Archive for February, 2008

Salmon with Ginger & Soy

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2008 by helenphillips

This is a quick and simple recipe, that gives your salmon a far-eastern twist. I served mine with plain boiled rice, and Stir-fried Pak Choi . The Pak Choi recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch, and simply involves stir frying the Pak Choi with some chopped garlic, then adding oyster sauce and soy sauce. It’s a really simple and quick dish that takes me back to the delicious garlic spinach I had in China many years ago.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, and cook the salmon skin side down until the skin is crispy. Turn over and cook the other side for a few minutes, until the salmon is cooked through (I cooked a slighter thicker fillet as pictured, and so browned the sides too). Remove the salmon, and keep warm.

Melt a little butter, and add some spring onions (approx 3 onions per person), some finely sliced ginger (amount according to taste), and some finely sliced garlic (1 small clove per person). Fry for about a minute, then add soy sauce (around 1tbspn per person). Mix well, and briefly return the salmon to the pan to coat with the sauce.

If you want to add to the presentation, then a little fresh coriander will look good, as well as complementing the flavour.


B is for Beetroot

Posted in chutney, Food, Home Cooked Food, Uncategorized with tags on February 18, 2008 by helenphillips

For most of life I avoided beetroot, having only encountered the pickled variety. Then last winter I got a 1kg bag of the stuff in my vegetable box. After asking around, I was recommended a recipe for Beetroot Chutney. My preconceptions of how it might taste were totally blown away – the other ingredients give the chutney a deliciously sweet taste. I found that it goes particularly well with boiled ham, or with bread & cheese.

1kg cooked beetroot
500g onions – chopped
400g apples, chopped
250ml white wine (or cider) vinegar
130g brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander



Place all ingredients into a pot, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for about an hour or until it thickens.

Other suggestions I have come across are:

  • Simply baked: Peel, and cube. Wrap loosely in foil and bake at 180 degrees C for about an hour, until soft
  • Beetroot Risotto
  • Beetroot Soup (Borscht)
  • Beetroot Cake, or even better – Chocolate Beetroot Cake
  • Beetroot Crisps
  • Various salads (apparently combining with orange works well)

Beetroot is packed with vitamins, and has many medical uses – from being used as a headache cure, to being used for burns, or as an antiseptic.

In ancient times, people believed the colour of beetroot showed how powerful it is.

The Greeks used beetroot to ‘cool’ blood, and Romans used it to fight fever.

Legend also dictates that the patron of Beetroot is Aphrodite, and that if 2 people eat from the same beetroot, then they will fall in love. At the very least, it is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

In early times, the dye properties were used as make up – lipstick and rouge.

Sweet, sour & spicy Pork

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , on February 10, 2008 by helenphillips

This is an culmination of a ‘quick & dirty’ recipe from Good Food Magazine (November 2006), and more traditional methods. The GF recipe is great for speed and ease (10 mins prep, and 15 mins cook), but I prefer avoiding the specified tomato ketchup. I did find that the inclusion of a cinnamon stick gave it a slightly different element, and the addition of red pepper and mushrooms are my own (back to the old 5 a day!)

So, here goes. This will make around 4 portions.

Lean pork, cubed (I allow around 100g per person)
1 tspn olive oil or groundnut oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 small red pepper, sliced
1 tbspn light soy sauce (I used reduced salt)
200g tinned pineapple, reserve syrup.
3 tbspn rice vinegar or wine vinegar
1 tspn tomato purée
3-4 tbspn water
1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
1 tbspn cornflour

Heat the oil in a pre-heated wok or pan, add the pork and cook until the outside is browned, but not cooked right through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and put aside.
Add the veg to the pan (you may need a little more oil) and stir-fry for around a minute. Add the pineapple, along with 2 tbspn of the syrup. Add the water, the cinnamon stick, vinegar and tomato purée, and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 10 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Return the pork to the sauce, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Thicken with the cornflour (premixed into a paste with cold water). Serve with rice, and whatever other trimmings you fancy (prawn crackers anyone?)

A is for Apple

Posted in Cooking, Food, Home Cooked Food with tags , , on February 4, 2008 by helenphillips

‘An Apple a day keeps the doctor away”, a saying dating back to the 19th Century long before we were encouraged to get our 5 a day! High in Vitamin C and other antioxidants, the apple has proved the test of time as a delicious but healthy food.

The apple tree is possibly one of the earliest cultivated trees, and is a fruit associated with many legends, not to mention it’s place in Genesis. Today it is the widest cultivated fruit, with over 7500 varieties growing world wide, with 1200 varieties in the UK alone. Yet I have heard of only a small number of the names, such as Braeburn, and Cox Pippen. Whilst doing a little research for this post, I found this excellent article on The Great British Kitchen website – so now I know a few more varieties to look out for!

Savoury Ideas:

Sweet / Pudding / Dessert Ideas

Apart from eating, there are a few more uses that I have come across:

  • Store half an apple with cake to keep it fresh
  • Place one in a paper bag with green tomatoes in order to ripen them
  • Place a wedge in a sealed bag with hardened brown sugar to soften it back up again
  • Excess salt in your soup or stew? Add a few wedges of apple for 10 minutes.