recipes

So, here is where you can avoid all the politics and get straight on with the good stuff! The recipes posted here have been tried and tested by me and/or friends, acquaintances, colleagues and eventually also Global Food and Thought followers. Enjoy the thinking about it, the shopping for the ingredients, the unpacking of ingredients, the preparation, the cooking and of course also the eating part … and please do let us know how it all goes!
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Dreamy Digestive and Daim Cheesecake 

200g sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
200g cream cheese
1 cup crème frâiche (approx. 50g)
¼ liter whipping cream
3 Daim bars
100g melted butter
200g Digestive biscuits

Place the Digestives and Daim bars into a plastic bag and crush them into medium-sized crumbs using a meat hammer or rolling pin. It is a good idea to wrap the bag loosely in a kitchen towel first to avoid splitting the plastic. Place the crumbs into a bowl and mix in the melted butter. Spread the biscuit mix on to the base of a tart or cake tin.

Whip the cream and crème frâiche separately and then gently fold them together. Whip the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla sugar together thoroughly and then fold in the cream mixture. Gently spread the mixture evenly across the biscuit base and leave to cool and set in the fridge overnight.

 

Very Full Tart

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 90 mins

Cooking time: 35-45 mins

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
about 6 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 4cm dice
salt and black pepper
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
1 small zucchini, cut into 2cm dice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
300g short-crust pastry
8 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
120g ricotta cheese
120g feta cheese
7 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium eggs
200ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 230 C (450F). Use a small serrated knife to cut around the stem of the peppers and lift it out along with the seeds. Shake the peppers to remove all the remaining seeds; discard the stems and seeds. Place the two peppers in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little oil and put on the top shelf in the oven.
Mix the eggplant in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking pan and place in the oven on the shelf beneath the peppers.

After 12 minutes add the sweet potato dice to the eggplant pan and stir gently. Return to the oven to roast for another 12 minutes. Then add the zucchini to the pan, stir and roast for a further 10 to 12 minutes. At this point the peppers should be brown and the rest of the vegetables cooked. Remove all from the oven and reduce the temperature to 160C (375F). Cover the peppers with foil and cool, then peel and tear roughly into strips.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Sauté the onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and set aside.

Lightly grease a 23cm (9-inch) loose-bottomed tart pan. Roll out the short-crust pastry to a circle roughly 3mm (1/8 inch) thick and large enough to line the pan, plus extra to hang over the rim. Carefully line the pan with the dough, pressing it into the corners and leaving the excess hanging over the top edge. Line the dough with a large sheet of parchment paper and fill it with baking beans (or dried beans or rice). Bake the crust for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the paper with the weights, then bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until it turns golden brown. Remove and allow to cool a little.

Scatter the cooked onion over the bottom of the crust and top with the roasted vegetables, arranging them evenly. Scatter half the thyme leaves over. Next, dot the veg with small chunks of both cheeses and then with the tomato halves, cut-side up.

Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Carefully pour this mix into the tart; the top layer of tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before releasing the tart from the pan and serving.

 

Clear shrimp and vegetable soup
Culinary inspiration: China
Serves 2
Preparation time: 5-10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins

½ small carrot
1 spring onion
2 leaves chinese leaf lettuce
2 large button mushrooms
½ clove of garlic

1 cm cube of peeled fresh ginger
4 raw tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined, or a tablespoon of cooked peeled prawns

1 dessert spoon of sesame oil
1 dessert spoon of soy sauce
chopped fresh chili (optional)

pinch of salt
6 cups water

Thickly slice the carrot, garlic, ginger. Thinly slice the mushrooms and chinese leaf lettuce. Chop the spring onion (not too thick and not too thin!) Heat a medium-sized pot on the stove and add the oil when the pan is hot. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and ginger. Stir for 15 seconds before adding the raw tiger prawns and carrots. If using regular peeled prawns, do not add them at this stage. On a medium heat, allow the king prawns to cook until entirely pink, being careful not to allow the garlic to burn. At this stage the tiger prawns are still raw inside, so no tasting! When the king prawns are pink, add the water, salt and soy sauce, bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until the prawns are cooked.

