haddock risotto with leeks & peas

I love a good risotto and will pay good money for a well cooked, tasty one although sometimes this seems like a tough request or expectation.
A good risotto is a process and needs a little love for a delicious end result. Take the time, nurture the arborio rice and you will be left with a wonderfully tasty meal, perfect for lunch or dinner.
Arborio rice is a starchy, short-grained rice variety that produces a luxuriously creamy finish and can absorb quite a bit of liquid without becoming mushy.
A little effort for this one but well worth your time and patience.
I used skinless, de-boned haddock that was lightly smoked. It has a flaky texture and a beautifully delicate flavor, perfect for the rich, creamy risotto it is served with
This dish is quite rich so is best served it with a simple rocket & avocado or tomato salad or simple steamed vegetables.

ingredients | serves 4 -6 | a little effort
270g haddock fillet, lightly smoked & de-boned
350ml milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
300g uncooked risotto
600ml fish stock
1C dry white wine
1/3C cream
3T creme fraiche
4 leeks, washed and sliced diagonally
1C frozen peas
3/4C finely grated Parmesan
1t dried dill
1.5t fine salt
1.5t black pepper
zest of half a lemon
bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
fresh dill, garnish (optional)
2T olive oil
80g salted butter

how to do it
In a pot, bring the milk and bay leaf to a gentle boil. Gently submerge the haddock fillet into the milk, bring it down to a simmer and poach for two to three minutes per side.
Remove the haddock using a slotted spoon. Set aside and reserve the milk for later use. Mix the fish stock and white wine together in a large jug. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt 20g butter with the olive oil. Saute the chopped onion until glossy taking care not to burn it. Add the leaks and cook until soft. About three minutes.
Add the uncooked risotto to the pot and stir to coat. Add the garlic and dried dill and cook for one minute while stirring.
Gently pour about one cup of stock & wine mixture into the risotto and stir. Leave to cook on a gentle heat, stirring twice, until almost fully absorbed. Repeat this until you have used all of the liquid. Add the remaining 60g butter and stir through.
Now pour the poaching milk and cream into the risotto and leave to simmer, while stirring for about three minutes.
Add the peas, stir and cook for three minutes. Stir the creme fraiche through the risotto mixture. Add the salt, pepper, zest, parsley and parmesan and stir well.
Flake the poached haddock into the risotto and give it a gentle mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with fresh dill if using.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





warm tomato & feta salad

Although we are currently in our winter season, which normally calls for all things slow cooked and piping hot, i still have a big love for a good salad as a healthy dinner option or as a side to a good piece of protein.
This salad, served warm, is a very delicious alternative to normal salads and pairs well with red meat, chicken or fish.
A great addition to this dish is toasted butter & garlic ciabatta or sour dough slices, making it a delicious, light meal on its own.

Easy, simple, fresh, delicious.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2T olive oil
300g-400g vine tomatoes or rosa tomatoes
4 rounds feta cheese, halved
150g green beans
handful fresh basil leaves
1t dried basil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3T balsamic vinegar
2 red onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper

how to
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Place the tomatoes and red onion into a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
Nestle the feta rounds in and amongst the tomatoes & onions. Add the thyme leaves, dried basil, garlic, balsamic, salt & pepper and gently coat everything using your hands.
Place the tray into the preheated oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the green beans.
Prepare an icy bath with water and ice. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Immerse the beans into the water and cook for about three minutes. Remove the beans from the simmering water and into the ice bath to cool.
Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.
Add the beans to the tray and continue to roast the salad for a further five minutes or until the tomatoes have popped.

Garnish the salad with the fresh basil leaves and serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





salmon gravlax & citrus salad

Gravlax, traditionally Nordic, is a dish consisting of salmon that is cured by using sugar, salt & dill. It is served with bread or boiled potatoes and a dill & mustard sauce.
There are, however, many different gravlax recipes, personalised through taste and preference. Pernod is another great ingredient to use when curing salmon. It adds a beautiful, mild aniseed flavour to the fish very similar to that of fennel.
The recipe is easy and the process and time well worth it.
The quality of the salmon is really important here so get your hands on the best you can find from a trusted fishmonger. This is a starter portion. For a main meal simply double up the recipe.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy (starter portion for four)
600g salmon fillet, skin on
1C coarse salt
1C granulated sugar
1/2C fresh dill
1 large cucumber
3T coarse salt
1/2C cream cheese, room temperature
2T lemon juice
1/2t black pepper
3-4 oranges, sliced and skin removed
fresh chives, garnish
fresh dill, garnish
1t white sesame seeds (optional)
1t black sesame seeds (optional)

