Sunday, 28 July 2013

Barbecue Spare Ribs.

A barbecue sauce is one of the easiest and most fun things you can do in the kitchen.
There are four elements to it - heat, acid, sour and sweet!
For the heat think chilli, mustard, tobassco, horseraddish etc. For the sweet think sugar, honey, mint, tomoato, basil etc. For the sour think worcester sauce, soy etc, and for the acid think citrus juice, vinegars, balsamic etc
This recipe is for pork but you can swap and change ingredients to match beef, chicken or lamb etc.

For the basis of the sauce I always use a small onion chopped, tomato puree (or fresh skinned and de-seeded) and rapeseed oil.
As for the other elements its a quick wizz around the kitchen, pantry, cupboards, fridge and garden to match the meat I am cooking and what season of the year it is.
For these pork ribs i used garlic, honey, fennel fronds, worcester sauce, chilli, thyme leaves and lemon juice. All the ingredients are wizzed together in blender til smooth and then the pork is marinaded - best over night - turning occasionally.
For spare ribs cook in oven on a low heat until the meat is very tender - 100 degrees for a few hours and then crisp up the ribs on the barbecue before serving.

 Experiment and have fun with it! you could go oriental - lime juice, soy, chilli, corriander etc. or hot - chilli, tobassco, cracked pepper etc. there are endless combinations.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Lamb with Three Mustards and Tarragon.

Mix English, Mallie (French) and whole grain mustard together with some oil, chopped tarragon and seasoning.
Spread over your lamb (chops, steak etc) and leave to marinade for a few hours.
Cook at a med temperature so as not to burn the mustard.
Rest and Serve.
A real revelation this one.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer Pudding.

Another british summer classic for that glut of soft fruits, and a great way of using up old bread.
I used strawberries (alpine, wild and maincrop), rasperries, cherries, red currants and gooseberries, but any combination of summer fruit works as does autum fruits like blackberries later in the year.
Cut the crusts off the bread slices (it doesn't matter if they are stale!) and line a pudding basin with the bread being careful to overlap the pieces.
Reserve enough bread to cover the top.
Place about two thirds of the smaller more delicate fruits like red currants, raspberries and wild straw berries into the lined basin.
If using cherries half and stone them, slice the strawberries and place in a saucepan with the other reserved fruits.
Sprinkle with sugar, to taste, and heat until the fruits release their juices - this tends to disintergrate the smaller fruits.
Pour the contents of the sauce pan while still very hot into the pudding.
Top with excess bread and place a saucer that is slightly smaller than the basin on top. Weight with a tin can and place in the fridge over night.
The following day place a plate over the top of the pudding basin and turn over - turning out the pudding.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Fruits in Lemon Verbena Jelly.

An abundance of fruit in the garden at present - lots of strawberries - main crop, alpine and wild, also the first raspberries and still a lot of goosberries and red currents - add to that a few wild cherry trees about 20 mins walk away and all the summer fruit you could need.

For the jelly put a 50/50 mix of white wine and water into a saucepan. Add sugar and / or honey to taste and bring to the boil to dislove the sugar. Take off the heat and add lemon verbena leaves (lemon balm works just as well). Leave to infuse for at least an hour.
Strain the liquid and re heat slightly if cooled too much and add your gelitine.
Arrange a small amount of fruit in the bottom of a glass or bowl and add enough liquid to slightly cover.
Place in the fridge to set.
When this first layer has set add a bit more fruit and liquid. Repeat until all your fruit and liquid is used up. Doing it in layers like this will prevent all the fruit floating to the top, giving you an even spread of fruit through the jelly.

Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad with Balsamic Dressing.

Another classic flavour combination!
Firstly roast the beetroot - clean the beet and top and tail it then place on tin foil and pour over a splash of rapeseed oil and a splash of balsamic. Wrap place on a baking tray and roast in the oven at 180 degrees. This will take 25 - 45 mins depending on the size of the beets - they are done when a sharpe knife can be easily pushed into them. Underdone is better than over done as they will continue to cook wrapped in the foil after they come out of the oven.
Leave to cool and then drain the cook juices from the beats to use as the dressing. You will probably need to add some more olive oil, balsamic and seasoning to it.
Skin the beets and slice.
Arrange on top of shreded beet leaves (use the young and tender leaves) and other mixed salad leaves.
Crumble over some good goats cheese - I used a french crottin, dress and serve.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Tomato Salad.

The first basil of the season is ready for picking so couldn't resist this great combination to serve with a barbecued rib-eye steak.

Slice the tomato and arrange on a plate.
Rip the basil leaves and place under and on the tomato.
Season and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a slash of white wine vinegar.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Artichoke with Parsley and Mint.

The Chokes in the garden are now ready for eating - bit late this year, but well worth waiting for.

Cut the stem of the choke and a little of the base. Peel off the tough lower leaves and place in a pan with about an inch of salted water.
Bring to the boil and turn the heat down low and steam for 8-15 mins depending on the size of your choke. Its done when a sharpe knife can slide through it easily.
Remove the choke from the pan and drain most of the water leaving a little in the bottom. To this hot water add a knob of butter, a splash of rapeseed or olive oil and chopped parsley and mint. Mix together and when the butter has melted pour over the choke.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Fettuccine with Garlic, Chilli, Rocket, Tomatoes and Parmesan.

Firstly slow roast your tomatoes for 30-35 mins at about 180 degrees.
As your pasta is cooking heat a good glug of olive oil in a separate pan and add finely chopped garlic and half a small red chilli.
Add a finely chopped onion and soften.
Loosen the sauce with some of the boiling water from the pasta pan.
Add the roasted tomatoes and finally the rocket.
When the rocket has wilted down and the pasta is cooked drain the pasta and combine with the sauce.
Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Cucumber and Melon Salad with Parma Ham.

A great summer salad and works just as well without the ham.
De-seed the mellon and remove the flesh from the skin cutting into chunks.
Remove  the skin from the cucumber with a potato peeler (i leave some on as it looks better!), cut in half remove the seeds (they just taster bitter and watery) and cut into wedges.
Place into a salad bowl and tear the ham into strips on top.
Season with salt and pepper, dress with extra virgin olive oil and a good white wine vinegar and tear a hand full of mint leaves over the top.
Mix and serve.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Gooseberry Fool with Elderflower Jelly.

For the elderflower jelly pour half a glass of white wine and half a glass of water into a saucepan with sugar and / or honey to taste.
Bring to the boil and cook off the alcohol. Take off the heat and place half a dozen or so elderflower rosettes into the liquid and leave to cool and infuse.
When the liquid is cool discard the flowers and strain the liquid.
Reheat and add glelatin (i used powdered but you can get sheets too - just follow the instructions on the packet).
Allow to cool again and pour into glasses or a bowl and place in the fridge to set.
For the fool place your gooseberries in ina  sauce pan with a splash of water and sugar.
Cook through until the gooseberries collapse (I remove a few before they do for decorating the top).
Push through a sieve and allow to cool.
Whip double cream until it is thick  and fold in the gooseberry puree and custard.
Spoon onto the top of the set jelly and decorate with the reserved gooseberries.

*When elderflowers are out of season you could use elderflower cordial rather than infusing the flowers.