Prawn and tamarind curry (Chemmeen vevichathu)

27 Jan

Prawn and tamarind curryimage
Watching Saturday kitchen last weekend, Indian Michelen stared chef Atul Kochhar served up his prawn and tamarind curry that comes from the Keralan area of India.
I just had to make and share. when I make a curry it has to be from scratch, none of those pre made pastes that can be bought, making your own releases amazing heady aromas that fill float around the kitchen.

Ingredients
Serves 4 image

For the curry
1 seedless dried tamarind (about the size of a walnut)
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 shallots, chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger, peeled
15–20 curry leaves
20–24 medium prawns, head and shell removed, deveined
½ tsp palm sugar (optional), also known as jaggery
100ml/3½fl oz warm fish stock or water (optional)
salt

For the spice paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cinnamon stick (approximately 5cm/2in)
2 cloves
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 small dried red chilli
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp black pepperimage
To serve
Cooked basmati rice

Method


Preparation method
Soak the tamarind in 200ml/7fl oz water for 15-20 minutes.
For the spice paste, put all of the ingredients in a blender with 4-5 tablespoons of water. Blend to a paste.
For the curry, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until you hear them pop, then add the fenugreek seeds and shallots. Cook until the shallots are light brown in colour.
Add the green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Season with salt. Cook over a medium heat for 3–5 minutes.image
Mix in the spice paste, cook for 5 minutes or until light brown in colour. Stir in the prawns and palm sugar.
Add the tamarind and its soaking liquid. Cook for 10–12 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, stir in 100ml/3½fl oz fish stock or hot water.
Spoon the curry into bowls and serve with the rice alongsideimage
For more info call or mail: 0031 (0)642297107 simon.bingham@simons-sauces.comimage

Pollo alla Cacciatora servito con erbe e parmigiano polenta, hunters chicken served with a herb and parmesan polenta

18 Jan

Pollo alla Cacciatora servito con erbe e parmigiano polenta, hunters chicken served with a herb and parmesan polenta
image
Pollo alla Cacciatori (Hunter’s Chicken) is found across Northern Italy, with many variations. My version uses meaty bone-in chicken thighs, drumsticks and is full of onions, olives, garlic and tomatoes.
Ingredients
Serves 4

4 x free range chicken thighs and 4 x drumsticks skin on
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large onion
6 cloves garlic, peeled (3crushed, 3sliced)
500 ml red wine
flour, for dustingimage
extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp capers
I handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
1 handful green or black olives, stoned
1 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes.

Method


1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed cloves of garlic and cover with the wine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
3. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off any excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.

4. Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic and onions. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, capers, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

When cooked taste and add the chopped parsley and little salt and pepper if necessary, and serve with a salad, pasta, some cannellini beans or as I do with creamy herb and parmesan polenta , garnish with chopped parsley

Polenta image
An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy. Where once it was just a humble peasant food, polenta has emerged as a versatile, fine-dining-style. It’s made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has a rich yellow, yolk-like colour, and has a slightly sweet flavourPolenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and then sliced. Serve it instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. Use in place of breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish when frying.

Ingredients

Serves 4
150ml milk
½ tsp salt
150g coarse cornmeal
50g butter
25g grated parmesan (optional)
1tsp chopped flat leaf parsleyimage

1. Put the milk in a large, heavy-based pan along with 600ml water and the salt, and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, measure out the cornmeal and put it near the hob.

2. When the pan comes to the boil, add the cornmeal, letting it run in thin streams through your fingers, whisking continuously. Stir for a minute or two until it thickens.

3. Turn the heat right down and stir well, roughly every 4-5 minutes to prevent it sticking, for about 35-45 minutes, until the polenta begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Stir in the butter, parsley and cheese, if using, then put on a hot serving dish.
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For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call
: simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0031 (0)642297107
image

Coconut mackerel curry with lemon rice

28 Dec

Coconut mackerel curry with lemon rice


This delicious curry from Chennai, packed of flavours that are then tamed by the coconut. Mackerel is very popular southern India and is used regularly in coconut curries with tamarind to balance the flavours. Cut it into steaks as these keep the fish together and the bones add flavour to the gravy. Serve with lemon rice – nothing else is needed.
Mackererel curry

INGREDIENTSimage

2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
15g garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
8g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4-1 1/2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 tablespoon coriander powderimage
350ml water
450-500g whole mackerel, cleaned and cut into steaks 2.5cm thick
3-5 green chillies, left whole
1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste, or to taste
250ml coconut milk
salt, to tasteimage
METHOD

