Showing posts with label sauces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sauces. Show all posts

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mexico: Mole Poblano recipe

learning about Mexican chillies

One of the most elaborate pepper sauces in Latin America,  mole poblano de  Santa Rosa is the king of moles. A recipe based on Spanish and pre-Columbian cooking, it reflects the the colonial Mexican style with spices from the Mediterranean, local Mexican chillies, balanced with sweetness, sour and savouries with Moro elements.

Mole Poblano is made of : dried chillies ( I bought the chillies at Borough Market, London), spices that add aroma and flavor; nuts and seeds that act as thickening agents and add richness; bread gives body to the sauce, vegetables (onions, tomates, tomatillos*), garlic are bases of sofrito, they add body too. Dried or fresh fruits gives the mole body and sweetness. Chocolate or cocoa nibs and sugar important flavouring ingredients, added at the last stage of cooking, note that not all moles contain chocolate. Liquid (broth) dilute the paste ready to be used on final dishes.

Mole is used as sauces for meats like turkey and chicken, as dip for tortillas, to flavour tamales or empanadas and why not add a spoon to a duck dish?  This sauce is so luxurious and complex that it’s usually made for special occasions  like weddings, baptism or birthdays.  Mole is a labour of love, so make lots and keep some for special occasions or as a treat, if you can resist it!  It’s not too complicated but has a few steps so mise en place is highly recommended. 

Mole Poblano

Makes: about 1kg of thick, smooth velvety sauce


View the full recipe at Great British Chefs blog: hot&chilli

This recipe was adapted from the book:The Food of Latin America, Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Pressilla.   
To accompany this dish I prepared a Red Onion Pickled recipe below:

red pickled onions

 Red pickled onions: 
1 very large red onion cut lenghwise, in cold water for 10 minutes
juice of 4 bitter oranges (2 cups)
 salt, sugar, to taste
drain the onions, add the juice, salt and sugar
leave standing in a jar for at least 2 hours.
will keep in the fridge for a couple of days

mole poblano

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

roasted cod with wild garlic

Wild garlic is also known as ramsons, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leak or bear’s garlic is a wild relative of chives and a member of  the lily family which can cause mistakes in identification. When foraging, for an accurate identification just rub the leaves against each other, wild garlic produces a garlic-like smell. It comes into season at end of February till end of May at the latest in Europe.  It grows in woodlands with moist soils with a slightly acidic conditions.  Farmers consider it to be a pest, because the parts of the plant can infiltrate into the farmer’s picking grain, resulting in a lower price for their crop and dairy cattle that eat the plant can produce odorous milk. Despite these flaws, wild garlic has an important place in herbal medicine. The consuming or application of wild garlic in herbal remedies made from the plant can be beneficial, consult your physician before using this herb to treat any medical condition.

Wild garlic is said to be important to the Native Americans in the treatment of asthma and other respiratory diseases. In addition to harvesting the bulbs for food, some tribes chew them to assist breathing and to treat digestion and intestinal gas. During the Middle Ages, the herb was instrumental in cholera treatment and prevention of plague. The fresh juice of small bulbs was also used as medicine.
Studies have determined that the wild garlic can be beneficial in reducing high blood pressure. It contains allicin, which may be responsible for the herb health benefits. Allicin is known to be anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and a potential effective antioxidant. One of the possible uses include the treatment of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and high cholesterol. It can also act as a diluent for blood, making it useful for reducing the risk of blood clot formation. Evidence of all these benefits still to be proven.
The use of wild garlic comes with potential side effects. Frequent contact with the fresh plant can result in irritated skin or an allergic reaction. The use of gloves are highly recommended to harvest the grass. Do not give it to children or pregnant women in raw or medicinal state unless directed to do so by a physician. Wild garlic harvested from a farmer's field may contain traces of pesticides or other chemicals.

