Fragrant Asian salmon parcels

The idea of cooking ‘en papilotte’ (‘in parchment’) is quick and simple and keeps all the flavours locked in. Here delicate salmon is balanced with the aromatic flavours of Asia to bring a simple yet tasty meal. Monkfish or cod loin would also be perfect for this recipe if you prefer. I am a big fan of all Asian greens so I have used pak choi to layer the salmon on top of so it steams altogether.

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Ingredients- serves 2
2 spring onions- finely sliced on the diagonal
1 large garlic clove- crushed
1 2cm piece of fresh ginger- cut into thin strips
1 medium red chilli- deseeded and chopped
Juice of half a fresh lime
2 tbsp each of dark soy
1 tbsp rice wine
2 small heads of pak choi- shredded
2 salmon fillets

1. Start by preheating the oven to 190c/ 170fan. Take all the ingredients apart from the salmon and spring onions and combine in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

2. Grab a couple of lengths of foil which will be big enough for the fish to sit happily in and lay them out on the work surface. Lightly oil each piece. Divide the pak choi and spring onions slices between the two pieces of foil and place them in the centre. Place the salmon atop its leafy, oniony bed and pour the dressing over the fish. Add a splash of water into each parcel so it steams well before gathering the foil together to create a well sealed parcel.

3. Place on a baking tray and cook for around 12 minutes until the fish is tender. Remove carefully and serve with a side dish of jasmine rice.

Salmon parcels- the key to delightfully fragrant and straightforward midweek meal!

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Vietnamese style caramel pork

Think pork and sweet caramel don’t go together? Think again! This is my version of a classic Vietnamese dish which balances hot, sweet and savoury flavours for a well rounded meal. I have also used the base of the recipe with pan fried trout fillets which also works well if you prefer fish. Chicken and beef can be substituted and will be just as delicious. Pork shoulder can also be used but tenderloin remains more succulent when cooked over a high heat.

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Ingredients- serves 2 (can be doubled)
2 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
300- 350g pork tenderloin- cut into bite size pieces
1 red chilli- deseeded and finely chopped
1 shallot- finely chopped
1 garlic clove- crushed
2cm piece of ginger- peeled and grated
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
40g dark brown sugar
160ml water
4 spring onions- 2 finely sliced and 2 cut finely lengthways
2 heads of choi sum or other Chinese greens
2 tbsp sesame oil
80g jasmine rice

1. To start, grab make sure all your ingredients are prepped and weighed out as once you get going this recipe is quick so don’t be caught out! Boil a kettle ready for the rice and heat a griddle pan over a medium heat in preparation for the greens if using. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok over a high heat and cook the pork pieces until browned all over and then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. If you are serving with rice and Chinese greens then pop the rice in and cook for around 10 minutes. I like to leave mine a little longer to make a sticky jasmine rice and then stir 2 chopped spring onions through it. The greens will need to be wilted in a griddle (or wok) with a drizzle of sesame oil so everything is ready together.

3. Heat the remaining oil and fry the chilli, shallot, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes until beginning to soften. Next, pop in the sugar, water and fish sauce and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Keep the mixture bubbling and add the pork back in the wok. This will take around 8- 10 minutes (depending on size of pieces) and the caramel will coat the pork to give a dark, sticky, glossy glaze. When ready, sprinkle the thin slices of spring onion over the pork. Serve in heated bowls along with the rice and greens.

Vietnamese style caramel pork- a midweek winner!