Category: Tuna

Three Decades of Tuna Provencale

What image does the words Tuna Provencale evoke for you? 

For me, it is the freshest of fish, caught that day, eaten al fresco, with some lovely fresh, vegetables, tomatoes, black olives, basil, in a salad doused liberally with olive oil and garlic. Preferably with a glass of ice cold, rosé to wash it down. 

Maybe something a little like this!

Tuna Provencale2This is a little dish of my own invention and is delicious.  I cooked the tuna for a minute on each side but to me, this was overcooked.  The following day I made a Japanese style tuna takaki salad and they suggested to cook each side for only 20 seconds and it was perfect!  So this is my modern-day version of Tuna Provencale – lightly cooked tuna, salad, and a little big dob of aioli on the side!  Sadly though, this is not the Tuna Provencale The A-Z of Cooking thinks you should be eating.

How about this then?  Fresh Tuna Steaks baked in the oven with those same veg?  Not a hint of rawness because this is baked for a good 20 min.  For mind, it was pleasant – not to my mind as nice as the previous recipe but good in it’s own way, certainly a good one for anyone how does not like raw fish and the roasted veg were lovely. 

Tuna Provencale4 However, also not the Tuna Provencale that The A-Z of Cooking wants you to eat.  This comes from the Australian Gourmet Traveller Annual from 2006.

Let’s jump back nearly thirty years back to 1977 and see The A-Z of Cooking’s Tuna Provencale.

Tuna Provencale1Oh. 

I know. 

We’ll go there but first let’s look at another way in which The A-Z of Cooking is being a jerk this week.  Let’s take the introduction to Just For Two which is the chapter containing the Tuna Provencale. 

JUST FOR TWO: if there are only two of you, or if there is a special man you want to impress, here are some suggestions

Because only straight women and gay men read cookbooks right?

Regardless, lets take another look at that Tuna Provencale shall we?  Where’s the tuna you ask?  Ask  no more…hidden under that tomato sauce is this:

Tuna Provencale5Which is a drained can of tuna wrapped in two anchovies.  You may also note that there is only one can of tuna wrapped in anchovies. That is because one of the Fussiest Eater In The World’s many, many food foibles is that he won’t eat cooked canned tuna. So my just for two was just for one.  A state I can only assume most makers of the Tuna Provencale found themselves in after their dish failed to impress that “special man” back in the day.

So you might be wondering how this tasted?  Well…it was better than it looked. It was canned tuna with tomato sauce.  Which is something I used to make over pasta back in my student days.  OMG…that is exactly how this tasted – student food.  Student food or the worst tuna melt in the world – purely because it was missing the best bit of the tuna melt which is the melt. 

To prove this I heated up the leftovers the next day with a hefty coating of cheese  and voila:

Tuna Provencale6It still looked pretty awful but was much better than the original. 

On the whole though, I’m calling  fail on the Tuna Provencale.

For those that want it, here is the recipe from The A-Z of Cooking:Tuna Provencale7Have a great week! 

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Brazo Di Gitano – The Gypsy’s Arm

Cross my palm with silver and I will tell you tales of magic and wonder.  Or just keep reading ‘cos I cooked something really good!

GypsyI see, in your future a little taste of Spain….because today in a final piece of birthday indulgence, I bring to you The Gypsy’s Arm…aka The Brazo Di Gitano.

And what you may ask is the Brazo Di Gitano?  Well remember back at Christmas when my family took against me for bringing a Potato Salad Roll  to our Christmas festivities?  I felt then that despite their negativity it was my duty to bring the PSR to the world.  This did not start well.  My St Patrick’s Day Corned Beef PSR was an mitigated disaster.  But redemption is at hand with The Gypsy’s Arm. 

I LOVE this recipe.  And yes, I am yelling at you because it’s that good. It’s like someone took every lovely taste of Spain and mixed it together and then wrapped it up in potato.  And mayo.

Gypsy's Arm
Gypsy’s Arm

 Why a Gypsy’s Arm?  I have no idea.  But when something tastes this good why question it?  I found the original version of this recipe in Anya Von Bremzen’s The New Spanish Table which I thought was an amazing book even before I discovered it had a potato salad roll.

