Inspired by Masterchef: Thai Fish Cakes

For my honeymoon 3 and a half years ago we went to Thailand, to Bangkok and Koh Samui.  I loved it – the atmosphere, the scenery, the weather, and the food of course.  So, last week on Masterchef I was delighted when the contestants were flown to Thailand to cook in a market and then for a royal banquet.   Some of the best food we ate was also in a market, so I was especially interested in the street food.   Like with lot of Thai food, the paste is the base of the dish and so the contestants spent a long time pounding away with pestle and mortars.   I was a little lazier.   I used my pestle and mortar to crush the galangal, as it’s quite tough but then put it in the blender with all the other ingredients to make the paste.    I then just added the fish to the blender once the paste was made.   So, really easy fish cakes, much easier than making them in a Thai market.   Nevertheless, I’m fairly confident that I’ve managed to make quite good ones.    I didn’t use any flour, which leads to a denser, heavier fishcake so they stayed really light and juicy, but held together well and were bursting with flavour.  Definitely one to make again.

I just served these with a little squeeze of lime juice but they would normally be served with sweet chilli sauce.  However, I’m not keen on sweet and savoury together so didn’t bother to make any.   But, after this week’s show focusing on pastry, I will now be making something sweet and next week is the last week so there’ll only be two more Inspired by Masterchef posts to go.   For now anyway.

Ingredients – Makes 6 fish cakes

4 largish red chillies, most of the seeds removed

2 tsp lemongrass paste or a fresh lemongrass stalk

4 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

Small knob of galangal

Handful of coriander leaves

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 tsp fish sauce

200g white fish

1 lime (to serve)

How to make Thai Fish Cakes

1. In a pestle and mortar, crush the galangal then put in a food processor.   If using fresh lemongrass, also pound first in the pestle and mortar.  Add all the other ingredients to the food processor except the fish.   Blend to a paste.  Taste and made any adjustments if necessary.

2. Roughly chop the fish and add it to the food processor.

3. Take the mixture out of the food processor, using a tablespoon.   Place spoonfuls on a plate and flatten slightly.    Put in the fridge for half an hour.

4. Heat some oil in a frying pan and then fry the fish cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side.    Serve with lime wedges or sweet chilli sauce.

Inspired by Masterchef: Chocolate Ravioli with Cherry Sauce

I considered whether to call these Nutella ravioli or chocolate ravioli, but as they are Inspired by Masterchef I felt chocolate fitted the title better.   After all, if I’d had a little more time I could have made a ganache first, like for my truffles, and used that instead of resorting to a bought chocolate spread.   But hey, who doesn’t like Nutella, and as there is no sugar in the dough, the sweetness of the Nutella is enough to make the whole ravioli taste sweet.   If I’d made a ganache I might have made it a little sweeter than usual.   I’d never made pasta before.   Well, I’ve made gnocchi but I don’t consider that the same as pasta, and let me tell you, making pasta by hand is hard work.   The dough is not very soft so it is hard work to knead it, and then when you roll it out, it is also quite hard work.  I wanted to make a really thin dough but I was getting fed up of rolling out the dough and so stopped when it was probably a little too thick.    And that is my only regret about this dish. The cherry sauce was delicious and went so well with the Nutella ravioli.    I was worried the ravioli might split in the water but they held together well.   Unfortunately, the pasta was a little thick and I felt they could have done with another minute in the water to make sure all the dough was cooked through.   If only I’d had stronger arms, more patience or a pasta machine, because this would definitely have let me down if I had been on Masterchef.  Despite this, I was pleased to have tried something new and really enjoyed them.   Next time, I’ll have a bit more experience and hopefully will manage to make ravioli I could imagine serving on Masterchef.

I am linking this to Spice n Sugar Tales for Cakes, Cookies and Desserts and to Sweet as Sugar Cookies for Sweets for a Saturday.

Ingredients – Makes 6

100g strong white flour

1 egg

6 tsp (or possibly more) Nutella or other chocolate spread

2 handfuls of cherries

1 tbsp icing sugar

How to make Chocolate Ravioli with Cherry Sauce

1. Make the pasta dough.   Put the egg and flour in a food processor and blend until it forms a breadcrumb consistency.

2. Turn this mixture out onto a clean work surface.   Use your hands to bring the mixture together into a dough and then knead until it becomes smooth and no longer floury.

