Sunday, 11 May 2014

Strawberry and Raspberry Mousse Cake.

To make the base crush enough digestive buscuits to cover the base of your dish.
Add lemon zest and a couple of tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, a few tablespoons of caster sugar (optional), and a few tablespoons of juice from the fruit.
Mix well and press into the base of the dish. Place in the fridge to set.
For the raspberry layer place a punnet or two of raspberries in a saucepan with a tablespoon of lemon juice over a very low heat.
When the raspberries have collapsed and released all their juices add caster sugar to taste (some like it more tart and less sweet) and a some gelatine.
Leave to cool and then spread on to the buscuit base and return to the fridge.
For the mousse hull and chop your strawberries. Place in a pan with a tablespoon of lemmon juice and a dash of water. Put on a low heat until the fruit has collapsed and push through a sieve.
Soften gelatin leaves in water and a little of the strawberry juice for a few mins.
Return to strawberry juices to the pan  and add the gelatine and caster sugar to taste. Heat gently until all the sugar and gelatin has disovled. Place in the fridge to cool.
When cooled mix greek yoghurt, creme fraiche and the strawberry mixture together and spread over the top of the rasperry and buscuit mix.
Return to fridge to set.
Decorate with extra fruit.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Minted Asparagus with Palma Ham and Comte.

Break off the woody ends of the asparagus and place into oven proof dish.
Roll in rapeseed or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and dot with small pieces of butter.
Place in a pre-heatd oven at 180 degrees for 8-12 mins depending on thickness of the stalks.
Place you slices of parma ham on a plate.
When the asparagus is cooked sprinkle it with finely chopped mint and place on top of the ham, drizzling with the cooking oil/butter.
Place cheese shavings on top - I used comte but others such as parmesan work well too.

Poule Au Vin (Coq Au Van)

Surely Coq Au Van  should be a cockerel? These days its usually chicken rather than cockerel as its easier to get hold of and easier to cook with, which i guess makes it chicken in (red) wine.
This method is roughly based on Elisabeth David's in French Provincal Cooking and what ever you decide to call it, it's very good and like a lot of slow cooked dishes is even better if cooked the day before.

First empty enough wine to cover your chicken into a sauce pan with a cup full of chicken or veg stock, a couple of crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme.
Simmer until reduced by half, add botton mushrooms for the last five minutes, strain and discard the garlic, bay and thyme and reserve the mushrooms.
Fry some chopped bacon in a mix of oil and butter.
Add baby carrots and shallots either whole or halved and colour slightly.
Remove from pan and add to a casserole.
Raise the heat slightly and add seasoned chicken pieces skin side down and colour. Flambe in brandy (optional) and remove to the casserole.
Deglaze the pan with some of the wine mixture and add to the casserole with the rest of the wine reduction, a bay leaf and some fresh sprigs of thyme.
Cook on a medium low heat or in the oven until the chicken is cooked through.
Five minutes before the end of cooking return the mushrooms to the pan.
Traditionaly its served with fried bread, but rice or mash work well too.
Another alternative as suggested by E.D. is to serve a bowl of pasta after the chicken and veg for all the sauce.