Sunday, 30 June 2013

Asparagus, Pea and Mint Salad.

A wonderful summer lunch or strater, but use very fresh ingredients esp the asparagus as its used raw.
First make the mint dressing.
Finely chop a small bunch of mint leaves and add to extra virgin olive oil, a splash of cider vingar, a tea spoon of french mustard and a grind of black pepper and a little salt. Mix thoroughly.
Thaw out some frozen peas or cook in advance and allow to cool.
Finely as you can slice the asparagus and place in a bowl with a dash of lemon juice.
Arrange  some letuce or other salad leaves on a plate.
Mix the peas in with the asparagus and dress with the mint dressing.
Mix with the leaves and serve.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Honey and Mustard Glazed Pork.

For the glaze (for aporox four chops / small steaks) mix a table spoon of honey, a table spoon of whole grain mustard, chopped thyme, rape seed oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and pepper together (you can add a pinch of salt but there should be enough in the mustard).
Coat the pork and marinade for a few hours or over night.
Bring the meat back to room temp before cooking (this applies to all meat - stops it toughening when it is cooked)
Cook the steak on a very hot griddle or on the barbecue spooning over any excess glaze as you turn the meat.
Let it rest in a warm place for 3/4mins and serve.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Potato and Rocket Soup.

 A mass of rocket in the garden at present and I wanted to use most up before it flowers and starts to set seed everywhere so...
Cut your potatoes into rings about half an inch wide and place in a sauce pan off water and a little salt.
Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat until the poatoes are cooked.
Add a large bunch of rocket and some stock and reheat for five mins or so to cook through the rocket.
Blend until it is smooth and push through a sieve.
Reheat to reconstitute and adjust the seasoning.
Serve with a scattering of chopped rocket.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lamb with Smoked Paprika & Thyme.

I have used this marinade on various cuts of lamb - neck fillet, steaks, chops and even done it as a roast with a rolled shoulder.
It is great on the barbecue as a steak or kebab too, which i have served simple with a dollop of hummus and some flat bread.
In a mortar and pestle crush a couple of garlic cloves, salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
When the garlic is almost a paste add a teaspoon or two of smoked Spanish paprika (hot or sweet) the juice of half a lemon and a good squeeze of tomato puree.
Mix together well and marinade your lamb in it for at least a few hours - over night or a day or two is even better.
Cook steaks, kebabs etc on a barbecue or in a hot griddle pan. If you are roasting a larger piece of meat make sure the temp is high enough to cook and sweeten the garlic.

Asparagus, Pea and Mint Risotto.

Warm a small saucepan of chicken stock on the hob.
In a large frying pan soften a chopped onion in olive oil.
Add a cup full of risotto rice and stir around to coat the rice.
Add half a glass of white wine raise the heat and cook off the alcohol - season.
Adjust the heat and ladle in a small amount of the warm stock, stirring the rice to let it absorb the stock. Keep adding small amounts of stock as the rice cooks stirring regularly.
A couple of mins before the rice is cooked add some frozen peas (give a few extra mins if using fresh).
When the rice is cooked through and the last of the stock is just asorbed take off the heat and mix in the chopped  asparagus spears and chopped mint.
Stir in grated parmesan and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Owslebury, Water Lane, Hensting Barn and back again.

This walk is a circular walk starting and finishing in the village of Owslebury at the Ship Inn pub.
Its about three years or so since I have walked along Water Lane so thought it was high time to do it again. 
You exit the pub car park and turn right, the road turns a corner as it starts to decend down Whites Hill, but if you carry straight on you come to the enterance to Water Lane (the left fork in the path).
On the approach to the lane I noticed that the path had had some extensive resurfacing done to it and to my absolute horror found that the work, which has included the digging out of the bottom of the holloway and laying down large quantities of stone finally top surfacing it with fine gravel. It must have taken around threehundred years old of hooves, feet and natural erosion by rain water to form this lane. I couldn't believe the decision to do such a thing or the complete lack of understanding of who ever took this decision of what they were actualy dealing with.