how to do it
Lay the salmon fillet skin side down in a large dish. Mix the sugar, salt & dill together and spoon this out onto the salmon. Cover the fillet well with the salt & sugar mixture.
Wrap the dish tightly with clingfilm and place into the refrigerator overnight.
Peel the cucumber with a julienne peeler, discarding the centre. Place the cucumber strips into a sieve over a bowl and strew with the two tablespoons of coarse salt. Leave to stand for about one hour. (This will remove excess moisture from the cucumber.)
Rinse the cucumber well under running water and dry on paper towel.
Mix the cream cheese, black pepper & lemon juice in a bowl. Add the cucumber ribbons and mix gently until well combined.
Slice the oranges into rounds and remove the skin with a sharp knife.
Remove the salmon from the fridge and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the fillet dry with towel paper and lay it flat on a work surface.
Slice the fillet into thin strips, against the grain.
Arrange the citrus onto a large plate. Place the gravlax on top and serve with the cucumber & cream cheese mixture.
Garnish the dish with the fresh herbs and sesame seeds.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




zucchini & goat’s cheese galette

This puff tart makes a great side to almost any main, is perfect on its own as a snack or served as a light meal, with a zesty salad. The creamy goat’s cheese and zucchini are the perfect match and set atop a flaky, buttery pastry is my idea of a perfect taste sensation.
Shop bought pastry is perfect and saves a lot of time. If you prefer making your own, I salute you!
Puff pastry is one ingredient I always have readily available as it really simplifies things. The thawing and cooking time is quick and it works really well with both savoury and sweet dishes.
I absolutely love sinking my teeth into thick pastry, topped with great flavours…

ingredients | serves 4 – 6 | easy
1 roll puff pastry, thawed
3-4 zucchini’s, peeled
100g soft goat’s cheese, broken into pieces
1 round crotin cheese, sliced
4T creme fraiche, at room temperature
3T cream cheese, at room temperature
zest of 1lemon
1t crushed garlic
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 egg, whisked
black pepper
a few pinches of salt
fresh rocket, garnish

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Place the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface and evenly roll it out, extending the pastry by about 1cm on each side. Gently lift the pastry onto a greased, ovenproof tray.
Using a sharp knife, cut along the pastry, about 1cm from the edge, not cutting all the way through. So as to create a border.
Lightly the border of the pastry with the beaten egg.
Mix the cream cheese, creme fraiche, lemon zest & crushed garlic and spread it across the centre of the pastry.
Top the cream cheese mixture with the peeled zucchini strips followed by the spring onion and goat’s cheese. Top with the crotin rounds & thyme and season with salt & black pepper.
Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the tray from the oven and garnish the galette with fresh rocket.
Slice the galette with a pizza cutter and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





spicy poached pear

There are so many easy, great tasting desserts, giving you the opportunity to use fruits that are in season. Fruit, not only eggs and fish, are a natural choice for immersion in a simmering, warm bath. During poaching the luscious fruits are infused with amazing flavours and your home lingering with enticing, beautiful aromas.
Pears hold up really well during poaching and retain their beautiful shape. What i love about poaching pears is that they sit beautifully atop a tart or on a plate, enveloping a beautiful syrup or sabayon.
I peel the pears and leave the stems attached to their long giraffe like necks, making the visual presentation the perfect dessert temptation.
Serve these little beauties alongside homemade ice cream or freshly whipped cream or creme Chantilly with some toasted nuts for added texture.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
4 pears, peeled
3c water
150g castor sugar
1 vanilla pod, cut open lengthways
1/2c brandy
3 orange zest peels
pinch of saffron
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 cloves
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill

how to do it
Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the bottoms of the pears. (Cut into the flesh and remove the small black stems at the bottom)
Combine all of the ingredients except the pears in a deep pot / skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and gently lower the pears into the poaching liquid.
Make a cartouche using baking paper. Simply cut a hole in the centre of the baking paper and place the paper on top of the pot / skillet to form a ‘lid’ of sorts. This will allow only a small amount of liquid to evaporate during poaching.
Poach the pears until soft, about 15-20 minutes depending on the pears and the size.
Remove pot / skillet from the heat, discard the cartouche and leave the pears to sit in the poaching liquid for at least 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pears and set aside.
Strain the poaching liquid into a clean pot and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook until reduced and thickened.

When ready to serve, drizzle the pears with the lovely gold liquid.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x