Sunday, 10 July 2016

Baked Lemon Sole & Brazilian Mango Salsa served with Sweet Potato & Sweet Dates |

Your main dish doesn't necessarily need to be savoury. In fact, integrating sweetness created balance or could create absolute mayhem, a beautiful mess. This dish for me is like dinner and dessert on one plate, and the flavours play off each other favourably. Fruit is often overlooked when it comes to a main dish. I feel in mainstream restaurants, especially in London, you don't find it too often in your main meal, usually in dessert. Some of my favourite partners in crime are: 

- Orange, pear, walnut & blue cheese
- Strawberries, basil & balsamic
- Dates & sweet potato (dessert on a plate...MMM) 
- Mango, chilli & coriander 
- Gammon & pineapple
- Honey roasted root vegetables
- Watermelon and olive oil 

So why fruit and fish? Surely BLEURGH? Whilst adding fresh fruit to fish might not be the first flavourful combinations to come to mind, I can ensure you that you will be graced with a more than pleasant surprise. In fact, unlike red meat and poultry, fish has a certain freshness to it, with iodine and sea-resembling fishy flavours being passed down the food chain and essentially onto your plate. Its texture is delicately soft and light; it's flavour best accentuated by the freshest of ingredients. White fish has far less of a 'fishy' taste than other variations of fish, for example tuna. I have used lemon sole, a flat fish which has a sweet delicate flesh and works well in many dishes.

I first tasted the mango, coriander and hot red chilli salsa when I worked for the Rolex HQ in London. Our meals were catered for us everyday, and we were lucky enough to have Pete the chef cooking 3-course meals for us daily! Oh how I loved Pete :D Even if my gluten-intolerance really did him up the backside sometimes. Pete if you're reading this, I miss coming into the kitchen each day, you were so great and you inspired me always! Pete served us once, cod on crushed new potato's with this Brazilian style salsa, which I was enthralled by! It is genius. It is SO fresh, flavourful and spicy. I felt so many flavours whizzing around my mouth, except my taste buds accepted them clearly and confidently. IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. Note to self, next time, try adding chopped red onion into the salsa, for another kick in a different direction. I think that too is a match made in heaven. 

OK. So I bought a sweet potato. I baked it and then I had one of those mid-creating brainwaves. I know I sound like a loony tune, but being creative in the kitchen is SO much fun, I am buzzing still from the flavour pairings...EEEK! The best part is you never actually know what you are doing half the time, you explore and experiment and then VOILA! I tried to slice turned to much OBV. They are SO soft. I have date syrup? That's it. Sliced sweet potato laced with melted butter, date puree, garnished with drizzled date honey. OH MY this is what I am dubbing dessert on a plate. It is a wonderful side to an savoury or spicy dish, it not only adds balance, but the sweetness is not overpowering, it went beautifully with the delicate flavours, seeing as it has an earthy undertone. OK, it sounds like earthy and ocean bearing flavour just don't mix. Think again! 

DATES! DATES! DATES! My favourite restaurant, that I have eaten at so far is La Shuk on Dizengoff. Why? Firstly, the ceviche is incredible. The best ceviche I have had and right now I am loving ceviche. It was white John Dory fish and sweet dates...I need to recreate this dish. Speaking of ceviche, restaurants here in Israel serve such wonderful ceviche dishes, diverse in flavour, and right now its my favourite dish. I'll have a glass of Cava please (but really I say it in Hebrew) :P There is only one place I can find Prosecco here in Israel, luckily it's in a wine bar called Denim, which is conveniently located down my street, with a daily happy hour. WHOOPS. Whilst I no longer drink it as often, I consider myself more of a sangria girl now, Prosecco was undoubtedly my favourite drink back home and in London. 

