Spicy Pickles

Spicy Pickled Vegetables

I always find it interesting how people describe themselves as ‘having a sweet tooth’ or ‘a salty palate’ or preferring savoury foods. I guess its to do with how your tastebuds are geared up on your tongue and which are more dominant. I’m never sure what category I fall into, but I do know that I love sharp flavours – tangy, sour, vinegary thats my bag. It will be no surprise then in that case that I love anything that is pickled.

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Pickling things my self is not something I’ve ever really tried until the last few years, but its so easy to do. This year particularly with a glut of various vegetables growing in the garden it’s a brilliant way to preserve any excess so that they don’t perish.

A basic pickling mix would be vinegar and sugar, but the addition of spices in various combinations and quantities can really add another dimension. The recipe below is my favourite pickling one – adding a bit of heat to the equation. ย Obviously you can change the quantities of the pickling liquor if you have very large or smaller amounts. This quantity will be fine for about 200-400g vegetables.

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Ingredients

Vegetables – your choice really. In this recipe we used cauliflower, shallot, carrot, thin green chillies and radish. Other options would be things like baby onions, beetroot, cucumber, courgette, cabbage. ย Cut them into ribbons, thin slices or small florets

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  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml ย apple cider vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • 150g caster or golden caster sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-2 dried red chillies

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Method

  1. Put the sugar, water, vinegar and spices in a saucepan on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add in the vegetables and bring to the boil. Take of the heat and leave to cool slightly in the pan
  3. Tip the vegetables into sterilised jars and top with the pickling liquid so they are covered. This way they will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Happy pickling ๐Ÿ™‚

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If you fancy your hand at pickling something check out these other options too!

Hot Mexican Pickles from Supper in the Suburbs

Hot Chilli & Ginger Pickle from Kavey Eats

Quick Pickled Lemons from Recipes from a Pantry

Spicy Fermented Carrot Salad from Natural Kitchen Adventures

Buffet Pickles from the Crafty Larder

Sizzling Salmon

Sizzling Salmon Cups: A Stoves UK & Shelina Permalloo Recipe

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A few weeks ago I headed to the BBC Good Food Show – you can read my round up here. One of my favourite bits is always watching the chefs cook dishes on the small demo stages that are dotted about.

This years Stoves UK were sponsoring the Live Cook Stage with the likes of Michael Caines, Tom Kerridge and Brian Turner amongst the featured Chefs. I really enjoyed watching Michael Caines cook his Baked Salmon and Watercress Salad recipe, in fact all of the recipes on the Stoves stage line up sounded great! The one that jumped out at me though to try and recreate was Shelina Permalloos Sizzling Mexican Salmon Cups. Continue reading

Salmon Tartare with Sweet & Sour Cucumber

I used to really dislike salmon. I know, right? Weird. Its the worlds most loved and common fish isn’t it! Well I wasn’t that keen! (Apart from smoked salmon – always loved that!) Over the last couple of years though, something has changed. The more I dare myself to try it, the more I seem to like it, to the point now that I will actively seek it out on menus and at home. I still prefer it in other ways to purely fried/roasted/poached so am always trying to do something different with it. In my current phase of adoring sushi, sashimi and curing things I thought I would try a salmon tartare.

I guess people might be scared of eating ‘raw’ fish, but in fact the lemon juice in the recipe ‘cooks’ the salmon in a way, so as long as your fish is fresh and good quality there shouldn’t be any cause for concern! More traditional tartares would use parsley as the herb, but I prefer chives. paring this with some slightly acidic pickled cucumber just adds a bit of crisp clean flavour that cuts through the salmon too.