3. Wrap the dough in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for about half an hour.

4. Take the dough out of the fridge.   Ideally use a pasta maker to roll the dough thin.   However, I don’t have one and had to use a rolling pin.   The dough is quite firm so it is hard work.   Roll it as thin as possible.

5. Using a round pastry cutter or glass, cut the dough into circles about 5-6cm across.

6. Put a tsp of nutella on half of the circles.  Using another circle, press the dough together all the way around so that the nutella is well sealed in the middle.

7. Gently put the ravioli into boiling water.  They will sink to the bottom.  After they rise, continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

8. To make the sauce, cut the cherries in half and remove the stones.   Add a little water and most of the icing sugar.   Heat gently and stir.   The cherries will go a little soft and release some juice so a syrup forms with the sugar, water and cherry juice.   If it is too dry add a little extra water.

9. Serve the ravioli on top of the cherries and drizzle the sauce over the top.   Sprinkle with a little icing sugar too.

Inspired by Masterchef: Fennel Salad with Sea Bass

I really couldn’t decide what to make at first for my Inspired by Masterchef post after last week’s show.   I considered making a pearl barley risotto with fish, but I’ve already made a potato risotto with fish this series.   Also, the contestant who made it rather spoiled it by adding whiskey, so it’s probably not the ideal recipe they’d prefer to be remembered for.   Another option was beef with braised red cabbage, carrot puree, walnuts and rosemary.   I have to admit that this option came very close to winning out, but in the end, I opted for the fish with fennel salad, which has probably turned out quite differently to the recipe on the show.   It certainly looks very different.  On Masterchef dainty pieces of red mullet were arranged among fennel and tomatoes.   There certainly wasn’t a big pile of salad as on my plate.  There were also scallops with the dish on Masterchef, but as I’m allergic to them, they stayed well away from my plate.   So, as you can see, not really a winner for presentation, but it tasted delicious and made a relatively easy but very healthy midweek meal.

Ingredients – serves 2

1/2 bulb of fennel

2 tomatoes

4cm piece of cucumber

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp mind

1/2 tsp parsley

Salt

Black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

2 sea bass fillets or other white fish

How to Make Fennel Salad with Sea Bass

1. Sliced the fennel very thinly.    Cut the cucumber in half and also slice thinly lengthways. Slice the tomatoes too and put all the vegetables in a bowl.   Add the dried herbs, salt and pepper.   Finally add lemon juice and olive oil.   Mix well and leave for an hour before serving.

2. Panfry the fish and serve alongside the salad with extra lemon wedges.

Inspired by Masterchef: Tortilla Espagnol

I’m not really a fan of normal omelettes.   For some reason I get bored before I’ve finished eating them.    Maybe that’s why I haven’t eaten one for a long long time.   I do however, love spanish omelette and probably make one about once a month.   Maybe it’s the added potato that gives it more substance.   Maybe it’s just that I love putting chorizo in it, and chorizo changes so many simple recipes from just nice to delicious.    In fact, I have previously blogged about spanish omelette and that is the way I normally make it.   I add peppers and onions as well as the chorizo, and I just dice the potatoes.   This time, Inspired by Masterchef, I decided to try and make it the way it was made on the show.   Instead of just dicing the potatoes, I sliced them thinly using the food processor, and instead of just pouring the egg into the pan on top of all the other ingredients, I mixed everything together in a bowl before putting everything together into the frying pan.    Because there were no extra vegetables to bulk out the filling, there was a higher proportion of egg in this tortilla and because of the way the potatoes were sliced, they interlocked more and so the tortilla held together better when it was taken out of the pan and could more easily be eaten with your fingers like a pizza.    This did also mean that there was  less texture to the tortilla and my husband missed the peppers and extra chilli that I usually add to my spanish omelettes.   I was happy with it and did feel it was a bit more authentic than my normal method, but whether it will change the way I make this dish for ever, is still not decided.   Next time I may try a combination between the two.

How you like to eat omelettes?

Ingredients

6 eggs

1 large potato

1 chorizo sausage

2 tbsp grated manchego or other hard cheese

Black Pepper

Salt

How to Make Tortilla Espagnol

1. Using the slicing blade on the food processor, slice the potato into thin slices.    Boil for 5 minutes then drain.

2. Chop the chorizo into small pieces and fry in a frying pan until it is becoming crispy on the outsides.

3. In a bowl, beat the eggs.    Season and add the manchego.

4. Remove the chorizo from the frying pan, leaving the oil in the bottom of the pan.    Add the chorizo and potato slices to the egg mixture.   Stir so all the potato is coated in egg.

