Huevos Nachos

“Full Breakfast” nachos – tortilla chips with mixed beans in a spiced tomato sauce, sliced grilled chipolata sausage, fried eggs, chipotle mayonnaise, grated cheddar and a fresh delicious tomato and avocado salsa.

I started out planning to make some Huevos Rancheros but my imagination took over and I decided to experiment with this dish – I’m so glad I did. Essentially this is nachos crossed with a cooked breakfast with a Mexican twist, it may not be an authentic Mexican dish but it sure is tasty.

All the components in the dish work very well together – the crunch from the tortilla chips, the rich Smokey flavour from the beans, the creaminess of the chipotle mayo, the richness of the fried eggs, the flavour of the grilled sausage, the saltiness of the cheese and the freshness of the salsa. I hope I’m making you hungry.

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Serves Two

Preparation and cooking time 35 -40 minutes

 

Ingredients and Method

This dish involves making all of the elements and adding them together at the last minute

The spiced mixed beans

4-5 round tomatoes

1 red chilli

2 guajillo chillies

5 cloves garlic – leave skin on to dry fry

2 white onions – leave skin on to dry fry

1 yellow bell pepper

500ml chicken stock

Dash Worchester sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp smoked paprika

2tsp chipotle paste

350g mixed beans – rinse well

Salt to taste

Method: In a wide deep non stick frying pan, dry fry the tomatoes, chillies, garlic, onion and yellow pepper until they are coloured on all sides. All of these should be left in their skin. The garlic will cook quicker than the other ingredients, remove from the pan when the cloves soften. Once charred let all the ingredients cool and remove the garlic skins, onion skins and the stalks from the chillies and peppers.

Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onions, chillies and pepper into a small blender/mini chopper and blitz until a smooth sauce is formed. Add a dash of Worchester sauce, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2tsp chipotle paste and 2tsp sugar. Blitz again until combined with the sauce.

Add the sauce to a wide deep sauce pan and add the chicken stock, stir well and bring to the boil and add the rinsed beans. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Ignore the instruction on the tin that they will cook in 10 minutes – its just totally wrong!

Set aside ready to add to the dish

For the salsa

3 round tomatoes -diced

1 ripe avocado – diced

1 red onion – diced

1 red chilli – seeds/stalk removed and finely diced

Juice of 1 and half limes

small handful of coriander leaf – roughly chopped

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method: gently mix all the ingredients  in a large glass mixing bowl until the sugar and salt and combined with the salsa, cover and set aside at room temperature for 20-25 minutes. Mix gently again before serving.

To complete the dish

2 portions of lightly salted corn tortilla chips – 50-75g each

4 eggs – fried at last minute, sunny side up

4-6 large chipolata sausages – oven roast at 180°c for 20-25 minutes

Chipotle mayonnaise – combined 5 tsps. mayo and 1 tsp chipotle paste

1 small red onion – diced, for garnish

3-4 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf – for garnish

25-30g grated medium cheddar cheese

lime wedge – as garnish

Plating the dish

Use wide deep bowls to plate the dish, start by adding the beans to the bottom of the dish, saving a little of the sauce as a garnish.

Layer the tortilla chips on top, then add the sausage and the salsa. Place the fried eggs on top of the nachos then complete the dish by adding the cheese, chipotle mayo, coriander and a little of the tomato sauce.

Add a lime wedge as a final garnish then serve and enjoy!

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King Prawn Linguine flavoured with Prawn and Pepper sauce.

Linguine pasta with king prawns, in a delicious sauce made from red pepper, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano, onion, flavoured with a stock made from the prawn heads and shells.

In this dish I use a simple stock made from prawn shells and heads to get every bit of flavour from the prawns. This is added to a flavour base (red pepper, garlic, tomato, basil, oregano, tomato pure, olive oil and onion) and cooked down to intensify the flavour. The sauce is completed with seasoning and a little sugar for sweetness. The raw prawns are gently cooked in the sauce, then the pasta is added to the sauce for the final few minutes of cooking, then finished with a little lemon juice.

I am really proud of this recipe and hope you like it as much as I do. Its very easy to make and certain to impress friends and family.

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Serves two

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 12-15 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

150g good quality dried linguine – cook as per packet instructions to al dente 

250-300g Raw whole King Prawns – see method

250-300ml water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1 red bell pepper – remove stalk and seeds

1 large beef tomato – remove core

12 basil leaves – plus a few extra for a garnish

1 medium size red onion – peel

4 large garlic cloves – peel, crush

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp. tomato pure

1 tsp brown sugar

Freshly ground black pepper – see method

Salt to taste – season at end once stock has reduced

Juice of half a lemon – cut other half into wedges to serve

You require a mini chopper of food processor for this recipe

 

Method: Begin by removing the shells and heads from the raw prawns, devein the prawns and set aside.

