More from our guest food blogger Jo Orr and this weeks she’s in roaming and foraging in Scotland
I have travelled 500 miles north to spend the Half Term school holiday with my parents and varied guests in their rambling, Art Nouveau house which, thankfully, given my rambunctious children, has an equally rambling garden for them to lose themselves in while I devote myself to providing food for everybody.
There’s been a chard and feta filo tart, an artichoke and spring onion frittata, a sticky soy and ginger-roasted chicken, but the favourite so far has been the Chargrilled Salmon on Thai Noodles. It’s a really fresh Spring dish, from the juicy crunch of the cucumber, the succulent coral salmon with its crispy, charred skin, and oodles of nam jim noodles that the kids adored slurping noisily from their bowls.
The coconut sauce is based on a generic Nam Jim (Thai for “dipping sauce”) that is commonly used for grilled seafood and contains ginger, green chillies,fish sauce, palm sugar and heaps of coriander, to which I added half a tin of coconut milk to ensure there was enough sauce to coat the noodles. The resulting sauce is a wonderful mixture of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. You can, of course, up the heat of the sauce by using Bird’s Eye Chillies instead of the milder, long green variety.
Luckily, the kids found a stash of Wild Strawberries lurking beneath a tangle of thick green foliage and were rewarded for their haul by a wonderfully fragrant Wild Strawberry Rosewater Ice Cream- this is not an ice cream proper, based on a creme anglaise, but rather a simple frozen fruit fool, the puree stirred through a big bowl of whipped cream and then thrown in the freezer for a few hours. It’s so quick and easy (pop it in the freezer midmorning and it’ll be ready in time for supper) and makes the best of these rambling beauties.
Wild Strawberries are the absolute antithesis of the over-sized, often pulpy, tasteless specimens offered in chiller cabinets across the land and I’d recommend seeking them out if you can. If you’re not a Rosewater fan, do leave it out but it does add a rather lovely early Summer note, now that the roses are just coming into bloom.
Chargrilled Salmon on Thai Noodles
4 salmon fillets, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 pack of Udon noodles, 2 Lebanese cucumbers, 100g peanuts roughly chopped, 1 bunch of coriander, juice and zest of 2 limes, 2 tsp nam pla, 2tsp palm sugar, 2 inches of ginger grated, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 tsp rock salt, 1 long green chilli roughly chopped.
Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil on both sides, slide them onto skewers and put a griddle pan on the heat until it is smoking hot- cook the salmon 4 mins each side or until it is cooked depending upon the thickness of the fillet.
Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling water for 9 mins then drain and blanch in cold water.
Slice one cucumber into rounds and the other into long pieces with a veg peeler.
Make the dressing- in a mini food processor place the coconut milk, chilli, zest and juice of 2 limes, salt, nam pla, palm sugar and coriander- blitz.
Drizzle the sauce over the noodles and top with the cucumber, chopped peanuts and salmon skewers.
Wild Strawberry & Rosewater Ice Cream
500g strawberries, 300ml double cream, 1 tsp rosewater, juice of 1 small lemon, 90g caster.
Dice the strawberries and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice, rosewater and sugar- leave to macerate for an hour or so.
Blitz the fruit with a hand held blender until it forms a puree. Taste to check the amount of rosewater- add a few more drops if desired.
Whip the cream until stiff then fold the puree through until well combined.
Pour into a freezer container and freeze for 2 hours then mix with electric beaters, freeze again for 2-3 hrs then beat again then freeze until solid.
Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Serve with a few leftover wild strawberries.