Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Honey and Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

I know, I’ve been slacking again. I’ve just been too busy watching Wimbledon, and the World Cup, and I’m now in the process of remodeling my kitchen. Well, not me personally, not yet anyway, I won’t get involved until the painting stage, thank goodness. But, last week, I had the men in tool belts in installing my new counters, and very nice they are too, the counters that is, not the men in tool belts.

I think the old counters had been in here since the house was built, these days, some might consider them to be quite retro, but to me they were bloody horrible. The next job will be tiling the walls around the counters. They were covered with some equally horrible laminate, which we had to rip off prior to the advent of the counters. The walls are now a lovely nicotine brown from the old glue, they remind me of many pub ceilings I saw in England – in the pre-smoking ban days, of course.

Anyway, enough of the waffle, and on with the recipe. You can also cook this dish on the BBQ, just place Mahi Mahi on a piece of heavy-duty foil and baste the fish with the marinade during cooking.

Incidentally, the marinade for this fish is equally yummy with chicken, pork and beef. Just increase the ingredient quantities depending on the size of your cut of meat, (I use about ¼ of a cup, honey, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar), and use fresh ginger for extra pep.

Honey and Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi


3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Black pepper, to taste
2-4 Mahi Mahi fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil

  • In a shallow dish, mix together first 6 ingredients, add the Mahi Mahi, cover dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Turn the fish over halfway through the marinating process.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add fish to skillet reserving marinade. Cook for about 5 minutes each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fish to a warm serving plate and keep warm.
  • Add marinade to skillet and cook, stirring continuously, until reduced to a glaze. Pour glaze over fish and serve.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicken with Leek and Asparagus

Snakes alive! This is rapidly becoming the year of the snake. Remember, a couple of posts ago, I told you about finding a snakeskin in our roof space? Well, since then we have been finding the real thing. This one was in our shed, yikes!

We have been reliably informed that he is not poisonous, and we should leave him alone as he will kill any mice in there, although I'm sure the cats won’t be too pleased about the competition. We have named him Hissing Sid. Needless to say, I give the shed a very wide berth and let Mick deal with him.

This chap had to be evacuated from our garage, fortunately, he left with good grace.

Anyway, snakes aside, on with the recipe. This is another one from the BBC, but I made quite a few changes to it. In the first place it called for the chicken to be flambéed in brandy. Now, I don’t know about you, but if there’s any brandy lying around the kitchen it does not go in the food! And, I didn’t like the idea of flambéing, as I would probably burn the house down, so I just bunged in some white wine.

Also the original recipe said to use asparagus and shallots, but having enjoyed the leek and asparagus combo in the tart, I decided to use leeks. Anyway, if you’re interested in burning your house down and want to have a go at flambéing, be my guest, you’ll find the original recipe here:

This is my version, and the end result was really rather nice, Mick declared it a keeper.

Chicken and Asparagus


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
A few tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Black pepper, to taste
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced
¼ cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
10-12 asparagus spears, halved
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped basil

  • Coat chicken with flour
  • Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over a medium heat, add chicken and a generous grind of black pepper and cook until browned on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  • In same pan, sauté leeks for a couple of minutes until softened.
  • Return chicken to pan, add the white wine and cook until wine has reduced a bit.
  • Stir in the stock and bring to boil, reduce heat and cook chicken for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the cream and chopped basil and cook for a couple more minutes until cream has warmed but don’t let it boil.

Serve with some steamed basmati rice.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Leek and Asparagus Tart

I saw a recipe in the BBC Good Food newsletter for a Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Leek and Almond Tart and wanted to try it. I didn’t have any broccoli, so I substituted asparagus, and it was so good I made it again the following week. The leeks and asparagus made such a great flavor combination that broccoli is out the window now. As you can see in the pic, the pastry got a tad overdone, but it was still yumptious. You can find the original BBC recipe here:

I served this tart with Mediterranean potatoes, which you can find here:
and the remaining asparagus, which I roasted and served with a drizzle of lemon juice and a dash of Parmesan.

Leek and Asparagus Tart


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only) thinly sliced
1 sheet puff pastry
10-12 asparagus spears, trimmed
2 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan, shredded
1 ounce sliced almonds

  • Pre-heat oven to 425F
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium heat, add leeks and a generous dash of black pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Set aside while you prepare pastry.
  • Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with a little butter.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a rectangle. Place pastry on baking tray, and score a line about ½ an inch from the edge around the pastry sheet. Don’t cut right through the pastry.
  • Spread the leeks out evenly within the scored rectangle, and bake for 10 minutes until the edges have puffed up.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 400F
  • Arrange the asparagus spears on top of the leeks, and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • In a small bowl, beat together eggs and cream and pour over the veggies.
  • Sprinkle with the sliced almonds and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cod Mornay

I know I am always bemoaning the fact that we can’t get any decent fresh fish here in Oklahoma, and that’s still true. But since I started going to Sam’s Club (a discount warehouse store), in Joplin, Missouri, I have at least been able to find some pretty good frozen fish. I do like to have meat free meals, be it something fishy, eggy or veggie, once or twice a week. This is one of my fishy dishes.

Even if you’re not a huge lover of fish, I guarantee you’ll like this one. I served this with some baby red potatoes for soaking up all that yummy sauce, and some roasted asparagus, which after cooking, I sprinkled with a little lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.

Cod Mornay


3 – 4 cod fillets, or other white fish such as sea bass or halibut
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup sharp cheddar, shredded
Chopped parsley for garnish

For the Sauce you will need:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup sharp cheddar, shredded

  • Make sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in flour to make a smooth paste.
  • Return pan to heat and gradually add milk, stirring continuously until sauce thickens.
    Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Set aside.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over a medium heat, add fish to pan, sprinkle with a little lemon juice, and cook for 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Turn fish over half way through cooking.
  • While fish cooks, gently re-heat sauce.
  • Grease a baking dish with a little butter. Transfer fish to dish, pour over the sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
  • Top with chopped parsley and serve.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Saint George's Day and Jam Roly-Poly and Custard

This recipe is an entry for Family Recipes; Memories of Family, Food and Fun! Hosted by Lynda at: http://lyndasrecipebox.blogspot.com/ Here’s what she says, Make a dish that is a favorite of your family's, whether it's yours, your moms, an aunt, cousin or whoever, and submit it to me. I’m not to sure if this qualifies as, while it’s a favorite, it is a traditional rather than an original recipe. Anyway here goes.

A few months ago, for some strange reason, Mick and I were reminiscing about junior (elementary) school lunches. Back when we were kids, school lunches were really good, absolutely no fried or fast food, just good wholesome grub. But it wasn’t really the main courses that we remembered so much as the puddings (desserts). One thing we both agreed on was that jam roly-poly was one of our favorites. It was obviously the same for the other kids at school, ‘cos if second helpings were in the offing, one could get killed in the rush.

Anyway, I decided to have a go at making jam roly-poly. And I must say, that it’s a good thing I’ve lost my sweet tooth, because if I was to make stuff like this all the time I’d be built like a house-side. I did cheat with the custard, and used Bird’s Custard Powder, which while better than the instant stuff, isn’t as good as homemade.

And another thing, it’s Saint. George’s Day today (he’s the patron Saint of England, in case you didn’t know), and what better way to celebrate it than with a traditional English pud!

You can find Bird’s Custard Powder here:
And the Atora Vegetable Suet here:

The recipe I used is from Brian Turner’s book, Favourite British Recipes. It was actually a recipe for Spotted Dick (no, I am not making that up!). Spotted Dick is basically the same pudding except that it’s filled with currants and raisins instead of jam.

Jam Roly-Poly and Custard


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ cup vegetable suet (the book uses beef suet but that isn’t available in the US)
Approx. ½ cup water
Approx. ½ cup raspberry jam

  • Pre-heat oven to 400F
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together, then rub in the suet. Add the water gradually and mix to a dough.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 10 x 6-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with a thin layer of jam leaving a ½ inch border. Don’t spread the jam too thickly or it will ooze out when you roll it up. Brush the border with water.
  • Turn the two short edges in and seal, then roll up carefully from a long side.
    Rinse a clean kitchen cloth in boiling water and wring out. Sprinkle cloth with flour and shake off the excess. Roll the pudding in the cloth and tie the ends with string.
  • Set the pudding on a rack in a roasting pan, add water to the pan, just enough that the water isn’t touching the pud. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven to steam for about 2 hours. Top up water occasionally, as you do not want the pan to boil dry.

NOTE: Exercise extreme caution when removing the pudding from the oven.

Serve hot with custard sauce – it must be custard, I will accept no substitutes. :-)

Custard Sauce


2 cups milk.
3 large eggs.
1 tablespoon cornstarch.
2 tablespoons sugar.
½ tsp. vanilla extract.