PS. Can we just appreciate this cute silver scoop! On my wanders around Tel Aviv last weekend, I got lost exploring the back streets leading to Levinsky Market, by which I stumbled across several professional chef stores! ERRR I'M IN HEAVEN. I lost myself and found myself a million times over planning dishes based on plates, accompaniments and so-called kitchen gadgets. Exhibit A. The sweetshop scoop. I knew instantly when I saw it that I would, essentially, serve the accompaniment to a dish. In this case, the salsa fitted perfectly in there. Cooking isn't just about making food and eating it. The creative processes actually start before you even start cooking. I bought so many cute and kinda cool things in these stores for the presentation of my food. I can't wait to share it all with you :)


Fish in Foil, the Scoop of the Day and Finally the Sweet Potato found himself a DATE! 

Baked Lemon Sole & Brazilian Mango Salsa Served with Sweet Potato & Sweet Dates
(This recipe SERVES 1 to increase yield, multiply quantities by amount of people) 
Preparation Time: 15 minutes 
Cooking Time: 25 minutes


- 1 fillet of Lemon Sole white fish
- wedge of lemon
- knob of butter
- 1/4 sweet potato
- 1 King Solomon dates (my favourite Israeli dates, other variations will do!)
- 1 tsp date syrup
- Sea Salt & Pepper

Mango Salsa Ingredients: 

- 1/3 Mango
- Handful of coriander
- 1/3 Red Chilli Pepper
- 2 slices red onion (optional & not included in this recipe)

Make the Magic Happen: 
  1. Preheat fan oven to 180 degrees. Wash sweet potato, and mark an X in the middle using a sharp knife. Place potato in the microwave for 6 minutes to pre-cook it. This reduces cooking time and it is just as tasty. If you beg to differ, pop the potato in 40 minutes before preparation begins :D
  2. Take a piece of aluminium foil approx. 30cm x 30xm long and place the fillet of fish in the middle of the foil square. Season with cracked sea salt and cracked black pepper, squeezing a little of the lemon wedge over the fish and leave on top with a knob of butter. 
  3. Fold in the foil first length ways and then horizontally, create a roof over the fish, sealing in a little house, ensuring all edges are folded over so nothing seeps out. Use a fork or a knife to poke holes in the top to allow steam out. This is one of my favourite ways to cook fish. It is baked inside all the juices, the addition of ingredients such as lemon, parsley, onion, herbs or whatever induces flavour and keeps the freshness. It also keeps the flesh soft and moist. 
  4. Place the fish in foil in a small casserole dish, just in cas any juices spill out, you don't want to have more hassle when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. 
  5. Take the potato out of the oven...careful...this is not a game of hot potato, be sure to use something like a tea towel to grab it. IT'S HOT!! Pop it straight in the oven to continue cooking and to crisp over. 
  6. Meanwhile, slice off the mango. I used an avocado slicer to slice the mango out from the skin, an alternative is to use a knife and chop into chunks. Place in a bowl.
  7. Finely chop the coriander and add to the mango.
  8. Slice the red chilli pepper into fine circles. If you like it hot like me, start at the top of the chilli where the seeds are, you will get more spice, and more heat! Use sparingly if you are sensitive to spice.. Add to the bowl and mix it all up!
  9. Pop the fish in the oven for 15 minutes, he can sit tight with the sweet potato.
  10. Slice the dates and mix together to form a puree. 
  11. Once the fish and sweet potato are cooked, take out of the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, at this moment I pour myself a glass of vino rouge...
  12. Arrange your plate accordingly; slice the sweet potato and add a tiny knob of butter to each slice. Top with sweet date puree and drizzle with date honey, make it look pretty.
  13. Serve the mango salsa on the side and VOILA! 

Enjoy Dolls 
Bete Avon 
Bon Appetit! 



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Gluten Free Enchiladas with Black Bean Chilli & Guac with a Kick |


Shabbat here in Israel comes in Friday night and goes out Saturday night at sundown, meaning during this time the supermarkets and shops are closed. Whilst arguably I should be soaking up the rays on the beach, I enjoy a certain type of challenge: making something scrumptious using the ingredients I already have. It isn't planned, it's a dish created in the making. Spontaneous Saturdays.

