Roasted Spanish style haddock with red peppers

As students up and down the country prepare themselves to move into their Freshmen’s halls or flat-shares, this is a cheap and very tasty recipe to warm up an autumn evening in a new city! A fast and healthy recipe, all cupboard based, to save time and money. The flavours are inspired by a couple of recent Spanish week-ends and the endless and delicious tapas tasted, where only a few but excellent ingredients help produce food that sing in the soul!

Haddock is a firm fleshed fish with no bones and a great source of omegas, lean protein and important minerals to nurture hungry young brains. It is very nice frozen so no need to look for fresh one unless you are near the sea. This dish is all cupboard or frozen ingredients so easy and cheap to source and it only boasts 3 to 4 ingredients (plus some seasoning) so it is real quick to put together. Hardware wise, all you need is an oven proof dish and the oven that goes with it.

Ingredients list

  • Frozen haddock, 1 filet per person
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ red pepper, chopped

Seasoning:

  • Sweet paprika, 1 tsp
  • salt and pepper
  • A little olive oil
  • Quarter of  a lemon to serve

Lay the fillet (still frozen) in a dish and pour all the ingredients on top.

Swing it into the oven at 160° and bake for 40min or until the fish is tender and totally defrosted. Cooking frozen fish without defrosting is key to getting a tender but firm and tasty end dish rather than soggy and unappetising flesh… Unlike meat, fish should always be cooked frozen!

Summer evening on a beach somewhere...

Summer evening on a beach somewhere…

Almond and Cumin Roast Chicken – reblog!

Almond and Cumin Roast Chicken, curtesy of Cooking Up the Pantry.

I had to re-blog this as it sounds just so yummy! I will be definitely be trying it soon… Hope you like it too. Plus it is a great way of using up my Garma Masala spices.

Back to the printmaking studio and the yoga routine this week, so too busy to post anything of my own but just you wait…

Copyright to Cooking up the Pantry- thx!

Cold soup of melon, cucumber and mint – as fresh as a kiss!

A sweet and savoury soup as cool and healthy as a salty kiss, the kind you get when you are flirting in the waves! Try it!

IMG_0697

Ingredients list:

  • Honeydew melon, 1 small
  • Cucumber, seeded, 1/2
  • Grape, one small bunch  (if the melon is not sweet enough)
  • Yogurt, 150g
  • Chopped sweet shallots, 2  small ones
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice, 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, 50 ml
  • Mint, small bunch plus sprigs to decorate

    A peek at the mix!

    A peek at the mix!

Scoop out the melon’s flesh, peel the cucumber and take the seeds out.

Peel the garlic and took out the inner shoot if green.

Chop and mix all of the above ingredients then blitz into a blender (or Thermomix). Add the chopped mint and blitz again. Keep a few sprigs aside.

Reserve and chill until ready to eat.

Decorate with fresh  mint and a little stick with fruit on it. Add a few ice cubes when serving.

Freshly made

Freshly made

We had this in a little “chiringuito” in El Palmar, not far from the Roche beach that I have pictured above. I fell in love with the sweetness and coolness of this perfect summer combination. Soups are a great summer dish – a welcome alternative to the salads… The beauty of cold soup is that they are choking-full of watery fruit and veg and therefore so hydrating and refreshing in the heat. Plus the extra shot of vitamins will leave you radiant when returning from the beach.

This is the second in my series of Spanish themed soups for summer goodness. Hope you are loving them as much as I do! Third one soon on it’s way and it is the famous and mysterious “Ajo Blanco”…

 

Salmorejo – The other gazpacho!

On a very hot like today, this cold soup is a godsend!  I first tasted last year in Granada and a few days ago on the beautiful beach of El Palmar near Cadix, in a Chiringuito with a view. I am writing this from the roof terrace of my hotel in Seville, on a still and very hot night – the temperature having hardly cooled down since sunset…

I gift this dish to my friend and neighbour “Abracadabra”, who will recognise herself and recently asked me for healthy, eat beautiful recipes with a Thermomix!

View from the Chiringuito

View from the Chiringuito

Ingredients list:

  • Tomatoes, ripe 1kg
  • Wholemeal bread150g,
  • Garlic cloves, 1 or 2
  • Olive oil, 150ml,
  • Salt and pepper ,
  • green pepper, one seeded
  • Vinaigre of Jerez or cider 30ml,
  • Pimenton dulce, 1 tbsp parsley, chopped , couple of sprigs
  • Soft boiled egg,chopped , 1 per guest
  • Spanish cured ham, chopped, a handful

Serve this with aubergines chips (recipe to follow!)

