Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 15th, 2007

It still feels a bit like summer time here so enjoying the fresh salads and sweet corn as much as we can. I keep hearing this talk of food miles and carbon foot prints and all the damage we are doing to our environment. So I have decided to buy some things from the farm shop a bit more. The food there is mostly local and I will be doing my little bit for the local economy and environment. Although I will still need to do a grocery store shop for some things. And tonight I ordered my garden kit for next year. Now to get the seeds. So keep an eye out for info on my grow my own veg...

This is a rather quick and easy supper but is packed full of flavours. First take a chicken breast for each person and marinate in a dash of olive oil and lemon with a tsp of grainy mustard and a tsp of honey. Let marinate at least an hour if possible.
Heat your grill(brolier) up to just below the max and cook the chicken about 6 to 8 minutes per side. Make sure it is cooked all the way through. Then pop on some mozzarella cheese and under the grill till it browns. You can baste your chicken with a combination of honey and mustard. Take your same marinade type of ingredients and whisk together to make a dressing.(Don't use the marinade that contained the raw chicken). Take some salad leaves and choice of ingredients place on plate, top with chicken and drizzle with dressing. Here it is served with fresh corn on the cob. YUM!!!!

Monk Fish
Not only am I trying to do my little bit for the environment, but I am also trying to fix healthier meals for Hubby and myself. So that seems to include more fish in our diets. I have only had Monk Fish once or twice before when we have eaten out. I thought it was nice and not too fishy tasting for my liking. It is a rather meaty fish, but not meaty like tuna or swordfish. So I asked my fishmonger how to cook this new delicacy. His answer and it seems like his answer for anytime I ask how to cook a piece of fish is to pan fry or grill it. But he did mention wrapping it up in some parma ham first this time. So I bought a pack of Parma ham and got the monk fish out of the freezer.... Looked on the internet for a recipe or two, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I used a recipe I found on the BBC website and adapted this recipe from Tony Tobin Monkfish wrapped in Prosciutto

First take your parma ham and lay side by side. A packet of 5 slices will do two monkfish fillets. Sprinkle on some roughly chopped fresh sage leaves.

Next lay on your clean monk fish fillets. The recipes said to make sure they didn't have any membrane or skin on them. Luckily my fishmonger removed this for me as I wouldn't have known about this bit of information. Besides removing the membrane, he also removed the skin and then cut the fillets away from the bone. I am quite impressed with him so far and am enjoying new kinds of fish.

Next place the fish on the ham and wrap up. You can season with some black pepper if you like before wrapping.

Make sure your layers over lap.... Now heat a frying pan with a little olive oil to really hot and just sear on all sides for about 2 minutes. Next, place into the oven at 220C for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile I prepared some fried potatoes to go along with the fish(actually started them before the fish) and put together a salad. The sauce for this dish is really lovely and light....
Take 1/2 onion and chop fine, saute in a frying pan with a little olive oil until they become translucent. Add a crushed garlic clove and a handful of halved cherry tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste and a bit of double cream about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Reduce slightly. Right before serving tear some fresh basil leaves into the sauce.
Take another frying pan with just a sprinkling of oil ( I used a non stick pan) and some baby spinach leaves that have been washed and drained. And just wilt down.... Sprinkling of nutmeg and pepper.
To plate up
Place spinach on plate next to the fried potatoes. Monkfish on the spinach and then cover the fish with the sauce. Enjoy!!!!!

This was a first for Brian and he wasn't overly keen on the monkfish. I really liked this!!! And I am the chef soooooo guess who will be having monk fish when he has salmon. Wonder if I could get away with wraping salmon in parma ham.... hmmmm Comments on this are welcomed!!!
As I don't personally care for salmon, but Brian does.

Sourdough Week 3
Okay it has now been week 3 for Herman and he seems to be doing well, and I haven't killed him. I have remembered to stir him every day and say hello to him. And today was his feeding and clean house day.

Lots of air bubbles today!!! And still a very pleasant yeasty smell.

While we were in town yesterday I stopped by Holland and Barratts to pick up a few things like nuts and seeds. I have been looking for some rye flour for ages now and our super markets don't seem to be carrying it anymore. I really don't understand why.... is it that the farmers aren't growing rye anymore??? This does make me worry that possibly we are going to start missing out on a few key ingredients for future meals. It is like the story this past week of the poor Italians and their pasta. I can understand why the farmers are deciding not to plant certain crops and to plant others instead. But what is going to happen to our food in the future??? I still can't find Orzo anywhere in this town and I have looked everywhere I can think of. I guess our next trip to London I will have a look there. Talk about food miles!!!!

Anyway the recipe today was again done in the bread maker to the dough stage. I adapted a recipe from an Allinson Bread cookbooklet. It is for their Caraway Rye Bread.
Take 1 cup of sourdough starter and place in your bread pan
Add 100ml warm water
2 Tablespoons sunflower oil
1 to 2 tsp of sea salt
125 grams of strong white bread flour
200grams of rye flour
1 Tablespoon of carraway seeds
1 pkt of dried yeast
Placed in that order with the salt to one corner and the yeast in the middle. Turn the breadmachine to your dough setting and when done punch down and knead a bit longer. Then shape into an oblong loaf and cut three slashes in it. Let rise until doubled in size about 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Preheat oven to 190C. Brush loaf with water, milk, or an egg wash and sprinkle with seeds if desired. I went for sesamee seeds and water today. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until browned and hollow sounding when thumped. Let cool and then enjoy!!!!

