Tag Archives: fresh

It’s Pimm’s a clock.. giving the British a bit of a shock..

5 Aug

I think most of us know by now that the Brits are well known for their drinking habits.. and not necessarily their eating habits or great food!  In this case, they might feel a little bit sensitive about using their world famous Pimms in a crispy duck dish! Some of them might say that I’m “well right cheeky” for even attempting it.

If there is one thing about the British that is a guarantee ( which I hope will make this dish a selling point ) – they love fruit!  In all forms. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit with chocolate, fruit as dessert, fruit as a treat, fruit & biscuits… they will have fruit with almost anything possible, even hot chocolate! So basically, this is almost like Forest Gump and Bubba with their little “shrimpin” business.

Joining in on the whole “cook only what is in season” craze, I have jumped on the bandwagon too!  If you can buy 2 punnets of blackberries for £2 –  no1, you have to buy it, it’s cheap!!  No2,  if your family,  or my (now) increased – appetite- non- stop – eating (always hungry) husband does NOT eat fruit, you have to get creative! And so we come round to the duck.. which seems to be in season for quite some time.. as it is unbelievably affordable.. and always makes me feel “well noble”!

Duck is a very fatty poultry, but exquisite when all the fattiness and crispy skin is combined with something sweet, spicy and acidic to cut through it. So, the 3 main musketeers for this recipe is Duck, Blackberries & Blackberry & Elder flower Pimms.

Crispy duck with blackberries  & Pimms

3 x duck legs

1 punnet of blackberries ( about 2 handfuls)

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

Salt & pepper to taste

75ml blackberry & elderflower Pimms ( any blackberry liqueur if you don’t have Pimms)

4 x small wedges of lemon

Make sure your duck legs are room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Tip: The key to this dish is also to have a heavy based, shallow frying pan that can be used on the hob and in the oven.

lemon

Season your duck legs with freshly ground pepper and salt and rub it into the meat. Now, heat your frying pan. It needs to be nice and hot, similar to frying a steak. When the pan is hot, place the duck legs skin (fat) side down. You want it to fry till the skin is nice, crispy and brown.

When the skin is crispy, sprinkle the cumin seeds over the duck, before turning it over (skin side facing up)  to cook the other side of the legs. Be careful, the heat will make the cumin seeds shoot around like little popcorn kernels. As soon as you’ve turned it around, add the Pimms, making sure that you don’t pour it over the crispy skin. Pour it around the duck. The top, crispy side of the skin should be “Pimms free”.

Now, take some of the blackberries and place them around the duck in any available space. I usually place a few around the duck and then use the rest as a cushion for the duck to lie on, placing them underneath the duck.

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Take the lemon wedges and place the skin side up around the duck. Place in the oven for 45mins. Tip: Do not cover with a lid or foil, because you want the skin to stay crispy.

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I usually serve this with a tomato, mozzarella & basil salad, and some creamy mash with the sweet and zesty sauce cutting through the creamy mash.  You can also serve it with fresh , crusty bread and dip the bread in the blackberry and duck sauce, or even serve with some plain, simple and delicious jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy!

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A refreshing change.. .. minty, fresh meatballs

15 Mar

No tomato meatball fights today!!! No energy for it to be honest. Why is it that we ( this would actually be me) get soooo excited and inspired by many things that we always want to do everything all at once and succeed with all of  it at once, immediately?

Well… its definitely not refreshing to say that it is covered in impatience as well… and a bit of disappointment. I know it is because I have been trying to do everything at once… and doing everything at once amounts to eventually getting nowhere at all.

So after a weekend filled with doing nothing….( yes, lying on the couch eating numerous amounts of  food does amount to doing nothing.)… BUT, I was very tired and exhausted and in a lot of pain.. so I would think this is a good enough of an excuse 🙂

However, this amounted to me feeling very guilty for not taking ANY photos, writing ANY blogs or making ANY food…You read it…. my Conan, hero of the household rescued me this weekend providing me with food,, the game of throne series and copious amounts of tea  ;-p

Now, feeling slightly better, I  have decided to do a new take on meatballs… especially after my Big boy and I are the new faces of Gaviscon.. less tomato.. less indegestion. SO… it is the season of spring… and it is fresh and it is green… mint.. mint … and mint… and always, naturallly, garlic 🙂 This happy dish put a smile on big boy’s face… and as always I hear him eating out of the saucepans in the kitchen again… a very familiar sound I may add.

