Saturday, April 28, 2012

More From Store

Was very pleased to see that we have more new readers of this site, so today we all welcome Sarina, Sue and hotel alanya to our 'munch crunch bunch'. We have more than one 'Sue' who sends in comments, so adding an initial after this name will help me as I do like to keep it a reply personal, rather than general when responding to each comment.

Not sure which recipe Alanya is referring to, but thanks anyway for letting me know the one she tried was enjoyed by herself and children.

Seems the recipe for couscous 'fritters' is turning out to be popular, probably because couscous is not the easiest of grains to use in British cuisine. It certainly needs flavour to make it taste 'interesting', and myself tend to soak it in chicken stock when it is to be eaten that day. If it has to be kept in the fridge to eat cold later (maybe in a type of tabbouleh - although this is normally made with bulgar wheat, very similar to couscous), then always use water for soaking, maybe with lemon juice added.

The flavoured couscous you bought Jane am sure you will find a use for. If the tomato one has tomato 'bits' in it, these could be picked out and discarded. By adding other and stronger flavours, possibly diced Peppadew and lots of herbs this could reduce the strength of the flavour your OH dislikes. The only thing to do is experiment.

Although I'm always muttering about not buying anything we can make ourselves, of course there are times when the convenience of the ready-made is worth while. Not sure about ready made custard though. However small a kitchen it doesn't take THAT much room to make a jug of custard Campfire (using custard powder of course), and myself find the easiest way is to make it in the microwave. This saves having a pan to wash up as it is made in the jug it is to be served from.

Practically all Indian dishes (in Asian homes and restaurants) are made using 'fresh' spices. This is because it is very easy to change the flavour and 'heat' of the dish to the cook's preference. Also, when a curry is made every day, then the spices are used rapidly and never have time to lose their potency.

When 'curry houses' first arrived in Britain, we had only a choice of 'mild', 'medium', or 'hot', and there was none of the fabulous range of regional curries that we see on menus today. A curry is not always spicy hot, often it is delightfully fragrant and can be very subtle in flavour. When possible we go to the same restaurant and although B choose his favourites, I try to work my way through the range (and as we don't go too often, still a long way to go).

Having given a recipe for couscous yesterday, think it might be worth offering another recipe that uses this grain, and probably the already-flavoured couscous could be used for this as well as the plain.

This dish is fish cooked in a bag (en papillote I think this is called), and the bag could be made from baking parchment or kitchen foil. Although courgettes are used in this recipe, myself would probably use another vegetable such as chunks of red bell peppers because B doesn't care for any of the marrow family. Note this recipe serves just one. If wishing to make more, make each in its own 'bag'.
"It's in the Bag" Fish Dish: serves 1
1 lemon
4 oz (75g) couscous
1 oz (25g) flaked almonds or toasted pine nuts
1 small courgette, thinly sliced
1 tblsp fresh dill leaves, finely chopped (or use parsley)
salt and pepper
5 fl oz (150ml) vegetable stock
1 fillet haddock (or other white fish)
Take a large sheet of baking parchment or kitchen foil and place in a small, shallow dish (perhaps a soup bowl), and press down to make a 'cup' shape.
Grate the zest from the lemon and then cut the fruit in half. Slice one half and squeeze the second to gather the juice. Put the couscous into a bowl with the grated lemon zest, nuts, courgette, half the lemon juice, and most of the dill/parsley, and mix together - adding seasoning to taste - then tip this mixture into the paper/foil 'cup'.
Lay the fish on top of the couscous and top with the slices of lemon, then carefully pour in the stock, sprinkling over the remaining herbs. Gather up two sides of the 'wrapping' and fold together tightly, the do the same with the 'ends' to seal in the contents. Remove from container and place the 'bag' on a baking sheet and bake at 180C, 450F, gas 4 for 20 - 25 minutes (depends upon the thickness of the fish as to how long it takes) until the fish is cooked and the couscous is fluffy.

Was going to write more, but the computer suddenly seized up - the broadband failed and it's taken me some time to get it back again, so think I'll go now before it crashes again. Hope you can join me again tomorrow - if so, see you then.