Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spicy Mexican salsa

This one time in March it was Leith's birthday and we made all this Mexican food. And Pete Hyde was there and he offered to make salsa. It was the most incredible salsa ever and I will never buy salsa in a jar ever again. Not least because this recipe takes about half the time of going to the shops.

That day in March Pete showed us how he made this salsa, and now I'm going to show you.

  • tomatoes (4-8 depending on their size)
  • capsicum (I like to use red and green so there's some extra colour in the finished product)
  • chillies - hot - see above re: colour (use as many or as few as you fancy)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • garlic
  • spanish onion
  • coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste 

I recall that when Pete made this he only used 5 ingredients, so I've clearly fancied it up a little. I don't use much onion at all - like 1/4 of an smallish onion. And only a few cloves of garlic, because I don't want to overpower the lovely tomatoey capsicummy taste.

Cut the centre from the capsicums. Put your nightshades in a heavy duty pan. No oil, no water, just the produce. Then cook them over the heat until they start to blacken and spit. Turn them reguarly so they soften and blacken on most/all sides.  The blackened skins add a lovely texture and flavour to the finished salsa.

Put them in a mixer (removing the tops of the chillies first) with the lemon juice, garlic, onion, coriander and salt and pepper if you're using them. Turn on for all of about 5 seconds.

Ta da! You just made salsa.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuna and Broccoli Penne with Chilli and Garlic


Pasta. It's the thing I make when I can't think what to make but I desperately need something yummy. 

Broccoli. I am craving broccoli at the moment. I guess this is my body's way of responding to Winter and all the humdrum that seems to come with it.

Tuna. Protein. Freshness. Health. Etcetera.

So this pasta not the quickest, but it's still pretty quick. It's got a few steps but they're all hella basic. And it's both yummy AND good for you. Rock.
  • 500g penne
  • Two heads of broccoli. That's right, two! 
  • Tuna steaks. Proper fresh tuna steaks from a fishmonger that have been farmed sustainably, thank you.
  • Garlic. Just, shitloads of it, okay?
  • Chilli. Hot ones.
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Grated Reggiano

Start by preparing your tuna. Take it from the fridge and rub some good olive oil into it on all sides, season with some salt and pepper. Then leave it to rest on the bench for about 10 minutes.

Cut your broccoli into small florets. Blanche it in salted water for absolutely no more than 60 seconds, then strain it.

Heat a non-stick pan to a medium heat, put the tuna on and cover it. You don't need to add oil as the fish has a lovely coating already. Sear the tuna until almost cooked through (you can check by slicing into it with a knife - you want it to be still pink in the middle), flip and sear the other side and remove from the heat. Take it from the pan, and let it rest. Don't rinse the pan you've cooked it in - you can use it again in a moment and you want to keep the tasty fish juices.

While the fish is cooking, finely chop the garlic and chilli. Put your breadcrumbs in a dry pan and put it on a low heat. Toss the crumbs occassionally to prevent them burning, and remove from the heat. Once the fish has rested for at least five minutes, break it down into large flaky chunks. It will do this quite easily. You want it to be all pink and fleshy in the middle.

Put the pasta on. When it's done and draining, reheat your fish pan and add a splash of oil. Add the garlic and chilli and stir through for a minute, so that it's highly fragrant  but not burnt.


Put the drained pasta, broccoli and tuna chunks in the pot, add the garlic and chilli oil. Toss the lot through with lots of salt and pepper, fresh lemon juice and another splash of olive oil. Serve with the breadcrumbs and grated parmasen.