Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file
Prep: A lidded casserole dish, for the hob, and a frying pan if heading down the skin fillet route.
The Base Sauce
3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped/crushed
1 Small red chilli seeds removed, and finely diced
Handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
200g Mirepoix (which is roughly a
Medium sized carrot, peeled finely diced
Small onion, peeled finely diced
Stick of celery finely diced)
75ml white wine (preferably dry)
400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes
Orange Peel (using a potatoe peeler take a slice of orange skin without taking the pith, bitter white)
Olive oil, a generous glug
25g knob of butter
1 bouquet garni sachet
200ml fish stock or good quality veg stock
The Fish Part – which I suggest you tailor to your taste/guests
Fish you cook in the sauce
2 white fish fillets (cod, hake or coley)
175-200g raw prawns
Fish you cook in a frying pan and add to the dish on serving
(optional…maybe add another fillet above if you don’t do this part)
2 small Sea bream or sea bass fillets
Do the veg prep first as per the ingredients
Add the garlic and lightly stir through and then add the mirepoix and chilli. Stir through some of the parsley. Gently fry for 4-5 minutes, the idea here is to soften the veg without browning.
Add the orange peel
Pour the white wine and burn off the alcohol by reducing it by a third
Add the chopped tomato and bouquet garni, simmering for 10 mins.
Now the stock and reduce to a third. (I used one of those stock pot’s more like a jelly and then added some boiling water)
Gently add the white fish fillet and then cover the pot for 5 minutes
Add the prawns and cook briefly, couple of mins as they start to turn pink, take away from the heat
Remove the bouquet garni and orange peel, taste and add a little salt/pepper if needed
If you are going down the fried fish addition route, fry the fillets in butter, skin side down to get crispy first and then turn over to finish the flesh, this will be a couple of minutes depending on how long you cooked the skin side.
Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
Serve in bowl with some nice bread of your choosing
My head is fried, one of the boys is bashing out tunes on the piano, jumping from ditty to ditty. The other is battling against a shrinking storm with all manner of explosions on the xBox. I’ve been painting doors and skirtings for most the day and despite it being water based I think the smell has got to me. Add to that and I expect no sympathy on this point, day 2 of a possible hangover from the annual Whisky Fringe that takes place here in Edinburgh.
I’ve been given the Sunday tea slot and asked to take care of the Courgette and the Aubergine, whilst I wasn’t the looking the potatoes as well. I was thinking a slow cooked ragu/ratatouille to serve with Pasta and Basil from the plant slowly wilting in the corner and then the potatoes arrived so just decided to go for a one pot….which I think was a little too small in hindsight.
A simple one pot dish that’s great for using up the veg box left overs when all you want to do is chill.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file
Prep: A hob and oven proof lidded casserole dish. Oven at 180°
200g mixed lentils (100g puy, 100g Brown)
1 Onion diced
2 Cloves garlic crushed
1 Courgette chopped to bite size pieces
1 Aubergine, quartered length wise and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tin tomatoes
500g potatoes chopped into bite sized pieces (These were newish, so I scrubbed and kept the skins on)
Tablespoon dry herbs of your choice
Heaped teaspoon of bouillon
Teaspoon sea salt flakes
Glug of olive oil
In an oven proof dish, slowly soften the onion in the oil
Add the garlic and stir through
Add the Aubergine and turn over as they start to soak up the oil
Add the courgette, stir through, the herbs and the salt
The tomatoes, and then fill the can up with water and pour that in as well
Add the potatoes and lentils and stir through (if you can….I couldn’t’)
Use your judgement and add more water (only a drop) to cover the lentils
Bring to simmer and then cover and place in the oven,
Check at 30 mins and stir over, top up with water if needed (again only a drop)
Check at the 1hr and the do the….should be cooked at this point, but repeat the last step, I like the extra 30 mins as I feel something magical happens to the aubergine as it softens, sweetens and adds to the pot of warming magic
Hearty Soups are a must for January and the veggie box came with a bag of parsnips this week. This is a warming earthy soup where the honey takes the sharp taste that you sometimes get with a boiled parsnip.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: A heavy based soup pan to hold more than 1.5 litre.