Aghast I continued down the lane finding that this work went on for about two thirds of the way down the lane. Yes some of the branches needed triming to allow passage by horse, as its also a bridleway, but to fill in a holloway??? I hope the first heavy rain falls wash it all away.

At the bottom of the lane you take the right turn and continue decending the unspoilt part of the lane until you come to the road by Hensting Barn. Here a style to your right leads you onto a footpath that takes you across a field heading back up towards Owslebury. Alternatively you can walk around the road getting a better view of the 15th century timber and flint barn and cutt across rejoining the same foot path a little further across the field.
This foot path leads back along the edge of the down giving great views both back down to the barn and up along the valley into the south downs national park

After a good twenty minutes to half an hour of walking the foot pathe leads you back into a small lane which rejoins the top of water lane and returns you to the start point at the Ship Inn.

Caramelised Nectarines with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce.

For the strawberry sauce place hulled and chopped strawberries in a small saucepan with a drop of water and sugar to taste over a low heat. Cook until the strawberries collapse and release all their juices and turn to pulp.
Push the strawberry mixture through a fine sieve using the back of a wooden spoon until all the pulp is pushed through. Add a dash of balsamic vingar and reheat in the clean saucepan to reconstitute the mixture. If its to thin reduce to a sauce.
Cut the nectarines (or peaches) in half and remove the stone. Place on a barbecue or in a hot griddle pan and cook on both sides until the sugars caramelise.
Serve with the strawberry sauce and cream.


A great way to serve radishes as a snack or a starter with unsalted butter, salt and a tarragon dressing.
You need radishes with the leaves attached as fresh as possible.
For the tarragon dressing finely chop a small bunch of tarragon and mix with 3/4 extra virgin olive oil to 1/4 white wine vingar, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and a pinch of sugar.
Clean the radishes and trim off the root. Pull off the tough, larger outer leaves.
Pull the leaves off a radish and place on a small plate.
Smear the radish with a little butter, dip into the salt and eat. This gives the peppery radishes a lovely salty, creamy texture.
When you have eaten all the radishes dress the leaves with the tarragon dressing and eat as a salad.
Some people find the leaves a little on the bitter side so you could sweeten the dressing more with a little honey or a mix of honey and mustard. Alternatively you could use the leaves in a radish and potato soup.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Prawn Kebabs.

Excellent for the barbecue and quick to make, this was an adapted recipie from the Moro cook book.
In a mortar and pestle crush some garlic with a little salt and pepper, a hand full of caraway seeds and parsley stalks (reserving the leaves for later).
Add a little tomato puree, cooking oil and half a finely chopped chilli - mix together and add to raw prawns and marrinade for a few hours.
To assemble the kebabs alternate the prawns with slices of pepper and onion or other veg of choice on a skewer, pour over any excess marinade and cook on the barbecue or a griddle pan.
Scatter the chopped parsley leaves over before serving.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Duck with Raspberry Sauce.

I would usualy use cherries for this recipe, but none in the shops so improvised and used raspberries instead.
First using a very sharp knife score the skin of the duck breasts in a criss cross pattern - this will allow all the fat to be released when cooking. Season with salt & pepper on both side and rub in with a little oilve oil.
Soften a finely chopped shallot in some butter. Add a good splash of port and cook off the alcohol. Season and add some finely chopped thyme, and a handfull of rasberrries - cook until the raspberries collapse. Push through a fine sieve, loosen with water if to thick or reduce if too thin and keep warm in a sauce pan.
Heat a heavy based frying pan until hot and place the duck breasts in skin side down. Cook for 4-5 mins until coloured and the skin has released its fat. Pour off the fat (keep this as it makes great roast/sauted potatoes etc) and turn the duck breast. Cook the other side for another 4 mins or so and leave to rest in a warm place for a few mins.
Carve the duck into slices and plate up. Add any juices from the rested duck and a little fat to the warm sauce, stir in, spoon over the duck and serve.