Thursday, 30 April 2015

Fajita Spiced Trout with TexMex Dips

Fajita spiced rainbow trout fillet with TexMex dips and tortilla chips

Fajitas usually come in the form of sizzling hot pieces of steak or chicken which are added to a tortilla wrap along with such as guacamole and salsa. In this recipe, I have changed that format slightly by serving a fajita spiced rainbow trout fillet with the traditional dips and a bowl of tortilla chips. You could buy the salsa and guacamole already prepared but in this instance I have made both of them from scratch.

Ingredients (Serves Two)

1 ripe hass avocado
1 small red chilli pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 large garlic cloves
Small handful coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped (plus extra to garnish)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced
2 inch piece of cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 tablespoons plain/all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of fajita spice mix plus a little extra for sprinkling on flesh side of trout
2 rainbow trout fillets, skin on
Vegetable oil for frying
Small tub of soured cream
Spicy chilli tortilla chips to serve

Preparing guacamole


Peel and stone the avocado and add it to a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and mash with a fork. Add half the chilli, 1 of the garlic cloves (peeled and grated) and half the chopped coriander. Season with salt and pepper and stir well with a spoon to fully combine.

Preparing spicy salsa

In a separate bowl, combine the tomato, cucumber, second garlic clove (peeled and finely diced), remaining coriander, remaining lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.

Fajita spiced flour for rainbow trout fillet

Pour some oil in to a large non-stick frying pan (you may need to use two pans, depending upon the size of your trout fillets) and bring up to a medium to high heat. Scatter the flour on a large plate and mix through the two teaspoons of fajita spice as well as some salt and pepper. Pat the trout fillets on their skin sides only in the flour, shake off the excess and lay the trout fillets skin side down in the pan(s). Scatter the flesh sides of the fillets with some more fajitas spice and a little salt and pepper. Fry for around three minutes on a medium to high heat until you can see the trout fillet is cooked most of the way through.

Pan frying fajita spiced rainbow trout fillet

While the trout is frying, spoon the guacamole, salsa and soured cream in to two ramekins in each instance. Garnish the soured cream with some coriander. Place one ramekin of each dip on two serving plates.

Assorted TexMex dips are plated

When the trout is cooked almost all the way through, turn the heat off completely before turning the trout fillets to fry on their flesh sides in the residual heat for one minute only. You should see that the skin is nicely crisp. Lift one fillet on to each plate with a fish slice.

Pan fried rainbow trout fillet is plated with dips

Garnish the trout fillets with a little bit more coriander.

Coriander is used to garnish fajita spiced trout fillet

Serve the trout and dips with a bowl of tortilla chips per person. You should find that the nicely crisped skin can easily be peeled away, perhaps with the aid of the blunt edge of a dinner knife.

Skin should easily peel free from trout fillet in one piece

Friday, 24 April 2015

Smoked Salmon and Camembert Salad

Smoked salmon and camembert based on rocket based salad bed

Last night, I devised an experimental creation for my Scottish food blog, Smoked Salmon and Raspberry Salad. It worked a real treat, so as I had a quantity of some of the key ingredients leftover, I decided to make a similar (but different in many ways, of course) salad tonight to feature on this blog. I hope you like at least one of the ideas and will give it/them a try for yourself at home.

Rocket (arugula) is washed thoroughly under running cold water

Ingredients (Serves One)

Generous handful of rocket (arugula) leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for bruschetta
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 or four slices from small red onion half
6 to 8 pitted black olives
Salt and black pepper
2 or 3 slices of cold smoked salmon, torn to one inch strips
3 slices of Camembert cheese, halved
1 herb and onion ciabatta bread roll
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed

Extra virgin olive oil and blasamic vinegar are combined


Wash the salad leaves in a colander under running cold water and leave for a few minutes to drain. Pour the olive oil and balsamic in to a large bowl and swirl the bowl briefly to combine.

Salad base ingredients are added to vinaigrette

Shake any remaining water from the rocket/arugula leaves and add them to the bowl with the vinaigrette, along with the red onion and black olives.

Salad bed is formed for smoked salmon and camembert

Use your hands to toss the salad through the vinaigrette and lay it in the bottom of a deep serving plate.

