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indian-flavoured salmon on lentil dhal + friendships + fine dining

indian-flavoured salmon on lentil dhal + friendships + fine dining

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Food, I have come to know, is a universal language. Take my friend, Leonard, and me. We were born six days apart in the same year, in the same country, but we come from vastly different backgrounds: Me from the ‘Afrikaanse Vrystaat vlaktes’; he from Durban and of Indian descent. Somewhere in between, our paths crossed. Since then, we have cried and laughed and drank for hours in the kitchen, chopping away on chillies, garlic and ginger, and making masalas. In sharing our passion for food, we have cemented a friendship full of so many wonderful ingredients.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #9 competition}

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Leonard has shown me all the tricks when it comes to Indian cooking. So for my fine dining dish, I wanted to pay tribute to my Gandhi, my life teacher and my friend. I want to take out the finest white linen and the finest silver and serve this Indian-flavoured salmon atop a lentil dhal. On the side, a crunchy raw beetroot and cumin salad sitting on a layer of fennel cucumber ribbons. The deconstructed milk tart, spiced with star anise, is a bit of my heritage. Both dishes brought together by the bond of friendship and spices.

So I would like to raise a glass to food journeys and friendships… And to Len: My guide and mentor on my very own passage to India.

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indian-flavoured salmon on lentil dhal + friendships + fine dining
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Indian flavoured salmon
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp masala, medium
  • 200g Sea Harvest Lightly Smoked Salmon trout, defrosted and cut into 3cm x3cm blocks
  • Lentil dhal
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp masala, medium
  • ⅓ cup cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1tsp red wine vinegar
  • 150g cooked lentils
  • 1tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt
  • Beetroot + cumin salad
  • 1 cup raw beetroot, grated
  • Large pinch of cumin seeds
  • Small handful of falvourburst micro herbs
  • Salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp black pepper, milled
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Cucumber ribbons
  • 50g cucumber, cut lengthwise into ribbons using a potato peeler
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh fennel leaves, chopped
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Indian flavoured salmon - Mix the oil and spices together. Rub into the fish.
  2. Heat a pan until it is smoking hot.
  3. Add the fish – skin-side down to the pan. Fry for 2 minutes. Add a drop of water to the pan and put a lid on for another minute.
  4. Take out of the pan and take the skin off the fish.
  5. Put the skin back into the pan and crisp up.
  6. Lentil dhal - Fry the oil and spices for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the cream cheese, water and vinegar. Cook through lightly.
  7. Take two tablespoons of the sauce out – we are going to use this when we assemble the dish.
  8. Then add the lentils to the pan and heat through.
  9. Taste for seasoning and add the coriander.
  10. Beetroot + cumin salad - Salad dressing – mix all the ingredients well together.
  11. Pour over the beetroot, cumin and flavourburst micro herbs and mix well.
  12. Cucumber ribbons - Add the olive oil to a pan and on medium heat warm the ribbons and fennel for about 3 minutes. Season with salt, remove from the heat.
  13. Cut the cucumber ribbons into 4 cm pieces and set aside.
  14. To assemble - Add the lentils in a small block mould. Stack with the fish, top it with a bit of sauce, some salmon skin and fresh herbs.
  15. On the side, place the cucumber ribbons on the plate and add the beetroot salad.

 

Spiced Milk tart cups + cinnamon twirls
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Cinnamon twirls
  • 12 strips puff pastry, cut into 1cm x 8cm lengths
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Milk tart cups
  • 1 cup of full-cream milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 ½ tbsp maizena powder mixed with 1 tbsp of the allotted milk
  • ½ tbsp butter (do not use margarine)
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture (left over from the twirls)
Instructions
  1. Cinnamon twirls - Brush the pastry strips with the egg wash.
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the pastry. Don’t use all the sugar as we are going to use it to top the custard as well.
  3. Twist each pastry strip into a straw-like twirl.
  4. Place on baking tray and bake for approximately 11-12 minutes – until cooked and golden brown.
  5. Milk tart cups - Mix the milk, sugar, star anise and salt in pot and bring to boil.
  6. In the meanwhile beat the egg yolks and then slowly add the Maizena. Mix well.
  7. Pour this mixture very slowly in the milk mix – I use a hand egg-beater to mix it in – to avoid lumps
  8. Cook for 5 minutes till cooked.
  9. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form then slowly fold this into the custard.
  10. Always taste again for seasoning.
  11. Pour into cups, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with the cinnamon twirl on the side

