Tag Archives: to serve with drinks

Crispy Kelp Appetizer (Korean)

6 Aug

Kelp, also known as kombu, is the the wide flat type of seaweed that is commonly found around the sea shores of Europe.  It is used to make stocks and as a vegetable. Here i have deep fried dried pieces and seasoned it with a Korean inspired mixture of mild chilli powder, soft brown sugar and sesame seeds.  The salty seaweed balances the sugar and the chilli powder gives a lovely pungent warm tone and the sesame seeds a nutty.

Deep Fried Kelp with a Korean style seasoning

  • Dried Kelp seaweed cut into finger food size
  • pepper flakes
  • soft brown sugar
  • lightly toasted sesame seeds
Deep fry the seaweed in a small pan of hot vegetable oil in batches and drain on paper. Be careful not to burn the seaweed or it will taste bitter so stand over it and lift out with a slotted spoon as soon as it expands and crisps. Mix the remaining ingredients to taste, make sure there is a nice balance of heat and sweet and sprinkle over the hot seaweed, toss to coat well and serve with drinks.

Green Olive Tapenade (Italian)

29 Jun
Green olive pate is the perfect Mediterranean summer food, it does not spoil, travels well and tastes divine when its hot making it a great picnic or lunch item. Salty and sour with capers and anchovies ground to a paste with garlic and lemon juice, delicious! Serve on bread or crackers as an aperitif or snack.

Makes enough to fill a 1 pint (1 quart) kilner Jar. 

  • 500g green olives, pitted
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp pickled capers
  • 4 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oilive oil
  • zest  and juice of half a lemon

Simply pound or grind all the ingredients together adding more or less of each ingredient to your own taste and to get a good consistency. Ready to eat immediately and will keep in the fridge for about 18 months.

Variations i sometimes add coriander leaf for a change and do not always add anchovies particularly when cooking for friends who are vegetarian.

Potato Omelete (Spanish)

21 Sep
Tortilla de Patatas or Potato Omelete, spelled omelette in France, is simple uncluttered food that is so easy to make once you get the heat and timing right. This is one of my favourite lunches or snacks and is sold in almost every Tapas bar in Spain, often cut into small squares to accompany drinks.
Serves Cook 15-25min
  • 3 Potatoes, thinly sliced (raw) or parboiled into thicker slices.
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced into half rings (optional)
  • 4-6 Eggs, beaten
  • crushed rock sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • perhaps some fresh herbs for variation if you have them handy
There are three ways of making a traditional Spanish Omelette. All three require a good frying pan that will not stick and has a tight fitting lid.

  1. Fry onions in olive oil then take the onions out of the pan and set aside. In the same pan add a little more olive oil and fry the sliced raw potatoes over a very low heat (10 minutes) until almost cooked. Remove from heat stir in the eggs and cooked onions, season and cook over a very low heat with a tight fitting lid for 10-15 mins until set and without letting the bottom burn.
  2. Fry onions in olive oil add parboiled potatoes stir to coat in oil. Remove from heat, stir in the eggs making sure all the potato pieces are coated in egg pushing any protruding pieces of potato down under the egg, season and cook over a very low heat with a tight fitting lid for 10-15 mins until set.
  3. Fry the peeled and roughly sliced potatoes, with a little onion if using, in lots of olive oil covered to stew in the oil and steam. When cooked removed from the heat and stir into a bowl of beaten eggs. Season and return the mixture to the pan that has been cleaned and oiled or seasoned with lard. Cook gently until the egg sets.
Serve as a light lunch with salad or as canapés cut into bite size squares.
Cooks TIP if you have trouble getting the egg to set without burning the bottom finish off under a grill or turn the tortilla using a plate.

Onion Fritters [Bhaji]

26 Aug
I love onion bhaji’s and I’ve tried a lot of recipes but what mostly comes out are heavy stodgy lumps. What I want are the bhaji’s I used to eat as a student in Glasgow,  light, crisp and spicy morsels full of onions. This is them, mostly onion with just enough spicy coating to keep the sliced onion together while it fries. Delicious with a cooling yogurt sauce or spicy chilli sauce.
  • 1 kg onions
  • 2  heaped tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed, ground
  • 1 tsp garam masala recipe I
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
  • small handful coriander leaf, chopped
  • 1-3 green chilli, minced
  • salt
  • oil for deep frying
Slice the onions and put then into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the spices and herbs and stir well to coat. Set a pan of vegetable oil to heat. Meanwhile sprinkle the chickpea flour, a little at a time, into the bowl of onions and really stir well to coat. Just use enough to coat the onions or if you want a more solid bhaji add a little more chickpea flour. When the the oil is hot drop in small spoonfulls of the mixture. Fry until golden, drain and serve with tamarind chutney, a sweet mint yogurt or chilli sauce.
Onion and Fenugreek Pakoras
I grow fenugreek and love using the fresh leaves in pakoras. I use the same method as above and add about a cupfull of fresh leaves a little more chickpea flour and make pakoras.

