Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Easy Japanese tofu hotpot Recipe

You'll need:
50g/2oz dried fish flakes
300g/11oz firm tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon sake
1 large egg, beaten
7 spring onions, roughly chopped

  • Spread the fish flakes evenly in the bottom of a flameproof casserole dish, and arrange the tofu on top.
  • Add the soy sauce, sugar, sake and 125ml/4fl oz water.
  • Cover and bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the egg evenly over the top of the casserole, and sprinkle with the spring onions. Simmer for a further 30 seconds, covered, then serve immediately. (Serves 2)

How to make Fried mozzarella

4 eggs
15g/1.2oz plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground
black pepper
15g/1.2oz dried white breadcrumbs
600g/11.4lb mozzarella cheese
sunflower oil for deep-frying

  • Beat the eggs in a bowl. Spread some seasoned flour on one plate and some breadcrumbs on another.
  • Slice the mozzarella into 5mm/1.2in pieces. Dredge the slices with the flour first, then dip into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs. Dip again into the egg and again into the breadcrumbs to coat well.
  • Pour the sunflower oil into a deep heavy frying pan so that it is at least 2.5cm/1in in depth. Heat until a piece of bread dropped into the oil sizzles immediately.
  • Fry the coated cheese in the oil until golden. Remove with a spatula, drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Making a Surprise Burgers

These can be made with lamb or beef mince. As for the cheese filling, any cheese will do, but I find that Cheddar, feta and haloumi stand up most successfully to the rigours of being fried.

Here's what you'll need:
500g minced beef or lamb
1 clove of garlic, chopped or grated
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or
1/4 teaspoon of dried
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
About 100g of cheese, cubed

Here's how:
  • In a bowl, mix the meat and all the other ingredients together except for the cheese. I find it best to use my hands and massage the seasonings into the meat.
  • Divide the mixture into 8.10 balls and squash down with a spatula, or use a food ring to form the burgers.
  • Press your finger into the centre of each burger and drop in 1 or 2 cubes of cheese. Squeeze the meat up over the cheese to cover.
  • Fry each burger, 3.4 at a time, in a frying pan, or place them on an oiled baking sheet and put in the oven for 15.20 minutes at 190¢ªC/gas mark 5 until cooked. Serve with bread buns and salad.
. Omit the paprika, rosemary and cumin and instead use 1.2 teaspoon of chilli flakes and 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce.
. If using lamb, add a dessertspoon of freshly chopped mint to the meat as well as the other ingredients in the original recipe.

Easy Seafood Spaghetti Recipe

350g/12oz dried spaghetti
500g/1lb 2oz mussels
700g/11/2lb squid, cleaned
500g/1lb small littleneck clams
300g/11oz shrimps
4 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
250ml/9fl oz dry white wine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 dried red chillies, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Soak the mussels and clams in water for an hour. Discard any broken mussels or clams, or open ones that don’t close when tapped on the work surface. Under cold running water, scrub the mussels and clams thoroughly to remove any grit, pulling out the beards from the mussels.
  • In a large deep frying pan over a medium heat, sweat 1 clove of the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Increase the heat to high, and add the mussels and clams with half of the wine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for about 5 minutes until the shells are open (discard any that remain closed). Remove from the heat and discard the garlic.
  • Slice the squid into rings and finely chop the remaining garlic. Heat the remaining oil in another pan, and sauté the garlic, parsley and chillies for a few minutes. Add the squid and cook until the edges curl.
  • Pour in the remaining wine and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the shrimps (just the tails) and cook for a few more minutes before adding the clams and mussels. Simmer for another few minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain and add the seafood mixture to the spaghetti, mixing well.Stir over a low heat for a couple of minutes. Serve piping hot.

Roasted Brisket with Root Vegetables

This is a comforting dish that takes very little in the way of preparation. It can be put in an ovenproof casserole and left in the oven until ready for serving, perhaps with a green vegetable. Look for the leanest cut of meat. This can be difficult, as brisket is usually rolled and tied, but check the depth of the lean layers – the deeper the better.

A brisket joint, about 1.5.2kg in weight
About 600ml water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon flour or gravy powder
1.2 teaspoon mustard powder
4 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into large chunks
2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
Half a medium swede, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 small turnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
A couple of sprigs fresh thyme or 1 level teaspoon dried

  • Preheat the oven to 180¢ªC/gas mark 4.
  • Place the meat in an ovenproof casserole or roasting pot and add sufficient water to come a third of the way up the meat. Season the top of the meat and put into the preheated oven.
  • Cook for 1 hour, then lift out of the oven. Mix the flour or gravy powder and the mustard with a little cold water to make a paste and stir into the water around the meat.
  • Arrange the vegetables and herbs around the meat, season to taste and put back in the oven. Turn the oven down to 170¢ªC/gas mark 3 and cook for 21.2 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
  • Lift the meat out of the pot and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving. The vegetables may be kept warm in the oven.
  • Serve the meat with the vegetables and gravy.

Serving suggestion
This goes well with some slow-roasted potatoes. Peel 4.6 potatoes and cut them into chunks, slightly smaller than you would when normally roasting potatoes. Place on an oiled baking sheet and coat with the oil. Season and cook these with the meat at the top of the oven about 11.2 hours before meat is cooked. Alternatively, put the potatoes around the meat with the other vegetables and it becomes a one-pot meal.

Almond Soup Recipe


225g/8oz blanched almonds,
3 egg yolks, hard-boiled
1.2 litres/2pt chicken stock
25g/1oz butter, softened
25g/1oz plain flour
125ml/4fl oz single cream
salt and freshly ground
black pepper

  • Using a mortar and pestle, reduce the almonds to a paste with the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of the stock. Set aside.
  • Make a beurre manié by working the butter and flour together into a smooth paste using a fork. Bring the remaining stock to a simmer in a heavy saucepan. Add the beurre manié in small knobs, whisking vigorously after each addition until completely dissolved. Whisk in the almond paste until smooth, then cook gently for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the soup through a sieve into a clean pan. Add the cream, and season with salt and pepper. Reheat gently and serve. (Serves 4)
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