be - pretty much - stirring non-stop (20 mins approx) to gently encourage the rice to release its starch.

Once the wine is all absorbed, add a ladleful of the stock and stir until it is absorbed by the rice.  Continue on this way - a ladleful of stock, stir, stir until it is absorbed - until the rice is tender but retains a tiny bit of al dente bite.

Finish by continuing to cook and stir until the consistency is unctuous and saucy, but not running with liquid.  Check for seasoning - you won't need salt because of the bacon and the salty cheese you're about to garnish it with.

Serve into warmed bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of grated cheese and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Tuck in!

17 June 2020

Plum & Orange Upside Down Cake

What to do, when you have a punnet of beautifully coloured but fairly tasteless plums and a couple of elderly oranges, in the fridge? Why, make an upside down cake, of course.

This basic recipe would work for lots of different fruit combinations, for instance rhubarb & orange, apple and spice, peach and vanilla .. your choices are only limited by what fruit you've got!

I have used both the unsalted butter that is in the recipe and Stork baking margarine for this cake and both have worked as well as one another, so it is a very forgiving and adaptable recipe. Everyone needs at least one sponge cake recipe that is pretty much guaranteed to deliver good results - and this is definitely one of those. 

PLUM & ORANGE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients :

175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
175g caster sugar
175g softened unsalted butter
12 small plums, stoned and halved
2 medium oranges, zested and juiced
1 tsp icing sugar

Method :

Pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.

Line your baking tin with greaseproof or parchment paper, making sure enough overlaps so that you can lift the cake out, once baked.

Place the plum halves, cut side down and in an even layer, onto the paper.

Measure out the flour and baking powder and using a sieve, sift into a large bowl.

Now simply add all the other ingredients (apart from the orange juice & icing sugar, which is for the drizzle once the cake is baked) to the bowl and whisk everything together until you have a smooth, well-combined mixture of dropping consistency. Provided the butter is good and soft, this shouldn't take longer than a couple of minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the baking tin - taking care not to disturb the plum halves - and level the top. Place the tin gently into the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes to cook - but don't open the oven door to check it until at least 25 minutes have elapsed.

You will know when the cake is done by touching the centre of the cake lightly. If your finger leaves no impression - and the cake springs back - it has finished baking.

Stir the icing sugar into the orange juice.

Place the tin onto a cooling rack and, with a silicone brush, brush the orange juice onto the surface of the cake. It will be absorbed easily as the cake is still hot.

Leave the cake in the tin until the orange juice has been absorbed and the surface has dried sufficiently to be just tacky.

Place a plate over the top of the tin and with a quick flip, turn everything upside down. Lift the tin off and carefully remove the paper. If any plums stick to the paper, gently scrape them off with a palette knife and replace them back into the hole they came from.

Leave the cake to finally cool and try not to eat it all at once!

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