Creamy minted meatballs

1 onion very finely chopped ( use a food processor)

2 teaspoons of fresh mint, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of garlic

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of dried chives

1 pack of 250g  beef mince

1 egg

3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

3 handfuls of mixed greens, roughly chopped ( mine was cabbage and spinach)

2 cups of orzo pasta

600ml of vegetable stock, made with one cube

2 tablespoons of olive oil

250ml of cream/soya cream/ creme fraiche

Fresh parmesan for grating

1 ripe avo,cut in pieces

Chop your onion into pieces small enough to fit into your food processor and add 1 teaspoon of the garlic and all the mint. It should be processed to quite fine, until it is just almost a paste, but not a paste.

Place your mince in a mixing bowl and add the cumin, chives, breadcrumbs and egg. Flavour with salt and pepper. Mix well. Now, make them into little meatballs. Whichever size you prefer.

When this is done, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a heated pan. Now, add your onion, mint and garlic mixture to the pan. Fry gently for about 7 minutes. Now, place your meatballs in the pan with the onion mixture. Let them brown in the pan and squiggle them about.

While the meatballs are cooking, add the remaining olive oil to a heated saucepan. Add the remaining garlic and add your mushrooms. Fry them until just slightly browned, and add your greens. Mix through. Now, add your orzo and mix through and then add your vegetable stock. Keep the heat on medium while cooking the orzo and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Do not put the lid on, keep it uncovered.

While this is cooking, check on your meatballs. If they are brown, add your cream and turn it down so that it simmers gently. Dont forget to check on your orzo.

This should be done when 90% of the liquid has been absorbed. Usually about 10 – 15 minutes.

When it is done, dish up the orzo, place the meatballs with its sauce on top, grind over some black pepper, add your avo and grate with a bit of fresh parmigiana,  and you’ve got yourself a winner!

I smell something fishy …

2 Jul

Absolutely!! I am sure most of you have been thinking this, as well as the hubby when he walked into our house, coming home from work. It has been a few busy weeks, including starting to work again, having quite a few guests at our little humble abode, no time or strength to even THINK about photographing my food or writing my blog. We had friends from SA that came to stay and I was spinning in the kitchen!! Of course, no time for anything else.

I made a number of dishes, rich and with love and abundance and many ingredients. So, it was time to go back to basics. I had to create something fresh, light and uber healthy after our guests left…which hereby my friends, I introduce to you the boring,white (and FROZEN, if I might add) budget meal! Much to the hubby’s disgust. For once, he didn’t look quite too excited with his meal 😉 It must have been the King of the world’s food that he had been fed the last week. I don’t blame him. After enjoying his favourite, risotto, many other meat and potato dishes that he probably dreams about at night in his sleep, I present to him, wait for it….. the extremely overrated cod. Plain, pale and boring… very much like the british ;-p

Now, my friends, if you are used to enjoying lovely sole, Kingklip, even yellowtail, this is basically something rubbery that has absolutely NO taste! Yes, I was the devil woman that decided to make cod and feed it to my husband!! There is more…. after whispering words of love and encouragement to these little frozen pieces of white “fillets”, they seemed to open up to me and decided to play along and give me their best 🙂 And, as it turned out, they did! Bravo for the boring cod, putting it’s best “fin” forward!! 🙂 Follow the recipe, and you shall find that  something so utterly boring, turned into a little squeak of delight! Hope you enjoy it 🙂

4 pieces of frozen cod ( if you dont have cod, you can use hake)
olive oil
juice of one fresh lemon
2 handfuls of fresh thyme
1 tin of butter beans
2 cups of frozen peas
1 handful of mint, finely chopped
4 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 handful of feta of haloumi cheese
1 red pepper, finely chopped
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons of malt vinegar ( this is a sweet vinegar.You can also use normal vinegar and add 2 teaspoons of sugar to it)
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Take your tin of butter beans, put them in a bowl. Add the garlic, flavour with salt and pepper and mix through. Place foil in a tray and toss your beans onto the foil. Place your fish on the beans. Pour over your lemon juice, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Now, place your thyme on top of the fish and cover with foil. Put in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until the fish flakes.

While the fish is cooking, prepare your veggies. Drizzle a saucepan with a little bit of olive oil and make sure it is nice and hot. Add red pepper to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes. Now add your peas and the remaining malt vinegar.

Now, peas always need a bit of help to enhance their natural flavour and that is when I discovered mint, tomatoes and basil. Add your mint, basil and tomatoes. mix it through so that it can absorb the flavours. Flavour with salt to taste.

Now add two tablespoons of olive oil and mix through and walla!! Serve it all up and enjoy! The flavours are all light and mild, but combined it is very pleasant.