 

 

 

 

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“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” – dressed up for a night at the opera

“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” – dressed up for a night at the opera

“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” - dressed up for a night at  the opera

Open fish cake lasagna + tomato and gherkin relish – I grew up with fish pasta made with tinned pilchards for Saturday lunch so when Babs invited me for lunch this Saturday past – I knew what was on the menu. I asked my mom to wait for me to get to her place – I grabbed my copy of You can with Fish by Tamsin Snyman and rushed over to her house all inspired. I wanted to show her something different …for all too often we get caught up in the routine, making the recipes we know in the same way we have always made them.

“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” - dressed up for a night at  the opera

We decided to try Tamsin’s fish cakes (love her use of potatoes in the dish) but replaced the tuna with pilchards – and as I am always prone to do… I added lots of fresh herbs, extra lemon and a Dhanya and Chillie sauce I discovered. We served it with a lasagna sheet and a tomato and gherkin relish. The gherkin gives it that beautiful tanginess and just complements the dish in an extraordinary way. It is kind of like “Viskoekies en tamatie-smoor” just dressed up and off to see the opening night of Verdi’s famous opera, La Traviata… and so, so simple.

Try it. I promise you it will make your heart sing!

10 Famous Italian Operas

1. Aida, by GiuseppeVerdi
2. Cavalleria Rusticana, by Pietro Mascagni
3. Il Barbiere de Siviglia, by Gioachino Rossini
4. La Gioconda, by Amilcare Ponchielli
5. La traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi
6. L’elisir d’amore, by Gaetano Donizetti
7. Madama Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini
8. Nabucco, by Giuseppe Verdi
9. Norma, by Vincenzo Bellini
10. Pagliacci, by Ruggero Leoncavallo

Opera info from yusypovych.com

“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” - dressed up for a night at  the opera

 

“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” - dressed up for a night at the opera
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For fish cakes
  • 1 ½ Medium potatoes
  • ½ Tin sardines + tomato sauce [210g]
  • 1 Egg
  • 1T Bread crumbs [my mom uses all the crumbs from the bottom of her rusks packets – very good idea mom!]
  • 2T Fresh parsley - chopped
  • 1T Fresh coriander – chopped
  • ½ t Chillie flakes – optional
  • ½ T Dhanya and chillie sauce (i discovered this last week in the shop - it adds a lovely zing to this particular dish)
  • 1 Spring onions – chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • For lasagna sheets
  • 4 Lasagna sheets – one sheet per person
  • For tomato and gherkin relish
  • ½ Onion – chopped
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 250g Small rosa tomatoes
  • 200g Dill gherkins – chopped finely
  • 1T Dhanya and chillie sauce
  • 2ml Salt (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. For potatoes – peel potatoes and boil till soft. Drain well and mash. Set aside.
  2. For fish cakes – mix all the ingredients for the fish cakes and the mashed potatoes together. In a non-stick pan add some oil and fry the little patties until golden brown on both sides.
  3. For relish – fry the onion in pan till the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and close the lid for about 8-10 minutes. The tomatoes will burst open, bringing a splash of flavour. Add the gherkins and the salt and mix together. Cook for another minute or two.
  4. For the lasagna sheets – boil with salt as per the instructions on the packet.
  5. To assemble - Put some of the Dhanya and chillie sauce at the bottom of the plate, place or arrange the lasagna pasta sheet on top of the sauce then place the fish cakes on top of your lasagna pasta sheet adding the relish to top off this awesome, but so easy little dish.

 

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whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes=mediterranean  feast

Fish – I just love fresh fish. But… I am a “no fuss fish” person – I am not one for these complicated fish recipes…the simpler, the better. Just baked or grilled or with the some subtle flavourings of lemon and herbs or just cooked whole over the coals – that’s my preference.

