Sustainable Sushi – Mackerel Sashimi and Smoked Mackerel Sushi Rolls

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This week Nick was sitting his first exam in more than 20 years. When I asked what he wanted to eat to celebrate the end he said sushi. Visits to conveyor belt restaurants are definitely out with Em – pretty certain moving food would be way too exciting a challenge. But we have often made sushi at home.

Fresh fish sushi and sashimi tend towards the un-sustainable end of the fishmarket and I wanted to try to find something a bit more sustainable without missing the protein hit. The fishmongers had some spankingly fresh mackerel and some quick research showed Mackerel sashimi to be favourite dish.  Rather than simply cutting the fresh mackerel recipes ( as Hugh F-W suggests) most included a cure

Methods varied in the amount of cure , and wether it was salt sugar or vinegar but this method worked well to produce something where there was still a good taste of fresh mackerel.

We also made a few rolls with smoked mackerel, cucumber and spring onion, which Em happily tucked into the next day fun to see a toddler decimate a sushi roll.

 

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Mackerel Sashimi

200g of salt
200g of caster sugar
100ml of rice wine vinegar

  1. Remove the head from the mackerel.
  2. Remove fillets from each side of the fish to the tail, leaving the skin on
  3. Remove all the pin-bones, I use tweezers
  4. Place the mackerel flesh side into a layer of sugar for an hour
  5. Then brush off the sugar and replace with salt and leave for at least 4 hours
  6. To make the marinade warm the rice vinegar with half the sugar (the rest can be disgarded), leave to cool.
  7. Once the mackerel has cured pull off the skin, this should leave some of the blue/silver pattern on the flesh.
  8. Put the fillets into the marinade for 30 minutes, slice into pieces.
  9. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.
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Chicken and Barberry Rice

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Whenever I see a bag of strange ingredients I am compelled to buy them , this time barberries, small sour berries a traditional Iranian ingredient for a classic dish Zereshk Polow (Barberry Rice with Chicken)  I was dubious that a dish with so few ingredients would taste very good.

Original recipes involve cooking the chicken and rice seperately then combining them for a one hour bake, the closest I could think a biryani. But obsessed as I am with the pressure cooker I thought I would make up my own method

It worked perfectly the chicken juices absorbed and coating with the rice. Slightly caramalised barberries adding a sweet sour taste. These are definitely going to become one of my favourite ingredients.

Chicken and Barberry Rice

Serves 4

8 pieces of chicken (legs and drumsticks)skin removed
250g of basmatic rice
1 large onion peeled and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic peeled

1/2 pint of hot (just boiled)water
8 strands of saffron
1 large handful of dried barberries

  1. Soak the saffron and the barberries in the water for 5 minutes
  2. Place the chicken in the pressure cooker with the onions and garlic
  3. Pour over the water
  4. Bring the pressure cooker up steam on the highest setting
  5. Turn the heat down and cook for 10 minutes
  6. Release the pressure, add the rice
  7. Bring back up the steam , turn down the heat, cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat, release the pressure
  9. Serve
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Fish Tagine (Pressure Cooker)

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Tagine are traditionally slow-braised at low temperature, ate mounds of them during a holiday in Marrakech , usually I will cook a tagine in the slow cooker, usually using something that favours a long cook, mutton or rabbit.

But this was a change cooked in just 20 mins in the pressure cooker but the spices combined with pressure cooking give a depth of flavour that suggests a lot longer cooking.  I used some not very special fish from the freezer , but the whole dish was filling , felt light and fragrant

Em certainly liked it the next day but then she licked a slug the other day so probably not the best indicator.