3 tbsp Olive oil
1 medium sized onion diced
2 cloves garlic
450g root veg (3 parsnips and a carrot) chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
250g red split lentils
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp runny honey
1.5l Vegetable stock
Whilst your chopping the veg soak your lentils, I weigh the lentils and then add 250g water at same time. Not essential I just find they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Heat the oil and add the onions, celery, garlic and rosemary, gently sauté until the onions and celery soften
Add the spices and turn over
Add the honey and coat the onion mix
Add the root veg and stir through
Add the stock and the lentils
Simmer gently for 25-30 mins with the lid on, stirring every so often
If you like a smooth soup, blitz with a hand blender or mash and stir through
When is mince and tomatoes a Chilli or a Bolognese? Or when is a Bolognese a Chilli…….I think my definition would be when you add spice and kidney beans and in this recipe, a chilli and some peppers….no oregano or Mediterranean herbs.
This is a good chunky chilli, with no traditional aspect to it! It’s good for using up the spare chilli, onions and carrots in the fridge….makes use of the beans at the back of the cupboard and great for freezer prep.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: This roughly covers 10-12 portions, Good sized casserole dish, heavy based pan. Don’t underestimate the chopping…..great thing to do on a cold wet January day with the stereo on.
3 tbsp Olive oil
3 Onions, finely chopped….I added a red one that needed using
4 Cloves garlic
4 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1kg beef mince
1 tblsp Worcester Sauce
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
1 fresh Chilli, finely diced
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 400g tins of Red Beans (I used a tin of Kidney and a tin of Aduki)
Salt and black pepper
200g of Mushrooms quartered
3 Peppers (mixed adds a nice colour to the dish), seeded and diced
Heat the oil, and add the onions, celery, garlic and fresh chilli and mince…..gently sauté, breaking the mince down with a wooden spoon until brown and the onions are soft.
Add the rest of the veg to this, the chilli flakes, the tomatoes and puree and turn over
Simmer on a low heat for 40 mins or so with the lid on, stirring occasionally
To thicken up the sauce simmer without the lid off
A lonesome Aubergine in the fridge, and the ask to use it up as part of tea….oh and what we going to do with the Celeriac that came in the veg box set the brain going for this one. A chill in the air dictates comfort food, a hearty stew something to warm the soul and sits alongside a mash. A recipe to make your own depending on your butchers counter, the mood you're in and your preference for red meat. I had planned to make this a Lamb stew until I saw the Venison on the counter, lean and gamey calling out to be cooked for a change.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: This easily covers 4 portions, and can be upsized. I used a small le creuset, a heavy based casserole dish that transfers from the hob to the oven.
For note this cooks easily alongside a rice pudding for afters…. A real comfort eating night.
3 tbsp Olive or Rapeseed oil
500g Stewing Venison
1 Onions, finely chopped
A glass of red wine or port
1 stock cube
100g Brown Lentils
1 aubergine, diced into bite sized pieces
1 courgette, diced into bite sized pieces
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
150g mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 Celeriac (600g or so after peeling)
Potatoes (400g or so)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Grain Mustard
A handful of parsley leaves chopped finely
Heat a tablespoon of the oil
Brown the venison in batches without over crowding in the pan, 2 or three batches should suffice. Add more oil if needed
Deglaze the bottom of the pan using the wine and a wooden spoon to get any crispy bits off. Then pour these juices into a jug or over the venison if you have the venison in a bowl
Another glug of oil, and soften the diced onion
Stir in the spices
Stir in the Aubergine and Courgette cooking through for a minute or so
Add the tin of the tomatoes and then the stock cube made up with water using the tin of the tomatoes
Add the mushrooms and stir through
Add the Venison and juices, bring to a simmer then place in the oven for an hour and a half or so
At this point I stir in the lentils, use your judgement, how runny is it? The lentils are there to thicken up the casserole so your choice on how runny you like your stew. Place back in the oven, after a stir through
30-40 minutes before your going to eat the stew, prep your Celeriac and Potatoes
Trim all the muddy roots and peel, dice into chunks, place in a pan of water to cover
Add the lemon juice to stop any discolour
Peel and dice the potatoes to a similar size, adding to the pan
Add the salt, bay leaves and bring to a simmer fo 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft
Drain the water
Add the butter, mustard and parsley and using a masher put some muscle into working it all through
Avoided the Saturday queue by popping into the fish shop on my way home from work on the Friday. The downside being the remains of the day. As a result I discovered and cooked Silver Hake for the first time.
