Tomato and Cucumber salad

A simple salad of tomatoes, red onions, romano peppers, herbs, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil

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Ingredients

3 plum tomatoes – sliced

2 small red onions – sliced

10cm cucumber – sliced

1 red romano pepper – diced

10 fresh basil leafs – bruised, chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle of good quality olive oil

Method: layer the tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and romano peppers in a flat serving plate or casserole dish. Season with a little salt and pepper then add the herbs. Finish by drizzling a little olive oil over the salad, this will help bring out the flavours. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving, during this time the flavours will intensify.

Korean Cucumber Salad with Sesame Dressing

A cucumber salad with spring onion, red onion, red chilli, herbs and a sesame dressing.

This salad is the perfect accompaniment to any Korean dish, especially for people like me that love Korean food but don’t like kimchi. Adding some tofu, grilled chicken or prawns can transform this side dish into a great starter.

The salad is made from cucumber which is deseeded, peeled and cut into crescents. The cucumber is then dried on absorbent paper to remove any excess water and so it takes up the flavour from the dressing. Sliced red onion, red chilli, spring onions along with a mixture of mint and coriander make up the salad.

The dressing makes the salad come alive – it is made from dark soy, honey, vinegar, sesame seed, sesame oil and the magic ingredient gochujang.

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Serves two as a side dish or starter

Preparation time 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the salad:

15cm length of Cucumber – deseed, peel, cut into crescents

1 red bird eye chilli – thinly slice

4 spring onions – thinly sliced

1 red onion – slice into thin strips

Handful of fresh coriander leaf – roughly chopped

Handful of fresh mint leaf – bruise, thinly slice

Method: Dry the cucumber crescents on absorbent paper for a few minutes. Add the salad to a bowl and mix well with your hands. Set aside.

For the dressing:

1 dessert spoon Gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon Dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon clear honey

3 teaspoons vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method: Mix the dressing well in a bowl until combined. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve. When serving drizzle over the salad then mix well with a spoon or your hands. serve and enjoy!

 

 This salad works well with my recipes below:

Korean King Prawn Chilli noodles

Korean beef skewers

Korean crispy Sesame chicken with fried chilli noodles

 

Blackened Salmon with flame roasted vegetable rice salad

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blackened Soy Salmon with rice salad

Salmon marinated in dark soy sauce, wok oil and brown sugar, pan-fried with crispy skin. Served with a rice salad with flame roasted and crunchy fresh salad vegetables. Completed with a dressing made from soy, sugar, lime juice and coriander leaf.

A really healthy dish but one that is packed with flavour. It is also a great excuse to use my favourite kitchen gadget – my blowtorch. Dont worry if you don’t have one, simply dry roast the vegetables in a very hot oven for 5-7 minutes.

The salmon is marinated several hours ahead of cooking and is left with a black coating that caramelises when cooked in a hot pan. Cooking skin side down for most of the cooking to get the skin nice and crispy – after all nobody likes skin on a fish if it isn’t crispy.

Brown salad rice is cooked then cooled ready for the vegetables, half of which are roasted using the blowtorch for deep flavour and the rest are left raw to give the dish some nice crunchy texture.

The dish is completed with a dressing made from brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and coriander.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 25 minutes (plus 1-2 hours to marinade), cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the salmon

2 Keta Salmon fillets – make 2-3 diagonal slices  in the skin to help skin crisp up

1 dessert spoon Dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon wok oil

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

Marinade – the soy, oil and sugar in a bowl until combined. Add the salmon coating on both sides then place in fridge for 1-2 hours. Remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature.

For the rice salad

150g brown rice – cook, drain and cool

2 red onions – diced, add to pan for roasting

2 red bird eye chillies – add to pan for roasting

2 green bird eye chillies – add to pan for roasting

1 romano red pepper – add to pan for roasting

3-4 tbsp sweetcorn – add to pan for roasting

4 plum tomatoes – skin, deseed, chop, add to pan for roasting

10cm cucumber – peel, deseed, dice. Raw for crunch

1 small carrot – cut into fine batons. Raw for crunch

1 stick celery – dice, raw for crunch

3 spring onions – finely slice, raw for crunch.

Method: Retain the fresh vegetables in a bowl ready to add to rice. For the roasting vegetables add to a stainless steel pan and use a blowtorch to roast the vegetables until charred. Alternatively add vegetables to a dry baking tray and roast in a very hot oven for 5-7 minutes.

