Coronation Chicken

This dish is DELICIOUS...
And very easy to make!!

You will need:

2 chicken thighs or one breast {cooked or roasted}
200g fat free plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon Dijon grainy mustard
1/2 cup of deseeded green grapes cut in half
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon flake dried chillies {optional}
salt to taste
Mustard cress to decorate

On a bowl, mix the yoghurt with the curry powder, salt, chillies {if using} and mustard. Let it sit for a few minutes until the curry flavours blend with the yoghurt. Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and shred it. I prefer to shred than to cut into pieces because the texture is softer and it absorbs the sauce better. Add the grapes and mix everything together.
Let it sit for a couple of minutes and serve it decorated with the cress.

I normally have it with a green salad!
It is such a lovely meal!!!


Fresh Haddock & Scallops in Thai Inspired Sauce

Extremely easy to make and absolutely wonderful to look at ... and to eat...

Truth be told, I don't have my pestle and mortar with me, so I decided to 'lift' a ready made thai curry paste. So, this is not an authentic thai curry, one of those I learnt from my mentors in Thailand, but it is delicious.
Buy a paste that you like. You will find Thai curry pastes in any Asian grocers. If you do not have all the fresh bits that go in this recipe, use the ones you have as it makes all the difference.

Read the whole recipe first before you adventure into your kitchen. This is paramount to all asian recipes. Always.
Prepare the ingredients and leave them ready to be used so it won`t ruin the timing of the cooking.
This recipe is very quick to make once everything is prepared.

You will need:

2 white fish fillets cut in 5 cm each {I used fresh haddock}
4 to 6 scallops {or any seafood treat that you may want to use, like prawns and squid}
200ml coconut milk {can be the light version}
2 tablespoons of thai curry paste
3 slices of galangal or ginger
1 bulb lemongrass beaten once with knife or a hammer and cut along its length
4 kaffir lime leaves with no stalk in the middle of the leaf as it will make it bitter, slice the leaves very thinly
Green pepper pods or use the french ones for 'poivre' sauce {optional}
1 teaspoon of palm or demerara sugar
2 tablespoons of thai fish sauce {nam pla}
Handful of  thai basil {or any that you can get your hands on}
1 fresh red chilli for decoration or more if you like it hot

In wok or a shallow but wide pan, add the coconut milk until it boils, reduces and separates a little, add the garlic with the paste and let it fry until fragrant stirring all the time. Add the galangal or ginger, lemongrass and, if using, the chilli. Add rest of the coconut milk and bring to boil and and add the sugar and the fish sauce, mix well and after 10 seconds add the kaffir lime leaves, fish and the seafood turning the pan around so you don't have to mix and disturb the fish which will then flake and you do not want that. Let it cook in medium heat, for about 2 minutes then turn the fish until it is cooked through which should not take more than 2 minutes depending on how thick it is, of course. Add the basil leaves spreading them around the pan and, again, turn the pan from side to side until the basil is submerged.
Decorate with the fresh chilli and serve it with white rice, vegetables and if you are like me with a fried egg.

Tip: Don't cook the fish and seafood for too long or it will ruin its natural texture and become dry and chewy. Remember that after you turn the heat off the heat will still cook the ingredients until you serve it.


Black Seafood Soup {Sopa Negra do Mar}

Black Seafood Soup

It is actually, more of a stew than a soup.
The broth is abundant and warming.
The smell is divine and delicious. The texture is diverse. The flavours are delicate and at the same time explosive...

If possible, go to a proper fish market or your local fishmonger, like I did and see what is the catch of the day. Forget frozen fish. Everything on this soup was fresh and I believe this made all the difference.
You must use only the ingredients you really love so the satisfaction factor is maximized. Swap the fishes and seafood for your favourites, if you want or if you don`t find the same ingredients I used.
Creat your own marvelous soup...

From the market:
King Prawns {as many as you want}
1 handful of prawns head and shells
1 handful of baby squid {ink included}
2 flavoursome white fish steaks {haddock, cod, sea bass, halibut, etc}
4 salmonetes or 1 red mullet {cleaned}
1 leek
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic grated in half a cup of olive oil
Fresh flat leaf parsley{stalks for the stock and leaves for the soup}

From the garden:
2 chopped tomatoes {no seeds}
1 chopped courgette
1 handful of basil leaves and flowers{whatever basil you can find, I had purple in the garden-beautiful}
4 nasturtium leaves and flowers {optional}

From the pantry:
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried oregano 
1 jar of cooked chick peas {rinsed}
2 cayenne peppers chopped
Fleur de sal or sea salt

In a big pan put 1 litre of water, half of the onion, the green part of the leek and the parsley stalks and bring it to the boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes and add the prawns heads and shells. Once you bring it back to boiling point, switch it off and put the lid on it. Let it cool and sieve it, reserving the stock. It is better to do this as soon as you get back from the market and reserve. This can be kept in the fridge already sieved for 2 days or frozen.

Whilst the stock was simmering, I made a green salsa with the basil, nasturtium and parsley {chopped roughly, not to thin with a knife as i do not like to use a blender my salsas}, the basil flowers, half a clove of garlic chopped, salt and olive oil.

On a shallow pan, heat up the olive oil and sauté the sliced leek, a teaspoon of oregano and a tablespoon of sweet paprika, the cayenne peppers and after 30 seconds add the tomatoes, chick peas, the onion and the courgette.
Cook for about 5 minutes, add the stock and bring it back to boil adding a glass of dry red wine.
when this is ready and delicious, adjust the salt and freshly ground pepper, add the fish steaks and cook for 1 minute then add the salmonetes, baby squid with the ink and put the lid on. Boil and turn it off.
On a frying pan in high heat, dry fry the prawns with the head and shells until the grilled mark shows. Add a ladle of the stock until they turn pink and add the olive oil with the grated garlic. Shake the pan and add the salt and the chopped parsley. Mix again and add it to the soup, shaking the pot a bit to accommodate the prawns in the stock and to spread the garlic flavour on the soup.
I finished it with a tablespoon of the salsa on top to add more flavour and color to the soup.
Serve it hot with a piece of bread to mop up the dark juices created by the squid's ink and its incredibly lively flavours and colours...

Served with a glass of Tempranillo, I could not want for anything else in life...

Sopa Negra do Mar

Na verdade, é mais um ensopado do que uma sopa. 
Sustentável pois uso todas as partes dos ingredientes, nada é dispensado.
O caldo é abundante e fumegante. O odor é estupendo, incomparável, delicioso. A textura é diversa e surpreendente. O sabor é delicado e ao mesmo tempo explosivo...

Se possível, vá a um mercado de peixes ou à sua feira, como eu fui, e veja tudo que está em época. Esqueca os congelados. Tudo nessa sopa era fresco, acredito que isso fez toda diferença.
Você deve usar somente os ingredientes que lhe apetecem para maior satisfacão e troque os peixes, os frutos do mar se não gostar dos que eu usei ou não encontrar os mesmos. Crie sua própria maravilha...

Do mercado:
Camarões grandes à gosto
1 mão cheia de cabeça e casca de camarões pequenos 
1 mão cheia de lulas pequenas com a tinta 
2 postas de peixe branco e sem espinhos {usei badejo}
4 trilhas limpas
1 alho poró
1 cebola
2 dentes de alho ralados em meia xícara de azeite
Salsinha {rama para o caldo e folhas para a sopa}

Do jardim:
2 tomates sem sementes picadinho 
1 abobrinha picada rusticamente
1 mão cheia de manjericão - folhas e flores{use a variedade que tiver eu tinha roxo, ficou lindo}
4 folhas e flores de capuchinha {opcional}

Da dispensa:
Azeite extra virgem
Orégano seco
1 lata de grão de bico cozido {lavado e escorrido}
2 pimentas caiena secas e picadas
Flor de sal ou sal grosso

Numa frigieira alta,  coloquei 1 litro de água, meia cebola, os talos do alho poró e os talos da salsinha. Deixei ferver e após 20 minutos coloquei as cabeças e casca dos camarões. Após levantar fervura, eu desliguei e deixei isso tampado até esfriar e coei. Reservei somente o caldo. {Faça isso assim que chegar do mercado e reserve. Isso pode ser guardado na geladeira já coado por 2 dias ou congelado}.

Fiz um molho de ervas com o manjericão, as folhas e flores de capuchinha e salsinha {picadas rusticamente e não muito finas com a faca, não gosto de bater meus molhos liquidificador}, as flores do manjerição, meio dente de alho picado, sal grosso e azeite. Reservei.

Na panela, esquentei um pouco de azeite e fritei o alho poró em rodelas finas, uma colher de chá de orégano seco e uma colher de sopa de páprica, 2 pimentas caienas secas picadas e, após 30 segundos, coloquei tomates picados, grão de bico, o restante da cebola picada e abobrinha.
Isso cozinhou por aproximadamente 5 minutos e eu adicionei o caldo coado dos camarões e levantei fervura de novo adicionando uma tacinha de vinho tinto seco.
Quando isso ficou pronto e delicioso o suficiente, ajustei o sal e pimenta do reino moída na hora, coloquei as postas de peixe e deixei cozinhar por 3 minutos e depois adicionei as trilhas, as lulinhas com a tinta e cobri. Assim que ferveu eu desliguei.

Numa fridigeira separada, eu fritei a seco os camarões grandes, com cabeça e tudo, até marcar o escuro do grelhado. Adicionei uma concha de caldo e deixei que ficassem cor de rosa e adicionei azeite e alho ralado que havia deixado marinhando em azeite ao lado pois tinha pouquíssimo alho, isso foi uma maneira de encompridar o alho, fazer seu sabor ir mais longe... Dei uma sacodida de leve na frigideira, joguei uma pitada de sal em flor (pode usar sal grosso) e a salsinha picada. 
Mexi e joguei por cima da sopa. Dei uma mini mexida para acomodar os camarões ao caldo e espalhar o sabor do alho ao caldo.
Finalizei com uma colherada de azeite de ervas picadas por cima para adicionar mais delícia e cor à sopa.
Servi bem quente e com um pedaço de pão para sugar os sabores do caldo da sopa que ficou preta, inusitada e absoulutamente empacotada de sabor, cor e vida...

Com uma taça bem linda de Tempranillo, não queria mais nada dessa vida...