Tag Archives: trout

Rainbow poke bowl

29 May

So fresh, colourful and easy: my rainbow poke bowl. (Photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Poke bowls haave been getting a lot of attention in South Africa these days – two years after gaining popularity in the States and elsewhere during 2015. If you have not seen it yet, it’s an age-old traditional Hawaiian seafood dish made up of hot rice (sometimes mixed with sliced seaweed) in a round bowl topped with cubed or sliced raw fish (sometimes marinated), vegetables like avocado or spring onion and a dressing of soy sauce. Poke (pronounced POH-keh) means “cut up” and the end-result is only as good as the freshness and quality of the ingredients.

This simple concept wins my vote hands down. You might know that I’m not a salad person, but I absolutely adore the fresh flavours that usually come with Japanese and Vietnamese recipes. Although this dish is traditionally Hawaiian, the ingredients are astonishingly similar to Japanese sushi and Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls. Popular toppings are tuna, salmon and octopus, but vegetarian options also include tofu and kimchi. New world twists include substitutions like quinoa or freekeh for the base, and tomato, beans, sriracha and mayo on top.

This was my first attempt at a poke bowl. I call it “rainbow”, because the colours are just too beautiful: coralicious salmon, pale green avo, pink pickled ginger, purple cabbage, bright orange carrot, green and purple spring onion, grassy green coriander, ivory sprouts and a fabulous tropical summer ingredient: yellow mango. My base is basmati, although sushi rice will work even better. I mixed finely sliced blackish nori sheets and some rice vinegar into my cooked rice for some added zing and lots of umami.

This dish is stunning in every sense: visually beautiful, delightfully textural and a taste explosion. It is a fantastic choice as a pack-in lunch or outdoor picnic. I look forward to exploring many more combinations this year.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 1,5 cups rice (sushi, jasmine or basmati)
  • 15 ml rice vinegar
  • 1-2 cups finely sliced dried seaweed/nori sheets
  • about 320-400 g fresh salmon, skinless and boneless, sliced/cubed
  • 1 large avo, sliced/cubed
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup mango, peeled & diced
  • 1 bunch spring onion, finely sliced
  • 4 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced
  • a handful sprouts
  • a handful fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • a sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • soy sauce, for dressing

Method:

  1. Cook your rice according to the manufacturer’s ingredients using salted water. When cooked and drained, add the vinegar and sliced nori and stir well.
  2. Fill your bowls half-full with the hot rice mixture. Top with salmon, avo, cabbage, carrot, mango, spring onion, sprouts and coriander in neat sections. Sprinkle the salmon with sesame seeds, then add soy sauce to taste. Serve immediately.

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Smoked trout terrine

11 Aug

A beautifully laid-back yet elegant starter for your special occasion (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A beautifully laid-back yet elegant starter for your special occasion (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

There’s just something about a beautiful terrine that looks like it’s time to celebrate. This festive loaf is lined with smoked trout ribbons and filled with a creamy mixture of flaked cooked trout, fresh cream and lots of herbs.

It is not cheap to make, but it will feed a crowd and I promise that they’ll ask you to make it again. I love serving this as an elegant yet laid-back starter with crips melba toasts or crackers and some lemon wedges.

Although this terrine is such a summer stunner, you can make it all year round – all the ingredients should be available in a good supermarket. If you prefer a smoky flavour, use hot smoked trout for the filling (if you’re a progressive cook, you might even have the tools to smoke the fish at home!), but for a milder flavour you can opt for poached/steamed/grilled trout.

A slice of pale coral trout terrine and melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A slice of pale coral trout terrine and melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients: (serves 10-12)

  • 15 ml oil (for brushing inside of terrine tin)
  • 200 g cold smoked trout ribbons
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 20 ml gelatine powder
  • 3 cups deboned flaked trout (cooked or hot smoked, skin and bones removed)
  • juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 250 g plain cream cheese
  • a large handful of chopped herbs (chives, dill, parsley)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 125 ml cream, whipped
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • capers, for topping (optional)
  • pea shoots, for topping (optional)

Method:

