Here’s how I made yummy salmon fish cakes out of last night’s leftovers.
- 275 g cooked salmon, bones and skin removed, flaked
- 275 g leftover potato bake, stovies, frittata etc. (or use mashed potato with a little grated cheese)
- 1 egg
- a little chopped red – e.g. red pepper, chilli
- a little chopped green – e.g. fresh herbs, rocket, spinach, green beans
- 1 tsp paprika and/or chilli powder
- salt and pepper
Bung it all in the processor and pulse until combined (but not puréed). Turn into a bowl and fold in enough flour to make a soft, not firm but not sloppy, mix.
For the crumb mix:
- 2-3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
Grind to a coarse powder in a processor or mortar.
Roll the mix into patties and dust in a little of the crumb mix. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden. Since the ingredients are already cooked the mix only needs to heat through; they won’t take long! Serve immediately.
How do you know when your steaks are done? Here’s a handy rule of thumb.
My cousin’s a bit of a chef. Poke the steak with the index finger of your right hand. Now touch the thumb and index finger of your left hand together, and poke the fleshy bit of your palm at the base of your left thumb. That’s rare. Now touch the thumb and middle finger together, and poke the same bit again. That’s medium rare. Thumb and ring finger, that’s medium, and thumb and little finger for well done. (photo to follow)
Serves 2, Preparation time 30 mins max.
If you’ve got some mushrooms lying around that need eating, this one’s perfect. Even though the earliest Stroganoff recipes didn’t have them, so what? Here’s a hark back to the original, but with mushrooms, otherwise it’s just wrong.
Beef Stroganoff on potatoes and spinach
- 2-3 large brown field mushrooms
- oil or lard for frying
- 12 oz (400 g) beef, sirloin, topside or similar
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds (or 2 tsp mustard powder)
- 1 tbsp flour
- salt and pepper
- 1 glass of red wine (and one for the cook)
- crême fraiche or sour cream (yoghurt if slimming)
- 3-4 potatoes
- 8 oz (250 g) spinach
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced as a garnish.
Cut the mushrooms into strips and fry in a casserole with a little oil. Cover to sweat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, Cut up the beef into thin strips. Grind up the mustard seeds (or use mustard powder) and combine with the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss the beef strips in it to coat with the mustard mixture. Fry the beef in a skillet until browned, then add to the casserole. Add the wine to the skillet and stir to pick up the flavours, and pour into the casserole. Add the crême fraiche and stir. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
This should be enough time to slice the potatoes thinly and sauté in the skillet for a few minutes. Add the spinach, cover and sweat until the spinach is done.
Mound the potato mixture in the centre of the plate as a base, and pile the Stroganoff on top. Drizzle the gravy over with a spoon, and garnish with deseeded diced tomato.
Refried beans are awesome with salsa and yoghurt.
- olive oil
- 2-3 rashers of bacon, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chili powder or paprika (to taste)
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 dollops of Frijoles Negros (see recipe)
Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the chopped bacon, garlic, and spices and fry for a couple of minutes. Ladle in some beans from the pot and mash with a potato masher. Continue to fry and stir for a good 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown and stick to the pan.
Serve in tortilla with yoghurt and a good fresh salsa made from diced deseeded tomato, red pepper, chili, garlic, spring onion and lemon juice.
Here’s the recipe I’ve been using lately to make Frijoles Negros – black beans, Mexican-styles. The Flying Burrito Brothers can go take a leap. This is also surely one of the easiest things to make.
- 450 g (1 lb) dried black or turtle beans
- 900 g (2 lb, two tins) tomatoes
- 750 ml (3 cups, two tomato tins-ful) water, or stock
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
- chili (to taste), seeded and diced
- 3-4 bay leaves
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp black pepper
- olive oil
Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of extra water to allow them to swell up.
Strain and discard the water from the beans and put them in a large casserole pot with the chopped tomatoes, water, onions, garlic, chili, bay leaves and wine. Bring to the boil gently and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are al dente.
Crush the cumin seed, coriander seed and pepper together in a mortar and pestle. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and toast the spices until aromatic. pour into the beans and stir.
Why is it that cafes can never get corn fritters right? They always try and add all these other things, make them far too thick, fail to cook them for long enough, burn them, and so on. Corn fritters are a basic foodstuff, a simple yet noble testament to the pleasurable but delicate flavour of corn. They should not be sullied with bacon or diced capsicum, overpowered with twelve herbs and spices, or made out to be more than what they are and what they do best. To that end, I propose that the simplest possible recipe is still the best:
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- one 400 g tin whole kernel corn
- salt and pepper
Beat eggs and milk until frothy. Stir in dry ingredients until a thick pourable batter is formed, then stir in the drained corn kernels. Fry spoonfuls in butter over a medium heat. Serve immediately.
- Two 150g salmon fillets
- Two large field mushrooms (at least 10cm across)
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 150g spinach
- 1 spring onion
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- A few capers
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
- dash of milk
Mash anchovies, garlic, rosemary and capers in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Stir in sour cream and enough milk to make a good sauce consistency. Set aside to allow flavour to infuse.
Steam the broccoli for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the spring onion and saute in a pan with a little oil, salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the pan, stalk-side-up, add the wine and cook covered for 2-3 minutes until just tender.
Place the mushrooms on heated plates stalks-up, and assemble the spring onions and broccoli on top of each mushroom. Keep plates warm.
Meanwhile, steam the spinach, and add the salmon fillets to the pan skin-side down to cook for 2-3 minutes, and 1 minute on the other side.
Pile the spinach on the vegetable ensemble, and place the fillet on top of that. Drizzle any liquid from the pan over the food if desired.
Garnish with the sauce prepared earlier and serve.
- 30 g clarified butter
- 350 g skinned boneless chicken, cubed
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 200 g mushrooms, chopped (or whole button)
- 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 200 g lasagne sheets, uncooked
- 100 g Mozzarella cheese, grated
- optional breadcrumbs
Heat the clarified butter, and fry the chicken and pepper over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Saute the garlic and onion in the remaining butter. Add the mushrooms and sage, and stir for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Add the wine and stock, simmer for about 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the cooked chicken with the ricotta cheese. Layer a casserole dish with alternating layers of chicken mixture and mushroom sauce, with lasagne sheets in-between, starting with chicken and ending with mushroom sauce. Top with Mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes or until the lasagne sheets have cooked (test their tenderness with a fork), and the topping is golden brown.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 450 g lean minced (ground) beef
- 675 g fresh plum tomatoes, skinned (or two 400 ml tins)
- 4 tbsp tomato concentrate (paste)
- 250 ml (1 cup) beef stock or water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- handful of chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and gently saute the garlic and onions. Add the beef mince, and fry until browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato concentrate, water and herbs, and simmer over low heat until the fluid has mostly reduced (about 30 minutes). Season to taste, add the vinegar and simmer for a further 5 minutes.