Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Having abandoned this blog after a gruelling amount of essays and festive catch-ups, it is time for me to return to the world of food blogging and promise to maintain the blog for the rest of the year- my new year’s resolution.
This really shouldn't be very difficult, after presents like 'Larousse Gastronomique' (THE cooking bible), a shiny new wok and Chinese cook book, a selection of borough market treats such as a range of hand mixed Indian spice blends, white truffle oil and a tangy chimchurri sauce.

For now, I will tell you what I had for my new year’s dinner, fashioned up by my mum.
A traditional Russian celebration dish, 'Kurnik' is a complex combination of shredded roast chicken, rice, boiled eggs, wild mushrooms, onions, parsley and pastry. Layer by layer the ingredients come together before being wrapped up in some homemade pancakes (Russian blini) before being rolled up in a homemade soda-based pastry. The pancakes stop the pastry from getting soggy and add that extra bit of indulgence. Kurnik, I'm afraid to tell my south west based audience, blows Cornish pasties right out of the water!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Pan fried swordfish on a simple home-made fish stock risotto

Last weekend involved me buying some whole fresh dover sole from Borough Market. I was nervous and excited at the prospect of learning some new fish preperation skills but once I filleted and skinned the poor things, there really wasn’t a lot left to eat (I did manage to make a nice dover sole linguini dish in the end but I won't go into that in detail). Feeling rather guilty at how much of the fish might go to waste, I saved the discarded bones, heads and skin and vowed to make some fish stock, so I can get the most out of this thought-after fish.
Simple Fish Stock
·         Heads, bones and skin of 2 dover sole
·         1 leek
·         ½ an onion
·         1 Carrot
·         1 bulb of fennel
·         About 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley stalks
·         6 peppercorns
·         A pinch of salt
·         3 dried bay leaves

All you need to do is coarsely chop up all the veg, combine in a large pan with the peppercorns, parsley stalks, bay leaves and the fish bits and top with about 1 litre of cold water (although I ended up adding an extra 300ml). Bring to a simmer and keep it on low heat and simmering for 35 minutes, or longer for a more intense stock. Using a fine sieve, gradually ladle the liquid from the stock pan into a large bowl/another pan, pressing down on the solid items from the pan to squeeze out any juices before disposing of them. Do this until all liquid has been transported into the bowl/pan, and you will be left with some lightly golden, shimmering fish stock.

I chose to freeze half of the stock while putting the rest into a clean pan to simmer; this will go towards my fishy risotto!

Seeing as I wrote a recipe for risotto just a few posts ago, I will not bore you repeating the same thing. I will, however, tell you what I’ve changed so you can vary your recipe accordingly. (To refresh your memory, here is my previous risotto post

As earlier stated, I replaced the chicken stock with my own fish stock. As I was going down the simplicity route, I left out the saffron instead opting for a more fresh alternative by adding 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley (right at the end when the parmesan is added).  I bought 1 large swordfish steak, which I marinated in some freshly-squeezed lemon juice, chopped red chillies, salt and pepper. I cut this in half to reduce cooking time and pan-fried over high heat in 2 tbsp of olive oil for a few minutes on each side, serving on a bed of risotto!