Sunday, 7 August 2016

Amazing Fish Stew

It's been a while since I've added a guest recipe but this one I definitely have to share (the amounts are mine). I'm a member of the fantastically inspiring Facebook group Foodie Translators where some very talented people present mouthwatering dishes and baked goods. A few days ago, one member put up this dish and I just had to try it out. It was just WOW! and will definitely become part of my regular prepertoire. Thank you for the inspiration, Dagmara. Next time, I'll make sure I have fresh fennel in the house as in Dagmara's dish.

1 red onion

2 garlic cloves
1/2 celery stick
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary 
2 sweet red peppers
1 courgette
250 g cherry tomatoes 
juice and zest of a lemon
100 ml white wine
250 ml fish or vegetable stock
350 g fish (I used a fish pie mix containing salmon, cod and smoked haddock)
a good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Finely chop the onion, garlic, celery and herbs and sautée in EVO till softened. Slice the sweet red peppers, core and slice the courgette, add and continue sautéeing, then deglaze with white wine. Add stock with saffron, pepper and salt and quartered cherry tomatoes, zest of a lemon, reduce, top with fish chunks, cover and poach for 10 minutes or until fish is done, spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, parsley in my case, squeeze some lemon juice over the dish and serve with crusty bread or rice.

Rice "Lasagne"

A couple of weeks ago, there'd been some cooked brown basmati hanging around the fridge for a few days and my other half was up in Braco recording again where she gets pasta for lunch. There was also Scotch Angus beef mince and I fancied some lovely comfort food. Pasta was out, so the rice lasagne was born. This dish is really a gobbled together, simplified lasagne and can be made with pasta or lasagne sheets instead of rice.
Boiled rice, unseasoned
Beef ragù
Aubergine slices, browned in a pan without oil
Grated cheese
Soured cream/crème fraîche seasoned with pepper, salt, garlic
Lightly oil an ovenproof dish, spoon on a layer of rice. Top with ragù. Add the aubergine slices, season with pepper and salt. Spread the soured cream mix over the aubergines. Lastly, add another layer of rice and season. Cover with tin foil and bake at 200° C/gas mark 5 for 30-40 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with cheese, turn up the temperature and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden.

Creamy Chicken Pot with Herby Bread Dumplings

I've fancied making bread dumplings for ages and always use a simple recipe from a German vegetarian cookbook, Vegetarisches Kochvergnügen, I've had for more than 20 years. They go best with a creamy stroganoff and I stuck with the creamy part but made a chicken pot instead. I like to serve this with a leafy salad in a sharp vinaigrette that contains plenty of mustard to help cut through the rich cream sauce. Here's the recipe for my favourite vinaigrette.
Tip: Leftover dumplings are delicious sliced and pan fried in olive oil or butter.
(serves 4-6)
400 g of white rolls or baguette
2 eggs
pinch of nutmeg
300 ml milk (250 ml, if using spinach)
a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
250 g spinach, optional
Chicken Pot:
1 kg of chicken drumsticks and thighs, preferably free range or organic
1 red onion
1-2 celery sticks
3 garlic cloves
a few fresh thyme sprigs
2 small bay leaves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
white wine
150 ml chicken or vegetable stock
300 ml soured cream or crème fraîche
a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon to squeeze over the finished dish
1. First of all, wash the spinach, if used, and shake or spin but leaving some water clinging to the leaves. Place into a no  stick pan and cook over a low to medium heat until wilted. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Reserve the liquid. Roughly chop the spinach. Set aside.
2. Next, start making the dumplings. Warm up the milk and cut the rools into very thin slices. Place into a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk, season with pepper and nutmeg and pour over the bread. Add the parsley and spinach. Mix well by hand or with a fork until you have a chunky 'dough'. Leave for 15 minutes.
3. In the meantime, heat some olive oil in a large pan, slice the onion, celery and garlic, add to the pan together with the thyme sprigs and fennel seeds and sautée over a medium heat to soften but not brown the veg. Remove and set aside. 
4. Season the chicken with pepper and salt. Heat more oil, add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown on both sides. Deglaze with a generous glug of dry white wine, then add the reserved spinach juices and stock as well as the vegetables. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and stir in the cream. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the fresh lemon juice, sprinkle the parsley over the top and gently mix.

5. While the chicken is cooking, knead the dumpling mix and shape into 12-18 dumplings. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook your dumplings over a medium heat in gently simmering water for 12-15 minutes.