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the fenugreek, cumin seeds and 10 of the curry leaves and fry for 10 seconds. Add the onions and cook for about 6–8 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, puree together the tomatoes, garlic and ginger and powdered spices. Add to the pan and cook for 8–10 minutes over a high heat or until you can see little droplets of oil on the sides of the masala. Add a splash of water at any point, if necessary.
Add the water, bring to a boil and then add the fish, green chillies and remaining curry leaves. Bring back to the boil and cook for 3–4 minutes. Stir in most of the tamarind paste but leave a little to add later. Once the fish is cooked, add the coconut milk. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasoning and sourness (adding the remainder of the tamarind paste if necessary) and add more water if you prefer a thinner curryimage
Lemon rice

This South Indian dish goes well with seafood and vegetables. Curry leaves are used frequently in this part of India. When you find a fresh bunch, put them to dry on a towel on top of the boiler, then place them in an airtight jar to use as needed.<img src="https://simonssauces.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/image2.jpg?w=300" alt="image
Ingredients
image

2½ tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
pinch fenugreek seeds
1 tsp split chana dal (also called Bengal gram lentils)
1 tsp split black gram (also called urad dal or black lentil)
2-3 dried red chillies, left whole
1 rounded tsp chopped fresh ginger
¼ tsp ground turmeric
4 tbsp roasted peanuts
10 curry leaves, torn in half
salt, to taste
3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
350g/12oz freshly cooked basmati rice

Preparation method
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds, the chana dal, black gram and the chillies and stir fry until lightly browned.
Add the ginger, ground turmeric, peanuts, curry leaves and salt, to taste, and cook for about 40 seconds.
Stir in the lemon juice and cook for another minute before adding the rice. Stir fry to heat through, being careful not to break up the grains too much.
To serve, place the rice onto serving plates. imageimage
For more info don’t hesitate to contact me; simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com

Spaghetti with artichoke and anchovy

23 Dec

This is a dish I’ve loved for so long! Simple and delicious easy and self seasoning. It can be as a mid week meal or jazzed up for a dinner party.

Ingredients
375gr spagettini, cooked according to the instruction and drained, al dente please!
1 fennel bulb sliced if you can’t get don’t worry
I large sliced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped.
6 anchovies
Enough cherry tomatoes or normal tomatoes chopped ( a hand full per person )
olive oil
A spoon of capers
A spoon of black olives
A hand full of chopped basil
A hand full of chopped parsley
A handful of breadcrumbs
Grated Parmesan or other hard cheese to serve.

Method:
1,Heat a wide shallow saute pan, add a bit of olive oil and pan fry the breadcrumbs until golden then add the parsley and set aside until u serve

2, In a pan heat olive oil add onion and fennel cook until soft.

3, Add the garlic, tomatoes, olives, capers and the anchovies to the pan, add more olive oil if necessary.cook until just hot and the the anchovies have slightly melted.

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The Artichoke and my “tagliatelle with artichoke and black summer truffles”

21 Jul 20140721-155633-57393558.jpg

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Artichoke facts.
Technically, an artichoke is a flower. In full growth, an artichoke plant can spread nine feet in diameter and stand five feet tall, and one plant can produce over 20 artichokes a year.

Artichokes are a significant source of vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium. Virtually fat-free, the artichoke weighs in at 25 calories (per medium artichoke) and is low in sodium.

Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to humans

The artichoke is a perennial thistle that originated in the Mediterranean.

The artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed.20140721-152616-55576405.jpg
The first mention of artichokes in literature was around 40-70 AD in The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides, a book on the medicinal uses of plants.

The Greeks and Romans considered them to be an aphrodisiac.

Until the 16th century, women were prohibited from eating them in many countries because they were still considered to have aphrodisiac properties.

King Henry II’s wife, Catherine de Medici, introduced the artichoke to France in the 16th century . She said, “If one of us had eaten artichokes, we would have been pointed out on the street. Today young women are more forward than pages at the court.”

Artichokes were introduced to England by the Dutch in the 1500s.

They were brought to the United States in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants.

The top artichoke producers today are Spain, France, and Italy.

California produces 100% of the United States artichoke crop, with Castroville, California calling itself the “Artichoke Center of the World.”

In 1947 Marilyn Monroe, then still going by her given name Norma Jean, was crowned Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen.

Artichoke preparation.

1. Fill a bowl with cold water, then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and add some lemon slices. Have a halved lemon to hand to rub over the cut edges of the artichoke as you prepare it. The lemon juice will prevent the artichoke from oxidising and turning brown.

2. Pull off the tough, dark green outer leaves of the artichoke. Continue until you’re left with the light tender leaves in the centre, then rub all over with the halved lemon.

