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.

 

Back To Business

Hello hello hello,

I hope you are all doing fabulously. Yes there has been an extreme hiatus at Elisa’s Table, and no, it is not for lack of recipes or new taste concoctions! In fact, I have been more immersed in the world of food and taste and all things culinary in the past months than ever before in my life. Over the past 18months I have been working hard behind the scenes to create new healthy recipes for my first Cook Book, and I am fast approaching completion! Over 90 recipes later, I thought it was time to start sharing some of them with you again! 

Food Writing has taken a larger focus in my life of late too, so as I publish more and more articles and reviews, I will endeavor to post the links to various publications on Elisa’s Table too.

But let’s get back to business! FOOD, quick, healthy and delish. Here is one to get you going again.

 

Mustard Soy Pork

1tbs ketjap manis

2tbs soy sauce

½ juice lime

2 cloves garlic minced

½ tbs grain mustard

salt

4-6 pork chops

coconut oil for cooking

 

Mix all the ingredients together (except coconut oil) in a marinating dish and add the pork. Marinade for 30 mins-24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 mins before cooking.

Heat some coconut oil in a pan and cook the chops turning once until just cooked through. They can be a tiny pink in the middle. Serve with a big green salad or green vegetables. Great with butternut/sweet potato mash, and even better when grilled on the bbq! You may like to serve with a wedge of lime too.

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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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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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Bacon & Egg Pie

Semi final time for the Rugby World Cup and I was surrounded by people cheering for the Wallabies. I decided to cook us all a hot breakfast to enjoy at half time and ease any trans-tasman tension in my living room! As it turned out, the All Blacks wiped the floor with them, so it was great morning for me on many fronts! The game was on at 9am in London so our friends and their little 2 year old girl had a sleep over and we all enjoyed the game, coffee and this fabulous breakfast meal this morning.

Bacon & Egg pie is easy to find in New Zealand, most cafes sell it and it is an old-fashioned but tasty lunch option throughout the country. This version is one I stole from my mother (amazing cook), and have adapted slightly. She used to make it for boating picnic lunches and it is SO YUMMY, easy to make, and packed full of goodness. Great hot or cold so make plenty.

I don’t own a pie dish, so made mine in a casserole dish but this works perfectly every time. As you will have noticed from my posts I dont shy away from quantity…so this one was a good size, feel free to halve the recipe for smaller pie dishes or for 2 people. This recipe feeds 6 hungry adults.

  • 3-5 spring onions, sliced
  • 200gm grated cheddar (sharp and tangy is best)
  • 5 large mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), sliced
  • large handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • handful or marinated red peppers
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • 8-10 rashers of shoulder bacon, trimmed of fat and chopped in large pieces
  • Filo pastry (or shortcrust pastry)
  • 12 eggs
Heat the oven to 200 celsius. Lightly grease the pie dish/casserole dish with olive oil on the base and sides. Line the bottom and sides of the dish with pastry sheets (I use filo and keep it pretty thin, like 2 sheets). Sprinkle the base with the grated cheese and spring onions. Crack the eggs directly on top of this so that the yolks don’t break up. Salt and pepper.
Lay out the sliced mushrooms, next layer zuccini, next layer marinated peppers, top with the bacon pieces and finally the slices of tomato on the top. You can add more cheese here if you like, but I kept ours pretty healthy. Crack fresh pepper over the tomato and lay a few sheets of pastry on the top. Tuck the edges in and seal to the other sheets of pastry using a dab of olive oil. Lightly brush the top of the pie with olive oil and place it in the oven.
Cook for 60 minutes. If you use a half quantity or a wider, flatter dish, you should check it after 35 minutes as it will likely be done.To check, make a small slice in the pie and give it a little jiggle, if there is any liquid running around you need to keep cooking. (It continues to set after you take it out of the oven, but you don’t want anything runny).
Leave it to sit for a few minutes and then slice it up and serve with a little more cracked pepper. If you want to serve this at a party as a canape, slice it in to small squares when it is completely cooled and serve cold!

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To make this recipe Paleo, omit the cheese and the pastry. Grease the dish with more oil to avoid it sticking and put it in the bottom tray of the oven so the tomato doesn’t burn. Or just use the pastry but peel it off! 

 

Fennel and Orange Salad

When I was in Cinque Terre recently, I ate fennel almost every day. Not because I ordered it, but the Italians use it liberally and in so many ways, it seemed to sneak on to my plate no matter what style of dish I ordered. I had no complaint with this, and loved it appearing cooked as a side of grilled vegetables along with some carrots, or semi-glazed and to accompany fish, or freshly sliced and a core ingredient in a salad. It has such a unique and distinctly aniseedy flavor. If you like licorice, chances are you will also like fennel.

My first real experience with Fennel was when I stayed with a girlfriend’s Italian family in Melbourne in my early twenties. Her mum, being a true Italian, tried to feed me constantly, and she seemed delighted that I was such a willing subject to her culinary hospitality. I had fried bananas for breakfast, homemade cannelloni at Nona’s, eggplant this and that…olive oil on everything. The jars of olive oil in her house were those huge commecial tins…which she poured out over the food…delicious. But I digress, fennel….one of the things that stayed with me longest because of it’s simplicity and fresh summer flavor, was her orange and fennel salad, which is why I decided to replicate it for the Italian night.

  • 1-2 large fennel bulbs
  • 1-2 oranges
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Good Olive oil
Wash and finely slice the fennel bulbs, discarding the pointy shoots that may be protruding from the bulb. Cut the skin from the orange and either cut into segments or slice in rounds. Gently mix together the orange and fennel and toss lightly with both olive oil and balsamic just before serving. You could also add salt and pepper if you like.

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