Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wild Garlic Oil.

You can use this method to make any flavoured oil using any combination of herb / flavouring and oil. Use it in salad dressings, for marinades, as a dipping oil or spread on good quality bread after it has been gridled for garlic bread.
Roughly chop two large handfuls of wild garlic leaves and place in a saucepan.
Cover with rapeseed oil and gently heat.
Remove from the heat and leave to infuse as the oil cools. You can repeat this process a few time to increase the flavour of oil if desired.
When the oil is cool place in a blender and blitz.
Strain through a fine sieve or muslin.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Spring French Peas with Chicken Breast.

This is a take on the tradition french peas adding spring onion and wild garlic to replace the finely grated garlic and pearl onions.
It would also be great with a pigeon breast rather than chicken.
First heat an oven proof pan with a good knob of butter and cook your chicken breast skin side down until it starts to brown. Lower the heat and cook on for a few mins then transfer to a preheated oven.
In a little  butter cook some finely chopped smoked bacon until it starts to crisp.
add a couple of finely sliced spring onions, soften.
Add a couple of cups full of frozen peas and a little boiling water or stock (chicken or veg) simmer until the peas are half cooked.
Add finely sliced little gem lettuce and cook for a few mins.
A few mins before serving add the finely shredded wild garlic and mint leaves, cook for a few mins and serve.
If you use traditional garlic grate half a clove very finely into the peas about a minute before the end of cooking.

Baked Radishes, Wild Herb Salsa Verde and Truffled Brie.

I ordered a similar dish to this recently in my local pub and despite thinking it was a good idea was slightly disappointed as the radishes were cold and soft, so thought i would do my own version.
Cooking the radishes softens them and also takes the heat away so you can use quite fiery ones if you like the heat - i prefer them to be served warm and only par cooked so they still have crunch in the centre and a bit of heat left.
Any good cheese will do - it doesn't have to be a soft one, a quality cheddar such as Lincolnshire Poacher would also work.
First make the salsa verde, you can use garden herbs, wild herbs or a mix. I used thyme, mint, parsley and foraged wild garlic, nettle tops and a few hawthorn buds as they were in season. You could also use hedge garlic (garlic mustard), bitter cress, winter cress, watercress, chickweed, sorrel, lambs lettuce, sorrel etc.
Roughly chop the herbs and place in a blender with a good dollop of mustard, I used Dijon, but any quality one is fine. Biltz, then add a some cider vinegar and biltz again. Taste and adjust the flavours if you need to.
Next is the radishes. Remove the radish leaves and roots - reserve the leaves. Heat some butter in an oven proof pan. Add the radishes and coat with melted butter. Place in an oven pre heated to 180 degrees for five mins (this differs slightly depending on the size and variety of radishes).
Serve on a slice of good quality toasted bread with  the radish leaves (or a combination of other leaves) dressed with wild galic oil (see previous recipe) chunks of cheese and a few teaspoons of the salsa verde.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Salt Baked Beetroot with Rosemary, Feta, Apple, Horseradish and Hazelnuts.

For this Recipe you need to make a rough pastry, that will not be eaten, to roast the beets in.
The amount of pastry you will need depends on the size of the beets.
First blitz about six rosemary sprigs and around 150g of course sea salt in a food processor then add 300g of plain flour, two egg whites and around 200ml water.
Blitz again to bring together into a rough dough.
Kneed the mixture on a clean surface for around five mins to form a smooth ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Pre heat the oven to 160C. Roll the dough out to the thickness of a pound coin.
Top and tail the beetroots, but dont peel, place on the pastry and cut round the beats draw up the pastry to encase the beets and seal the top by pinching together.
Place on a baking tray for 30-50mins depending on the size of the beets - when a sharp knife goes into the beet with out much effort they are ready. Its best to slightly under cook as they will carry on cooking after they are removed from the oven and its also nice to serve them warm and soft on the outside with the middle slightly firmer.
While the beets are cooking dry toast some hazelnuts in a pan. finely slice a cored apple and roll in lemon juice.
After removing the beats from the oven allow them to cool a while before removing from the pastry and peeling.
Slice in half and plate on top of a dollop of horseradish cream (if using fresh horse radish don't use the cream and grate a fine dusting over at the end.
Place the sliced apple and cubes of feta cheese around the beet and scatter with the toasted nuts.

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 Hazelnuts 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.