Camembert and smoked salmon leftovers

Prepare the smoked salmon and camambert. Roll the smoked salmon strips and tuck in to the salad along with the Camembert, as shown in the photos.

Smoked salmon and camembert arranged on salad bed
Cut the ciabatta roll in half and lightly toast on both sides under a hot grill/broiler. Rub on the cut sides with the crushed garlic clove. Drizle with extra virgin olve oil and season with salt and pepper.

Onion and herb ciabatta bruschetta

Plate the bruschetta at the top of the salad and serve immediately.

Bruschetta is plated with smoked salmon and camembert salad

Monday, 20 April 2015

Kangaroo Steak and Mango Salad Rolls

Sliced kangaroo steak is combined with mango salad and served on bread rolls

A few weeks ago, I discovered that my local Lidl (budget German supermarket) was selling kangaroo steaks. As they were only to be on offer in the short term, I bought a few packs for the freezer and over the course of the following week or two, defrosted them one at a time and created my own kangaroo recipes page online. I thought I would also share one of the dishes I came up with on this blog. I'm told that Lidl will be selling kangaroo again at some point in the future so if you want to look out for it - or perhaps buy kangaroo meat online - you may want to give this idea a go.

Baby potatoes ready for boiling

Ingredients (Serves One)

6 to 8 baby new potatoes
2 small kangaroo steaks (each about three ounces)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
3 or 4 fresh mango chunks (around half a small mango), sliced
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Generous handful fresh watercress or other green salad leaf
2 soft bread rolls

Starting to fry kangaroo steaks


Put the potatoes in to a pot of salted cold water and bring to a simmer for about twenty to twenty-five minutes until just softened. Drain, allow to steam for a few minutes, cover and leave to cool completely.

Kangaroo steaks are turned in frying pan

Pour a couple of tablespoons or so of oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a high heat. Kangaroo meat is very lean so like other lean meats, it has to be cooked very quickly at a high heat or very slowly at a low heat. It should also remain a little bit pink in the centre. I fried these steaks for two and a half mionutes each side but you could give them a little bit longer if desired. Do be very careful not to overcook them, however, or they will be incredibly tough.

Washing watercress salad

While the steaks are frying, you can wash the watercress through a colander and sit it aside to drain.

Fresh mango chunks and red onion

These mango chunks were actually bought like this in a small plastic tub from my local supermarket. I suppose at a push you could use canned mango chunks, provided they are in juice and not syrup.

Cooked and cooled potatoes are halved

Take the cooked kangaroo steaks from the frying pan and sit them on a plate to rest. Cut the potatoes in half and bring a deep pan of oil up to a fairly high heat.

Deep frying potato halves

Add the potatoes to the hot oil and fry for four or five minutes until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

Combining mango salad ingredients

Add the mango and onion slices to a bowl with the watercress. Season and stir.

Sliced kangaroo steaks added to mango salad

Thinly slice the kangaroo steaks across the grain and add them to the salad. Carefully turn them through the mix with a large spoon.

Carefully turning kangaroo slices through mango salad

Cut the rolls in half. Lay the bottom halves on your serving plate and evenly divide the kangaroo and mango salad between the two. Put the tops on the rolls and plate the crispy potato halves alongside.

Kangaroo and mango salad is laid on roll bottom halves

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mexican Fajita Spiced Turkey Stew

An Unusual Twist on Both Turkey and Fajitas Recipes

Turkey stew with Mexican fajitas spices and mixed peppers

This recipe was very much a spur of the moment creation when I was browsing my local supermarket a few nights back, seeking inspiration. It occured to me that I hadn't eaten turkey for a while and when considering how to cook it, I remembered the fajitas spice I had in my cupboard needing used up. So the idea was born and it really did prove to be very tasty.

Principle spicy turkey stew ingredients

Ingredients (Serves Two)

1/2 pound turkey breast steak
2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil
Generous handful mixed sliced bell peppers
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 small green chilli, seeded and finely sliced
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced, for stew and 1 small clove, peeled and grated, for rice
1 teaspoon Mexican fajitas spice mix
1 pint fresh chicken stock
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander/cilantro for stew and 1 teaspoon for rice
6 ounces basmati rice (or as desired)

Turkey breast is diced for stew

Chop the turkey breast steak in to around one inch chunks. Heat the oil in a large stew pot and add the turkey pieces and fajitas spice. Stir fry for a minute or so until the turkey pieces are all sealed all around.