5. Put the potato and egg mixture back in the pan that the chorizo has been cooking in.   Turn the heat down and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the egg has just set.

6. When ready, put a plate on top and turn the pan over to turn out the tortilla

Inspired by Masterchef: Vegetarian Moussaka

If you think I’m taking the easy route with this challenge then I can quite see where you’re coming from.   Both this dish and my last one were inspired by canteen style tasks, not by fine dining.    Well, salmon en croute could certainly be fine dining, but moussaka is very rarely in that category, and would have to be presented much more daintily than this to have a chance.    But, it was a canteen task after all, and I think this moussaka would go down quite well as part of a canteen menu.   Well, I would happily choose it anyway.    In fact, I would rather eat something like this than some of the more fancy dishes and I’m a little scared that one week soon there will be nothing I actually want to make.   Never mind, I’ll worry about that when it happens.  As I’d never made a moussaka before, I decided this was a good challenge for me.   I ate a couple of moussakas on holiday in Cyprus a few years ago but I haven’t eaten many otherwise.   I know some moussakas have potatoes, some lentils and some neither.    I decided to add a few of both to mine so it would make a complete meal, but if I was making it again, I might miss out the potatoes as I didn’t think they added anything in terms of taste.  I used my own ideas for the main moussaka recipe but based the topping on this recipe on the Channel 4 website.   I liked the light bouncy consistency of the beaten yoghurt and egg and it would make a good topping for many other similar bakes including lasagna.   Despite my limited knowledge of Greek food, the filling tasted very Greek to me and I liked the combination of the warming spices along with the herbs.

I’m now looking forward to making my Spanish dish for next week!

Ingredients – Serves 2-3

1 aubergine

3 new potatoes

40g green lentils

1 pepper (red, green or yellow)

1 onion

1 clove garlic

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1tbsp chopped fresh mint

Salt

Black pepper

150g yoghurt

1 egg

50g parmesan

How to Make Vegetarian Moussaka

1. Follow the instructions on the pack for preparing the lentils and cook until soft and just beginning to split.

2. Slice the aubergine so the slices are about 1cm thick. Drizzle with oil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, turning over halfway through.

3. Peel and parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes.

4. Put a little oil in a saucepan and fry the onion over a low heat until softened.   Add the green pepper, herbs, spices, garlic, tomato puree and tomatoes.   Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.   When the lentils are soft, stir them in too.   Cook for another 5 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper.

5. Mix the sauce for the topping.    Beat the egg.   Add the yoghurt and beat together with the egg.   Add about 2/3 of the cheese.

6. Assemble the moussaka.   Oil an oven-proof casserole dish.  Put a layer of potato and aubergine on the bottom of the dish.    Put half the tomato and lentil mixture on top.    Put another layer of aubergine and potato.   Put the rest of the tomato mixture on top.    Top with the yoghurt sauce.   Sprinkle with the rest of parmesan.

7. Bake in the oven at about 180c for half an hour.

8. Serve with green salad.

Inspired by Masterchef: Salmon en Croute

This week my Inspired by Masterchef  challenge involved not only making salmon en croute for the first time, but making my own puff pastry for the first time too.   And I have to say, I am seriously impressed with myself.  The pastry actually had little layers in it – just like in real puff pastry!   I’d always heard that puff pastry was too much effort and that there was almost no point making it, it would be nowhere near as good as shop-bought, and you’d have wasted lots of time over it.  Well, it turns out I was wrong, conned, deceived because it is possible to do it yourself.   It might take a couple of hours but the smug self-satisfied, I did it feeling is definitely worth the effort.   Not that I’m saying you should never buy a block of ready-made puff pastry again, just that for special occasions and to feel that sense of achievement, it is something you should try at least once.    Now, I hope that has convinced you.

I did of course consider just using ready-made puff pastry, but the rest of this recipe is so simple that it would have felt like a cheat to do that.   To be honest, I don’t know if my salmon en croute is similar to the Masterchef one at all.   They were cooking canteen style for lots of people and served it with a fennel and orange salad (I think), but if I hadn’t watched Masterchef, I certainly wouldn’t have made this.  I adapted the recipe for the puff pastry from a Gordon Ramsey recipe.   I was shocked at the equal quantities of butter and flour so I did cut the butter down a little and it still made a very rich buttery pastry so the amount could be reduced even further still if you wanted to.  In fact, that is possibly the only problem with making certain things yourself.   When they are unhealthy, you know just how unhealthy!