Preserved Lemons

But for this I was late getting ingredients together
Fish Tagine

3 pieces of white fish ( pollock , cod etc) cut into large pieces
100g of fresh tomatoes ( tinned would be fine) roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
1 clove of garlic
1 large onion finely sliced
200g of waxy potatoes cut into inch cubed pieces
2 tbsp of ras al hanout ( a spice blend of cardamon , cloves , cinammon , chilli peppers coriander cumin pepercorn tumeric)
1/2 a preserved lemon finely chopped
1/2 tbsp of fresh mint
1/4 pint of water
1 handful of green olives

  1. Place all the ingredients except the fish and mint in the pressure cooker on the highest pressure.
  2. Once it is up to heat turn it down , cook for 20 minutes
  3. Release the pressure and add the fish
  4. Stir in the fish, it should cook in the heat of the pan, turning opaque but you could just bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer
  5. Serve scattering over the fresh mint

Jerk Mutton StewMutton Tagine

Posted in Fish, Grains and Pulses, Meals | 4 Comments

Celebrating a Year

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That was quite a year , sorry it’s been pretty quiet on the blogging front but Em really has been taking up a lot of time. If I sit down to try and type when she is around she wants to help.

In the evenings I just try to get us all fed and restore some semblance of order to the house, try and remember to say hello to my lovely partner, who knows maybe a bit more than hello.

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I wrote months ago now to say Em had started sleeping through. Well I am never typing that again .

Parenthood 101 : Never talk about your child doing something good, because they will immediately stop.  with an additional

With an additional Part B :Never listen to anyone describe some horrendous thing their child has got up to and think, “Oh God , please don’t let my child do that.” or worse “Well my child will never do that.”

Because they will and the correct response is always. “How did you get them to stop?”, listen hard and file it away for future reference.

To celebrate her first year I did make not one but two cakes , the first incorporating two of her favourite foods cheese and strawberries.

Food continues to be a fun challenge  now  refusing spoons, watching her eat her cheesecake dantily plucking chunks from the lump held in her tight little fist was something to behold.

Strawberry Cheescake (No Bake)

Ingredients

250g digestive biscuits
100g unsalted butter , melted
1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped), 1tsp of vanilla paste
600g soft cheese
300ml greek yogurt

400g punnet strawberries , halved
50g of caster sugar

  1. Line the edge of of a 23cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper
  2. Take 1/3 of the strawberries and roughly chopped
  3. Place in a saucepan with a dash of water and the caster sugar
  4. Warm to a very gentle simmer and cook until the strawberries have begun to break down.
  5. Meanwhile warm the butter until melted either in a pan or the microwave
  6. Place the biscuits into a plastic bag and bash the bag with a rolling pin until fine ( you can use a food processor) but Em definitely preffered watching the manual approach.
  7. Mix together the biscuit crumbs and the butter and press into the bottom of the cake tin.
  8. Place in fridge for at least an hour.
  9. Beat the soft cheese until smooth with the vanilla seeds, Stir in the greek yogurt
  10. after the digestive biscuits have set , layer over half the cream cheese/yogurt mix , pour over the strawberry puree, then add the other half of the cream cheese , allowing the puree to mix in.
  11. Refridgerate overnight.
  12. Before serving top with the halfed strawberries , and slip from the sprung tin.

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    Victora Sandwich

    I used double the quantity of my standard 175 cake recipe with just a dash of vanilla paste
    350g of self raising flour
    350g of unsalted butter
    350g of golden caster sugar
    6 eggs
    1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp of vanilla paste

    1. Blend together the butter , sugar and vanilla
    2. Mix in the eggs
    3. Mix the flour with the bicardbonate of soda add to the mix
    4. Pour into a round 25cm cake tin (lined with baking paper)
    5. Bake at 175degC for 40 minutes until golden and firm to touch
    6. Meanwhile make some strawberry purree

    400g of strawberries sliced
    50g of caster sugar

    200ml of double cream whipped until stiff

    1. Warm 100g of strawberry halves with a dash of water, puree with a stick blenderuntil some chunks remanin, you can do this by mashing chuinks with a spoon , it will take a bit longer
    2. Add the caster sugar , stir until dissolved and leave to cool
    3. Whip the double cream until stiff
    4. Once the cake is cooked , put half the cream onto the firt half of the cake , pour over the strawberry puree, sandwich with the second hal which shuld then be topped with the remaining cream and sliced strawberries
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Gnocchi with Broad Beans Bacon and Pea Pesto

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This is the time of year when my food photostream turns green , peas and beans.

Pea Pesto so deliciously sweet you think you must have added some sugar, add a dash of goats cheese,  lemon and mint to the recipe below and it’s lovely on some toasted french beans.

