Vietnamese Prawn Wraps

These wraps make the perfect lunch. The fresh crunch of the lettuce and carrot with the contrast of the soft prawn/shrimp and avocado and the spicy sauce make this just the perfect combination to me.
  In fact, I am ashamed to admit I ate all of them myself!! 
When Big Pete is travelling on business I like to make things that he would never eat. The man can’t get beyond the texture of the rice wrapper but, he just doesn’t get that he is missing out on a truly fantastic meal! 
You will need:

This recipe makes 4 wraps
  • 4 rice wrappers
  • a large handful of vermicelli noodles- fine rice noodles
Sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 fresh red chili
  • 1 clove garlic chopped fine
  • 1 spring onion/scallion – chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro – chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
Filling
  • 20 raw prawns/shrimp-any size you like – cooked in water with slice of lemon and few sprigs of cilantro
  • handful of lettuce- sliced fine
  • 1 spring onion- sliced fine
  • 1 small carrot- grated
  • few slices of fresh avocado
  • few leaves fresh basil- julienned
  • few sprigs of cilantro
  • lime juice
  • a few spoons of the sauce – recipe above
Step 1: in a small pot, boil water and cook peeled and de-veined raw shrimp/prawns. I put a few slices of lemon and a few sprigs of cilantro in the water to flavour. This should only take a few minutes. When the shrimp turn pink let cook for another minute and remove to cool. 
Step 2: place some dry vermicelli noodles in a bowl  and pour boiling water over to cover. You may need to carefully push the noodles to submerge. Let soak 3-4 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
Step 3: prepare sauce. Add all ingredients to a small bowl to combine. 
Step 4: prepare all your chopped fillings. I like to butterfly the cooked shrimp to create flat pieces of shrimp.
Step 5: gather all your ingredients together and get ready to wrap
Step 6: pour warm water on a plate and add a wrapper. Let soak for a few seconds on one side then flip over to soften completely. Place on a counter to fill and roll wrap. Careful they are delicate!
Step 7: divide your shrimp into 4 portions and fill each wrap with vermicelli noodles, shrimp, avocado, cilantro,lettuce, carrots, spring onions and a bit of sauce. Do not over stuff the wrap for best results and do not use too much sauce – you really are looking to take some of the chili and large pieces of sauce with just a few drops of the liquid. If you add to much and make a mess just start with another wrap! You will see how much to add once you do one. Remember understuff and keep all ingredients dry so they will stay together when rolled up.
Step 8: start to roll keeping contents tightly inside. When you roll over once then you can fold sides in. Like making an egg roll continue rolling to finish. The damp wrapper will stick to itself. Continue for all four. Slice in half and serve 2 per person.
I like to squeeze a bit of lime into sliced wrap and using a spoon pour a bit of the sauce into each half as I am eating it. Absolutely yummy!!

Baramundi with Kiwi Salsa

This is a nice white fish fillet that cooks quickly and is topped with a fresh salsa made with  kiwi. Add a fresh salad and some layered potatoes for a great weeknight dinner.
You will need:
  • 2 fish fillets- thawed in fridge
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • butter/olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • salt
  • 1 tomato – cubed
  • 1 kiwi- chopped fine
  • 1/4 onion- chopped fine
  • 1/2 avocado cubed fine
  • 1/2 fresh limes -squeezed
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt/pepper
Step 1: Thaw the frozen fillets in fridge.
Step 2: chop all ingredients and blend with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Step 2:  Fry fish in a bit of butter/oil. Sprinkle tops with lemon pepper and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side.
I have served mine with the salsa on top and a spinach salad on the side along with some scalloped potatoes that I have sliced and baked until crispy.

Shrimp Lollipops

I am not a big fan of shrimp but, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how good these were! The skewers  keep the shrimp from curling up and they literally take 2 minutes to grill.

