Seafood platter

Apologies for the ugly flash photo

Smoked salmon, prawns, rollmop herring and beetroot salad with apple and pea shoots

A very inauthentic Gumbo

So, it looked like Spring had come last week. Nice and sunny, warm enough for flip-flops. You know the routine. This week – WTF? what happened. Down to nearly zero at night and the wind is so beyond ‘nippy’ it’s not funny. I’d planned to start a regime of getting out in to nature and enjoying the fresh air – sod that.

Feeling cold makes me what to eat stodge (preferably of the pizza variety, failing that something with custard) so I adapted my stir-fry dinner plans to make a huge pot of steaming gumbo. Hot, garlicky, spicy, soupy – what more could you want?

I had to make a few adjustments to the authentic recipe, as the base requires a roux. This not only thickens the finished stew, but gives it a rich flavour. There are Paleo variations for the flour but instead I omitted the roux altogether and relied on okra to thicken the soup. I’m sure I’d be shot by anyone from Louisiana for even entitling this ‘Gumbo’ but you gotta call it something!

  • 100g Smoked garlic sausage [like andouille, but French 😉 ] sliced into thick rings then halved.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp Paprika, ½ tsp each Oregano and Thyme, Âź tsp each Cayenne pepper, Garlic powder and Onion powder
  • 1 tblsp tomato paste
  • Tin chopped toms
  • 3 cups Chicken stock
  • 100g Okra, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 x skinless, boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 100g cooked prawns

Fry the sausage in a smidge of oil until golden. Remove from pan, but keep the garlicky oil in there. Sauté the onion, pepper and celery until just translucent then add the garlic. Stir until the raw garlic smell is gone. Now add the seasonings and tomato paste, stir for 30secs before adding chopped toms and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer. I let this simmer and reduce for about 15mins before adding the okra and sliced chicken, then simmer until chicken is cooked. Add the prawns and the reserved sausage and heat thru. The okra should have thickened the soup nicely. Serve in a bowl with a spoon and expect seconds 🙂

Just what the doctor ordered…

Well, after being struck down with the lurgy since Xmas (everyone’s doing it Daaarling) it’s time i got back to this blogging thing. The road to recovery has of course been assisted by lots of healing food, and a few OTC meds. With limited taste buds, there was a lot of garlic and chilli going into my dishes but it seemed to do the trick.

Thai prawn laksa – not 100% accurate rendition but basically thinly sliced thumb sized piece of ginger, a fat clove of garlic, 1 chilli (inc. seeds if you like it hot) and coriander stalks from a small bunch sweated in a pan with a little oil to just take the sting out of the garlic. Add the solids from a can of coconut milk (should be about half the can – if not, top up with some of the ‘water’) and bring up to a simmer. Add raw prawns (thawed if frozen) and a handful of frozen peas or other green bean-like legume. Sir and bring back to a simmer. When the prawns turn opaque they’ll be done. Taste seasoning – add a good pinch of salt and sugar. If it’s got a bit too thick you can add more of the coconut milk. Squeeze the juice of half a lime into the pan.

To serve, pour over cooked egg or rice noodles and pop a wedge of lime on top to add as desired. Sprinkle over some chopped coriander leaves if you got them for that ‘I-care’ effect. You should have a steaming bowl of noodle and prawn with a bit of broth left at the bottom to shlurp up at the end.

Can use chicken instead if you prefer, very thinly sliced. It’ll take a bit longer to cook through than the prawns but if you cut it nice and thin you’ll be able to see when it’s changed colour (about 10 minutes). Or used cooked chicken and heat thoroughly in the coconut soup. In either case, let it come up to a simmer BEFORE adding the peas to the pan. The quantity of ginger, garlic and chilli and be adjusted to your preference so the about amounts are just a guideline to get started.