Here it add some extra green zing as a vegetable pesto. Topped here with some foraged tri-corned garlic but some purple chive or garlic flowers would be lovely too.

Gnocchi with Broad Beans Bacon and Pea Pesto

200g of potato gnocchi (recipe below)
2 rashers of thick cut smoked bacon
200g of broad beans
2tbsp of greek yoghurt
200g Pea Pesto (recipe below)

  1. Cook the gnocchi til soft add the broad beans for the last few minutes (fresh will take double the length of frozen)
  2. Fry the bacon til crispy, stir in the broad beans.
  3. Add the cooked gnocchi and quickly stir in the pesto and yoghurt
  4. Taste and season with extra black pepper
If you want to make this vegetarian skip the bacon and add some crumbled goats cheese to the pesto.

Pea Pesto
200g of peas
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

  1. Puree together the peas, garlic , oil
  2. Taste and season with salt and pepper

Gnocchi

Makes enough for 4 people ( so you can freeze half for the above recipe)

1kg of potatoes
400g of flour ( but you may not need it all)
1 egg
Pinch of salt

  1. Peel the potatoes, cut into quarter a place in a pan of boiling salted water.
  2. Simmer until the potatoes are softened.
  3. Mash until fine , or use a food processor or ricer
  4. Add the egg salt and slowly add the flour.
  5. You want a bread dough texture but depending on the wetness of potatoes you may not need all the flour.
  6. Remove a golf ball size of dough, roll into a sausage shape on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Cut into 1.5cm sized pieces with a fork roll it over.
  8. Place well spaced on a tray or baking sheet before cooking

Cooking 

  1. You can cook the gnocchi immediately by cooking it in boiling salted water until the gnocchi rise to the top . This usually takes just a few minutes
  2. To freeze place on a baking tray and place in the freezer, once frozen they can be placed in a freezer bag and will keep for months and can be cooked as above straight from frozen.
Homemade Cheese , Homegrown Salad dressed with Rape Seed Oil and  Blackberry Vinegar
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Lamb and Broad Bean Curry

A quick post to show I am still around and eating. Friday night curry , Lamb with fresh broad beans.  Broad Beans are one of my favourite vegetables, and they are just beggining to come into season now, though I have to confess like peas and I think broad beans are pretty good frozen vegetables. The dried one’s would work well in this recipe too.
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This dish was inspired by Keema Currys often served with peas but broad beans work really well sweet like peas but they also absorb the spiced sauce.
Lamb and Broad Bean Curry
2 tbsp of sunflower oil
4 tbsp of garam masala
1tsp of mustard seeds
1tsp of tumeric
1 thumb of ginger peeled and finely chopped
500g of shoulder or leg of lamb cut into bitesized
100g of red lentils
1/2 pint of vegetable stock
500ml of plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 large onion thickly sliced
500g of fresh broad beans
Heat the oil and fry the garam masala, tumeric , ginger, chillis and mustard seeds
Stir in the meat and allow it to brown , once browned remove and add the onions and garlic
Fry until softened then return the meat to the dish, add the lentils and stock
Simmer for 3 hours on a low heat ( check occassionally that it has not boiled dry and add extra water accordingly) or place in the slow cooker on low for 5 hours
The meat will be tender and falling apart, add the beans and yogurt for the last 15 minutes ( or 30 minutes for slow cooker)
Serve with rice
Salmon in Prosciutto with Broad Bean, Courgette and Fennel Salad by you. photophoto
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Rhubarb and Chili Pulled Pork ( Pressure Cooker)

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Slow cooked pork shoulder has become a favourite in this house and on the blog from the links – with chipolte sauce, jerk seasoning , five spice , gochujang ( Korean Red Pepper Sauce) . It;s a long cook in the oven even longer in the slow cooker so here is a cheat using the pressuer cooker ,  50 minutes in the pressure cooker a 1.5 kilo pork shoulder falls apart.

The meat will need to be shredded and popped under a hot grill with all the cooking juices for 15 minutes stir ensures you get some nice crispy bits. I know it’s cheating but I just can’t help myslef and in my time-deprived post baby world it’s perfect.