You will need:

  • 10-15 raw shrimp – large size, peeled and deveined.
  • bamboo skewers- soaked in water to avoid burning on grill
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic- chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest (finely zested or chopped)
  • 1/2 lemon juiced 
  • 1/2 tsp-1 tsp lemon pepper 
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme- chopped finely
the other half of the lemon can be squeezed over shrimp while grilling.
Step 1: I buy frozen raw/uncooked shrimp with the tails on. I thaw them in the fridge and peel and devein them. I then slightly butterfly them by cutting in a bit deeper on the side you devein.
Step 2: I put each shrimp on a bamboo skewer starting at the tail end. This will keep the shrimp from curling up when they cook.
Step 3: I place shrimps on a flat surface and sprinkle all ingredients over both sides. I chop the garlic and sprinkle evenly. I drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the chopped lemon zest (or use a zester directly over the shrimp) a generous sprinkle of lemon pepper and the juice from the half of fresh lemon (do not use that fake lemon in a bottle here….anywhere really!) Finally, finish with the fresh thyme. Do this just before you are ready to grill. If you leave it longer than a few minutes the lemon juice will start to cook the shrimp.
Step 4: cook for a minute or two until they turn pink. I also squeeze the remaining half of the lemon as well as a bit of olive oil to finish.
Even Big Pete ate a few of them and he is not a fan of shrimp at all. I made them because “The Dad” was visiting and he loves them! I think I might make them again cause they were really good!

Teriyaki Salmon Burgers

These are gorgeous salmon burgers made simply by cutting fresh salmon into chunks and grilling quickly.


You will need:

  • 1 piece of salmon
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • some breadcrumbs for a topping
  • nice buns- soft and squishy
Basting sauce
  • 1 clove garlic- crushed
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chines 5 spice
  • 1/2 lime squeezed
Drizzle for serving
  • 2 tbsp mayonaise
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder blend
  • 1 tsp chili jam
  • salt/pepper
  • optional* some black sesame seeds
Step 1: start with a nice chunk of salmon. I used the centre portion of this side of salmon for another meal and the rest for the burgers. I made 4 burgers however, you could certainly make 6-8 with the entire fish portion I have here.
Step 2: I have removed the skin and brown layer right beside the skin and chopped into small chunks.
Step 3: add all remaining ingredients with fish into a bowl.
add real maple syrup 
You may think that the mixture will never hold together but, it will. 
Step 4: Gently form your patties and pat the top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs.
Step 5: in a small jar I add all ingredients for basting sauce and shake to mix.
Step 6: I start grilling the burgers on a piece of foil that I place directly on a hot grill.  This helps the delicate meat stay together once you flip the burgers they will have cooked enough to form a patty and I place the burger directly on the grill. Once I flip them I can throw away the foil. I just need it for grilling the first side.
These cook quickly just a few minutes on each side will ensure this beautiful fish stays moist. I top the burgers with the sweet drizzle and some spinach. I have made some fresh brioche buns that are soft and squishy and the buttery rich bread complements the rich fish.
These were really nice!

Honey Garlic Salmon Skewers

This is a sweet honey and garlic Salmon served with a simple spinach salad. As soon as I eat this I instantly feel strong and healthy. When I was a kid and you didn’t want to eat your spinach your parents always said “if you eat this you will be strong like Popeye!” so you did. Now just to be clear, they never let you eat it raw or else they might have had more success.

Eat this and you instantly feel healthy and strong!

You will need:

  • 1 half of salmon – skin removed
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp ceyanne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • sesame seeds
Salad
  • bowl of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup sliced onions
  • crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
Step 1: remove skin and brown layer of salmon. Slice into strips or cubes. I prefer wild salmon and you can buy it fresh or frozen. Make sure fish has no bones in it.
Step 2: soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 15 minutes to avoid burning on the grill.
Step 3: in a small bowl mix olive oil, crushed garlic and ginger. Rub oil mixture on fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a bit of sesame seeds . Gently thread fish on skewers. I have made 4 skewers with a half a side of salmon which is perfect for two people.
Step 4: make marinade. In another small bowl add honey, soy, worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, five spice, ceyanne powder and chili garlic sauce.
Step 5: assemble all ingredients for salad but, do not add dressing until the last minute before serving.
Step 6: grill fish on medium-high for a few minutes, they will cook quickly. Brush the honey garlic sauce while grilling.

Fish Tacos

I first had fish tacos year ago in San Diego. I was with some dear friends at a roof top restaurant in Balboa Park . They were simple and delicious and I could not believe how fresh and perfect they were. The warm tortilla shell, the hot fish, the cool salsa and guacamole. A bit of hot sauce and you are in heaven. Maybe it was the view, the food and the excellent company that made it so perfect.
This recipe will show you how to make the salsa, the guacamole, the fish and the tortillas and how to assemble a perfect bite. Just try it once with homemade tortillas, it’s so much better than store bought.
You will need: 

Fish
  • some fresh halibut- or any chunky white fish
  • 1 tbsp white onion -chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic- chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro- chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno- chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • fresh lime juice
Tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp vegetable shortening or lard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Salsa
  • 2 ripe tomatoes- chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh lime- juiced
  • 2 tbsp white onion chopped fine
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped fine
Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados chopped fine
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp white onion chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  •  chopped fine
Extras
  • sour cream
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded cheddar or queso fresco cheese
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges
Step 1: start with good quality fresh fish. I make the tacos the same day I buy my fish.
Step 2: chop fish into chunks place into small bowl. Chop onion, cilantro and jalapeno and add to fish. Toss with olive oil and reserve while you prepare, tortillas, salsa and guacamole.
 All of these items have many of the same ingredients I chop all the onions, jalapenos, cilantro and garlic at one time then just use what I need for each dish. 
Step 3: prepare the tortillas. Add lard or shortening to flour, salt and baking powder.You can blend in with your fingers and then add warm water or add both together. I have done it both ways and both work fine.
Step 4: gather with hands until you need to turn out on to counter to incorporate and make into a smooth dough. Cover with plastic and let dough rest while you prepare salsa and guacamole.
Step 5: in a small bowl add chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, chopped onion, chopped jalapeno, cilantro and 1/2 lime juiced. Mix and  taste. Add the additional 1/2 of lime juice if you want and add salt and pepper. Taste it again to make sure it’s perfect. You may need to strain it if you leave it longer than 1 hour. I always eat salsa shortly after making it and do not like to store it in the fridge.I like it fresh.
Step 6: make guacamole. Split the avocados with a knife. Twist open and discard the seed. I take a small knife and carefully slice rows into the avocado in the skin. Do not cut yourself. Use a dull knife since the flesh is soft. Then take a spoon and scoop out your chopped avocado into a bowl.
Step 7: with a fork mash the avocado. I like to keep mine fairly chunky. You make it as smooth or chunky as you like. Add lime juice. olive oil, garlic, onion and cilantro.
Step 8: chop lettuce and place in a small bowl (you will only need about 1 1/2 cups) and grate some cheese and place in a bowl. Gather salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese,lettuce and hot sauce.
Step 9: take your tortilla dough and divide into two, Then divide each piece until you have 8 portions.
Step 10: if you have a tortilla press put wax paper or plastic wrap on both sides and press. If you don’t have one of these just use a rolling pin or even a bottle to roll out tortilla.
Step 11: I use the press to start the tortilla but I always roll it out to a much larger, thinner circle (kind of!) They don’t have to be perfect, just make them thin Make sure you have a bit of flour on the counter so they do not stick before cooking them.
Step 12: add the olive oil and lime juice to fish. Mix then saute the fish in a small pan on medium heat until cooked. In another pan start to prepare tortillas.
Step 13: in a dry pan on medium heat cook tortillas on both sides until they start to puff slightly. Stack cooked tortillas on top of each other and keep sealed in a foil package. This will allow them to steam together and stay warm while they are all cooking. Just takes a few minutes on each side.
Take all your ingredients and let everyone make their own. I put fish on the bottom, some lettuce, some salsa, some guacamole, a bit of cheese, a squeeze of lime and some hot sauce on mine! The homemade tortillas make all the difference in the world. Try it.



Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde or Green Sauce is a great condiment you can store in a glass jar in the fridge for ages. It’s an excellent topping on a chicken breast or burger or pulled pork. I had two bunches of parsley so, it was a good way to use it without wasting it.