My most memorable meal consisted of fish. I recall so vividly the time I spent in Istanbul, Turkey…I had the most dreadful case of bronchitis and was feeling significantly sorry for myself. I was ambling along the Bosphorus River when I smelt this amazing aroma…. A local fishing boat was tied up alongside the pier and the fishermen were selling freshly grilled fish on ciabatta bread, with just a squeeze of lemon juice. A bite … and at that moment I felt so much better and I knew someone loved me.

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes=mediterranean  feast

I buy my fish from Julie Carter from Ocean Jewels in Cape Town (http://www.oceanjewels.co.za/ 083 582 0829) – if you don’t know Julie – go to her website and subscribe to her mailer. She is such a wonderful woman with the most beautiful smile and is always there to deliver ONLY the freshest of fresh fish to you! You simply cannot get better than that.

This past Saturday, down at the market, Julie recommended that I sample two little Pangas (Pterogymnus Laniarius its Latin name and it’s also on the sustainable green list). I decided to combine the fish with real Mediterranean flavours of olives, origanum, tomatoes and lemon. This dish reminds me of Turkey – and all the wondrous colours, sights, sounds and smell of the Mediterranean. It makes me feel loved and happy.
Enjoy its delicious!

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes=mediterranean  feast

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Small whole fish - I used Panga +-500g each
  • 2 Cloves garlic sliced
  • Olive oil for drizzling over the fish and at the bottom of the baking tin
  • ¼ t Dried origanum
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Bunch of spring onions
  • Olive oil
  • 250g Cherry tomatoes
  • 100g Calamata olives
  • White pepper for seasoning (I love white pepper with fish)
  • Salt for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C.
  2. Pat fish dry with kitchen towel.
  3. Make small incisions into fish, placing the sliced garlic in the slits + fill the tummy of the fishes with olives, spring onions and sliced lemon.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with origanum, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes with foil on or closed.
  7. Turn the oven onto grill, remove the foil + squeeze the lemon juice over and grill for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Serve with a fresh salad and bread.
  9. Enjoy its delicious.

 

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20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer

20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer

20 minutes + salmon + asian broth=healthy hot winter warmer
I am by nature a foodie and as foodies go, we all have our foodie idols … One of my foodie idols is Chef Peter Tempelhoff – not only is he a great chef but also not too shabby on the eye – oh, who am I kidding everyone … he is hot! And if you come to my office you will see an A3 poster of him hanging next to my desk … but to my utter dismay two of my wonderful colleagues Johann and Pieter gave Chef Tempelhoff a mustache and a tattoo 🙂 … Anyway, two weeks ago I attended the Table of Peace and Unity lunch on the slopes of our wonderful Table Mountain and Peter Tempelhoff was one of the chefs responsible for the starter [miso sesame cured salmon and ginger prawn spring roll with soja jalapeno dressing]. I don’t know if it was the dish or perhaps him walking past that inspired me to do something hot with salmon. So later in the week I visited my Chinese supermarket for some ingredients and over the weekend made this really delicious, salmon in a hot and sour Asian broth. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It’s so easy … so tasty and so fresh … and cheers to the hot chef who inspired me to make this dish!

20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 150g x 4 Skinless salmon steaks
  • Salt and black pepper
  • For broth
  • 1L Chicken stock (I use stock cubes for this – that’s what they do in Asia :-))
  • 2-3 Green chillies (...if you like things a little hotter, spice it up with one more ... but not too many as it will overpower your dish )
  • +-20cm piece of lemongrass – crushed with the back of your knife and cut into pieces (if you cannot find it but you do stay in Cape Town – contact me, I have a huge bush in my garden!)
  • 1 Garlic clove – finely sliced
  • 1 Thumb size piece of fresh ginger – finely sliced
  • ¼ Cup of soya sauce
  • 4ml Sesame oil - just under a teaspoon (be very careful that you don’t overdo the sesame oil)
  • Juice of 2 limes (small) or 1 lemon
  • 2 Spring onions – chopped diagonally into thin slices
  • Handful of fresh coriander – roughly shredded by hand
  • Bean sprouts to garnish and to add some crunch
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan or pot add all the ingredients for the broth – except the spring onions, coriander and bean sprouts. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5-10 minutes allowing all the flavours to infuse.
  2. In a non stick pan fry the salmon until brown on both sides - +-2-3 minutes on each side should do. The salmon must still be rare inside – but you must be able to flake it with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve: Pour some of the broth through a sieve into a 4 bowls, add some spring onion and coriander. Put the salmon in the middle of the bowls and add some bean sprouts to garnish. I love fresh ginger so I always add the ginger I used for the broth in my bowl.
  4. Tuck in and enjoy!