Most recently with the candy pink forced rhubarb giving way to some greener woody stems my uses of rhubarb turn a little savory. So pork with rhubarb, it’s fantastic at cutting through the fattiness -think apple sauce but with more of a bite.

I though here it would give the sweet and sour pork a kick and boy did it ever, bet even those who don’t like rhubarb would love this dish.

I served with with chinese pancakes and some shredded spring greens.

Rhubarb and Chilli Pulled Pork

1.5kg of pork shoulder, remove any rind but leave on the fat

4 cloves of garlic peeled
400g of rhubarb roughly chopped
3 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 star anise
4 tbsp of brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients together

Oven Version

  1. Rub the pork shoulder all over with the ingredients above
  2. Place it in a large lidded cast iron pot and put in the oven at 150degC for 3 hours.
  3. Finally place the pork in a deep roasting tray with the juices and place in a hot oven 190degC for 25 minutes
  4. Remove the pork once the outside is caramalised the sauces will reduce.

Slow Cooker

  1. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker on LOW for 6 hours
  2. Pull apart the pork mix through with the juices place under a hot grill for 15minutes or a hot oven 190degC for 25 minutes. Stir halfway through

Pressure Cooker

  1. Rub the pork with the ingredients above
  2. Place in the pressure cooker on a trivet and cook on HIGH for 1 hr
  3. Remove from the pressure cooker.Pull apart the pork mix through with the juices place under a hot grill for 15minutes or a hot oven 190degC for 25 minutes. Stir halfway through.

Alternative Pork Seasonings , if you don’t fancy the rhubarb and chilli here are some past favourites

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Jerk Pulled Pork

Chipolte  using Thomasina Miers Chipoltes en adobo

Original recipe here

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Five Spice with a five spice sauce delicious either in chinese pancakes or stuffed into char sui buns.

Gochugang  Korean Red Pepper Paste (  recipe here)

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Shaved New Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Wild Garlic Pesto

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The potato pizza was an addiction of mine back in 2010 with shaved aspapragus and one with anchovies and rosemary. They are completely addictive and even more than a cheese and tomato pizza delicious and filling cold This recipe has to be the ultimate seasonal Spring pizza , new potatoes are just appearing as is asparagus both are still a little expensive but here a little goes a long way

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The wild garlic I picked before an emergency visit back to Bristol , luckily Nick quiciky thinkingly processed it with some olive oil , in the fridge this would last a few weeks and is a great addition to pasta and potatos. You may wish to have some extra to dip the crusts in.

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Shaved New Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Wild Garlic Pesto

Makes 2 large pizzas

250g of strong plain flour plus extra for dusting
150ml of warm water ( 1/2 just boiled . 1/2 cold)
3 tbsp of olive oil
1tbsp of dried yeast
1/4 tsp of salt

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients ( flour salt and yeast)
  2. Add the oil , then slowly add the warm water.
  3. Mix together to form a dough
  4. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in warm place for  at lease1-2  hours til doubled in size ( but you can leave it all day, so you can make it before work)
  5. When you are reading to use knock back and roll out the dough as fine as possible and place on a baking sheet

Topping

150g of small potatoes , raw but sliced wafter thin ( I discovered the best way to finely slice potatoes was using the neglected side of the cheese  grater.)
2 large onions finely sliced
6 spears of asparagus ( shaved using a potato peeler lengthways)
5 tbsp wild garlic pesto (Made by proccessing wild garlic leaves with olive oil should be the consistency of a runny pesto)
Sea Salt and Pepper

  1. Fry the onions in a little oil on a low heat until softened approx 15 minutes
  2. Preheat the oven to 220degC
  3. Toss together the potatoes and onions
  4. Layer on top of the pizza dough
  5. Scatter with the shaved asparagus
  6. Drizzle over the wild garlic pesto
  7. Cook for 15 minutes until the pizza is golden brown and crispy around the edges
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Rabbit with Butter Beans and Spring Greens

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For lunch on Easter Sunday we had Rabbit, we ate the Easter Bunny, acutally just it’s legs which are the bit with the most meat on them. Rabbit does need slow cooking or it can be very tough once cooked it is a bit like gamey chicken – like Partridge

These legs are from wild rabbits from the RoosterMan, a regular at the local farmers market selling Wild Boar, Rabbits and Roosters. You can watch him skin the rabbits which is good because I am definitely be wary of buying rabbits since I lot of them are comercially farmed in China and Eastern Europe and most recently there are been some disturbing tales in The Independent and the Guardian about plans for rabbit battery farms.

