Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Low Fat Seafood Chowder

Chowder for me is more than just a soup, its a meal in a bowl. Chowder is something I'll always order when dining close to the coast as I always find that pubs and restaurants close to the coast always make the very best chowder. Sometimes chowder can have alot of cream in it, making it a not so low fat option. I've devised this low fat version to satisfy my craving for my beloved chowder without going OTT on the calorie count.


  • 1 fillet of smoked haddock, cubed
  • 1 fillet of cod, cubed
  • 1 fillet of salmon, cubed
  • 1 cup of mussel meat
  • 1 cup of king prawns
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-5 baby potatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • 200ml of fish stock, mixed with a tsp of saffron strands
  • 300ml of low fat milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Low Fat Creme fraiche to serve


  1. In a saucepan, add the oil, and sweat the onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, and baby potatoes. Saute for 5-8 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and milk, and bring to the boil.
  3. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Using a hand held blender, whizz the soup mixture to a smooth consistency.
  5. Add the seafood mix and continue the simmer until the fish is cooked. (Normally 5 minutes)
  6. Season well and add some creme fraiche and flat leaf parsley.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lamajun - Turkish Lamb Pizza

When I  attended the Ballymaloe Sushi course in 2011; not only did I learn how to make all types of sushi; but there was an added bonus of learning a few Turkish dishes also, as Shermin Mustafa was giving the course with Darina Allen. What a treat!!!

I intending on trying out Shermins Lamajun (Turkish pizza bread) many a time, but I never got round to it. Now all day I've had a hankering for this truly delicious pizza; it's like an itch I gotta scratch. So I  rooted out my Ballymaloe notes and googled Lamajun for a while before I decided on how I'd like to cook my own.

This recipe is adapted mainly from Shermins notes from the Ballymaloe Cookery School.  I've just substituted a few items, based on availability to me and also to satisfy my feta craving.

You can also eliminate the use of a food processor by using lamb mince as opposed to chunks and finely dicing everything by hand. Do whatever works for you! That's my motto!

You can use this recipe to create smaller lamajuns, a great little canape for that perfect mezze party.


For the Base

  • 275g of plain white flour
  • 225ml of natural yogurt

For the Topping

  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 200g of lamb, diced
  • 4 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp of chopped fresh mint
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

To serve

  • Cous Cous
  • Feta cheese, cubed
  • Lemon Wedges

(Shermins recipe calls for lots of flat leaf parsley, but I've substituted mint and coriander as I couldn't get hold of the parsley and I wasn't waiting to pick some up to make this dish.)


  1. Using a food processor, blitz the onion, garlic, spices, tomatoes and lamb together. Season well.
  2. Mix the flour and the yogurt together to form a soft dough
  3. Divide the dough into balls (50g each) and roll out as thin as possible.
  4. Spread the whizzed lamb mixture on to the rolled out base, on a baking tray dusted with flour. Close in the sides of the dough to prevent the mixture pouring out onto the baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven to 200 degrees for 17 minutes.
  6. Serve with lots of lemon and herbs and scatter over the feta. (You can put the feta onto the lamajun before baking if you wish.
This is a different method to Sharmins recipe, this for me is the express lazy method, as Shermin would sweat and cool the onions first before add to the raw lamb mixture.She then would fry the prepared lamajun and then grill the lamajun; as opposed to my 1 step of baking in the oven.

 But this works just as well; its probably not as authentic, but that's alright with me. As long as something's tasty and easy, that for me is the main thing.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spicy Thai Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are one of the easiest things in the world to make, and because crab is considered a luxury decadent ingredient; an ingredient one wouldn't use daily; these cake cakes are seen as a little treat, reserved for a special occasion. Perhaps it's the fact that in this part of the world, crab doesn't come too cheap, unfortunately.

To add flavour and spice to these little cakes, I'm adding all the typical Thai ingredients that makes just about any dish sing.

These cakes, on this occasion are cooked for a main course, so I made really big balls and flattened them into cakes. For a dinner party starter, you can make smaller versions, and perhaps shallow fry them for a wonderful crunch.

Makes 5 large cakes

  • 200g of fresh white crab meat
  • 200g of potatoes
  • Lime zest and lime juice of a half lime.
  • 1 inch size piece of ginger
  • 1 inch size piece of red chilli
  • 1/2 a garlic clove
  • 4 spring onions, sliced finely
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp of fine bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp of fresh coriander
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 lemongrass, chopped.
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • Oil for frying
  • Sweet chilli mayo for dipping.

  1. Cook the potatoes, until tender, Peel the potatoes and mash them. Allow the mash to cool.
  2. In a food blender, add the lime zest & juice, ginger, chilli, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, crab, lemongrass, fish sauce, and soy sauce and coriander.
  3. Blend until a smooth paste is formed.
  4. Season and add the spring onions and the mash potato.
  5. Mix to combine.
  6. Get a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Divide the mixture into even balls, using an ice cream scoop is handy.
  8. Flatten each ball and roll in plain flour.
  9. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  10. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  11. Fry the crab cakes, 4 minutes a side and then drain on kitchen paper.
  12. Serve with lime wedges and quick sweet chilli mayo (to make 3 parts mayo with one part sweet chilli sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.)

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