A comforting soup flavoured with four different types of chillies, served with grilled cheese Quesadillas.
This is essentially soup and sandwiches – comfort food, Mexican style.
The soup is flavoured with four different chillies – Ancho, Guajillo, Chipotle and red chillies. The soup is rich, Smokey and very delicious with its flavour coming from a wonderful paste made from pan roasting the chillies along with tomatoes bell peppers, garlic, onions and spices. Charring these in a pan before blending makes such a difference and really brings the flavours to life. Diced carrot and celery are fried, stock is added, then the paste followed by a good simmer. Before serving diced bell peppers, more sliced red chillies, diced onion and some fresh coriander leaf are added to give the soup texture and freshness.
The Quesadillas are the perfect accompaniment and very easy to make – just don’t tell anyone how easy! They can be made in minutes, and eaten even quicker.
Soup gives 4 portions
Quesadillas recipe for 2 persons
Cooking time 40 minutes
1 stick celery – dice
1 medium size carrot – peel, dice
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 small white onions – leave whole with skin on
1 ancho chilli
1 guajillo chilli
2 red chillies – thinly slice one chilli, Set aside in a bowl
4 cloves garlic – leave skin on the cloves
1 orange bell pepper – dice half the pepper, set aside in a bowl
1 red bell pepper – dice half the pepper, set aside in a bowl
1 red onion – dice, set aside in a bowl
Generous handful of fresh coriander – keep a few stalks aside and roughly chop the rest
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle paste
1/2 tsp oregano
4 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 litres chicken stock
Method: Start by warming a large flat pan or griddle over a medium heat. Place the tomatoes, garlic, the chillies, half the bell peppers and onions on and dry fry until they become slightly charred, for approx. 7-8 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry fry until the spices become aromatic.
Remove the contents from the pan, add the spices to a food processor and leave the rest on a chopping board to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled remove the skins from the garlic and onions, but leave the skins on the peppers and tomatoes. Add everything to the food processor along with a few coriander stalks, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp chipotle paste, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp oregano and 4 tsp brown sugar. Blitz until a smooth paste is formed, make sure you blend it well as the smoother the paste the smoother the final soup.
Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil to a deep soup pan over a medium heat, once hot add the diced carrot and celery and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened. Next add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Now add the paste and stir well, bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Complete the soup by adding the diced bell peppers, onion and sliced chilli then simmer for a further 5 minutes – enough to heat these through but not so long that they loose their texture. As a final step add the chopped coriander and stir through. The soup is now ready to serve.
4 corn tortillas (2 per person)
Canola oil – in a spray or ramekin with pastry brush
2 handfuls of sweetcorn
2 medium tomatoes – diced
1 small red onion – diced
Handful of coriander – roughly chopped
150g strong cheddar cheese – grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of sea salt
Garlic mayonnaise – optional, to serve
Barbeque sauce – optional, to serve
Method: Begin by pre heating your oven to 170°c, and warm a flat frying pan over a medium heat.
In a large glass bowl, mix the tomatoes, sweetcorn, coriander leaf, ground coriander, ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt and cheddar cheese.
Spray one side of the corn tortillas with canola oil then heat the tortilla on that side until golden, remove and repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
Assemble the quesadillas by spooning the mixture on the non cooked side of the tortillas then like a sandwich place another tortilla on top. Place the assembled quesadillas on a baking tray and heat them through in the oven for approx. 15 minutes, until the cheese in the mixture melts – this could be slightly quicker or slower depending upon how big the tortillas are and how much filling you have added.
Remove them from the oven, let them cool slightly then cut into quarters. As an optional garnish drizzle some garlic mayonnaise and some barbeque sauce over them.
Stir fried scallops and vegetables with a delicious scallop roe sauce.
A recipe of my own design. Stir fried scallops with green beans, onion red pepper and spring onion. Served with a delicious sauce made from scallop roe, chilli, garlic, ginger, honey, oyster sauce, dark soy, Shaoxing and vinegar.
Serve with boiled rice, fried rice or noodles.
Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes
Roe from King scallops – from 4-6 scallops
1 large red chilli – remove stalk and seeds
4 cloves garlic – peel
Thumb of ginger – peel, cut into matchsticks (for smoother sauce)
2 dessert spoons honey
2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce
2 dessert spoons oyster sauce
1 dessert spoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 dessert spoon vinegar
Method: Use a mini chopper or food processor to blitz into a smooth sauce. Retain ready to add to the wok.
4-6 King scallops – slice in half
1 small carrot – peel, cut into 3-4cm batons
1/2 a red bell pepper – dice
1 medium size white onion – peel and slice
3 spring onions – slice white on diagonal, keep green tails for garnish (slice very thinly)
10-12 green beans – trim ends and cut into 3-4cm batons
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil – 2 tbsp. for frying scallops, 1-2 tbsp. for the dish
1 red chilli – slice for garnish
Method: Start by frying the scallops. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in the wok over a high heat, once oil is smoking hot add the scallops. Cook for 60-90 seconds on each side, until some caramelisation appears, then remove from wok and drain on absorbent paper. Wipe the wok clean ready to cook the dish.
Heat 1-2 tbsp. of oil in the wok over a high heat until smoking hot. Add the peppers, onion, green beans and spring onion and stir fry for 2 minutes. Next add the scallop roe sauce and stir through the vegetables, keep on a high heat and stir fry the sauce for a further 3 minutes, until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken slightly. Add the cooked scallops and finish them in the sauce for a further minute.
Serve immediately with rice or noodles, using the thinly sliced spring onion greens and sliced chilli for a garnish. Enjoy!
Wok fried egg noodle, King Prawns, vegetables and a delicious light sesame honey sauce.
A very quick and easy recipe for some very delicious noodles – Wok fried in minutes with a light sweet and savoury sauce.
This dish can easily be adapted, swapping the prawns for diced cooked chicken or using Tofu for vegetarians. You can also experiment with different vegetables – green beans, mushrooms and Chinese green vegetables all work well too.
Preparation 10 minutes, cooking less than 10 minutes.
2 dessert spoons sesame seeds
2 dessert spoons light soy sauce
1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce
1 dessert spoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 dessert spoon white vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1 dessert spoon honey
1 dessert spoon oyster sauce
2 tsps. sesame oil
Method: Mix well in a bowl and set aside ready to add to wok.
2 nests medium thick egg noodles
500ml chicken stock – to cook noodles in
2 tbsp. wok oil – to fry dish
1 tbsp. vegetable oil – to cook prawns
10-12 large raw King prawns – shells removed
6 cloves garlic – peel, crush and chop
Thumb root ginger – peel, cut into matchsticks
2 large red chillies – removes stalks and seeds, finely chop
1 medium/large white onion – peel, pull layers apart and dice into large chunks
1/2 red bell pepper – dice (same size as onion)
1 stick celery – diced
1 carrot – cut into thin batons
Method: The first step is to cook the prawns and the noodles so they are ready to add to the wok.
To cook the prawns heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in the wok until smoking hot and add the prawns. Stir fry for 60-90 seconds then remove prawns and place on absorbent paper – you want to just cook the prawns and no more, remove them the second they turn from grey to white/pink as they will finish cooking in final dish.
Cook the noodles as per packet instructions but use chicken stock instead of water, this will add extra flavour to the noodles. Once cooked drain and set aside ready to add to the wok.
Wipe the wok clean then add 2 tbsp. of wok oil and heat until smoking hot – keep hob on max setting. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for 30-60 seconds. Add the onion, pepper, celery and carrot and stir fry for a further 90 seconds, you want these to retain crunch for texture.
Add the cooked noodles, followed by the prawns, stir well and fry until warmed through (should take 30-60 seconds). Add the sauce to the dish and stir well until combined, stir fry for 45-60 seconds until dish is steaming hot. Remove from the heat and serve straight away in a nice noodle bowl, chopsticks entirely optional 🙂
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.
Serves two as main dish or four as a starter
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.
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!
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.
Serves two people
Preparation 45 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes.
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.
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.