sesame_tuna_sauce messine_recipe

Sesame Tuna and Modified Sauce Messine

Just as much as I easily find good cuts of meat in the Haringey wing of Seven Sisters, well sourced tasty fish is equally as impossible to find. So when I crave it, I make it a proper treat, spending a bit more, but trying to find some sustainably sourced fish. In this case, I got a chunk of tuna from Wholefoods, together with some sea asparagus, and I planned to make something very special with them.  Sauce Messine is a traditional French sauce used for fish – it’s in Elizabeth Davis’ book and I’ve made it a few times, although I almost never have the exact ingredients needed. As usual, I have allowed myself to make some adjustments and the result was simply delightful. This recipe serves two.

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Imitated_crab_Sai_Pang_Xie

Imitated Crab – Sai Pang Xie – a Beijing Imperial Recipe

There’s a story behind this imitated crab (sai pang xie) recipe, and it starts with the Empress Dowager Cixi craving crabs. Unfortunately, being based in Beijing means a lack of fresh crabs, so the imperial chefs found a clever way to cook eggs to make them taste as good as crab meat. I love this recipe because you can make a huge quantity of the “crab” without breaking the bank – and the bonus is that there’s no need to get fiddly with crab shells!

There are many variations of the recipe, starting with the poor-man’s version with just eggs. Others use white fish and a touch of prawns to achieve a texture closest to crab meat. I’ve used only prawns here, as I prefer that more seafood-y taste. I’ve also used a salted egg, as this adds a little extra punch to the recipe, but you can use normal eggs. If you’re using normal eggs, then make sure you add more salt in the egg white and egg yolk mixes.

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classic_pesto_recipe

Classic Pesto

I understand many people think Pesto it is a complicated sauce to make, but actually it is super easy and a lot tastier if made with fresh ingredients. Recently, I had the opportunity to grow my own basil in the garden and therefore I took advantage to finally try to make fresh pesto. The result was so light and tasty I don’t think those pots at the supermarket or at the local deli will ever tempt me again.
To make things easier, instead of doing the pesto the old fashion way (with pestle and mortar), which would have taken me 20 minutes, I have used a hand blender, spending about ten minutes (if not less) to get my very own pot of pesto!

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Pork_Belly_Coated_Twice_Cooked

Twice Cooked Pork Belly Carrot and Coriander

Want a bit more bite to your pork belly? Then twice-cooking it might be the answer – as covering it in an egg and flour batter will make the texture a little crispier.

After the first round of frying, the pork belly is drained of oil on some tempura paper, ideally, to make it all less greasy, before you add in the spiralised carrots and coriander.

The whole thing is very fast and easy to cook, and prep only takes roughly 10 minutes, with around the same amount of cooking time. Continue reading “Twice Cooked Pork Belly Carrot and Coriander”

Koushui_Ji_Chicken_Salad_Sichuan_Spicy_Recipe

Koushui Ji – a Spicy Sichuan Chinese Chicken Salad

For something a bit different from your standard chicken salad this summer, there’s always the spicy sichuan koushui ji, which is also very easy to make. You can use either one whole chicken, or, as I’ve done here, use only chicken thighs. I’ve also used boneless pieces in this recipe, as I find it easier to eat.

You can make this the night before and store it in the fridge – after all, it’s supposed to be eaten cold – and prep time is minimal, while cooking time is roughly 30 minutes. It really is very simple, despite the long list of ingredients.

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Persian Flatbreads

One of the best memories I have of my travels around Iran is buying bread in the morning, which was our breakfast meal with some fresh cheese and dates. We would get each ingredient from different vendors in the market and eat in one of the amazing squares. In each city we found different styles of bread, but it’s usually flat and cooked in a tandoor oven. Of course, reproducing a tandoor oven at home is not really possible, so the best way you can cook this flatbread is on a hot non-stick frying pan. This simple recipe, taken from the stunning book Saffron Tales, is not only an exotic exploration from the usual ways of making bread, but also a great solution for those midweek evenings when you don’t really have the time to go through the whole bread making process. Makes 16 flat breads, which must be consumed on the spot, so reduce your ingredients if you need less.

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Argentinian_pasta_Sorrentinos

Argentinian Pasta: Sorrentinos

When I spent almost two months in Buenos Aires, I have to confess that, if I came across sorrentinos in one of my many meals at Café La Poesia in San Telmo, I didn’t give them too much thought back then. They look like large, round ravioli and often carry similar fillings. Considering that the majority of Argentinians are of Italian origin, the name of this dish could have come from an old recipe of Campanian ravioli, maybe made particularly well by a nonna from Sorrento? However, these round cousins of ravioli actually have their origin in Argentina, and legend says that they used to be served at a restaurant in Mar de la Plata called Sorrento- hence the name. Whilst in Spain I was lucky enough to assist with the preparation of a very original sorrentinos recipe, made with a filling of ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and walnuts. Obviously, I documented it all for you, as well as making sure I tasted them!

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Sinigang_Knorr_mix_Ribs_Recipe

Sinigang soup from Knorr Mix – a Filipino Sour Soup

Having a sour soup can be very refreshing for the summer, and you will find the Knorr Sinigang Mix from most Asian supermarkets. The sourness comes from tamarind, and other essential ingredients include tomatoes, a meat of some sort and, often, green beans. In this version of the recipe using the Knorr Mix, we are going to use pork ribs, and to make them extra tender, we’ve included cooking it with an electric pressure cooker. Continue reading “Sinigang soup from Knorr Mix – a Filipino Sour Soup”

Three Chinese Summer Cold Dishes – Tomato Cucumber and Wood Ears

When you think of summer food, salad usually comes to mind (got to love a good summer salad). They are, actually, just as common in Chinese cooking, although instead of having a mix of different leaves, Chinese veggie cold dishes are usually made from a single ingredient. These are all very easy to make, so here are three salads with different flavours! They can all be prepared in advance and left in the fridge for dinnertime – no need worry about wilting leaves. Continue reading “Three Chinese Summer Cold Dishes – Tomato Cucumber and Wood Ears”

Courgette pancakes hu ta zi

Courgette Pancakes – a Hu Ta Zi Recipe from Beijing

Summer has brought courgette spaghetti/noodles onto the shelves in some supermarkets here, so yes, this is another courgette recipe! If you can’t buy courgette spaghetti, then just spiralise a normal courgette.

Hu Ta Zi is a snack from Beijing, and is originally made with calabash (bottle gourd), but as that’s difficult to buy in many countries, I’ve adapted the recipe using courgette, and it’s just as delicious! The pancakes is best served hot, and usually dipped in a rice vinegar, soy sauce and garlic powder/chopped garlic sauce. However, they are also delicious by themselves. Continue reading “Courgette Pancakes – a Hu Ta Zi Recipe from Beijing”