Poached Salmon with Lemongrass and Sauvignon

Given the insipid colour poached food usually turns it had never appealed to me, but I was happy to discover that this dish is most certainly the fastest for fish I have ever used or created, and it is light, healthy and delicious.  A little homage to my homeland is in the Sauvignon, and an homage to my childhood living in Asia in the lemongrass.

What I particularly love about poaching fish (speaking like an old pro now) is that it won’t stink out your house, and when it comes to cooking salmon, that earns huge brownie points in my household.

  •  2 Salmon Fillets
  • 2/3 Cup Sauvignon Blanc (or any white wine)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs chopped lemongrass
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil for serving

In a small saucepan heat the wine, garlic, lemongrass, salt and spring onions until just simmering. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and lay the fillets snugly in the pan. Cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes.

Slide the salmon fillets on to a plate and spoon over with some of the lemongrass and spring onion pieces. Season well with more salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh basil over the top of the fish.

You can serve this on it’s own and then serve a large salad to follow, or serve with green vegetables, roast vegetables, or on a bed of kale.

 

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OMG Parmesan Crusted Chicken

My husband loves, adores and pretty much worships schnitzels. Sadly for him, I find them too heavy most of the time so have never cooked them for him. However, having decided to put my gluten/wheat free existance aside for this meal…I can tell you that this much healthier version of chicken schnitzel is to die for. So yummy in fact, that I just had another one for breakfast! This meal takes less than 10 minutes to prep and only 20 to cook so a very handy mid-week option.

  • 50gm grated parmesan cheese
  • 5-6 chicken breasts
  • 80gm croutons (herb/plain) crushed to a breadcrumb size
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 220 celsius. combine the olive oil and garlic and lightly heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. This warms up the oil a little to bring out the garlic flavour. On a separate plate combine the crushed croutons, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

With a rolling pin, flatten out the chicken breasts so they are all about 1cm thick. (You can cover the breasts with cling film then just bash them….naughty little chicken). Dip each breast in the olive oil to coat it, and then dip the breast into the crouton mix to coat evenly. Do this for each breast and lay them all on a foil-lined oven tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then turn each piece, and bake for another 10.

Serve hot with a colourful salad and enjoy!!

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Whitebait Fritters – Kiwi Style

Whitebait fritters in New Zealand are a classic, something your grandmother used to make, something your parents grew up on, something they still serve in the best cafes in town for breakfast. New Zealand whitebait are tiny little fish, unlike the much larger mediterranean style whitebait found in Europe. These miniature little morsels are so delicate, and very subtle in flavour. They taste anything but “fishy”, which suits my palate perfectly..and…they can be caught in the stream behind your beach-house, or bought from the fish-shop in little punnets.

Rob (my hubby) had a hankering for whitebait fritters when we were home recently, so when down in Napier visiting his grandparents, I got to work. Nanni had procured 2 x 250gm punnets of extraordinarily fresh, perfect little whitebait for me.

Because the flavour and texture of these fish is so delicate, I didn’t want to add much to the fritter, so kept them VERY basic, and they were to die for!!! I wanted 100 more, but was certainly full of little fishies once we were finished.

  • 500gm super fresh shiny Whitebait
  • 2 eggs
  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges for serving

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and then gently combine the whitebait into the mixture. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Heat some butter in a frying pan and when it is starting to bubble add small dollops of the mixture. These take NO time to cook, so stand by and turn them once they are just set on the back. Once flipped cook next side until you have a tiny golden brown fritter. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon and sprinkle with a salt and pepper. YUM YUM YUM.

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Ginger & Lime Chicken Patties

I know I know, it has been a while since I posted a recipe! I have been very busy eating though and rest assured, have been cooking up a storm so watch this space!!! Time to play catch-up on my posting. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break. I was fortunate enough to spend the past month with family in both New Zealand and Australia. Some of the upcoming recipes will reflect that time.

Like most people…I spent a LOT of time eating and entertaining over the holiday period. These little Ginger & Lime Chicken Patties are subtle and delectable, as always they are healthy and quick and easy to prepare. You can make them smaller and serve with a toothpick as a party snack.

  • 800-900gm chicken mince
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or finely chopped fresh chili)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free)
  • coconut oil
  • extra lime wedges for serving

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Heat some coconut oil in a pan. Create small chicken patties in your hand and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the chicken is just cooked through and lightly golden on each side.

Serve with fresh lime wedges and salad. You can drizzle a little tamari over the cooked patties when plated to give them a little more zing!

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Fresh Tuna Steak Nicoise Salad with Herb Dressing

I felt like something clean for dinner last night, and light too, because I had managed to eat pretty much my bodyweight in eggs, bacon and sausages at brunch. However, it was cold and foggy outside so I also wanted something hot…?

Solution! Fresh tuna steaks on salad! This was truly and utterly just so yummy that I am sort of salivating a little bit just writing about it. There is only one thing I would change in what I did, and that would be to make more of the marinade/dressing because as it was I  had to lick the bowl. So to prevent any of you looking like crazed labradors in your kitchen, I have doubled it here already.

