Thursday, June 24, 2010

Outdoor cooking: Coconut Salmon

The first in a series of easy to make recipes for cooking on a camping stove in the park. Preparation is partly done at home in a real kitchen.

Prepare at home (30 minutes) :

Rub salmon steak with a mixture of 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil, fry for 5 minutes: one onion, 2 green chillies (deseeded), 2 garlic cloves and piece of ginger (chopped). Puree to a paste in a food processor. Mix with 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander.

In the bag:

1 - One sealed container with the salmon steaks.

2 - One sealed container with the onion paste.

3 - One cup of coconut milk or creamed coconut (bring water to dilute the creamed coconut or to make the sauce thinner).

4 - One sealed container with rice and one sealed container with cucumber raita.

5 - A small plate(s).

6 - Bring a cheap plastic bag to carry the dirty plates and fry pan! This I forgot.

Preparation in the park:

You need a camping stove with a simmer option and a lightweight frypan. I used my Trangia alcohol stove.

Fry the onion paste in a fry pan for a couple of minutes, add coconut milk and salmon steaks. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the salmon is done.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ragù alla Bolognese I


There is one 'official' way to make Ragù alla Bolognese, registered in 1982 by the Bolognese delegation of Accademia Italiana della Cucina. The ingredients are: beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, meat broth, red wine, and milk or cream.

My version in 2009:

Fry 200 gram pancetta in its own fat. Add one onion, stick of celery and big carrot (al diced in very, very small cubes) and fry for 5 more minutes.

In the meantime fry 400 gram ground beef in very little oil.

Add the beef to the pot, add 500 ml beef broth, 250 ml passata di pomodoro and 250 ml white wine*. For an extra punch I added a small can of tomato paste.

Simmer on a very low fire for 3 hours.

Some thoughts for 2010
Add two chicken livers, finely chopped.

Stir in 125 ml. cream or marscapone in the last 5 minutes.

More thoughts:
1) Heat 125 ml. olive oil, then add the diced vegetables and stir over high heat for 5 minutes. Add the pancetta, then add the chicken livers and brown. Mash the chicken livers with a fork as they cook to help them blend into the sauce.

2) Season 750 gram ground chuck steak with salt and pepper, and add. Make sure the meat is at room temperature to allow it to sear and not stew when it hits the pan. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Add pinch of nutmeg.

3) Add the white wine and let it bubble up until it has almost evaporated.

4) Add the heated stock a cup at a time, allowing each cup to evaporate and enrich the sauce before adding the next. This is much like the process of making a risotto and will give you a truly voluptuous sauce.

5) Pour in the tomatoes with their juice, bring the whole pot to a boil then reduce to a low simmer and allow to gently bubble, uncovered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

6) Stir in 125 ml. cream or marscapone in the last 5 minute.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baba ghanoush

Version I tried today:

One large eggplant (made soft in oven)
4 tablespoons tahini*
Juice from 1,5 lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
Some salt
A pinch of ground cumin

Mash together with fork.

Oops, now I realize I forgot the garlic!

*) I used a rather dark tahini. Maybe white tahini is better for baba ghanoush?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hollandse Nieuwe

'Hollandse Nieuwe', the first catch of the year. Herrings are caught between the end of May and the beginning of July in the North Sea near Denmark or Norway, before the breeding season starts. In this period the herrings are also the richest in fish oils.

'Hollandse Nieuwe' has to contain at least 16 percent oils. 2009 was an exceptionally good year. This year I bought three 'Hollandse Nieuwe' on the first day at 2,75 euro a piece. I ate one and used the other two in a German style potato salad. The 'Hollandse Nieuwe' this year aren't as rich in oils, therefor less tasty. But still good though.

How are they made? From wikipedia: "The gills and part of the gullet are removed from the herring, eliminating any bitter taste. The liver and pancreas are left in the fish during the salt-curing process because they release enzymes essential for flavor (this is called 'haring kaken' in Dutch, a 14th century Dutch invention). The herrings are then placed in brine to 'ripen' for the best taste." That's it.

100 gram 'Hollandse Nieuwe' contains:

At least 16 gram oils containing omega-3 fatty acid.
18 gram protein
Vitamines: A1, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D en E

Update: bought some herrings a few days later and they were much tastier. Trial and error.

Dry Masala Okra

Time for another Indian vegetable dish. You'll need okra and fresh spices.

You start by mixing a number of spices:

1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried coconut
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf.

Trim 500 gram okra.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds. Fry 2 minutes until the seeds begin to pop.

Add the spice mixture and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the okra, cover and cook for 10 minutes on a low fire. It is a dry masala, so the greatest risk is burning the spices. Add a little water if needed and keep the fire low.

Mix with chopped tomato and serve with poppadums, or anything you like (chapati, rice).