Aubergine Dip (Arabic)

23 Sep

Aubergine caviar or baba ghanoush is a classic Arabic dip of roasted, mashed aubergine flesh seasoned with spices and lemon juice. Served with flat breads it is a lovely appetizer or makes a fine contribution to a meal of little dishes or meze (mezze).

Seasoned mashed aubergine flesh, is a divine way to eat aubergines. I first encountered Baba ghanoush in Edinburgh, when I used to visit a friend who had a lovely little deli on the corner of her road. They made their own baba ghanoush and I always bought a tub of it on my way to visit her. The secret to a good Aubergine Caviar is the quality of the aubergines so use only the freshest, best tasting aubergines.

Serves 6 approximately
basic recipe

  • 4 medium aubergines
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (a little zest too if you like)
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

The aubergines need to be cooked first by baking in an oven or roasting over a charcoal flame. The charcoal will add more flavour but so long as the skin blackens a little in the oven the smoky flavour, that makes this dish so delightful, will come through. Prick the aubergines several times with a fork then cook until the flesh is soft.
Allow to cool then scrape the aubergine flesh into a bowl and discard the skin. Add the lemon juice seasoning, garlic and half the oil. Mash with a fork or use a blender to make a smooth puree, depending on the texture you like. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with the remaining oil. You can vary the seasoning and add your favourite herbs or spices, see the variations for ideas. My personal preference is to add lightly crushed green coriander seeds or mustard seeds, a little cumin and coriander leaf. The version pictured has yogurt, a little ground cumin seed and is dusted with powdered cayenne chilli, but you could also add grated onion, mint, parsley, or coriander. I never seem to make it the same way twice.

Variations from around the world
There are many versions of mashed or pureed aubergine flesh to be found around the world; from the southern Mediterranean, throughout the middle east and into India, so there must be something to it,
In Turkey thick sheep’s yogurt is sometimes added, about 5-6 tablespoons for this quantity of aubergine puree but use less oil.
In Armenia chopped coriander and onion might be added
In Morocco harrissa might be added
In Syria and Lebanon pomegranate molasses may be used instead of lemon as the souring agent
In Egypt and other parts of the middle east Tahini may be added
In Italy agresto and basil might be added
In IndiaBaingan Bartha is a cooked dish where the aubergine flesh is fried with spices and tomato and onions.

Black Olive Tapenade (French)

6 Sep

This Provencal specialty of black olives, anchovies, tuna and capers pounded into a delicious spread is an absolute classic. Tapenade is often served, as a tit-bit to dip bread or raw vegetables into in restaurants or in bars on rounds of toated bread with drinks. It also makes an excellent picnic food and sandwich filler.

* 50 or so stoned black olives
* 6-8 anchovy fillets
* 1 tbsp capers
* 50-100g tinned tuna
* Olive Oil (espresso cup full)
* Juice of half a Lemon or orange
* Flat leaf parsley, finely minced (optional)
* 1 tbsp brandy (optional)

Pound the olives, anchovies, tuna and capers together into a thick puree, in a pestle and mortar or in a food processor, gradually adding the olive oil and lemon juice as you go. When you have a consistency you are happy with, I like it quite coarse. Stir in the parsley and brandy if using. Serve spread on rounds of bread or as a dip to accompany crudités or bread sticks. Store in a jar in the fridge where it will keep for several months.

Note the quality of the olives determines the end result I prefer strong oily dark olives but use the ones you like.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 6/9/2006.

Pan con Tomate

27 Jul

This celebration of fresh tasty tomatoes is one of my favourite snacks. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is Spanish Tapas at its best, transforming simple ingredients into gorgeous morsels that sing on the tastebuds. This tapa is best known in Catalonia, where it is called Pa amb tomàquet.

For the instant method simply dry or toast bread, rub with a clove of garlic, then rub with a tomato cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and lastly a sprinkling of salt.

In many Catalan restaurants, the tomato mixture is pre-made and is brushed onto the bread and may also include a dash of fresh parsley, if you are making a lot this method is easier. Simple chop tomatoes, add crushed or chopped garlic, season with salt and pepper, some chopped parsley and a generous slosh of your best olive oil. Give it a good stir and spoon onto the bread.

NB I’ve used a black tomato called Noir de Crimee which has bags of flavour and a slightly strange brown colour but any juicy tasty tomato is good for this dish.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 27/7/2007.

