Monday, August 10, 2015

Courgette Summer Fried Rice

This is a very good way of using up cooked rice from the night before and makes an excellent breakfast. It's also a good way of using up courgettes from a garden or allotment, especially as there is usually a glut at this time of year as people start reaching for well-thumbed cooking books, and wonder if they do make a huge batch of courgette pickle, there is any chance they'll actually eat it, and won't just offload it on friends at Christmas.

Even if, like me, you're not lucky enough to have a garden, and the rake on your balcony is just for cockles, no doubt you'll be in a similar position. I've had three massive, marrow-like courgettes propped among the cider cans in my fridge for about a week now, after a friend visited proudly bearing gifts from her garden. 

Every time I've opened the fridge, I've had a mild grip of guilt as I've seen those speckled, Lincoln green logs peering at me mournfully. Well, what better way to appease some guilt and free up more cider space than frying up one of these lovelies in this rather tasty fried rice dish?

2 bowls of cooked rice
Half a medium onion, finely chopped
Half a huge courgette, diced
1 stick celery, chopped
2 eggs
3 tsps fish sauce
2 mild green chillies, thinly sliced
2 tbsps sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, or 2 medium, diced
Handful frozen peas (come on, it wouldn't be fried rice without peas!)

Heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat for a minute or two, while you chop up your vegetables. Pour in the oil, then heat for 20 seconds or so until it begins to smoke. Then throw in the onion, courgette, celery, tomato, frozen peas, garlic and chillies and stir continually for two minutes until the courgette has (finally!) reduced in size by about a half. 

Then throw in the cooked rice, breaking up any rice lumps with your wooden spoon, and fry for another three minutes, stirring all the time. Add the fish sauce, and stir again. Check for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. 

Make a well in the rice and crack in the eggs, stirring them up until they're scrambled and cooked through. Fry for another two minutes, stirring all the time, and serve.

This is excellent with some Thai-style sweet chilli sauce. I also like to serve it with a Cambodian 'tuk trey' dressing. To make this, put 2 tbsps of fish sauce and 2 tbsps of water in a ramekin or similar vessel, and stir in a pinch of sugar, a squeeze of lime, and one chopped green chilli.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Devilled Herring Roe On Toast

Herring melts or milts – the soft, creamy roe of male herrings (vastly different from the female ‘hard roe’) -  have to be one of the most underrated foods in my book. Especially given the fairly cheap price – about £4 a kilo. You often see them on fish counters, but I never see anyone buying them. Just the odd pensioner - probably an overhang from a time when they were a lot more popular – which is a real shame as they make a delicious lunch or light supper.

There are plenty of ways of cooking them, but I think the best is to have them on toast with ‘devilled’ spices thrown in, as in this recipe below. They have the texture of scrambled egg, somehow, and are apparently packed full of vitamin D, whatever that is.

200g herring melts
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter

Put the roes in a colander and swill under the cold water tap, then drain in the colander. Meanwhile, get a clean plastic bag and put in the flour, mustard, garlic, paprika and salt and pepper. Pinch the top of the bag and shake. Then toss in the roes.

Grip the top of the bag again, and give the bag a good shake to ensure the melts are evenly coated in the seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or so and then lay the melts in the pan. 

Cook for three minutes until well sealed on the bottom then turn over and cook for another two minutes. Season to taste. Serve on hot buttered toast.