Spring is just around the corner. Can’t you feel it? Balmy, sunny days. One less blanket on the bed. The first rebellious fruit trail-blazing in the garden. Technically it’s still winter in Australia but the mercury is already tipping 24c on a regular basis in sub tropical Brisbane. So, the recipe I selected for this month’s Random Recipes is perfect for the change in season.
This month the theme set by Belleau Kitchen is ‘Grab and Run’. It’s not about something you can grab to eat on your way out the door but instead, about the book you’d grab if you had 10 seconds to save only one cookbook. As Dom puts it ‘which one of my book-babies would I leave behind?’. You’re thinking about that yourself now, aren’t you?
Nigella is one of my ‘go to’ girls but if I had to take only one book, it would be from that other girl, Donna Hay. I have a number of her books and the early series of her eponymous magazine. She has a no fuss approach to recipes and covers all the basics in volumes such as ‘Modern Classics 1 & 2′. The book I’d grab and run with though is ‘Off the Shelf – cooking from the pantry‘. It covers pantry staples such as rice, pasta, noodles and pastes, styles such as Asian and Mediterranean as well as sections for sweet tooth. There’s a section at the back with how to basics such as stock and pastries as well as a short glossary for more unusual ingredients. Recipes are simple and generally made in less than half a dozen steps making it perfect for mid-week inspiration. Every recipe has a ‘finished meal’ picture and as Donna was a food stylist before her empire blossomed, they are all inviting. Donna’s rustic and vintage aesthetic was ahead of the curve by years and is one of the reasons her magazines and books are so popular. This would be the ideal book for new cooks or those leaving home for the first time.
Using the random number generator, I alighted on page 107. The Tuna Carpaccio recipe highlights that fresh ingredients can turn a simple meal into a treat and something to look forward to. My finished tuna doesn’t look as zooshy as Donna’s but then again, I’m not a food stylist. With temperatures on the rise this is the perfect lunch to welcome the first kiss of spring.
Tuna Carpaccio w Crispy Caper Dressing
- 300g fresh tuna, thinly sliced
- 200g green beans, blanched
- 150g rocket
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
- 1 tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
- 2tbsp dill sprigs, roughly chopped
- cracked black pepper
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add oil, capers and lemon zest.
- Cook for 4 minutes or until crisp
- Remove the pan from the heat and add salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
- Place the rocket, beans and tuna on serving plates and pour dressing over
- Serve with lemon wedges if desired