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Serves 2 as a lunch or light dinner

Ingredients

For the salmon:

  • 2 boneless salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives – finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • twist black pepper

For the cucumber:

  • half a cucumber
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped and a few extra to dress the plate.
  • 1 tbsp rock salt

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Method

  1. Firstly prepare the cucumber – peel and cut lengthways, then scoop out the seeds. Slice thinly in vertical slices on a mandolin or with a peeler.
  2. Layer the cucumber in a colander and cover with the salt. Leave for 1-2 hours. (this draws out some of the water in the cucumber)
  3. After the 1-2 hours – prepare the tartare mix. Put the lemon juice, oil, chopped capers, shallot and chives in a bowl and mix, adding a little pepper to taste.
  4. Prepare the salmon. Cut into about 5mm dice and place into the same bowl with the other tartare ingredients. Mix well and place in the fridge.

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  1. Rinse the cucumber well and pat dry. Place in a bowl with the rest of the pickle ingredients and mix well. Place in the fridge alongside the salmon and leave both for about 30 minutes.
  • To serve, use a cookie cutter as a mould to build the tartare, then remove. Top with a few curls of the sweet and sour cucumber.

Happy eating ๐Ÿ™‚

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Chargrilled Asparagus & Courgette Salad with Goats cheese and a Mustard Dressing

I really love Spring. Probably the biggest reason for this is asparagus. I simply adore the stuff. For the couple of months that it is in season I buy at least 2 bunches a week! The credit for this recipe certainly goes to Mr Foodie Couple. Its simple to do but is delicious and perfect for a spring weekend lunch.

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Chargrilling or griddling the courgette and asparagus then putting them hot into the already made dressing makes it absorb better and also imparts the chargrilled flavour into the dressing as well (or so Lee tells me!) The goats cheese adds another dimension and a bit of creaminess and the addition of a few pumpkin seeds scattered over at the end gives a much needed crunch.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 10-12 asparagus spears – woody ends removed and then stems peeled
  • 1 ย large courgette – ends removed then vertical slices cut thinly with a peeler or mandolin
  • 2 baby gem lettuces – root removed and leaves separated
  • 1 large handful rocket
  • 100g goats cheese – roughly broken up
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 150ml rapeseed oil
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Method:

  1. First make the dressing; put the mustard, lemon and vinegar in a bowl and mix together. Then slowly trickle in the rapeseed oil, whisking all the time. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Set aside.
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and then blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes, then refresh (put into ice water)
  3. Heat a griddle pan. Rub the courgettes and asparagus with a little rapeseed oil then chargrill for about 1-2 minutes on each side until nicely charred.
  4. Put straight into the dressing and toss together.

  5. Assemble the lettuce and rocket and goats cheese on plates, then top with the courgette and asparagus and a couple of tbsp of dressing drizzled over. Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and serve!

Happy eating ๐Ÿ™‚

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Salsa Verde: My version

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I’m a big fan of zingy, tangy, herby sauces to accompany things like fish and chicken. They’re a great healthier alternative to butter or cream based sauces and taste fantastic too. One of my current go to evening dinners is a piece of sea trout or salmon (but you could substitute most fish really) with lots of green veg and this great take on a salsa verde. I say its a take on a salsa verde, because it’s a bit different to a lot of recipes you might see out there, being coriander heavy.

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Generally in a salsa verde, which just translates as ‘green sauce’ you can use any soft green herbs, but most recipes use parsley, basil and mint. I prefer some of the other soft green herbs so this is my version, but feels free to experiment and find your perfect balance. Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch corinader
  • 1 small handful mint
  • 1 small handful dill
  • 1 small handful parsely
  • 1/2 small green chilli (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 anchovy fillets (optional to make recipe vegetarian)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • couple of turns of cracked black pepper

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Method:

  1. Finely chop the shallot, mince the garlic and mix with the roughly chopped capers & anchovies
  2. Mix the mustard and oil into this mixture
  3. Finely chop all the herbs, or blitz in the food processor
  4. Add the herbs to the other bowl with the shallots etc and then mix thoroughly.

  5. Finally stir through the vinegar and add the pepper to taste, adding a little more or less to taste.

Happy eating ๐Ÿ™‚

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