Posts Tagged ‘nutmeg’

This is adapted from the simple recipe in Simon Hopkinson’s latest book The Good Cook.

He uses butter and vermouth. I’m trying it with olive oil and white wine–fits in better with my way of eating.

It’ll be different–but if the salmon and the spinach are good….

The single pot and the short cooking time make it a useful quick lunch–

for two.

2 salmon fillets–skin left on

1 shallot–chopped fine

300gms/10oz spinach–washed, de-spined and spun free of water

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine

a grating of nutmeg

salt and pepper

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot with a top.
  • Sauté the shallot for a couple of minutes to soften it.
  • Add the wine and leave it to bubble a moment or two.
  • Lay a third of the spinach in the pan and place the salmon fillets over it.
  • Sprinkle over some salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
  • Cover the salmon with the rest of the spinach.
  • Scatter the remaining tablespoon of oil over the spinach and cover the pan.
  • Cook for seven minutes over a low heat.
  • Turn the heat off and leave the pan covered for ten minutes before serving.
  • These timings can vary depending on the thickness of the salmon fillets.

Less rich than the original might have been, but we enjoyed it.

Meredith suggests I be a bit bolder with the nutmeg next time.

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We rolled up from London last night heaving sighs of relief to be back.

The cats were a bit crabby and there was no heat or  hot water–but there’s no place like home, Toto!

Nephew Dominic had kindly laid two fires and we were soon hunkered down in the kitchen, eating plates of rather too al-dente penne in tomato sauce!–a glass or two of Italian red softened us up at least.

Sitting in the larder was a butternut squash– looking a little hurt at being neglected for two weeks.

Well–this evening it will help keep our bodies warm and our  spirits up, transformed into:

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

for 4

1 onion–chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 butternut squash–peeled and medium diced

leaves from 3/4 sprigs of fresh thyme–chopped

1 small dry red chili

1.5 pints/just over a litre of stock

salt and pepper

a good grating of nutmeg

dry roasted pumpkin seeds–lightly crushed

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onion and sweat on a low heat for 5 minutes until soft.
  • Add the squash, the chili, the thyme and turn the whole mix over.
  • Season with salt and pepper–remembering that the stock will have salt in it.
  • Add the stock, bring it slowly up to the boil and let it simmer until the squash is tender.
  • Remove the chili and let the soup cool a little before liquidising it.
  • Check the seasoning–mine needed more salt.
  • Serve hot with the pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

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A “use up those vegetables in the fridge” soup–very simple.

I made it this morning with our lunch in mind–another comfort soup for autumn–finally arrived.

I came back from a walk to find our friends and neighbours Flo and Thierry here–with gifts of sweet chestnuts and champagne, brought to toast the arrival of autumn–great minds…!

They stayed for an improvised lunch, anchored by a bowl of hot soup.

for 4

3 fennel bulbs–outer layers removed, halved and chopped

2 leeks–thoroughly washed and roughly sliced

3 garlic cloves–peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon of olive oil

a sprig each of rosemary and thyme–tied together if possible

A good pinch of nutmeg–grated

1 litre/2 pints of stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

2 tablespoons of parmesan–grated

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the chopped fennel, leeks and garlic.
  • Turn them over in the oil.
  • Add the little bunch of rosemary and thyme.
  • Gently sweat the vegetables–covered — for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the herbs.
  • Add the pinch of grated nutmeg.
  • Add the stock, bring up to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • When the soup has cooled a little–liquidise it.
  • Stir in the parmesan and check the seasoning.
The hosts were distracted, so no more photos–desolé!

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Garam masala is an ingredient in the dal recipe I posted a few days ago (see Gentle Lentils) and was new to some people.

Garam means hot and masala means a spice mix.

The “hot” is not a spicy hot but rather a heat that warms the body (in principle).

I’ve learnt about this subtle and delicate flavouring mix from Kris Dhillon whose cookbook, The Curry Secret, is from the same imprint as Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–i.e. Right Way).

He writes:

“…the theory comes from the Hindu concept of medicine and diet called tridosha, which teaches that some foods have a warming effect on the body while others have a cooling effect. Spices such as cardomans, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are garam constituents of this aromatic mixture.”

Garam masala is usually added towards the end of the cooking process; it can also be sprinkled over cooked food to enhance the flavour.

It is a mixture of spices that has infinite variations. You can buy it (just as you buy curry powder) or you can make your own. This version is from the wonderful Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, author of  Indian Cookery.

1 tablespoon cardoman seeds

2″/5 cm stick of cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 a small nutmeg–grated

Whizz the mix to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.

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