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3. Slice off the top 2cm of the remaining artichoke leaves. Trim the stalk, leaving about 2.5cm, and rub the cut surface with the lemon.

4. Use a small knife to trim the remaining dark green skin from around the base of the artichoke and the top of the stalk, rubbing with lemon as you go. Trim to give a neat shape and flat bottom.

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5. Halve the artichoke lengthways to expose the fibrous choke in the centre. Rub with lemon juice, then use a teaspoon (or a grapefruit spoon if you have one) to scoop out the choke from each half. Pull out the tough, spiky red leaves from the centre and rub again with lemon. Put the prepared artichoke hearts in the bowl of lemony water until you are ready to cook them.

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Tagliatelle with artichoke and black summer truffles. Tagliatelle con carciofi e tartufo nero estivo

Ingredients
Serves 2

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2 globe artichokes prepared and sliced ( see my tip for perpetration )
2 tbsp olive oil
I medium onion or banana shallot
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper
250g tagliatelle pasta fresh or dried it’s up to you
75g parmesan half grated and the rest as shavings ( a potato peeler is fantastic for this )
25g toasted pine-nuts
50g/1¾oz fresh black truffle

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Slice the prepared artichokes in half and cut into fine slices.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the artichoke onion and garlic for two minutes.

Add four tablespoons of water, cover with a lid and cook for four minutes, or until the artichokes are tender.

When the artichokes are cooked, add the parsley and cream and season with salt and pepper.

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Meanwhile In a pan of boiling salted water, cook the tagliatelle until al dente. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the tagliarini to the frying pan containing the artichokes.

Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water and half of the grated parmesan to the frying pan. Toss well and grate a little truffle into the pasta.

Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Toss again so the truffle is absorbed into the sauce.
Serve in hot bowls with more truffle slices, toasted pine-nuts and the remaining parmesan shavings on top.

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For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call
: simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0031 (0)642297107

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Lamb shank tagine with herb tabbouleh

22 Apr 20140422-162234.jpg

Tagine is the Moroccan word that refers to both the unique glazed earthenware vessel with a distinctive conical lid and also the food prepared in it.

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Traditionally used by nomads throughout Northern Africa Tagines are primarily used to slow-cook savory stews and vegetable dishes over charcoal braziers . Because the domed or cone-shaped lid of the tagine traps steam and returns the condensed liquid to the pot, a minimal amount of water is needed to cook meats and vegetables to buttery-tenderness. This method of cooking is very practical in areas where water supplies are limited

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Harissa paste
This is a fiery North African paste that is orangey-red in colour. It’s a mixture of peppers, dried red chillies, garlic, caraway seeds, ground cumin and coriander, tomato purée, salt and olive oil. It can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in cooking and provides a real boost as an accompaniment to vegetables and pulses.

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Ras el Hanout
Ras el hanout, which translates literally as “head of the shop”, originated in the Meghribi villages of North Africa. It is a complex and distinctive mix of about 20 to 27 spices and herbs, the quantities of which vary according to the maker. Specific quantities are a much guarded secret from one spice shop to the next, and blending is considered an art. Ras el hanout is used with poultry, meat, game, rice and couscous. It can be found already mixed, like in specialty stores

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My Lamb shank tagine with herb tabbouleh

This slow-cooked lamb stew with Moorish ingredients: ras-el-hanout, harissa paste, saffron, olives, dried apricots, pomegranates, pistachios and plenty of herbs provide the exotic flavours.Ingredients:
30 mins to 1 hour preparation time
Over 2 hours cooking time
Serves 4

For the lamb tagine:
4 lamb shanks
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 tsp ras-el-hanout
2 tbsp harissa paste
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp saffron
350ml/12fl oz chicken stock
125g/4½oz stoneless dried apricots, halved
110g/3¾oz green olives, stones removed
100g/3½oz flaked almonds, leave a few for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tabbouleh:
175g/6oz bulgur wheat , I like to use the corse type
350ml/12fl oz chicken stock
1 small red onion, finely chopped
350g/12oz pistachio nuts, shells removed, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 pomegranate, seeds only
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
To serve
2 tbsp coriander cress

1. For the lamb shank tagine , preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

2. Heat a large tagine pan or a large ovenproof dish. Season the lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil and, once hot, fry the lamb shanks all over until golden-brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

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3. In the same pan you used to fry the shanks, add the onion and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the ras-el-hanout, harissa, cinnamon sticks, ground ginger, smoked sweet paprika, ground cumin, freshly ground black pepper and ground turmeric and cook for a further two minutes

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4. Add the lamb shanks back to the pan and stir well, then add all of the remaining tagine ingredients – except a few of the flaked almonds for garnish.

5. Reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid and cook in the oven for two hours, or until the lamb is tender.

6. Remove the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the tagine is slightly thickened.

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7. For the tabbouleh, place the bulgur wheat into a pan with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes over a low heat. When the bulgur wheat is tender, drain off the excess stock.

8. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, and then transfer the bulgur wheat to a bowl. Add the red onion, pistachios, lemon juice and zest, pomegranate, olive oil and herbs and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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9. To serve, divide the tabbouleh among four serving plates, and then spoon the lamb shank tagine alongside. Chop the coriander cress and sprinkle over the tagine along with the flaked almonds.

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For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call
simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0031(0)642297107

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Octopus and my warm braised octopus salad

27 Mar Afbeeldingjjjj 038

Octopus and my warm braised octopus salad20140327-150735.jpgWhat is an Octopus?

Octopuses are cephalopods similar to squid (also called calamari) and
are considered seafood with some of the properties of fish, but with
an entirely different taste and texture. The most commonly eaten part
is the arms, and sometimes the mantle (head area). Small octopuses are
eaten whole. Octopus is a common ingredient in sushi, as well as fish
soups and pastas, and is occasionally eaten live, as well as fried,
boiled, baked, grilled and so forth. Older, larger octopuses can be
tough if they are not prepared properly.
20140327-150840.jpgThe Health Benefits of Octopuses

Octopus is a low calorie, lean seafood, making it a good way to get
protein in your diet without adding too much fat. There are
approximately 140 calories per 3 oz. (85g) of octopus, with only 1.8g
of fat. Octopus is a very good source of iron, which is a common
deficiency leading to weakness, fatigue and anemia.

Octopus is also a source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus and
selenium. It provides several important vitamins including vitamin C,
vitamin A and several B vitamins, as well as some omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 is an important nutrient, which may decrease the chances of
heart disease, as well as cancer and depression. It also seems to
boost the immune system and aid in brain development in children.Afbeeldingjjjj 039Octopus also contains taurine, which is an organic acid that acts as
an antioxidant, and may protect against some of the stressful effects
of exercise. Taurine is also suspected to help prevent heart disease,
some studies have also linked it with improved blood sugar levels.

My warm braised octopus salad recipe

Ingrediënts
Serves 4Afbeeldingjjjj 013
Octopus salad
1 onion
2 carrots
6 tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 knob of butter
100 ml of white wine
500 ml of Fish stock
1 kg fresh octopus
freshly ground black pepperAfbeeldingjjjj 002Vinaigrette
2 shallots
75 ml of red wine vinegar
150 ml of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp English mustardAfbeeldingjjjj 003To plate
purple sprouting broccoli spears
1 kg new potatoes cooked
20 g of capers
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon
1/2 lemon
Sea Salt

Method
1.
To make this octopus recipe, begin by chopping the onion and carrots,
quarter the tomatoes and crush the garlic.
2.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, stir in the
vegetables and fry gently, without colouring, for about 5 minutes or
until softened.
3.
Pour in the wine. Increase the heat to high and boil until the wine
has reduced to about a teaspoon of liquid, then pour in the fish
stock. Bring to a simmer.Afbeeldingjjjj 011
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4.
Clean the octopus, and remove tentacles from the prepared body (your
fishmonger can do this for you).
5.
Once the pan is simmering, add the octopus. Reduce the heat to low and
simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the octopus is tender.
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6.
Strain the contents of the pan through a sieve into a bowl and leave
the collected cooking liquor and octopus to cool.
7.
When the octopus is cool enough to handle, slice across the body into
2 cm-thick strips and set aside.
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8.
To make the vinaigrette, finely chop the shallots and place in a bowl
with the vinegar.
9.
Measure out 75 ml of the reserved cooking liquor, add to the bowl and
leave to stand for 30 minutes.
10.
into the shallot mixture
whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt.
11.
Pour about half the vinaigrette into a small saucepan and warm very
gently over a low heat – do not let it boil. Add the sliced octopus and heat through for 2/3 mins
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12.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water.
13.
Add the purple sprouting broccoli and simmer for a further 2 minutes,
until just tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.
14.
Chop the tarragon and add to the broccoli, cooked potatoes and capers.
15.
Gently stir in the warm vinaigrette and octopus.
16.
Add lemon juice to taste and season with sea salt and black pepper
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17.
Spoon the octopus salad onto serving plates and serve with the
remaining vinaigrette in a jug on the side
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For more info dont hesitate to mail or call
simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0031(0)642297107
Afbeeldingjjjj 036

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