For the dressing

2 dessert spoons brown sugar

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

Juice of a lime

Handful coriander leaf – very finely chop, retain a little for garnish.

Method: Mix well in a bowl until combined. Give a second mix prior to serving.

 

Cooking instructions

  1. For the salmon heat a dry non stick frying pan over a hot heat until very hot. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place skin side down in the pan and cook for 7 minutes. Turn the salmon and cook for 5 minutes on the other side then remove from the pan. These are typical times for average sized fillets, for large or small adjust time by a couple of minutes.
  2. Assemble the rice salad. In a large mixing bowl add the rice, the roasted vegetables and the fresh vegetables. Pour in the salad dressing then mix well until fully combined.
  3. Serve the dish by making a bed of rice salad then place the cooked salmon on top. Sprinkle a little finely chopped coriander on as a garnish.

 

 

Fish Tacos

A great recipe for wonderful fresh fish tacos. Strips of fresh Sea Bass in a light beer batter inside corn tortillas, served with salsa, lime wedges and sour cream.

One of my favourite Mexican dishes and also one of the easiest to make. Simply cut fresh fish into strips, coat in flour then batter and then deep-fried until crispy on the outside. Served inside a warmed corn tortillas with a side of salsa made from tomatoes, sweetcorn, avocado, red onion, lime juice, coriander leaf, a little sugar and seasoning. A dollop of sour cream completes the dish.

The important thing here is the freshness of the sea bass and the salsa ingredients to give that true taste of Mexico. Making the salsa around 1-2 hours in advance lets the flavours fully develop, it is best kept at room temperature as tomatoes love the heat. It is also important to leave making the beer batter until the last-minute so it stays light.

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Serves two People

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes (salsa best made 1-2 hours in advance)

 

Ingredients

2 Sea bass fillets – remove skin and cut into strips 2 cm thick

4 corn tortillas – warmed in a pan before serving

50g seasoned flour – in a plate or flat-bottomed bowl to coat fish

Oil to deep fry

Sour cream – a dollop on the side

Lime wedges – to garnish

For The batter

225-250g plain flour

330ml chilled lager beer – I used san miguel

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/3 tsp salt

For the salsa

4 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 avocado – diced

2-3 Tbsp sweetcorn

1 medium red onion – diced

Handful coriander leaf – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely sliced

Pinch of brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cooking instructions

  1. Start by making the Salsa. Combine ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well, cover and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve. The salsa is best made at 1-2 hours in advance as this gives the flavours time to develop.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan to around 190ºC – the oil needs to be deep enough to completely submerge the largest piece of fish. Heating the oil to this temperature also ensures the fish will cook very quickly and that the batter will seal and prevent oil seeping into the fish pieces.
  3. Mix the batter ingredients in a deep bowl until a smooth batter is formed. Coat each piece of fish in the seasoned flour then into the batter mixture then add to the hot oil. The fish will cook very quickly and try to turn each piece after 1 minute. Once the fish is a light golden colour on all sides remove from the oil and drain well on absorbent paper.
  4. Warm the corn tortillas in a frying pan, then serve immediately with the fish inside the tacos and the salsa on the side – adding it too early will make the tacos go soggy. A dollop of sour cream and a lime wedge completes the dish.

 

 Fish tacos

Mexican Carne con Chile, Red Pepper Rice and Salsa

Mexican classic beef with chilli, red pepper rice and a wonderful fresh salsa. Comfort food at its very best.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

This recipe uses gaujillo chillies and chipolte paste to give the chilli sauce that authentic flavour. Firstly gaujillo chillies, garlic and tomato are dry fried, before being blended with cumin seeds and chipolte paste. Beef mince is browned with some white onion in a little oil, then the paste is added along with all spice berries, bay leaf, oregano, some water and seasoning. The dish is slowly simmered for around an hour to reduce the sauce and bring out the rich deep flavours.

Red pepper rice works so well with this dish, or indeed as a side to any mexican dish. Onion, garlic and half a red bell pepper are fried in a little oil then washed long grain rice is added along with chilli powder and tomato paste. The rice is fried in the oil and stirred until each grain is coated. Chicken stock is then added along with seasoning before the rice is covered and reduced to simmer. After the stock is absorbed the rice is fluffed up with a fork before serving.

The salsa is a straightforward mix of corn, tomatoes, spring onion, red onion, avocado, red chilli, coriander, seasoning, a little sugar and lime juice. Best done 1-2 hours in advance, mixed well and set aside to let the flavours come together. A winner with any mexican dish or as a dip for tortilla chips.

As an extra accompaniment I served this dish with corn tortillas and sour cream.

Ingredients and method

Carne con chilli

2 gaujillo chillies – soak in water for 30 minutes

3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

3 round tomatoes

tsp cumin seeds

1 and half tsp chipolte paste

220 -300g good quality minced beef

1 white onion – diced

2 all spice berries

1 bay leaf

tsp oregano

1 tbsp oil

200ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Dry fry the garlic, guajillo chillies and tomatoes over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning frequently until charred. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. Peel the garlic then add to a mini blender along with the unpeeled tomatoes, gaujillo chillies, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1.5 tsps chipolte paste and blend well until smooth. In a separate pan and the oil and heat over a medium heat, once hot brown the mince along with the onion. Next add the paste from the blender, approx 200ml water, 2 all spice berries, a bay leaf and a tsp oregano. Stir well bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for approximately 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add a little more water if the chilli becomes too dry.

 

Red pepper rice

150g long grain rice – rinse before use

1 white onion –  diced

2 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

Half a red bell pepper – diced

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp chilli powder – use extra for extra heat

400ml chicken stock

1 tbsp oil

Method: Heat the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan then fry the onions, garlic and bell pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice along with 2 tsp tomato paste and 1 tsp chilli powder, stir well and fry the mixture for 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken stock along with a little seasoning, stir once and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat, remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.

Salsa

4 Tbsp sweetcorn

2 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 red onion – diced

1 avocado – diced

Handful coriander leaf – chopped

2 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 red bird eye chillies – thinly sliced

salt and pepper – to taste

Half teaspoon of brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

Method – This is really as simple as mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and setting aside in fridge. In My opinion it is best done 2-3 hours in advance and brought to room temperature 30 mins before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled steak rice salad with spiced coriander dressing

One day I hope to recover enough from my accident to open my own restaurant, this will defiantly be on the menu – its that tasty!

This recipe is extremely healthy as well as being super tasty. A selection of salad ingredients are seasoned then combined with cooked brown rice. The steak is marinated in my signature steak marinade, grilled then rested before being sliced on the diagonal and placed on top of a bed of the rice. A wonderful spiced coriander dressing is then made and drizzled over the top to complete the dish. It sounds simple however the combination of textures and flavours make this dish a real winner.

The best thing about this dish is that it is colourful, fresh, flavourful and satisfying yet it is extremely good for you.

 

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Grilled beef rice salad

This recipe is for two people

20 minutes preparation (plus 2hr marinading time)

25 minutes cooking

Method and ingredients

For steaks:

2 rump or sirloin steaks (thinner cuts work best)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

Teaspoon salt

Half teaspoon ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a food bag, tie securely, then massage beef for 1 minute to ensure a good covering. Put in fridge for 90 minutes then remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.

To Cook the steaks: cook over a high heat to medium rare, rest then slice on the diagonal into thin strips. Make sure you collect all the juices and drizzle over the final dish.

For the rice:

140g brown rice – cook in lightly salted water, drain then put on a plate to cool

small red onion – diced

40-50g sweetcorn – drain on absorbent paper

1 red Romano pepper – diced

1 beef tomato – core removed, cut into chunks, drain on absorbent paper

10cm cucumber – seeds removed, cut into crescents then half, drain on absorbent paper

1 large avocado – diced (do last to avoid browning)

2 spring onions – thinly sliced on diagonal

1 large hot red chilli – very thinly sliced (as thin as you can!)

Half teaspoon salt

Half teaspoon brown sugar

Quarter teaspoon black pepper

Place all the chopped vegetables in large glass bowl, along with the salt, sugar and black pepper. Use your hands to mix well. Once the rice has cooled, tip in and mix gently.

For the spiced coriander lime dressing:

Half teaspoon ground coriander

Half teaspoon paprika

Three Quarters teaspoon ground cumin

Juice of two limes

Heaped desert spoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf

Half teaspoon salt

Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl first add the spices, then lime juice and stir well until combined. Next add the sugar, salt and pepper, stir well until they have dissolved then leave for 5 minutes. Next add the coriander and stir well for 2-3 minutes. Taste test the dressing, add extra seasoning or a little extra sugar if required. Ensure you give it another good stir just before serving.

Assembling final dish: Place a bed of the rice salad mixture on the plate. Place strips of steak on top the drizzle their juices on top. To complete use a spoon to drizzle the dressing over the dish. Serve and enjoy!

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Grilled beef rice salad