Thursday, 18 September 2014

Kedgeree

Kedgeree is one of my favourite rice dishes. I believe it has it's origins in the British Raj in India. I know it came to fashion in Britain during the 19th Century, probably as a result of returning ex-patriates wanting to duplicate the best of British India here at home.

My version uses smoked haddock, but any good smoked fish works well, even smoked oily fish like mackarel.


Ingredients:

400-420g fillet of undyed smoked haddock
Cup of milk
Cup of water
4 eggs
1 bayleaf
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 banana shallots or one small onion, chopped finely
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 cups basmati rice
4.5 cups of water (or the cooking liquor from the haddock topped-up with water)
A sparse pinch of saffron stamens
1 cup of frozen petits pois or garden peas

Garnish:
A slack handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped
2 tablespoons of cashew pieces (optional)
2 tablespoons of crisp-fried onions (optional)

Method:

Place the smoked haddock fillet in a large saucepan with the bayleaf, milk and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Please please don't overcook the haddock; as soon as it is capable of being flaked, take it off the heat and set aside. Allow it to cool slightly and then use a pair of forks to separate the flakes of meat from the bones and skin. Set the lean flakes aside and retain the cooking liquor.

Hard boil the eggs, peel them and chop them into quarters. Set aside.

For the rice, heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the shallots or onion and stir-fry until soft and translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a minute. Add the dry rice and fry until all the rice is coated in the oil. Add the water (and/or the cooking liquor from the haddock) and stir once. Add the saffron and the peas. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and bring to a rapid boil. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID; the rice will cook in the steam, so removing the lid will ruin this dish. Once a rapid boil has been achieved, turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible for 3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID for 10 minutes, at which time you will have perfect rice.

To assemble the kedgeree, fork the steamed rice until it is loose and fluffy. Add the haddock flakes and eggs and stir to mix. Garnish with the parsley, spring onions, cashews and crispy onions. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!




Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Pork Sausage with Apple and Sage

I first saw this dish on one of Jamie Oliver's TV shows, and I have been using it ever since.

Apples and pork go so well together, and the addition of fresh sage and chopped onion transform this simple stir-fry into something sublime!




 Ingredients:

3 apples, cored and cut into eighths
A handful of fresh sage, chopped coarsely
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
6 good quality pork sausages, cooked and quartered
Oil for stir-frying





Method:

Heat a wok or large frying pan (skillet) until it is hot and add a small amount of oil. The oil will begin to smoke very quickly, so don't allow it to burn. Quickly add the onions and apples and stir and fry for 1 minute. Add the sage and sausage pieces and continue to stir-fry until the onion is translucent. By this time the apples will have begun to cook through. Add a quarter cup of water to the wok and cover with a lid. This will help to cook the aplles and onions and importantly it will release some of the essential oils from the sage.

Serve with pasta or rice for a delicious light lunch.



Enjoy!

Harissa - Hot chilli Pepper Paste

Harissa is one of those condiments you wish you had discovered earlier in your life; once you have tasted it, and you are a fan of hot peppers, there is no going back.

Harissa originated in the Barbary states of North West Africa, but it is often used as a table condiment and food ingredient throughout the Mediterranean. I love to add it to rice dishes as well as on grilled meats and fish.



There are many regional variations of this wonderful spice paste. Here is my own version:

Ingredients:

100g Ripe red chilli peppers
25g Chilli flakes
25g Himalayan salt
6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tsp carroway seeds
100ml extra virgin olive oil



Method:

Chop the ripe red chillies and the garlic then add all ingredients except the olive oil to a large mortar, and pound with a pestle until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Add the olive oil and stir to mix well.



Decant the harissa to a clean and sterilized jar and seal. The flavour improves after a few days and the harissa will keep for several months, but trust me it will not last that long!

Note:

You can get good results by adding all ingredients to a food processor and blitzing it to a smooth paste, but I prefer the traditional method because it seems to bring the spice flavours out much better.