  1. Use a pastry brush to oil the inside of a classic terrine dish or a 30 x 11 x 7 cm loaf tin. Line the inside of the tin with plastic wrap – leave the excess to hang over the sides for later.
  2. Use ribbons of cold smoked trout to carefully line the inside of the tin, slightly overlapping to create a continuous effect (leave 2 or 3 for covering the top at the end).
  3. Pour the cold chicken stock in a small sauce pan, then add the gelatine powder and stir to combine. Leave to sponge for 10 minutes, then heat gently on the stove top and stir until the gelatine has dissolved completely – do not boil. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a food processor, add the trout flakes, lemon juice, cream cheese and herbs. Now add the still slightly warm gelatine mixture and process to combine. Season generously with salt & pepper, then mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, then add the whipped cream and gently fold it in until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the trout-lined tin and use a spatula to smooth the top.
  6. Cover the mixture with the remaining trout ribbons, then carefully fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the terrine. Use another sheet of plastic wrap to cover the top of the terrine, then place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  7. To serve, remove the top layer of plastic wrap and fold the sides of the wrap open. Turn out onto a serving board, then carefully remove the tin and rest of the plastic wrap. Sprinkle with more chopped herbs or pea shoots and a handful of capers, and serve with a few slices of lemon wedges and your choice of toast or crackers.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

A Christmas picnic table with Poetry Stores: Part 2

17 Dec

My Christmas picnic spread (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

With only one week to go until Christmas, everyone’s planning their spreads and feasts. A lot of us will not only have a Christmas eve dinner, but also a Christmas day lunch. I love to go traditional for a Christmas dinner with a hot roast and lots of sides, but when it is daytime I really prefer a cold Christmas spread, casual yet indulgent – something that you can even take on the road and have as a picnic in a beautiful location.

My choices for the perfect Christmas picnic table comes from The Picnic Cookbook by Annie Bell (R285 from Poetry Stores). Annie’s recipes are simple but scrumptious, and her book is a great choice for any al fresco feast. The maple roast ham is glazed with a beautifully dark mixture of black treacle, maple syrup and English mustard – easy to make ahead and simply delicious served cold or at room temperature. I’ve also chosen Annie’s recipe for gravadlax, a wonderful alternative to cold smoked fish. I used locally farmed trout instead of salmon for the gravadlax – use what you prefer and what you can afford. For a salad I chose Annie’s couscous salad with pistachios and pomegranate – one of the most beautiful salads to look at with bright green and red specs! I also made her aubergine veggie roast with goat’s cheese and tomatoes.

For dessert I tried Annie’s recipe for salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread – my favourite recipe of the day. These indulgent treats are totally amazing, a little over the top but perfect for a Christmas feast.

Me and Tasha used a selection of Poetry‘s beautiful wooden boards (oval wooden board = R399) to put this spread together, as well as some of their pretty colourful little bowls and placemats (pom-pom placemat = R99). For the shortbread we used a dainty white cake stand (R250) which also comes with a glass dome lid. All of these make beautiful Christmas gifts, so get to Poetry Stores this week and browse their full collection.

Maple roast ham with Dijon mustard, and aubergines with goat’s cheese and tomatoes (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Maple roast ham: (serves 6-8)

  • 1 x 2kg unsmoked gammon, boned and rolled
  • 3 outer stalks of celery, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 30 ml maple syrup
  • 5 ml black treacle
  • 10 ml English mustard
  1. Place the gammon in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Discard the water and start again with fresh water to cover, this time adding the chopped vegetables and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then maintain at a gently simmer over a low heat for  50 minutes. If necessay, top up with boiling water halfway through.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C. Tranfer the gammon from the saucepan onto a board using two forks. Remove any string around the ham and pull off the rind. Slice the fat at 2cm intervals with a criss-cross pattern, without cutting down as far as the flesh.
  3. Blend the maple syrup, treacle and mustard in a bowl and use this to coat the ham evenly oall over. Place the ham in a roasting tin and pour some stock to cover the base and prevent the drippings burning. Roast for 35-45 minutes until the glaze is mahogany coloured and dry. Leave to cool, then carve at home before your picnic.

Gravadlax with mustard sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Gravadlax: (serves 6-8)

  • 100 g rock salt
  • 100 caster sugar
  • 20 g yellow mustard seeds
  • a small bunch of dill, finely chopped, plus some to serve
  • 900 g salmon/trout fillet, skin-on, pin boned
  • little gem heart leaves or buttered rye bread to serve

Method:

  1. Comine the salt, sugar, mustard seeds and dill in a bowl. Scatter a quarter of the salt mixture over a piece of clingfilm large enough to wrap the two fillets up in when placed on top of each other. Place one fillet skin-down on top, scatter over 2/3 of the reamining mixture, then lay the second fillet on top so the thick part of the fillet is on top of the thin part of the fillet, and they lie flesh to flesh. Scatter over the remaining salt mixture, wrap in the salmon up tightly and then in foil.
  2. Weight the salmon down by placing something heavy on top, then refrigerate for 48 hours, turning the parcel every 12 hours. The sugar and salt will draw the juices out of the salmon and turn into a sticky bring.
  3. Unwrap the salmon and rinse the marinade off the fresh side. ome of the mustard seeds and dill should remain but you will get rid of the excess salt and sugar. Place the fillets skin-side down on the work surface, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Press some chopped dill into the surface.
  4. Trim the edges of the fillets, then slice the gravadlax diagonally off the skin, thicker than you would slice a smoked salmon. Serve with mustard sauce.

