Sunday, 19 January 2014

Week 48- A Flash in the Pan

Not everyone wants to have the oven on- it's expensive and it takes time to bake things.

A lot of my recipes call for oven baking- so this week I have changed tack and deliberately sought out a menu which can be made on the stove top.

I'm starting with halloumi and chutney fritters, followed by cod wrapped in bacon with mushy peas on black pudding mash with a tomato butter sauce, and finishing up with chocolate brioche pain perdu.

Whilst I think all of the above components are pretty tasty, I'm particularly pleased with the halloumi fritters, the genius tomato sauce and the black pud mash- but take a look for yourselves.

Halloumi cheese is a lovely ingredient- salty and dense with a delicious crispy crust when fried. For this recipe, the chutney adds a salty-sweet contrast and the breadcrumbs add to the crunchiness.

First, beat 2 eggs in a bowl. Take out a large tablespoonful and put in another dish. Keep the majority of beaten egg for the pain perdu later.
Slice the hallomi into tranches about 1 cm thick. Dip them in flour. Mix the tablespoon of beaten egg with a tablespoon of chutney (fig, plum or even mango). Dip the slices into the egg mixture, then onto a plate of breadcrumbs. Coat well.

Flour, egg/chutney mix, breadcrumbs

Fry until golden
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the slices quickly until golden brown on both sides. Serve with a spinach salad.
Halloumi and chutney fritters 

For the fish dish, first make your tomato sauce. This is so simple- but it makes the best tomato sauce for pasta or fish. Gently fry 1 small finely chopped onion with a little minced garlic. Put it in a slow cooker or heavy saucepan along with 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, seasoning and 100g of unsalted butter. Cover and leave to simmer for as long as you like.

The result is an unctuous, creamy tomato sauce - which you can sieve if you like it smooth, or leave chunky.
Tomato butter sauce- three (or four) ingredients!

Now make your mash- fry some slices of black pudding (leftover from a breakfast fry perhaps) and crumble into a bowl. Add 300g of mashed potato (or the equivalent of 1 baking potato per person ) and combine the two. Adjust the seasoning to your taste and either keep warm over a pan of simmering water or microwave for 1 minute per portion when you are ready to eat.

Right- mushy peas. OK- I bought mine tinned. They are excellent as they are.

You can make your own by blitzing some cooked peas to a puree (this has a fresher taste and a more vibrant colour).
Fresh blitzed peas and tomato sauce

To make authentic mushy peas from scratch, you need  225g dried marrowfat peas.
Place the peas in a large bowl or stock pot, the peas will swell and so need plenty of room to expand.
 Add 2tbsp bicarbonate of soda and cover with 300ml / ½ pint boiling water and stir to make sure the bicarbonate has dissolved. Add the peas and leave to soak overnight, or for a minimum of 12 hours.
Drain the peas in a colander, then place in a large saucepan, cover again with cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for approx 30 mins or until the peas have softened and turned mushy. You could use your slow cooker for this if you prefer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

You can see why I prefer to use tinned!

Mushy peas- the easy way!

Finally, cook your fish. 
Wrap the fillet in bacon or pancetta and fry on all sides until the bacon is crispy all over. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid to allow the fish to cook through in the residual heat and assemble your dish.

Place a round of mash, topped with mushy peas in a dish. Place your fish on top and drizzle tomato sauce all round.

Bacon wrapped cod on black pudding mash with mushy peas and tomato butter sauce

Lastly, the pud.

Take 2 slices of chocolate brioche per person and spread one half of the 'sandwich' with Nutella, jam or fresh fruit puree. Sandwich together.

Beat the reserved egg with a splash of milk and some vanilla essence and then soak the sandwiches until all the egg has been absorbed.

Soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture

Melt a small knob of butter in a frying pan. Fry the sandwich quickly on both sides, cut in half and serve with cream, or ice cream and a dusting of icing sugar.

Chocolate brioche pain perdu

Any leftovers from this meal can be put to good use-  tomato sauce has a plethora of uses from pasta dishes to chilli to salsa to baked potato fillings and 

you can't beat fish and chips with mushy peas...

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