New Spanish TableSo what’s so good about this recipe?  Well, potatoes and mayo…

 But also tuna, tomatoes, olives, capers, red onions and anchovies.  And to make things even better, I added some avocado to mine, hence the greenish tinge. 

Gypsy's Arm2The flavours of this dish took me right back to a trip to Barcelona a few years ago.  It really is Spain on a plate.  And so easy.

Make your mashed potato and spread out on a tray.

 Gypsy's Arm3I left mine a bit chunky so it was still a bit like a regular potato salad.  Then put your tuna filling on  top.  Spread to the edges.

Gypsy's Arm4Then, shake, rattle and roll!!!

Gypsy's Arm5Don’t worry if it cracks a little, or a lot, you can just press it together.  Plus you will shortly be adding your mayo (and avocado topping) so small cracks won’t matter.

Then, channel your inner Gaudi and decorate the outside of roll as you see fit. 

Gypsy's Arm7
Gypsy’s Arm7

 Trim the edges so you have a nice clean line before serving. 

Gypsy's Arm6Eat and transport yourself back to the streets of Barcelona…

Enjoy!

Barcelona Barcelona4 Barcelona Gaudi Barcelona1 Barcelona - Casa Batllo 4 Barcelona - Casa Batllo Barcelona3 Barcelona2Have a great week!  And there are only 2 days to go for the Birthday giveaway.  Subscribe or get one of your friends to subscribe to win a fabulous vintage cookbook.  Prize drawn on Monday!

 Recipe Card

Gypsy's Arm
A potato salad roll that transports you to Spain with every delicious bite.
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Ingredients
  1. 900g / 2 pounds medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  3. 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
For the Roll
  1. 180g oil packed tuna, drained and flaked
  2. 1 medium-size tomato, finely chopped
  3. 1/3 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives, plus more for decorating the roll
  4. 6 to 7 piquillo peppers (from a can or jar),
  5. 8 to 10 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  6. 1 tbsp capers
  7. 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  8. 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  9. 6 sliced pickled jalapeno peppers(optional) plus more to garnish
For The Topping
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/2 avocado (optional)
  3. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 large garlic clove, crushed with a garlic press
  6. Dash of tabasco (optional)
For The Decoration
  1. Sliced olives,
  2. Slices of Piquillo Pepper
  3. Anchovies
  4. Pickled Jalapenos
  5. Diced Tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. Let potatoes cool and then peel.
  2. Combine in a bowl with milk and olive oil and mash until fairly smooth. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Cover a large baking sheet with waxed paper. Spread mashed potatoes onto waxed paper in a thin rectangle approximately 30cm x 15cm.
  4. Mix the tuna, tomato, olives, capers, red onions, piquillo peppers, and parsley together. Then spread this mixture over the mashed potato. Spread out to the edges as much as possible.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Starting at the long end, roll the potatoes up jelly-roll fashion, using the paper to shape the roll without catching the edge of the paper in it. When roll is finished, slide the paper out from under it. Pinch together any tears in the potato roll.
  7. Combine mayonnaise, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to mix and season with salt to taste. Spread the mayonnaise mixture all over the roll and decorate with piquillo peppers, anchovies,tomatoes, capers and olive slices. Place the roll in the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 3 hours. To serve, cut the roll into thick slices.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can vary the ingrendients to suit your taste. Love anchovies? Add some to the filling. Hate 'em? Leave them out altogether!
Adapted from Taryn Fryer
Adapted from Taryn Fryer
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
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Rocking The Casbah – The Food Of Morocco

The selection for March and April over  at The Cookbook Guru was The Food Of Morocco by Paula Wolfert which really fits in with my explorations into Middle Eastern Food via Persiana and MENA.

 First, the book is ENORMOUS!!!! If you dropped this on your foot, you would be in serious danger of breaking a toe.  Or two. It was really quite difficult to choose the recipes to try, there were so many and so many that sounded delicious.

Second, it is beautiful – not just the recipes, the photography, the writing, everything about it is lovely. I would love to have this in my own collection as it is so well curated and contains so much of interest but sadly, it is quite expensive so, at the moment is just on the wishlist!

