Linguini with Mussels and Walnut Parsley Pesto

A Delia Smith recipe taken from the Radio Times many years ago.

Serves : 4

For me, Mussels are still a luxury food that cost very little money. I don’t think anything can match their exquisite, fresh-from-the-sea flavour. In this recipe every precious drop of mussel juice is used which gives a lovely concentrated flavour. Now that mussels come ready cleaned and prepared, it make the whole thing very simple and easy: all you have to do is put them in cold water, then pull off any beardy strands with a sharp knife, using them as soon as possible and discard any that don’t close tightly when given a sharp tap.

Ingredients:
900g (2 lb) mussels, cleaned and prepared
175g (6oz) linguini or other pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
175ml (6 fl oz) dry white wine
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

For the pesto:
10g ( ½ oz) walnuts, chopped
25g (1oz) curly parsley, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tblsp olive oil
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

To serve: 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Step One : First prepare the pesto: select a large pan that will hold the mussels comfortably, then in it heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the walnuts in the hot oil to get them nicely toasted on all sides – this will take 1-2 mins. Place the walnuts and any oil left in the pan into a liquidiser or food processor, add the parsley and garlic, the remaining tablespoon of oil and seasoning, then blend everything to make a puree.

Step Two : Next you need to deal with the mussels: heat the olive oil in the same pan that you sautéed the walnuts in, add the shallot and chopped garlic and cook these over a medium heat for about 5 mins or until they’re just soft. Now turn the heat up high, tip in the prepared mussels and add the wine and some salt and pepper. Put on a closely-fitting lid, turn the heat down to medium and cook the mussels for about 5 mins, shaking the pan once or twice or until they have all opened.

Step Three : During those 5 mins bring another large pan of salted water up to the boil. Then when the mussels are cooked, remove them from the heat and transfer them to a warm bowl using a slotted spoon and shaking each well so that no juice is left inside. Keep 8 mussels aside still in their shells, for a garnish. Then remove the rest from their shells and keep them warm, covered with foil in a low oven.

Step Four : Then place a sieve lined with muslin or gauze over a bowl and strain the mussel liquor through it. This is very important as it removes any bits of sand or grit that get lodged in the shells.

Step Five : Now it’s time to pop the pasta into the boiling water and put a timer on for 8 mins (some pasta might need 10 mins so follow the instructions on the packet). Then pour the strained mussel liquor back into the original saucepan and fast-boil to reduce it by about one third. After than turn the heat to low and stir in the pesto.

Step Six : Now add the shelled mussels to the pesto sauce and remove from the heat. As soon as the pasta is cooked, quickly strain it into a colander and divide it between two hot pasta bowls. Spoon the mussels and pesto over each portion, add the mussels in their shells and scatter over the parsley. Serve absolutely immediately with some well-chilled white wine.

Classic Fish Bisque

Serves : 6
Prep : 1 hour 20 min
Cook : 30 mins

Ingredients:
8oz/225g shrimps or prawns with shells on
2 bay leaves
1 leek, trimmed and sliced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
6 peppercorns
2oz/50g butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1oz/25g plain flour
2 tblsp/30ml tomato puree
3 tblsp/45ml dry sherry
8oz / 225g cod fillet, skinned
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tblsp/15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tblsp/45ml double cream
Salt and pepper

Croutons:
4 slices white bread
3 tblsp/45ml olive
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tblsp/30ml chopped fresh parsley
4 tblsp/90ml single cream

Step One : Peel the shrimps or prawns, reserving the shells and set aside. Place the shells in a large pan with the bay leaves, leek, celery, carrot and peppercorns. Pour over 1pt/600ml cold water and bring to boil. reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Step Two : Strain the stock through a sieve lined with muslin and set aside. Melt the butter in a large pan and fry the chopped onion very gently for about 10 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle over the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Step Three : Gradually pour the stock over the onion, stirring until thickened slightly. Stir in the tomato puree and dry sherry. Add the peeled shrimps or prawns. Cut the cod fillet into bite-sized cubes and add to the pan. cover and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.

