Tag Archives: Summer recipes

Deep Fried Prawns in Spiced Cashew Batter & the Po’boys of Kerala

Mustard Seeds & Hot Chilli Powder

I’ve been thinking about this dish for a while. I’ve been concious that I’d not posted any recipes or food for a while so I wanted to make a bit of an effort. We have the Borders Union Show on this weekend and I will be holed up in the food hall on our stall for the duration, so getting anything new up will be a challenge. On the Plus side I will be able to go around the stalls of some of my favorite producers and get some great ingredients for next weeks entries.

Garam Masala & Fenugreek

The accompanying pictures are of the constituent parts of the marinade I created for the Prawns I cooked. I’ve used roughly a heaped tea spoon of each spice, though I was a little light on the chilli powder adding only a half  tsp. All of the spices I’m using are going into a pestel and mortar – I’m doing things the old fashioned way… or trying to.

Turmeric & Ground Black Pepper added

I probably should have used ground white pepper but there was none to hand – I was kind of winging it. I had a stash of cashew butter base left over in the fridge from last week and I’d thought it would be nice to use them with some prawns after having read about Po’boys on another blog, the dish in that case was a personal take on the original Po’boy dish as described on Cooking The Books Blog. So in not really knowing how to get to my end culinary destination and feeling the need to use some of the goods I had previously produced I set about cannibalising a recipe I had found with the vague hope of creating an Indian Influenced Po’boy and maybe a starter dish I could serve at a function.

Add a couple of cloves of Garlic and about a cubic inch of Ginger

I decided to deep fry the prawns rather than cook them Tandoori style as the original recipe suggests and further more my batter would be much more of a batter and less of a crust… or croute if we’re getting fancy. Anyway, back to the marinade. I added a glug of sunflower oil to the mix and the juice of 1 lime. I swiftly set about beating the hell out of the mixture and crushing all the mustard seeds. I did it all in a very Steven Seagal in Under Siege kind of a way and felt pretty good about it. I thought to myself, “Be like Steve”… “Be Zen, Serene… at one with the the marinade but ready to kill at a moments notice.” This sort of tempered urgency whilst preparing food is what I’d like to think of as called being “in the Zone” but in reality it’s probably more borderline psychotic… here’s a picture of the lime I squeezed with ninja precision:

It didn't even hear me coming. Whoooosh. Slice.

Once I had the marinade prepared I took half of it and used it to flavour the prawns. I put them in a bowl and let them absorb the flavours in the fridge for about an hour.

The Batter:

I took a couple ot table spoons of my preprepared basic cashew butter and started bashing it in the pestle and mortar to make a fine paste. I had begun to feel tired as I do not actually have the strength and stamina of Steven Seagal in Under Siege so I turned to my Food Processor to finish the job. Into the processor I placed the butter, the remaining marinade, two eggs, a tbl spn of creme fraiche and a tbl spn of plain flour. I then blitzed the be’jesus out of it until it had all come together – I tasted it… no dice. A whole, fresh mild chilli was de-seeded and added. Blitz again. Result. The batter was then decanted into a bowl and placed into the fridge. Just before I battered the prawns I added 150ml of tonic water and whisked it in to make a light velvety consistency. Batter up, you could say.

I heated 500ml of Sunflower oil to 190°C in a wok and got ready to deep fry.

The prawns were taken from the marinade, dusted and tossed in plain flour then dipped and allowed to drain of any excess batter. One by one the spicy coated prawns fell to the bubbling oil, I counted them all in and I counted them all out – golden, crispy and ready for assembly.

Deep Fried Prawns with Cashew Batter on a bed of Kiwi with Sour Kiwi Chutney

Like a true Scotsman - I can not resist deep fried food

I had made some Kiwi chutney earlier in the week so I put that on the side as a condiment for the dish. It’s a pretty standard chutney recipe and I’ll post it up in my next blog entry for you – today is about the prawns but here’s peek at the chutney anyways:

It made a nice accompaniment  and it was also dolloped into my Kerla Po’boy as you’ll shortly see.  I have no idea if anyone from Kerala would recognise my dish or if anyone in New Orleans would make the connection with their own famed Po’boys. Here you are though, my attempt, of someone else’s attempt, at some else’s attempt at making a Po’boy. Let’s call it the Inception Po’boy – the chilli in the batter could be the kick. (You’ve seen the film Inception, right? You Get what I’m saying… this isn’t just the ramblings of a chef intrigued by social and cultural memes?)

Kerala Po'Boy under construction

I topped the prawns with a Raita I threw together and some salad leaves and the chutney. The  components were laid on a warmed Chapatti and rolled to form a tube of Sub-Continental Po’Boy awesomeness. This was then scoffed by me.

No too much poor about this Po'Boy in the end.

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Cashew, Rosemary & Lemon Butter.

Cashew, Rosemary & Lemon Butter: Posh 'nutbutter&jam (Photo By Justin Orde)

I love Cashews. Whether bound in crunchy caramel as a brittle or chopped through a curry or stir fry, the oily, calorific, kidney shaped nut never fails to satisfy. You could say I’d “bust a nut” about this nut… well you could say that but it might be a little gross. We seemed to have a glut of this nut in the hut so I thought I should try and do something with them. I recalled the very tempting savoury almond butter I read about on Cream Puffs in Venice and thought about trying my own version but with Cashews.

