This month's edition of Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free! is hosted by the inspirational Diane Eblin of The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Her theme was Scared Silly! - foods you were scared to try and now eat with gay abandon, laughing heartily at your former fussy ways.
I was intending to post a recipe for lambs liver with cumin, because I was a vegetarian for over 25 years and then found I needed to eat meat for my health. Liver filled me with horror, until I forced myself to cook some because I knew it was good for me! Now I eat it often and even crave the stuff when my body feels the need for some supercharged nutrition. Liver is like natures nutritional powerhouse, providing so many essential nutrients that just reading the list would exhaust you! Yet so many people quiver with fear when I suggest they add it to their diet...
But as is often the way of things, I forgot to buy any liver and the deadline loomed close, so I chose salmon instead, as my urging patients to eat oily fish often provokes the same shrieks of disgust and wrinkling of noses. 'It's too fishy!' they cry, with palms at their cheeks and a look of impending doom creasing their forlorn faces.
To make fish more palatable to those who find it too strong, I find that other strong flavours work wonders. Whether as a fish curry, some chilli roast mackerel or here, in my fish parcels, bursting with garlic, ginger and savoury tamari. It's not only incredibly good for you, it's moreishly lip smacking too!
To round off the horror, I thought I'd accompany this salmon with quinoa - that wonderful grain, packed with protein and amino acids - pronounced KEEN-WA by the daring and precocious. People seem to make a disgusting porridge with this wonderful grain and then declare it to be disgusting! Cooked properly it can be delicious - nutty and satisfying, a perfect accompaniment to succulent fish or sweet tagines.
All you dear readers who would like to eat more fish, but shy away from it's fishiness, I beg you to try this easy and delicious supper dish. Your skin, hair, joints and brain will thank you and you may even find yourself venturing into the wonderful world of herring, sardines and mackerel before you know it!
I give this recipe per person, so you can adjust it to suit.
Ginger & Tamari Salmon Parcels
175-200g Slice of Salmon Fillet (per person)
1 Carrot (or half an orange pepper or handful of green beans)
3/4 inch piece of Fresh Ginger
1 tsp Sherry Vinegar or Balsamic
1 clove of Garlic
4-5 shakes of Tamari (check it is gluten free, I use Clearspring)
2-3 shakes of Sesame Oil
Couple of sploshes of Cold Pressed Olive oil
(optional) sprinkle of Ground Dried Ginger
Set the oven to 200C
Julienne your carrot (slice into thin batons about 3-4 mm thick). If you leave it chunkier, like I did mine - it will still be quite al-dente.
Finely chop the garlic and grate the ginger.
Lay out a sheet of tin foil about six inches longer than your piece of salmon and top it with a similar sized piece of baking parchment. This way you can compost the paper and easily reuse the foil.
arrange your carrot on the parchment in an oblong, the size of your salmon piece. Pop the salmon on top.
Over the salmon, squeeze the juice out of the ginger, sprinkle on garlic, splash with tamari, sesame oil and rapeseed oil and shake a little ground ginger over if you really like a gingery kick.
Bring the long sides of the parchment together and fold them over twice to crimp closed. Holding them firmly, crimp over the end of the parchment to form a bag. Do the same with the foil so that you have a parchment bag sealed in a foil bag.
You can do this several hours in advance and then pop the parcels in the fridge for later. Just get them out and cook in the usual way once the oven has come up to temperature.
Place the parcel or parcels on flat baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes.
To serve, unwrap just the foil part and pop each paper parcel on a plate so that people can open their own at the table. offer extra tamari and maybe some chopped spring onions (scallions) for those who like a saltier dish.
I love to serve steamed broccoli with this as it's great for mopping up those juices - toss it with some toasted sesame seeds for a treat.
Put this on before you start the fish, as it can sit and steam for a good 30 minutes after it's cooked and still be hot enough to serve.
Again, per person quantities.
35g Whole Quinoa Grains
Put the dry quinoa in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Stir constantly until the seeds start to pop and colour slightly - they should also start to smell nutty. Don't let them burn though or this will be bitter, not nutty.
Immediately add the water and bring to the boil, then cover tightly and turn right down to a low simmer. Check every five minutes to see if the water has all been absorbed and then turn the heat off.
Add a couple of knobs of butter if you like and clamp the lid on until you're ready to serve. Then fluff grains with a fork. Yum!
If you'd like to participate in this month's Go Ahead Honey - there's still time! Just pop over to Diane's Blog and check out the theme for yourself, post something and email the link to Diane. She will post the round up of everybody's contributions at the end of the month.