To Drink: A Tinto de verano with lots of ice! It’s 37 in the shade of the orange grove today as I write this…

The Giralda, a muslim tower turned Belfry

The Giralda, a muslim tower turned Belfry

First soft-boil the eggs and chop the ham. Reserve.

Put the whole tomatoes in a pan of just boiled water. Leave a couple of minutes then peel, quarter and seed them.

Put the garlic (centre shoot removed), the pepper and tomatoes in the Thermomix: feed them through the top hole while turning at speed 4/5.

Tonight's version

My version

Mix the bread chunks with the oil, add the vinaigre and seasoning. Leave to rest a few minutes then add to the tomato mixture.

Whizz thoroughly at speed 6/7. Check and adjust the seasoning with “pimentón” (a kind of Spanish paprika that can come in sweet or hot according to taste), salt and pepper.
Blend at top speed until smooth. If using a Thermomix, you might be able to cut corners and not peel nor seed your tomatoes! If not using one, on the other hand, you might have to sieve the mixture at this point… The soup needs to look like a beefed up gazpacho, creamy and thick.

Reserve in the fridge until serving : Then decorate with chopped cured ham and parsley and chopped hard boiled egg or your soft boil one. I tried this version the other night in Puerto Santamaria and fell in love with it! The soft boiled or poached egg once cut, oozes a delicious yolk into the soup.

This is one of several super-healthy summer soups that I will be posting during the next month, to show that summer soups can be very versatile as well as nutritive and full of health. And that there is so much more to it than Gazpacho!

The Spanish drink a “Tinto de Verano” when the weather is hot like it is at the moment in Andalucia and I am fast becoming partial to it: red Rioja and lemonade with lots of large ice cubes and a slice of lemon…  Enjoy your summer!

With my son in the ocean waves...

With my youngest son in the ocean waves…

Choux and choux!

As we would say in French: “There are choux and choux”, as in : not two are necessarily the same, though they might be called the same…

I thought I knew all about choux, chouquettes, gougères and the lot…  I had even made my own overfilled éclairs a few Christmasses ago ( in my trusted Thermomix) and I have to admit I had felt quite pleased with myself. See below!

Hello Boys!

Boy I feel smug!

…That was before I met  “Maître Choux” in Harrington road, South Kensington, and a whole new level of Choux making appeared before me! Shaming my paltry efforts but titillating my taste buds so wildly that I can only forgive and not forget…

IMG_9969 IMG_9616 IMG_0255 “Maître Choux” is a brand new French pastry shop that has opened in the “French Quarter”, between a French Bookshop and a Saturday farmers market, in the most Parisian of London roads… And the mastery shines in a dazzling variety of “petits choux” and éclairs that can only have been dreamed up in a Palace of Dame Tartine or in some kind of foodie fantasy written up for Babette’s Feast! To try any flavour is to get hooked. My favourite is their lemon “petit chou” with a crispy craquelin covering a springy choux base and encasing a tangy  Greek yogurt and lemon filling.

IMG_0290

Me with Jérémie and Joackim at Maître Choux

Myself with Jérémie and Joakim at Maître Choux

“Maître Choux” concept is simple: Just choux, only choux and soon all of them choux! Chef Joakim is an “artiste pâtissier”, ex-Robuchon and The Greenhouse, and his precious little wonders are inspired by fashion, jewellery designers or or simply the London street. The flavours are bold but classic like an éclair in violet and blueberry presented in glorious purple livery or a choux filled with the finest Vanilla beans and topped with a smooth white disc. They use the very best ingredients in foundation flavours such are Vanilla, Pistachio or Salted caramel and hence their opening a few weeks ago was greeted by passer-bys who came to congratulate them, thank them and even bring gifts to celebrate! In an area spoilt with choice and home to some great food outlets, this says something about how different and innovative their offer looks and tastes like.

What do Jérémie and Joakim enjoy about being in London?

They love the creative energy of the city and reckon it is currently Europe’s food capital! So they are striving  to raise the standards for an equally artful and creative fine patisserie scene. No wonder they are busy!

