Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cold Smoked Halibut

I wanted to branch out from smoked salmon this year and having enjoyed the produce from Gigha Halibut I thought I would have a try at smoking some halibut of my own. My first attempt didn't go well. I left it in the brine for 24 hours as I would for salmon. The result was just about edible but way to dry and salty. Halibut, I had just learned, is a much more delicate fish than salmon. The second attempt was delicious though:

1 - 1.5Kg Halibut fillet, skin on
Demerara Sugar
Zest of 2 Lemons

The volume of salt isn't really important but the proportion of salt to sugar should be about 4:1. Place the salt, sugar and lemon zest together in a non-reactive container (plastic, ceramic or even wood).

Mix together then place the halibut filet in the container. Scoop the salt mixture over it so that it is completely covered. Leave for 4 hours. 

Rinse of the brine with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and leave to hang in a cool, dry place for 24 hours. Cold smoke for 4-6 hours and that's all there is to it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Smoking Cheese

A quick experiment in smoking cheese to find out what works and what doesn't. 

From the top left, there's a slice of Emmental, a whole Camembert, a block of mild Cheddar, a slice of Brie (manufactured as a slice so that the sides are covered in rind), a log of fresh Mozzarella and a small round of soft goat's cheese.

Into the smoker (an old packing case):

I used oak, but any of the usual hardwoods would have been fine. I turned the cheeses over after three hours to get a more even finish. I took them out after six hours:

Leave to rest for a day or two in a cool place. 

My favourite was the Emmental. It's delicious on its own, but gets even better if grated and cooked in an omelette. Likewise the Cheddar. The Mozzarella also worked well, bringing its delicious smokiness to salads. The cheeses with rinds were a little less compelling, but still not at all bad. I haven't tried to do anything with them but eat them neat. If nothing else they add an unexpected twist to a cheeseboard.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Cold Smoked Cherry Tomatoes

I first came across these in Borough Market and fell in love with them. Now that I'm a long way from London, I make my own and they taste just as good to me. I suppose you could add them to salads, but I just eat them straight from the jar.

Some people use olive oil to store them, but I find it's too powerful a taste. It overwhelms the delicate smokiness of the tomatoes. I much prefer a fairly neutral tasting oil and so I've used rapeseed oil here, but go with what you like best. Likewise you can vary the spices to pretty much anything you like, or omit them altogether.

The Recipe:

Cherry Tomatoes - Lots (as many as will fit in your smoker)
Sea Salt
Dried Oregano
Chilli Flakes
Rapeseed Oil

1. Cut each tomato in half and lay them on a baking tray.

2. Sprinkle with sea salt and, if the tomatoes are not especially sweet,  a little sugar

3. Dry them in the oven for about 4 hours at 100℃. They are ready when they are semi-dried, rather than being hard and fully dried. The time will depend on the size of the tomatoes, but they should look something like this:

4. Put them in your smoker and cold smoke for at least another 4 hours until they have developed a delicious smoky taste. I used oak, but any of the hardwoods wood have done fine: Cherry, Beech, Hickory, Apple, Maple .....

5. Put the tomatoes in a jar, sprinkling in a little dried oregano and some chilli flakes as you go. Top up the jar with the rapeseed oil and you are done. 

I've no idea how long they keep as its rarely more than 24 hours before the jar is empty in this household.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mooli and Beetroot Pickle

I grew some Mooli (very long white oriental radishes, each the size of a large courgette) in the garden this year. This is my way of dealing with the resulting glut. The sweetness of the beetroot takes a lot of the edge of the mooli.

200g Caster Sugar
300ml White Wine Vinegar
3 Star Anise
5 Dried Chillies
3 Cloves
500g Beetroot
500g Mooli

Roast the beetroot in a hot oven for an hour. Leave to cool then peel off the skin. Cut them into bite sized chunks. Peel the mooli and cut similarly to the beetroot.

Put all the other ingredients in a saucepan and warm gently while stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool. Put everything in a sterilised jar and leave to mature for a week or so.

Chipotle Ketchup

1/2 cup Chipotle Paste (q.v.)
3 Tbsps Tomato Puree
2 Tbsps White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsps Caster Sugar
1 Tsp Onion Granules
1 Tsp Celery Salt
1 Tsp Garlic Granules

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. then mix everything together. Adjust quantities to suit your taste.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Crab Parcels with Harissa

2 Dressed Crabs
2 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Harissa
1/4 Preserved Lemon
Filo Pastry

Finely chop the peel of the preserved lemon. Mix the crab meat, spring onions, harissa and lemon together in a bowl. Season to taste. Divide the mixture into four portions. Lay each portion on a sheet of the pastry and wrap into a flat rectangular parcel. Fry in 100ml of oil until golden brown.

Try serving on a bed of lentil salad.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hake with Vegetables and Chorizo

1 piece Hake fillet
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100 gms Chorizo,
2 Handfulls Choi Sum
White wine

Fry the chorizo over a medium heat in a little oil until it is just beginning to crisp up. Add the onion and garlic and continue to fry until the onion has started to soften. Deglaze with a little of the wine, add the choi sum and cover. Cook for a few minutes until the greens are al dente. There should be enough salt from the chorizo, but adjust the seasoning to taste. Set aside.

Rub a little oil onto the hake fillet. Heat a heavy frying pan over a high heat and then add the hake fillets, skin side down. Cook for about 6 minutes until done. Serve the hake on a bed of the greens.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sichuan Chicken Stir Fry

Quick, easy, delicious and spicy.

2 Cloves Garlic, sliced
1 Tsp Cumin
1Tsp Sichuan Peppercorns
4 Dried Red Chillies
1 Red Pepper, sliced
6 Spring Onions cut into 1" sections
1 Tbsp Chilli Bean Sauce
3 Tbsps Stock or water
2 Handfulls leftover cooked chicken, shredded

Bash the cumin, peppercorns and chillies together with a mortar and pestle.
Heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the garlic and fry for a minute until beginning to brown. Add the spices from the mortar and fry for a few moments. Add the chilli bean sauce, stock and red pepper slices. Stir until the peppers are almost cooked. Add the spring onions and the chicken and stir until cooked through. Serve with a little rice.