We first made a calamari pizza earlier this year but we ate it before I thought of taking a photograph. The sauce was passata, garlic, courgette and chilli which was liquidized then simmered until it had thickened.
The calamari was from Marks & Spencers and was chargrilled in a red pepper dressing. It was topped with lots of grated cheddar and shredded mozzarella.
(Crossposted from the Pizza Blog)
A few weeks ago we bought a pack of Marks & Spencer's Mustard & Pepper crumbed calamari. It's very easy for squid to come out like slightly fishy rubber bands but these were very tender. The only downside was to do with the breadcrumbs which mostly fell off during frying but we scraped them out of the pan and crumbled them on top when we served. Since we were impressed with the calamari we bought another pack shortly afterwards.
Last week we bought some calamari, again from M&S but this time it was pre-cooked (chargrilled in a red pepper dressing) and we put it on a pizza. Unfortunately we had eaten it before I thought that we should have taken a photo of it.
Tonight we had another go with calamari. This time we bought some raw unsliced squid which we sliced and fried alongside some king prawns and served with some gnocchi in a tomato and vegetable sauce.
We are a fan of puff pastry but we don't eat it very often. Every now and then we get some sausage rolls or a puff pastry pie but recently we keep seeing ready made puff pastry on offer in the supermarkets.
Tonights tea was a crayfish tart with a 'garden herb' salsa verde.
To make the sauce:
- Gently fry a couple of cloves of garlic in olive oil for a couple of minutes then add to the liquidizer.
- Add a mixture of herbs, including water cress, rocket, oregano, mint and parsley. I had some 'fat hen' in the garden so I sautéed that in oil until it had wilted before adding it.
- Drain and add a tablespoon of capers and a couple of anchovies.
- Liquidize everything, adding a splash of oil to make a sauce.
Spread the sauce on the pastry then top with roast red peppers, crayfish and feta cheese. Cook for 20-25 minutes at gas mark 6 then serve with a rocket and feta salad.
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This is a bit like a luxury version of the tins of baked beans with sausage, but using chicken and prawns instead of sausage.
2 chicken breasts
250g (half a carton) of passata.
1 carton or tin of haricot beans (approx 300g drained)
approx 100g king prawns
seasoning (eg. stock cube, jerk seasoning, fajita seasoning)
Start by bringing the passata to a gentle simmer. Add seasoning - something slightly spicy works very well. Place the chicken breasts in the passata and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the prawns and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Passata sometimes thickens on its own when simmered but if you cooked with the lid on, then it may need thickening with a little cornflour.
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We cooked a second new recipe this week, also inspired by the You Magazine.
- Chop and fry 1 onion, 1 leek, 2 cloves of garlic.
- Add a pinch of dried chilli and some mixed herbs.
- Add 250g of passata and simmer for a few minutes.
- Place the cod steaks on top of the sauce. Put the lid on the pan, turn the heat down, and let the fish cook for about to minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil some pasta to serve alongside.
This started off with a pack of Iceland frozen scallops. The pack came with several small disks of herby butter. I started by following the cooking instructions on the reverse of the pack - to gently fry the scallops in 2 of the disks of butter for about 10 minutes.
I lifted the scallops out of the pan and then fried one finely chopped onion and half a leek, also finely chopped. I added one cup of risotto rice and a glass of white wine. When the wine had been absorbed I stirred in a cup of stock. Whenever the rice had absorbed the liquid, I kept adding more until it was cooked.
When the rice was cooked I added the scallops and the rest of the butter which came with them. Emma grated some parmesan which was also stirred in. Some parmesan was kept to sprinkle on top for serving.
We usually avoid using a lot of butter and full fat cheese. A lot of our risottos or paellas are made without butter and they are usually reasonably good, but adding butter does make a difference. Tonight's risotto was very smooth and creamy with a subtle flavour. Every now and again, it's worth pushing the boat out and doing something like this.
I've seen 'home smoking' being demonstrated on tv a couple of times, using either a wok or a roasting pan. We've got an old wok in need of replacing so I thought I'd give it a go using some salmon.
You'll need a wok with a lid and a rack which fits in the wok to stand the salmon on. Start by lining the bottom of the wok with foil, using enough to stick about an inch or so above the lip of the wok because it needs folding over the lid to reduce the amount of smoke which escapes.
Mix together a couple of tablespoons each of rice, sugar, tea leaves. Pour into the foil. Place a rack above this mixture - I didn't have a suitable rack so I used a thick foil 'pie dish' (the sort which is supposed to be disposable) which I cut holes in.
Place the wok over a medium heat. When the mixture starts smoking, put the lid on and fold the foil over the lid. Turn the heat down to low. After about 15 minutes, check the salmon and give it a few more minutes if needed.
It may be a good idea to open the kitchen window and close the door before doing any of this - the smell of smoke managed to fill the house. The salmon came out looking more like 'smoke damaged' than smoked but it tasted good. The technique would work with other fish but it was a lot of hard work.
Makes two individual pies.
For the filling:
Finely dice two small onions and a clove of garlic and gently fry in a little olive oil. When the onions are soft, add a knob of butter. When that has melted add two tablespoons of plain flour and mix well to form a paste. Add some light chicken stock and stir to form a thick sauce. For extra flavour add a dash of thai fish sauce and a tablespoon each of chopped parsley and chopped capers.
Into two pie dishes add a layer of the sauce and then add layers of prawns, flaked salmon, adding a sprinking of peas as well.
For the pastry:
We used some ready rolled puff pastry to cover the pie dishes, and brushed the top with milk.
To cook - around 20 minutes in the oven at gas mark 6.