Ingredients – Serves 2

For the Puff Pastry

120g strong white flour

100g butter

1/2 tsp salt

Approx 50ml cold water

For Filling

2 salmon fillets

2 tbsp cream cheese

Handful watercress

Black pepper

How to make Salmon en Croute

1. Make the puff pastry.  Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl.   Rub the butter into the flour but not as much as with normal pastry.   Leave relatively large lumps of butter.

2. Add the water a little at a time and mix with a knife so it binds together and forms a dough.    You probably won’t need all the water. cover the dough in cling film and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

3. Flour the work surface, your hands and the rolling pin.  Give the dough a quick knead and then roll it out.   Roll in one direction only so you get a long thin piece of pastry in which you can see streaks of butter.  Fold the top half down by one third and then fold the bottom half up.

4. Turn the dough around by 90 degrees then roll out again and repeat the process twice more.

5. Put the folded up dough back in the fridge for about half an hour.

6. Roll out the dough.  This time I did roll it in both directions as it would have been the wrong shape if I hadn’t.

7. If necessary remove the skin and any bones from the salmon. Season.   Place the salmon on the pastry.

8. Using a fork, mash the chives into the cream cheese.   Season with black pepper.   Then, spread the top of the salmon with the cheese mixture.    Fold the pastry around the salmon and seal the edges of the parcel well.   Use a fork to fold slightly and press the edges together.  Cut away any excess pastry.  Make slits on top of the pastry so excess steam can escape.

9.  Bake the parcels in the oven at about 200c for 35 minutes.

10. Serve the salmon with salad or vegetables.

Inspired by Masterchef: Chorizo Potato Risotto with Sea Bass

My favourite food programme is back on: Masterchef!   Last year when watching it I started a series of posts called Inspired by Masterchef and so this year I’m hoping to do the same.   Each week, after watching Masterchef, I will try to make something inspired by the show, to post by the end of the following week.   As each year gets harder and the processes and ingredients used get more complex for just an ordinary cook at home, I know that this is going to be a real challenge for me, especially as I have only just over a week to get the right ingredients and make each recipe.  Some of the recipes used on the show do get posted on the BBC food website, but that would be just too easy, I want to be a bit more creative.   Therefore, some of the recipes I post will attempt to recreate the recipe exactly, but based on my memory, whereas others will be a looser interpretation.

Well now, on to my first recipe.  I’d heard of potato risottos before and loved the idea of making a risotto with finely diced potato rather than rice.  So of course, when one of the contestants decided to make a potato, chive, chorizo and orange risotto with sea bream, I liked the sound of it.   Well, except for the orange juice, and neither did John and Greg.  Of course, for my recipe, out went the orange juice, and in came some lemon juice as a replacement, which I’m sure would have been much more popular among the Masterchef judges, if only the contestant hadn’t tried to be so ‘interesting’.

It’s important to use waxy rather than floury potatoes for this, as floury ones will disintegrate in the stock as they are in such small pieces.  I know when you look at my picture, the pieces of potato don’t look that small, but they did look small to me when I was chopping them up!    Maybe next time I will attempt a bit more refinement and dice the potato more finely.   That’s the only change I’ll make.   The chorizo and pimenton give the dish a lovely slightly smoky flavour and the taste really soaks into the pieces of potato.   The lemon juice is very subtle and keeps the whole dish light.    So overall, I’m very pleased with my first dish of the series and looking forward to my next one.  In fact, I’m so pleased I’m planning to cook this for quests, not just me and my husband!

If anyone else is as big a Masterchef fan as me and would like to join me in this challenge, let me know and I’ll provide a link to your recipe as well.

Ingredients – serves 2

2 sea bass fillets

5 small waxy potatoes (depending on size, enough for 2 people)

15g chives

1 clove garlic, crushed

100g fresh chorizo sausage, diced

A little chicken stock (approx 200ml)

1/2 tsp pimenton (sweet smoked paprika)

Black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

How to make Chorizo Potato Risotto with Sea Bass

1. Dice the potatoes into small rectangles.   Heat a little oil in a saucepan.   Add the chorizo.   Cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add the potatoes to the saucepan.   Stir to cover in all the oil from the chorizo.   Sprinkle with the pimenton.

3. Add the stock, so the potatoes are just covered, but not swimming in the liquid.   Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer.    Cover the pan.

