Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce with Tuna

I made this sauce with the last glut of tomatoes picked from the garden as the first signs of autumn crept up unawares in the early days of September.

Consigned to a container in the freezer for the past 2 months, I defrosted it this morning and transformed a basic sauce into a fast, but luxurious supper. With a few slices of garlic bread it is the perfect appetizer before a few beers down the local (I'm late so had better get on with it !).

To Make The Basic Sauce

1 kg Ripe Tomatoes, cut in half
1-2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C Fan Oven)
2. Place tomatoes into ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the garlic, and drizzle the oil over
3. Season lightly, and roast in oven for 50-60 mins until softened and gooey
4. Rub well through a fine sieve and discard the skins and seeds
5. What you have left is the basic sauce

All I did tonight was bring this defrosted sauce to a gentle simmer, add a heaped tablespoon (or 2) of double cream and stir well until a healthy orange colour.

Creamy Tomato and Tuna Pasta

I then added a regular sized tin of drained tuna meat, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and mixed well.

Taking the pan off the heat I stirred in 4 chopped basil leaves and served with a garlic bread baguette. Delicious. 

The taste of the fresh tomatoes with the thick double cream was a whole world away from those horrible, boring processed sauces you can buy. All the effort put into making the sauce all those weeks ago was well worth it.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Cambodian Marinated Steak

This dish  is a darker, more intense cousin to the chinese recipe of black bean sauce with beef.

The rump steak only needs to be marinaded for a short time to be infused with the deep flavours of the soy and oyster sauce, with extra saltiness provided from the splash of fish sauce. Underneath all  this thick flavour is a constant undercurrent of heat provided by the fresh chilli and ginger.

When eating, the interesting (and enjoyable) custom is to spoon a portion of the cooked beef onto a large leaf of crisp, fresh iceberg lettuce, add helpings of crunchy roasted nuts, slices of juicy tomato, crispy raw onion, and eat by rolling the lettuce into a small parcel and dip into the zesty simple lime dip.

Cambodian Marinated Steak

Time was tight tonight so I hadn't prepared a side dish, but the addition of a simple white rice dish would be ideal to mop up any excess juices from the meat.  The beef would, I feel, be complemented at the stir-fry stage with a large handful of crunchy, cleansing beansprouts to balance out the saltiness, and eaten in a more conventional manner with rice, omitting the lettuce wrapping stage.

Serves 2
Cost per Individual Serving   £1.38

240g Rump Steak, cut into small cubes   £1.83
1/2 Iceberg Lettuce, washed and leaves separated   £0.47
Handful of Peanuts, toasted and chopped
1 Large Tomato, sliced   £0.20
1/4 Small Onion, chopped   £0.06

1/2 Red Chilli, deseeded and chopped   £0.05
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
Splash to taste of Fish Sauce

To make Dipping Sauce
Juice 1/2 Lime   £0.15
Grind of Fresh Black Pepper, to taste

1. First blitz all your marinade ingredients in a processor until a smooth paste
2. Put steak into a bowl, pour over the marinade and stir - leave for at least 30 mins
3. Heat wok over high heat. Add oil until sizzling
4. Lift steak from the marinade and stir fry constantly for 3-4 min until beef cooked to required preference
5. Put into a serving bowl, and serve with the lettuce, lime dip, nuts, and tomato