Inspired by the street food at the Shuk, I originally set out to make Arepas; a corn flour pitta/pocket which is then stuffed with whatever you like, supposedly savoury fillings, except I'm already dreaming of red meat, mixed spices, cranberries, currents and dates. Arepas are prominent in Venezuelan and Colombian cuisine. OH and they are most certainly GLUTEN FREE. HOORAH! OK but enough of these for now...because the cornflour I had bought was in actual fact, cornstarch. HMMM....have any of you mixed cornstarch and water? It is just the weirdest and coolest thing ever. It basically creates both a liquid and a is more or less quick sand. OK, so now I know, cornflour in Israel is CORNSTARCH. Noted. If any of you haven't done this science experiment at home, I highly recommend it. Besides, science is fun!

All you need is:

- 2 cups Corn Starch
- 1 cup water
- Food colouring (optional)


OK, Arepas were officially out of the question, still are until I source actual cornflour. The language barrier and the fact that that my supermarket just doesn't stock it, makes my life that little bit harder. For a millisecond. As my creative processors developed, I decided that I would make vegetarian black bean chilli with my pre-soaked black beans that I had soaked 2 days prior. NOTE: When using dried legumes, you must allow for them to soak overnight. My roomie is a vegetarian and for our weekly date night, it's tortilla time! Goodbye Venezuela, Hello Mexico!!

This was my first time making Gluten Free tortilla's and I can't say that they looked, nor felt like the fluffy discovery ones that I remember from growing up. They were a staple in my cupboard, it was only when I realised that I was gluten intolerant that I stopped eating them. Before that..mmm fajitas. I haven't had them in years, nor have I had the chance to enjoy proper Mexican food; seeing as the gluten free alternative at restaurants is a completely different dish. OH CUTE. That is NOT the gluten free alternative I was looking for. Which is why science and cooking is so friggin incredible. Nothing is impossible. At home, you can have everything you always wanted, not a completely different dish but the same one, better or more authentic than the original.

So...What was different?

- Firstly, they are not the perfect tortilla. In order to create tortilla's suitable for rolling fajitas and wraps, I need to carry out more experimentation to create a thinner tortilla with a lighter, fluffier texture:

1. They are too thick
2. They tore slightly when folding inwards for the Enchiladas making them not so suitable for wraps or rolling

- Arguably, I created a different texture with a delicious taste. Seasoned with cumin and cinnamon, they were chewy in texture. Sweet and aromatic, with nutty undertones, the tortilla was earthy, and a perfect home for the VERY spicy black bean chilli.

Sally described them as a 'new' creation of tortilla. So I guess I just created my very own style of tortilla for Enchilada's, who said everything has to be by the book. This is the whole beauty of experimenting and being creative in the kitchen! You create and play around with flavours and textures, and sometimes what seemed like a failure at first ends up being a pleasant surprise. Exhibit A. We ate every mouthful, they were ever so scrumptious. The dish altogether was VERY spicy. WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. Both sally and I are lovers of spice...and all things nice. (It had to be rhymes). It was earthy, filled us right up and was wonderfully accentuated by the fresh guacamole.

In conclusion, this gluten free tortilla recipe is for Enchiladas only, however made thinner you may find they are suitable for wraps. If you are looking for a fajita/wrap style fluffy tortilla...the kitchen is calling me but I don't have the answers for you just yet my darling dolls. After more experimentation I will be sure to get back to you. Next up...smokey fajita's!

Gluten Free Enchiladas with Black Bean Chilli & Guacamole with a Kick
(serves 2)

Enchilada Tortillas 
(Yield = 2)

  • 1 1/3 cup Gluten Free all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 25g butter 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with water (optional)
Make the Magic Happen 

1. Place in a bowl and mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cumin and cinnamon. 
2. Knead in the softened butter using your fixers to really bring it together, it should look a bit like cornmeal, and kind of lumpy!
3. Add the water bit by bit, no one wants a sticky dough that can't even be handled. It's a nightmare, it will be stuck in your fingers!
4. Mix it all together, kneading with your hands to ensure that all the lumps are out, until you have a wonderful smooth and not-too-sticky ball of dough. You don't want it to be too dry or too wet, so if you notice there is something irregular about your dough, balance it out with more water/gluten free flour.
5. Ensuring you have a clean surface to work on, sprinkle it generously with gluten free flour. Placing the dough on the surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to create a surface about 3mm thick, you can go thinner if you like, but be careful not to break the tortilla! We really enjoyed the chewiness of the tortilla which is achieved by being slightly thicker. Nom nom nom!
6. Now you need to cut out the shape of the tortilla, I used the lid of a small-medium saucepan to perfectly cut a circle. Pat with gluten free flour, to prevent sticking and place on a plate.
7. Gather the remaining dough and repeat process. 
8. Heat either a griddle, skillet (I used a skillet) on a medium-high heat and place the tortilla's in one at a time. No need for oil or anything, you just place it on the hot surface and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Make sure to ensure you aren't burning the tortilla by checking the underside. Oh and don't forget to flip it!
9. VOILA...If you aren't eating them straight away, you can re-heat on the skillet for 1 minute on each side before preparing the Enchiladas or pop them straight in the oven.

I did cook them further on the skillet... here they were a bit undercooked. But the half-by-half cooking process made them chewier. 

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can tinned tomato's
  • 5 cherry/plum tomato's (variation of red, yellow, green)
  • 1/2 tsp sezchuan chilli powder (this is a very spicy chilli powder I picked up at a spice store, if you don't have access to one you can replace with chilli powder or cayenne pepper, increase quantity depending on spiciness and personal palette)
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (sliced)
  • 5 slices of green chilli
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • season with salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cheddar Cheese, or cheese of your choice
Make the Magic Happen

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan oven)
2. Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, toss in the sliced chilli's and coarsely chopped garlic, allowing the pungency of the chilli's and garlic to infuse the oil for 2-3 minutes. 
3. Remove his skin, then chop the red onion semi-finely. Toss in the chopped onion, dark brown sugar, chopped red pepper and fresh tomato's, stirring occasionally until the onions are browned. 
4. Pour in the chopped tomato's, black beans, cumin, cinnamon and chilli powder. Stir and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Taste, and season with salt and pepper
6. Serve inside Enchilada
7. Place in the oven for 5 minutes
8. Take out and cover with cheddar cheese, or cheese of your choice and place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. 

LOL..this one might be the ugly duckling...I increased my gluten free flour quantity as I was lacking a tiny bit hence the scraggly edges. It might not look as pretty as the first one, but it was just as delicious.! The updated quantities are in the recipe so you should have the right amount of dough to make 2 tortilla's like the other one.

Guacamole with a Kick TSSS

  • 1 avocado 
  • 5 mixed cherry tomato's
  • 4 slices of red onion
  • 1/2 red chilli 
  • 2 wedges of lime SQUEEEEZED
  • Sea Salt
  • Handful of fresh coriander to garnish
Make the Magic Happen

1. Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and remove the avocado fresh using eith a knife or spoon. I have an avocado slicer that I use, I then diced the avocado. Personally, I like mine chunky!!! 
2. Choose whether you want it smooth or slightly chunky: Smooth? mush it all up using a fork or blend it. Chunky? Mush half using a fork and then add the remaining chunks and mix together. 
3. Cut the tomato's into 4-6 pieces and add to the avocado. I use a variation of small cherry tomato's; green, yellow and red which I pick up in season at my local market.
4. Depending on how many you are serving, you can alter the quantities. I am cooking for two, therefore I only used 4 slices of a halved red onion. The rest? Wrap him up in cling film and pop him in the fridge for another time. Chop the onion into small chunk and add to the avocado. 
5. Slice the red chilli into small slices and add to the mix. Sally and I LOVE spice, red chilli fresh adds a kick, it is hot but not SUPER hot so you should be me? That is unless all spice is too hot for you to handle, or your flat out just like BLEURGH. In which case, forget it.
6. Squeeze the lime and add some cracked sea salt. 
7. Mix it up and serve with fresh coriander to garnish

Sorry Dolls! For some reason the bad lighting in my apartment made the guac look yellow...not green :D

Enjoy Dolls
Bete Avon
Bon Appetit