If using peeled prawns, fry the garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and fry on a medium heat for 1 minute before adding the water, salt and soy sauce. Add the cooked prawns after the water has come to a boil and reduce the heat to allow to simmer for just 2-3 minutes as the prawns are already cooked.

While the soup is cooking, place the chili, spring onions, mushrooms and chinese leaf in equal portions in the soup bowls. When the prawns are cooked /heated through, pour the soup in equal parts into the bowls and serve.

This soup is so quick and easy and delicious! Do not add too much salt and soy sauce during the cooking process because you can always add more after it has been served. Sometimes I also put sweetcorn in which gives your mouth another sensation with the sweetness. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

 

Creamed Broccoli Soup
Serves 2 (large portions)
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 13 minutes

350g broccoli
½ small clove of garlic
½ stock cube
boiling water

Cooking tip: Note that this is ‘Creamed’ rather than ‘Creamy’ broccoli soup. The addition of cream, whether it be sour, single or double, to many soups ruins the soup in my opinion. It adds unnecessary weight, and detracts your taste buds from the flavours of the other ingredients. Whatsmore, blended soup made from most vegetables ends up with a creamy consistency anyway.

Cut the large neck (stem) away from the broccoli. I tend to only cut off the part that is exposed and hard (right at the bottom) as the soup in blended and the neck tastes just as good as the rest of the head. The cut the broccoli up in medium sized pieces and place in a small to medium-sized pot. The easiest way is to place the knife inbetween the smaller heads of broccoli and cut down the stem. Dissolve the stock cube in a cup of boiled water, add to the broccoli and drop in the piece of garlic (whole). Add enough boiled water so that the heads of broccoli are about a centimetre above the surface. Once the broccoli is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave for approximately 7 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked – tender, even soft, but not soggy. Remove from the heat and blend (preferably using a hand blender directly in the pot) until creamy. There should not be any lumps, neither should you add any cream – it is totally unnecessary. Place back on the stove and simmer for 3 more minutes.

This soup is extremely tasty as it is. If you would like a little flavour of something else then add one of these to your bowl of soup once served (not all of them in the same serving!!):

  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Fresh parmesan cheese
  • A splash of truffle oil

The last option is our personal favourite! Remember, just a small dash as truffle oil has an extremely potent flavour.

Linguini con Astica
Serves 4 to 6 persons
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins

1 medium-large live lobster
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic (peeled)
500g fresh cherry tomatoes (halved)
water
500g linguini

Cooking tips: 1) Italians have rigid methods and recipes when it comes to pasta. I am writing the recipe as I remember it and will run it by Colonello once I have finished writing to check the timing and method 2) In Italy, pasta is served with the sauce, and the meat or fish used to make the sauce is often eaten as the third course, which is the case with this dish.

Heat the oil in a pan, preferably oblong and large enough to easily fit the whole lobster with the lid on. When the oil is hot (not smoking) add the whole cloves of garlic and move gently around in the oil intermittently for approximately 5 minutes. This has the effect of flavouring the oil rather than giving the dish a distinct garlic taste. Remove the cloves and place the live lobster in the pot standing and cover. (time). Once the lobster has changed colour from grey to pink, add the chopped cherry tomatoes and stir. Make sure all of the tomatoes reach the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer rather than a fry. After approximately 3 minutes, add half a cup of water and reduce the heat further to Mark 1 and leave to cook for (time). Once cooked, remove the lobster from the sauce and set it aside. (cook the sauce for longer?)

10 minutes before the lobster has finished cooking, heat a large pan of water with a pinch of salt. It is a good idea to have a kettle full of boiled water at the ready, just in case you haven’t heated enough in the pan. There should be plenty of room in the pan for the linguini to swim freely, so rather use a pan that is too big than too small. When the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and the linguini and cook according to the time indicated on the packet. Once cooked, drain the linguini thoroughly and then add it (speedily) to the cherry tomato and lobster sauce. Fold the pasta in the sauce making sure that each string comes into contact with the sauce. I use the word ‘sauce’, but there should not be excessive amounts of ‘gravy’ as such. 

When serving, the pasta should be well coated, but not dripping. The stewed cherry tomatoes provide the ’bulk’ to this tasty lobster sauce. You may wish to serve with chilli flakes or fresh parmesan cheese.

And the lobster itself you can fight over with your guests during the third course. 

Enjoy this authentic Italian meal!

Pork and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce with Egg-Fried Rice
Culinary inspiration: China

350g pork cutlets (preferably neck)
3 tbs oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
300g mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbs chopped
fresh or dried coriander
1 cup water
soy sauce
vegetable oil (preferably sunflower)
2 spring onions (chopped)
2 eggs
left-over rice for two (2 cups cooked, preferably basmati)

Cooking tip: You can also substitute the pork for king prawns or a meaty white fish and add thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers about two thirds of the way into the cooking time, which should only be 15-20 minutes for prawns, and 10-15 minutes for fish. I never use it, but I guess tofu would also work.

This is one of those fail-safe meals that is great if you have left over rice, which we often do because we use a big rice-cooker that cooks a minimum of 4 servings of rice.

Preparation – 10 minutes
Prepare the pork by slicing it into strips approximately half a centimetre thick. Neck cutlets are best because they have a bit of fat and the meat is more tender and flavoursome. Season with the crushed garlic and oyster sauce and set aside. Slice your mushrooms (any kind will work, but brown ones are best) and set aside. Use your fingers to break up the rice in a bowl. It will have stuck together if it has been there for more than a day, especially if it has been kept in the fridge. Once you have separated it, pour some soy sauce over it and stir just to make sure the soy sauce is dispersed evenly. Do not be excessive with the soy! I use Kikkoman’s, which is a dark one, and about 2-3 tablespoons is enough really. Remember that light soy sauce has a stronger flavour than dark. The rice should simply go from white to light brown – it should not be wet. Set aside

Cooking – 20-25 minutes
Heat a Dutch pot or wok and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. If you are using a non-stick wok, then one tablespoon of oil is plenty. Stir-fry the pork until all of the meat is browned and has the appearance of being cooked. When you stir fry, the meat should not go dry, crispy or char, so reduce the heat a little if necessary while frying. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir fry. When all of the mushrooms have wilted add the coriander and cup of water and stir. Once brought to the boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer while you prepare the rice. Stir intermittently.

The easiest way to prepared fried rice is in a non-stick frying pan or wok. It can be done in an ordinary pan, but you need to be quite concentrated and if I am honest, skilled to not let it stick to the pan excessively. You know your limits so choose wisely! If you burn rice, the burnt flavour goes through the whole pot of rice and it has to be thrown away. Heat a non-stick pan or wok with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the seasoned rice and stir. I stir or rather turn the rice with a spatula for a minute and then leave it for 30 seconds and then turn again, and repeat this action until the rice is thoroughly heated through. Depending on how soft or hard your rice was cooked in the first place, you may want to sprinkle a little water over it after about 5 minutes of stir-frying and cover (only for a minute) to help spread the heat. Sprinkle!! Do not pour, and no more than a handful. When the rice is heated all the way through – you can tell this from the amount of steam that comes out when you turn the rice, there should be plenty – crack two eggs on top. I do this because I quite like having the yellow and white appearance, but you might find it easier to mix the eggs together before and just pour that mixture on the rice. Turn the rice again for about 5 minutes briskly so that the egg spreads evenly and is thoroughly cooked. The rice should not be at all wet, and you may need to add a little extra oil while cooking. Remember it is fried rice, not steamed! When the rice is cooked, cover and turn off the heat.