Mustard sauce:

  • 150 g soured cream
  • heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • heaped tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 15 ml caster sugar

Mix it all together, then leave to stand for 15 minutes for the sugar to melt. Stir again and serve cold.

Couscous salad with pistachios and pomegranates (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Couscous salad with pistachios and pomegranate:

  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • sea salt
  • a pinch of saffron filaments
  • 200 g couscous
  • seeds of 1 medium pomegranate
  • 75 g shelled pistachios
  • 90 ml chopped coriander
  • 90 ml chopped mint
  • zest of a lemon (finely grated)
  • 15 ml lemon juice
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • pomegranate syrup, to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Bring the stock to the boil in a small saucepan, season with salt, and add the saffron. Pout this over the couscous in a large bowl, then cover and set aside for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to break up the lumps. Leave to cool completely.
  2. Mix the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, herbs and lemon zest into the couscous. Whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil and some salt, them pour over the salad and toss to coat well.

Aubergine veggie roast with goat’s cheese and tomatoes: (serves 6)

  •  3 aubergines, sliced into 3cm thick rounds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 150 g young firm goat’s cheese, cut into 1cm thick dice
  • coarsely chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Lay the aubergine slices out on a couple of baking trays. Brush with oil on both sides and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
  3. At the same time, scatter a little salt over the tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Transfer the aubergines to a large roasting dish that holds them in a single layer. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil over the tomatoes, and gently toss, then mix with the goats cheese. Pile this on top of the aubergines, them return to the oven for 5 minutes to warm through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Scatter with parsley.

Salt caramel millionaire’s shortbread (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread:

For the shortbread:

  • 225 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 115 g ground almonds
  • 5 ml vanilla extract

For the caramel:

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 70 g caster sugar
  • 15 ml golden syrup
  • 275 g Caramel Treat (or dulce de leche)
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt

For the top:

  • 200 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 25 g white chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients for the shortbread in a food processor and whizz to form a dough. Press into a buttered baking tin (27 x 18 cm), then prick with a fork and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Pre-heat oven to 140 C, then bake the shortbread for 45 minutes. Leave to cool.
  • Place all the ingredients for the caramel in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring well. Simmer gently for 8 minutes, stirring often, then pour over the shortbread base and leave to cool completely.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, then pour over the caramel and smooth the top. If you want to marble the surface, melt the white chocolate in the same way, then drop 1/4 teaspoons on top of the dark, marbling it with a cocktail stick. Work quickly.
  • Set aside in a cool place until set but still soft, then cut into squares and chill. Store in an airtight container.

 

Credits:

All recipes by Annie Bell, from her book The Picnic Cookbook.

Food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Ilse van der Merwe & Tasha Seccombe

Homeware: Poetry Stores

Grilled whole trout stuffed with lemon, fennel & herbs

3 Dec

Whole baked trout, stuffed with fennel, lemon & herbs (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

As we are gearing up for another summery festive season, many of us are starting to put together ideas for our Christmas lunches and dinners. To me, it is probably the most festive meal of the year, where family and friends are treated to the best of our bounties and abilities.

Christmas food doesn’t have to be formal, though. I’ve noticed that more people are moving away from heavier red meat roasts and vegetables, opting for  lighter, summery, al fresco choices. With Christmas falling in the middle of summer time in South Africa, I’ve always loved food that you could eat cold, like my cold Christmas platter, or food that you can braai as part of a relaxing afternoon with family and friends. While most of us are on holiday at the coast during this time, it just makes sense to consider fish as a main course.

Rainbow trout is a sustainably farmed local freshwater fish, and a perfect choice for a Christmas lunch or dinner. It’s delicate pink flakes are so beautiful to look at, and wonderfully tasty to eat. If you can get hold of a whole trout from your local fishmonger, make sure that is fresh, gilled and gutted. This way you can just rinse it at home, stuff it, and put it on the braai or in the oven. So very easy.