4. Check the pan every so often and stir.    If it does start to get too dry, before it is fully cooked, add a tiny dash of water from the kettle.   It will take about 20 minutes for the potato to be fully cooked, soak up the flavours and become a little soft.  During this stage, cook the sea bass.    I like to fry in a little oil so the skin goes crispy, but you could grill or steam it.

5. Just before serving, stir through the chives, season with black pepper and add the lemon juice.

6. Serve the sea bass on top of the risotto.

Review of 2011

So, it’s been a good year.   Although I began this blog at the beginning of 2010, I wrote very few posts and only began blogging regularly towards the end of that year.  Looking at the stats I can see that I’ve had almost 15 times as many visits this year, as last year, and this month has been the busiest yet.   There have been a few blogging ups and downs during the year though. During the first three months of my pregnancy I couldn’t face cooking, reading or writing about food and missed not being able to keep up with it.   Since I’ve been feeling better, I’ve still been feeling very tired and so haven’t managed to cook new things or post as often as I’d like.     Looking ahead to 2012, I’d love to get round to making all the recipes I bookmark, continue to create my own inventive ones and manage to blog more regularly throughout the whole year.   Unfortunately I already know that little baby B’s appearance will make that rather a challenge.

One thing I did at the end of last year, was make a list of all the dishes I wanted to make this year.   I’ve made some, and they were well worth it, especially the beef wellington, which was possibly my favourite dish of the year.   Others, such as lasagna, have yet to be made but I still fully intend to make it.

Back in Spring, while watching my favourite cooking programme, Masterchef, I began a series of posts called Inspired by Masterchef.   Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these posts turned out to be the most popular posts of the year.

Anyway, counting down from 10 to 1, the most popular posts of 2011 on Searching for Spice were:

10. Greek Lemon Chicken

9. Inspired by Masterchef: Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Sauce

8. Inspired by Masterchef: Nasi Goreng

7. Inspired by Masterchef: Pear Tarte Tatin and mackerel Wrapped in Bread

6. Stuffed Jacket Potato Skins

5. Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine

4. Sausage Rolls

3. Inspired by Masterchef: Chilli and Black Pepper Tofu

2. Creamy Chorizo Pasta

1. Inspired by Masterchef: Gnocchi with Chorizo and Garlic

Judging by the top 2, chorizo is clearly one of the most popular ingredients on my blog!   If only pregnant women weren’t banned from eating it!  Anyway,  I’m proud to see all these dishes in my top 10 and look forward to seeing what turns out to be popular next year.

It’s now time to look forward to 2012.   I don’t want to set myself too many targets this year – just to keep on blogging, however busy I might get, and to finally make a lasagna!

Inspired by Masterchef: Mango Parfait and Lime Ginger Jelly

It’s a little sad to think that this is my last Masterchef post of the series.   I’ve enjoyed watching each episode, making notes and thinking of what I could make.   At the same time, the last few weeks have been very hectic as I’ve been away at weekends and been very busy at work so I haven’t always had as much time as I’d have liked.   Even so, I’ve managed to make something every week including lots of things that I had never made before, such as the Frangipane tart and the dumplings.   As a result, I feel I have learnt a lot and developed my cooking.  And I have to say, I’ve done it all in the much less stressful environment of my own home rather than in the Masterchef studio.   I’d still like to take part in Masterchef, but as you’ll see from the picture below, my presentation skills are still not quite up to scratch.

Regarding statistics, by far and away the most popular dish of the series has been Ottolenghi’s Chilli and Black Pepper Tofu.   Not only has it has the most views of all my Masterchef dishes, it has been the most popular post of the last 7 days, 30 days, and the last quarter, narrowly beaten into third place over the last year by creamy chorizo pasta and slow cooker chicken tagine.   I suspect it may soon overtake these two dishes and become the most popular dish of all time.

