Goodbye To The Old Me

Ugh I am getting old. Forty three this week. Its been a crazy year and I just hope this year is a little less stressful. Tilda in her usual tactful way, gave me a hug on my birthday and then pointed out the grey in my hair and also the wrinkles around my eyes, as she said “Mummy I don’t want you to die”.  Well at least this one isn’t wishing for my early demise…

I have been cooking a lot of seafood this week. There is the most fabulous Fishmonger near me on Broadway Market. Fin and Flounder. They have a wonderful selection of fish, the kids love to  pet the live crabs, langoustine and lobsters. I however stock up squid and mackerel and a bag of mussels.

I know a lot of people have a fear of dealing with seafood. I get it, all the bones, weird looking creatures in shells etc. I love cooking seafood. Mainly because it is so bloody quick and in my house if you don’t get the food on the table fast you run the risk of having an arm chewed off!

This week I cooked mussels, the usual way (butter, onion, white wine, bit of parsley) They are eaten like candy by my kids. I served them with some left over couscous. The squid was cleaned by the lovely (very tall) fishmonger. I cut the squid into strips battered with a simple tempura batter, deep fried and fed them to hungry hoardes.

Mackerel I think is my favourite fish. It is cheap and delicious and so very good for you. I simply grill it, pan fry it or chuck it in the oven.

I also can’t stop making Sushi this week, so all in all its been a pretty fishy week.

I leave you with my lime and chilli mackerel recipe and also some pics. Oh Tilda decided the umbrella that she got for her birthday should be used all the time, in the car, whilst eating and last night I popped into the kids room and she was asleep with the umbrella up over her head!

Have a fab week!

Rachelle X

mackerel mackereloven tildacake tildaumbrella

Baked Mackerel with Rosemary Roast Potato’s and Roast Pepper Puree 

I could eat Mackerel everyday in every way. It is I think one of my favourite fishes. This is a really simple dish. Mackerel really lends itself to strong flavours such as chilli and lime. I cook it also with Harissa. The pepper puree came to me because I had a couple of peppers hanging around the fridge which I had taken a quarter out of.  To be honest I thought the dish needed another colour to compliment the shot at the end.  I know that is not how you should make up a recipe but, thats me. It really really works though. The sweetness of the peppers and the chilli lime on the fish is divine.

Ingredients

For the Fish

  • 6 fillets of Mackerel (your fishmonger will happily do this for you)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • half a lime (cut into small wedges)
  • 1 or 2 small red chills diced
  • splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper (of course)

Roast Potatoes

  • 500g of new potatoes cut into small chunks (about half inch)
  • 2/3 sprigs of rosemary (finely chopped)
  • Olive oil (enough to thoroughly coat the potoatoes
  • salt and pepper

Roast Pepper Puree

  • 3 bellpeppers (I used a red, yellow and orange) don’t use the green ones
  • Splash of olive oil

Serves 4 people

Turn on the oven 190C

Place you fillets skin side down in oven proof dish. Scatter the chilli and lime chunks over the fish and squeeze over the lime and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Cover and put in the fridge while you prep the potatoes.

Chop the potatoes into smallish chunks and put in a roasting dish, scatter the rosemary over and season liberally with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil over and mix thoroughly. Place in the oven.

Take the Peppers place on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil, put them in the oven too.

The potatoes should take about 45 mins. The peppers 30 mins. Take the peppers out when they are very soft and beginning to blacken a little. Put the fish in the oven, uncovered Let the peppers cool a bit, peel of the skin.

Put the peppers in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and whizz with a hand processor (I can never remember the name). If you don’t have a processor, just really chop them up finely and then add the olive oil.

Cook the Mackerel for about 15mins, check the flesh is cooked using a fork. I sometimes finish it off under the grill for a couple of minutes just to colour and caramelise the lime a little.


signature

I Have No Lid Upon My Head

Hang on a sec Lola, I just want to take a picture, it looks really good. “Mum its toast! I hate your job, I wish you had another job, I don’t care if we have no money, I don’t care if we become homeless…”  Well I guess its an improvement on the whole dead, spitting on grave scenario we had a couple of weeks ago.

I did photograph the toast and in order to placate the 8 year old, I asked her what she would like for dinner. I will make whatever you wish my love, oh love of my life, darling child of mine..You get the picture.

“I want sushi, I was going to say chicken nuggets but now I want sushi” Well ok sushi it is.. pretty easy, I have the nori and the mat, just need to get a couple of bits for the filling..Done.

I haven’t made sushi for ages. I forgot how much fun it is. I really is not hard, not hard at all. I guess the most difficult thing is rolling the first one. But once you have done one you can totally bang them out. I usually do veggie ones. If I am feeding proper people, I will buy sashimi grade fish, but most of the time I make up my own fillings. I love California Rolls, I became totally addicted to them when I was living in San Francisco. The best sushi place ever Yoshi’s in Fillmore Street. Fabulous food. It makes me sad to think about it. Totally miss San Francisco.

Well I will leave you with my recipe for California Rolls (and the photo of the infamous toast). Please make them and they will make you happy!

