Monthly Archives: September 2015

Prawn Barley Risotto with Chili Gremolata

Here’s another one, part of the weekly mission to source and try out ‘something new’, something different. This was interesting and the addition of a fresh fig salad both brightened and lightened the density of the risotto.

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  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • peeled, medium king prawns
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • arugula
  • 160g labne

Chili Gremolata

  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 fresh long red chili, seeded, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan on a high heat, cook onion and garlic till soft. Add barley, cook, stirring till coated.
  2. Add stock, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for a half hour, or till the barley is almost tender.
  3. Add prawns, simmer uncovered till the barley is tender, liquid absorbed. Add parmesan and arugula, stir to combine.
  4. Mix the gremolata ingredients in a bowl, serve risotto topped with labne and the gremolata.

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Notes

Didn’t have labne, so gave that a miss.

The gremolata would do well with a dash of salt and the spicier the chili, the better the piquancy and contrast.

Didn’t mix the arugula into the hot barley mixture – didn’t want it wilted or soggy – so a salad, with arugula, served on the side worked better.

And as for the salad, used whatever was on hand – fresh figs, mixed salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives, avocado …

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Watermelon Steak Salad

On a visit to Vancouver a few weeks ago, I had a phenomenal Tuna Watermelon Salad at the Fable Kitchen in Kitsilano, with chunks of seared tuna tossed with feta, cucumber, egg, anchovy and guanciale (cured meat from Italy, prepared from pork jowl).

I came across another watermelon salad recipe and it was pretty good. (I can add the seared tuna when I learn how to sear tuna !)

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  • arugula
  • pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • red onion, finely chopped
  • unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • goat’s cheese
  • pita wedges, to serve
  • a whole watermelon

Dressing

  • a dash of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • a dash of caster sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix arugula, olives, seeds, onion, pistachios and mint, set aside.
  3. With the skin on, cut 2.5 cm slices from the mid section of the watermelon, slice the skin off to make watermelon ‘steaks’, pick out and discard seeds.
  4. Crumble the goat’s cheese, add to the arugula mixture, add dressing, toss.
  5. Place a watermelon steak on each plate, top with arugula mixture, serve with the pita wedges.

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Roasted Pear and Apple Roquefort Salad

This one’s a winner – saw the recipe somewhere and remembered to try it out. Light, and satisfying. Prepare earlier, assemble before serving.

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  • 2 pears and 2 apples, cored, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • Olive oil, as required
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • arugula
  • 60g proscuitto, sliced
  • 60 g crushed pistachios
  • 60g Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled

Prepare the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 120g Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  1. Roast the fruit first. Toss the slices with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven till tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender/food processor, blend till smooth. Refrigerate. (Extra dressing can be used later as a dip.)
  3. Divide the arugula between 4 plates, stack the rings of roasted fruit in the middle, alternating between apple and pear, arrange proscuitto around the fruit. Drizzle dressing over the salad, sprinkle the pistachios and crumble the blue cheese over it all. Ready to go !

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Spice Options

I can’t see myself making these, but found the idea appealing – freshly ground spice mixes for the occasion !

Found this in a magazine, as I do on the odd occasion I read magazines, usually in waiting rooms …

Caribbean Jerk (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use as a marinade mixed with a little honey and olive oil; brush on poultry before BBQ-ing.

jamaican-jerk-seasoning

 

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

Mexican Seasoning (makes 1/4 cup)

Use to flavour burritos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, chili con carne, empanadas and soups … or sprinkle on corn chips.

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  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Brazilian Tempero Baiano (makes 1/4 cup)

Use as a dry rub for meats, in marinades or to flavour soups, braises and seafood.

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  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed chili flakes

Cajun Mix (makes 1/2 cup)

Use as a dry rub or marinade for meats and seafood, or sprinkle on popcorn.

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  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp  ground black pepper

Moroccan ras el hanout (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use in marinades for meat, as a base for tagines and in rice pilafs, couscous or curries.

Ras-El-Hanout

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp corander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Grind to a fine powder.

Pix off the net, recipes from a magazine, thanks to all.

Grilled Fruit with a Palm-sugar-Rum syrup

Came across this recipe, haven’t tried it out but sounds delicious.

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  • 2 bananas, unpeeled, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 slices pineapple, peeled, cored
  • 2 mangoes, unpeeled, sliced to obtain 4 cheeks

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup gula melaka or palm sugar, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp dark rum

Garnish

  • Roasted peanuts
  • Mint leaves
  1. Heat a ridged grill pan, spray lightly with canola oil, heat to smoking.
  2. Place banana halves, cut side down in pan, leave undisturbed till sear marks form. Remove.
  3. Repeat with mango cheeks, followed by the pineapple slices.
  4. Carefully remove skin from grilled bananas and mango cheeks.
  5. Make the syrup by boiling the palm sugar and water, stirring to dissolve all lumps, then adding the rum. Keep aside.
  6. To serve, arrange fruit, drizzle with syrup, garnish with roasted peanuts and a sprig of mint.

Pix off the web, will upload the ‘done’ dish when its made, should be good.

Indonesian Vegetable ‘Urap’

This is an easily repeatable dish – brings a different flavour to the table and the vegetable. Very interesting.

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  • 500g winged beans, washed, sliced crosswise in 0.5 cm pieces
  • 300g cabbage, sliced in 1 cm pieces
  • 3 large red chilies, sliced
  • 4 or 5 bird’s eye chilies, sliced                                                             )
  • 5 to 6 shallots or 1 small purple onion                                            )
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped                                                               ) ground to
  • 50g kencur or galangal, washed, skin removed, chopped      ) a paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar                                                                                                )
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 pairs kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 250g freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add sliced beans and cook for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander, rinse under running water to stop the cooking, let the beans drain.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil, drop in sliced cabbage, cook for 4 minutes, drain into a colander, set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add ground spice mixture and kaffir leaves. On medium heat, stir fry for about 5 minutes, don’t let it burn. Add the grated coconut and stir to coat it with the spice mixture, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, give the mixture another stir. Remove and discard the kaffir lime leaves.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly toss the winged beans, cabbage  and coconut mixture before serving. Good with rice and other dishes.

Recipe from The Straits Times, pix off the web. Tried it, came out well.

When in Vancouver …

Crackers a la Tenaz – pre-wine, from what’s available in the fridge and garden, and on the table

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Crisp herb crackers, topped with a garlic cheese spread, sprinkled with mixed nuts and chia seeds, then layered with a slather of spicy red pepper jelly (so good, so fresh from the farms and greenhouses of Fraser Valley) and topped with a bright sprig of mint (so green and minty, it has to be the air of British Columbia).

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IMG_5820A lovely end to a gorgeously cold and sunny day.