I have been sick for nearly a week now so I have left my run here a little late.  Thankfully the anti-biotics have started to kick in and hopefully I can get this post out whilst it is still April somewhere in the world.

I have made four things from this book and whilst I would have loved to have a post for each, for the sake of brevity, I’m putting them all together so I can get something out before Christmas!!!  I have also not included any recipes as that would have taken even more time but, if you like the look of anything let me know and I can send ’em through!

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO // BRIK WITH TUNA, CAPERS AND EGGS

I was not familiar with the brik, (pronounced breek) which is a Moroccan snack consisting of a very thin pastry called warqa wrapped around various fillings, one of which is this delicious but to me, uncommon, combination of tuna and egg. 

Not surprisingly there was no warqa pastry at the local supermarket and because I was running so late on this, I could not shop for it so I used the much more readily available filo pastry for my briks.  You can apparently also use spring roll wrappers, or if really brave, make your own warqa pastry.

So first up you saute up some onions, then add your tuna, capers, parsley and some parmesan cheese.  And yup, this mix just on it’s own tastes AMAZING. I’m surprised there was any left to make the briks. Personally, I blame the hosts of reality tv cooking shows for constantly telling people to taste their food during cooking!

Then you make place the tuna mix on the pastry but make a little hole to hold the eggs.  I don’t think it matters if it spills over a little like mine did.

Tuna Brik
Tuna Brik

Then you quickly seal this up and drop it into some hot oil to fry up – the idea being you want your pastry crispy and your egg still a little bit runny.

So, did I cook the perfect runny egg brik?

Sadly, no.  My egg was cooked through. 🙁

This was not all bad though, it certainly made it easier to take the remainder for lunch the next day.  And OMG, so tasty.  I’ll definitely be trying this again and trying to nail that runny egg.

Tuna Brik
Tuna Brik

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO //POTATO TAGINE WITH OLIVES AND HARISSA

This tasted as good as it looks.  And one for my vegan friends!!!  The colours are so beautiful and the flavours blend together beautifully!

Potato Tagine With Olives and Harissa
Potato Tagine With Olives and Harissa

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO // THE BIRD THAT FLEW AWAY

This a lovely chickpea dish with a delightful name.  Paula Wolfert explains that is it a “plat de pauvre” (a dish for the poor) that is made when you can’t afford to buy a chicken.  It’s so good I think I would eat it regardless of whether I had a chicken or not!

The Bird That Flew Away2
The Bird That Flew Away2

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO INSPIRED // ARTICHOKE SALAD WITH ORANGE, LEAFY GREENS AND DATES.

A Spanish restaurant I am very fond of does a salad with oranges, artichokes and dates which is To. Die. For.  In order to recreate it’s flavour, I used Paula Wolfert’s Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad and added artichokes and some lemon and olive oil in the dressing.  I think it worked really well and I loved the hint of orange flower water.  It was not exactly my restaurant salad but it was pretty close. And look at how pretty it is! 

Artichoke, Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad
Artichoke, Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad

 This was an amazing book and I am so glad that The Cookbook Guru drew it to my attention.  The next few months we will be cooking from a book by a true legend of Australian Cooking, Margaret Fulton.  I can’t wait.  And I promise to be a bit more timely!

Have a great week!

 

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Raising The Salad Bar Part 2 – Melon Surprise x 2

Shortly after you start reading vintage recipe books, you start becoming attuned to certain words as being signifiers of something truly awful.

Any recipe with the word “Surprise” in it usually falls slam bang into this description.  Believe me, nine times out of ten, the surprise isn’t one of the happy, happy, joy, joy variety.

For instance, my mum used to make something we used to call tuna surprise.  I found this recipe for something very similar in an old magazine.

Tuna & Almond SurpriseIt is sans the potato chip topping which was always the best bit of mum’s tuna surprise but I guess I can forgive that when the Shaun referred to was none other than my main man Shaun Micallef.

What?

I’ve been doing this a couple of years now and I’ve never spoken about my huge girly love crush on this man?  For those of you who do haven’t  had the pleasure, imagine the wit of John Stewart combined with the silver foxiness of George Clooney and you’re in the ball park…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoz6kZsjc3s

Anyway, enough about my obsessions…ok, no, just one more.  It’s my blog, I guess I can do what I want….

