Posts tagged ‘lime’

February 6, 2012

Last Night’s Dinner: Sweetcorn and chickpea soup with greens and a chilli-soy salsa

Sweetcorn; chickpeas; kale. Should they go together? A chilli-soy salsa? It’s that last piece of description that gives away the some geography to this soup: it’s an Asian, perhaps Thai or Indonesian-influenced concoction and the background note under the combination of leaves, kernels and legumes is a spicy coconut broth. The salsa – well, though the word might shout Mexico and link to the sweetcorn, it’s a thoroughly Asian-influenced topping too. Let’s make it…

For the salsa we finely diced one red pepper, finely sliced two spring onions and a finely chopped red chilli (or two). Combine these together. Next, toast a handful of sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan for 5-10 minutes, tossing them occasionally and taking care not to burn them. When they’ve started to turn golden take them off the heat and splash some soy sauce over them. They’ll become slightly sticky. Leave to cool and then stir into the salsa. Finally roughly chop a handful of coriander leaves and add to the salsa.

The soup is something of a fusion of West and East but the ingredients complement each other perfectly and are often found together in varying combinations around the world. The kale could be Savoy cabbage, cavolo nero, spring greens, spinach or even pak choi. We had some kale left, so that’s what went in the pot – and it’s great with chickpeas.

First, make a ‘curry’ paste: grate a 1-inch piece of ginger, finely slice three cloves of garlic and three medium shallotts. Finely slice two green chillies (strength to your licking) and two sticks of fresh lemongrass. Place all these ingredients in the jug of a food processor/blender. Now add 2 teaspoons each of ground cumin and ground turmeric. Add half a cup of water and blend to get a smooth, thick sauce.

Heat a large saucepan, add a dash of sesame oil and add the curry sauce, cooking it for five minutes – you should smell the aromas. Then add a medium-sized tin of sweetcorn kernels, a tin of chickpeas and a tin of coconut milk. Stir. Then add 600ml of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or so then add some handfuls of roughly chopped greens. Cook for 5 minutes more if you’re using soft greens (spinach etc) or 10 minutes if you’re using tougher cabbage or kale etc.

Check the seasoning and serve, topping the bowl with a good spoonful of salsa and a squeeze of lime.

May 2, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Quesadillas

Saturday 30 April

I won’t include a recipe for these – there are so many variations. Basically, we filled a tortilla with spicy black bean paste (mashed black beans with spices, coriander leaf and lime), a salsa made with avocado, tomato, red onion and lime – and, in a break from authentic tradition, feta cheese. I had feta in a burrito years ago at a little place in Southwark and my it works. It replaces the sour cream and Cheddar/Monterey Jack combo you often see in Britain and it adds a really good tang to the meal. Pile up the tortilla, fold over and warm in a dry frying pan. Perfect.

April 29, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Pho

Wednesday 27 April

Pho, if you don’t know, is a traditional Vietnamese broth. We make various versions of this, adding vegetables, noodles and herbs and fresh chilli to our liking.

The basis is a good stock. To make the stock, soften an onion, a celery stack, two carrots, some cloves of garlic, a good bit of fresh ginger root, half a lime and some chillis with a tiny bit of oil in a deep pan. In this instance I also added a little bit of butternut squash that was lurking in the fridge – cauliflower, sweet potato, parsnip or other rot veg could also be used, Then add water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. To ‘season’ the stock as it cooks we add a splash of Chinese rice vinegar, a smidgeon of sesame oil, soy sauce, the stalks of some fresh coriander, basil and parsley, a star anise, two cloves, a teaspoon of coriander seeds and some peppercorns. You can also add a teaspoon of tomato puree and tamarind paste if you like. We like.

When the veg is soft, strain it through a sieve to remove the vegetables and return it to a clean pan. Taste and add a little more soy if necessary. Really you can then add what you like – you’re almost done. In this instance we added some rice noodles, shitaake mushrooms and deep fried tofu. To serve, garnish with some coriander leaf, a little chopped chilli and a squeeze of lime. The soup should be hot and fragrant with a good deep flavour coming from the broth.

One of Ella’s favourites here at ETP Towers.

April 23, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Thai salad

Friday 22 April

…yesterday’s lunch, actually. Ella made a Thai salad with some lovely Asian baby salad leaves, shredded white cabbage and Chinese leaf, pepper, herbs and chilli. The salad is pepped up with a dressing made with lime and lemongrass. Love it – and eating al fresco on the balcony is always a winner.

April 20, 2011

Recipe: Raymond Blanc’s green papaya and pomegranate salad

This surprisingly summery weather can completely change the kinds of meals you want to eat. All of a sudden I’ve the urge for summery salads and light plates of zingy, tantalising flavour. I like this green papaya and pomegranate salad with a chilli lime dressing from Raymond Blanc. Of course, we’d leave the fish sauce out and use a mix of Chinese rice wine vinegar and a splash of light soy sauce instead – it’ll be just fine. The recipe is on the BBC website here.

March 16, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Courgette and Feta Fritters

Tuesday 15 March

We got this recipe here – and swapped the manouri cheese for feta. I reckon this would be great for breakfast, as recommended (and if you had the time), but it made for a tasty, light, late dinner on a Tuesday night.

We often get courgettes in our weekly veg box and grating them then combining them with a couple of other sharp tasting flavours to make some fritters means they now never go to waste. We served the fritters with the lime-infused sauce, plus a quick tomato and herb salsa and some peppery watercress.