Tinned Sardine Croquettes with cheats tartar sauce

My good pal Johnny brought these beautiful Sardines back from his holiday and I wanted doing something fancy without having to pop to the shops. This was the result.

I took my inspiration from this recipe:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/21/sardines-recipes-croquetas-bruschetta-hash-indian-chutney

 

Makes 10 | time 50 minutes

Prep 10 minutes | Cook 30 minutes

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Ingredients

Croquettes

  • 2 tin sardines in oil (keep the oil)
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 30g plain flour
  • 200ml hot whole milk
  • A good pinch of paprika
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp parmesan, grated
  • 75g breadcrumbs (i used panko)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

 

Cheat tartare sauce

  • I made this up when i couldn’t find the right ingredients but it was really nice.
  • 1 large gherkin, diced
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalepenos, diced
  • 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped (keep a few leaves for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Part one

  • On a low to medium heat, sweat the onions in the sardine oil until translucent.
  • Stir in the flour until the mixture is a dark gold (like a strong cup of tea).
  • Add the milk gradually a bit at a time. Ensuring that all the milk is absorbed before adding more.
  • Let this cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes or so to thicken up, seasoning with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
  • Drop in the sardines and break them into small chunks up with your (you don’t want a sardine mush). Cover with a plate or foil while it the mixture cools.

Part two

  • Combine the breadcrumbs and cheese and pop in a shallow bowl. Beat the egg in another shallow bowl.
  • Heat your pan and add oil (try to avoid using Extra Virgin olive oil as it has a low smoke point). I used a small saucepan for this and shallow fried the croquettes, however you would ideally deep fry. If you are frying in a saucepan pan on the hob I would use a thermometer to try and get as close to 180C / 350F as you can.
  • Shape the cooled sardine mixture into cylinders and roll in the egg then the breadcrumbs.

Part three

  • Drop the croquettes the oil carefully and cook for about 2 minutes ensuring that they cook even all over.
  • I would do one or two at the time – too many and it will bring down the temperature of the oil and they won’t cook properly. I aim for a dark gold colour.
  • Leave them on a paper towel to dry off the grease.

Part four

  • For the sauce add all in the ingredients and mix well, season to taste.
  • Serve in a bowl with the sauce – try to wait until they’ve cooled before you eat them.

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Crispy tofu crunch wrap

A super healthy and light evening meal or a delicious pre-prepped lunch.

Serves 2-4 | time 50 minutes

Prep 30 minutes | Cook 20 minutes

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Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu (this does about four wraps)
  • 3 tbsp corn flour
  • pinch of salt
  • glug of oil

 

Salad

To be clear on this you could add anything you want here. This example is just what I had around. Keep it simply, crunchy and healthy. A brilliant option here is to use julienne carrot and radish and lightly pickle them in a sweetened vinegar.

  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • 8 leaves of baby gem lettuce (2 per wrap)
  • 8 Pickled peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 handful parsley
  • 2 radish, sliced
  • a good squeeze of Sriracha per wrap

 

Method

Part one

  • Take your tofu out of its packaging and drain. Line two plates with kitchen paper and place the tofu between them. Weigh it down (I use a case iron pan) and leave for 10-15mins to drain.
  • Prep your veg if you haven’t already and, put a frying pan on the hob on a high heat add the oil to get it nice and hot.
  • Using more kitchen roll, dry the tofu as best you can and cut into cubes.
  • Coat them in seasoned corn flour (you can absolutely put more than salt and pepper in this, Paprika, Cayenne, Turmeric all work wonders).
  • Lay the tofu in the pan with plenty of space around them. If you crowd the pan they will steam and wont get crispy. Do this in two pans or in two batches if you need to.
  • Fry until golden brown, turning regularly.

Part two

  • Warm your wraps either in a frying pan, or in a warm oven. This just makes them more pliable and nicer to eat.
  • Once the tofu is crispy leave it to do drain on a wire wrack, this will crispy them up perfectly.

Part three

  • Put out the wraps on the counter and lay the baby gem, peppers and parsley on top.
  • Spread the tofu and radish evenly between the wraps
  • Squeeze the Sriracha on top roll up (not forgetting to tuck the bottom in).
  • Eat now or take for lunch.

 

Sesame Tuna and salsa verde with a warm new potato and vegetable salad

Serves 4 | time 30 minutes

Prep 10 minutes | Cook 20 minutes

Sesame tuna

Ingredients

  • 4 small tuna steaks
  • 1 cup of sesame seeds

Warm new potato and vegetable salad

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 handful of basil
  • 1/2 handful parsley
  • 1/2 handful mint
  • 8 new potatoes, halved
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced (reserve the fennel tops)
  • ½ a head of broccoli cut into small florets
  • 4 handfuls spinach
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • Feel free to use any veg you have though

Salsa verde

  • 1/2 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, cut finely
  • 1/2 tin anchovies, cut finely
  • 1/2 handful mint, cut finely
  • 1/2 handful basil, cut finely
  • 1/2 handful gherkins, diced
  • 1/2 handful capers, diced
  • 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method

Part one

  • Pre-heat the oven to full whack, take the tuna out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature.
  • In a large wide pan, gently sweat the onions on a low heat until translucent, then add the garlic.
  • After 5 minutes add the potatoes and herbs and a splash of stock. Pop a lid on and braise the potatoes for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the fennel and broccoli, then add the stock so its comes halfway up the veg at least, cover then leave to simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Part two

  • Put the garlic and anchovies (save the oil for later) in a pestle and mortar and bash and grind until you’ve created a paste.
  • Add the capers and gherkins, herbs, mustard and vinegar and continue to bash until everything is mixed.
  • Finally, add the oil slowly until you reach the desired consistency. Don’t worry if you don’t use it all.
  • You can do this in a blender or food processor. If you add do throw everything in except the oil and add that last. I prefer the chunkiness of the pestle and mortar version.

Part three

  • Pour the sesame seeds into a shallow bowl and lay the tuna on top, pressing the seeds in until covered.
  • Season well with salt on both sides.
  • Lay the tuna on a wire tray, greased baking sheet or grill pan and cook on high for 2 minutes each side.
  • While you do this uncover the veg pan.

Part four

  • Lay out the plates and with a slotted spoon lay the warm potato and veg salad on a plate.
  • Carve the Tuna diagonally and lay a few strips on top of the salad.
  • Finally spoon a healthy dollop of salsa verde on top.
  • Sprinkle fennel tops over and season from a height before serving.

 

 

Plaice with asparagus, edamame beans and caper butter

Serves 2 | time 30 hours

Prep 10 minutes | Cook 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 fillets of plaice

2 x handfuls of new potatoes

1/4 block of butter

Good handful of parsley, chopped

2 tbsp capers chopped

1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly

6-8 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed and cut in half long ways

2 handfuls of edamame beans

1 lemon, quartered

Half a chilli, slices

Method

Part one

Put the potatoes in a pan of salted boiling water for 12minute or until cooked.

Put the capers in a pan on a very low heat with half the butter

Blanch the asparagus for 1 minute then dump in ice water to retain their colour and stop the cooking process

Part two

Heat a large pan on a medium heat and gently fry the garlic in the remaining butter

Fry the edamame beans for a couple of minutes till they have a bit of colour and have blistered slightly

Remove the edamame and garlic and ten up the heat

Part three

Slice the skin on the plaice so the fish doesn’t buckle when fried

When the potatoes are almost done (8-9 minutes into cooking time) lay the plaice Skin side down in the super hot pan.

Fry for 2 minutes each side – be super gentle with the fish as it’s a fragile Fish

Take the caper butter off the heat

Part four

Lay the fish on the plate, season from a height with salt and squeeze lemon juice all over.

Throw the asparagus into the pan to heat through while you plate up

Lay your potatoes on top with a knob of butter to coat them

Squeeze lemon in the sauce and throw in 3/4 parsley

Lay the asparagus on top and sprinkle the edamame from a height

Cover everything with caper butter and sprinkle the last of the parsley from a height

Lay the raw chilli on top

Eat and be happy

Asparagus with preserved lemons and anchovy crumb and with a zingy basil dressing

Serves 4 | time 30 minutes

Prep 20 minutes | Cook 10 minutes

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30g crustless sourdough bread
30g pine nuts
2 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
25g unsalted butter
400g asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
10g basil leaves, finely shredded
½ tsp each finely grated lemon zest and juice

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Blitz the sourdough in a food processor to fine crumbs, then pulse a few times with the pine nuts, anchovies, a generous pinch of flaked sea salt and plenty of pepper, until everything is finely chopped.