This is so easy, and also complete in terms of nutrition that it is a sure fire winner. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think.

Serves 2:

  • 10 baby potatoes
  • 4 heaped tbs chopped basil
  • 4 heaped tbs chopped coriander
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon angelsea salt/rock salt/maldon salt
  • large pile of baby leaf salad mix (or baby spinach or rocket)
  • 5 medium cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 anchovy fillets, roughly torn
  • handful of mixed olives
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • small handful of marinated red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 thick cut tuna steaks (about 1 inch wide each)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • large handful green beans

Wash the little potatoes and slice them each in half. Cover in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

While these are roasting, combine the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and chopped basil and coriander and salt. Add some cracked pepper and set half of it aside. Add the tuna steaks to the other half and turn them around to coat them in the marinade. Set aside on the bench. (you will notice that lemon juice will immediately start ‘cooking’ the tuna. if you have a super fresh piece  and feel like some carpacio, you can slice a few slivers, as thinly as your sharpest knife will allow and eat them as is…truly delicious!)

In a saucepan, put 2-3 eggs in water and bring to the boil. For soft-boiled eggs, once it is boiling, leave them for 6 minutes, (to set the yolk but it still be soft go for eight minutes) then rinse with cold water.

Combine the salad mix, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, parsley, red onion, marinated peppers, and avocado. Wash and trim the green beans and either microwave them for 1 minute, then cover them with water and ice (to retain their crisp green colour and texture) or sautee them in a small frying pan until just cooked. Once they are cooled, add them to the salad.

When your potatoes are 5 minutes away from being done, get a grill plate to hot and brush with a little olive oil. Scrape the excess marinade from the tuna steaks and sear them on each side for about 1-2 minutes. Slice the tuna steaks with the grain into thick strips and coat with the original marinade. Place the fish on top of the salad and crack black pepper over everything.

Place the hot potatoes around the salad and slice up the soft egg and add it to the mix. Using the marinade that was set aside, drizzle this over the salad and serve.

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All-In Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry

Stir-frys are what I used on to live on when I was at drama-school. They are quick and easy and so full of goodness. A great way to use up left-over vegetables you have in the fridge, and as the rain buckets down around me in London, they are a warming and welcome meal.

I will list exactly what I put in this stir-fry, but as the title suggests, this is an all-in vegetable medley! Don’t get fussy about what you put in, just make sure there is lots of colour. I love Kale, and it is one of the best foods for you on the planet, so I try and use it wherever I can and it works beautifully to add colour to a meal like this one. The enoki mushrooms become almost like noodles when cooked and will give it a real asian feel. Speaking of noodles, I don’t use any in stir-frys, nor did we use any rice, just mountains of veggies and protein! This quantity made 4 huge portions (for 2 dinners in a row), but if you used noodles or rice to accompany, this amount would easily feed 8!

  • 3 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Tamari
  • 1 Tbs Oyster Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole red chili, finely chopped (seeds too)
  • approx 3 inches of root ginger, sliced julienne
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • approx 20 mushrooms (2 punnets, I used baby portobello and button)
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 bag of kale
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 large chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 bundle enoki mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • Large handful roughly chopped coriander
Chop and prepare all the vegetables and slice the chicken. Heat the coconut oil in a wok. Throw in the garlic, onion and chicken. Cook for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Add in the rest of the ingredients except the kale and stir fry! Constantly move the food around in the wok so that it is all cooked evenly. When the chicken is almost done, throw in the kale and mix it through until it just wilts. Remove from the heat and serve immediately!

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Pea & Ham Soup

As the cold sets in here in London, so too does my desire for comfort food. Homemade soups are a great option because you can control exactly what goes in them, they are quick and warming on a cold evening. They also freeze wonderfully so make plenty.

For this recipe I used ham-hock pieces which were delicious. Basically pulled ham pieces off the bone.

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 200gm ham hock pieces
  • 750gm frozen garden peas
  • 2 large pinches of rock salt
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 250ml water
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • toasted pumpkin seeds (sprinkle for serving)
  • flat leaf parsley (for serving)
Lightly toast some pumpkin seeds in a small frying pan (no oil). Add salt and pepper and heat them until they are browned and they swell and pop. Set aside to cool.
In a large soup pot heat some olive oil and saute the minced garlic, leek and red onion. When the onion has browned and is nearly transperant, add the chopped chilli, thyme leaves and 100gm of the ham hock pieces. Add lots of freshly ground black pepper and the pinches of salt.
When nicely browned, pour over the stock and water and add the peas. Add the bay leaves and simmer gently. Add 2 tbs of the red wine vinegar. Either transfer the contents of the soup to a food preocessor to blend or using a hand-held blender stick pulse the soup. Leave it with a little texture. Add the final tbs of vinegar and more cracked pepper.
Keep on a gentle heat (if it is too hot or you cook it for too long the peas will turn a brown colour and the soup can look a bit muddy). Meanwhile, in a small frying pan toss around the remaining 100gm ham pieces until they have browned.
Serve the soup in heated bowls and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds, flat leaf parsley and pieces of the browned ham. Crack pepper and salt over the bowl and serve immediately.

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