Caramelised salmon


20130806-194224.jpgThis recipe is neither West Country or North African but it is one of my favourite recipes. In fact this was the first meal I cooked my now husband.
This is the perfect meal for entertaining or for cooking a romantic meal for two! It’s quick giving you more time to socialise and its sooooo yummy!

Serves 2

Ingredients

50g soft brown sugar
65ml water
1/2 chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 inch ginger, finely sliced In batons
1 garlic clove, crushed
2tbs lime juice
2tbs fish sauce
2 salmon fillets, skinless chopped into bite size pieces
25g mint, chopped or 2tbs dried
10g coriander, chopped
1tbs salted peanuts, crushed

Rice to serve

Method

Being the sugar and water to boil and add the chilli, ginger and garlic and let bubble for 4 mins till syrupy.

Add the fish sauce and lime juice to the syrup. Dip the salmon in.

Heat 2 tbs oil in a frying pan, take the salmon out of mixture and fry quickly on a high heat to caramelise.

Add the sauce and sprinkle on the herbs.

Serve over rice and scatter with the spring onions and peanuts.

Kesra (& the gift that was actually a hint to make some!)


20130707-155525.jpg

My husband is not the sort of guy to carry out romantic gestures or come home bearing gifts so imagine my surprise when one Sunday afternoon he come home proudly exclaiming he has a present for me ….

How sweet I thought wondering if he was to surprise me with a treat. Alas no the gift was in fact a huge circular flat iron griddle. “Now you can cook kesra authentically!”

Kesra is a type of flat bread which when reading the ingredients list sounds dry and unappetising but actually it’s absolutely delicious! All the recipes I have found for kesra call for fine semolina but my husband insists it should have a courser texture so I tried using medium semolina. This was a disaster! I think I have perfected his preference now with this mix.

And now to try it on my brand new Kesra griddle!

Ingrediants
300g fine semolina
100g medium semolina
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt or to taste
125ml water approx

Method
Mix the semolina mix and the salt together and add the olive oil storing till the olive has coated all the semolina.
Slowly add enough water to make a nice soft dough.
Knead the dough until it feels slightly bouncy to touch and leave to stand for 30 mins – hour.
Roll the dough into a large circular shape approx 1/4inch deep. Depending on the size of your griddle, frying pan or tajine you may have to split into two breads.
Using a fork prick holes over the bread and cook over a very low heat for 15 – 25 mins turning often. You want the inside to retain its moistness.

20130708-104100.jpg

Seafood and fennel salad with tortilla


20130702-213606.jpg

In my last post I explained how I was going to experiment with salads for Iftar. Well in preparation I tried to make a seafood salad inspired by the salads we had recently in Zanzibar at the amazing Hideaway of Nungwi hotel. Seriously if you like seafood this is the place to go to. Credit to the chef for the best meals eaten at a hotel. Anyway I’m deviating, back to the point…

So did I get a seal of approval from my hubby. Well I got a 12/10? Try it out and see what you think?

Seafood and Fennel Salad

Ingredients
1 large bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1 lemon
50ml olive oil
150g mixed seafood, cooked
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1tbs olive oil
1 tbs parsley, chopped

Mix the 50ml of olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the fennel and season well. Leave for a minimum of 30 mins to soften.

Add the chilli, garlic and remaining oil to the seafood and marinate for 30 mins.

After 30 mins drain the seafood and scatter over the fennel. Add chopped parsley.

Tortilla

Ingredients
600g Charlotte potatoes, peeled and sliced to the thickness of crisps.
1 medium onion, finely sliced
6 medium eggs, beaten
200ml olive oil

In a frying pan heat the olive oil and add the onion cooking gently for around 10 mins till translucent.
Add the potatoes and cook till softened approx 10 mins.

Drain the potato and onions and add to the egg. Season well and leave for half an hour for a subtle onion flavour (longer for a more intense flavour)

Take 2tbs of the oil used for cooking the potatoes put into a small frying pan (about 20cm) or use a cast iron tajine. Heat and add the egg mixture, it should come close to the top of the frying pan.

When the egg starts to come away at the side flip and cook for a few more minutes until slightly springy to touch. You don’t want to overcook and are looking for a moist centre.
Leave to cool for 30 mins

20130702-214006.jpg

Prawn Tacos


20130329-204113.jpg

Many people stay away from eating Prawns thinking they are high in cholesterol. Whilst this is true prawns are actually a source of good cholesterol which can help bring down the bad cholesterol. Prawns are also a rich source of selenium which helps prevent the growth of cancer cells, calcium for the bones, vitamin E for the skin, vitamin B 12 for memory and cardiac health and protein.

