Florence’s Food: Monkfish and Chorizo Skewers

Today’s guest post has been sent in by Lynsey and looks like the perfect summer dish for light eating or special enough for entertaining – I reckon these could even go on the BBQ. Thanks Lynsey and if you have anything you would like to contribute to help me while I am on maternity leave, click here to find out how you can get involved (scroll to the end of the post.)

Monkfish and Chorizo Skewers:
400g monkfish
200 g chorizo sausage
2 red peppers
1 tsp paprika
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to season
8 wooden skewers

  • Start off by trimming the monkfish – make sure to remove any skin and grey flesh, and cut into dice approx. 1 inch in size. Monkfish can be quite expensive / tricky to find at the supermarket, but this dish works equally well with chicken. Peel any skin from the chorizo, and cut into smaller dice. Chop the pepper into neat squares. Aim to have approx. 24 dice of each ingredient to make 8 skewers.
  • Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika and parsley together, and season with salt and pepper. Add the monkfish, and toss thoroughly to coat with the dressing. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to marinade, and let the flavours infuse into the fish.
  • Once marinaded, thread onto the skewers – alternating with the diced chorizo and pepper. Cook in a frying pan / under the grill / on the BBQ if the weather allows (!) for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the peppers are starting to blacken slightly. A good rule of thumb is 3 minutes and turn, repeating this about 4 times. I used a George Foreman for mine, as my grill decided to break as soon as I started preparing the fish…, so it really is a versatile dish.

Tabouleh Salad:
200g plain cous cous
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber
3 handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped finely
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 handful of fresh mint, chopped finely
1 small red onion, chopped roughly
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to season

While the fish is marinading, you can get started on the salad. Cook the cous cous according to packet instructions (usually equal parts boiling water to equal parts cous cous, cover and leave for 3-5 minutes), fluff up with a fork and stir through the olive oil. Place all the chopped vegetables and herbs in a large bowl, add the cous cous, season and mix together well. Serve alongside the skewers and enjoy!

Lynsey

Friday Frock O’clock

This week’s Friday frock is an outfit I have chosen and in fact wore, last night.

For Pete’s birthday, we headed back to Stock Restaurant, the venue for our wedding reception and believe it or not, we haven’t been back since. I wanted to go somewhere special and it means a lot to us so seemed the perfect choice, and who doesn’t love Italian food?

It’s very rare that I dress for my husband, so to speak. Thankfully he’s (nearly always) complimentary but for this particular evening I just wanted something a little girly and to look pretty for him. Less fash more pash. ;)


Straight Cut Dress, £34.99, Mango.

When I came across this simple Mango dress it was right up my street. I like clean design when it comes to clothes and the block colour is striking enough. (It’s actually a delicious coral pink although it looks red here.) In an ideal world I would pair it with some oversized spot tights but time constraints meant I nipped into Topshop and found these striking animal print tights – I chose them because I hate when patterned tight have a 10 or 20 denier backdrop to the pattern, it’s so unflattering and these really stand out because of the nude colour. I carried a clutch not dissimilar to this one from Oasis, but mine is a back patent Kate Moss for Topshop from donkeys years back that has become a wardrobe staple of mine. Teamed with some patent bow peep toes, it seemed dressed up enough for a special evening out but pared down enough to acknowledge the Thursday-night-school-night choice of evening.

Better than all that, it was a bargain too. I wasn’t complaining as I’ve got three outfits to work my way through for the weekend and I can see this coming out again and again.

Happy Friday Folks!

Do share you thoughts on my outfit and of course any lust have items you’ve splurged on come pay day!

Love,

Rebecca

xo

PS… Head on over to my Twitter feed or Facebook and you can see an Instagram pic of me wearing the said ensemble. :)

January Food… Healthy Red Thai Curry.

Good afternoon readers! In my healthy recipes for January I had to include a recipe I blogged prior to the launch of Florence Finds, but is too good not to give a proper airing to… I love spicy food and think it really satisfies you, despite this being on the thinner side as far as sauces go, it’s packed with flavour and warmth. Give it a go, you won’t be sorry!

It’s an impossibility isn’t it? Healthy Thai red curry?