Step Four : Stir in the cayenne and lemon juice. Allow to cool a little then liquidise in a food processor, in batches, until very smooth. Return to a rinsed out pan and stir in the cream and seasoning to taste. Heat through until almost boiling.

Step Five : To make the croutons, remove the crusts from the bread and cut into small squares. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add the cubes of bread and cook gently on both sides until just golden. Drain croutons on absorbent kitchen paper then toss in the chopped parsley.

Step Six : Spoon the fish bisque into warmed serving dishes, top with a few croutons and add a swirl of cream to serve.

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Smoked Haddock Fishcakes

Home-made fish cakes really are worth every minute spent making them.  For a change, try adding a few chopped cooked prawns to the basic mixture.

smoked haddock fish cakes

Makes :   10
Prep time :  30 minutes plus chilling
Cook time :  30 minutes

Ingredients:
450g (1 lb) floury potatoes
25g (1oz) butter
Salt and pepper
700g (1 1/2lb) smoked haddock fillet, skinned
100ml (4 fl oz) milk
125g (4oz) sweetcorn
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tblsp (30ml) each chopped fresh chives and parsley
Salt and pepper
50g (2oz) plain flour
2 eggs
125g (4oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tblsp (15ml) sunflower oil

Step One : Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, drain well.  Mash with the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Step Two : Meanwhile, poach the haddock fillet in the milk for about 10 minutes or until it begins to flake.  Drain and break up fillet into large pieces.

Step Three : Add the cooked fish, sweetcorn, grated lemon rind, chives, parsley, salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes.  Leave to cool.

Step Four : Shape the mixture into tend equal sized rounds.  Season the flour.  Dip each round into the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg, followed by the fresh white breadcrumbs to coat.  Chill until ready to cook.

Step Five : Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the fishcakes for about 3-4 minutes each side or until they are golden brown.  Keep warm in a low oven if cooking in batches.

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Thai-Steamed Snapper

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Dec 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami: Home-cooked recipes unlocking the magic of super-savory deliciousness by Laura Santtini.

Umami translates from the Japanese to mean ‘savoury deliciousness.’  Santtini says umami is, ‘the ultimate expression of flavour; the extra mouthful-ness that makes us say “mmmmm”, the taste that keeps on giving long after its fellow basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour and bitter – are spent.’

Brilliant for a dinner party, you can also use this versatile marinade for fish fillets.  This fish is ideal served with sticky Thai-style rice and a crisp green salad.

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

red snapper11 whole red snapper or other whole sustainable white fish (about 2kg), descaled, gutted and cleaned
4 limes (1 sliced)
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch of spring onions, topped and sliced (reserve tops for stuffing fish)
1 sweet potato, diced into thumbnail-sized pieces
2.5cm (1 in) piece of fresh ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
3 lemongrass stalks, outer skin removed and roughly chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded (keep the seeds of half a chilli only)
3 tblsp toasted sesame oil
4 tblsp fish sauce
3 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp brown sugar or palm sugar

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC (400oF) Gas 6.  Cut a piece of wide baking parchment twice the length of your fish.  Fold the parchment in half and then open it, placing one half on a baking tray.  Put the fish on the diagonal on the piece of parchment on the baking tray.

Step Two : Make slashes in the fish on the diagonal through the skin down to the bone on both sides.  Stuff the cavity with a few slices of lime, half the coriander and the tops of the spring onions.  Scatter sweet potato cubes and spring onion chunks around the fish.

Step Three : In a food processor, combine the rest of the coriander, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli and blitz into a paste.  Add the sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and the juice of the remaining 3 limes and blitz again.

Step Four : Rub this marinade all over the fish and fold the other half of the parchment over the fish, wrapping the edges over to close tightly.

Step Five : Cook in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  To test if the fish is cooked, remove from the oven and take a peek inside a corner of the parcel, but be careful because the steam will escape.  If the eye of the fish has turned white, this means your fish is cooked.

Step Six : Open the parcel and serve large chunks of fish on sticky Thai rice topped with a large spoonful of the cooking juices – that is where move of the umami is.

Light Seafood Tartlets

Recipe courtesy of Prima Magazine.

