Variation on the goat’s cheese salad

I recently made a really delicious salad using left-overs… a small lettuce, goat’s cheese. a few other bits and pieces and seaweed from my seaweed collection…

In that random way that things happen, today I found I had a small lettuce and some goat’s cheese… I altered the recipe slightly:

Chilli seaweed goat’s cheese salad

  • small lettuce, for example baby gem
  • half a soft goat’s cheese round, cut into small pieces, skin removed (eat it on a cracker while you’re making the salad)
  • shavings of celery – including leaves
  • ransome leaves (wild garlic)
  • cashew nuts
  • laver seaweed
  • olive oil
  • pomegranate syrup
  • sea salt
  • lots of grinds of pepper (I put whole spices such as coriander seeds, fenugreek etc in the grinder with the pepper corns for a nice taste)
  • dash of chilli sauce but not too hot (I use Marie Sharp’s Green Habanero, it’s made with nopal – prickly pear cactus – green habanero, garlic and lime)
  1. cut/tear the lettuce and ransome leaves into bite-sizes and put into a large bowl
  2. add the celery, cheese, nuts, laver, salt and pepper and mix well so the seasoning runs throughout the leaves
  3. add the olive oil, syrup and chilli and gently turn over to coat everything

This salad may go a little limp if it’s not eaten straight away but it still tastes good, in fact the flavours meld in together! I even ate some the next day!

Rather a lovely lunch

I have been experimenting with seaweed… edible seaweed. I bought a small set of dried, flaked Welsh seaweeds, gutweed, dulse, wrack, laver and kelp. Some of them need to be in cooked dishes, but I have been trying others with cold recipes.

Here is a rather lovely salad lunch I made using the very excellent Welsh laver:

Goats’ cheese and laver salad

  • little gem lettuce
  • watercress
  • goats cheese (I used soft cheese, the sort which comes in a log – I took the skin off, but it is edible so up to you!) cut into small cubes
  • olive oil
  • pomegranate syrup
  • sea salt
  • a few roast peanuts (or any other nuts, or seeds, or none)
  • a couple of teaspoons of dried flaked laver (I was using just one baby gem, if you were making more for more people you would obviously need to use more laver!)
  1. cut or tear the lettuce and watercress into bite-sized pieces and put into a generous bowl
  2. add the cheese and fork through gently
  3. add the laver
  4. pour on as much olive oil and syrup as you yourself like (I like it quite oily compared to some people)
  5. gently stir it all together, you don’t want to break up the cheese too much
  6. season to taste
  7. sprinkle as many nuts/seeds as you like
  8. you can eat it straight away, but the flavour of the laver comes out if you leave it for a little while

Gutweed, kelp and wrack…

I mentioned yesterday the seaweed selection I had bought from a wonderful deli in Monthmouth, The Marches Delicatessen, but I didn’t explain what the different seaweeds were! it was a little gift set from the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, with five different dried, flaked seaweed with some recipe suggestions. Wrack, gutweed, laver, dulse and kelp. Although we live right by the sea (about 400 yards from it and about 4 inches above it!) we don’t really get seaweed – our shore is more sand and mud, the result of living on the River Severn estuary. However, further down the coast, or across the channel to Wales there are shorelines with plenty of this wonderful sea product, just there for the gathering!

By coincidence I mentioned seaweed in the previous book I published, Lucky Portbradden. Slake is another name for some sorts of seaweed,…

“And by the way, Alex, do you know why it’s Slake House and Slake Hall?” he shook his head and she went on. “A distant ancestor made his money from seaweed, here in Easthope and built Slake House which he named after the source of his wealth – slake, which is seaweed! A later Portbraddon built Slake Hall, and took the name!”

So here, is an explanation of what those seaweeds are:

  • wrack – it can be a general term for seaweed, but can be seagrasses and brown seaweed
  • gutweed – is a green alga also known as sea lettuce
  • laver – contains high proportions of protein, iron, and especially iodine, vitamins B2, A, D and C
  • dulse –   is a red alga also called  dillisk, dilsk, red dulse, sea lettuce flakes, or creathnach; it is a good source of protein, minerals and vitamins and amazingly contains all trace elements needed by humans
  • kelp – large brown alga, there are about thirty different varieties and it grows in forests under the sea, rich in minerals and vitamins

On the back of the packaging, here is what the Beachfood Company suggests for each ‘weed’:

  • wrack – best used in long and slow dishes, where it becomes tender and brings depth of flavour
  • gutweed – mix with butter and use to pan fry white fish or use as a condiment to garnish pasta dishes or risotto
  • laver – their personal favourite, a slight olive marine flavour which just seems to make every dish taste better!
  • dulse –  a strong, fragrant flavour which is outstanding with potatoes, breads and scones
  • kelp – the original natural flavour enhancer. best used when cooking stir fries and noodle dishes for a unami flavour

Here is a link to my novel, Lucky Portbraddon, and also to the other things i have mentioned:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LUCKY-PORTBRADDON-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B01LWTVURP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1492505012&sr=8-2&keywords=lois+elsden

http://www.marchesdeli.co.uk/

http://www.cafemor.co.uk

http://www.seaweed.ie

A Masterchef dish?

Masterchef has started again, the amateur competition, and I’m amazed at how good some of the contestants are, and how brave they all are! I could never enter, too nervous, and really just not good enough! I do love cooking though, and tonight I cooked a very simple meal but which was absolutely delicious. With a  little refinement, it really could be a Masterchef dish!

While we were away we went to Monmouth, and there is a great deli there, The Marches Delicatessen, with a very friendly and helpful young man working there – maybe he’s the owner, I’m not sure, but he was very helpful and cheery. There were so many delightful things on the shelves, I could have spent a fortune! There was a wide range of Welsh cheeses and other local produce, but because we wouldn’t be coming straight home, we were limited with what we could buy. We did buy some cheese, and we also bought some olives, and tried some seaweed gin (not me, I like seaweed, I don’t like gin).

I was intrigued by an attractive collection of dried seaweed in little bottles, like you would have dried herbs. There were five different weeds, wrack, gutweed, laver, dulse and kelp… Now I’d heard of lava and dulse as edible seaweeds, and I’d heard of wrack and kelp as marine plants, but gutweed? Curious! I didn’t buy the set, produced by The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company… until the following day when we went back to Monmouth, and having had seaweed on my mind, I went back and treated myself!

So now we’re home and I decided to follow the gutweed…

Gutweed fish

  • white fish of your choice
  • Dove’s gluten-free flour (for coating the fish)
  • dried flaked gutweed
  • sea-salt crystals
  • lemon juice
  • milk (I guess you could use fish stock if you have some! Or maybe wine!)
  1. mix the flour, seaweed and salt – I was cooking 1 filet of fish and used 2 tsp – next time i will use a little more
  2. melt the butter in the pan, and when it is foaming, cook the fish until it is done
  3. remove from pan and keep warm
  4. add the left over flour/salt/seaweed to the pan – and more butter if you need
  5. stir until it makes a roux – because it is not ordinary flour it does go a little lumpy, but you can soon get rid of that
  6. add the liquid – enough to make a sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning
  7. put the sauce to the side of the fish so it doesn’t lose its crunchy coating
  8. eat with bread and butter (or whatever you like!)

Here is a link to the deli:

http://www.marchesdeli.co.uk/

…and where you too can get the seaweed if you can’t get to Monmouth:

Mermaid's Larder – Laver Seaweed Collection

…and the company who produce it – and a whole load of other things which you can buy on line:

http://www.beachfood.co.uk