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Mr Mercurio at breakfast – recipes here

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Local cook Paul Mercurio once again joined The Breakfast Club boys this week to share his favoured recipes.

One is a fish curry which is from Paul’s latest cookbook Kitchen Mojo. It’s also a recipe designed for one person.

Massaman Fish Curry

Paul said, “This curry is so easy and simple to make that I am always amazed at how good it tastes. Of course, the secret is in using great quality ingredients and super-fresh fish. You could make your own curry paste, but nowadays there are some really terrific ones being sold in gourmet grocery stores, farmers‘ markets and supermarkets so you don’t need to if you don’t want to.”

1 tablespoon peanut oil

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

½ red capsicum (pepper), thinly sliced

1 tin (165 ml/51⁄3 fl oz) coconut milk

2 tablespoons massaman curry paste*

juice of ½ lime (about 2 teaspoons)

2–3 drops fish sauce

1 white-fleshed fish fillet (about 150 g/5½ oz), such as snapper, flake, ling or flathead

5 snow peas (mangetout), top and tailed, halved

5 sugarsnap peas, top and tailed

¼ small zucchini (courgette), cut into batons

1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves

Heat the peanut oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and fry gently for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the capsicum and fry for a further 5 minutes. (You don’t want to burn the onions, but I quite like bringing them to the point where they start to go a little brown for added flavour.) Add the coconut milk and curry paste, stirring well to combine, and bring to a simmer. Next, add the lime juice and fish sauce, stirring to combine, then taste for flavour. Put the fish fillet in the centre of the pan, scatter the vegetables around the sides, turn the heat down and simmer the sauce gently, covered with a lid. Turn the fish after 5 minutes and stir the vegetables so they are well coated with the sauce. Put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn again and check for doneness. The fish should easily flake apart once it is cooked—the total cooking time should be between 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish fillet. Finish with the coriander, and serve with rice.

Serves 1

Recipe and image from Kitchen Mojo by Paul Mercurio published by Murdoch Books. 

This Split Pea and Ham Soup recipe is Paul’s own he does at home.

“I was going through my freezer the other day and discovered my Xmas ham bone snugly hiding up the back nestled under the frozen peas and behind the ice cream. It was a very timely find as the weather has turned from balmy nights into the chilly promise of the winter to come. So off to the butcher I went who very kindly sawed my ham bone in half and then off to the shops to buy the ingredients. It is a very simple soup to make with the exception of finding a porter at this time of the year (April). Many of the craft breweries brew their porters and stouts around now so they are matured and ready for drinking around late May early June so if you cannot find a Porter then use Stout – I used Grand Ridge Brewing Company’s Hat Lifter Stout.”

Split Green Pea, Ham and Porter Soup 

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 leek

4 cloves of garlic

2 potatoes

500g bag of split green peas

Bone from your Xmas ham or 1 smoked pork hock approx 1kilo

1.5 litres of chicken stock

1 330 mil bottle of porter

3 dried bay leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

Place a large casserole pot on the stove over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter. While they heat up top and tail the leek and using the white part only cut it in half length ways then slice finely. Add this to the pot and stir well so as to coat with the butter and oil well – cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Peel the garlic then crush and add to the leek and stir well and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes. Peel the potatoes and cut each one into 8 pieces and add to the leeks along with the split peas stirring it all to coat with the oil and butter. Add in the ham bone or hock – if the ham bone is too large cut it through the joint so you have two smaller pieces. Bury the ham bone/hock in the pea mix then add the hot stock and then the beer stir everything to combine, throw in the bay leaves and give the soup a generous turn from your pepper mill – by generous I mean 15 – 20 turns! Bring to the boil then turn down so the soup gently simmers. Cover with a lid and simmer for 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally.

Once the peas are wonderfully soft remove the ham bone/hock from the soup and set aside on a plate. Discard the bay leaves. Use a stick blender to blend the soup so it is a velvety texture, it should also be slightly thick – if it is runny return to the stove over high heat and reduce it down a little. Shred the meat from the bones and chop up into small dice then add back into the blended soup. Taste for seasoning and if need be add a little salt. You could also add a little cream if you want to add in a bit more richness.

Serve in bowls with some crusty toasted sour dough.

Serves 6 – 8

Listen to The Breakfast Club every Monday, 6-9am

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Written by: Debra Mar

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