Monday, 11 April 2011

Home-made Salmon Fish Fingers!

This recipe makes for really tasty and simple home-made fish fingers. You can have them with chips, or stick 'em in a bun for a really extravagent sarnie! Don't forget the tomato sauce!

Home-made Salmon Fish Fingers.

For this you'll need:

Two Salmon darns or fillets per person (I used Lidl wild Salmon fillets and Dunnes Salmon darns)

a dinner plate sprinkled liberally with flour seasond well with sea salt and ground blackpepper and mixed well

a bowl with two free range eggs cracked into it and mixed together

a dinner plate with a load of bread crumbs seasoned with any dried herb you want - oregano, basil, tarragon, parsley etc. or a combination of them all - mixed together well

lemon (fresh or lemon juice) for drizzling

a deep frying pan with about a quarter inch of pre heated sunflower oil (BE CAREFULL!)

Ok, let's do this thing...

Firstly, dip the darns/fillets into the flour and make sure they are dusted evenly, this gives them a good surface for the egg to adhere to...then dip the floured Salmon into the egg and makes sure it is wet all over, this makes the fish nice and sticky for the bread crumbs...then roll the fish in the breadcrumbs, covering it in a nice layer. It really doesn't matter if the crumbs come out a little clumpy, as when you cook them they'll taste like fried bread!

Then lower the fish VERY CAREFULLY into the oil. You don't want to cook YOUR fingers, do you?

Repeat with the other fish.

Turn your fishy fingers regularly so to make sure they don't burn.

When they're a toasty golden brown

like that, turn them out onto some kitchen roll to soak up any oil, drizzle with a little lemon juice, and then they're ready to be consumed!

Simply scrummy!

(No wine in this recipe. Oh well...but these fish fingers DO go very well with a nice, perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc!)


New recipe! (dead simple) Slow Cooked Casseroled Beef with Baby Carrot Mash


I made this meal a few days ago, and it's yummy. Hope you're not a vegetarian, as this is a beef recipe. If you are a veggie, you can have chicken instead... ;)

So, the ingredients for the casserole (this was for four people, you do the math for your lot):

Slow cooked Beef Casserole

Four decent sized stewing beef steaks, not chunks
Three white onions quartered
A punnet of closed cup mushrooms quartered
Three big carrots peeled and chunked
Schwarz Chicken casserole mix (yes, I did type chicken, but trust me this works!)
A Knorr Beef Stock Pot (There are two types, I usually use the lighter on, but you can use the dark one if you want. They have a much deeper flavour.)
“Some” red wine (tee hee hee!)
200ml of water (this is for the casserole mix, and is less than is suggested but don’t worry as we’re gonna add another liquid to make up the amount. Can you guess what it is?)
Olive oil
A big clove of garlic chopped up finely
Dried parlsey
Dried oregano
Sea salt
Ground black pepper

For the mash:

Peeled and quartered Rooster potatoes
A good pinch of dried parsley
A pinch of Sea salt
A pinch of ground white pepper
A good handful of pre-cooked baby carrots
A nice lump of butter (about a finger length!)

M’kay. Lets cook…

Light the oven to gas mark three. This is slow cooking folks.

Put the olive oil into a quite hot frying pan with the mushies, onions and carrots – yes, and the carrots – add a little salt and fry till the onions and mushies are soft. The carrots will start to caramelize around the edges and become truly unctuous! This adds a nice flavour to the dish.

Whilst that’s cooking, season your steaks with the salt, pepper and dried herbs and drizzle with a little oil. The amount of seasoning is up to you, but I like to add a fair bit to my steaks, and oregano goes so well with beef.

When the veg and fungus are done, empty them into a big casserole dish -  I used a two litre one - and mix in the garlic. In the same frying pan, crank up the heat and add your steaks and let them get a nice colour on the outside, but don’t over cook! You want them to still be pink in the middle; what you’re doing here is adding that scrummy fried flavour to the meal.

Empty the Schwarz mix into the water and mix together.

