Friday, September 9, 2011

Thai-style monkfish red curry

You will need (for 2/3 people):

3 garlic cloves
1 medium sized onion
2 carrots
1 pepper
1 broccoli or courgette (or both)
Ginger root
1 tin of tomatoes (or 4 tomatoes)
1 small tin of coconut milk
Spoonful of olive oil
1 tail of monkfish (for 2/3 people)
Red curry paste (such as Thai Gold)
Soy Sauce
Basmati or Jasmine rice
*optional chilli flakes or fresh chilli

My friend Julie has asked me to give her some tips on how to cook fish. Since she hasn’t been much of a fish eater, I thought a curry with monkfish would be a good start for her. Monkfish is such a meaty and bone-free fish that is excellent for those who want to introduce some fish into their diet but are a bit apprehensive and not sure what they will like. Besides, the level of heat in the curry can be adapted to each individual taste so the kids can also enjoy it. And it is great comfort food for those rainy days in. It is a bit of a dear fish but worth it as a treat.

First, chop the garlic and onion and cook in a low heat with the olive oil until soft. Add a teaspoon (or two, depending on how strong you like your curry) of red curry paste. I usually don’t add chilli flakes as it tends to be hot enough but feel free to add chilli flakes to spice it up.

Slice the carrot and ginger (it is quite handy to use the potato peeler so the slices are very fine) and chop the pepper in long strips. Add them to the garlic and onion mix.

Chop the monkfish tail (a bit chunky is better) and add it to the mix to cook for a few minutes. Add some soy sauce to your taste (a couple of table spoons I would suggest).

If you are using courgettes, chop them and add them at the same time as the fish. If you are using broccoli, you are better off adding it towards the end so it stays a bit crunchy.

After 4-5 minutes, add the tin of tomatoes and the coconut milk (around 200-250ml should be enough). Cook for about 15 minutes. Remember to add the broccoli some 5 minutes before you are finished – or longer if you like it softer.

In a separate pot you’ll need to cook the rice with a bit of salt and some cumin seeds if you like. The ratio is one of rice, two of water and it takes approximately 15 minutes to cook.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brasserie le Pont donating 10% on World Suicide Prevention Day

This week is Suicide Prevention Week. According to Irish charity Pieta House, 486 people died by suicide in Ireland last year, and the number of people approaching them for help has increased 40% in the first half of 2011.

So if you are looking to go out for a meal this Saturday 10th September (Suicide Prevention Awareness Day) bear in mind Dublin restaurant Brasserie le Pont will be donating 10% of your bill to Pieta House, who focuses on the prevention of suicide and self harm.

The restaurant will also give customers the option to make a donation.

General manager Fiona Kelly says: “Most people out there have been touched whether directly or indirectly by suicide therefore it is a cause close to many people’s hearts. We are hoping to get lots of bookings to help Pieta House on the great work they are doing to help people suffering in Ireland.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recycled glassware

So where does all our recycling go after we leave it at the recycling centre or the bottle bank? that is, for many 'recyclers' out there, the million dollar question... and not an easy one to answer.

That is one of the reasons I feel so pleased when I come across products in the shops that are a direct result of that collective act of faith which is going to the recycling centre. The odd time, I have found some very stylish recycled glassware manufactured in Spain in the local TK Maxx. They don't always have it in stock but I always look out for them. They are excellent quality, pretty and they'll make you feel the whole recycling process has come a full circle.

According to Repak, 106,629 tonnes of glass were collected in Ireland in 2010 and Rehab Glass Co estimates an Irish family uses an average of 500 glass jars and bottles each year. That is a hell of a lot of glass and an awful waste if it was all to go to landfill. Since glass is 100% recyclable and one of the easiest materials to recycle and reuse, our old bottles can be easily converted into a very useful raw material for new glass items, such as that beautiful glassware.

I have been trying to find manufacturers of recycled glassware in Ireland for a wedding present but haven't been very successful.

Instead, I have found some names of companies making and/or selling recycled glassware available in Ireland and the UK (via Amazon and in certain stores). Some of them melt the glass to build brand-new pieces with the material and others reuse bottles turning them into glassware with a bit of creativity and handycraft.

-traidcraft has fair trade recycled glassware made in Bolivia by Crisil and it is available on Amazon and its own online shop

-ecoware (made in the EU) has storage jars and other kitchenware made of recycled glass, available on Amazon
-Green Glass makes glasses out of beer and wine bottles

From Spain

-Grehom (UK company sourcing recycled glassware in Spain, available on Amazon and on their own website)
-La Mediterranea (selected shops)
-Jarapa (selected shops) - they also make rugs out of recycled cotton material.

From Mexico

In the US
-Recycled Glassware Co

If you have any more, let me know and I'll add them to the list.