The Ultimate Fast Food –
The Ultimate Fast Food –
The Ultimate Fast Food –
Blue cod in the galley kitchen. Another tale from our recent trip to New Zealand.
Kitchens have a certain magnetism for me and wherever I go it’s a given that I’ll end up in the kitchen. Even on holiday, I can’t drag myself away from the pull of a sharp knife and a stove. Holiday cooking, particularly if it’s in another country, has the added interest of new ingredients and local fresh food. Our current trip to New Zealand is taking in some sailing and that is giving me the opportunity to cook in the galley kitchen of the yacht, SV Defiant.
It’s much smaller than I’m used to at home and with space at a premium, our host Lisa has organised it perfectly and that makes it a very cook friendly space. Everything you need to cook a meal is included – a two ring gas burner, an oven and a microwave.
There’s a fantastic range of kitchen utensils, pots and pans, including extremely sharp knives – essential for dealing with the fresh fish we’re catching. Lisa has a tremendously well stocked larder of dry and tinned ingredients; along with a treasure trove of herbs and spices, and it’s the first port of call when a fresh fish lands in the kitchen. I love that kind of cooking – rather than having a recipe in mind, looking at the main ingredients and building the dish with what’s in store.
We’ve eaten really well and with limited space; one pot dishes have made the cooking more manageable and of course there’s the added bonus of fewer dishes to be washed.
New Zealand has a fantastic coast line for fishing and is blessed with a natural bounty of great fish. Kia Morna – Food of the ocean – is plentiful here.
Blue cod are endemic to New Zealand and we found them in plentiful supply although restrictions are in place to control the numbers caught and all had to be over 33cm. Our catch of four was within the legal limits in the Marlborough sounds. Restrictions are also in place regarding the transportation of filleted blue cod in this area and it’s not unusual for fisheries officers to board pleasure boats to check the size of the catch. Filleting blue cod in advance of cooking means the officers are unable to tell if the whole fish was of legal size.
This recipe came from the ingredients we had in stock in the board pantry and the freshly caught blue cod provided by our eager hunter gatherers.
The hunter gatherers go off in search of fish.
I’ve also added this recipe to the #recipeoftheweek link up at Emily Leary’s, A Mummy Too blog.
I’m having a break from the kitchen for the next few weeks to experience a relaxing life down under in New Zealand – and in my mind, there’s really no better way to get to know a country than through it’s people, it’s culture and it’s local food. This is our second trip to the country and top of my list was to find out more about the Māori culture and to visit a traditional Wharenui or meeting house. With family living in New Zealand, I was familiar with some aspects of the culture – probably the most well known is the haka, the ancient Māori war dance performed by the All Blacks at rugby matches. There’s also the intricate carvings and artwork but I’d never experienced the rich and diverse cultural traditions of the people.
The timing of our trip was perfect as February 6th is Waitangi Day – the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi -the founding document of New Zealand. Signed in 1840, this is an agreement entered into by representatives of the British Crown and of Māori iwi (tribes) and hapū (sub-tribes). It’s named after the place in the Bay of Islands where the Treaty was first signed.
We didn’t have to travel far; close to where we were staying is the Waikawa Marae – a Marae is a fenced-in complex of carved buildings and grounds and it’s central to Māori Culture. Each marae belongs to a particular iwi, hapū or whānau – a Māori family and is used for meetings, celebrations, funerals, educational workshops and other important tribal events.
Being Waitangi Day, the Waikawa Marae along with Māoris throughout New Zealand were taking the opportunity to share their culture during the day of celebrations.
Visitors to New Zealand are encouraged to respect Tikanga Māori, the traditional Māori culture and customs that have been handed down through time. These remain as relevant today as they did in historical times and an example of this is the formal welcoming ceremony at the Marae. It’s traditional for visitors to respect the sacredness of the Marae and remain outside until officially welcomed onto the meeting grounds.
Those who have never set foot on a Marae are known as waewae tapu or sacred feet and must take part in a what’s known as a pōwhiri – a traditional Māori welcoming ceremony to remove the tapu – sacredness and make them one with the local people.