When the steaks are evenly coloured -  a nice golden brown – arrange them on top of the veg. Now for the sauce…

Reduce the heat on the frying pan and empty the Schwarz mix into it and stir constantly as you are using less fluid than recommended so it’ll thicken up real quick. Grasp your red wine firmly and add a nice glug and stir till mixed in. Now plop the Knorr Stock Pot in and stir till it has melted. Add a little black pepper and taste for seasoning. When you’re happy with it, pour that lovely liquid all over the steaks, making sure they are submerged! (You can leave them just above the sauce floating like scrumptious islands, and if you do they’ll gain a darkened colour when cooking and look dry, but they will actually be gorgeously moist underneath.)

Now, return the frying pan to the flame. See all that left over residue on the bottom of the pan? Can’t waste that! Pour a little red wine into the pan and scrape all that flavour up, then pour it on the steaks.

Put the lid on the casserole dish and twist it vigorously so all the sauce is distributed evenly. Don’t worry if it doesn’t quite reach the bottom of the dish as it’ll melt when it’s cooking.

Put the dish in the oven and cook for three hours. Indulge in some of that wine!

About twenty minutes before the casserole is ready, put your Roosters in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil, cover and cook until you can push a fork into them without too much resistance.

Drain the potatoes and add the baby carrots, the pepper, parsley and butter and smash them to bits. When they’re all one lovely mess, taste to see if you need more salt.

Take your casserole out of the oven (using oven mitts, tough guy!) and serve the saucy veg and one steak per person with a nice dollop of mash on the side! I added some steamed brocolli too, but you go knock yourself out with your own choice of vegetable!

Yes, it tasted as nice as it looks! Enjoy!     

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sandwiches! Dontcha just love 'em? This one is a real favourite in my household, and in Galway...

There's an ingredient that isn't used enough in my opinion, balsamic vinegar (this one a rose), and it adds a really nice bite to this refreshing sarnie.

Chicken Salad Sangwich (for you that don't live in Ireland, that joke'll be flatter than a witch's boob!)

You'll need (for one sandwich):

two toasted slices of a nice seedy bread (Johnston, Mooney and O'Brien's Nutty Doorstep is good)
butter for above
a nice piece of cold roast chicken (breast is best) chopped roughly
a little bit of bell pepper (red or orange) chopped into small pieces
two or three cherry tomatoes cut in half
little bit of red onion chopped finely
a nice spoonful of mayonnaise (we use Coleman's Light)
pinch of sea salt
pinch of ground black pepper
...and a dash of rose balsamic vinegar!

Toast the bread

Put everything bar the toast in a bowl and fold together gently till it's a lovely unctuous mass.

Butter the bread, dollop mix in and cut on the diagonal!

Serve immediately with a hot cup of tea. Just lovely!

My first blog!

Well, where to start?

This was a joint idea between my fabulous wife Celine and our lovely friend Titch. They are both wise in many ways, but I'm not sure about me being let loose on the web is their best idea...time will tell!

This blog is primarily about food. I like food. I try to have some every day if I can

I should clarify that; I don't just like eating it, I love cooking it too. I only really started cooking relatively recently in comparison to my great age; a mere six or seven years ago and, to be brutally honest, at the start I was not that good. I nearly napalmed the entire house whilst trying to make chili jam. (Note; do not walk away from the pan when you're cooking that, it really is nasty when it burns!) However, now I'm not too bad, apparently, and hence this blog thingy.

I don't have any set plan for how I'll put my little recipes on this. By and large, it'll be the meal I've cooked either the previous day (as the first one will be), or something I make on a regular basis. So don't expect a well balanced presentation of my culinary skills!

I should say at this point, that I shop in all the major supermarkets, and little speciality shops when possible, just for that unusual ingredient. I am quite, quite happy to use supermarket products, meats veg and branded sauces etc. As most people, I work to a fixed weekly budget (thank you Fianna Fail), and I am often to be seen hanging around the reduced section in Dunnes Stores, looking for a deal! Even today, I bought three stuffed chickens, eight burgers, four chicken breasts on the bone, and four stewing steaks, all for just over 22 euro! (If you want to use my recipes and change the ingredients for really expensive alternatives, then please do, and let me know how it tastes!) That said, I will add stuff to shop bought sauces to make them just a little more special.

