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Tag Archives: Salmon

The trouble with eggs

Oh mayonnaise, what are we going to do with you? You taste very nice in your little jars, but so many cookbooks and chefs tell me that homemade mayonnaise is even nicer that in the interests of tasting delicious food I feel it is my duty to make some. Trouble is that these same chefs and cookbooks also tell me how darn difficult it is to make it from scratch, hence our reliance on the good old Hellmans. In the book I’m reading at the moment, Lunch in Paris (not a cookbook but a true story about an American falling in love with a Frenchman and food in Paris, peppered with a few recipes here and there -right up my street) , the author describes meeting her new beaus family and mother who, calmly in the middle of conversation, whips up a bowlful of mayonnaise to go with lunch. She made it sound so easy, the swine, that I just knew right then that I had to try myself. The meal it revolved around was supposed to be pan fried salmon with lime and coriander mayonnaise and crushed potatoes again with lime and coriander from my new book French Brasserie. Unfortunately my attempt at mayonnaise went disastrously – I added the oil too quickly to the egg yolks so instead of a bowl full of pillowy, creamy mayonnaise I ended up with oily egg yolks that had the same consistency as grease. And I had no extra eggs to try again, so I ended up grilling the salmon in foil with lime, ginger, chilli and coriander and accompanied the fish with the potatoes described earlier. While tasty, it lacked the je ne sais quoi that I had anticipated from the homemade mayonnaise, and in my bad temper I’d seriously over cooked the salmon. Bugger. So to say it wasn’t the most successful evening spent in the kitchen would be an understatement. Nigella quotes in one of her books that she grew up making mayonnaise and never knew it was difficult until someone commented on her ability to do it. This is why I love her, so unfazed, so blasé at the tricky side to cooking, and encouraging you, as she would phrase it, to feel the fear and cook it anyway. True for life outside the kitchen too, just do it. One day, homemade mayonnaise, I will return to overcome your tricky ways.

Despite what the rather misleading title of todays blog would have you believe, I’ve also had a successful crack at the eggs this week. This success came from Nigella Bites, which is one of my favourite offerings from The Lawson. When a cookbook has chapters like ‘TV Dinners’ and ‘Trashy’, you know you’re going to be eating well. Favourites from this include the chocolate fudge cake (simply amazing, if you only make one recipe from Bites, this is the one) and the meatballs and pasta. I got Bites from EBay secondhand when I first moved out of the parents home and I really love that there are splashes of food on some of the pages. The Boyfriend thinks its gross, but being the dreamer that I am I just think of the happy meals a family or couple had using this book. Or maybe they weren’t such great meals if they ended up selling it on eBay. Hmmm. Dinner tonight from this gem was masala omelette with coriander chutney and chapatis, which is in the breakfast section but between you and me, this ain’t no breakfast. What it is though is tasty with a big chilli smack in the face which I very much appreciated after a tiring day of work. The omelette is taken up a notch with chopped spring onion, chilli, garlic and some Indian spices, and eaten wrapped up in chapatis with a big dollop of coriander chutney. So easy and ridiculously tasty. The chutney provides most of the spice, which is sharp and nasal clearing but not the sort of spice that turns your mouth into a volcano. It’s manageable. The chutney just involves chucking a few chillies, herbs and coconut cream in a blender with some lime juice so is very simple, and likely to not even be a chutney at all. It contains my two favourite herbs which are mint and coriander. God, I love them. They smell glorious and transport me to tropical shores every time I get a whiff of them. They also taste stunning, alone or together, and I’m rather partial to eating them on their own while waiting for something to cook. What a freak. The time/flavour ratio for this dinner is off the scale, it takes no time at all yet delivers a really flavourful meal that wakes your taste buds up. The perfect recipe then, to get me amped up and excited about the release of Nigella’s new cookbook next week. This is an obsession I’m happy to continue for a little while yet!

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Spice up your life… or at least your salmon

So the healthy eating continues. Its been three days now and there’s been no let up in my attempt to eat more wisely and get back to exercising. You may think “three days, is that it?” but for me, three days of avoiding junk and snacks is an achievement. In case you failed to notice, I love food, and my favourite foods are the ones that do my arteries and muffin top no good. Friends keep telling me to leave the bad food, walk away before I get hurt, but like any toxic relationship, this ones tough to give up. Not that I’m seriously comparing my love of food to a bad relationship, because that would be crazy (right?), but things that are bad for us are the hardest to abstain from. Luckily for me though, I’m allowing myself some indulgence at the weekend, because total abstinence would drive me nuts, and harsh, punishing dieting programmes are hard to keep up and hey, you only live once. I read a great article by Jay Rayner in the Observer Food Monthly yesterday, where he observes that all his favourite foods (sausages,bacon, BBQ food) are likely to give him all sorts of cancers. However, food is his only vice and what is the point of prolonging your life to the age of 120 if you’ve been miserable and not enjoyed the foods that you salivate over? Now neither of us are saying go out and binge on processed meats and sticky ribs, but I frankly would feel that I’d wasted a large portion of my life if I constantly denied myself delicious food, and all I had to show for it was a few extra years in a care home. I don’t smoke, or drink heavily, I exercise regularly and I try to eat sensibly most of the time. Therefore, if I want to eat a huge curry or bake brownies then I bloody well will. I realise that this little rant has completely ruined the moral of todays blog which is ‘eat healthily guys!’, but life is too short. Enjoy yourself.

I really should get back to the food and away from the lecturing. Last night I cooked harissa salmon with couscous and vegatables from the same magazine I used for the fennel salad. (Delicious, August 2012). The magazine had a section devoted to 2012 recipes, eg, 20 recipes that took 12 minutes to cook. Nothing at all to do with the London 2012 Olympics but everyone else has been cashing in on The Games so why not food magazines? Unlike Mr Oliver and his ridiculous 30 minute expectations, this 12 minute dinner genuinely only took that amount of time and was fairly tasty. Nothing surprising about it really though, the salmon tasted like salmon but with a bit more kick from the harissa paste, which I believe is from the Middle East and widely available in the shops. Couscous tasted like lemon and coriander which is funny, because I added lemon and coriander to the mix. The recipe didnt call for any vegetables but I felt it needed to be a bit more nutritious, so while cooking the salmon I chucked in some red pepper and red onion with the fish. It was filling and healthy and had a nice spicy edge to it, which for a mid week dinner is a pretty good result. Expect me to fall off the wagon hard at the weekend though, I’m just itching to get baking. I also had another mini Amazon binge this week thanks to payday, so I’m currently awaiting the arrival of 3 books, all about French cooking or eating in Paris. The low fat French cookbook I had clearly wasn’t cutting the mustard, so I’m now waiting for The Little Paris Kitchen, French Brasserie, and Lunch in Paris. It’s safe to say I have been thoroughly inspired by my recent trip to Paris and am dying to try to cook some amazing French meals. Hurry up please postman!

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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Cooking, Fish, Food, French

 

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