Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Fillet of Cod on Singapore Noodles with Marsala and Mushroom Sauce

Marsala is an Italian fortified wine very similar to sherry, I was introduced to Marsala sauce many years ago in my local Italian restaurant and I loved it.
One of my favorite ways to have it is veal in Marsala  but today I thought I would make it with mushrooms and cod. I toned down the Marsala a little so as not to make too strong a taste to overpower the cod.

To make the sauce you will need:-

1 knob of Butter
150g Button Mushrooms
1 dsp Plain Flour
25ml White Wine
35ml Marsala Wine
150ml Double Cream
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Dried Parsley

I bought fresh Singapore noodles which take two or three minutes to stir-fry and the cod fillet I baked in the oven wrapped in parchment.

The sauce:-

Melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat, quarter the mushrooms and add them to the pan and gently fry them for about 5 minutes.

Removed the mushrooms and add the plain flour to the juice, stir into a paste.
Add the white wine and the Marsala , stir well so that it turns into a paste again.

Then add the cream keep stirring to maintain a good consistency and reintroduce the mushrooms.
Season with freshly ground black pepper, salt and parsley then add a little water to get the consistency of your liking.  

Keep it gently bubbling for about 10 -15 minutes adding a little more water if necessary.

You need to keep tasting as you go, adding more seasoning or Marsala or anything else to make it taste as you want it to taste.

The longer you keep it gently simmering the better it gets, for me the point where you stop tasting raw cream is when it’s ready.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Here Comes Summer and here comes ...... RUMANGO

This is a really nice drink if you like rum and mango, and if you have never tried rum and mango now is your chance you won’t be disappointed.

For each person you will need:-

150ml melted vanilla ice cream
75ml pure mango juice
50ml coconut milk
25ml dark rum

If you are preparing this well in advance then allow the ice cream to melt in the fridge over night.

If you want to have it straight away then put the ice cream in a glass, put the glass in warm water and keep stirring it until it becomes pour-able.

Add the mango juice and stir well, then the coconut milk stir until smooth and finally the rum.

Give it a stir at the end or even better use a cocktail shaker if you have one, pour into suitable glasses and garnish with a slice of lemon and lime and pieces of mango.

You can add crushed ice but I prefer it without.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Cooking When You Live on your Own

More often it’s the amount you have to buy rather than the cooking bit.

Fish can be a problem; it rarely comes in packs of one and normally has quite a short use by date.

 When I buy my River Cobbler it comes in a pack of two with about two or three days life, so I usually open the pack, separate the two, wrap them individually in Clingfilm and put them in the freezer so that I can use them when I want one by one.

Just a point about freezing fish, I find personally that it is not as good as eating it fresh on the day of purchase, something about the texture just a bit dryer. I normally don’t keep it any longer than a week in the freezer for that reason.

When I buy chicken I like to buy it whole and portion it into breasts’ drumsticks, thighs and wings, then boil up the carcass for a lovely stock, stew or soup. Sometimes when I fancy having a roast chicken I remove one of the breasts as you can see in my post One Breasted Chicken then I freeze the breast or use it in another dish.

Look in your local supermarket and compare the price of a pack of two chicken breasts to a whole chicken, you will find very little difference.

I don’t buy cheap food I just buy real food, by that I mean; it is tempting when you live on your own to buy convenience food like individual ready-made meals, frozen pizzas and so on. In my experience although you can get some cheap deals on convenience foods you generally have to pay more if you want it to taste any good. I buy fresh meat, fresh fish and fresh vegetables then I take them home, chop them up and make them into something that tastes a whole lot better and it’s a whole lot cheaper.

When you live on your own you are responsible for all the household chores; washing, ironing and cleaning the house so taking into account that you have to earn a living as well you haven’t got a great deal of time left for cooking.
Just a bit of fun

I set a couple of hours aside on a Sunday to cook most of the meals for the week, in other words I make my own convenience food.

One Breasted Chicken

I normally buy a fresh chicken for Sunday lunch mainly because I like chicken, but also because it lasts me right up until Wednesday.

 I have it cold on Monday with bubble and squeak, make it into a rice dish of some kind on Tuesday and boil up the carcass on Wednesday for some kind of broth, stew or soup.