Quick to make and deliciously light to eat, these airy little tartlets are a perfect overture to a rich main course. Crisp layers of filo pastry hold a fluffy prawn and salmon filling, delicately flavoured with dill, chives and lime.

Serves : 8

Prep time : 20 mins    Cook time : 12 mins

seafood tartlets

Ingredients:
8 sheets filo pastry
2oz (50g) butter, melted
9 fl oz (275ml) hollandaise sauce
2 eggs, separated
4oz (125g) cooked peeled prawns
4oz (125g) smoked salmon trimmings, chopped
1 lime
1 tblsp (15ml) chopped fresh dill
1 tblsp (15ml) chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Step One : Preheat the oven to Mark 4 (350oF / 180oC) and place a baking sheet in the oven. Cut the pastry into 4in (10cm) squares and use it to line eight 4 in (10cm) flan tins. Overlap the pastry and butter between each layer.

Step Two : Place the hollandaise sauce in a bowl, add the egg yolks, prawns, salmon, grated rind of the lime, herbs and plenty of seasoning. Whisk the egg whites until they just stand in soft peaks and fold into the fish mixture using a large metal spoon. Divide between the tins.

Step Three : Place the tins on the hot baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes or until just set and golden brown.

Tip: For a vegetarian alternative, saute 8oz (225g) mushrooms in garlic butter and use them instead of the seafood. When using the mushrooms replace the fresh dill with tarragon.

Other seafood recipes can be found here …

Lobster Thermidor

Lobster Thermidor is a rich and delicious dish that is luxurious enough to serve at Christmas-time.  Serve one lobster per person as a main course or one filled shell each for a starter.

Ingredients:
Lobster Thermidor

2 live lobsters, about 675g (1 1/2 lb) each
20g (3/4 oz)butter
30ml (2 tblsp) plain flour
30ml (2 tblsp) brandy
120ml (4 fl oz) milk
90ml (6 tblsp) whipping cream
15ml (1 tblsp) Dijon mustard
lemon juice, salt and white pepper
grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
fresh parsley and dill, to garnish.

Serves: 2-4

Step One : Boil the lobsters in a large saucepan of salted water for 8-10 minutes.

Step Two : Cut the lobsters in half lengthways and discard the dark sac behind the eyes, then pull out the string-like intestine from the tail. Remove the meat from the shells, reserving the coral and liver, then rinse the shells thoroughly under running water and wipe dry. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Step Three : Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring until slightly golden. Pour in the brandy and milk, whisking vigorously until smooth, then whisk in the cream and mustard.

Step Four : Push the lobster coral and liver through a sieve into the sauce and whisk briskly to blend. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened. Season the sauce with salt, if needed, then add pepper and lemon juice.

Step Five : Preheat the grill. Arrange the lobster shells in a gratin dish or shallow flameproof baking dish.

Step Six : Stir the lobster meat into the sauce and divide the mixture evenly among the shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and grill until golden. Serve piping hot, garnished with fresh herbs.

Other lobster recipes can be found here …

Recipe from the Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

Oaty Fish Crumble

It’s hearty, satisfying and good for you!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 25 mins; Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) cod fillet, skinned
8oz (225g) smoked haddock fillet, skinned
1 tblsp (15ml) cornflour
1oz (25g) butter
1oz (25g) plain flour
½ pt (300ml) milk
5 fl oz (142ml) soured cream
2 tblsp (30ml) chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
3oz (75g) frozen peas
3oz (75g) frozen or canned sweetcorn
4oz (125g) cooked peeled prawns.

Topping:
4oz (125g) butter
3oz (75g) wholemeal plain flour
2oz (50g) porridge oats
2oz (50g) red Leicester cheese, grated

Step One : Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and toss in cornflour.

Step Two : Melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Off the heat, gradually add milk, then cream, parsley, seasoning, peas and sweetcorn. Return to the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring. Cook for 2 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the fish and prawns then spoon into a 2 pt (1.1 litre) ovenproof dish.

