A master stroke
Thomasina Miers fifth book is all clean lines and sraightforward recipes. It pops with colour and is olstered by Mexican influences – this is, after all, the woman who co-founded popular restaurant chain, Wahaca, which is now in its 10th year of taco slinging.
Thai green sea bass with galangal, lemon grass and coconut
(Serves six) For the fish:
- 1 whole sea bass
- A few lime leaves (optional)
- A few slices of lime (optional)
- 100ml water, fish or vegetable stock
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Coconut rice, to serve
- Steamed pak choi, to serve
- 1tbsp sesame oil, toasted
For the Thai paste:
- 2 star anise
- Half a cinnamon stick
- 1tbsp black peppercorn
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, bashed to remove the skin
- 3 banana shallots, chopped
- 3 lemon grass sticks, chopped, outer layer set aside
- 6-8 bird’s eye chillies
- 2tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of 2-3 limes
- 2tbsp demerara sugar
- Large bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks chopped separately
- 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
First make the Thai paste: Grind the spices and put in a food processor with the galangal, ginger, garlic, shallots, lemon grass (reserving the outer layers), fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Blitz to a rough paste.
Add the chopped coriander stalks and coconut milk to the paste with half a teaspoon of salt and blitz again until combined. Taste the paste and add more chillies (when the paste is baked, the chilli heat will reduce dramatically).
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6. Lay out the bass in a deep roasting tin, large enough to fit it comfortably. Make a few slashes in both sides of the body and cover with enough paste inside and out so it is well coated. Stuff the inside cavity with the lime leaves, lemon grass outer layers and slices of lime if using. Mix the rest of the paste with the water or stock and pour into the tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a thin metal skewer can slide easily all the way into the thickest part of the fish.
Scatter with chopped coriander leaves and serve with lime wedges, coconut rice and some steamed pak -choi laced with one tablespoon of toasted sesame oil.
Unbelievably dark and delicious chocolate cake
(Makes one large cake) For the cake:
- 380g butter, plus extra for the tins
- 380g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 380g caster sugar
- 2 small pinches ground cinnamon
- Several large pinches of salt
- 200g plain flour
- 6 eggs, beaten
For the topping:
- 4 Mars bars
- 100ml whole milk
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 90g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 500ml double cream
- 3 Flakes, chopped into 2cm lengths
- 2 packets of Rolos
- 1 large packet of Peanut M&Ms (optional)
- Edible glitter
Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and butter and line the base of two 20cm non-stick cake tins.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat; once melted, stir in the chocolate, being careful not to burn it. When the mixture becomes smooth velvet, add the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then slowly sift in the flour, stirring to combine. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.
Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 30-40 minutes until the outside is dark and delicious looking and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Meanwhile chop up the Mars Bars and melt with the milk, syrup, dark chocolate and 50ml of the double cream. Whip the rest of the cream until it just holds its shape.
Sandwich the cooked cakes together with the whipped cream and pour over the Mars Bar sauce. Scatter the various chocolates and the glitter on top. Serve.