Pour 250-300ml of water into a sauce pan and bring to the boil, add the prawn shells and heads and simmer for 10-15 minutes until stock has reduced to 200ml. Unlike stocks from vegetables or animal bones stocks made from shellfish absorb all the flavour very quickly. Once reduced set aside ready to add to the dish.

Make the flavour base by adding the red pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, tomato, tomato pure, onion and olive oil to the mini chopper, blend until a smooth sauce is formed. Set aside ready to add to the pan.

Cook the pasta as per packet instructions (around 10-12 minutes), as soon as this starts begin to cook the pasta sauce. Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the blended sauce, stir frequently and cook for 5 minutes to bring out all the flavours in the sauce. Take care not to burn the sauce and if it begins to catch on the pan add a little of the prawn stock to loosen it.

Next add the prawn stock to the pan, stir well, increase heat to bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a tsp of brown sugar and a generous amount of black pepper, do not add any salt until the dish is reduced. Keep simmering and stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced in half (should take 4-5 minutes), then taste test and add salt to taste.

Once the pasta is cooked drain it and set it aside ready to add to the pan.

Add the raw prawns to the simmering sauce and gently stir until they change from grey to pink (60-90 seconds), take care not to overcook them. I would recommend deliberately undercooking them here as they will finish cooking as you add the pasta.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and gently stir the sauce through the pasta and cook for 1 minute. Finish the dish by adding  juice of half a lemon and stir through to lift the sauce.

Serve immediately and garnish with a few torn basil leaves.

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Prawn and Blue Swimming Crab Salad with Korean Chilli dressing

Salad with cold water prawns, chunks of blue swimming crab and a Korean style sesame and chilli dressing.

The summer season is finally here in Edinburgh after a long, cold, dark winter and with it comes salad season. I love nothing more than a good fresh salad on a warm summers day, in fact I have been dreaming about one all winter – there is something about a summer’s day that just says “salad”, or maybe its just me!

With this salad of cold water prawns, blue swimming crab meat, eggs, romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red chilli, yellow bell pepper and red onion, the twist comes with the dressing which transforms the salad to something really special. The dressing is made from sesame seeds, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, honey, vinegar and the essential Korean ingredient – gochujang chilli paste.

I always find it hard to put into words exactly how my food tastes, but one thing I can say for sure is that the dressing transforms an ordinary salad into a truly exotic and fun dish.

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Serves two as main dish or four as a starter

Ingredients and method

The salad

120-150g crab meat – I used blue swimming crab

125-150g cold water prawns – pre cooked, shell and head removed

1 romaine lettuce – wash, dry and roughly shred

4 large round tomatoes – cut into eighths 

10-15 cm cucumber – cut into medium thick slices

4 pre boiled eggs – see method

1 red onion – thinly slice

1 yellow bell pepper –  cut into small pieces or dice

1 large red chilli – thing slice, keep seeds in for spice (optional)

Method: To boil the eggs – bring a medium-sized sauce pan to the boil then carefully add the eggs one at a time into the water, take care not to drop them in too quickly or they will crack (remove and discard if they crack). Reduce heat so pan is gently boiling and cook for 10 minutes.

After this remove eggs and place them in a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking. Once cooled remove from water and set aside. To remove the shells take the egg and tap the egg against the worktop until it starts to crack, turn the egg and continue to tap so that you crack the egg all the way round (imagine a line round egg and follow it). Once you have cracked the egg all the way round the shell you should be able to gently pull the shell and membrane away from the egg.

Assemble the ingredients, layering them in a large salad bowl ready for the dressing.

For the Korean dressing

1 heaped dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon clear honey

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 heaped dessert spoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 45-60 mins, to allow flavours to develop. Before serving mix well again, then drizzle over the salad, then mix well so it coats everything. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

 

 

Scottish Mussels in roasted Tomato and Pepper sauce

Rope grown Scottish mussels, cooked in a sauce made from roasted tomato, red pepper, onion, garlic, chilli, fish stock, white wine and coriander.

One of my favourite ways to cook mussels, guaranteed to bring flavour to your diner table. The secret of the flavour comes from the roasted sauce, which brings a rich deeply satisfying flavour to the dish. Serve with some nice sour dough or crusty bread.