The pōwhiri began with a powerful challenge – this is known as a wero and it was performed by a Māori warrior from the marae. The challenge is to to check whether the guests are friend or foe and of course, we had come in peace. During the challenge the warrior laid a small bunch of greenery on the ground and this was graciously accepted by our Māori guide to show our peaceful intentions.
The Māori women standing outside the meeting house sang a song of welcome and this signalled that it was acceptable for us to start moving onto the marae.
Our female Māori guide responded with her own call and very slowly and solemnly we began our short journey onto the marae. In keeping with the Māori tradition, the women stepped onto marae first; flanked by the men for protection, but, on reaching the wharenui, everyone removed their shoes and the men entered first. It’s a further symbolic act of protection to ensure it’s safe for the women to enter. Our hosts greeted us with the ceremonial hongi, the traditional Māori touching of noses and the welcoming Māori greeting ‘Kia Ora.’
A number of speeches, all in the Māori language were made by the men and each of these was followed by a song in support of the speech. There was no translation but a short explanation of some parts was given by Māori woman – there had been some quiet laughter during the speeches and she was keen to tell us that they were not laughing at the guests but at a joke about the New Zealand cricket teams recent victory over Australia!
She also explained that Māori’s believe that everyone should have a say and talked about ‘wake eke noa,’ – a Māori proverb meaning ‘a canoe which we are all in with no exception. Simply meaning, ‘we are all in this together.’
Like many cultures, food is central to celebrations and in keeping with the Māori tradition of hospitality, simple food was shared at the end of the pōwhiri. It’s traditional for visitors to present a koha, a gift to the marae hosts – on this occasion it was money; and was seen, not as a donation from the pocket, but rather a gift from the heart.
Māori people see their marae as tūrangawaewae – their place to stand and belong and we felt honoured to have visited and shared their Waitangi Day celebrations.
Gamba – A Seafood Cookbook.
Cook books from Scottish chefs are currently somewhat of a rarity – only a handful have been released in the past few years. The latest being an impressive book – Gamba – ‘A Seafood Cookbook’ by Derek Marshall, Chef Patron of Glasgow’s top seafood restaurant, Gamba.
The award winning, two AA rosette restaurant has remained popular with diners since it opened in 1998 and the new book reflects Derek’s passion for cooking with sustainable Scottish seafood.
The recipes capture the Gamba ethos – ‘Using fresh, well sourced fish and seafood makes it easy to create a wonderful meal, ‘and the book represents the best of Gamba with the recipes showcasing dishes featuring fish and seafood that are perfect for simple suppers as well as special occasions.
It’s a book for anyone interested in cooking seafood and it’s one you’ll reach for time and time again. “All the recipes are essentially quite simple because my philosophy in the kitchen has always been to let the ingredients do the talking,” explains Derek. “Many can be found on our menus in Gamba while others are brand new and yet to be featured,” Each recipe calls for fresh, seasonal ingredients and Is easy to make at home in your own kitchen.”
In addition to chapters on starters and mains, the book offers hints and tips on how to get the best out of great ingredients as well as providing foolproof methods for preparing essential recipe components such as stock and salad dressing.
The recipes for Gamba’s famous Fish Soup – known as ‘Foup is featured along with one of Derek’s long time favourites, Whole Lemon Sole Meunière a classic Gamba dish that has graced the menu since the day he restaurant opened.
Tempting and mouthwatering starters include
Gamba is all about sustainability and recipes for main dishes include widely available seafood favourites including halibut, monkfish, hake, cod and john dory.
Of course no cook book would be complete without a chapter on stunning desserts, and the Gamba Cookbook excels with favourites like, Gamba’s Bitter Chocolate Tart and Liquorice Creme Brûlée. And cooks who like to cook with a glass of something to hand will be impressed with the the recipes for a selection of Gamba’s Signature Cocktails.
“It’s been a labour of love collating all the recipes for this book,” says Derek. “Customers often ask us for advice on cooking fish and seafood, and ‘Gamba – A Seafood Cookbook’ shows them that cooking our delicious recipes at home isn’t complicated if you choose your ingredients well and cook them simply. Scotland has some of the best produce in the world and I hope my new cookbook goes some way to showcasing the fruits of the sea.”
And a final word from Derek, “A simple twist on a traditional recipe can turn something good into something great.”
‘Gamba – A Seafood Cookbook’, priced at £25, is Derek Marshall’s second cookbook. Copies are available now directly from the restaurant.
Thanks to Derek Marshall for providing the copy of ‘Gamba – A Seafood Cookbook for Review.
Mark K Seater, Simple Photography, Glasgow.
VEGAN HAGGIS ROULADE with VEGAN WHISKY CREAM SAUCE
One wonders what Robert Burns would have thought of vegetarian haggis – If he were around today I’m not sure he would pen another 8 verses of the ‘Address to a Haggis, but he would have surely delivered some worthy light hearted ditty in honour of this much in demand 21st century dish. It’s become so popular that well know Scottish haggis producer – MacSween’s say it accounts for one in four of all haggis sales.
I invited my friend Janice Clyne, to come up with a vegan recipe for Burn’s night and she created this delicious feast that both vegans and non vegans will not only hearty and satifying but packed full of flavour. Janice is a Glasgow based Food Scientist, health educator, plant based blogger and an outstanding advocate for real food. Her blog, Nourished by Nature is well worth a look and is full of healthy vegan recipes. Janice used vegetarian haggis from Simon Howie for her recipe.
This is a fantastic vegan dish to celebrate Burns Night! Wrapping the haggis filling in puff pastry makes for a rather delicious and impressive main course! The filling has plenty of texture and flavour with the addition of pine nuts, mushrooms, spinach, herbs and balsamic vinegar.
Pre- scoring the pastry makes this a doddle to cut and serve and all the prep can be done in advance, leaving you free to enjoy the evening with a wee dram or two!
This is fantastic served with potatoes and a big pile of steamed spring greens or the more traditional bashed neeps! We serve this with a delicious whisky cream sauce!
Ingredients – serves 6
1 pack of shop bought puff pastry
1 pack of Vegetarian haggis (450g)1 250g pack of mushrooms, chestnut, or any mixture you like1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 250g pack of mushrooms, chestnut, or any mixture you likefew tablespoons fresh herbs, thyme, sage or rosemary, or a teaspoon dried herbs
½ cup (50g) pine nuts
good few handfuls of spinach, washed and chopped
1 or 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar½ cup (50g) pine nuts
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
soya or other plant based milk for brushing the pastry
1. First take your puff pastry out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature.
2. Cook the haggis. The easiest way is to unwrap it, cut it into slices and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. Alternatively you can cook it in a pan of boiling water or in the oven following the instructions on the pack.
3. Wipe and chop the mushrooms into small pieces or slices, add them to a large pan with 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil with the herbs and cook for 5 to 10 minutes with a pinch of sea salt. Add a few handfuls of washed spinach and stir until it wilts down. Drain off any liquid then add a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar. Add the pine nuts, mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning. Mix with the cooked haggis and leave to cool.
4. Unroll the puff pastry onto a non stick baking tray. I always buy the kind which is already rolled into a sheet. Jus Roll do a good one, it comes in a green cardboard box. If you buy the small square one then you will have to roll it out into a rectangle shape about 14 by 10 inches. Keep the greaseproof paper the pastry is wrapped in underneath the pastry sheet, it makes it easier to fold.
5. With the long side facing you, layer your filling in the middle of the pastry sheet. Shape it with your hands into a long fat sausage shape.
6. Lightly brush all the edges with some soya milk.
7. Fold both the long edges of the pastry to cover the filling and press down firmly to seal the edges. Fold the edges in and pinch them together. You should now have a long sausage shaped pastry with a fold along the middle. Carefully flip the pastry roll over so that the join is on the bottom. It’s much easier to do this if you keep the greaseproof paper underneath. Just use the paper to carefully roll the pastry over, then remove the paper.
8. Cut slices into the top of the roulade and brush with soya milk. I cut mine into 10 slices but you could make it 12 if you have smaller appetites or more people to feed!
9. Bake in a hot oven at 220 or 200 or a fan oven for around 30 to 35 minutes until nicely browned and crisp!
10. Slice and serve with potatoes and greens and whisky cream sauce!
This is a delicious dairy free sauce, it’s a fairly thin pouring sauce which is perfect served in a gravy boat at the table! Feel free to add more whisky! We made this with an Islay malt whisky which imparted a lovely peaty, smoky flavour!