Taco’s are typically a meat dish but as I only eat meat or chicken once or twice a week I have ualtered the recipe to accommodate prawns. This is satisfying meal and combines the health benefits of the prawns with those of the avocado. If you wanted to be super healthy omit the tacos and serve on leaves of lettuce.
Enough preaching of the health benefits….

I know if you give this a try you will be hooked and will add this to your weekly repertoire.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, chopped
prawns
3 tbs parsley, chopped
Taco shells, about 8
150g iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 avocado, diced
125g sour cream

Method

Preheat oven to 180c.
Combine tomato, lime juice, chilli powder and cumin.
Heat 2 tbs of oil and fry the onion and garlic gently till soft, 5 mins. Add the prawns and stir in the prepared tomato mixture and cook for another 5 mins stir in the parsley.
Heat the tacos in the oven for 5 mins.
To serve place lettuce in the bottom of the shell, add the prawn mixture and top with avocado and sour cream.

Picsou and Jasmine. Our very fussy cats


20130125-213100.jpg

So I have written a few posts about feeding my fussy and sometimes homesick husband but he is not the only fussy eater in our house.

Anyone who has owned a Siamese cat will know just how fussy and vocal this breed can be. In fact as I write this Jasmine is screaming for attention!

Picsou and Jasmine first taught us this lesson at 1 years old by going on hunger strike and eventually and to my dismay became anorexic! We tried every type of wet and dry cat food available to get them to eat.

After chatting with the owner of our local Cattery we took his advice and cooked them fresh chicken.. They loved it! We began experimenting. Now at two years old our cats do eat dry food supplemented with fresh chicken breast, fresh sardines and canned tuna. Other cat owners I know are amazed that our cats are so well fed and spoilt but actually I am happier knowing exactly what they are eating and if I were them I would also turn my nose up at wet cat food.

20130125-213018.jpg

Algerian lentil soup (Chorba Adas)


20130115-201808.jpg

After eating stodgy comfort food I’m craving lighter and healthier meals. Soup is the perfect choice, easy after work meals packed with veg and pulses and still warming during a cold January in London.

I cook two types of lentil soup, the smooth Egyptian red lentil soup and this Algerian version using green lentils which is more brothy. Both soups are cut with the acidic lemon and coriander to serve.

I will post the Egyptian lentil soup soon along with the recipe for the Algerian bread Kesra pictured.

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
150g green lentils
2 pints vegetable stock
1 lemon
Bunch of coriander, chopped

Recipe

Sauté the onion, carrots and celery with a glug of olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, spices and tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the lentil, stock, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 30 mins or until lentils are soft.
Squeeze on the lemon and add the chopped Corriander.

Chtit’ha Djedj (Algerian Chicken in Sauce)


This Algerian dish is perfect for Iftar, offering oodles of taste and plenty of healthy carb’s and protein to norish and up the energy levels. Serve with a good bread to mop up the delicious juices.

I have altered the recipe slightly using Harissa instead of Paprika to give a little extra kink. To make a more authentic version swap Harissa for 1/2 tsp of Paprika and the stock for water.

Serve 4
Cooking time: 50 mins

Chtit'ha Djedj (Algerian Chicken in Garlic Sauce)

Chtit’ha Djedj (Algerian Chicken in Garlic Sauce)

Ingredients

Chicken Pieces
Small Onion, Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp Ras al Hanout
1/4 tsp Harissa
2 Whole All Spice Berries (or if you can get Cubeb Berries, crushed)
2 tsp Tomato Paste
1 can Chickpeas, drained
2 pints chicken stock

Method

Finely chop onion and fry gently in 2tbs oil in large saucepan until starting to soften. Add the chicken and brown for 10 mins, add garlic, spices, tomato puree and Harissa and cook for another 2 mins.
Add stock, stir and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 mins or until chicken is cooked and add the chickpeas simmering for another 10 mins until the sauce has thickened.

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding


When you fancy something sweet,  gooey and satisfying, this dessert fits. Using ingredients usually found in your cupboard this can be knocked up on a chocolate fancying whim. The end result of this pudding is a light chocolate sponge with a rich chocolate sauce underneath.