Put a small frying pan on a medium-high heat with the butter and, once it starts to foam, fry the crumbs for two to three minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown and crisp. Tip the crumbs on to a plate and leave to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix the asparagus with two teaspoons of oil, the garlic, a quarter-teaspoon of flaked sea salt and a good grind of pepper. Spread out the spears on an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast for eight to 10 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and leave somewhere warm.

In a small bowl, mix the basil with a teaspoon of oil, the lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of flaked sea salt.

Sprinkle all but a tablespoon of the crumb mix on a large platter or between four individual plates. Top with the asparagus, then spoon over the basil and lemon salsa, and finish with a final sprinkling of crumbs.

Ingredients

3 or 4 potatoes chopped into chunks

4 inches of dried chorizo, diced

6 spears of asparagus

Good handful of parsley or coriander, chopped

2 fresh eggs

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp olive oil

Big handful of mature cheddar (optional)

Method

Part one

Bring a pan of water to the boil, salt generously then pop the potatoes in for ten minutes until soft.

In a large cold pan, fry the small chunks of chorizo. This will allow the fat to render out which the potato will soak up later.

Once the potato is done, drain and mash lightly,

When the chorizo is hot and just starting to crisp, add the vinegar oil, oregano and potato.

Mix well, turn down the heat and leave in a bowl on the side.

Part two

Fill a bowl with iced water.

Bring a pan of water to boil and salt. Drop in the asparagus for 1 minute to blanch.

Take the asparagus out of the hot water and drop into the iced water, this will ensure it keeps it its beautiful colour.

Part three

Using a metal ring (or a shallow bowl if you don’t have one), scoop a large spoonful of chorizo hash mix into it and place in the hot pan.

Fry until you have a crispy bottom. Pop the asparagus in along with it until it’s charred,

At the same time, poach the egg for a few minutes until just firm.

Part four

To serve lay your hashcake on a plate or wide bowl.

Lay three spears of asparagus on top and gently pop your egg on top. I like to split it gently so the egg oozes all over the top – but thats up to you.

Lastly sprinkle some finishing salt and parsley or coriander on top and serve.

Spring time Roast Chicken

Serves 4 | time 1 hour 10 minutes

Prep 15 minutes | Cook 55 minutes

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, sliced

2 sweet potato, cubed

2 Maris piper potato, cubed

1 red pepper, large dice

4 mange tout, sliced at an angle

2 spring onions, sliced thinly at an angle

Good handful basil, sliced

1 ball of mozzarella, sliced

2 tbsps olive oil

1 glug white wine vinegar

100ml chicken stock

Method

Part one

Preheat an oven to full whack, take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature then dry it with a paper towel

Lay the tomatoes, onion, potato, pepper and half the basil in a large baking tray and coat with olive oil.

Lastly pour the stock in, it shouldn’t cover the veg

Place the chicken thighs on top and season with salt and pepper

Place in the oven, turn down to 200c and roast for 30 minutes

Part two

Take the tray out, lift out the chicken and shake the pan to move everything around then add the vinegar

Place the chicken gently back on top and return to the oven

Part three

After 15 minutes remove the chicken and let it rest then add the mozzarella

Part four

Remove the tray and dish out the veg into large bowls

Lay the chicken on top, then place the raw spring onion, mange tout and remaining basil over the dish and serve

Asparagus with chorizo hash and oozey poached egg

Serves 2 | time 30 minutes

Prep 10 minutes | Cook 20 minutes

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Ingredients

3 or 4 potatoes chopped into chunks

4 inches of dried chorizo, diced

6 spears of asparagus

Good handful of parsley or coriander, chopped

2 fresh eggs

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp olive oil

Big handful of mature cheddar (optional)

 

Method

Part one

Bring a pan of water to the boil, salt generously then pop the potatoes in for ten minutes until soft.

In a large cold pan, fry the small chunks of chorizo. This will allow the fat to render out which the potato will soak up later.

Once the potato is done, drain and mash lightly,

When the chorizo is hot and just starting to crisp, add the vinegar oil, oregano and potato.