  • Reserve 4 tablespoons of milk and put remainder in a saucepan. Heat to just below boiling point.
  • In a medium sized bowl mix cornstarch with a little cold water to form a smooth paste. Add eggs, sugar and reserved milk and whisk until smooth. Add hot milk to mixture and whisk together.
  • Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over a medium low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Serve hot over jam roly-poly.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leek, Bacon, Mushroom and Pasta Bake

Lately, we’ve been busy tidying up the garden after the ravages of winter. It’s hard to believe that only three weeks ago it was snowing, as this cardinal will attest.

Now the leaves are on the trees, along with peach, pear and apple blossoms. My daffodils have bloomed and gone, and the tulips are taking their bow. I hope that winter is a distant memory where you are too.

Leek, Bacon, Mushroom and Pasta Bake

This is a yummy recipe containing one of my favorite veggies, leeks. It also has a lovely cheesy, mustardy sauce, which enhances the flavor of the leeks, and the fresh breadcrumbs give it a nice crunch. For the breadcrumbs, I usually toast 2 slices of wheat bread and Mick crumbles it up into chunky breadcrumbs. Well it gives him something to do when he’s loitering around the kitchen getting under the feet. :-) You can, of course, pulse them in a food processor, if you prefer.

For a veggie version, omit bacon, use 4 leeks instead of 2, 8 ounces of mushrooms instead of 6, and vegetable stock instead of chicken.


2 slices wheat bread
6 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks, sliced
8 ounces penne pasta
1 cup chicken stock
1½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground mustard powder (use 1 if you don’t like it too mustardy)
½ cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded and divided
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced


  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Toast bread, crumble into breadcrumbs and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan covered with a lid, simmer leeks in chicken stock for about 5 minutes.
  • While leeks simmer, put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta, and fry bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  • Drain leeks and set aside, reserving ¼ of a cup of stock.
  • Add pasta to boiling water, reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and set aside.
  • While pasta boils, make sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a
    medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour and mustard powder. Gradually add the ¼ cup of stock until you have a smooth paste. Return pan to heat, gradually add milk, then cream, stirring continuously until sauce thickens.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in half the cheese.
  • Grease a 7x11x3-inch baking dish with a little butter. Add pasta, leeks, bacon and mushrooms to dish and mix to combine the ingredients. Pour over mustard/cheese sauce, top with remaining shredded cheddar, and finally top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rice Pudding

Well, it’s been a busy couple of weeks at the old homestead, we have been redecorating our living room, or remodeling as they call it around here, but that sounds rather grand for slapping a bit of paint on. Though we did also install a ceiling fan in preparation for the summer, and replace the door. It’s only taken us three years to get round to it – but there’s always a real shortage of those round tuits around here. :-)

Speaking of the ceiling fan, we had a bit of a close encounter of the reptilian variety. While mucking about in the roof space, we came across a four foot long snake skin – Yikes! Fortunately, there was no sign of its previous owner. (Wipes sweat from brow).

Anyway, enough of the decorating adventures (or misadventures). As you already know, I don’t make many puddings (desserts), but it has been such a cold winter this year that I was craving some nursery food, and rice pudding fit the bill. Whenever I had rice pudding as a kid, I would always put a big dollop of strawberry jam in it and mix it up until it looked like there had been a nasty accident. Nowadays, I prefer to eat it with a few raisins sprinkled on top.

Incidentally, it looks like comfort food will be on the menu for a little while longer yet. Just as we thought that spring had sprung – for the last two days it’s been sunny and a balmy 73F – today it’s been snowing all day. It’s about six inches deep at the moment, with more forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Oh hum! But that’s Oklahoma for ya!

Rice Pudding

No, those aren't rabbit droppings you can see!


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 2+1
½ cup short or medium grain white rice
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • Pre-heat oven to 325F
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add rice and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  • Gradually add milk and cream. Stir in sugar and vanilla extract and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Transfer pudding mix to a 7 x 11 x 3-inch baking dish, bake uncovered for a total of 1½ hours, stirring mixture every 15 –20 minutes. Bake undisturbed for the last 30 minutes.
  • Remove pud from oven dot with slivers of remaining butter, sprinkle with brown sugar (you can also add a dash of nutmeg if you like), and place under broiler until surface is golden brown.
  • Serve sprinkled with raisins, or a dollop of your favorite jam.