My main reason for this post is for my sister who i know has a sweet tooth and will absolutely love this recipe.

 Serve with Cream, Ice Cream or as it is.

Ingredients 

150g Self Raising Flour

1/2 tsp Salt

2 tbs Cocoa Powder (or Hot Chocolate Powder)

125g Brown Sugar or Caster Sugar

180ml Milk

2 tbs Melted Butter

Few drops or Vanilla Extract or Essence

125g Brown Sugar

2 tbs Cocoa

420ml Boiling Water
Method
Heat oven to 180 degrees

Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar in an Oven proof dish (I used a small lasagna dish). Add the melted butter to the milk and stir into the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter.

In a separate bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together.

Now for the part that defies your logic… Pour the sauce mixture on top of batter using the back of a spoon to soften the impact and place in the oven for 60 minutes.

 

Japanese fruit cake


As the cold days set in I crave to be back to where we honeymooned in the Maldives, walking to dinner barefoot in the talcum powder sand, the scent of Jasmine bushes and the clear skies with the frequent shooting stars. Thanks to the lovely dessert chefs on Maafushivaru island who kindly gave me this recipe I can recapture some of that tropical paradise. Choosing a gelatine free dessert was some what a challenge but thankfully these guys popped out with a smile every evening to guide us, Thank you.

Ingredients

One Sweet Pastry Case (or make 300g Dough)
30g Butter
2 Eggs
180g Caster Sugar
1 tbs Cider Vinegar (trust me)
125g Raisins
125g Cashew Nuts Chopped (or as i like to do bashed)
125g Coconut Flakes
Apricot Jam (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together. Place into the pastry case and bake for 50 mins.

Cool and brush some Apricot jam on as a glaze.

Chorba Frik & Borek


This is absolutely my favourite Algerian dish (good thing to as we eat this for virtually every day for a month each year).

Chorba Frik served with Borek is commonly eaten during Ramadan after breaking the fast with three dates and fermented milk but i can eat this frequently all year round! Normally Chorba contains diced Lamb but considering Lyes’s cholesterol i like to omit it.

Frik is known as crushed wheat or Green wheat and can be hard to find if you dont have access to an Algerian butcher/shop. Some branches of Tesco’s sell it (East End Crushed Wheat) , i believe it’s in the Indian/Ethnic section. Another less known ingredient is the Feuilles de brick but this can be found at Waitrose and Ocado.

There are so many different family recipes for both Chorba and Borek and dare i say it most are so bland you may as well chuck some chickpeas in some hot water. These recipes are what i like from Chorba & Borek and therefore may not be completely authentic.

Borek

Borek

Ingredients (makes 6)

250g Mince Beef
1 Onion, chopped
Pinch of Cinnamon
1 – 2 Eggs, beaten (optional)
1 Handful Parsley, finely chopped
Feuille de brik pastry
3 – 6 Laughing Cow/Dairylea cheese wedges (optional)
Vegetable oil for frying

Method
Gently saute the onion for around 5 mins till soft. Add the mince meat and brown. Add a pinch of cinnamon, salt and pepper and the chopped Parsley and stir well. On a gentle heat add the egg taking care not to let it scramble.

Let this mixture cool else the pastry will disintegrate.

Place 2 – 3 tbs of the beef mixture about 1.5 inches from the bottom of the feuille de brik leaving approx an inch either side, cut the cheese in half and lay across the mixture. Pull the brik up from the bottom, fold the sides to the centre of section and continue to roll. Place the Boreks (fold side down) in a frying pan with Vegetable oil and fry on both sides until golden.
Pat with kitchen Paper to remove excess oil and squeeze some lemon juice.
Folding The Borek

Chorba Frik

Chorba Frik

Ingredients

1Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 litre Vegetable Stock
4 tbs Frik (crushed wheat)
3 -4 tbs Tomato Puree
Handful of Parsley and Handful Coriander, finely chopped
4 sprigs of Mint, leaves chopped
1/2 tin Chickpeas
1/2 Lemon

Method
Gently fry the onion until soft. Add the Garlic cook for another 2 mins then add the Cayenne and Paprika and cook for another min.
Add the tomato puree and stock and bring to the boil, add the Frik and simmer covered for 30 mins until Frik is soft. (I like to then wizz with a blender) Add the chickpeas and herbs and cook for a few mins until chickpeas are heated.
Squeeze in the lemon and serve with the Borek…… Bliss.