You will Need:

  • a bunch of flat Italian parsley (I use the entire bunch you get in a grocery store) I honestly don’t know why they even sell curly parsley- the flat is much tastier
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1-2 anchovies- chopped
  • 1 garlic clove- crushed
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • good olive oil
  • 2 green onions
  • a food processor or blender
Step 1: put parsley (stems included), capers, anchovies, garlic, green onions, salt and pepper in food processor. Blend until chopped fine.
Step 2: blend in olive oil and and lemon juice with a few pulses. You can also remove the chopped herbs into a jar or container you can seal and add oil and lemon by hand. Taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper to your taste. Store in fridge lasts for weeks.
I like it mixed in Tuna Salad.
You will need:
  • 2 tsp Salsa Verde
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1/4 small green pepper chopped finely/ or celery
  • 1 green onion chopped finely
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise

Step 1: Add all ingredients and combine.
I topped mine with some pea shoots and served on a fresh oat bread.

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

Grilled Salmon with a light teriyaki sauce, brown rice and broccoli  sounds like the perfect spring dinner.

You will need:

  • piece of salmon  (mine is perfect for 2 people)
  • 2 tbsp Mirin (sweetened cooking wine condiment avail in grocery stores)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 sliced green onions/scallions
  • 1 cup rice (mine is brown)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 lemon
  • optional* sprinkle of black sesame seeds

I have selected a piece of wild salmon. I always choose wild  because I think its a nicer fish than Atlantic but, you choose what you like. I wanted to show you this new product I found. It’s a germinated brown rice and it cooks up in 25 minutes vs. regular brown rice which normally takes 45 minutes to cook. I think it’s a great product because the rice cooks up quicker and it’s nice and fluffy. You can use whatever rice you prefer just cook it based on package instructions.
Step 1: prepare rice. In this instance I used 1 cup of rice to 1 3/4 cups water bring to boil, turn down to low and cover. Cook 25 minutes, turn off heat and leave in pot until ready to serve.
Step 2: prepare the teriyaki sauce in a small bowl. I always store my ginger in the freezer where it lasts forever. I grate my frozen ginger right into the bowl and then stick the rest back in the freezer. Add crushed garlic, mirin, soy, honey, sesame oil, olive oil. Mix well to dissolve honey. 
Step 3: you can grill the piece of fish whole or I have divided into 3 portions. I leave the skin on. Marinate the fish in 1/2 of the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes -1 hour.
Step 4: Heat the grill to medium/high. I put a piece of foil on top of the grill and place the fish skin side down, when I flip the fish the skin stays on the foil and then it makes for an easy clean up. Fish cooks quickly a few minutes on each side and remove.
Step 5: while the fish is grilling I take the washed asparagus with the bottoms trimmed and place it in a large saute pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup of water. I cook on high for a few minutes stirring to coat all spears. Once the water has evaporated they fry a bit in the oil. I add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Step 6: Top with the remaining teriyaki sauce, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and the chopped scallions.

Bruscetta Al Tonno- from Sara Moulton

I was watching Sara Moulton’s weeknight meals and she made a simple tuna and bean bruscetta on some big slices of toasted Italian bread. This is my version which made a wonderful light lunch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It’s all the things I love with fish, lemon and olive oil and fresh herbs. I made mine on some baguette crostinis. and this is showing another great idea if you choose to eat it on a whole wheat pita.

You Will Need:

  • can of tuna in olive oil
  • 14 oz can of cannellini beans 
  • 2 tbsp chopped capers
  • 1/4 red onion sliced
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tomato
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • garlic clove for toasted bread
  • slices of toasted bread

Step 1: start with a good quality tuna in olive oil. Estevan is a local British Columbia company that fishes in sustainable ways. There are some excellent Italian canned  tuna in olive oils as well. I also used a small can (14 oz) of Cannellini beans which for some reason I can only ever find in the organic section of my grocery stores.

Step 2: rinse the beans and drain the oil and flake the tuna (I like to add my own olive oil to the salad)

Step3: chop tomato, parsley, capers and red onions.

Step 4: gently mix all ingredients to avoid completely crushing the tuna.

Step 5: squeeze lemon, add olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste it! if you need to adjust do it now.

Step 6: slice and toast bread. Rub a piece of garlic 2 or 3 times over the hot toasted bread. Then top with tuna mix and enjoy!
terrible picture I was having a problem with my camera and used my phone.
Bought a new camera and I am back in business again!

Halibut Nuggets and Chopped Salad

When I was a kid it was a real treat to have fish and chips for dinner. We went to the Parkside Fish and Chips shop ( named because it was on the same side of the street as the park!) You got a huge chunk of battered halibut for 75 cents and a big order of chips for 25 cents. Your order came all wrapped up in newspaper and you had to run home (which was exactly 3 minutes away) so that your fish and chips were still crunchy. We ate them with salt and malt vinegar and  occasionally a blob of ketchup to dip the fries. Prices have certainly changed ! Halibut is no longer cheap but, it is still a great treat to have it.
 Ahhh..I can smell the vinegar in my nose right now, pure heaven.
In this recipe the chunks of Halibut are breaded and served over a finely chopped salad with a pineapple chutney as a dipping/topping. Halibut is freshly caught where I live but still crazy expensive. 

What you will need:




Halibut

  • halibut (If frozen thaw in fridge)
  • 1/2 cup flour( more if necessary)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp zest of orange
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seafood seasoning 

Salad

  • 2-3 cups romaine lettuce finely sliced
  • 1-2 tomatoes chopped to fine dice
  • 1 English cucumbers (aka hot house) chopped fine
  • 2 green onions/scallions chopped
  • 1 small zucchini grated
  • 3 radishes grated

Salad Dressing

  • 1/2  orange- juiced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt/pepper

Chutney

  • 2 cups pineapple chopped 
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 orange- juiced
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

oil for frying (grapeseed or canola)

Step 1: buy Halibut  from a reputable fish monger. You can use frozen fish that has thawed in the fridge  I have used a piece that is 0.324 kg which is 324 grams or 11.4 oz or 0.714 lbs. I told you it was expensive!
Step 2: chop into large chunks
Step 3: set up the standard 3 dish method for breading something. In one bowl have flour and old bay seasoning, in the second bowl 1 or 2 eggs whisked and in the third bowl some breadcrumbs and orange zest.
Step 4: pat fish with paper towel to dry. Toss chunks in flour until coated, then toss all chunks into the egg mixture, then finally coat in breadcrumbs and set aside on plate.
Step 5: Prepare chopped salad. I Iike that all the ingredients are finely grated or chopped. You can use whatever you like in your salad. I have used finely sliced romaine lettuce, chopped cucumber. chopped tomato, green onion, grated zucchini (just on a box grater) and grated radishes.
Step 6: prepare salad dressing in a small bowl with a lid (or a clean jar) so you can shake to emulsify. Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, squeeze half an orange add a bit of honey, salt and pepper. Reserve until right before serving.
Step 7: to prepare pineapple chutney sauce. Chop fresh pineapple (I had some leftover from a few days earlier when I made a ham and pineapple pizza) into small chunks, add red onion, fresh cilantro, soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice and cook few minutes until soft. Then puree in food processor until still has some texture. put in a small bowl and reserve.
Step 8: fry fish in grapeseed or canola oil. Use an oil with a higher smoke point than my normal olive oil. It doesn’t have to be too much oil. You can use a deep heavy pot and just enough oil to almost cover the chunks. Allow the oil to be hot before adding fish I use a thermometer and fry at 350. If you don’t have a thermometer you can toss in a tiny piece of fish to see if it instantly sizzles. If  it is hot enough it will sizzle, if not wait. Fry until the chunks are browned. Remove and put on paper to cool slightly. Add salt to fish immediately after coming out of oil. 
I like this as an alternative to fish and chips. Halibut is such a meaty fish and the subtle orange in the batter as well as the brightness of the pineapple chutney really play well on this mild fish.