I set about creating the base for my cashew butter by following Alton Browns recipe. I ended up adding more walnut oil & salt and using a pestle and mortar to finish the butter but to all intents and purposes the basis for the butter finds it’s genisus in the aforementioned recipe. I used a magi-mix/food processer to get the show on the road but soon discovered the ancient processor that is in my possession couldn’t emulsify the mixture to a satisfyingly creamy consistency. The result I got was a kind of chunky, crunchy, dryish blend that though morish, wasn’t of a fine enough emulsion to my tastes.

Having gotten this far I grabbed the pestle and mortar and plucked some fresh rosemary from the garden, duly chopping it finely and adding it to the mix. At this stage I could have left it as it was but to get an accent on the sweet & savoury dimension I added some lemon zest. I hesitate in saying this but in actual fact I think I was too clever for my own good. The zest brought out the sweet honey element more than anticipated  so I can’t really call this butter a strictly savoury kind of humous/tapenade type concoction. Such is the nature of experimenting in the kitchen though. Whilst creating the butter I was very much reminded of a book I bought at an Exhibition last summer hosted by the excellent Collective Gallery in Edinburgh

While the typical cookbook format gives you a recipe for obvious success it does not take into account the many ways in which its execution can fail due to the cook’s lack of experience. Based on Aleksandra’s personal history of cooking disasters, the project invites 1000 people from all around the world to give their advice of how NOT to cook. With this volume, any reader will be more than well equipped to avoid making the same mistakes in their kitchen.

Aleksandra is interested in how we are taught or teach ourselves through trial and error. By making our guilty failures public we may even be creating an original and subversive form of art, rather than simply be aspiring to obvious and repetitive results.

—Kate Gray, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

I could say much more about the exhibition, I urge you to follow the links and submit your entry for her new book as well. I’ll leave it at that though, I think that sort of discourse is best saved for one of my other blogs

We return, the Cashews ensue. So I took the sweet savoury butter and liberally dolloped it onto an approximation of melba toast. A spoonful of strawberry preserve atop it and a serious snack had been created. Lemon and Strawberry is a good combination and rosemary with cashew works nicely too. Give it a shot some time but don’t forget a large helping of elbow grease will be needed – it’s worthwhile to work for such treats, isn’t it?

I’ve since used the basic cashew butter for Thai Green Curry, Spread in wraps with chicken, carrot, peppers, chilis and coriander and with the remaining batch I’m sure I’ll be roasting something en croute. A useful addition to my store.

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Schmmmokin’ Smoked Chicken

Tombuie Smoked Chicken, Mango & Avocado Salad

The Sunday after the night before… I have a load of images from the wedding yesterday and a lot to say about it but I’m enjoying watching the golf and finishing off the chicken we had smoked for the starter last night, ipso facto – I’m not going to get too in depth on the Wedding… today.

Just over the hill from Home farm, where we are based, is Hardiesmill Farm. Robin and Alison Tuke produce some very, VERY high quality Aberdeen Angus (just take a look at their website they are “weel kent”/well known as we say around here). They also have a great wee smoke house and produce some tasty smoked cheese and chicken as well as smoked beef… it all melts in the mouth, as you can tell I’m a fan of smoked foods.

So to the salad, I’ve just thrown together avocado, fresh mango and the titanic smoked chicken with some rocket, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. I’ve dressed the salad with some Balsamico Bianco, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Orange Zest. A good pinch of sea salt and ground pepper follows and I’m getting my Summer Sunday munch o’ lunch on.

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Mars Attacks – Salmon Saves.

Snacks are magical – we all know that. Having blogged about Caramacs and Cadburys and even arty cupcakes you’ll know that I have something of a sweet tooth. I’m not a fan of the Mars Bar per se, I do like the mini ones quite a lot though. I manage to pack away at least two a day whilst catering during the shoot season as they are very popular with the Guns (hunters) as they can easily pop them in their pockets after lunch as a takeaway snack from the bothy. My particular affinity with Mars Bars comes from the Mars bar crispie that we make and serve at our tea rooms. Everyone in the UK knows this treat. A favorite of tray-bake sales and church fetes the nation over. It’s a simple joy and one I salute for it’s honesty.

Confections are a part of the very fabric of our nation – not necessarily high brow epicure chocolates or complicated pastries but homely traybakes, cakes and loaves. It’s the improvised, hacked or bodged amalgams of sweet, crunchy and unctuous ingredients that find their way into our fridges and ovens that I want to celebrate today. It’s a form of masochism if you will, I’m living healthily right now. I’ve cut back on dairy and fat… I’m eating tofu… I need a MARS BAR.

I’m suffering from what one of my favorite food bloggers Sasa Sunakku would call Hangrr (frustration, anger, tetchiness brought on by hunger). I’ve been uploading pictures of this weekend’s dishes to facebook and as lunchtime approaches the combination of reviewing food images, thinking about blog posts and wondering what to have for lunch is all becoming too much.