Step Four : Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 375oF / 190oC. Rub butter into the flour and oats. Stir in cheese and sprinkle over fish mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Some other firm family favourites can be found here …

Prawn Creole

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 mins;  Cook time: 16 mins;

Low Fat

Ingredients:
1 tblsp onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp green pepper, deseeded and chopped
775g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp chicken gravy granules
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
A few drops of hot pepper sauce
2 tblsp cornflour
1 lb (450g) peeled cooked prawns
11oz (325g) freshly cooked rice
5oz (150g) chopped parsley

Step One : Place onion and green pepper in a large frying pan with 4 tblsp water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 3-4 mins, or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chicken granules, sugar, thyme and pepper sauce. Simmer, uncovered for 8 mins.

Step Two : Blend the cornflour with 4 tblsp cold water and stir into pan. Cook stirring, over a medium heat until thickened. Cook for a further 2 mins.

Step Three : Add prawns to pan and heat through.

Step Four : Mix together rice and parsley and serve with prawn creole.

Other Seafood recipes can be found here …

Fresh Tuna Nicoise

 

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2018 edition).  Recipe taken from the Feasting book.  See link below.

This more sophisticated version of your average tuna salad is a great dish for entertaining.  The rest of the salad can be assembled a few hours ahead, but leave the tuna and poached eggs until last to make it restaurant quality.

Serves:  8-10

Ingredients:

250g green beans, trimmed
300g kipfler (finger) potatoes
60ml olive oil, plus extra for the tuna
80ml vinegar
4 eggs
600g yellowfin tuna fillets
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
12 baby cos lettuce leaves
200g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
Squeeze of lemon
Dill sprigs, to garnish
Edible flowers, to garnish (optional)

Black Olive Tapenade Dressing

80g black Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 tbsp capers in brine, drained and diced
20g flat-leaf parsley, finely shredded
1/4 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Tuna Mayonnaise

500g mayonnaise
200g tinned tuna, drained
1 tbsp capers in brine, drained
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 anchovy fillets

Tuna Spice Mix

1 tsp fennel seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground

Step One: Fill a saucepan with 2 litres of water and bring to the boil.  Blanch the beans for 90 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water.  Drain again, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.  Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Add a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until cooked.  Drain the potatoes, then peel and cut into slices while warm.

Step Two: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat.  Fry the potatoes in batches, adding more oil as needed, until brown and crispy on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.

Step Three: Cut the tuna fillet into three pieces and rub with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat and sear the tuna for about 20 seconds on each side.  Set aside to cool.

Step Four: Make the tapenade dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.  For the tuna mayo, blend the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Step Five: Brush the tuna pieces with the mustard and roll in a bowl with the combined spice mix.  Slice into 1.5cm pieces.  Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then add the vinegar.  Reduce the heat to simmer, give the water a swirl and crack in the eggs one at a time.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Rest on paper towels.

Step Six:  To assemble, arrange some cos leaves on a plate and top with one third of the sliced tuna, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and tapenade.  Repeat with two more layers, finishing with spoonfuls of tapenade, lemon juice and the dill sprigs.  Top with eggs and edible flowers if using.  Serve with the tuna mayonnaise.

 

 

 

Poached eggs, spinach and smoked salmon

A delicious breakfast for Christmas Day morning.

Poached egg breakfastIngredients:

300ml (9 ½ fl oz) crème fraiche
2 tsp cornflour
Yolks of three eggs
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice ½ lemon
50g (1 ¾ oz) butter, diced
4 eggs
2 English muffins, halved
200g (6 ½ oz) spinach, steamed
4 slices smoked salmon

Serves:  2-4     Prep time:  20 mins     Cook time:  5 mins

Cals per serving:  644     Fat:  54g

Step One:  To make the sauce, whisk the crème fraiche, cornflour, egg yolks, white wine vinegar and lemon juice over a medium heat until simmering.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Season to taste.  Add extra lemon juice, if needed.  Keep warm, whisking occasionally.

Step Two:  Poach the eggs for 3 mins in simmering water.  Toast and butter the muffins.  Divide the steamed spinach between the muffins.   Top with smoked salmon and an egg.  Season and pour over the sauce.

Tip: The spinach can be cooked ahead of time and then reheated in a microwave, if desired.  The eggs can also be poached ahead of time and set aside for 30 mins – reheat them in simmering water just before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine