Grilled Asparagus with Serrano Ham and Lemon Aioli

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Here is another quick and easy yet impressive appetiser for the festive season. It can all be prepared the day before and just grilled before serving. You could serve it as an entree or as part of an antipasto plate.

You will have leftover aioli as well, it goes really well with some Christmas ham and soft white bread.

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas with friends and family, lots of food and drinks and fun times!dsc_1376 dsc_1343

Serves 6 as part of a platter
20 asparagus spears
20 very thin slices serrano ham
Olive oil
1/2 lemon
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
Cracked pepper
Aioli (makes about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
2 cups olive oil
2 tbs french mustard
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tbs water
For the aioli, place the garlic, salt and egg yolks in the bowl of a small food processor and process until combined. With the motor running, start adding the oil in a slow and steady stream until all gone. Aioli should be thick and pale like soft butter. Transfer to a bowl and add the mustard, lemon juice, zest and enough water to loosen into a creamy consistency. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.
For the asparagus, wrap each piece of asparagus with the ham, starting from the bottom and working towards the spear, leaving the spear uncovered.
Heat a grill pan over high heat and drizzle with a little olive oil. Grill the asparagus for about 5mins, turning frequently. Remove from pan and place on to a serving platter.
Sprinkle with the lemon juice, parmesan cheese, parsley and cracked pepper and serve with some of the aioli.

Spiced Salt and Szechuan Pepper Squid with Sweet and Sour Chilli Sauce and Kaffir Lime Mayo

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You know that little jig that some people do when they are really happy; a little dance that they just can’t contain when they are really excited about something? Well, I witnessed someone do this dance when they ate a piece of this squid. So, I guess, it’s pretty darn delicious.

At the moment we are living five minutes out of Darwin’s city centre, very close to the fishing wharf, where I am lucky enough to have access to every type of seafood you can think of, most of it fresh and locally caught. I was so excited to find these baby squid as I find them much nicer, and more tender than using large squid hoods, and I love that you can use the little tentacles as well, my favourite part.

The spiced salt and szechuan pepper blend is really exciting, the szechuan pepper has a tingling effect on the tongue that goes perfectly with the fresh and cooling kaffir lime mayo. Delicious as a finger food on it’s own but also great with a salad as a main meal. We had it with my Green Papaya Salad (click for the recipe), so many delicious flavours!

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Serves 4


1 tbs szechuan peppercorns
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
12 baby squid
3 eggwhites, whisked
peanut oil, to deep fry
1 lime, quartered

Sweet and Sour Chilli Sauce
2 tbs coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 shallots, finely sliced
6 birdseye chillies, finely chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger, grated
2-3 tbs coconut suagr
2 tbs lime juice, about 1 lime
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs tamarind puree

Kaffir Lime Mayo
1/3 cup whole egg mayo
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

For the chilli sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Fry the garlic and shallots until golden, about 5 mins. Add chilli and ginger and fry for another 5 mins, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients along with a 1/4-1/2 cup of water. Simmer for 5-10mins or until thickened and jam like. Set aside to cool.
For the mayo, in a small bowl, combine the mayo with the kaffir lime and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until needed.
For the squid, remove the tentacles from the hoods by putting your fingers inside the bottom of the hood and holding the base of the tentacles, gently pull to remove. Trim off the hard base of the tentacles, just leaving the soft, tentacle parts. Slice each hood in half lengthways and score the inside in a criss cross pattern, then slice each piece in half again lengthways. Set aside.
In a frying pan over medium high heat, dry fry the peppercorns, chilli flakes, chinese 5 spice, ginger, celery salt, and sea salt. Fry for 1-2mins or until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound until a powder forms.
In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 of the spice powder with the rice flour and coconut flour, stir well to combine. Place the whisked eggs into another medium bowl.
Dip the squid pieces into the egg white and then coat with the flour mixture. Set aside.
Over medium high heat, place the peanut oil in a frying pan, about 3cm deep. Test if oil is hot enough by frying a cube of bread, it should turn golden in about 30 seconds.
Fry the squid, in batches, for about 1 min, drain on paper towel. Toss with the remaining spice powder.
Serve immediately with chilli sauce, mayo and lime wedges. If you want to make it ahead of time, you can allow it to cool and re-heat in a hot oven for about 5-10mins….but it’s not AS good.