…… some 5 minutes later……

I have some really great rustic bread from Northumberland, well Etal, just down the road from Kelso and some home smoked salmon I got from one of the Ghillies on the River Tweed. The salmon has a really deep smoke to it, much more rounded and deep in flavour than shop bought simulacrums. You can immediately see from the colour of it, this piece of fish has been handled properly, it’s sweet, not at all bitter or over done. I’m a lucky bugger to have this.  A quick look in the fridge has turned up some capers, hollandaise and creme fraiche and I know I have some dried dill, the makings of a healthy hunger buster are underway…

I quickly toast a couple of slices of bread, mix a loaded teaspoon of hollandaise with a loaded teaspoon of creme fraiche and give it a hefty pinch of dill. I spread, well, rather dollop the mixture on the toasted bread and layer the smoked salmon and capers on top. A grind of pepper cast across the snacky surface and I’m eating again, having photographed this snack for you and staved off some considerable irritation at the lack of Mars Bars in my life. YAAAAASSSSSSSS! I don’t know how many birds I’ve just killed with one stone but damn if I no longer want a Mars Bar, this Hangrrr has been remedied – need to find a song about smoked salmon now. Most. Schitzo. Food-blog. Ever.

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B.Y.O.

Glass of wine?
Here’s an interesting article about the trend for Fine Dining restaurants embracing the old marketing tactic of BYO to stave off the worst of the recession. Here’s a small excerpt:

Jennifer Cowan-Savio of the London Fine Dining Group, whose restaurants Aubergine and L’Oranger have signed up, said: “Everybody is watching the pockets at the moment, but we don’t like to think of it as desperation. The time has come to be more flexible with diners and more hospitable.”

But she added that a £4.99 bottle “would be a little bit insulting”. She recommends avoiding turning up with anything worth less than £12.

It’s an interesting trend and I actually hope to see the practice become more wide spread. The mark up on wine is quite considerable and in some cases makes fine dining “socially” a little prohibitive… if my friends and I are anything to go by (Min half a bottle per person on most occasions).

As a caterer I hold a liquor license and at Gill Orde In Catering we can provide a super range of wines and much more for any occasion. It’s not all about the booze though – I’ve recently found this excellent virgin mojito recipe courtesy of the excellent “Not without Salt” blog by Ashley E. Rodriguez. Designated drivers rejoice!
Mint, Basil, Cucumber & Lime Fizz

Ice cream, the McGyver way.

Ice Cream – New Young Pony Club

It seems appropriate that I add this track to the blog as the weather this past week has inspired more ice cream eating than the good folk at gelato stands in Italy itself could expect. I’m going to share with you a quick and easy way to make Ice cream if you don’t have an ice-cream maker. The recipe and method is an amalgem of the Raspberry Semifredo recipe which can be found in the Silver Spoon and my own ravenously inspired kitchen heath-robinson experiments.

You will need:

Ingredients –

6 egg yolks

250g caster sugar

500g frozen raspberries

100g fresh raspberries

750ml of double cream (with a little more just incase you want a creamier flavour)

half a vanilla pod or a very small dash of vanilla essence

Equipment –

1 food processor

4 Icepacks

1 tea towel

Method

About 15 minutes before you start take your frozen raspberries out of the freezer and allow them to defrost enough so that they can be easily poured through the top of the magimix. They need to remain cold/frozen as their temperature will aid the icing of the cream. you do not want them to totally defrost. YOU DO NOT WANT THEM TO TOTALLY DEFOST. If they have not all frozen together as a solid lump then you’ll be able to pour them in easily in the form of the tasty subzero nuggets we need.

Measure all your ingredients into containers that you and easily pick up and pour with one hand – trust me, this will really help.

Pour your cream, egg yolks and sugar into the magimix basin and give them a quick blitz (remembering to seal the lid… especially while tipsy and mid way through a dinner party). You will need to have the chopping blade attachment fitted and you’ll see why in a second. Now, here’s the McGyver part – you need to place the ice blocks around the outside of the bowl and use a tea towel to wrap around them and hold them in place. Once you have secured your ice blocks,  using one hand to hold the towel tight and the blocks in place (take a moment to picture this, it will demonstrate in your mind how in need of Homemade ice-cream you have to be), you will want to have  all your ingredients to hand for adding to the mix. Turn on the food processor again and begin pouring the frozen raspberries into the blender. The fruity ice cubes combined with the chilled exterior of the  bowel will allow the cream to become set. the blades meanwhile will be chopping your berries into tasty flavour morsels ensconced in the thickening cream. Add your vanilla and blend until you are happy with the consistency. The ice-cream will not be thick set like shop bought stuff but will have a velvety dense consistency that once fresh raspberries are folded into make the perfect accompaniment to Biscotti Brutti ma Boni or Hazel Nut cake or even Nutella Tart.

This process should not take longer than a few of minutes. If you have correctly set your ingredients out as I have recommended you should be more than capable of drinking and talking to your guests as you whip up a little blizzard of awesomeness in the kitchen.