I have a few food hero's. Rick Stein is, as far as I am concerned, the god of food incarnated on the Earth. Not only that, I can watch his programs time after time and I find them relaxing and entertaining. I love his mixture of travel, recipes, poetry and gentle humour, and have cooked his recipes numerous times and they aways fabulous. And I miss Chalky now he's gone.

Keith Floyd, because he was the bad boy of the culinary world and cooking to him was as easy as downing a decent glass of claret. Now he's gone, the world is a less colourful place.

So, with that said, my first recipe! This one fed four people, so adjust accordingly for your own tribe.

Turkey Skewers with French stir fried veg.

For the Skewers:

A 1 kilo Turkey breast, cut into two centimeter pieces (pleased don't use a ruler. They melt in the dishwasher. The size is an approximation).
A BIG clove of garlic finely chopped (Lidl sell fabulous giant garlic now, in a little basket) and keep half of it back for the stir fry
a good third of a tea-spoon of dried Oregano, Basil and Parsley
nice pinch of ground black pepper
ditto sea salt
a good glug of virgin olive oil (again, Lidl sell a really decent oil, and it's seriously reasonable in price)
twelve bamboo skewers

For the Stir Fry:

You'll need two white onions - chopped roughly
a punnet of closed cup mushrooms - chopped roughly
a packet of asparagus spears, chopped up with the last woody bits removed
a good handful of frozen garden peas
a table spoon or two of pre-cooked (Dunnes, 1euro) baby carrots
Knorr Vegetable stock pot
a glass of white wine (and one for yourself!)
a few spoons of cream
dash of virgin olive oil for frying
good pinch of ground black pepper
ditto sea salt

A good lot of baby new potatoes (Dunnes' cheapest bag at 99cent are lovely!) (By the way; do you say potato, or podado?)
sea salt

OK; put the turkey, and the rest of the ingredients for the skewer, in  a bowl, mix with a spoon till they're all covered evenly, cover with cling film and stick in the fridge (On the bottom shelf, of course. You don't want any rogue dribbles of raw meat juice dripping onto your cheese cake, do you?)

Cool for at least an hour, and take out a good hour before you're going to cook it so it can come up to room temperature. Put the skewers in soak when you take the turkey out of the fridge (that'll stop them burning when you're grilling the meat).

Once the turkey's out and ready, we're ready to cook. Brace yourself, as here we go...

Put on the kettle.

Light the grill.

Put on at least eight pieces of turkey per skewer, cover your grill pan with tin foil and arrange the skewers in a neat row.

When the kettle's boiled, put the stock pot in a jug and add 200ml of the hot water, stir to melt.

Put the potatoes in a pan and add the salt, then cover with hot water and loosely cover. Heat.

Put the turkey under the grill.

The stir fry: heat a frying pan, and when it's hot, add the oil carefully. Add the onion and mushrooms, salt and pepper. Now, most cooks will say don't overload the pan, and they're right because it'll steam rather than fry (the salt will draw moisture out of the onions and mushies; you'll hear the sizzling increase after you've added it), but I like the juices that come out with my method as they add another flavour.

Cook, stirring occasionally until they're soft. NOW you add the garlic, this'll improve the flavour. Yum. Stir a bit more.

When the garlic's softened, add the stock and the wine. Stir well. Add some of YOUR wine to yourself as you're doing SO well!

Check your turkey, turning all the skewers over when the meat starts to brown. You're looking for a lovely golden colour.

Stick a fork in your potatoes to see how far along they are (you don't want them mushy!)

Once the sauce in the frying pan is reducing a little, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Have another sip of wine.

Just before the pots and turkey is nearly ready, add the veg to your sauce and mix in well. Check the seasoning now, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream, and stir in, bringing back to the simmer. You don't want the veg being too soft.

Drain potatoes, add a good knob of butter.

Take out the skewers and check the thickest piece of meat to make sure it's cooked right through.

Serve the sauce on each dinner plate, next to the pots, and arrange the skewers on top in an x pattern. Looks nice, doesn't it? (I will add photos of my own food in the future. Can't do that for this recipe as it's inside me, and no one wants to see that.)

Finish of your glass of wine, and serve your culinary triumph to your waiting loved ones!

If you try this meal, thank you for that, and I really hope you enjoy it! If you don't, my name's Marco Pierre White and it's been my pleasure!