Ingredients Serves 4 to 6
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 glug rapeseed oil
250 ml carton of Alpro Soya Cream or Oatly Cream
1 teaspoon dried herbs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons malt whisky
Sea salt and pepper
1 or 2 teaspoons maple syrup
1. Heat the oil in a small pan, add the crushed garlic and cook on a medium heat for a few minutes.
2. Add the herbs, a pinch of salt, the soya cream, mustard, whisky, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
3. Cook over a gentle heat for five minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more whisky/mustard/maple syrup to get a flavour to your liking.
Salmon with Miso Broth and Noodles
Cooking for one is something I enjoy doing as it gives me the chance to experiment with a few ingredients or even some leftovers. It also helps use up any small leftovers that might otherwise go to waste.
This salmon with miso broth and noodles is the result of one such cook up. One tiny piece of salmon from the freezer and a few bits of leftover vegetables. This is an updated recipe from the original post when I first made this dish. I’ve added in a few extra ingredients – rice wine, garlic and fresh ginger.
Miso soup has become a real favourite of mine – it was a real saviour for me on a sailing trip in New Zealand. It’s the perfect antidote for a queasy stomach on a cold windy day with rough seas. It’s since become a store cupboard staple and is a perfect partner for the salmon.
I used udon noodles as that’s what I had in the cupboard but the dish will work well with any noodles. The recipe gives quantities for one although it can be easily scaled up. If you’re not keen on miso then chicken stock or vegetable stock will also work well.
I like to pan fry the salmon with the ginger, garlic and spring onion before adding to the broth but you make this a one pan dish by adding all the ingredients to the miso.
For further information on using up leftovers see the Zero Waste Scotland website
I’ve added this recipe to the Recipe of the Week link on Emily Leary’s blog, A Mummy Too.
Turkey leftovers are well loved in our house and with Christmas dinner over for another year, it’s time to make sure that all the meat is used up. Leftovers are one the things I love about Christmas food and there is something quite satisfying about stripping down the carcass and gathering any other little jewels that survived the festivities.
One of my favourite ways to use up some of the turkey is to make a biryani. I’m not particularly keen on adding cooked meat to a curry but but I do like adding it to rice dishes. And, of course, don’t forget to boil up the carcass to make some comforting turkey broth.
I’ve listed the spices needed for the recipe but you could easily adapt by using curry powder or curry paste. Just go with what you’ve got available rather than buying extra.
I Like to serve this with some spicy chutney and a raita.
Food waste is such a huge problem all year round and during the festive period 50,375 tonnes of food and drink is expected to be binned in Scotland alone. We’re all being enouraged to shop smart and save money simply by avoiding food waste.
Further information with recipes and tips on preventing food waste can be found at Love Food Hate Waste Scotland
Let’s prevent over £90 million worth of food waste this Christmas
Food waste will be huge problem this Christmas and now is the time to start thinking ahead and have some ideas for using up the Christmas leftovers.
Collectively, people living in Scotland could save more than £90 million¹ by not wasting food this festive season. That’s a saving of £38 for every household in Scotland.
With 50,375² tonnes of food and drink expected to be binned in December, Scots are being encouraged to shop smart and save money simply by avoiding food waste.
According to figures from Zero Waste Scotland the equivalent of over 700,000 wheelie bins full of food is expected to be thrown away this month.
In December alone Scots are expected to throw away over 3.5 million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings, and the equivalent of over 100,000 turkeys³. Using these items up – or not over-buying them in the first place – represents a potential saving of over £3 million.
Action to tackle household food waste has already seen the amount generated drop by 6% (between 2009 and 2014), resulting in a saving to household budgets of £92 million.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “At Christmas it can be tempting to buy – and therefore waste – more food. But with a little preparation people can save money and be kinder to the environment. In Scotland we are working towards a 33% reduction in food waste by 2025. That’s the most ambitious target in Europe, and everyone in Scotland has an important part to play in helping the country achieve that goal.”
Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “With all the food most of us buy in the run up to Christmas, this can be a difficult time of year to avoid throwing food out. But taking a little bit of time to check your fridge and cupboards and make use of what you already have can save you a lot of money.
“The average household could save £460 a year by putting food to better use – simply by thinking ahead when shopping for meals, freezing extra portions and following recipes to use up any ingredients instead of just buying more.
For inspiration on cutting down food and drink waste this Christmas and saving money, see the top tips below:
· Keep your festive leftovers aside to make some quick and easy recipes – great for a head start on Boxing Day dinner.
· To use up any uneaten Christmas meal staples, curries, stews and soups are tasty and hassle-free to make. And who doesn’t love a classic turkey sandwich with leftover cranberry sauce? Easy recipes using leftovers can be found on the Zero Waste Scotland website
· To use up your Christmas pudding, create a really easy and delicious dessert of Christmas pudding ice cream. Just mix custard and whipped cream together then stir in the crumbled Christmas pudding, perhaps adding a little leftover rum, whisky or Baileys, and then freeze.
· Believe it or not, mince pies work really well as a base for another cake. Add in chocolate, orange or nuts, or use in trifle.
Freezing and storing
· Freezing the food you have left from your Christmas feast could save you cash. Freeze as soon as you can – within two days – and eat within three months if possible.
· You can freeze just about anything. Cream (whip it a little beforehand) and cheeses like Stilton freeze really well, just put them in an airtight bag or container and store in the freezer.
· If you have leftover salad or lettuce leaves put a piece of kitchen roll in the bottom of a pot, add the leaves and then seal. This will keep them fresh for much longer than leaving them in the bag.
New Year’s resolutions – how to cut down on food waste next year
· Only attempt a big food shop if you’ve prepared a shopping list to avoid buying food you won’t use.
· Remember to check your cupboards first before you go shopping, as you may already have a lot of the ingredients you need.
· By washing, chopping, bagging and freezing your veg in advance you can save a lot of time, and they will retain the same nutritional value as if you prepared them from fresh.
Anyone wishing to find out more about food waste, including easy and tasty recipes, should visit the Love Food Hate Waste website at Zero Waste Scotland is also encouraging Scots to share their own festive recipes on Twitter and Facebook.
St Andrew’s day is a wonderful day to celebrate our Scottish culture and central to many of Scotland’s and indeed worldwide celebrations will be the food.
Unlike Burns night where haggis is the star of the show; St Andrew’s day isn’t associated with any particular food, but, there’s no shortage of fresh seasonal produce to chose from. Alongside many of Scotland’s traditional offerings like Scotch beef and lamb, there’s a magnificent selection of fresh seasonal produce to chose from. Game is plentiful and I recently heard legendary chef, Albert Roux encourage young chefs to make more use of this including Scotland’s mountain hare.
With St Andrew being a fisherman it seems appropriate to celebrate the day with seafood and one of the nations finest foods – Scotland’s king of fish – Scottish salmon.
But, if like me, your day is busy, then a healthy meal that can be on the table in a very short time is ideal. This simple smoked salmon bake is packed full of flavour and some of the prep can be done in advance. The recipe will also work well with salmon fillets or hot smoked salmon.
Pumpkin is one of vegetables that signals a change of season in the kitchen. As the clocks move and we leave the lighter nights behind, the light and fresh dishes we’ve become accustomed to over the summer months are replaced with more hearty and robust meals.
It also means an abundance of home grown seasonal vegetables – along with the appearance of colourful beetroots, swiss chard, and kale and parsnips, pumpkins bring some much needed brightness to darker days.
Pumpkin is one of my regulars in these hearty and satisfying meals as it’s so versatile and nourishing and I love to roast it with other ingredients or use it in soups and casseroles.
There’s such a great selection available at this time time of year and they all have great flavour. Don’t be put off by the tough skin, pumpkin can be roasted with the skin on and then it’s easily removed once cooked.
This sausage and pumpkin recipe is one of my favourite autumn comfort food meals and is great for limiting the amount of washing up as it’s all cooked in one pan. I used Red Kuri pumpkin for this recipe but any squash or pumpkin will work and it’s also a good way to use up any leftover Halloween pumpkin.