The bread has come out quite dense and I think possibly I need to play around with the ingredients a bit more to get the air bubbles that are traditional with sourdough breads. But overall opinion in our house hold is this is a very nice loaf of bread!!!

As you may well have guessed, I enjoy playing around with new ingredients.(yeah I know food miles!!!) But when I was at the grocery I bought a packet of Farro in the Italian area of the store (a couple of small shelves dedicated to some gourmet goodies such as the likes of pate, and wasabi along with the Italian ingredients). I keep hoping I will see Orzo there. Anyway, this packet caught my eye and I wondered what on earth Farro was and how you go about cooking it. Apparently it is a whole wheat kernel of sorts. I am not real certain if it is spelt or not. But it looks a bit like puffed wheat that hasn't been puffed. So back to the internet I go in search of a recipe on how to use it. I think one of my Jamie Oliver cookbooks has a recipe for it too. Anyway after reading about it all, I decided today was the day and so I treated it pretty much like Aborio Rice and made a rissotto with it. So on went the boiling water and the big pan to heat the olive oil. And in goes a good couple of handfulls of farro into the hot oil. Just like the rice I decided to brown it a bit in the oil. Now from what I could tell, you don't want to leave this too long or it will catch and burn. So in goes some of the water.... It immediately starts soaking this up. So on goes the timer for 20 minutes so that I can judge about how long to cook it for. In go my herbs, oregano, thyme, pepper and some chopped garlic.... now for the veg (topping up all the while with the hot water which I have placed a chicken stock cube in, you could use homemade stock and it would be even better) Two stalks of celery chopped, 1 large carrot chopped, 1 small fennel bulb sliced, 1 onion chopped, a handful of sliced mushrooms and one small courgette sliced. The stockpan I have holds about a litre of liquid or maybe 1 1/2 litre, anyway it is nearly full when I start and by the time I am finished with rissotto it is empty. But with the farrow, don't put too much liquid in or you may end up with farrow soup. Mine was a bit soupy. Anyway, back to the cooking, I added the contents of a rinsed and drained can of Cannelli beans to the steamy mixture and then hunted in the fridge for some cheese and 1/2 a lemon that were ready to be used up. I grated a mix of red leister and a strong cheddar into the mix and one last check for seasoning. And then served up with some fresh grated parmesan and basil leaves and some cherry tomatoes. It was lovely. I didn't really notice a taste as my other ingredients had a very strong taste and so the farrow if it had a flavour was masked. The texture was similar to the Aborio rice, but slightly different. More like pearl barley.

The Farro will need some more experimentation I think. And I will definately be buying it again. But need to find it locally if possible...... Any local Farro farmers in Essex????


Valli said...

I am glad I visited your blog. So many wonderful recipes. I will look forward to reading more!!

Kelly-Jane said...

Your monkfish and bread look fabulous :)

I'm on the look out for farro, as haven't tried it but it sounds and looks good!

Cynthia said...

Pat, I feel as if I never want to cook fish again without wrapping it in bacon! Well in this case, parma ham!

I really love your food, it is always inspiring and offering ideas of things I can make to eat. Thank you1

Pat said...

Thanks everyone!!!!
Valli, I love your blog also lots of lovely recipes there too!!!

Kelly-Jane, thanks! I bought mine at Sainsburys. It is on the hidden goodies shelf if your store has one.

Cynthia, thanks!!! You have very interesting ingredients on your blog too!!! They inspire me to try new things.

wellunderstood said...

i'm so impressed with your bread project! very inspiring. i love seeing what's been going on in your kitchen!

Crafty Gardener said...

Hi Pat, just popping over for a visit to see what delicious meals you have been preparing. I've got a piece of beef in the slow cooker today so that we'll have a meal or two for in the week.
Your sour dough bread project is doing really well. Me, I cheat, and go to the farmer's market and buy it. It is home made, just not in my kitchen. :)

Cottage Smallholder said...

I love seeing how Herman's life is developing. Your bread is making my mouth water.

Pat said...

Thanks again all!!!
Thanks WU!!! I enjoy reading your blog too!!! And the breadmaking is fun!!

Thanks Linda, Oh but fresh is best!!! LOL Besides we have the added bonus of smelling it baking. Honest you should give it a try. Oh wish I could try your beef!!

Thanks Fiona!! It is fun giving the starter a name. LOL He seems to be doing really well. And the rye bread has turned out really nice!!!

Superchef said...

You have a very interesting blog!!! all the best for you veggie garden...looking forward to hearing more of that!!

Kelly-Jane said...

Thanks for the tip Pat, I'm going to have to go to Sainsbury's in the next couple of weeks!

Pat said...

Thanks Superchef and welcome to my Blog!!!!

Good luck Kelly-Jane in finding it. I am still on the search here for the Orzo. :)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I seem to be getting in a habit of writing a comment and then navigating away before I've published it. I love fish done like that.

Loving the sour dough stories. I'm working on the males of the house to get a starter going...

Pat said...

Amanda, no problem, Ohhhhh you just wait till the next Sourdough story!!!! I made cinnamon rolls today with it and can I say that there are only about 1/4 of them left now. A friend stopped by to sample them. The fish was really nice too!! Fixed a swordfish dish last night but didn't take photos. It didn't really look all that great, but man did it taste lovely!!!!!

Rhea said...

God, this food looks great. I love cinnamon. So that big ol' dusting of cinnamon looked divine.

Pat said...

Thanks Rhea!!!