Archive for March 2008

Smoked Fish Pate

March 21st, 2008 — 11:50am

Hot Smoked Salmon Pate

I shouldn’t really be calling this a pate. For a start it’s incredibly nutritious and low fat and we all know that pate well, isn’t. As much as I love rich, meaty pates, rillets and the like, sometimes, I crave something a bit lighter. This is probably one of only a handful of meals that we eat regularly. Being so obsessed with food and cooking means that we don’t often eat the same thing twice from week to week. This is a favourite because it’s fast, super healthy and totally delicious.

Smoked Mackerel Pate

I’ve made two flavours here, a smoked mackerel and a hot smoked salmon. The flaked fish is simply mixed with some natural yoghurt, capers, spring onions, herbs and a squeeze of lemon. If you are in the mood for something a little richer, just use crème fraiche in place of the yoghurt, it’s really good.

I used dill in these fishy pots today but I have used tarragon in the past, which makes a nice variation. The combinations are endless really. You could add some finely chopped cornichons for example, a spoonful of horseradish, some wholegrain mustard………

We like to eat the pate with some toasted sunflower seed bread – it has a great texture and contains rye flour which stands up well to the mackerel. Perfect with a green side salad and pickles.

Smoked Fish Pate

Smoked mackerel fillets
Hot smoked salmon fillets
Dill, chopped (or tarragon or other herbs)
Lemon juice
Spring onions, finely chopped
Natural yoghurt or crème fraiche
Bread, to serve

-Flake the fish in separate bowls and add capers, spring onions, dill, a good grind of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Some of the lemon zest is nice too.
-Mix everything together and then add enough yoghurt to bind it together.
-Serve in ramekins with hot toast.

13 comments » | Fish, Gluten-free, Healthy, Pâtés, Terrines and Things of That Ilk., Snacks, Starters

Smoked Sea Salt and Fennel Seed Crackers

March 16th, 2008 — 5:34pm

Smoked Sea Salt and Fennel Seed Crackers

I’ve been using this smoked Maldon sea salt in everything recently. The smoky flavour is just right, strong without being overpowering. I wanted to make some crackers but not fat laden ones. I also wanted a robust flavour and some nutritional benefit so I mixed half stone ground wholemeal flour and half white plain flour. The extra virgin olive oil (Greek) also gives the crackers a nice grassy flavour and the combination of fennel seeds and the smoky salt is actually really really good. We ate the crackers with some houmous as a healthy snack (we’ll forget about the salt content…). I think next time I will experiment with different flours such as spelt, my new favourite ingredient (except smoked sea salt of course). I have some spelt spaghetti which is really good and a colleague has promised me her spelt bread recipe.

Crackers in Progress

The first time I made these, I brushed the tops with beaten egg white. It seemed a bit unnecessary, so the second batch I didn’t bother and they were actually better, more golden on top. It’s a shame then that I didn’t roll the second batch thin enough and they weren’t quite crispy enough in the middle.The possible spice combinations for the crackers are endless, cumin, ras el hanout, smoked paprika. I really like seeds on there rather than ground spices, it’s just a bit more interesting. They would be nice dipped into sour cream too or tzatziki, baba ganoush, guacamole…moreish just doesn’t even cover it.

Smoked Sea Salt and Fennel Seed Crackers

(Makes approx 30 crackers)

4oz plain white flour
4oz wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
35ml olive oil
Smoked salt (or regular)
Fennel seeds

-Mix the flour, baking powder and fine salt in a bowl. Add the oil and then enough water for the dough to come together. It shouldn’t be too sticky.
-On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for around 5 minutes then cover and allow to rest (at room temp) for around 30 minutes.
-Roll out the dough as thin as you can manage without it tearing and cut into desired shapes.
-Sprinkle each cracker with smoked sea salt and fennel seeds to your taste.
-Transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 150C/300F/Gas2 for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your crackers but they are ready when golden brown and crispy. Allow to cool on a rack or stuff them into your face right away like I did.

(Edit: Before you put the crackers in the oven, make indents in the top with a fork to prevent them puffing).

23 comments » | Biscuits, Crackers, Healthy, Snacks, Vegan

Broad Bean Salad with Pancetta

March 8th, 2008 — 6:07pm

Broad Bean Salad

I was very excited to find some young broad beans in the veg box this week. Year after year, there is only one recipe that I absolutely have to make straight away. It’s not my recipe though, it’s actually Delia’s.

I found when I opened the broad bean pods that I had a variety of sizes so I added the large ones first before adding the medium and then small to ensure even cooking. I threw in some bright green soy beans, some extra herbs and substituted sherry vinegar for cider vinegar as I had it to hand. There is actually an earlier version of this recipe in one of her books which is less glamorous with bacon and white wine or some lesser vinegar. No matter what minor tweaks I make, this always screams spring to me as it is so fresh and the flavours are really punchy. Something to mark a change of direction away from constant eating of root vegetables throughout winter.

Broad Beans


Broad (and soy) Bean Salad
Adapted from Delia Smith’s ‘How to Cook Book 2′

250g broad beans (shelled weight)
250g soy beans (I used frozen….)
A very large handful of mixed herbs, finely chopped. I used basil, flat leaf parsley, mint and chives.
3 fat slices of pancetta
2 shallots, finely chopped
salt and pepper

For the dressing

1 large clove of garlic
A generous pinch of sea salt
2 level teaspoons mustard powder
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

– Grill the pancetta until really crisp and then cut into bite size pieces.
– Plunge the broad beans into boiling, salted water and, when it comes back to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes or so before adding the soy beans to the same pan for around 3 minutes more (I used soy beans that cook straight from the freezer, which is not the same thing as using frozen mashed potato Delia!). When they are just tender drain and set aside in a serving bowl.
– For the dressing, Crush the garlic with the salt in a pestle and mortar, then add the mustard powder and mix. Add the cider vinegar and a good grind of black pepper (around 1/2 teaspoon) and mix in again (I like to switch to a mini whisk at this point). Finally, add the olive oil and whisk again to emulsify.
– Add the chopped shallots and crispy pancetta bits to the beans and then pour the dressing over while they are still warm. Finally add the herbs and mix again. Delicious hot and cold.

9 comments » | Gluten-free, Lunchbox, Meat, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables

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