Rachelle x

toast

sushi1 sushi2 sushi3

 

California Rolls

I totally forgot to buy the crab sticks for this but had some smoked salmon at home so used that instead. I will not be winning any awards for the neatest Sushi maker. They are totally delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of sushi rice (or pudding rice if you can’t find sushi rice)
  • 1 packet of crab sticks, torn or cut into small sticks (or use crab meat if you want or smoked salmon)
  • 1 Avocado – cut into sticks
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (for the avocado)
  • Half a cucumber – cut into sticks ( I scrape out the seeds with a small spoon)
  • 1 small packet of sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 packet of nori
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Soy Sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger for serving

Serves 2-3 people

Method

Ok first cook your rice. Put the rice in a large colander and rinse thoroughly under a cold tap. The put the rice in a large saucepan and fill with water. I know everyone talks about measuring 3 times water etc etc. Can’t be bothered with that, just make sure there is plenty of water. Season with some salt and bring the rice to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook for another 10mins or so until the rice is slightly aldente (got a bit of a bite to it). This rice is a short and fat and sticky. I tip it out into a colander and rinse through briefly with cold water. Purest will be horrified at what I do next but do I care? Take a piece of foil big enough to lay the rice out. I use foil, because you will probably have rice left over so you can wrap it up and chuck it into the fridge.

While the rice is cooking chop up your veg and have it ready on the side. Make sure you sprinkle lemon juice on the avocado to stop it turning brown. Take your crab sticks put them in a bowl and mix them with the mayo.

When your rice is laid out, sprinkle over the rice wine vinegar.   Then take a chopping board and lay out your sushi rolling mat, longest side nearest you. place a piece of cling film on top of the mat, this will stop the rice from sticking to the mat. Place a piece of nori shiny side down on the mat. Wet your fingers and spread an even layer of rice over the nori, leaving a seam of nori showing on each long side.

Then sprinkle on your sesame seeds. Pick up your rice covered nori and turn it over so the rice is now on top of the cling film. This sounds easier then it is, but just flip it and a bit of rice may fall off no problem. Once you have flipped a couple you will be a pro.

Then about a third up from you (ie not in the middle) lay a strip of Avocado, Cucumber and crab meat. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder, using the mat to shape the cylinder. Pull away the mat and set aside. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used. Cut each roll into 6 pieces.

Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.


signature

Dressing The Kids for a Stylish Restaurant Trip

Do you remember how exciting it was when you were younger to get all dressed up in your best outfit and your newest shoes? A part of that never leaves us as we grow up. Getting dressed to the nines for any occasion, no matter how small or grandiose, is always fun. Now, it’s even more special when we can pass that tradition on to our kids. Whether we’re heading out to a special party at a swanky restaurant or just out for a casual family dinner, make a celebration out of it and let your kids dress up for the occasion.   Read the rest of this entry »


signature

A Mothers Day Wishlist

“Mum I can’t wait for Mothers Day, we are going to bring you breakfast in bed”…Ahh so sweet. I am now remembering back to last years breakfast in bed debacle..I mean experience!   Burnt toast, smoke alarm going off, jam on the carpet. I think if I remember correctly, there was some random food element as well. yes it was cucumber. Rufus (he was 2 at the time) decided, actually insisted I had cucumber with my burnt toast and jam.

I am sure breakfast in bed will go swimmingly this year and I will love the home made cards covered in glitter and random fluffy bits.  Read the rest of this entry »


signature

Keep Me In Your Heart for a While

I am dreading the teenage years. I really am. I have become the object of intense “annoyance” to the 8 year old. I am “Soooo annoying” and apparently I “Don’t even know how to be a proper mummy” and the best one so far “I am not going to eat your food again, because all you do is make us wait to photograph it”. Ok I get it, its just me, there  is no ‘good cop bad cop’, I am both cops. In fact, I am more of a community support officer. You know one of those volunteers who wears the uniform but doesn’t really have the powers to arrest anyone. Oh god that is so me!

In my endeavours to regain the love and trust of my eldest, I cooked her favourite noodle dish this week, Dan Dan Noodles, I photographed it but made sure she wasn’t around to witness such terrible parenting! I don’t think she is totally on my side, but I think I detected a look of approval and she told me that I could sing her a song at bedtime tonight (A tradition that she has shunned for a week now)..Phew!

I leave you with a few photos from my shoot with Lisa this week. A new restaurant opening in Kennington.  Oaka at The Mansion House . Go. The lady who owns it is very lovely and the food is wonderful. Thai food and award winning beers. My recipe for Dan Dan Noodles is not authentic, Its mine and probably should not be called Dan Dan…Maybe I should call it LoLo Noodles (after Lola).

Have a wonderful week.

Rachelle x

asian3 asian2 asian1 asian4 asian5 asian6 Dandannoodles

Dan Dan Noodles (or LoLo Noodles)

This is so fast to make, I promise you. It is divine, I cannot bang on enough, Its the chilli and the sesame paste and the soy and the garlic and the ginger. I love this dish. I think it is one of my most favourite things in the world..

For the beef bit
8 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 inches fresh ginger roughly chopped
5 spring onions roughly chopped
500g mince beef
1 tablespoon of ground Szechuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seed paste
3 large glugs of light soy sauce
2 teaspoons of Chinese 5 spice
2 tablespoons of groundnut oil

Serves 4

For the Noodle Bit
1 packet of Chinese egg noodles

For the chili oil topping bit
4 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of Szechuan peppercorns
1/4 cup peanut oil

Directions:

Cook the noodles as per instructions decant into 4 bowls

Put the chili oil ingredients into a small saucepan and heat gently for as long as it takes to cook the next stage…Not very long at all.

Put the wok on a high heat, when the oil is smoking throw in the garlic, ginger and spring onions. Cook for 1 minute.
Then add the ground beef, stirring constantly.
When the meat is turning a darker colour add the soy, sesame paste and the five spice. Cook for another 3-4 minutes till the beef is cooked.

Distribute the meat equally over the noodles, then top with the chili oil.

You will thank me…Rx


signature