Category: Starter

Century Scallop Ceviche with Ancho Chillies (Spice Peddler)

About a billion years ago, the wonderful team at the Spice Peddlers sent me some fabulous Ancho Chillies to have my evil way with.  I had never cooked with Ancho chillies before so this was a totally new and delicious experience for me.

I also have a new manifesto for my Spice Peddler treats – I’m going to try to cook one thing in the spirit of which it was intended and then I’m going to go kind of out there with the next one.  So, to familiarise myself with the anchos and also to push my own boundaries I decided to make a ceviche.    I have  always been terrified to make sashimi or any “raw” fish at home in case it killed me. And before you start shouting, I am aware that ceviche is technically cooked but it’s not like it’s been  crumbed, fried and coated with cheese is it? 

Ancho Scallop Ceviche3
Ancho Scallop Ceviche

 But I did it and hey, still alive!!! 

And it was super delish!!!!

So why the century ceviche I hear you ask?  First I am fond of alliteration but second…the last post I wrote was the hundredth for this blog!!! 

So let’s all raise a glass of something (Jenny, I hope it’s another of those Joan Crawford Cocktails) and join in as I do a little celebratory dance….

 It seems fitting to celebrate this milestone by showing off some of the ingredients from the amazing team at the Spice Peddlers.  They have been such big supporters of this blog and I, in turn adore them and their products!!!  The ancho chilles were a very dark blackish red colour, and quite fleshy.  They were not not very hot at all but were quite fruity and had a touch of sweetness ( this actually went really well with the scallops which are also slightly sweet.

Spice Peddler Ancho Chillies
Spice Peddler Ancho Chillies

The perceptive of you may have noticed from the photos that my ceviche is loaded onto a very un-Mexican pappadam.  I guess traditionally this should be a tortilla chip.  However, we had gobbled all of them with Joan Crawford Danti-Chips and I couldn’t be bothered going back to the shops so pappadams it was.  And in some weird Indo-Mexican affinity they actually worked quite well with the ceviche.

Ancho Scallop Ceviche
Ancho Scallop Ceviche

The last 100 posts have been super fun to do and I am really looking forward to the next 100.  In fact, I have so many ideas for posts at the moment, I feel like I have the next 100 already planned. 

I was going to end this with one of my favourite ever Blur songs “End of A Century” then I realised the key lyric  is “End of a century, it’s nothing special” which is completely wrong because whilst I love doing this you guys are what makes it special.  Thanks to you all for reading and your comments, it is always lovely to hear from you. 

You’re the best. 

Around. 

 So, as you wax on, wax off this week, make it fabulous!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Ancho Scallop Ceviche

Ancho Scallop Ceviche

Ingredients

  • 12 scallops without the roe, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ancho chilli (seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro), plus extra to garnish
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced into 1 cm pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 12 tortilla chips or pappadams
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped to garnish

Instructions

  • Place the scallops in a bowl and cover with tequila and lime juice. Stand for two hours – the acid in the lime juice will 'cook' the scallops. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid.
  • Place the ancho chilli in a warm oven (150 C) for about 15 minutes to release it's oils.
  • Then soak in boiling water for about 1/2 an hour and chop finely.
  • Gently mix the red onion, tomatoes, avocado, ancho, chilli with the dressing liquid. Add salt and tabasco to taste.
  • Fry your pappadams and place on absorbent paper to drain the oil off. Or lay out your tortilla chips.
  • Just before serving lightly mix your scallops through the avocado mixture, place a spoonful of this mixture onto each pappadam or tortilla chip.
  • Garnish with additional coriander (cilantro).
  • Enjoy!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/11/17/scallop-ceviche-ancho-chillies-spice-peddler/

Retro Food For Modern Times: Lessons Learned From Masterchef and Two Ways with Oysters

“It’s a brave man who first ate an oyster”

Jonathan Swift

Oysters
Oysters

I had a dilemma this week.  I was reading  “The Party Cookbook” and found a recipe for a little dish called Osborne Oysters.  Now, it just so happened that with the half dozen oysters we buy as a little treat each Saturday, I had all the ingredients on hand to make this dish.

But, let’s face it. Oysters aren’t cheap.  And this recipe consisted of a few ingredients that I would never have put together – what if it tasted as bad as it sounded?  On the other hand, what if it turned out to be a magical combination that would have the likes of Heston Blumenthal lamenting “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Just to be clear on what I was up against, here are the ingredients for Osborne Oysters:

Oysters Osbourne Ingredients
Oysters Osbourne Ingredients

No, you don’t need to adjust your screen….that is an oyster, a banana and some Jarlsberg.  Now you see my dilemma?  My gut instinct is that those are three things that should never even be seen together (which is why one lives on the land, one in the sea and one on a tree) let alone combined into a dish.   I was still torn though, a little Heston Blumenthal devil on my shoulder was urging me to do it.  Then a tiny angel looking suspiciously like Marco Pierre White jogged my memory of a more recent seafood – banana melange.

