I’m not sure if it’s just a sign that I’m getting old but I’ve become someone who actually rather enjoys cooking and being in the kitchen (one of my birthday presents this year was a tagine dish – go figure!). I’ve always loved to bake of course but the cooking side never used to interest me that much. In my 20’s if I had a night at home on my own I’d pick the dinner with the least amount of effort possible, and even that (put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes) felt like more than I could be bothered with most of the time to be honest.
I’m not saying that things have changed irrevocably since I turned 30 and I’m now suddenly a pro Chef and spending every spare minute in the kitchen of course, that would be ridiculous. GB still does the majority of cooking in our household (I provide the cake – it’s a fair arrangement) and on a regular evening after work when I’m tired I’m just as prone to throwing a pizza in the oven, as everyone else. But the difference is that now if I do have some time – say on a Sunday afternoon – I actually quite enjoy trying out a different recipe or experimenting with new ideas for dinner that evening. I’ve told myself that this year I’ll do even more of that, try cooking new things and actually start using some of the many cookbooks that line our book shelf. Hence the tagine dish.
So when Thomas Cook got in touch to ask whether I’d like to be part of their Lanzarote Cook Off and join a group of bloggers by cooking up a traditional Lanzarote dish using a lava hot rock (often how meats are cooked in this area) I was keen to put my new cooking skills (disclaimer – I have none) to the test and do as I told myself I would this year – experiment with a new style of cooking.
I’ve never tried cooking on a hot rock before, but I’ve always loved Tepinyaki restaurants and places where the food is cooked up in front of you in only a few seconds, so the idea of being able to do this at home was definitely exciting. The hot rock was so easy to use – you simply put the concrete slab in a hot oven for 40 mins or sit it on top of a hob for the same amount of time. It stays at its desired heat for over an hour and it’s pretty amazing when you see it sizzle in front of you for the first time. I can imagine it being great for a dinner party (A hot rock dinner party is something I’m keen to do as soon!) as you could just bring the hot rock to the table and let your guests cook their own meat.
For the cook off I was tasked with creating a traditional Lanzarote dish on the hot rock and after umming and aahing over different meats for a while, I decided to try fish instead. For me there’s something about eating fish that always reminds me of being on holiday. I rarely have it at home I must admit, but whenever on holiday it’s a real treat (fresh fish when you’re by the sea – nothing better hey?) and so I settled on a tuna steak and decided to attempt a traditional green mojo sauce to go with it.
Cooking the tuna steaks on the hot rock couldn’t have been easier – it’s so hot that the tuna was seared on all sides in only a few minutes and I seasoned it only with a little salt and pepper. The fish broke away easily and was still pink in the middle which is just perfect then all that was needed was a squeeze of lemon juice and it was ready.
The mojo sauce was made using green peppers, garlic, coriander, parsley, sea salt and olive oil. I’ve included the ingredients below but I can hardly call it a recipe really as I simply whizzed everything up in the blender and hey presto. I felt that there was a tad too much garlic for my taste which was a little overpowering so was I to make it again, I’d reduce the garlic measure but other than that it was the perfect accompaniment to the tuna. Something fresh, zesty and punchy to go alongside the fish. The hot rock also doubles up as a great serving dish too (once it’s cooled of course).
Green Mojo Sauce
2 green peppers
1/2 cup of fresh coriander or parsley (or half of both)
4 cloves of garlic crushed
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried cumin
1 slice of bread, torn into small pieces
– Blend all the ingredients together in a blender and serve with the tuna.
And so to the competition part – well this is a cook off after all so our cooking and food styling abilities are going head to head over the next week. Tomorrow a voting widget will go live on the Thomas Cook blog and you’ll be able to see the efforts of myself and all of the other bloggers and vote for the hot rock dish you think looks the tastiest (or the one which has been styled up the best). Food styling is something I’m rather in to at the moment so it would be great to win, and if I do I also get a trip to Lanzarote to try out the food for myself!! Amazing right?
As soon as the page goes live tomorrow I’ll be sure to update this post with the link and I’d really appreciate your vote if you like the look of my tuna dish!
*Thanks to Thomas Cook for providing me with the Lava Rock and Ingredients to cook this dish. For more Canary Island inspiration, visit their blog!*