|Thanks Simon for the photos|
I have been trying to focus on salads lately, i totally eat in conjunction with the with weather. When the sun shines i think wicked salads with great dressings,char-grilling with zesty, herby marinades which just sings FRESHNESS! However i am jumping the gun a little as we still have some time to go before we are blessed with asparagus, broadbeans, out-door grown lettuces and that is just the very tip of the garden. My salad for this week at the market is a combination of cracked wheat/burghul wheat it is fantastic and can be hot or cold, it loves to have some zesty dressing to soak up and is perfect with spring veges like spinach, carrots, broccoli and parsley. This is the time of the year where we need to rely on a few pulses etc to bulk up our meals while we impatiently await the new seasons crops.....not long!
CRACKED WHEAT/ BURGHUL
Cracked wheat or burghul is a wheat that has been boiled and baked before being cracked so it only needs reconstituting in water.
In Middle Eastern cookery it is widely used as rice or potatoes would be in other parts of the world. It can be seeped in water or stock, used in salads, stuffing’s, pilaffs or simply with a knob of butter to accompany a meal.
SPINACH CRACKED WHEAT SALAD
250g fine burghul wheat
375ml hot water
150g spinach leaves, stalk removed and washed well
1 cup mint leaves, finely shredded
1 red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
½ tsp sumac
½ tsp allspice
1/3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt and pepper
100 – 120 ml olive oil
2 lemons, juice of
Soak the burghul wheat in the water for 10 minutes.
Heat a medium size pot or fry pan up and add spinach you shouldn’t need any liquid as the spinach should have enough water clinging to their leaves. Give a brief stir to rotate and wilt the leaves. Remove from the heat, put into a bowl along with one clove of garlic and whizz using a hand wand until a coarse, thick green paste has formed.
Drain the burghul wheat well, I tip mine into a clean tea towel and wring it as dry as possible. Tip into a bowl along with the spinach paste, mint leaves and red onion.
In a small mixing bowl add the spices, lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust if necessary. Pour over the burghul wheat and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
NB – don’t forget to add your favourite spices, vegetables and nuts and move with the seasons. This wheat goes fantastically with tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and so on!
EDMOND'S FRESH FISH - owner operated with a shop in Green Island. They have their own fishing boats and all fish is filleted on site. Their fish is unbelievably fresh and seasonal. If the weather is bad and the fishing boats cannot go out then there is no fish, it is that simple!
BAKED FISH IN A BAG
4 large fillets of fish, grouper, gurnard or whatever tickles your fancy
4 spring onions, sliced into 2cm long pieces (use the green end as well)
4 potatoes, cooked and sliced into ½ cm slices
2 bulbs fennel, sliced thinly (reserving the leaves)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Tin foil for wrapping
Preheat the oven 200C
Lay four large sheets of tin foil on your work surface. Divide the cooked potatoes between each parcel and place central on one half (it will be folded over). Now place the fish fillets on each, fennel slices, season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little oil, and scatter over the spring onions and a few fennel leaves. Garnish with a thin round of lemon.
Fold over the remaining tin foil so it neatly reaches the other side (try not to squash the fish). Tightly fold the edges together starting from one side and working to the other. When almost complete add a splash of wine and seal tightly. Continue until all the parcels are completed (this can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge).
Place carefully onto a preheated oven tray. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the parcel puffs up like a pillow. Carefully remove from the oven and serve straight away. Place at the table and enjoy.
Any sort of fish can be cooked like this and it marries to many flavours. Try a dash of soy sauce, spring onions, chilli and ginger. The options are endless.
GRILLED PEARS WITH MASCARPONE
This is another one of my great puddings which can be whipped up within minutes. It showcases seasonal produce to their very best with the addition of only a few ingredients you will have quite simply a sublime little pudding!
2 ripe Comice pears or your favourite variety
1-2 tsp honey
2-4 gingernuts, crushed finely
Preheat the grill on your oven to medium-hot.
Halve the pears and remove the cores.
Place the fruit, skin side down in an oven-proof dish.
Mix the mascarpone with the honey and spoon generous dollops into the cavity of the pears. Sprinkle with the crushed gingernuts.
Place under the hot grill and cook until the mascarpone starts to bubble and melt. Serve immediately.
ROASTED POTATOES,FENNEL AND LEMON
1 kg potatoes – Brydones agria work exceptionally well for this
2 bulbs fennel and the leaves
4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place a roasting tray in the oven and heat up to very hot.
Slice the potatoes into ½ cm round disc, place them into a bowl. Bruise the garlic cloves by gently smashing them with a knife put them in with the potatoes.
Trim all the leaves off the fennel. Tidy up the root end but don’t cut it too far as you want to keep the fennel whole. Slice the fennel into similar size pieces as the potatoes and add to the bowl. Drizzle over enough oil to coat all the ingredients well, squeeze over the juice of the lemon, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well and pour directly onto the hot oven tray. Spread them out so they are not too thick on the tray as you won’t them to cook evenly and crispy.
Roast for 10 minutes give them a quick move around on the tray and cook for a further 10 minutes. Roughly chop up some fennel leaves and sprinkle these through the potatoes before serving.
Great served with fish or pork!
Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their great products
EDMONDS FRESH FISH – FISH
ETTRICK GARDENS – PEARS
YOUNGS – SPINACH
BRYDONE GROWERS – FENNEL AND SALAD POTATOES