Stir in the chopped spring onions with the pork and mushrooms and simmer for one more minute. The spring onions should just get hot, but not cook. They are supposed to have a little crunch to them. The total cooking time for the pork is about 20-25 minutes. If it cooks for longer it is not a problem, just make sure the heat is low.
And that is it! A fail-safe, tasty, quick & easy meal!

 

3 courses from Italy
This week the dishes are entirely homemade, so I rather than listing the ingredients, I will tell you about them as I go along. It is always a good idea to read a receipe all the way through before staring to cook in any case, and today I am leaving you no choice! There are so few ingredients in most Italian dishes which makes the recipes simple. However, my impression with the Italian kitchen, is that it is all about timing, proportion, and the size of your pots and pans. The food needs room to breathe, so it is always better to use a pan or pot that is too big, rather than one which is too small or just the right size.

ANTIPASTI – Bruschetta con lardo di colonnata
This dish is a little special as the lard,  'lardo di colonnata', is not easy to find. The lard is stored in a grotto (… yes, a cave!) for 6-10 months on a bed of salt, pepper and other herbs. There are no additives at all. The price, if you can find it, is approximately 20 euros per kilo.Carlo cut thin slices, a bit thicker than a shaving, of the lardo di colonnata and placed one or two slices onto each piece of warm toasted bread. He used a baguette/French stick – 2cm slices, 2 per person, lightly toasted – and garnished the lard with a quarter of a cherry tomato. I was very sceptical about the lard being fresh rather than melted because I hate the feeling in my mouth of thick butter or lard, but really, the flavours are so delicate yet strong that you do not even notice it is fat.

If you cannot find the lardo di colonnata, then I suggest a simple bruschetta, which consists solely of toasted fresh  bread, a mix of fresh cherry tomatoes cut into eighths, a pinch of salt and olive oil, and a piece of fresh basil to granish each piece. If you like to have a hint of garlic then take a clove of garlic, cut it lengthwise and brush the taosted bread lightly. I prefer this method as it gives you the flavour of garlic, without overpowering the tomatoes and basil as slices or chopped garlic often does.

The bruschetta was served accompanied by a selection of prime Italian cold-cuts, fresh olives and marinated aubergine

PRIMO – Rigatoni broccoli e salsiccia
Take 3 fresh salsiccia, remove the skin and break the meat up into small pieces. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan (you will be adding the pasta-for-4 to this pan at the end stages). When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the salsiccia breaking the bits up into smaller pieces with a wooden spatula as it fries and reduce the heat slightly – the meat and oil should not be spitting out of the pan! After approximately 8 minutes, or until the salsiccia is cooked, add small pieces of parboiled broccoli (350g fresh) and stir together. Reduce the heat and cover. The mixture should simmer rather than sizzle for another half an hour. Keep a close eye on the mixture and add a little extra oil and water intermittenly – it should never go dry, and in fact there should always be some liquid visible in the pan, without being a stew.

After about 15 minutes of the slasiccia and broccoli cooking, prepare your pasta. As this was not the main course, Carlo prepared 350grams (500g is for a main course for 4 people – hearty portions of course!). Bring a good amount of water to the boil with one teaspoon of salt. Add the pasta and boil until the rigatoni is on the harder side of al dente. The water should be at least 5cm above the pasta when boiling. The cooking time depends on the type and quality of the pasta. As you will putting it back on the stove after you remove it from the water, I suggest that you cook the pasta one minute less than is indicated on the packet. When ready, drain the pasta and add immediately to the wet salsiccia and broccoli mix and stir gently for approximately 3 minutes. Carlo added grated pecorino and parmigiano – he is Italian and so has some instinct about how much to add. I suggest grating some and putting it on the table so that people can add it if they wish. This is one of my favourite pasta dishes – it is so tasty, simple and not too heavy.

SEGUNDO – Costolette di agnello al forno con patate
Go to a good butcher and buy a 180g rack of lamb. I bought the full rack and asked the butcher to cut it into individual pieces. In the morning, rub in dried rosmary to each side of each piece of lamb. I used approximately half a teaspoon per piece. Leave to marinate until the evening. When the broccoli and salsiccia start the half-hour cook, turn the oven on to 180 degrees (fan oven). Peel and chop (approx 2cm chunks) six medium-large potatoes. Place them in an oven dish or pan, season with salt and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of rosmary. Place in the middle of the oven. Just before you serve the pasta dish, place the pieces of lamb on a metal oven dish/plate. Turn the heat up to 220 degrees, toss the potatoes around so that they brown evenly and the place them on the bottom shelf and place the lamb at the top of the oven. By the time you finish your pasta, the lamb should be ready. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the meat. The important point is that the meat cook quickly – the fat should be sizzling and golden brown when you serve. If the heat is too low, too much of the juice evaporates and the lamb will be too dry. Some people fry the rack, but I prefer the oven method. Keep a close eye on the potatoes. You may need to remove them before the lamb has finished cooking.

What can I say … of all the meals featured so far, this one is my favourite. So simple yet so tasty and balanced. Unfortunately I ate far too much pasta! I couldn't help myself, it was so scrumptious! My advice: pace yourself! We finished off with some fresh pineapple, and chocolates. Please try this meal!

 

Caribbean Beef Stew with Pimento & Rum
Serves 4 (large portions)
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 2-3 hours

3 lb / 1.3kg braising steak, cubed
1 1/2 tbsp ground allspice
freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large onions, sliced
2 tbsp Pickapeppa Sauce or Worcester Sauce
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil, for browning
1 pint / 570ml beef stock
1/2 cup dark rum
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp brown sugar
3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium-sized carrots, thickly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives, to garnish

Cooking tips: 1) Use a decent rum. Although you don't taste a rum flavour in the dish, you are cooking a good meal, so use good ingredients. 2) Allspice is made by grinding the dried unripe berries of the Pimenta dioica tree. If you don't have it or can't buy it, then a mix of equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper gives a similar flavour. 3) Instead of Pickapeppa or Worcester Sauce I used chili flakes, simply because I fancied a bit more heat. Do not substitute with sweet chili sauce – it will disturb the balance of the spices.

This week I am copying and pasting from the recipe as it is online because the author has copied accurately directly from the cookbook Eat Caribbean (see Virginia Burke's original recipe here). My small additions and changes are in purple italic font.

1. Season the meat with allspice, salt, pepper, garlic, onions and Pickapepper or Worcestershire sauce. Allow to marinate for an hour at least. (I marinaded overnight.) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Brush the seasoning off the meat and reserve it. Dust the meat with the flour and shake off excess.

3. Put some oil in a large ovenproof skillet (with cover) and heat on stove top. Brown the meat in batches for about 10 minutes each time. I used a broad pan and browned it all at the same time to ensure that the meat cooked evenly. Then return all the meat to the pot with the reserved seasonings. De-glaze the pan with half the rum, making sure to scrape off the sticky bits on the bottom. I used all the rum at this stage as I did not want to taste any hint of it at the end. Then stir in the stock, adding the bay leaf, cloves, tomato puree and brown sugar Place in the oven and cook for an hour.

4. Stir and check how tender the meat is Add the potatoes and the carrots to the stew. Cover and continue to braise until meat is tender, which could be from 30 minutes to 1 hour, keeping an eye on the liquid. I braised for 1 and a half hours – I like my meat very soft and I cut my potatoes in quite big chunks. Remove from oven.

5. Place on stovetop on low heat and stir in the remainder of the rum. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the parsley or chives.

