Monthly Archives: March 2012

An attempt at Sushi Nom

Sushi is quite the effort to make, and it certainly isn’t cheap – but it is great fun. Got a couple of basics, like how to prep the rice from the Ballymaloe cook book and our lovely local asian market. Fresh fish caught that morning from the fish shop round the corner – a mix of smoked haddock, hake, salmon, swordfish and tuna (and some turkey, smoked mackerel and smoked salmon for the people that are afraid of raw fish). We tempura-ed all the bits that weren’t pretty enough for sushi. Win-Win is what that’s called! 

We had a load of avocado, peppers, spring onions, cucumber, sesame seeds, carrot, courgette and to compliment the fishy-ricey goodness. Wasabi, ginger and soy sauce are a must.

The sushi rice is washed really well, cooked and drained, add some rice wine vinegar and sugar to it – this keeps it sticky and then we spread it on trays to dry a little, but it should be kept at room temp (I think it’s actually meant to be at body temperature, but that’s not particularly practical for beginners). A variety of different helpful videos can be found on youtube, including some easy learning ones with Gordon Ramsey!

Rather than panic about specific rolls to make according to traditional recipes, we all just had a bash at the more modern “western”-style sushi rolls. Traditional or not it was delicious and will be done again soon. As an experience it was fantastically fun and nom nom nom.

Whats the lesson this week? Don’t be afraid of raw fish, give it a try! Nom Nom Nom!

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Easy Tangy Lemon, Rocket and Prawn Pasta

Monday night, the week has just started and you want something with a really nice kick to it – but it has to be easy to prepare. This is the business.

Grab whatever pasta you want to cook and get the water boiling. Whip out a pan and get some chilis and garlic chopped finely in it with a little oil. Have it at a nice medium heat so they brown quickly, but don’t burn them – there’s nothing worse than burnt garlic.

While the garlic/chili is browning make sure the pasta is on, and grab a bag of prawns from the freezer, (or have them previously defrosted -or fresh if you’re that cool). Pop them in some warm water, not boiling, until they are no longer frozen. Drain them and add them to the pan.

Add some chopped sundried tomatoes or sundried tomatoe paste – if you have it handy – or squeeze in some tomatoe puree. Pop one to two glasses of white wine on top of the cooked prawns and stir in the puree until the prawns are cooking nicely in a light sauce. Pour yourself a glass while your at it and stir occasionally.

Drain the cooked pasta and pop it back into the pot it came from. Pour all the delicious prawn-tomato-wine sauce over it, add a handful of torn rocket and the juice of a lemon and stir all of it together. Season with salt and pepper (mainly pepper, I find I don’t really cook with salt all that much anymore).

Plate it, making sure to give everyone prawns – they always hide at the bottom and if you dont get any there is trouble in our house! Add another few rocket leaves and some lemon zest to top off the dish.

Easy fix and now you can relax and finish off the bottle of white you opened earlier!

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Rabbit Stew

Rabbit? I know right? Who cooks rabbit? A good friend of ours was down the country hunting and was flying to Paris on their return to Dublin and offered up the wildlife. Being excited foodies and the opportunity to get a different meat I said YES!

Little did I know it would arrive whole. Thank god it was already gutted, but the experience of skinning and jointing a fluffy cute but reasonably large animal was an experience in itself. And while I’m never quite sure about the act of hunting myself – there was something about being responsible for the animal, for your meal from start to finish that was quite satisfying.

Following the jointing we used a very good farmer’s market recipe for rabbit stew. The stew uses cider and is light and a little acidic rather than a creamy gravy meaty stew.

Saute bacon in olive oil in a nice big casserole dish, until crispy. Remove the bacon and pop into a dish to be kept for later, keep all the bacon-flavoured oil and juices in the pot. Pop the rabbit joints in and turn them as each side crisps. Remove the rabbit joints too. Now cook carrots, shallots, garlic and a tablespoon or two of honey until they are all caramelised. Season veg with salt and pepper and add a couple sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.

Pop the bacon and rabbit joints in with the veg, stir around and add a pint of cider to the dish. Pop it into the oven for two hours at 120 degrees celcius, with a lid on, checking occasionally so it doesn’t go dry.

Because I was feeding 5 people,  one rabbit doesn’t go too far. So I threw a load of sausages in the oven, cooked on all sides and popped them into the stew as well. Boys get grumpy in our house when there isn’t enough meat to go around.

Serve it with mash. Nom nom nom.

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