Friday, 28 October 2011

Baked Sea Bass with Shiitake Mushrooms, Garlic and Chilli

Hello everyone! Apologies for the non-existent updates of late - I've been completely swallowed up into wedding planning and all that it entails. Having set a date for much earlier than we both had originally intended, there has been so much to do in a comparatively short space of time. However, much has been done so hopefully I'll be able to resume some semblance of normal posting in due course. Though beware, there may well be a return to many soup posts as the wedding diet commences!

My mother and sister came over for an evening to discuss all things wedding-related and as I'd had a delivery of shiitake mushrooms from Abel and Cole, this was the result. It is fantastically light and tastes delicious as the combination of garlic, soy and chilli works so well together. I served this with rice and tenderstem broccoli, which worked beautifully with it.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 sea bass fillets
150g shiitake mushrooms
2 red chillis
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin
50g unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. Cover a baking tray with enough foil that it can be folded back on itself to create a parcel, then place the sea bass fillets on the foil. Finely slice the chilli and garlic and slice some of the larger shiitake mushrooms. Mix together the soy sauce and mirin and chop the butter into small cubes. Scatter the garlic, chilli, shiitake mushrooms and butter on the sea bass then drizzle over the soy and mirin sauce. Seal the foil parcel and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

If you’re serving your sea bass with rice, put the rice on to cook while the fish bakes in the oven – they should all be ready at the same time. Enjoy!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Chocolate Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Basil

I recently had my first birthday at work in many years. Previously, I have taken the day off but this year the realisation finally sunk in that when you're at home and everyone else is at work, it's a bit boring spending the day on your own. So I made a gigantic chocolate cake and went into work to celebrate the final year of my twenties. And it seems, my workmates know me very well. I was surprised with a lovely gift of weird and wonderful chocolate-y treats - sea salt chocolate, honey, mustard and cocoa salad dressing, and the most intriguing of them all: cocoa flavoured penne pasta.

So last night, my lovely friend Tara came round for dinner. Over a couple of bottles of red wine and much chatter, I prepared us a very interesting meal. I must admit, I followed the recipe example on the back of the pack as I was unsure as to how it would taste,  but having eaten it, I can't wait to try it again with different flavours. Tara and I are planning to experiment with chilli, scallops, chorizo and tarragon, though possibly not all at the same time. 

If you want to try something a bit different and rather wonderful, I'd highly recommend the cocoa penne. It's made by Hotel Chocolat and can be found here

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter or two as a main):
200g cocoa penne
2 tbsp mascarpone
50g grated parmesan
140g smoked salmon
10g fresh basil

Put the penne on to boil and cook for 9 minutes. While you're waiting for it to cook, shred the salmon into strips, grate the parmesan and also shred the basil leaves. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir in the mascarpone. 

Once the mascarpone has fully melted, stir in the parmesan, smoked salmon and basil. Don't forget to hold back a little of the basil to garnish! Serve immediately - it is nicest hot. I added a little chilli oil to mine as I know that chilli and chocolate makes a fantastic pairing, though it is also delicious as is. Enjoy!