Sunday, 29 November 2015

Mushroom Risotto with Haddock.

This was another dish cooked with a friend while on my visit to the west country and again I was just the sous-chef!
I was a bit skeptical about fish with it but the combination of earthy mushrooms with the fish was excellent.
We used a mix of dried and fresh mushrooms, if you can get wild foraged mushrooms all the better but any combination is ok.
Other meaty white fish like sea bass, pollack or cod would also work well or indeed none at all.
First put your dried mushrooms in water to soak.
Put a saucepan of veg or chicken stock on to heat up.
In a large pan or frying pan heat a knob of butter on a high heat.
Add a chopped onion and soften.
Then add your risotto rice and stir to coat with the butter.
Add a glass of white wine and burn off the alcohol stirring constantly.
Add the soaked and drained dried mushrooms. some recipes suggest adding the soaking liquor, but i would advise against it as its very strong and very bitter. If you are unsure smell it. If you are still unsure taste it!
Reduce the heat slightly to med/high and add a ladle full of hot stock stirring continuously.
When all the stock has been absorbed repeat.
Keep doing this for 20-25mins until the rice is cooked - it should still be a little firm in the centre.
Remove from the heat and add chopped butter - leave to rest for a few mins.
Meanwhile in another pan saute your fresh mushrooms if using in a little butter with chopped parsley.
In another pan put your fish on to cook.
Stir and beat the risotto furiously with a wooden spoon to incoporate the butter.
Add grated Parmesan and do the same.
Stir in your sauteed mushrooms and serve with cooked fish on top.

Chorizo with Red Wine and Rosemary.

A great starter or tappas dish and very quick and easy to make.
Cut a cooking chorizo into ring about the thickness of a pound coin.
Put a frying pan on to medium heat - do not add oil.
Place the chorizo into the pan.
Finely chop a shallot.
When the chorizo has coloured on one side turn them over.
They should now be releasing lots of oil into the pan.
Add a little more cooking oil if you think you need it and add the shallot and finely chopped rosemary.
Cook until the shallot has softened, then add a small glass of red wine (or sherry).
Turn up the heat and reduce the wine to a syrup.
Serve with crusty bread for the juices.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Partridge with Red Wine Sauce, and Puy Lentils.

This was a joint effort with a friend I was staying with in the west country. We both got our heads together, looked in a few books for tips and ideas on the best way to cook & roast Partridge and came up with this.

Smother your partridges with butter and lightly season. Leave covered to come up to room temperature before cooking.
Rinse the lentils in cold water to remove any excess pieces and dust.
Fry chopped smoked bacon in a pan until beginning to crisp, add chopped carrot and a small chopped onion and soften.
Add your lentils, a bay leave and sage. Cover with cold water bring to a simmer.
They should take around 25-35 minutes but this varies depending on type and amount you are cooking etc.
Do not worry about this as it is easy to slow the process or keep them warm while cooking the partridge.
when cooked drain some of the cooking liquid to leave a sauce like consistency. 
Heat some rapeseed oil in an oven proof frying pan and colour your partridge on all sides, do not use a very high heat as you will burn the butter smothered on the birds. You may well need to hold them in place when doing the ends.
Place in a oven pre-heated to 220 degrees and roast for 5-8 mins depending on size of the bird.
Remove from oven place on a plate cover in foil and leave to rest for 4-5 mins in a warm place.
Partridge should still have a pink blush to it when cooked.
While the birds are resting return the cooking pan to the hob and on a high heat melt a knob of butter and deglaze with red wine.
Reduce to a syrup and add any juices from the resting birds.
Serve the Partridge on a bed of mashed potato covered with the red wine reduction and surrounded by the lentils - the mash will soak up all the juices and seasonal veg.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Cauliflower and Shropshire Blue Soup.

After a trip to Shrewsbury (or is that Shrewsbury?!) and the purchase of a nice piece of Shropshire Blue I decided to use some of it on this take on Broccoli and Stilton soup.
First cut up the coli into medium size florets and place in a pan of slightly salted boiling water.
Simmer until tender, but not soft - a sharp knife should go in with a little effort.
Drain and reserve the coli.
Soften a small carrot, a stick of celery and the white part of a leek in a little oil/butter.
Add veg stock and the cooked coli bring to the boil and simmmer for 15 mins.
Blitz in a blender, return to the pan and add the cheese crumbled or gated - cook until the cheese is melted.
Serve with a light sprinkling of nutmeg and chopped parsley.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Chicken Chasseur.

