Cuisine - - ED'S LETTER -

Ginny Grant’s leek, smoked fish and spinach pie #OMG


1 ta­ble­spoon Shaox­ing rice wine 2 ta­ble­spoons soy sauce 1 tea­spoon dark soy sauce ¼ tea­spoon salt 2 tea­spoons corn­flour 450g beef (I used tri-tip), very thinly sliced across the grain 3 ta­ble­spoons sun­flower oil 2 car­rots, peeled, thinly sliced di­ag­o­nally 2 bunches as­para­gus, sliced di­ag­o­nally 220g can water chest­nuts, sliced 5 spring onions, thinly sliced di­ag­o­nally 2 cloves gar­lic, thinly sliced 5cm piece gin­ger, peeled, thinly sliced 1 red chilli, sliced zest and juice of 1 orange (or tan­gelo) steamed rice to serve

Mix the Shaox­ing, 1 ta­ble­spoon of the soy sauce, the dark soy sauce and the salt with the corn­flour and 1 ta­ble­spoon of water. Add the beef and mix well. Heat a wok, add 2 ta­ble­spoons of the oil and quickly fry the beef un­til it is cooked but still a lit­tle pink. Re­move and set aside. Add the re­main­ing oil to the wok then the car­rots and as­para­gus and fry for a few min­utes un­til crisp ten­der, then add the water chest­nuts, spring onions, gar­lic, gin­ger and chilli and cook for a minute. Add the zest, juice, re­main­ing soy and beef, cook for another minute or so un­til the sauce lightly thick­ens. Serve im­me­di­ately with rice. (DF)

Fast braised fish, new pota­toes & fennel Fry sliced onion and fennel with sliced gar­lic in olive oil, then add sliced new pota­toes and fry for a few more min­utes with a pinch of saf­fron. Add a dash of wine and a splash of water, cover and steam for 10-15 min­utes, adding skin­less, bone­less, medi­umto firm-fleshed fish pieces in the last 5 min­utes. Fin­ish with chopped pars­ley.

Spring soup with whey Fry chopped onion and gar­lic un­til soft, add sliced baby car­rots, thin rounds of zuc­chini, chopped fennel and cubed pota­toes or canned bor­lotti beans. Cover with whey left over from mak­ing ri­cotta (see page 30) and top up with water or stock if nec­es­sary. Sim­mer un­til the veges are ten­der. (In place of whey, use chicken or veg­etable stock and en­rich at the end with a lit­tle cream.) Stir in a dol­lop of pesto and soft herbs (eg chives, basil).

White beans dressed with mojo verde, pan­fried haloumi & spinach Make a quick mojo verde by toast­ing cumin and co­rian­der seeds. Grind with salt, then blitz in a food pro­ces­sor with fresh co­rian­der, gar­lic, sherry vine­gar and olive oil. Coarsely chop spinach and wilt with chilli and gar­lic. Set aside. Warm a cou­ple of drained and rinsed cans of white beans in a lit­tle water, drain most of the water and dress the beans with the mojo verde. Toss the spinach with the beans and serve with pan­fried haloumi and a lemon wedge.

Red braised beef or lamb Blanch chunks of beef or lamb in boil­ing water, drain and set aside. Heat a casse­role dish and fry chilli bean paste with a lit­tle oil then add slices of gin­ger, gar­lic and spring onions, the meat, a dash of Shaox­ing rice wine and soy sauce, a cin­na­mon quill and a few star anise. Cover with water or chicken stock, bring to the boil and sim­mer on the stove­top or put in a low oven for a few hours un­til ten­der. If de­sired, add root veges while it’s cook­ing. Serve with rice. See page 32 for how to use left­overs.

Chicken cooked in whey or milk Brown a whole chicken or skin-on thighs and legs in a heavy casse­role dish with a lit­tle olive oil. Add sage leaves, thyme sprigs, un­peeled gar­lic cloves and the grated zest of a lemon. Add whey left over from the ri­cotta on page 30 (or use milk) and the juice of the zested lemon and sea­son well. Cook cov­ered (ei­ther on the stove or in a 180°C oven) for an hour then fin­ish cook­ing, un­cov­ered, un­til the sauce is thick, dark and re­duced. Serve with roasted new pota­toes and greens.

Slow-roasted lamb shoul­der with pre­served lemon & green olives Brown lamb shoul­der in a heavy casse­role dish, add sliced onions and gar­lic and cook un­til soft. Add ground cumin, co­rian­der and cin­na­mon, a pinch of saf­fron, sliced pre­served lemons and green olives and chicken stock and bake, cov­ered, in a 180°C oven for 1-1½ hours. Add mint and co­rian­der and serve with cous­cous.


50g but­ter 100g baby spinach 1 large leek, sliced 2 ta­ble­spoons flour 2½ cups chicken stock, heated 450g smoked fish, flaked into chunks ½ cup pars­ley, finely chopped 4 ta­ble­spoons creme fraiche 1 cup fresh bread­crumbs 2 cloves gar­lic, minced grated zest of 1 lemon pinch chilli flakes ex­tra vir­gin olive oil to driz­zle

Pre­heat the oven to 200°C. Put a lit­tle of the but­ter in a wide saucepan over medium heat, add the spinach to wilt then re­move and set aside. Add the re­main­ing but­ter to the pan and cook the leek for 4-5 min­utes or un­til soft. Add the flour and cook, stir­ring, for 2-3 min­utes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and sim­mer for 5 min­utes, then add the fish and half the pars­ley and sim­mer for another 5 min­utes. Stir in the creme fraiche and wilted spinach, sea­son and put into a bak­ing dish. Com­bine the bread­crumbs, gar­lic, re­main­ing pars­ley, lemon zest and chilli and scat­ter it over the pie, then driz­zle with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and bake un­til golden (about 15 min­utes). (DF)


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