Monday, 4 July 2016

Thai Red Salmon Curry

I had doubts about blogging this as it is fairly similar to the Panang fish curry I have previously posted but in the end decided that it was different enough to warrant it.

We had this on a Sunday evening when I was back from visiting mum and bf (as was) from dropping off the boy so I what I wanted was speed. To that end I used ginger & garlic pastes but of course you can just use a crushed garlic clove and an equivalent amount of grated ginger instead. Galangal & kaffir lime leaves are purely optional although they will lend a depth and complexity of flavour, and if can’t get Thai or Holy basil use some of the normal Italian stuff.

Curry pastes differ wildly in strength & heat so adjust accordingly. I used 2 tablespoons as I like it strong and spicy but do adjust according to taste. Mae Ploy is a particularly good brand to get if you can. The tubs are quite big but they last well in the fridge and most closely resemble, to my mind, what a pounded Thai curry paste would look like if you made it yourself. If you use Mae Ploy it will also matter less if you don’t have galangal, kaffir and thai basil as they are already so well flavoured.

We used salmon obviously but you could just as easily use a white fish such as cod or haddock or in fact quite easily use chicken instead of fish, although obviously it will require a longer cooking time. Similarly I have added sugar snaps, mushrooms and baby corn but you could add whatever veg you like really

Quick Thai Red Salmon Curry
serves 2

½ tbsp rapeseed oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
½ tsp galangal paste (optional)
1½ -2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
165ml coconut milk
150ml vegetable stock
½ lime, juiced
½ tbsp Thai fish sauce
½ tsp palm (or brown) sugar
75g sugar snap peas, sliced in half on the diagonal
100g baby corn, sliced lengthways
75g mushrooms, chopped
200g salmon fillets, cut into 2.5cm (1in) cubes
½ tsp Thai basil paste
½ tsp sliced kaffir lime leaves
small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a frying or sauté pan over a medium heat and add the shallots. Fry for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, ginger & galangal pastes and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the red curry paste and fry for a further minute or so, stirring to coat the shallots.

Pour in the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a steady boil then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar. Stir in the vegetables and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add in the fish pieces and simmer for 3–5 minutes until just cooked.

Stir through the basil and limes leaves, simmer for 1 more minutes then serve over rice in bowls, garnished with the coriander.

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Slow Cooked Lamb, Artichoke & Olive Stew

This is a hearty, yet not at all heavy, amalgam of seasons - chunks of lamb shoulder are braised until meltingly tender in white wine and tomatoes while artichokes, vibrant green olives and the mint scattered over keep it fresh and lively.

This is perfect really for that between season time of later winter and early spring when warmer days start to feel a reality. But honestly, as I post this in the middle of summer it would be pretty good now too.

Lamb, Artichoke & Olive Stew
serves 2

400g lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-2 in. chunks
1-2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
tin / carton chopped plum tomatoes
75ml dry white wine
125ml lamb stock
pinch of cinnamon
50g green olives (I used Nocellara del Belice), pitted halved
tin artichokes rinsed and halved
zest and juice of ½ lemon
2.5g fresh mint leaves, julienned

Season the lamb with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat about ½ tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying or sauté pan over a medium heat and brown the meat on all sides in batches, adding a little more oil to the pan between batches if necessary. Transfer to the slow cooker.

Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and over a low-medium heat, sauté the onion with a little pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until the onion is slightly browned. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for a minute or two until fragrant.

Turn up the heat and add the wine, allowing it to bubble up. Scrape up any stuck on bits to the pan and after a minutes or so add the contents of the pan to the slow cooker.

Add the tomatoes, cinnamon and stock to the slow cooker and put on low for 6 hours.

After 5 hours stir in the olives.

Finally, add the artichokes, lemon zest and juice in the last half hour.

Adjust the seasoning as needed and serve, dividing the stew between warmed bowls and garnish with the fresh mint. The stew can be served on its own with a good piece of bread to mop up the juices or over polenta, couscous, potatoes...

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