Mix well, turn down the heat and leave in a bowl on the side.

 

Part two

Fill a bowl with iced water.

Bring a pan of water to boil and salt. Drop in the asparagus for 1 minute to blanch.

Take the asparagus out of the hot water and drop into the iced water, this will ensure it keeps it its beautiful colour.

 

Part three

Using a metal ring (or a shallow bowl if you don’t have one), scoop a large spoonful of chorizo hash mix into it and place in the hot pan.

Fry until you have a crispy bottom. Pop the asparagus in along with it until it’s charred,

At the same time, poach the egg for a few minutes until just firm.

 

Part four

To serve lay your hashcake on a plate or wide bowl.

Lay three spears of asparagus on top and gently pop your egg on top. I like to split it gently so the egg oozes all over the top – but thats up to you.

Lastly sprinkle some finishing salt and parsley or coriander on top and serve.

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Miso glazed beef brisket with salsa verde

Serves 6-8 | time 8.30 hours (plus brine time)

Prep 30 minutes | Cook 8 hours

 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2kg Beef brisket
  • 2 x Onion, sliced
  • 300ml of red wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp red miso

 

The Brine

  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 20g cardamom
  • 10g Szechuan pepper
  • 10g Star anise
  • 10g pepper corn
  • 100g salt
  • 2 litres water
  • 40 grams sugar

 

Salsa verde

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tin anchovies
  • 1 handful mint
  • 1 handful basil
  • 1 handful gherkins diced
  • 1 handful capers diced
  • 4 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

 

Pico de gallo

  • 3 red onions, diced
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 12 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 jalapeños
  • 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

 

To serve

  • Radish sliced
  • Chilli sliced
  • Coriander
  • Tacos or burger buns

 

Method

Part one

1-2 days before you are going to eat the beef tacos – pour all the brine mix in a pan bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute then cool.

Place in a container and cover the meat with the cooked brine.

Part two

Turn your slow cooker to low. Lay the onions on the bottom and place your meat on top. Pour the wine over the top and cook for 8 hours.

Part three

Prepare your salsa verde by putting all the ingredients (bar the oil) in a large pestle and mortar, then bash and smush them together.

You could sir in a bowl or use a food processor but there is something beautifully honest and fragrant about mashing it yourself.

Gently pour the olive oil in and stir until you get a good consistency.

For the Pico add all the diced ingredients together and add the lime juice, stir and leave to let the flavours develop.

 

Part four

Take out your beef out and leave it to rest for as long as you can. This gives times for the juices to disperse throughout the meat.

Boil a kettle of water and pour 100ml of water over the miso. It needs to be a thin paste that costs the back of a spoon. If it’s too much water pop it on the hob and reduce it to the right consistency.

Pull the meat apart with two forks.

Place the desired amount into a hot frying pan and brush the miso over the meat as it crisps.

Cook for 6-7 minutes continually brushing the meat until the miso glazes it beautifully.

Arrange your tacos or burger buns with pico, salsa verde, then a pile of meat, radish, coriander and chilli.

Serve and enjoy

Top tip, don’t throw away the cooking liquor, reduce it and use as a gravy base.

I recently served this as sliders with the confit chicken for a causal summer lunch

Black bean pork stir fry with wasabi pickles

Black bean and vinegar pork loin steak, with udon, cherry tomatoes and mint with wasabi pickled red onion and cucumber

Serves 2 | time 45 mins (plus marinating time)

Prep 30 minutes | Cook 15 minutes

Ingredients

2 Pork loin steaks

200g Udon noodles

Handful of cherry tomatoes (different colour if possible) quartered

Good handful of mint, chopped or ripped right before garnishing

1 Spring onion sliced thinly

1 tbsp sesame seeds

The pork Marinade

1 tbsp of black beans in chilli

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp Soy sauce

1 tsp Sugar

2 x Garlic cloves

2 inch ginger

Wasabi Pickled Onions and cucumber

I often triple this recipe so

Half a cucumber – thinly shaved using a speed peeler

1 Red onion thinly sliced

Teaspoon of mustard seeds

100ml of Red wine vinegar

100ml of Mirin vinegar

Teaspoon sugar

Salt

1/2 teaspoon of wasabi

Method

Part one

Put your pork in a ziplock bag and gently bash it flat with a rolling pin.

