Lisbon Bream

The Ribeira Fish Market reappears, this time with some beautiful Bream

See, beautiful – like silky chain mail

Roasted beetroot, oven dried tomatoes (again), fennel and Salsa Verde

Classic

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Risotto of the Holy Limes

As the amazing Lisbon begins to feel like an increasingly distant memory, I thought I’d better start putting up the food…

The pinnacle of our food experience in Lisbon was this, the Risotto of the Holy Limes

The story is almost disgustingly sweet (I still like it), but the risotto was perfect

It began with limes picked from the trees in the church in Alfama, and the sweet lime leaves and prawns from the stall in the INCREDIBLE Fish Market in Ribeiro

Then a fish stock made with bream heads and prawn shells, fennel, pimentos and pink peppercorns

The lesson learned from CourtBouillon – a tiny slice of holy lime hidden at the bottom of each plate.  A risotto finished with local cheese, parsley, sweet lime and chilli

The end result?  A delicately fishy and spicy risotto that was both rich and fresh.  Beautifully pink and flavoured by the shells, creamy from the cheese and zesty and clean because of the herbs.

Maybe the best thing I’ve ever cooked.  Definitely the best way to spend a 24th birthday night, in the best apartment/present I’ve ever stayed in/been given

Thanks Steph

French Lentil and Sausage

A recipe from a genuine French person.  Don’t go near this if you don’t like salt.  Let’s just get that out in the open now.  If you do, check out this salty bacon and proceed…

Carrots, lentils, stock, garlic, thyme, sage, garlic, onion and sausages.

Brown the onion, bacon and sausage and then add the rest, with stock to cover.

Chuck it in, cook for 20 minutes.

Hello easy weeknight dinner that leaves enough for a great lunch.

Danks St Tomato Salad

This is nicked from the Danks St Depot cookbook by Jared Ingersoll.

Start with a clean dry pan and form a sugar caramel.

Then add in garlic and thyme with red wine vinegar and oil.

You end up with a sweet and sour syrup packed with garlicky and herby flavour.

It is essentially the best thing you could introduce to a tomato – sweet, fruity and beautiful.

Topped with a few anchovies, it makes a dinner in itself.

Italian Night

Tommy Waters and Barlow came round for a bite after football.

Italian night, old fashioned and simple.  And not a bit of meat in sight.

Caesar salad, ricotta with green beans and tuna, aubergine and yellow courgette fried and covered in lemon.

Also, some giant tomato Bruschetta that were devoured before we could put a camera to them.

Then the simplest pasta ever, which happens to be incredibly more-ish.   For now, let’s just call it Pasta Prado – much more to come soon.

There is a deficiency of food photos, because there was an excess of red wine and conversations.

Yay for friendship.

CourtBouillon (Attempt 2)

Not to be deterred by the disastrous first attempt, we stepped back into the ring with CourtBouillion ebulliently.

Having post-humously diagnosed the cause of our defeat on attempt 1 via transatlantic phone calls with some hardened, bonafide CourtBouillon professionals, we began with another fish stock:

Grey Mullet the fish of choice this time.  It’s a really underrated fish – fleshy, flavourful with a skin that can be crisped.  Great fast fried, but strong enough to hold together in a slow stew.  And cheap too – known as it is in CourtBoullion’s home country as mere bait fish.

PLAIN Flour. The missing link in our last attempt.  Hey presto, the roux gently sweetened our onions, green pepper and celery, instead of clinging and clagging around them as before:

Then the tomato, spices and seasonings work their magic with the fish.

The result?  The favourite Cajun dish I’ve come across.  Served upside down, built upwards atop a slice of lemon (what a good idea), it is eccentric.

Fresher and lighter than you’d expect, but still rich and satisfying.

Happy tummies, and soothed egos, all round.

Credit (entire credit), of course, to the Cajun Queen – @snooman

Panzanella

Stale, stale sourdough bread has no better home.

Untypically anti-traditionally, I split this into two parts – so the taste is the same but there is a hot and a cold part of the same soup.

The blitzed beef tomatoes (+garlic and basil oil) are like a cold soup.

The bread is braised with more beef tomato, a little chilli and garlic and served hot on top.

Finished with mint and fresh chilli.

So much more than the sum of its parts.