Salmon and Kiwi Verrine

A fresh starter for summer meals

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Serves four:
4 smoked salmon slices
2-3 kiwi fruit
1-2 avocado

For the sauce:
4 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp mayonaise
fresh or frozen dill
salt and pepper to taste

lime juice

Cut the salmon in small pieces. Dice the kiwi fruit.

Divide the kiwi fruit at the bottom of the verrines, add the salmon and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and chill too.

Just before serving, dice the avocado, sprinkle with lime and place over the salmon.

Serve the sauce separately.

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Classic Combo

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I was a little optimistic last week when I thought I would manage to write blog posts during my trip. Still one thing that I can easily write about is food.

The food in Hong Kong is quite similar to Cantonese food, with tastes that are more alien to the Western palate than that of Beijing.

One staple element of Chinese food however is soup. At lunch time, people flock to small restaurants and eat all sorts of noodles in broth. Numerous places offer this on their menus for a nominal sum; the only problem being to find one where the menu is in English.

Here is an idea of the kind of combination you can have:
– vegetable broth, sweet and sour broth (mild, medium, hot or very hot) or spicy hot broth – the last two being meat broths
– rice noodles (round), rice vermicelli or udon
– two choices among the following list: vegetables, pickled vegetables, Chinese chive, bean sprouts, mushrooms, fish slices, duck slices, beef slices, pork slices, tofu, soy puffs, bean curd crisp slice, pork intestine (!!)

Butternut Squash, Carrot and Ginger Soup

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1 small butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 carrots – peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cut butternut squash in half; remove seeds and place cut side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until softened. Allow to cool, then scoop the squash flesh out of the skin using a large spoon and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, and cook, stirring until onion is translucent. Pour in the water, and add squash, carrots and ginger. Bring to a boil, and cook for at least 20 minutes, or until carrots and ginger are tender.

Puree the mixture using an immersion blender. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon.

Ladle into serving bowls, and pour a thin swirl of cream over the top as a garnish if desired.

Salmon Balsamico

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This is a simple and tasty recipe that includes two of my favourite ingredients, namely salmon and tomatoes. It is a dish I make regularly and which comes from Norene Gilletz’s Healthy Helpings – the only thing I have altered is the cooking time. I serve it with fried rice and vegetables.

Serves four people

4 salmon fillets
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Roma tomatoes, cubed
1-2 tablespoons chopped frozen or fresh basil

Arrange the fish in a single layer in an oiled baking dish – I use olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Combine the vinegar with the brown sugar, garlic, tomatoes, and basil; pour over the fish. Marinate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 F° / 220 C°.

Bake uncovered for at least 15 minutes – because of the tomatoes on top, the fish won’t go dry. Serves 4.

Baked Salmon

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Serves four people

150 gr salmon fillet per person
1 leek
1 organic lime
fresh tarragon
olive oil
salt and pepper

tarragon sauce:
1.5 dl organic yoghurt
1 dl creme fraiche
1/4 cup minced tarragon
1 tbsp lime
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Slice leek lengthwise and cut in halves. Thinly slice lime. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Place the salmon on the paper and drizzle with olive oil. Lay leek, tarragon sprigs and lime slices on the fish. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake the salmon for about 30 minutes at 200°C.

Mix all the ingredients for the cream sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in a bowl with the baked fish.

Serve with steamed potatoes or/and French beans.

Adapted from a Danish recipe found in Trine Hahnemann’s Køkken Morgen – Middag – Aften

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Red Lentil and Coconut Milk

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1 lb 2 oz red kuri squash, seeded and diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced (5 oz)
1 leek, white part only, chopped – other vegetables work too (parsley root, turnip…)
1 celery branch, chopped
1 zucchini (7 oz), cut in pieces
3 cups water
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) red lentils
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp ground curry
1/2 tsp ground cumin
200ml coconut milk
Chopped parsley or coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the shallot, leek and celery. Sweat for 2 minutes, until soft, making sure that the vegetables never brown. Then add the ground cumin and curry, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, water, salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.

Mix the soup. Check the seasoning, and add the coconut milk. Keep warm.

Ladle the soup in a bowl and add the parsley/coriander

Swedish Saffron Buns

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I made these buns last nigh for a last celebration of Chanukah; butter is oil, isn’t it?

In Sweden they are called Lussekatt and are associated with the celebration of Lucia – a Scandinavian festival which has roots in indigenous Germanic pagan, pre-Christian midwinter mythology and marks the observance of the winter solstice and the rebirth of the sun. It was commonly believed in Scandinavia, as late as the end of the 19th century, that this was the longest night of the year, coinciding with the winter Solstice. A belief that is also found in the poem A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day by English poet John Donne.

Ingredients for a dozen buns:

3/4 ounce yeast / 21 grams
1 cup lukewarm milk
a pinch of saffron or tumeric
Scant 1/2 cup butter, melted
1 pounds all-purpose flour / 1 cup – I used 3/4 plain white flour and 1/4 spelt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup raisins

24 raisins
1 egg, beaten

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a mixing bowl, then add the saffron and keep stirring until the mixture turns yellow. Add the melted butter. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then stir in the sugar and raisins.

Pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until the dough comes cleanly from the edge of the bowl. Knead the dough on a floured counter for 10 minutes, until it is shiny but not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl and let rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

Lightly knead the dough again on a floured counter. Divide into 22 equal pieces. Roll them into sausages then curl the ends so that each piece is shaped like the number eight. Put one raisin in the middle of each circle. Place the breads on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, cover with dish towels, and let rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the risen breads with beaten egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Let cool on a wire rack. Eat them as they are, or spread with cold butter.

Slightly adapted from a recipe found in The Scandinavian Cook Book – A Year in the Nordic Cuisine

Indian Egg Curry

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Serves two people

4 eggs (hard boiled)
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp Indian curry paste
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 inch fresh ginger
2-3 tomatoes
200 ml coconut milk
salt
juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro

Peel the eggs (optional: halve them lengthways).

Sauté sliced onion for a few minutes. Add garlic cloves. When the aroma rises add the spices, curry paste and ginger.

Add cubed tomatoes and 1/4 pint of water with salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, to make a smooth gravy.

Just before serving, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the lime juice, taste and add more salt if necessary. Gently lay in the hard boiled eggs (with the yellow facing upwards if halved).

Sprinkle with the fresh cilantro.

Baked Apple and Almond Pudding

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Having made a soup and a salad for the Friday evening meal, I felt I could indulge in a dessert. I had some organic apples and ground almonds and wished to combine the two. A quick Google search led me to Delia’s recipe which I slightly adapted (one omission, two additions and a time modification).

3-4 servings
1 lb (450 g) Bramley or Elstar apples, peeled, cored and sliced
cinnamon
4 oz (110 g) ground almonds
4 oz (110 g) butter, at room temperature
4 oz (110 g) caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten

Place the apples in a saucepan with approximately 2 tablespoons of water, simmer gently until soft, and then arrange them in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy and then the beaten eggs. Add and incorporate the ground almonds. Now spread this mixture over the apples, and even out the surface with the back of a tablespoon.

Then bake on a highish shelf in the oven for 40 minutes at 180°C/350°F. I am convinced 1 hour is far too long.

This dessert can served warm or cold. It is nice on its own but you can probably add cream, custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It keeps well in the fridge and is still lovely the next day.