 

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malay infused seafood soup

malay infused seafood soup

malay infused seafood soupThis is my all-time favourite winter soup recipe. It lies very close to my heart for two reasons – I was introduced to this recipe by my wonderful chef friend, Louis Verwey (the recipe was very different then and I developed it as I went along into what it is today) and secondly this recipe took me through to the Top 50 of Masterchef SA and earned three overwhelming and resounding yes’s from judges Andrew, Bennie and Pete. My Masterchef journey was an incredible experience, it was an amazing roller coaster ride of emotions, nerves and sheer excitement but the best part was meeting all the fantastic people who all share a common passion – cooking! This adventure re-ignited in me the fire and a burning desire to learn and share in the fun, frivolity and sheer pleasure that comes with cooking and everything culinary. I am very proud to have made it into the Top 35 only to be booted out on the potato challenge. Needless to say I have not cooked or peeled a potato again – but that is a story for another day…enough about me…back to this exquisite soup …

malay infused seafood soup
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the stock
  • 1 celery stick, chopped (with the leaves)
  • 1 onion, cut in half (I keep the skin on - I only peel the onion if I want to make a clear stock)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (…again keep the skin on – didn’t we learn that all the nutritional value lies in the skin?)
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove of garlic cut in half
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 350g white fish – I use small whole hakes which I cut into chunks
  • 800ml water
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • Seafood
  • 24 mussels in ½ shell
  • 400 g kingklip (or any other firm white fish), cut into cubes of +- 2.5cm x 2.5cm
  • 12 de-veined prawns with shells – I love to keep heads on – if you do take the heads off, don’t discard these….add them to your stock
  • Other ingredients
  • 30g butter
  • 45 ml flour
  • 10 ml masala (I mix my own from the following ground ingredients: 15 ml turmeric, 15ml cumin, 10 ml coriander, 10 ml fennel, 15 ml hot “curry powder” this you can get from your local spice shop or supermarket)
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 1 ½ chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ small lemon
  • For the gremolata
  • 30 ml chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • Zest of one lemon
  • One big squeeze of lemon juice
  • 30 ml olive oil
Instructions
  1. Prepare your stock by adding the first 9 ingredients in a pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Take the mussels and place them in a sieve and then put it in the stock to cook for 2 minutes. I do this to infuse the juices in the stock (and to defrost if still frozen). Take out and leave aside.
  3. Repeat the same process with the prawns – leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes in the stock. Take out and set aside
  4. Take the stock and strain through a very fine sieve. Set aside. (You can discard the stock ingredients but it does make for a very nutritious and fishy treat for my two canine children!)
  5. Add the finely grated garlic to this stock.
  6. Now, melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour to make a roux. Stir for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and masala. Stir well.
  7. Add the warm stock - ladle by ladle - whisking briskly to make sure it does not form lumps. Once you have added the stock, bring it up to simmer - you will see that it has now thickened.
  8. Add the stock cube and the chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir well.
  9. Now add the raw fish and let it simmer for +-3 minutes, then add the prawns and mussels.
  10. Add the lemon juice and stir lightly – be careful not to break the fish! Season for taste by adding salt and pepper, lemon juice.
  11. Simmer for a 5-10 minutes.
  12. Lastly, mix the last 4 ingredients together to make the gremolata and set aside
  13. To serve – in the bottom of a soup bowl put a dollop of the gremolata. Take the prawns out of the soup and place 2 prawns on each plate, add 3 or more pieces of fish. Strain the fish soup through a sieve and pour in the bowl around the fish and prawns. Add 3-4 mussels on top.
  14. Garnish with a few drops of gremolata on top. Serve immediately.

 

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