Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto

I saw this recipe in the April/2010 edition of the Good Food magazine (also here) and I saved it as one of the recipes I wanted to make at some point. I love risottos and although I hadn’t tried smoked haddock until then, anything smoked sounds good to me. Well, we then started this campaign at home to try to eat less red meat and that’s when this recipe came back to my mind and, fortunately, I gave it a try.

It’s very easy to make and it doesn’t even require to be stirring the whole time (forgive me the Italians). You can substitute the haddock with bacon, but I would definitely try with the smoked fish first. You won’t regret it. I’ll definitely be making this again and again.

Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto

Ingredients

  • small knob of butter
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 300g risotto rice , such as arborio or carnaroli
  • 700ml fish or vegetable stock
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 375g undyed smoked haddock , skinned and cut into large chunks
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 100g baby spinach

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat the butter in a large ovenproof dish over a medium heat. Cook the leek for 4-5 mins, stirring regularly, until just tender. Add the rice and stir for a further 2 mins.
  2. Add the stock and milk, bring to the boil and bubble for 5 mins before sitting the haddock on top. Cover with a lid or foil and bake in the oven for 18 mins until the rice is tender.
  3. Fold in the crème fraîche and spinach, season with plenty of black pepper, then cover the pan again and leave to rest out of the oven for 3 mins before serving – the steam will soften the spinach.

Yield: 4 servings

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Bolinhos de Bacalhau

This is the second recipe I tried from the website Sabor Intenso and the second one I need to share with you. The only thing I don’t recommend is to freeze these “bolinhos”. I wasn’t very successful when I tried to fry them after being frozen. But following the recipe and frying them right away, it’s simply delicious.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau

Ingredients

  • 600g salted cod, unsalted
  • 800g potatoes
  • 3 to 4 eggs
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt (if necessary), pepper and nutmeg for seasoning
  • vegetable oil to fry

Preparation

  1. Cook the potatoes in salted water for about 30 minutes. When cooked, mash the potatoes and set aside.
  2. In another pot with water, put in the cod and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cod and put on a plate to cool down. When cold, remove bones and skin and break into flakes.
  3. In a frying pan, add the olive oil, onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft, but don’t burn it. Add the cod and cook slowly. Stir with a wooden spoon until the cod is totally shredded.
  4. Mix the cod with the mashed potatoes. Add parsley and season with salt (if necessary), pepper and nutmeg, combining everything well together.
  5. Add one egg at a time. This batter should be well glued and consistent so the “bolinhos” can hold their shape.
  6. Grease 2 spoons with olive oil. Take one spoon of the batter, pass that from one spoon to another until you have something in a sphere shape.
  7. Fry in hot oil, turning the “bolinhos” until they are golden brown on every side.
  8. Put in a plate with kitchen towel and they are ready to serve.

Yield: 30 bolinhos

Spaghetti with Pesto and Prawns

Thursday night… I checked what were the options for dinner and there weren’t many, but there were some prawns, which is a start. Then I looked at my basil plant and spaghetti with pesto came to my mind. I added some prawns to that and here is the result. I have someone at home to evaluate the recipes I prepare, Ben (husband), and he said it was very delicious. The best part was to see his face when he took the first bite.

So let’s go for the recipe, but honestly this is one of those dishes that has not secrets and requires no skills, so there was no point in posting the recipe here, but I decided to post it more as a tip of a fast and delicious meal. You could use store bought pesto, but let me tell you, the flavour of fresh made pesto is something else.

Spaghetti with Pesto and Prawns

Ingredients

  • 200g of spaghetti (or enough for 2 people)
  • 250g of raw king prawns
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp of grated cheese
  • pine nuts, walnuts or peanuts (optional)

Preparation

  1. Season the prawns with salt, garlic and lemon juice and marinate for a few minutes.
  2. For the pesto: in a food processor blend the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. Add the grated cheese, season with salt and pulse the processor just to mix all together.
  3. Cook the spaghetti in salted water. Meanwhile, add a little bit of olive oil in a fry pan and fry the prawns until they are pink (I used raw prawns). When the prawns are ready, mix some of the pesto just to coat them.
  4. Mix the remaining pesto with the pasta and put the prawns on the top. Sprinkle grated cheese and enjoy.

Bacalhau com Natas (Cod with Cream)

There is always more time to cook on the weekends and this week’s recipe I have to share with you. It is a traditional Portuguese dish, called Bacalhau com Natas. The main ingredient is salted cod (Bacalhau, in Portuguese), mixed with potatoes and a creamy sauce. It’s hard to go wrong with these ingredients, isn’t it?

Finding salted cod is not easy here in England, but we went to Lisbon two weeks ago and I got really excited when I heard that we could bring salted cod back to Cambridge, since we were travelling within the EU. So guess what I had on my shopping list? Salted cod and Port wine.

There are several Portuguese cod recipes that I wanna try, but the first had to be Bacalhau com Natas, which is Ben’s favorite. I started searching for recipes on the internet and I came across this wonderful site called Sabor Intenso. Besides great recipes, you can also watch the videos teaching some of the recipes step by step. The only thing is that the videos are in Portuguese. So the original recipe for this post is here: Bacalhau com Natas (com Batata Frita). I totally recommend you to try.

Bacalhau com Natas (Cod with Cream)

Ingredients

  • 4 steaks of salted cod (about 750g)
  • 1 kg of potatoes, cubed
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125ml of olive oil
  • 40g of butter
  • 40g of flour
  • 250ml of milk
  • 250ml of double cream
  • salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
  • drops of lemon juice
  • grated cheese
  • oil to fry the potatoes

Preparation

  1. Start desalting the cod two nights before you’re gonna cook it. Put the cod steaks in cold water and keep in the fridge, changing the water every 6 hours.
  2. In a saucepan with boiling water cook the cod for 5 minutes. Put just enough water to cover the cod. Transfer the cod to a plate and let it cool.
  3. Separate 200ml of the water you cooked the cod in. Once the cod is cold, remove bones, skin and shred it into chunks. Fry the potatoes and set aside.
  4. In a saucepan heat the butter. Add flour and stir well, making a roux. While stirring, slowly add the water you cooked the cod, milk and cream. Whisk well to get a very smooth sauce without any lumps. When it starts to boil, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a few drops of lemon. Stir and turn off the heat.
  5. In another saucepan, add the olive oil, onions, garlic and bay leaf. Stir until the onions are well cooked, starting to get a golden color. Add the chunks of cod and stir until everything is well coated. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and mix the fried potatoes. Add 2/3 of the bechamel sauce, mix well and turn of the heat.
  6. Brush an ovenproof dish with olive oil, place the cod making an even layer. Spread the remaining of the sauce on the top and cover with shredded cheese. Put in a pre-heated oven 220C for 2o minutes.

Tip: Serve the cod with a salad.

Yield: 4 servings


Shrimp Stew (Moqueca de Camarão)

Today I was coming home from work and wondering what to make for dinner. There were some options in the freezer, but nothing that my stomach said “That’s what I wanna eat today!” And I learned once that we always have to ask our stomach what it wants to eat, because then we can even eat a smaller portion but we’ll be fully satisfied. Then I asked that question and the answer was (in Portuguese): “Moqueca de Camarão”, which we can call Shrimp Stew. I went straight to the supermarket and picked up the ingredients. Here is the result.

Shrimp Stew (Moqueca de Camarão)

Ingredients

  • 500g of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 red pepper cut into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm oil (dendê)
  • finely chopped parsley
  • salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper and 1/4 of the coconut milk. Let it marinate while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a saucepan, heat some olive oil and add onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the peppers and stir for another 5 minutes, until they are soft but not too cooked. Add the tomatoes (blend it first in a food processor or blender to get a smooth sauce), coconut milk and palm oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the shrimp and simmer for a few minutes just to warm them (I used already cooked shrimp). Sprinkle parsley on the top.

Serve with white rice.

Yield: 4 servings