Turkey and spices are firstly browned and sealed in oil

Be careful but do try to slice the red onion and garlic as thinly as you can.

Sliced red onion and garlic

Add the onion and garlic to the pot and fry for another minute or so.

Red onion and garlic are added to the browned turkey

It's worth mentioning the seeds in the chilli peppers. You could leave them in if you wish but be sure to know the strengths of the peppers. Remember, it is the membrane which contains the seeds (lighter in colour than the pepper flesh) which contains the heat and not the seeds themselves.

Seeded and sliced chilli peppers

Add all the peppers to the pot and stir well.

Mixed peppers are added to turkey

Pour the chicken stock in to the pot and turn up the heat until the liquid reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for thrity minutes.

Chicken stock is added to cover all ingredients

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Ten minutes before the stew is due to be ready, wash the rice and add it to the pot. Simmer for ten minutes.

Rice is washed under running cold water

Just before it is ready, stir the coriander through the turkey stew.

Coriander is added to the spicy turkey stew

Drain the rice, return to the empty pot and stir through the coriander and garlic.

Coriander and garlic are added to the drained rice

Divide the rice between two plates, flatten as beds and ladle on the turkey stew.

Tucking in to fajitas spiced turkey stew with rice

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Pan Fried Cod Fillet with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

Pan fried cod fillet with roasted Mediterranean vegetables

Cod in the UK is probably most often battered and deep fried or shallow fried in breadcrumbs. It would also traditionally of course be served with chips. While I absolutely love cod and other white fish served that way on occasion as much as anyone, I've got to say that I much prefer it cooked and served in a Southern European/Mediterranean style. The beautiful weather here the past few days has had me thinking of summer, so this was what I came up with for my dinner just last night.

Supermarket pack of mixed Mediterranean vegetables

Ingredients (Serves One)

Supermarket pack of assorted Mediterranean roasting vegetables*
Rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
Generous pinch dried basil
Generous pinch dried oregano
1/2 pound cod fillet (skin on)
2 or 3 tablespoons plain (all purpose) flour
Freshly chopped basil to garnish

*Buying the vegetables in a pack like this is not just convenient, it costs a fraction of the price. If your local supermarket doesn't sell packs like this, you can of course buy the vegetables individually. This pack was made up of red onion, cherry tomatoes, sliced courgette (zucchini) and sliced bell peppers.

Mediterranean vegetables ready for roasting


Put your oven on to preheat to 450F/220C/Gas Mark 8.

Drizzle the vegetables liberally with rapeseed oil. Season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. You could use a spoon to mix them well and ensure even coating but I always use my hands. It's much quicker and easier. Put them in to the hot oven for half an hour.

Fresh cod fillet

When the vegetables have been in the oven for about twenty minutes, pour two or three tablespoons of oil in to a large, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Scatter the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Seasoned flour for dusting cod on skin side

Pat the skin side only of the cod in the seasoned flour before adding it to the frying pan, skin side down. Season the flesh side of the cod with a little more salt and pepper.

Starting to fry cod fillet

It's not possible to give an exact cooking time for the cod fillet as it will depend on its thickness. The idea is to leave it on the skin side on a medium heat until you can see it is cooked at least three-quarters of the way through. That took about six minutes in this instance. You should then reduce the heat to low and carefully turn it with a fish slice on to its flesh side for a couple of more minutes.

Cod fillet is finished off frying on flesh side

The vegetables can be removed from the oven while the cod is finishing frying on its flesh side.

Oven roasted Mediterranean vegetables

Use a slotted spoon to arrange the vegetables on a plate as a bed for the cod.

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables arranged as a bed for cod fillet

Carefully lift the cod from the pan and on to the bed of roasted vegetables. Note that it should be plated skin side up. Garnish with the freshly chopped basil leaves.

Cod fillet is laid on roasted vegetables bed

The skin should easily peel clean off the cod fillet in one piece, though you may need to start by loosening it at one corner edge with a knife.

Skin is peeled easily from fried cod fillet

The beautiful white cod flesh should virtually fall apart in to chunks at a touch of your fork.

Cod fillet should easily separate in to large flakes for eating