Ok, so before this turns into the gushy, girly Shaun Micallef hour…lets talk about Melon Surprise.

Melon Surprise
Melon Surprise

But before we go there can we just stop for a moment and look at my ever so cute pins? Bought at Daiso…how adorable are they?

Melon Surprise2
Melon Surprise2

So the melon had pins in it because…surprise….this ain’t no normal melon!!!!

Because  when you cut it open….look what’s inside!

Melon Surprise 3
Melon Surprise 3

Grapes in Jello folks, grapes in jello!

Hands up who was expecting something really disgusting?  Wait a few minutes….it’s coming.

But in a real surprise, the Melon Surprise turned out to be pretty damn super.  To my taste, more of a dessert than a salad but  still pretty damn good all the same.

Melon Surprise 4
Melon Surprise 4

Ok…so  by the way, both of these recipes come from the “Elegant First Courses” section of Salads For All Seasons in which  Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us that

“The recipes in this section are designed to excite the eye, delight the palate and stimulate the appetite”

And sure, the Melon Surprise does all of these things.  As you can see I tool some liberties with the flavour of jelly and the colour of the grapes.

Melon SurpriseTime did not permit me to peel the grapes.  There is not enough time in the universe to induce me to do that.

Next up, we have Surfer’s Paradise Melon.

Let’s take the ingredients for this individually shall we?

Rockmelons – sure.

Celery – why not?

Grapes…worked in the Melon Surprise.

Apples – I’m getting a bit excited, this is looking Waldorfy…

Mayo…yep, its a Waldorf with Melons.  That sounds great!

But wait…there’s more?

Oh yeah, Walnuts right?  Waldorf with Melons.  Awesome.

What?  What do you mean the final ingredient isn’t walnuts?  How can we have Waldorf with Melons without Walnuts?

Oh, I see the quirky bit, the RMW spin is that it’s not walnuts.  So what is it?  Almonds?  Cashews?  Pistachios?

It’s what?

Yeah…that’s what I thought you said…..

Ok…look, I just want to doublecheck.

You said tuna right?

Like in the fish?

Oh for the love of God….why?

Incidentally, the tuna and fruit combo must be vibing in some retro space because recently the lovely Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts was guesting on Mid Century Menu and made some Tuna Apple Sandwiches. (which you can find here).

In the blurb for this salad RMW says:

“When Australians are overseas, few requests are made for them to contribute to food stalls and fairs…it is assumed that our cuisine is either too dull to be considered or just an offshoot of English cooking…However, if there is a request for an Australian dish, one friend always serves this grand melon appetizer”

I suspect she’s confusing cause and effect…

If anyone turned up to my food stall or fair with a mix of canned tuna and rockmelon, I’d probably ban their whole nation too.

However, here it is….

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad

It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

And truth be told, it was not disgusting.  It had a nice crunch and it was…palatable. I might have actually liked it without the rockmelon…

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad2
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad2

One thing?  If you ever plan on making this, when you mix the rockmelon and tuna together, it looks huge.  There is a mountain of Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad such that you think you’ll  never be able to eat it all.

I had for lunch at around 12:30.  And, believe me, by 5:00pm I was ready to gnaw the leg off my chair.  Because when you think about it, this is what it is:

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad IngredientsThanks company I am not going to name (but hint, their name is pretty clearly displayed in the photo) for only putting half a can of tuna into a can of tuna.  I guess that’s why it’s called light….And the rest of it is just fruit and celery so I guess you know, from a weight loss perspective this is win-win.  You won’t want to eat it but when you do, it probably has all of about 3 calories.

Surfer's Paradise MelonAnd just so I’m not deterring tourism to our lovely Gold Coast, I can almost guarantee that no one in Surfer’s Paradise is eating this…do not let this dissuade you from coming.

By the way, I just signed up for 100 Happy Days and will be regularly tweeting my happy snaps.  You can follow my progress on Twitter or join up.  To find out more, click the link:

http://100happydays.com/

I”m going to spending my week finding things that make me happy. Make yours fabulous whatever you do!

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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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