Take your ginger and garlic and smash in a pestle and mortar. Put all the marinade ingredients in the zip lock bag and leave in the fridge for at least an hour but preferably overnight.

Part two

Take the pork out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

In a colander lay the cucumber out and sat liberally using your hands to make sure all the cucumber is covered.

Toast the mustard seeds to release some fragrance and lightly crush them in your pestle and mortar. Throw them in a jar with all the other ingredients pickle ingredients and the red onion.

After the cucumber has released plenty of water (about 20/30mins) add that in the pickled jar.

Cook the noodles as per the packet Instructions then put in running cold water to stop the cooking process.

Part three

Heat a wok until very hot and empty the pork and the marinade into it and cook on a high heat for 6-7 mins turning once.

Take out and leave to rest while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Pop the tomatoes in the hot marinade for a minute before throwing in the cooked noodles. Toss frequently to coat the noodles in the sauce.

Part four

Cut the pork in thin strips – it should have a dark coating on the outside and then a bright white colour in the middle.

Plate the noodles using tongs, add in the tomatoes followed by some of the pickled onion and cucumber.

Lay the pork on top of the noodles and then garnish with spring onion, mint and sesame seeds

Pomegranate braised pulled lamb tacos with pink pickled onions

Serves 6-8 | time 6 hours (plus marinating time)

Prep 30 minutes | Cook 5.5 hours

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2kg Lamb shoulder
  • 4 x Red onions, sliced
  • 750 ml pomegranate juice
  • Good handful of pomegranate seeds
  • Good handful of fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp honey

The Rub

  • 4 x Garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp Cumin
  • 4 tbsp Oregano
  • 2 x Lemons peeled

Pink Pickled Onions

I often triple this recipe so I have plenty in the cupboard. They keep for ages

  • 3 x red onions sliced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 3 oranges
  • 50ml of white wine vinegar
  • Old jars, boiled to sterilise

To serve

Click for the recipes

  • Flour tortillas
  • Guacamole
  • Pico di gallo

Method

Part one

  • Throw all the rub ingredients into a blender and blitz (don’t forget to peel the lemons)
  • Slice the fat on the lamb being careful not to cut into the meat
  • Rub the now blended rub mixture into the meat. Don’t be shy – get stuck in and work it into the cracks
  • Cover the meat and leave to rest in the fridge for as long as you can preferably overnight (cover in clingfilm if you don’t have a large dish)
  • Put your onions in just boiled water for ten minutes to soften and take out some of the harshness
  • Lay the onions in your sterilised jars
  • Mix the lime juice, orange juice and vinegar and mix (I do this in a clean jar and shake)
  • Season to taste with salt – you are looking for a real zing here as this will cut through the sweetness of the pomegranate lamb
  • Pour the mixture over the onions and seal. For at least 4 hours (so when the lamb is done you’ll be fine) or overnight preferably.

Part two

  • Preheat the oven to to full whack or slow cooker to high
  • Sear the lamb all over in the roasting pan or casserole and render any fat (if using a slow cooker sear the meat and use any fat to oil the pan)
  • Lay the sliced onions so they cover the bottom – this stops the meat sticking
  • Put the lamb on top of the onions and pour in the pomegranate juice
  • Turn the oven down to 160 degrees C or 320 F and cook, covered, for 4 hours
  • If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4

Part three

  • Once this is done decant the liquid into a saucepan and add honey before reducing for 30 minutes
  • While this is happening cook the meat for a further 30 minutes covered (if you cooked the lamb on low in the slow cooker turn it to high now)
  • After 30 minutes the sauce should be reduced and thickened – enough to coat the back of a spoon when dipped
  • Uncover the lamb pour over the sauce and cook for a final 30 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven to rest covered for 15-30 minutes

Part four

  • Use this time to warm the tortillas and dish up your condiments and sides
  • This lamb is complimented perfectly by the pink pickled onions but if you don’t have the time for that use pickled red cabbage from a jar
  • From a height dress the lamb with pomegranate seeds and fresh mint
  • For a bit of theatre shred the lamb at the table it will pull apart beautiful with two forks
  • Get everyone to help themselves and create their own tacos