Lorraine Pascale’s tin foil Thai salmon and the post-Olympic comedown

Owen and I are two of the least ‘sporty’ people you’ll ever meet, but we still spent two weeks watching almost nothing but sport on telly during the Olympics, wondering what we’d do when it was all over. We took the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach and couldn’t help but get sucked in. I cried actual tears along with Jessica Ennis when she was presented with her gold medal (although admittedly I had had a few beers), and found myself on the edge of my seat, shouting at the telly and cheering on Team GB on countless occasions. When the closing ceremony arrived, everybody thought: “What the hell are we supposed to do now?”

So it was on Monday night, as I sat watching Lorraine Pascale’s latest cookery programme while Owen registered his disinterest by tinkering on the computer, that I realised everything is already back to normal. I’m absorbed by food programmes on the telly while Owen rolls his eyes and skulks off to do something else. The balance is restored.

Anyway, this rather long preamble brings me to this recipe, which is from Lorraine Pascale’s new TV programme and book. It’s a nice, simple, fish-in-a-foil-parcel affair, and it’s tasty too. I used salmon instead of trout and cooked my fish parcels for 20 minutes instead of 12 as my oven is a bit rubbish. I also served it with wholegrain rice and broccoli instead of the suggested noodles, because we’re big lovers of broccoli in this household and wholegrain rice goes nicely with salmon.

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Thai Green Curry Paste

I’ve got a thing about making curry at the moment. I recently tried out a recipe that I found on Recipe Rifle (Esther Walker’s recipe blog) for butter chicken, which was in turn a Hugh Fearnley-Whatshisface recipe, and it was lovely (you can read the recipe here). Although it’s a bit of a faff to make initially, the recipe made enough to put three spare portions of sauce in the freezer, and you don’t even have to bother defrosting them- just whack them in the pan whenever you fancy a curry.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make some Thai green curry paste for a while, just to see how it turned out and whether it was worth the bother. I tried some of it last night and it actually was worth the bother, so when I’ve used up all the portions in the freezer I’m definitely going to make some more.

I’ve cobbled together my own recipe from lots of different ones, and it goes a little something like this:

Ingredients

  • 6-8 green chillies, halved and de-seeded
  • 5 large banana shallots (or 8-10 smaller shallots), peeled
  • 6 large-ish cloves garlic (or equivalent), peeled
  • 6 thin or 3 fat lemongrass stalks, outer layer removed, topped and tailed to leave the tender parts and chopped into shorter lengths
  • A sploosh of fish sauce
  • 5 or 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 large or 3 small limes (zest and juice)
  • large bunch fresh coriander
  • ginger or galangal or mixture of both (equivalent of a large hand), peeled
  • a generous sprinkling of cumin seeds
  • a generous sprinkling of ground coriander
  • palm sugar (a couple of tablespoons worth)
  • some peppercorns

Obligatory picture of the finished (and frozen) product

Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor, then whizz with a hand blender to make sure everything is well puréed (I know this makes more washing up, but my food processor couldn’t quite manage to purée the last few chunks of ginger). Freeze in individual portions (I use tiny 5cm by 5cm by 5cm Tupperware pots).

To make a curry to serve two people:

Fry up your preferred curry ingredients (I’d suggest chicken or prawns, with some sliced onion and crunchy veg), then add a portion of defrosted curry paste and 200ml coconut milk (as this is half a normal tin, I usually freeze the rest). Maybe also add an extra splosh of fish sauce. Serve with rice.

The paste above is tailored to my own heat tolerance (i.e. quite mild), but add more chilli if you like it a bit hotter.

A note about ingredients:

I happened to find some galangal in Bartlett and White, which is a greengrocer in Ramsgate of all places- I think you can also sometimes get it from small Asian food shops, though ginger would be a cheaper and, I’m sure, perfectly acceptable substitute. Most of the other ingredients can be bought in supermarkets.