Their little parcels of happiness, in their prettily dotted box,  do not come in cheap though, but believe me it is well worth the spend. Yet because this blog is about democratic cooking and baking, and especially affordable home cooking goodness, I have asked them for one of their best sellers recipe and here it is for you readers in all of its simplicity and perfection. I tried it last week in my kitchen (Thermomix at the ready) and served it to a posse of yummy mummy friends  and babies – verdict was unanimous and very appreciative ! Thank you all at Maître Choux for a very delicious (and affordable) treat.

JoackimTHIS IS THE RECIPE FOR THE LEMON ECLAIR – Kindly gifted by @chefjoakim:

We are listing all the ingredients in order of use during the recipes to give you a clearer view of the process from the start. In order to make things easier for yourself and minimize potential mistakes, weigh and prepare each ingredient in its own bowl before you begin.

Lemon Meringue Éclair

(20 pieces)

Choux Pastry

Before we start, please preheat your oven at 180 degrees, fan off, minimum humidity setting.

Ingredients list:

  • 200g whole milk
  • 300g water
  • 240g butter
  • 10g sugar
  • 8g salt
  • 375g Flour
  • 500g of eggs (approx. 10 eggs)

Bring to boil the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt and watch over the pan. AS SOON AS IT IS BOILING, add the flour and stir firmly with the spatula for one minute or so, until the mix doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan any more. When it does not stick to the sides of the pan any more it means it is ready.

Now take the pan off the heat and add the eggs little by little and one by one until the mix is smooth but not too runny. The hard part in making choux pastry for an untrained eye is in this step: if the mix is too thick it needs more eggs, however the eggs must be added slowly as if it becomes too runny then it will not raise in the oven.

Chef’s tip: Trace a deep line into the choux pastry with your spatula. If the line closes up slowly, then it’s ready!

Lemon Cream

Ingredients list:

  • 250g Lemon Juice (approx. 5 lemons)
  • 220g Sugar
  • Zest of 5 lemons
  • 270g Eggs
  • 300g Butter
  • 100g Greek Yogurt
  • 5g of soaked vegetable gelatin leaves

Before you start, soak the gelatin in cold water.

To make the lemon cream, bring to boil together the lemon juice the sugar and the lemon zests. Once it is boiling, add the eggs and cook for 3 minutes until boiling while mixing sharply with a whisk.

Once it is cooked and still hot, add the gelatin and the butter, then use your hand blender until the mixture is soft

Once it is cold, add the Greek yogurt to the mix and stir with the spatula. It is now ready to use.

Lemon Meringue (optional)

  • 100g Egg White
  • 180g Sugar (divided in 3 portions of 60 g)
  • 10g Lemon Juice
  • Zest of 2 Lemons

Whisk the egg whites then add the sugar. Carry on whisking until the texture is thick then add the lemon juice and the lemon zests.

IMG_0289

Choux Pastry

 Before we start, please preheat your oven at 180 degrees, fan off, minimum humidity setting.

Ingredients list:

  • 200g whole milk
  • 300g water
  • 240g butter
  • 10g sugar
  • 8g salt
  • 375g Flour
  • 500g of eggs (approx. 10 eggs)

Personally, I halved the quantities and so the list looked like this:

Ingredients list B:

  • 100g whole milk
  • 150ml water
  • 120g butter
  • 5g sugar
  • 4g salt
  • 190g Flour
  • 6 medium eggs

Bring to boil the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt and watch over the pan. AS SOON AS IT IS BOILING, add the flour and stir firmly with the spatula for one minute or so, until the mix doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan any more. When it does not stick to the sides of the pan any more it means it is ready. Note : make sure the mix is not too runny or it will not raise but also not too dry or it will collapse soon after! This is where experience comes into… Dry it in the pan or add a bit of water until you get it right.

Now take the pan off the heat and add the eggs little by little and one by one until the mix is smooth but not too runny. The hard part in making choux pastry for an untrained eye is in this step: if the mix is too thick it needs more eggs, however the eggs must be added slowly as if it becomes too runny then it will not raise in the oven.

Chef’s tip: Trace a deep line into the choux pastry with your spatula. If the line closes up slowly, then it’s ready!

Transfer the choux pastry into your pastry bag and pipe into an éclair shape. Do not pipe them too close together as they need space to rise Then keep inside the oven at 180c for 35 minutes until golden.

Have a lovely sunny week!