 This week I wanted a fresh chicken breast for Monday to Make Mexican or Italian chicken. Two recipe’s that I invented entirely out of my own head and I love. I’ll be posting whichever one I make on Monday evening.

 Anyway instead of buying some chicken breasts separately I thought well why not cut one of the breasts off of my normal chicken and save it in the fridge until Monday.

 So for those of you who don’t know how to de-breast a chicken here’s how, and for those of you who do, look away now.

 Start by cutting down in between the leg and the body, don’t cut it completely off, lay it down to the side.
 Feel for the breast bone in between the breasts and make an incision the complete length on one side. Then cut all the way down against the bone leaving as little of the meat behind as possible, and trim off at the bottom.

 Skin it and your done, when you roast the chicken just cut the cooking time by about 10 – 15 minutes.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ready Meals Without a Trace of Horse DNA

I live on my own and I hate cooking for myself, I love to have people round for dinner in fact the more the merrier, but there’s something about cooking for yourself that is so unsatisfying.
So what do I do? I don’t like microwavable ready meals and I don’t want to have takeaways every day.

 I don’t see anything wrong with eating horse meat but I do like to know whether I’m eating it or not.
So my answer to this problem is..................COOK MY OWN MICROWAVABLE READY MEALS.

On a Sunday afternoon I cook a meal that’s enough for about five or six people, now I have five or six dinners, some kept in the fridge for the next few days and a couple in the freezer for another time.

Currently these meals are usually -:

Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Veg and Gravy

A roast chicken is a really versatile thing, for example you can have a curry with one of the breasts on Monday, another roast dinner on Tuesday and so on. Also in my opinion chicken is just as good cold as it is hot so I mash the vegetables and have cold chicken with bubble and squeak.

Cottage pie is one of my all time favourite meals, just make a big dish of it and portion it up for the freezer or keep it in the fridge and eat it till it’s gone.

Romanian chicken stew, easy and very tasty, a Romanian friend of mine used to make it for me so I got her to show me how to make it, I was surprised how simple it was.

You Tube
The Artist Tony Rose

You Like Cottage Pie? You'll Love This One

Cottage pie is one of my all time favourite dishes, my mother made it when I was a kid, my wife made it when I was married and I have perfected it over the years to my taste.

I have to say mine is the best, as you can see modesty is not my strong point.


Although the potatoes have to be right, smooth and well seasoned, the mince is the most important part of the dish. Cook it gently in some red wine, season it well and you can’t go wrong.


As you have seen in my other posts I don’t always put exact quantities of ingredients, that’s because cooking is an art, I am an artist, I draw portraits, it’s not all about exact quantities it’s about feel and taste.

To feed 4 -6 people (depending on how hungry they are and what you serve it with)

You will need-:

 3 Large Carrots
500 gm Minced Beef
1 Large Onion
1 Glass Red Wine
Mixed Herbs
2 Beef Stock Cubes
Gravy Granules
Salt and Pepper
Grated Cheddar

 Right here we go, get three pans of water 1 small for the carrots, 1 medium for the mince and 1 large for the potatoes.

Put them all on a high heat and while they
are coming to the boil put the mince in the medium pan,

finely chop the carrots put them in the small pan, peel and chop the potatoes and put them in the large pan.
I normally chop potatoes quite small if I am going to mash them because they cook quicker and are easier to mash.


 I always boil up the mince because it gets rid of a lot of the fat. When it comes to the boil drain it and get rid of all the scum off the top, give it a good stir to get rid of all the lumps and put it on a low heat. Keep stirring it while you finely chop the onion and the add the onion to it, now add the mixed herbs and the red wine, stir occasionally while still on a low heat.
After about 10 minutes of simmering add the carrots and their water to the mince and bring to the boil.

 Now you can add the stock cubes and the gravy granules, this is one of the rare times that I use gravy granules but they work well in this dish, just add a little at a time until you get the thickness and consistency of your liking.
By now your potatoes should be ready, test them with a fork, just about falling apart should be perfect. Mash them with a masher for a minute then add milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste and use a whisk to get them nice and smooth.

 Now pour the mince into a suitable oven proof dish, spread the mash over the top and sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over, place into the oven on a high heat for about 10 minutes and when it has browned  take it out and you are done.