Many people are put off cooking mussels at home because they think it is either hard or too time consuming. In reality it is very easy, to prepare the mussels simply rinse them in water, then soak them in water for 10-15 minutes, discarding any that stay open. To clean them scrape any barnacles off the shells and remove the beards by pulling them gently then cut them off with kitchen scissors. Rinse them well under running water, then they are ready to cook – which takes a matter of minutes, and is easy to tell because they open when they are cooked.

Note: to cook this recipe you require a wide, deep pan with a tight fitting lid.

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Serves two people

Preparation 45 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes.

 

Ingredients and method

For the roasted tomato sauce:

2 small red onions – roast whole

1 medium white onion – roast whole

1 Romano pepper – remove stalk and seeds

2 red chillies – remove stalk and seeds

4 plum tomatoes

2 round tomatoes

6 cloves garlic

Method: Pre heat your oven to 220°c. Place the tomatoes, onions, chilli, garlic and pepper on the tray and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove the skins from the tomatoes, chilli, peppers, garlic and onion. Place all in a mini blender or food processor and blitz until a smooth sauce is made.

For the main dish

1 kg rope grown mussels – see opening notes for cleaning instructions

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 glass dry white wine

500ml fish stock

1 tsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper – to taste

3 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander

Method: Heat 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the roasted sauce along with the white wine, fish stock, sugar, black pepper and a little salt – take care not to add too much as there is salt in the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add the chopped coriander, stir well, then add the cleaned mussels. Increase the heat until sauce starts to bubble then place the lid on the pan, reduce heat slightly and leave to cook for 3 minutes. Carefully remove lid and look at the mussels, they are ready when they open (see picture for example) if necessary replace lid and cook for further minute. It is important not to over cook the mussels as they will turn rubbery.

Ladle into pre warmed bowls and serve straight away with some nice sourdough or crusty bread to soak up the wonderous sauce.

 

 

 

 

Char Grilled Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup

Delicious, healthy spicy soup with grilled peppers, tomatoes and butternut squash

Soups are a speciality of mine and this is one of my best. A flavour base of garlic, red onion, white onion, carrot and chilli is fried in a little oil along with some spices. Mixed peppers are separately grilled to bring out their deep flavours. Butternut squash and tomatoes are added to the fried mixture, then the peppers, some stock and herbs.  After a short simmer the mixture is blended into a smooth delicious soup.

 

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Butternut squash and char grilled pepper soup

This recipe gives 4 large servings

Preparation 10-15 minutes

Cooking time 60 minutes

Ingredients

2 white onions – peeled roughly chopped

2 red onions – peeled roughly chopped

1 large red chilli – sliced (add extra if you want it hot!)

2 sticks celery – sliced

4-6 carrots – peeled, sliced

6 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed

1 large red bell pepper – deseeded, cut into chunks

1 large green bell pepper – deseeded, cut into chunks

1 butternut squash – peeled, deseeded, cut into small pieces

2 litres vegetable stock

3 bay leaf

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2-3 dessert spoons brown sugar (to taste)

1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

6-8 basil leaves – retain 2 to thinly slice for garnish

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

You require a hand blender, grill pan and a deep stock pot.

Get cooking

 

  1. Start by heating the grill pan, then add the peppers. Drizzle a little Olive oil over the peppers then grill, turning occasionally, for approx 10 minutes. You want the peppers to blacken and soften to bring out their deep flavours. Once cooked remove from the grill pan and set aside to add to soup later.
  2. Now heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the stock pot over a medium heat. Once hot add the garlic, chilli and bay leaf and fry them in the oil, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to help flavour the oil.
  3. Next add the sliced celery, carrot, red onion and white onion. Keep on a medium heat and stir fry for 7-8 minutes until the mixture softens. Add a little extra olive oil if the mixture starts to stick to the pan- colour is fine but you do not want the flavour base to stick to bottom of pan and burn as this will be effect the flavour.
  4. Next add the butternut squash and the grilled peppers, stir well. Add  a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stir and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Then add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, half teaspoon ground coriander and half teaspoon dried oregano. Stir well and fry for 3-4 minutes. It is vital not to burn the spices so if the mixture sticks to pan add a little water to loosen it.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  7. Next add the stock and stir well – make sure you scape all the residue on the sides of the pan into the stock as they give flavour to the soup. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes, remove lid and stir well. If you can remove the bay leafs, and scrape any residue on the pan sides back into the soup.
  9. Use a hand blender to form a smooth soup, alternatively transfer to a glass blender or food processor to do the same.
  10. Serve in large bowls and garnish with a little sliced basil leaf. Enjoy!