Well, actually no! I’ve been revisiting some old Weight Watchers recipes I used to use – this one has actually been a dish that I never dropped from my day to day repertoire and it is super tasty. Even better there’s a full on version or a cheat’s version for what turns into a very quick dinner – just what you need when you’ve just got home from work or the gym.

Healthy Thai Red Curry

Ingredients for the curry paste: (this can be substituted with 2 tablespoons of ready made red Thai curry paste for lazier cooking.)
1/2 a red onion
1 deseeded red chilli
1 small stick of lemongrass
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
1 inch of root ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce.

Ingredients for the curry:
4 dried lime leaves
150g baby corn, halved
150g sugar snap peas
350g skinless chicken breast
6 spring onions
200ml reduced fat coconut milk
200ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon light brown soft sugar
110g cherry tomatoes, halved
Chopped fresh coriander, to serve.

How to make it…
1. Place the curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until finely chopped.
2. Stir fry the chicken in a pre-heated wok or frying pan for 3 minutes and then add the paste for a further minute whilst stirring.
3. Add the stock, coconut milk, sugar, vegetables and lime leaves and simmer for 3 minutes.
4. Next add the halved tomatoes and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and the chopped coriander as a garnish. (Remove any lime leaves as you find them!)

Let me know if you’re going to try it!

Love,
Rebecca.
Xo

Friday Food… Rob’s Mac’n'Cheese with a twist.

Today is a momentous day on Florence Finds as we have a bona fide Friday Food submission from a man! All for equal opportunities here, we realise that the concept swings both ways and interestingly I get a lot of comments when I’m chatting to men about Florence Finds about the Food section. So male readers, please feel free to contribute, women haven’t got the monopoly in this department!

I’m pleased to say I have road tested this recipe since receiving it (delish!) and here it is…

I love all things Italian and nothing reminds me of the amazing times I’ve spent in Italy more than a good pasta dish. I also love cheese (in vast quantities) so I wanted to create my own take on the classic macaroni cheese recipe. The breadcrumb topping is a pretty standard (but really effective) addition for a lot of people so I’ve simply taken the basic macaroni cheese with breadcrumb topping and added some of my favourite ingredients from other pasta dishes. I’ve never seen anyone do basil breadcrumbs before so I’ll gladly take full credit for that idea (although I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it before me!)


*Image Credit: Verses from my Kitchen

Rob’s Mac and Cheese with Spinach, Pancetta and a Breadcrumb, Pine Nut and Basil topping.

Serves 5-6 people

500g dry macaroni

Topping:
120g dry bread (any kind, stale is fine)
50g pine nuts
25g fresh basil
olive oil

Sauce:
olive oil
100g diced pancetta or bacon lardons (or chopped bacon is fine)
a few handfuls of plain flour
approx 1 pint of milk
100g ricotta
250g strong mature cheddar
good couple of handfuls of fresh spinach

1) Start the macaroni cooking as per the packet guidelines. Keep an eye on it and remove from heat and drain when ready.
2) Preheat the oven to a moderate temperature – gas mark 5 or equiv.
3) Put the bread, pine nuts and basil in a food processor until finely chopped/blended. Pour in a little olive oil to bring together.
4) In a large pan heat some olive oil and cook off the pancetta.
5) Remove temporarily from heat and stir in some flour to soak up the oil – start with 3-4 tablespoons.
6) Return to heat and stir in some milk. Start with around 1/4-1/2 pint. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Use a whisk if the sauce goes lumpy.
7) Continue adding milk until you have a good amount of thick sauce – you’re aiming for enough to thoroughly cover the macaroni. If the sauce goes too thin or you don’t have enough, make a paste from some more flour and boiled water in a cup and add this to the sauce. DO NOT add flour directly to the sauce – it will go lumpy.
8) When you’re happy that you have enough sauce with a good consistency, add the ricotta and (grated) cheddar. Stir well.
9) Stir in the spinach until it starts to wilt.
10) Add the (cooked) macaroni to the sauce and mix together.
11) In a good sized baking dish, spread the macaroni and sauce mixture out. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top and spread evenly across.
12) Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are nicely brown and crisp.

Rob Riley (You might know him as Tiffany Grant-Riley‘s husband.) ;)

So will you be trying this one at home over the weekend readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo