Lighten up, it's spring

Bevan Smith shares some delicious light and tasty recipes.

What a difference a couple of weeks make. Another good drop of rain followed by gorgeous warm weather.

My garlic and bulbs are leaping out of the ground at home and everything has grown 8cm-10cm in just a few days.

So along with the short-socks-and-T-shirt weather, I'm really loving the fresh hit that comes with a dish of raw chopped salmon, capers and shallots.

Don't get all funny on me just because of a little raw fish. A touch of lemon juice and a lick of wasabi mayo makes for a fantastic dinner in minutes. Just pile up the croutons and invite a few mates around.

For those who know me well, it's fair to say I love squid and sausage in near equal measure, so it only makes sense to at some stage combine them. Ramp up the spices in the sausage to suit your tastes and take things from there.

And finally, cheese for me has always been a bit of a weakness at any time of the day or night.

Needless to say, a good cracker can seal the deal and I was lucky enough to be given this recipe after enjoying them with friends after work in Akaroa last weekend.

Really moreish and possibly a new addiction. Thanks, Kim.

Enough said. Time to mow the lawn!

- Bevan and Monique Smith own Riverstone Kitchen, runner-up Best Regional Restaurant in the 2014 Cuisine Good Food Awards.

Mt Cook salmon with wasabi mayo on crostini. Photos by Fiona Andersen.
Mt Cook salmon with wasabi mayo on crostini. Photos by Fiona Andersen.
Mt Cook salmon with wasabi mayo on crostini

Serves 4 as a light snack

½ loaf ciabatta or sourdough, day old at least
extra-virgin olive oil
300g fresh salmon fillet, skin removed
1 small shallot or 1 Tbsp red onion finely diced
2 Tbsp baby capers
¼ cup finely chopped chives
juice of ½ a small lemon
salt and pepper
2 tsp wasabi
⅓ cup good-quality mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 200degC. Slice ciabatta as thinly as possible, drizzle with olive oil and place on an oven tray. 

Bake crostini in oven until golden and crisp before removing and allowing to cool. Finely chop salmon and place in a small bowl.

Mix in shallot, capers, chives and lemon juice, adding seasoning and olive oil to taste. Mix half the wasabi into the mayonnaise.

Serve either with the salmon spooned on to the crostini and a small amount of the wasabi mayo on top, or separately - salmon, crostini, mayo and remaining wasabi on the side - for guests to help themselves.

Serve immediately.

Whole squid stuffed with chorizo.
Whole squid stuffed with chorizo.
Whole squid stuffed with chorizo

Serves 6

6 baby whole squid, about 15cm long
3 cups chorizo filling
2 shallots finely chopped
70ml olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large fennel bulb
1 small red onion
2 small crisp apples
juice of two oranges and one lemon
30ml extra-virgin olive oil

Chorizo filling
500g fresh pork mince
1 Tbsp hot smoked paprika
1 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
50ml white wine
salt and pepper

Clean the squid under cold running water, discarding the intestines and vertebrae but saving the tentacles.

Lay the tentacles flat on your chopping board and cut just in front of the eyes so the tentacles remain and the eyes etc can be discarded.

Push your finger just behind the beak to push it forward to allow you to pull it off with your free hand.

Finely chop the cleaned tentacles and set to one side.

In a frying pan heat half the olive oil over a medium to high heat and sweat the shallots for 2 minutes before turning up the heat and cooking the chopped tentacles for a further minute.

Remove tentacle and shallot mix from the pan and allow it to cool completely before adding and mixing well through the chorizo mix.

Stuff the squid with the chorizo, sealing the end with a toothpick. Preheat an oven to 200degC. Heat remaining olive oil over a high heat in an ovenproof frying pan.

Sear squid on both sides and finish in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes in the pan. 

As the squid is resting, shave fennel, onion and apple and divide between the 6 plates.

Remove the toothpicks, slice the squid and serve on the salad, finished with the juice and extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over top.

Chorizo filling
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well to combine, seasoning to taste with a little salt and pepper. 

Cook off a small amount of the mix to double check the seasoning is to your liking, and set aside for later use.

Kim's gluten-free linseed crackers.
Kim's gluten-free linseed crackers.
Kim's gluten-free linseed crackers

Makes 20-30 light crackers

1 cup linseeds
½ cup chia seeds
1 cup water
½ cup gluten-free tapioca flour
½ cup ground almonds
2 dashes tamari
salt and pepper


Place seeds in a bowl and stir in the water. Allow the mixture to stand for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

Stir in the tapioca, almonds, tamari and a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well, adding a little more water if necessary to make a soft paste.

Preheat an oven to 150degC. Line 2-3 flat baking trays with baking paper and divide the paste between each tray.

Lightly grease with canola spray and cover each tray with a large piece of plastic cling film.

Roll out to about 1-2mm thick, discard the cling film and score with a knife into rectangles. Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in airtight containers.


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