Traditionally, I imagine this dish would be served with boiled dumplings, yam and probably rice and peas. Preparing these sides is an art that I believe only mothers and grandmothers can perfect – I try but it never tastes quite the same! I shall leave that for another day. Instead I prepared basmati rice. It is not really Caribbean, but you could easily eat this wonderful stew with penne pasta.

What can I say … DELICIOUS!! Maybe I am biased though – I have yet to taste a caribbean dish that i don't like! I strongly recommend marinating overnight so that the beef really absorbs the seasoning. This is a great dish to prepare if you are entertaining guests as it does not require too much attention, especially if you marinate overnight. With these measurements you have four healthy portions, but if you prepare other side dishes as well, you could easily serve six.

 

Teriyaki Tuna and Spicy Udon Noodles with Red Pepper
Culinary inspiration: Japan
Serves 2 (large portions!)
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

Tuna
2 pieces of fresh tuna approx 100g each

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Teriyaki sauce or marinade
Fresh lime

Noodles
250g udon noodles
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh root ginger
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
dried chili flakes

Cooking tips: 1) Ginger is hot! The chili flakes for sure add a new flavour, but if you are very sensitive to hot spices then leave them out as the ginger will provide that little extra kick. 2) I did not use salt in the dish as the teriyaki sauce is already salted, as is the soy sauce, but the taste varies according to the brand/product you use.

Take a small jar and put the choped garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and chili in it and shake vigorously. Leave to stand, shaking intermittently while you prepare the rest of the meal. Pour half a cup of the teriyaki sauce into a bowl and put in the two tuna steaks. Use your hands and turn them over in the sauce so that all sides are coated with the marinade and set aside.

The Udon noodles will have cooking instructions on the packaging. Follow them! Mine suggested a cooking time of 3 minutes. Be sure to add the noodles to boiling water (with a pinch of salt), otherwise they will not cook evenly. They must be cooked al dente (very, very slightly hard at the centre) as you will be heating them again in a sauce for a few minutes and you don't want them to end up too soft. Once the cooking time is up, remove the noodles rom the boiling water and rinse thoroughly with cold water. This allows you to leave the noodles to once side without them sticking together. Do not leave them in any water.

Once you have set the cooled noodles to one side, take a small seive and separate the solids from the fluid in the garlic and ginger mixture – keep both! Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok. At the same time heat a pan ready for the tuna steaks. Put the vegetable oil in once the pan is hot and then place your tuna steaks in the hot oil. The oil is necessary because the teriyaki sauce is sticky and it will burn and stick to the pan (even if it is non-stick). Add the solids from the garlic and ginger mixture to the wok and fry for 1 minute stiring intermittently. Add the sliced red peppers and stir fry for another minute. By now the steaks should be cooked about a quarter of the way up from the bottom if you look at them from the side. Turn over your tuna steaks and cook for approximately another three minutes. The cooking time really depends on the thickness of your steaks. I like mine done medium-well, so when I look at the side of the steak (after they have been cooked on both sides)  there should be a thin line of 'raw' fish visible from the side. For well done, cook until there is no raw fish visible. The peppers should still be slightly crunchy when you add the noodles. Stir fry the noodles and peppers for approximately 30 seconds so that the peppers are evenly dispersed in the noodles, and then add the fluid part of the ginger-garlic mixture. Reduce the heat slightly and stir the noodles until they are heated through again. Do not cook them! They should simply be heated in the pepper sauce.

I served the dish with the tuna on top of the noodles and a squeeze of fresh lime. If you are cooking for guests, I suggest that you serve the noodles beside the tuna steak with a piece of lime on the plate.  I am absolutely positive that some people would only eat/serve half of the portion of noodles that we ate, but well … you know your own appetite! If you cook fewer noodles be sure to reduce the other ingredients in the recipe proprtionately.

It was a real treat to eat the fresh tuna – fresh fish is very expensive in Copenhagen so I don't buy it that often (the two steaks cost 150 DKK which is approximately 17 GBP or 20 euro), and the burst of flavours from the noodles was fantastic! An extremely tasty and hearty Japanese inspired dish!

 

Tiger Prawn Curry, Okra & Potatoes with Basmati Rice
Culinary inspiration: India & Burma

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

Curry
500g (with shells) uncooked black tiger prawns, de-veined and shells removed
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
4 medium cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon chili powder
8 tablespoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Vegetables
400g fresh okra (also known as lady’s fingers), chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 peeled potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes
6 tablespoons of sunflower oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric

Rice
4 cups Indian basmati rice
water

Cooking tip: Make sure you have all of your ingredients prepared and measured out, including the spices, before you start cooking. The food cooks very quickly, so you need to have everything organized and at hand – you don’t want your kitchen to be more chaotic than absolutely necessary!

The first thing you should put on to cook is your rice. It needs the least attention during cooking and can stay warm for a long time once it is ready. I have a very convenient rice-cooker, which I can highly recommend buying if you eat rice more than once a week. The advantage of using it is that it cooks the rice and then turns automatically from ‘cook’ to ‘warm’, so you literally return to the rice when you are ready to serve the meal.

Once the rice is on, blend the onions, garlic, fresh and ground ginger and chilli powder until you have a light orange paste as in the original recipe. I thought this was far too much paste to use with prawns (they do not need as much seasoning in a curry as beef), so I only used half of the paste in this meal, and am using the rest tonight to prepare some beef. Heat the sesame oil in a pan (I used non-stick) and add the paste and stirred it gently in the oil intermittently for about 5-7 minutes, lowering the heat slightly, until the mixture is more bronze in colour. Be careful not to burn this mixture!

While the spice mixture is cooking, heat the oil for the veggies in a pan (I used a Balti pan, but you can also use a Dutch pot, or an ordinary heavy-based pan/pot). I used sunflower oil but you can use any light vegetable cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped potatoes and the onions, reduce to a medium heat and fry for 10 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown.

Once the potatoes are cooking, turn your attentions to the other pan. Add the prawns, cumin and ground coriander to the bronzed sesame oil mixture. Stir them in so that all of the prawns are covered and then add the cup of water and bring to the boil. If you want to thicken the sauce, ideally add rice flour (2 heaped teaspoons mixed with a little cold water); if you don’t have rice flour then use ordinary plain four or corn flour. Add the flour mixture, salt and fresh coriander and reduce the heat. Leave to simmer without a lid for approximately 10 more minutes. Add water if necessary. The length of cooking time depends on the size of your king prawns. Err on the side of caution and cook the prawns for longer, as they taste great however well done they are; if you do not cook them long enough on the other hand, you can make yourself very ill.

By the time your prawns are simmering, the potatoes should be ready for the okra. Just add them to the pan with the potatoes (make sure you have removed the ends!) and mix gently so as not to break up the potato cubes. Add the turmeric and salt and stir fry for about another 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on this dish and do not overcook the okra. My advice is to taste – the okra should not be mushy, but rather soft and you should be able to feel the difference between the skin and the pulp in your mouth! The mixture should be fried, not dripping in oil.

When the potato and okra are cooked, place the mix in a serving dish. Do the same with your rice which should be cooked by now and put them on the table. Gather your guests and seat them, and then take the prawns directly from the cooker to the table in the pan.

The view is wonderful, and the taste is even better! We really enjoyed this meal. The use of sesame oil was new for me and gave the dish a slightly sweeter flavour. I am not a big fan of coconut-based curries as the coconut is too much the overriding flavour, and using rice or corn flour instead of cream (coconut or sour) mean that the dish was extremely light and much more healthy. I hope you like it …

Blog tip: When a new topic and recipe are posted, the old recipes will be archived and you'll find them in an attached link or pdf document – I haven't yet figured out exactly where or how to do this, but I shall.

 

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