I love to serve this trout with a crisp green fennel & celery & apple salad, as well as cracked roasted baby potatoes and a fantastic versatile yoghurt mustard sauce. The recipes for the salad and potatoes will follow shortly, but I’ll include the recipe for the yoghurt sauce here. Remember that you can use the sauce on the fish, but also on the salad and the potatoes. The fish and potatoes are best served warm, but can certainly also successfully be served at room temperature.

Ingredients for whole stuffed trout:

(Serves: 6)

(Difficulty: easy)

  • 1 x whole trout, gilled and gutted (about 1.6 – 2 kg)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x medium lemons, sliced
  • 1 x large fennel bulb, sliced
  • a handful of fennel fronds (reserved from the bulb)
  • a handful of chopped Italian parsley
  • juice of a lemon

Method:

  1. If you are going to use an oven to cook your fish, pre-heat it to 200 C. If you are going to braai it, get your fire ready to braai the fish over medium hot coals.
  2. Rinse the trout well under cold water, then pat dry with a tea towel.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, make angled incisions in the sides of the fish, about 3 on a side. Season the inside of the incisions well with salt and pepper. Season the inside of the gutted cavity as well.
  4. Use lemon sliced, fennel slices & parsley to stuff into the incisions and cavity, then drizzle the stuffed parts with lemon juice. Season the outside of the fish with salt and pepper, then place it on a piece of oiled foil on a roasting tray and roast in the oven at 200 C for 25-30 minutes. If you are going to braai it, place the fish inside a large hinged grid (without any foil), then braai over medium hot coals on both sides for about 30 minutes in total. Oil the inside of your grid to ensure that the fish doesn’t stick to the grid.
  5. Transfer the fish to a large serving platter, and serve with a fresh fennel salad, roast potatoes and a yoghurt mustard sauce.

For the yoghurt mustard sauce:

  • 250 ml double cream Greek yoghurt
  • 2 heaped tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
  • juice of a medium size lemon
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • 30-45 ml chopped fresh dill (or fennel fronds)
  • some cracked black pepper
  • a pinch of salt

Mix it all together and serve cold, with the fish.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Sesame crusted trout on rice noodles with an Asian broth

18 Oct

Pan fried sesame crusted trout on a bed of rice noodles with tenderstem broccoli & exotic mushrooms in an asian broth (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I’m constantly looking for new ways to cook with trout – new flavour combinations, new techniques, fresh approaches. Trout is such a fabulous choice of fish in South Africa as it is sustainably farmed, delicious and very rich in the good Omegas.

I adore simple, traditional Asian flavours: ginger, star anise, cinnamon, lemon grass and soy.  In this light summery recipe, I’ve combined these flavours in a broth, adding glassy rice noodles and exotic mushrooms topped with blanched bright green tenderstem broccoli and pan fried sesame-crusted trout fillet portions. The result is a delicate meal with beautiful colours and varying textures, perfect for lunch or dinner – slightly more sophisticated than my usual rustic fare.

PS: Most Asian food stores stock rice noodles (or you can use glass noodles), but you should also be able to find it at some of the bigger commercial supermarkets. In Stellenbosch, you’ll find it at the Boord SPAR.

Ingredients for Asian broth: (serves 4-6)

  • 4 cups (1 litre) good quality chicken stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 6-8 slices fresh ginger (you can leave the skin on)
  • 1 piece of lemon grass
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 2-3 teaspoons (10-15 ml) good quality soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, then bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve (or use some muslin cloth for a less cloudy result), then set aside.

Ingredients for rest of the recipe:

  • 250 g rice noodles
  • 1.5 litres boiling water
  • a few small shiitake mushrooms or other small exotic mushrooms (optional)
  • 125 g tenderstem broccoli (or other green vegetables that you love)
  • 1-1,2 kg of fresh trout fillets, rinsed under cold water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
  • 15 ml canola oil for frying (or vegetable oil)
  • sliced spring onions (for garnish, optional)
  1. Place the glass noodles in a large mixing bowl, then cover with recently boiled water and leave to stand for about 10-15 minutes (or according to the instructions on the packet. Drain in a colander just before you’re reade to plate.
  2. Return the strained broth to a small saucpan on the stove top, then add the mushrooms and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside. Taste the broth and add some more salt or soy sauce if necessary.
  3. Blanch the broccoli for 1-2 minutes in a pot with simmering water, lid on. Remove from the heat at once and plunge the broccoli into some iced water to retain the bright green colour. Remove from the iced water and set aside.
  4. Cut the trout fillets into 6 portions. Season well with salt and pepper, then cover the flesh side of the fish in sesame seeds (no need to cover the skin side).
  5. Heat a large non-stick pan with oil until it is very hot, then fry the trout portions skin-side down first for about 2 minutes, then turn them over and fry on the sesame-crusted tops for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. The middle should still be just slightly darker pink than the cooked outside.
  6. To plate: in a suitable bowl, place some noodles, then cover with about 150 ml of broth (or more if you like) and a few mushrooms. Top with the broccoli, then place a portion of cooked trout on top. Garnish with some freshly cut spring onions.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