Chasseur [sha-sur; Fr. sha-sœr] a French term for hunter.
Chicken Chasseur has now started appearing on menus as hunters chicken! 
Chasseur sauce is a dark sauce traditionally used for game and wild fowl containing mushrooms, shallots, tomatoes and finely chopped herbs. 
The hunters would pick the mushrooms when returning from the hunt.

Fry some chopped smoked bacon in a pan and add to a casserole.
Colour your chicken pieces in butter in the same pan on a med heat and place in the casserole.
Then soften some whole shallots and add to the chicken.
Deglaze the pan with white wine, then add chicken or veg stock and a good squeeze of tomato puree.
Reduce by half.
Add whole button or chopped mushrooms to the casserole  a bay leaf and some finely chopped thyme and tarragon.
Pour the reduced liquid over the chicken and veg, cover and place in a med/low oven for an hour or until the chicken is cooked through.

Friday, 22 May 2015

London Particular.

A very quick and easy soup made with the cooking liquor from the Gammon Ham (see previous recipe).
London Particular is traditionally made with dried split peas, but I used frozen.
If you do use split peas just soak them overnight and cook for longer. They will probably make a nicer soup too - thicker - a real pea-souper!
Soften a small onion in butter and add chopped thyme leaves.
Add the ham stock an a couple of cups full of frozen peas (or soaked split peas if using).
Cook on until the peas are cooked and transfer to a blender - pulse until the desired consistency - smooth or still a little lumpy.
Return to the pan and add shredded left over gammon and warm through.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Wild Garlic and Nettle Soup.

When picking nettles for cooking use only the top four leaves on young plants - do not use nettle plants that have gone to flower and its also wise to pick them from nettle patches that are difficult for dogs to get too!

Always give the nettles a good shake to get then free of any insects outdoors is best so they can return to any undergrowth (I am sure they would not want to be in your soup).
Blanch the nettles for a few seconds in boiling water and when cool enough to handle squeeze out any excess water.
Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan and on a very low heat add the nettles and stir until they have broken down completely.
Then soften a little finely chopped carrot, onion and celery and on a slightly higher heat.
Add veg stock, season and simmer until the veg is cooked through.
Finely shred your wild garlic leaves add to the pan and cook for a few mins.
Blitz in a blender and return to the pan and warm through.
Serve with a little chopped parsley or a few garlic flowers for decoration.

Haddock and Fennel Pie.

For this pie its best to use both unsmoked and smoked haddock (but not the yellow dyed type).
Place the fish fillets into a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
Boil half a pint of milk, pour over the fish replace the lid and leave to poach for 15 mins. Remove the fish and leave to cool in a covered bowl.
Slice a bulb of fennel and lightly cook on both sides in butter.
Boil enough potatoes for the mash that will top the pie.
In a clean saucepan melt a knob of butter. remove from the heat and mix in a couple of teaspoons of plain flour.
Add a little of the poaching milk and return to the heat. Bring to a simmer, stiring constantly, while adding more milk a little at a time.
When thickened to a sauce add lots of chopped parsley and remove from the heat.
Flake the fish into an oven prove dish and add the fennel.
Pour over the sauce and cover with mashed potato.
Cook in the oven until the potato colours slightly and serve.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Gammon Ham and Parsley Sauce.

Most hams these days should not need pre-soaking as they are not as heavily salted, but if buying from a butcher just ask.
In addition to this taste the cooking liquor about half way through cooking and if it is overly salty pour half away and add more water.
Place your ham in a large saucepan with a quartered onion (skin on), a couple of roughly chopped carrots, a couple of chopped sticks of celery, half a chopped leek (green end), a few bay leaves and half a dozen pepper corns.
You can use other stock veg if you have things that need using up or trimmings.
Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for half an hour per half kilo.
Twenty minutes before the ham is ready melt a good knob of butter in a sucepan and remove from the heat.
Stir in a couple of teaspoons of plain flower and add a dash of milk.
Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, stiring constantly, while adding a combination of more milk and cooking liquor from the ham until you have the consistency of a sauce.
Add lots of finely chopped parsley and keep warm until the ham is cooked.
Remove the ham from the cooking liquor and leave to drain for a few mins.
Slice and serve with the parsley sauce and seasonal veg or veg lightly cooked in the ham liquor.
Reserve the stock for soup.