Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Padron Peppers.

This is a really nice tapas dish to eat with drinks and very quick to prepare. These pepper have been on the menus in bars and restaurants for some time now and started appearing in markets and on supermarket shelves about three years ago.
They have a very slight heat and the addition of salt while cooking really compliments there sour flavour.
Heat some good oil in a frying pan to a high heat then add the peppers whole. Add the larger ones first and turn occasionally.
Sprinkle with good quality ground salt while cooking. you want the skin on the pepper to slightly blister without softening the flesh all the way through.
When cooked turn out onto kitchen paper to drain the excess oil plate up and sprinkle with a little more salt.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Venison with Sage and Cheese Cobbler.

Place your venison, cut into chunks, into a ceramic dish with springs of thyme, crushed garlic cloves,  3 or 4 crushed juniper berries, a couple of bay leaves and cover with a glass of good red wine.
Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 24 - 48 hrs.
Bring back up to room temperature (this will stop the meat becoming tough when cooked) and remove the venison, retaining the marinade liquid.
Dry the meat thoroughly and lightly dust with flour and season with salt and pepper.
In an oven proof dish soften some whole or halved shallots some chopped celery and baby carrots.
Colour the venison in a pan and add to the pot.
Deglaze the frying pan with the marinade liquid and add to the meat and shallots.
Braise in a low oven for about  90 mins.
If need be thicken the liquid by adding a little corn flour and reduce.
Sieve self raising flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt and rub in lumps of unsalted butter.
Add finely chopped sage and finely grated cheese, I used Lincolnshire Poacher - a favorite, but any good hard cheese such as cheddar or comte is good.
Add an eggs and some milk and whisk until fairly sloppy.
Form the dough into cobbles and brush lightly with more milk.
Place on top of the braised venison and bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes until the cobbler is golden.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Seasonal Berries with Biscuit Crumb, Toasted Hazel Nuts and Clotted Cream.

On a trip to mid Wales I was lucky to find a mass of bilberries growing wild. they have many names around the UK including blaeberry in Scotland, whortleberry in southern England and w(h)imberry in south Wales and the borders.
Along with these I collected some blackberries and elderberries in Dorset and added some bought strawberries and raspberries though foraged wild strawberries would have been better.
Place a glass of red wine in a saucepan and add half of the blackberries and elderberries reserving the best fruit. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit releases its juices and collapses.
Sieve off the liquid into a saucepan pushing through some of the fruit pulp, add a couple of tea spoons of caster sugar and boil to dissolve.
When this syrup has cooled slightly pour over the rest of the blackberries, elderberries and the bilberries to par cook and leave to cool.
when cool add the raspberries.
In another saucepan push the rest of the fruit through the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon until you have collect all the fruit pulp.
Add more caster sugar to taste and bring to the boil and reduce.
Hull and chop the strawberries and macerate in a little lemon juice with some more caster sugar.
Add to the other berries in the fruit juice.
Dry toast the hazelnuts in a pan - remove the papery skins and place in a mortar and pestle and break up.
Mix the nuts with some broken up digestive biscuits.
Add a dollop of the reduced fruit pulp to a plate and with the back of a spoon swoop across the plate.
Add a dollop of clotted cream and scatter with the nut and biscuit mix.
Spoon on the mixed berries and serve.

Whole Poached Salmon

First make a court bouillon.
In a large saucepan of water (enough to cover the salmon when it in a fish kettle) add a few bay leaves, a glass of white wine, a handful of peppercorns, chopped spring onions, fennel trimmings and some chopped dill.
Bring to the boil then leave to cool and infuse.
Place the salmon in a fish kettle and cover with the court bouillon, bring to the boil.
Turn of the heat and place the lid on the fish kettle and leave to poach.
The fish should be ready when the liquid is cold.
Remove from the kettle and serve.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Oyster Mushroom Sauted with Garlic and Tarragon.

A good find while out walking in Dorset and very fortunately had a fungus expert amongst the group as would not have trusted my own knowledge, though i did identify it as a oyster mushroom.

Slice the fungus into strips.
Melt some butter and oil in a hot pan.
Add finely sliced garlic and saute for a minute - don't let it burn!
Add the fungus and saute until it starts to release its juices.
Sprinkle with finely chopped tarragon.
When the fungus is cooked through serve on toast or with crusty bread.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Eton Mess

A classic English desert that is a mix of strawberries, whipped cream and meringues.
I used bought meringues as I was at a local fete and there were plenty of home made ones on sale.
First make the syrup - hull and slice a couple of dozen strawberries add to a pan on a low heat with a couple of dessert spoons of caster sugar and a splash of balsamic or other good quality vinegar.
Cook until the fruit releases all its juices and the sugar has dissolved. Place in a blender and blitz to a puree. Return to the pan and re heat stirring occasionally. Leave to cool.
Hull and half the remaining strawberries - reserve a half dozen or so pieces.
Place the rest in a bowl with a splash of white or rose wine, a squeeze of lemon juice and some caster sugar too taste. Stir and place in a cool place to macerate.
Whip double cream until it is thick.
Break up the meringues into bowls, add dollops of cream, macerated strawberries and "mess up".
Pour over strawberry syrup and sprinkle with the reserved strawberries - mess up again if you wish and add more ingredients.
When you think its enough of a mess serve!


Friday, 21 July 2017

Sea Bass en Papillote with Sea Samphire.

En Papillote means to cook in a foil parcel. This way the fish steams in its own oven with whatever vegetables or liquids you choose to use creating your own stock as it cooks.
On this recipe I cut the carrots and other vegetables very finely so they cooked at the same time as the fish - roughly 12-15 mins.

Sea Samphire grown in salt water and is exposed at low tide when it can be picked. It's best to take the tops of the more mature spikes as the lower parts can get a little woody.
It goes very well with fish as do other shoreline foragable vegetables like sea spinach or sea purslane.

First create you foil parcel with tin foil - best to double it up and make sure its large enough to hold the fillet and be sealed up too.
Firstly raising the sides so it can hold all the ingredients and liquid.
Cut half a small carrot, half a stick of celery and a small piece of fennel into fine battens and place in the foil.
Rub the Bass fillet with olive oil and season. Place on top of the vegetable battens as this will allow it to cook more evenly.
Add a small dash of white wine, some finely sliced garlic if using and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Seal and place on a baking tray.
Cook in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 12-15mins depending on what fish you are using and the fillet size.
While the fish is cooing bring a saucepan of unsalted water to the boil.
Blanche the washed sea samphire for about a minute, drain and roll in olive oil or butter with a dash of lemon juice.
Plate the fish, cooking vegetables and samphire - pour the cooking juices from the fish over the fillet and serve.