How to boil and bake a bagel

6 Mar

Freshly boiled and baked bagels with smoked trout, cream cheese and cucumber (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I recently needed to buy 200 bagels for a market where I showcased the trout products of my brother-in-law’s trout farming business. I filled them with cold-smoked trout and cream cheese, and they “flew” from my table. During this process, I realised that these beautiful rolls-with-holes weren’t so easy to find. After ordering them in bulk at Checkers (the ONLY place that could help me on such short notice in Stellenbosch), I decided to try my hand at baking/boiling them myself – a few weeks later.

Bagels with smoked salmon (or in this case trout) and cream cheese are considered to be traditional American Jewish cuisine. And it is definitely one of my favourite types of sandwiches, if you can call it that. I’ve always known that a real bagel is boiled, but I could never understand how a boiled bun could become such a golden brown puffy thing, and not a soggy mess. The thing it, it is actually boiled for only a few seconds and then baked. So it all started to make sense!

I think the trick to these bagels is to give them enough time to rise (I don’t always have the patience!), and to treat them very “lightly”. No hard handling – especially after boiling – or you’ll spoil the shape. Otherwise the results are truly satisfying.

Nothing beats the taste of a classic freshly baked bagel filled with locally cold-smoked trout, cream cheese and dill. Simply scrumptious.

Ingredients for bagels: (makes about 10)

(recipe adapted from The Ultimate Snowflake Collection)

  •  500 g (875 ml) white bread flour
  • 10 ml salt
  • 10 g (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
  • 50 g (60 ml) sugar
  • about 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 XL egg white, lightly beaten
  • poppy/sesame/caraway seeds for sprinkling on top
  • a few litres of water for boiling

Method:

  1. Place flour, salt, yeast and half the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add enough lukewarm water to mix to a soft dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for  about 30 minutes, or doubled in size.
  4. Knock down the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide dough into 10 pieces. Flatten each piece to about 9-10cm in diameter and press a hold into the middle of each, using the back of a wooden spoon (or roll the pieces out into long strands and twist the ends together to form a circle).
  5. Place the dough on a non-stick baking tray (lined with baking paper), then leave to rise for another 25-30 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C.
  7. Fill a large, wide pot/saucepan with water (about 5cm deep), add the remaining sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has melted. Submerge each bagel in the boiling water for just a few seconds, then remove carefully with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  8. Now place the boiled bagels on greased/lined baking trays and brush them lightly with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with seeds, then bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. When cooled, slice open and serve with cream cheese, freshly chopped dill and cold smoked trout or salmon.

 Note: These bagels freeze quite well. Thaw for 60 minutes on your kitchen counter, then pop them into a hot oven for 3 minutes.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe and Ilse van der Merwe.

Smoked trout puffs

12 Nov

Smoked trout puffs (photograph by Tasha Seccombe)

My brother-in-law, Gerhard Compion, is the trout farmer on Lourensford Estate. I recently got involved in the family business by doing some marketing and distribution for his company, Lourensford Trout. If you don’t know what rainbow trout is, it is a fresh-water fish with beautifully pink flesh – very much the same taste and look as salmon.

However, rainbow trout that are farmed in raceways (like Gerhard’s fish) are SASSI green-listed, which means that they are the sustainable choice. If you have ever eaten rainbow trout, you would know that it is a delicate and truly delicious fish! Gerhard supplies his trout whole or filleted, and also provides a choice of cold smoked or hot smoked options. I am privileged to also be involved on the product development side of things, so I get to try out new innovative ways with the trout all the time – it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! 😉

With the warmer summer season on our doorsteps, cocktail parties are certainly just an invite away. These little trout puffs are such a fantastic way to entertain a crowd. They are great served as appetisers before a meal, or as snacks at a cocktail party. They are really easy to make, but they look like professional little canapés made by a pro (or at least I think so!) – they’ve got some “wow factor”, for sure! Bites of delicate cold-smoked trout and herbed cream cheese on pillows of light-as-air puff pastry.