Broad Bean Falafel (Egyptian)

11 May

Falafel or dried bean rissoles are middle eastern in origin, most commonly made with chick peas or dried broad beans. My version is made with broad beans and loads of fresh green herbs. I like to serve them as a light meal with a green salad or salsa and bowl of dipping sauce.

Serves 4-6 Prep 60 min Cook 20 min

  • 300g dried broad beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large handful coriander
  • 1 handful chives
  • 8-10 cloves garlic crushed
  •  1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp roasted freshly ground cumin
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 3 tablespoons water (if necessary)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Put the dried broad beans in a large bowl cover with water and leave overnight to soak. Drain and rinse the broad beans and remove the skins, this is a tricky time consuming business. At this point the raw beans can be frozen. I often prepare a larger quantity and freeze in 500g batches, as they are handy to have in the freezer ready to make this dish at short notice.

Put the beans, onion, garlic, baking powder, salt and pepper, cumin and chilli in a food processor. Pulse to form a coarse paste. Add the fresh herbs, you can experiment with different herbs such as tarragon, lovage, fennel whatever green herbs you have growing in the garden, and pulse until blended. Add a little water if necessary and process until the mixture has a fairly smooth texture and should be bright green. I like my falafel moist inside and make my paste on the wet side.

Heat 3-6 inches of oil in a saucepan or fryer until it is hot. Scoop a tablespoon of the falafel mixture and with a second tablespoon press and form the shape of the two spoons together slip the falafel off the spoon into the hot oil and fry in small batches of 4-6 at a time depending on the size of the pan until browned and crisp, about 2-5 minutes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper. They are ready to serve immediately

Makes about 2 dozen Falafel

Source: Adapted from Claudia Roden’s Falafel in Mediterranean Cookery

Suggested Dipping Sauces

* Lemon Dip: Lemon juice, salt & pepper.
* Tzajiki: Grated cucumber, yogurt, garlic and mint
* Tomato Salsa: Tomato, onion, parsley and sumac

Cook’s Tip dried broad beans already skinned can be bought in some specialist delis.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.comon 11/5/2006.

Pan fried peppers (Spanish)

19 Oct

About this time last year I was sitting in a cafe, overlooking the Gaudi cathedral, la Sagrada Família, in Barcelona, playing Russian roulette with my mum. Not the gun totting Dear Hunter kind but a culinary roulette of eating pan fried pimiento de Padrón, the famous tapas hailing from Galicia. The peppers are mildly spicy and absolutely delicious to snack on with a beer, until one hits you that blows your head off and causes tears to run down your face. Wiping away the tears, we would gingerly start to eat them again eventually lulled into more or less scoffing down whole peppers until we were caught once again. What bliss. Any young green sweet pepper or mild to medium chilli can be cooked like this with good results, but for a game of Russian roulette you will need the Padróns unless you throw a couple of hot chillis into the pan.

* Fresh young green peppers
* Olive oil
* salt

Throw the peppers whole into a hot frying pan drizzle with olive oil and sea salt crystals. Toss the chillis in the pan as they cook, until they are coloured and blistered on all sides, takes about 10 minutes. That’s it, crack open a beer and Tapas is served.

Pimiento de Padrón are a small green, thin walled pepper with a conical shape and slight furrows down their length. This year I grew a pepper that did not come true and one of the plants produced what could be described as the Padrón. They were fantastic cooked like this though I have yet to get one that took my head off. About 1 in 30 of the Padrons are hot these peppers were all just mildly spicy but absolutely delicious. Seeds of Italy supply Pimiento de Padrón seeds.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 19/10/2007.

Courgette & Rice Pakora (Indian)

14 Oct

Here is an interesting recipe and something a little different to use the last of the summer courgettes. When your nearest and dearest are starting to groan at the sight of yet another courgette, these tasty fried morsels are a winner and no one will even know there is a courgette lurking in there.

* 400g or thereabouts of courgettes, grated
* 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
* 1 large red onion, grated
* sea salt
* cracked black pepper
* 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
* 1/2 tsp garam masala
* 2 tbsp chick pea or rice flour
* large handful of leftover cooked rice
* fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together. If the mixture is too soft (it will depend on the courgettes) add a little more rice or flour and form into balls. Deep fry in hot oil in batches until crisp and golden brown. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper before serving with a tangy chutney or raita such as:
Tomato Pachadi
Fig & Tamarind Chutney
Tomato Chutney (Hot Mustard)
Tomato Chutney (Sweet & Sour)
Tomato Chutney (Sweet Bengali)
Raita (yogurt, apple & onion)
Raita (sweet mint yogurt)

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 14/10/2008.