Saturday, July 16, 2011

Prawns in Lemongrass and Honey sauce - MexicAsian Fajitas

Signature dish by iSa
Type: Main
Prep Time: 30 - 40 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins

Servings: 7-8 Portions (depending on portion size)
  • 2.5 kg of prawns peeled seasoned with a bit of sea salt
  • 2 Lemongrass Stalks finely chopped (preferably crushed in a mortar)
  • 1 big fat Ginger root, peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 50 - 70 gr Honey
  • 5 big fresh Garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 Lemons
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 2 shots of Tequila
  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar
  • JalapeƱos
  • 16-20 Tortillas
  • Hot Mexican Salsa or Salsa Chipotle
  • 1 bowl (250 -300 gr) of Guacamole
  • 1 Bowl (200 gr) of Pico de Gallo

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Sauces by iSa

Type: Sauce
Prep Time: 10 - 15 mins 
Cooking Time: 0 mins
Servings: 6 - 8 Portions (depending on portion size)
  • 4 Ripe Avocados
  • 1/3 Bunch Coriander finely chopped
  • 1 Lemon 
  • 1 Chili finely chopped or 2 sliced JalapeƱos
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Ingredients for variations: Sour cream or cream, Powdered Lemon Tajin (my dear friend Lucia brings it for us from Mexico), Tomato Brunoise.
How to make Guacamole: Peel the avocados and put in the flesh in a bowl (keep 1 or 2 of the pits on the side). Mash the Avos until arriving at an almost homogeneous puree. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon, the coriander, chili and salt and pepper to taste. Try it and see if needs more seasoning. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle some cayenne pepper on top for a more colorful presentation.

Variations: If you like...
...a more creamy Guacamole, stir in a bit of cream or sour cream. use it for dipping nachos, then stir in some small tomato cubes (brunoise). make use of mexican goodies, sprinkle with some Powdered lemon Tajin instead of the Cayenne pepper.

Enjoy as a dip for nachos or pair with any mexican meal, or Latin American for that matter, we all love it!

Love, iSa

Pico de Gallo

Sauces by iSa

Type: Sauce
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 0 min
Servings: 6 portions (depending on serving size)
  • 1/2 Yellow Pepper
  • 1/2 Red Pepper 
  • 1/2 Green Pepper
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 or 2 Hot chilis
  • 1/3 bunch of Coriander chopped finely
  • The juice of 1 or 2 lemons
How to make Pico de Gallo: Chop all ingredients above finely and place into a bowl with the lemon juice (enough to slightly cover the rest of the ingredients). I just advise, for more tastiness to make it before anything else, so it gets to sit for a while (at least 30 mins) and allow all the flavors to come together. Enjoy with any Mexican meal or with anything you fancy to try it!

Love, iSa

Hot Mexican Salsa

Sauces by iSa

Type: Sauce
Prep Time: 10 mins 
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Servings: 6 - 8 Portions (depending on portion size)
  • 5 - 6 Ripe as can be Roma tomatoes (or 1 can Italian peeled tomatoes)
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 - 4 Chilis
  • A sprinkle of fresh Oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • One sprinkle of sugar

How to make the Salsa: If you decide to go for the fresh tomatoes, get a pan with water to boiling point and put in the tomatoes (whole) for about 1 - 2 min, while still boiling, or until you see that the skin starts to peel right off by itself. Take the pan out of the heat and drain out all the hot water, then place them again in the pan and pour in some fresh cold water. The tomatoes should then get cold enough, so as to allow you to peel them by hand. 
Now, (if you bought the canned tomatoes start from here) place the tomatoes in a food processor or in a blender with the rest of the ingredients, except for the seasoning (oregano, salt and sugar), and blend until almost but not altogether homogeneous (I like a bit of chunkiness in my salsa). Place the Salsa back on to the pan, sprinkle with the oregano and let it reduce for a while on low heat until you arrive at a saucy texture, season with salt and sugar (it's not meant to be sweet, it's just used to cut the acidity down a bit). Serve warm and Enjoy with Tacos, Nachos, Fajitas, Burritos, Enchiladas, you name it!

Love, iSa

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thai Carrot Mango Soup

Reader's Recipes
Recipe by Ben and Siri

  • 750g carrots 
  • 40g ginger 
  • 1 normal can coconut milk 
  • 1 mango 
  • 1 red chilli 
  • 3 tablespoons oil 
  • salt 
  • 1 lime 
  • 1/2 bundle chives 
  • 1 bundle spring onions 
  • 3/4 liter vegetable broth 
Everything is 'to taste' because it depends on how hot the chilli is, etc etc
Chop the onion, ginger and carrot. Brown in oil. Add vegetable oil and let everything cook for 8-10 minutes. Take out half of the carrots and put the rest to puree. Add the carrots and the coconut milk. Cut up and add pieces of mango. Cut up and add spring onions and chilli. Season with limejuice and salt. Sprinkle with chives.

Ben and Siri

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ecuadorian Ceviche - iSa's Style

Type: Starter
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 30 - 40 mins
Servings: 7-8 Portions (depending on portion size)
  • 800 gr Dorado or Yellowtail Fish Fillet (no skin) 
  • 1 big red onion or 2 small ones 
  • 1 bunch coriander 
  • 6 lemons / 4 lime (depending what is available, buy extra as the amount depends on how juicy they are) 
  • 3 oranges 
  • Pepper trio (1/4 Red Pepper, 1/4 Yellow Pepper, 1/4 Green Pepper) 
  • 2 tbsp plain yellow mustard 
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Sauce 
  • Sea salt 
  • Ground Black Pepper 
  • Cayenne Pepper Canola Oil
  • 1 cucumber 
  • 2 Tomatoes 
  • 2 packs Golden Oven-Baked Crackers 
  • 1 pack Plain Nachos
  • Hot sauce of your choice (Tabasco or Lea-Perrins will go well) 

How to cook the fish: Cut the fish into bit size cubes, of the cubes are about 2x2cm then it'll take around 30-40 min to cook, if they are smaller, it will take less time. I personally prefer to cut it in bigger pieces as it keeps the moisture and sea flavor from the inside of the flesh. Then place the cubes in a bowl and cover with enough lemon or lime juice, so that the fish is wet, but not fully soaked. Allow the fish to cook in the juice at room temperature (yes, no pot required, the lemon juice will do the job). 

Put together your Ceviche: In the meantime, chop the onion and the peppers brunoise style (small cubes), get the juice from the oranges, and have the rest of the ingredients at hand. Poke the fish to see if it has tenderized and if the flesh has turned white (like when it's cooked) on the outside. To see if it's ready I also pick one of the thicker pieces and cut it in 2 and if it's still too raw in the inside, wait a little longer. Then, when it's ready, season it with the cayenne and black pepper, the mustard, tomato sauce, coriander, oil and salt. Stir in the onion and pepper trio and soak it all with the remainder of the orange juice. Stir well and taste for salt and acidity, if too acid you can level it down with orange juice (if sweet) or with a bit more tomato sauce. 

Serve: Place two serving spoonfuls in a bowl and decorate with 2 slices of cucumber and 2 of tomato, you can also keep a bit of fresh finely chopped coriander to sprinkle on top. Serve with the Crackers and/or Nachos for choice and pour in a bit of hot sauce if you enjoy the heat. Ceviche makes a wonderful summer day Starter! (although we recently made it for a sunny winter day).

I dedicate this recipe to the friends (You guys know who you are...) who we recently had the fortune of sharing this Ceviche with, all new friends but friends for long we trust!

Love, iSa

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dinner at Chez Christophe's

We were inivited on a recent friday evening to indulge ourselves in a well kept secret in town, a place where you can't book and you can't buy your way in, a privilege indeed. We were greeted by Christophe and Christel into a warm and welcoming Dining and Living room in a cold winter night. Preceeded by his famous cooking, Christophe had high expectations to satisfy and did exactly just that!

We started with some meze of pita bread, tzazitki, hummus, taramosalata, salami rolled gherkins and beautiful fat green and calamata olives. We had been holding ourselves from eating much for the rest of the day, knowing the indulgence that awaited us in the evening, and thinking this was the starter, we tucked away. The other couple arrived and after some excellent SA bubbly, and some nice conversation, we then sat in at a beautifully set table. We were in for a ride through the tastes of France!

Salmon and Pea Veloutee
A bright sweet green pea, salmon and creme fraiche veloutee was served for starter. Not only were the colors inviting, but the combination was just warm, yet fresh and sweet, with the fleshy, salty and deep flavor of smoked salmon, with a creamy touch and a the sparkle of Paprika. I'm guessing there was a bit of mint in there, but then again, I'm just guessing, and it'll be up to our fabulous gourmand host to share the secrets to this delicious recipe.

Beef Bourguignon Caserole
The gorgeous smell all over the flat that one could almost taste, meant that the Beef Bourguignon was making its way to the dinner table, nothing like a melt-in-your-mouth Beef Stew, to warm up the cold winter night! Served in a rich, red wine jus, the beef did not need any knife at all, it was so soft, we could have eaten with a spoon! Served with artichoke raviolis topped with parmesan, poured under with the juicy beefy sauce, the meal was a delight! a true work of skill, patience and long, french style, perseverant cooking - just like out of Julia Child's cookbook.
Beef Bourguignon with Artichoke Ravioli
After such a feast, one can easily imagine that the host is not keen for dessert, but I guess we could have known better. How does a French foodie (aren't they all?) end his meal? Yes, you guessed right! with cheese!! and what a nice variety too... I'm not gonna pretend I knew even half the names on that board, but I promise you, they were all worth a few bites, even if you were as full as I certainly was!

We were very grateful to have been invited to indulge ourselves in such wonderful company and magnificent meal. It all made it such a nice evening, Christophe even made an attempt to enlighten me with his Beef Bourginon recipe, which I really wanted to take in, but I guess the excess of wine took my normally rather sharp memory away. In fear of failing to make honor to his great food, I'd rather let the chef tell us himself about the recipes, and that way I can share with you a more accurate (and sober) version of them.

Cheers to Christel and Christophe for their lovely food, wine and hospitality. I hope you would be as lucky as we were to try this amazing combination of ingredients sometime!

Love, iSa