Early in the current series of Masterchef: The Professionals, one of the candidates made a name for himself by serving Marco Pierre White a fish stew with a banana flavoured aioli.

That name was buffoon.

Marco described it as one of the worst things he had eaten. Ever.

So the big question.  Did I make and eat Osborne Oysters?

Not on your life.  I listened to my inner MPW and ate those oysters in my preferred fashion…with lemon, Worchestershire sauce and Tabasco.  And they were delicious!

Oysters My Way
Oysters My Way

My preferred Oyster mix (although I don’t usually measure it out) is:

½ teaspoon lemon juice

3 drops Worchestershire sauce

1 drop Tabasco

Et Voila…down the hatch!

Oysters My Way - Good to Go
Oysters My Way – Good to Go

I always follow this up with some bread and butter.  I have no idea why but Oysters make bread and butter taste even better than normal!

Oysters My Way With Bread and Butter
Oysters My Way With Bread and Butter

For anyone more stupid braver than me…here is the recipe for Osborne Oysters:

Osborne Oysters Recipe

For everyone else, if you take one thing away from this week’s post it’s to always listen to your inner Marco.

Enjoy your week.

Signature 1

The Australian Vegetable Cookbook (1972) – The Redemption

After harping on about the awful recipes contained in this book last time, it was only fair to showcase some of the better recipes.  Three of them will be included here (I actually made 4 however this week is all about being positive so we won’t mention the Asparagus Italienne.  Ever.)

I chose the Stuffed Celery Curls as my first course.  This was jam-packed with flavours I love – celery, walnuts, chives, cream cheese and Tabasco so there was everything to like.  I chose not to add the red food colouring.  I’m hyperactive enough without it and I could see no earthly reason why it should be there.  I think the “au naturel” version looks much prettier anyway!

Ingredients

Sadly, my celery did not curl as per the picture in the book.   I read the recipe as saying you needed 15 pieces of celery 5 cm long.  Which is what I did.  In retrospect, I think it may mean an unnamed number of pieces of celery 15 cm long by 5 cm wide.  Although that doesn’t seem quite right either – 5cm seems too wide.  If you really want your celery to curl, here is a link:

http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/articles/authored/how-to-make-fun-garnishes-from-vegetables

It didn’t really matter though because whilst mine did not look as fun, they tasted amazing!  We had these as our starter however they could just as easily be a lunch box snack or as finger food.  Blue cheese would be an amazing variation.

Original

Mine – with obligatory knife but no curls 

Next up, for our main dish I made a Farmhouse Potato Bake.  This dish contains potatoes, Hungarian sausage (I used salami), sour cream and paprika so I guess is Eastern European in tone.  It was damn good wherever it came from.  If you weren’t fond of salami you could make this with ham, bacon, or left over roast beef or chicken or for a spot of luxury some smoked salmon.  As you will see from the picture, I subbed in basil for the oregano.  I think it is one of those recipes that you could pretty much use whatever proteins and herbs as you wanted. You could layer in other vegetables as well.  Asparagus, green beans, spinach would all be great!

Ingredients

Salami and Onion Sauteing, Potatoes Par-Boiling in the background

Layering

Crumb Mixture

I made a Panama Radish Salad from the book to go with this.  Well, I sort of did.  There is no intended slur to the recipe for my changes,  I think you could follow it absolutely and the result would be delicious.  I just happened to have no red onions and a bucketload of chives and rocket that I needed to use.  So I swapped these in.  I also used my favourite Black Russian tomatoes so my salad is probably “greener” than it should be….it still looks pretty good though.

Ingredients

Panama Radish Salad

These worked really well together, the pepperiness of the rocket and the radish in the salad, the freshness of the mint and the lemon in the dressing cut through some of the creamy, potato, salami induced richness of the Farmhouse bake.  Two big ticks here, will definitely be making both of these again.

The Meal – Delicious!

Bon Appétit.

The Italian Cuisine I Love – Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes

Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes 

These would be great for lunch or a light summer supper.  They are perfect for a hot day as there is no cooking!!!!

They would also be really cute if you made them for a tea party or as a finger food using cherry tomatoes and piping the mixture in.


4 firm ripe tomatoes
1 cup canned tuna
3/4 cup pimento stuffed olives, chopped
2 tbsp grated onion’
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tsp capers, chopped
2 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 tsp lemon juice
mayonnaise
1 tbsp chives

Cut the top off the tomatoes, hollow out carefully.

Mash tuna  and combine with all oth er ingredients except mayonnaise and chives.

Mix well.

Add enough mayonnaise to bind the mixture.

Fill the tomato shells and sprinkle with chives.

Chill before serving.

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