When deciding what to make this week I was very tempted by Tim’s trio of burgers.   Not, however tempted to make them his way as I didn’t fancy raw beef, just to make all my favourite burgers as minis.  But, I ate so much meat last weekend that I was craving vegetarian food all week and so the burgers will just have to wait.   When I decided on Sara’s parfait I have to admit that I wasn’t actually quite sure what distinguished a parfait from a mousse, a fool, a panna cotta or any other creamy looking dessert often made in a ramekin.   The main reason I chose it is that mango is my favourite fruit, and so it had to be good.   Anyway, with a bit of research I discovered that a French style parfait is a frozen creamy dessert, but there is also an American style parfait, which is served in a glass with cream and fruit, possibly more like what I would think of as a fool.    Then as I was doing my research into how to make a French style parfait, I actually came across Sara’s recipe on the BBC Food website.    For all I know, all the other dishes I’ve made are there as well, I just haven’t checked yet, and I don’t think I want to.  It was more fun to develop them myself.    Anyway, due to lack of time, I did follow Sara’s recipe for the parfait, I just reduced it by a third, so it would serve 4 instead of 6, and actually found there was only enough for 3 servings.    Instead of making a passionfruit glaze, I decided a lime and ginger glaze would complement the mango well and give it a sight Caribbean flavour.   Although I kept taking it out of the fridge to stir, I obviously didn’t do it quite often enough so it turned out more like a  jelly than a  glaze.    At one point it was perfect as a glaze, thick and smooth, the next time I looked at it, it was set.     I would advise making it an hour before serving if you want it as a glaze.  If you’re happy for it to be a jelly, you can make it whenever’s convenient, which for me, was straight after making the parfait.

Now, as I’ve said, this dish would not win the Masterchef final for me in terms of presentation, the cling film must have had  quite a few creases in it, and the jelly looks like a kid’s been playing with it when I put it on the top of the parfait.  I hope it won’t put you off.   Personally,  I thought the star was the lime jelly, I loved it, and thought it went really well with the parfait.   My husband prefered the parfait and wasn’t quite so keen on the jelly.   We’ll just argue between ourselves about who has the better palate…

I’m also sending this to Sweet as Sugar Cookies’ Sweets for a Saturday.

Parfait Ingredients

160g Mango

46g sugar

120ml Cream

2 egg yolks

Jelly Ingredients

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1g gelatine leaf

How to make Mango Parfait

1. Puree the mango in a blender.

2. Put the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl.   Mix together with a fork then put over a pan of simmering water and use a whisk to beat until pale, fluffy and tripled in volume. Remove from the heat.

3. Fold the mango puree into the egg and sugar mixture.

4. Whisk the cream until it thickens but doesn’t go too stiff.  Mix the cream into the mango mixture.

5. Line 3 ramekins with cling film. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.  Put in  the freezer for 2 hours.

6. When ready to serve, turn the ramekins upside down and pull gently on the cling film to release the parfait.

How to make Lime Ginger Jelly

1. Soak the gelatine leaf in cold water for up to 5 minutes or until soft.

2. Put the lime juice and sugar in a bowl. Heat in the microwave till the sugar dissolves and the juice is hot.

3. Add the soft gelatine leaf to the  lime juice.   Stir in so it dissolves and add the grated ginger.

4. Put in the fridge till ready to serve.   Keep taking it out a stirring, especially if you want it to be more like a glaze than a jelly.   Serve on the side as a jelly, or on the top as a glaze, but only if it hasn’t set as much as in the picture below.

Inspired by Masterchef: Steamed Pork Dumplings

I’ve just got back from a long weekend away so this post is very very late.  Everyone will have forgotten all about this episode by the time I get around to posting.  Masterchef has already finished and I still have one more post to do too.    Well, this dish is inspired by  Jackie, the vegetarian with a love of Asian street food.  So why have they got meat in?   Well, for one of her last dishes she made three dumplings – 2 vegetarian ones and one pork one.    The judges liked the vegetarian ones better.   So again, why the pork?   Well,  I have to be completely honest here.   I just couldn’t remember what stuffing had been used for the other dumplings.   Not a great reason I know, but I also felt like using pork.   Again, my logic may  not quite make sense but I am not a huge fan of dumplings.   I think it’s the soft texture and lack of crispiness.   Even so, I would happily make these again.   They were full of flavour and the rice pancakes made them lighter than a doughy dumpling would have been.

Next weekend I will be posting my last Inspired by Masterchef recipe for this series, but I am planning to do the same for future series’.

Ingredients

300g pork

10 rice paper pancakes

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 knob of ginger, finely diced

1 chilli pepper, finely diced

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp mixed peppercorns, crushed

1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp plain flour

Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/2  spring onion, finely diced

1 Chilli pepper, finely sliced

How to make Steamed Pork Dumplings

1.Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings.   When the mixture is well combined, form it into meatballs.

2. Fill a bowl with warm water.  Put in one of the rice paper pancakes.  When it is soft and pliable take it out.  Use a teatowel to absorb excess water.  Put a meatball in the middle and wrap the pancake around it.

3. Put all the dumplings in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes.

4. While the dumplings are steaming prepare the dipping sauce.  Mix all the ingredients together.   Taste and then adjust and seasonings if necessary.