Monday, 2 January 2012

Belated 2011 Catch-up Part 1

I really can barely believe it's been nearly two months since I last blogged anything. To, be honest, life got pretty hectic: I had to move out of my flat in North London, sort through everything and decide what to store and what to move with me into my, temporary, new home. And then actually do all the packing, furniture dismantling, storage, moving etc etc. Thank god for good friends helping out.

As it was, I still managed to do my back in, and despite regular trips to my chiropractor I'm still not really 100%.  Plus of course, my North London Kitchen has, for the time being at least turned into My (tiny and poky) South London Kitchen.

But enough of the moaning - it is definitely time to get back in the saddle! I have quite a lot to catch up on so the last couple of months of 2011 will probably be split over a couple of post before I turn my attention to 2012.

Old Bay Blackened Tilapia with Caper-Parsley Sauce, Tomato Green Beans & Roast Broccoli
Serves 1 very generously

I think I mentioned in the previous post that I'd been trying to get hold of some mackerel fillets. I can't even remember what I wanted to do now but in any case I failed. In Waitrose however they did have Tilapia fillets, so bearing in mind they're super sustainable I decided to chuck some of them in the basket instead.

Tilapia is quite mild in flavour though so either season well - in my case Old Bay blackened seasoning (last mentioned here) - or make a sauce. I also had some purple sprouting broccoli so decided to roast it as I love the way the leaves go crispy in the oven but next time I will strip off the leaves and add them back into the roasting tin slightly later as some of the leaves were a bit burnt. Green or french beans cooked through with garlic and tomatoes is just a great combination that goes well with all sorts of things.

For Tilapia & caper sauce
200g tilapia fillets
splash of olive oil
small knob of butter
Old Bay seasoning (or just salt & pepper)
1 tsp capers
small handful chopped parsley
50 ml wine
knob butter
lemon juice
For roasted broccoli
About 150g purple sprouting broccoli (tenderstem or ordinary would work well too)
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
For garlic tomato green beans
1 spring onion finely chopped
50g beans
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
garlic oil
knob butter
cple tbsp water
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas mark 6. Place the PBS on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil then season well with salt & pepper. Toss everything together so that the broccoli is well coated and then roast in the oven until tender but with a little bite still and so that the edges are slightly crispy. This will take about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the fish fillets well with Old Bay if using or otherwise just salt & pepper.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan then add the fish, skin side down and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip over then cook for a further couple of minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm (tent with foil if necessary).

Wipe the pan out then add the wine to it, over a medium heat and cook until reduced by half . Turn the heat right down then add the butter, capers, parsley & lemon juice, swirling round so all mixed together well.

While the fish is cooking, add the green beans and spring onion to a little garlic oil & butter to a small frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Season with a little salt & pepper then add the tomatoes and cook until just softened, about 1 more minute. Stir in the water, then cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with the fish fillets and roasted broccoli with the caper-parsley sauce poured over the fish.

Broccoli, Kale, Mushroom & Walnut Lasagne
Serves 2

This was part of my continued effort to clear the freezer before I had to move (I failed incidentally), having a few sheets of fresh lasagne languishing in the back of one of the drawers.

This was, is has to be said, a lot tastier than the pic below may lead you to believe. The walnuts add excellent texture although pinenuts would be a fine substitute. Similarly, feel free to play around with the veg, using whatever you have to hand that you think would make a good combo.

By the way, I actually buggered up the cheese sauce by forgetting to add it to the bechamel meaning that I just sprinkled it on top. Hence, I believe the slight oddness of the picture... taste-wise though I really don't think it made a huge difference.

95g purple sprouting broccoli, cut into small pieces
70g kale, leaves only (discard the stalks) and shredded
125g mixed mushrooms (I used shitake & chestnut), quartered or in eighths if large
200g tinned tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 banana shallot (or small onion), finely diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
45g walnuts, chopped fairly finely but not so they're powdered
pinch dried mixed herbs
85-100g quick cook Lasagne
90g grated cheddar cheese
10g butter
2 tbsps wholemeal flour
½ tsp mustard powder
125 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6).

Heat the oil in a saucepan on low heat and add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. Put the broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes and chopped basil into the pan; cover and increase the heat a little. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the walnuts. Line the bottom of an ovenproof dish with lasagne sheets. Cover with about a third of the broccoli mixture and then a little cheese. Repeat, but on the last layer leave off the cheese.

Prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour & mustard powder until it forms a paste and then add the milk, a little at a time, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk on a simmer until it becomes a thick sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in about 2/3 of the remaining cheese.

Pour the sauce over the lasagna and scatter the rest of the cheese on top. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the lasagne sheets become soft.

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