I share this recipe more an aid memoir to myself, part of the recipes for life file. I tend to forget whether the skin goes down first or last and as I write this it feels obvious…..but I swear I forget time and time again. Pan fry the flesh first before turning onto the skin and placing into the oven. This gives the fish a lovely colour on top for serving and the Skin protects the rest of the fish whilst in the oven as it cooks through.
Credit: A nod to Nigel Slater and his Kitchen Diaries
Advice: Heat and timing key for this, if your serving with a salad get that done up front. Both a hob and ovenproof pan is needed.
200g chunky fillet of fish with skin on
Knob of butter, or a tblsp or so of olive oil
Crank up the oven, 220°C
In the oven proof pan, bring the oil to a high heat on the hob
Whilst your bringing the heat up, season the fish with salt and pepper
Skin Side up if the key. Place the fish into the pan and fry for a few minutes until starting to turn golden
Turn over onto the skin and then place the pan into the hot oven
Depending on the fish it will take 7-10 mins. I set the timer for 7 mins…easier to cook for a few minutes more than it is to roll back the clock if it’s over cooked.
Saturday Morning and the main shop was done yesterday and we are walking around Bruntsfield and Morningside after dropping our bikes off for a service. Waitrose, the foodies supermarket usually calls out to us, to grab those last minute items and a free paper when you spend over £10. I love the Guardian on Saturday Food Supplement! They sell an ideal sized bag of sweet potatoes in their essentials range and apart from the addition of the weight in my rucksack I see no reason to add them to our extra swag for soup making purposes.
This is a lovely creamy style soup, great for those autumn nights.
1.25kg bag of sweet potatoes
2 medium onions diced
Olive or Rapeseed Oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
400g tin of coconut milk
200g split red lentils
1 tbsp bouillon powder
Rinse and then soak the lentils in 500g/500ml or so in cold water for 30 mins
Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into chunks, roast for 45 mins to an hour until soft
Dice the onion
Bring a tbsp of the oil to a soft heat in a heavy based pan that will hold a good 2litres of liquid.
Add the onion and crushed garlic and soften until translucent
Add the bouillon powder and stir in
Add the coconut milk
Then a litre of water, which I add boiled from the kettle, bring to a simmer and stir through
You can add the lentils at this stage and cook in the broth
Or cook separately in their own water to then add later
I choose to do this as I didn’t want to blitz the lentils…preferring to keep them whole
When the potatoes are ready, add into the broth mix and blitz using a hand blender
Rice is one of the worlds treasures, the magic that exists in a palm full of rice is amazing, simple and versatile and easy to unlock with a simple method. Water and heat, but in which combination. I grew up with the boil to death technique, sieve and pour over a kettle of water and hope that the rice has survived the process. Then when I left for university I discovered and upgraded to brown rice, and this to my mind enjoys the boil to death technique, 30 mins should do it. It was good, it was healthy but it didn’t quite have the magic that white basmati has when cooked to perfection. The recipe below comes close to it! When the time comes to take the lid off…….it will just make you happy!
The key to this recipe is steam and warmth, a heavy pan with a tight fitting lid is essential to this process, it keeps the heat and steam to cook the rice through.
Do not lift the lid or you will miss all that heavenly glory! (Sorry Bruce Lee quote coming through there)
200g basmati Rice, or a teacup
1/4 teaspoon of salt
400ml boiling water, or 1½ teacup full
In a heavy pan melt the butter
Add the rice to the butter and stir through, the rice will become slightly translucent and gasping for water
Add a pinch of salt and then the water
Bring to a simmer and then place the lid onto the pan. Turn the heat down as low as possible.
Leave to cook for 12 minutes…..without peaking!
Take the pan off the heat and leave for another 10 minutes…..without peaking….have faith!
Now you can lift the lid and carefully using a fork, fluff the rice up and serve
We had a guests this weekend, a long time university friend of my wife’s (pre dating me) and her 13 year old son. One thing I’m sure of is that breakfast will be long and easy. The conversation flows like they’ve never been apart and the opportunity to add something different into the mix is not to be missed. Sunday morning and the two ladies had set themselves a goal of running before breakfast. It was raining and they went for it. Chance for me to cause some chaos in the kitchen and there was half a tub of buttermilk languishing in the fridge that needed using.