Ingredients: (makes about 36)

  • 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • 230 g plain cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried dill (or 15 ml chopped fresh dill)
  • 3 tablespoon (45 ml) fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine horseradish pulp
  • 15 ml lemon juice

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 Celsius. Lightly grease or line 2 baking trays.
  2. Unroll puff pastry, then cut into squares of about 4 cm long. Place them on the baking trays, leaving a little space between each square.
  3. Brush squares lightly with egg, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and leave to cool, then carefully cut them open horizontally.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, dill, chives, horseradish and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice if the mixture is too thick. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the mixture on the bases of the squares, then top with a rolled-up sliver of smoked trout.
  5. Replace the pastry “lids” at a slight angle. Serve on a platter.

(Recipe adapted from “Picnic Hamper: The Al Fresco Recipes You Must Have” by Murdoch Books.)

Baked trout with minted pea risotto

6 Oct

Baked trout on a bed of organic pea risotto with mint, cider and gruyere cheese

Some ingredients are so brilliantly vibrant and inspiring that you have to let them speak for themselves. This was the case with the organic peas that I got from Genesis Farm, and the trout fillets from Lourensford Trout (SASSI green listed). Neither of them have ever been frozen, nor have they ever seen the inside of a retail shelf. Straight from the farm(s) to my kitchen!

I decided to bake the trout fillet whole in my oven, brushed with melted butter and seasoned lightly with salt, pepper and a pinch of dill. I made a simple risotto using dry apple cider (instead of white wine) and chicken stock. I added the freshly shelled peas and chopped mint close to the end, then rounded it off with loads of grated gruyere cheese and a large knob of butter. It was slightly runny, like hot lava – just perfect.

This is such a comforting yet refreshing meal, perfect for Spring or Summer – lunch or dinner. I love the texture that the peas add, so it is imperative that they are not overcooked. They should still “pop” softly in your mouth!

Ingredients for risotto: (serves 4)

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g arborio rice (I used long grain rice because I forgot to buy arborio! It still worked, but arborio is better.)
  • 125 ml dry apple cider (or dry white wine)
  • 800 ml warm chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 250 g fresh peas (or use good quality frozen peas, thawed)
  • 1 T freshly chopped mint
  • about 60 g gruyere cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup when grated)
  • 2 T butter

Method:

  1. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add butter and olive oil, then fry onions until soft and translucent (about 5-10 minutes), but not brown.
  2. Add rice, then fry for about 3 minutes until they are slightly toasted.
  3. Add apple cider, then cook until the the liquid ha been absorbed. Now start adding the stock, one ladle at a time, and cook on medium to low heat until the liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. The rice should never cook completely dry. Stir every now and then to make sure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  4. When the rice is almost cooked but still has a slight bite, add the fresh peas and chopped mint, then add the last of the stock and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in cheese and butter. Cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes. Remove lid, then stir to combine everything. Season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for baked trout: (serves 4)

  • about 600 g rianbow trout fillets (allow roughly 150 g per person)
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • a pinch of dried dill
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Method for trout:

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then place the fillet(s) on top, skin side down.
  3. Mix the melted butter with the dill, then brush all over the fillets.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, then bake for 15 minutes or until just done.

Easy pan-fried trout with dill and apricot butter sauce

17 Jun

Panfried trout with dill and apricot butter sauce

Two of my closest friends run a trout distribution company in Somerset West, called About Trout. Their trout is farmed on the picturesque Lourensford Farm. They supply trout fillets and whole fish to the restaurant industry and deli’s all around the Boland area, but also trade at markets like the Biscuit Mill in Observatory, Cape Town. They even have fantastic hot smoked fillets, hot smoked whole fish, and smoked trout paté – all of it is really outstanding quality. […]

It ain’t cheating if it tastes this good

7 Feb

It’s a beautiful drive to Lourensford Farm in Somerset West for their monthly farmer’s market weekend. But once you enter those gates, the view is just breathtaking: perfectly kept green vineyards surrounded by the most majestic blue mountains. It’s really spectacular.

Once parked on a shady patch of grass, we made our way over to the coffee stand on Saturday morning and ordered refreshing iced coffees to sip on while strolling through the food isles. I’ve been there many times before (my brother-in-law is the local rainbow trout farmer, and I have to say his trout is epic) so I kind of knew what to expect. But this time I found 2 new products that are just fantastic. […]


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