I  ut all this is the pressure cooker for 25 minutes on high worked a treat even with the butter beans cooking from dried. The recipe below is for those without a pressure cooker. 

Rabbit with Butter Beans and Spring Greens

2 Rabbit Legs  ( You could use a whole rabbit jointed )
200g of dried Butter Beans
1 small onion finely chopped
2 rashers of smoked bacon
2 cloves of garlic
1 pint of boiling water

  1. Fry the onion , garlic and smoked bacon, in the bottom of a heavy bottomed lidded saucepan
  2. Add the rabbit legs to brown
  3. Add the butter beans and water
  4. Leave on a very low simmer for an hour the butter beans will absorb the water and the rabbit should become tender and falling off the bone. Check halfway through but check and add a little more if require
  5. For the last 10 minutes add some shredded spring greens or kale.

Rabbit Piephoto

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Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

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Being a parent is bloody hard. I mean Begonia hard ( Trying to stop swearing, my late grandmother would always use Flower names rather than swear words – Delphiniums works in most situtions) Everyone tells you  being a parent is  hard, but somehow I didn’t listen.

I was looking forward to feeding Em solids, and to start with it went well. She started sleeping through, finally after months of breastfeeding other people could get involved feeding Em.

I was of course thinking though I will just puree what we eat , turns out though feeding a baby Jerk Pulled Pork is frowned upon and looking through our meals we have a lot of chilli in our food, not suitable for young vulnerable toungues. But it was sort of going OK , had some food she would eat a nice lentil pasta sauce , root vegetable purees some daal , plain yogurt, feeding herself prunes, apple and celery she was eating pints of plain yogurt in a week. In fact the only thing she wouldn’t eat was bananas.

Then it all went to pot, at first I though it was the new surroundings she would only eat porridge and yogurt. Doubting everything I even cracked and bought a pouch of Organic Baby Mush (another thing to tick of the list of things I swore I would never do – probably end up in McDonalds by the end of the year the way my principles are cracking)  I was both sad, glad she screamed at that too. I tasted the food , it was OK but it had that weird artificial tomato burn at the back of my throat, I think it comes from the heat treatment – because the ingredients list is certainly exemplary. I was relieved it wasn’t my cooking but still desperate to get her eating something more than porridge and yogurt.

Finally I noticed two teeth budding and then another two. But things got worse she wouldn’t even eat yogurt and porridge without being held rather than sitting in the highchair, then she wouldn’t eat it at all. Screaming when I carried her into the kitchen. She would still munch on celery or apples.

So mealtimes became a stressful time with neither of us having much fun, and then like all the baby phases it was gone, my nice friendly bouncy baby was back in her highchair grinning like a shark and with 4 new teeth to try some “grown-up” food.

We eat fishcakes a lot , they are a credit to my poor household management I always seem to make too much mashed potato, we always have some dried out bread lurking at the bottom of the breadbin. Once made they reheat really easily from frozen, great with all kinds of tinned or smoked fish you don’t need to get fresh fish.

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

Makes 8 large fishcakes

1 whole smoked mackerel or two fillets skinned and flaked
300g of mashed potato
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp of English Mustard
3 handfuls of breadcrumbs
1 egg

  1. Add the flaked fish , mustard , garlic to the mashed potato
  2. Taste the mix & season with salt and pepper
  3. Form into golf ball sized balls then flatten
  4. Place the fishcakes in the fridge for 20 minutes
  5. Beat an egg on one plate and one another place the breadcrumbs
  6. Dip the fishcakes first in the egg , then in the breadcrumbs to coat
  7. Place on a baking sheet and return to the fridge ( or freezer ) until you are ready to cook them.
  8. Bake at 180degC for 15 minutes until golden brown ( Add 10 minutes if frozen)

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Salmon Fishcakes with Wood Sorrel Dressing

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