Whatever you believe in it’s potential medicinal effects or not, wild garlic  is one of  those culinary treats. In salads, sauces, soups, sandwiches and the most popular pesto, replacing the basil leaves in the recipe. Wild garlic pesto is a good way to preserve it and to last into the summer. Last year I whizzed the leaves in the food processor with olive oil only to make a paste. Then I placed the mixture into individual small jam jars topped with olive oil and kept them in the fridge.  It's a very concentrated paste which I  apply in my cooking as and when required. It can also be frozen in ice trays. This year I’ve make some of the paste again.

Here is a nice fresh recipe using the paste, roasted cod with wild garlic served in a bed of lentils. Here is a infographic designed to help you to buy sustainable cod : info

Roasted Cod with Wild Garlic 
yield: 4 portions

800 gr of cod steaks - de-boned 
300 gr of puy lentils 
1 white onion finely diced
4 red whole chillies
2 bayleaves
1 Italian lemon - juiced and zest
Olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Wild garlic paste ( recipe above) 
1) cook the lentils according to the packaging. Covered it with water, boil for 10mins, reduce the heat, add the whole chillies and bay leaves and cook in low heat for a further 35 mins. Reserve.
2) place the cod steaks in a heat-proof dish slightly buttered.  Add the cod and drizzle with olive oil.  place the steaks in a pre-heated oven and roast the cod for 20mins in high heat (200C)
3)  while the cod steaks roast in the oven, prepare the lentils by placing the diced onions in a pan with1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the onions till tender
4) add the lentils to the onions cook for 5 mins. Salt and pepper to taste.
5) in a pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of wild garlic paste, the zest of a lemon and juice of the lemon
6) by now the cod should be ready. 
7) plate the lentils and place the cod on top.
8) drizzle the wild garlic and lemon sauce on top of the cod steaks.
9) enjoy it!


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Valentine Lamb Steaks with Minty Brazilian Pesto and White Bean Mash

Donald Russell, Scottish butcher,  has kindly sent me their grass fed and hand cut valentine lamb loin steaks.  Heart shaped, they make an ideal center piece for a romantic meal at anytime or occasion. Lamb loin is a very succulent, tender and juicy piece of meat. It doesn't require long cooking time. This recipe is very quick, easy and makes a tasty meal. Whoever your Valentine is, you sure to make a good impression without breaking the bank! 

Lamb steaks with minty Brazilian pesto and white bean mash

2 people



4x Lamb steaks (approx. 350gr)

Marinate the steaks with olive oil, garlic, zest of 1 lemon and freshly ground pepper for 6 hours. Cover and leave it in the fridge.

Brazilian pesto

In the meantime make the pesto

Minty Brazilian Pesto


25gr Brazil Nuts

15 gr peanuts

15gr fresh mint

1 clove of garlic peeled

25gr flat parsley leaf

15gr fresh coriander leaves

150ml extra virgin olive oil

100gr of Parmesan cheese

chilli to taste


Mix all the ingredients in a blender . reserve.

Mash white beans


1 can of cannelli beans

1/2 clove of garlic minced

½ small white onion finally chopped

1/2 sprig of rosemary chopped

10gr of parsley chopped

lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a  pan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry the onion for 5 minutes then add the minced garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute.
  2. Drain the beans and add to the pan together with the rosemary and 1 cup of water (approx. 200ml)
  3. Cook the  beans, stirring constantly until they  are hot and liquid thickens, about 5 minutes.
Mash the beans, leaving some whole. Season with lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Keep it warm and reserve. 
use a bit of imagination and  you will see that the lamb steaks are heart-shaped

To prepared the lamb steaks

Heat a grilled pan or fry pan.
To help keep their shape use a skewer/cocktail stick before cooking.
Cook the steaks for 2 mins each side for medium rare  and well done 3 mins each side.

When ready leave it to rest for 10 mins wrapped in aluminium paper to keep it warm. Plate up bean mash, add the steaks and spread the pesto on top of it or serve separately.

Happy Valentines!
Previous posts on Donald Russell : The Balcon and Christmas Box

This post has been published at Great British Chefs Blog

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