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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Eton Mess

A classic English desert that is a mix of strawberries, whipped cream and meringues.
I used bought meringues as I was at a local fete and there were plenty of home made ones on sale.
First make the syrup - hull and slice a couple of dozen strawberries add to a pan on a low heat with a couple of dessert spoons of caster sugar and a splash of balsamic or other good quality vinegar.
Cook until the fruit releases all its juices and the sugar has dissolved. Place in a blender and blitz to a puree. Return to the pan and re heat stirring occasionally. Leave to cool.
Hull and half the remaining strawberries - reserve a half dozen or so pieces.
Place the rest in a bowl with a splash of white or rose wine, a squeeze of lemon juice and some caster sugar too taste. Stir and place in a cool place to macerate.
Whip double cream until it is thick.
Break up the meringues into bowls, add dollops of cream, macerated strawberries and "mess up".
Pour over strawberry syrup and sprinkle with the reserved strawberries - mess up again if you wish and add more ingredients.
When you think its enough of a mess serve!

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Sea Bass en Papillote with Sea Samphire.

En Papillote means to cook in a foil parcel. This way the fish steams in its own oven with whatever vegetables or liquids you choose to use creating your own stock as it cooks.
On this recipe I cut the carrots and other vegetables very finely so they cooked at the same time as the fish - roughly 12-15 mins.

Sea Samphire grown in salt water and is exposed at low tide when it can be picked. It's best to take the tops of the more mature spikes as the lower parts can get a little woody.
It goes very well with fish as do other shoreline foragable vegetables like sea spinach or sea purslane.

First create you foil parcel with tin foil - best to double it up and make sure its large enough to hold the fillet and be sealed up too.
Firstly raising the sides so it can hold all the ingredients and liquid.
Cut half a small carrot, half a stick of celery and a small piece of fennel into fine battens and place in the foil.
Rub the Bass fillet with olive oil and season. Place on top of the vegetable battens as this will allow it to cook more evenly.
Add a small dash of white wine, some finely sliced garlic if using and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Seal and place on a baking tray.
Cook in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 12-15mins depending on what fish you are using and the fillet size.
While the fish is cooing bring a saucepan of unsalted water to the boil.
Blanche the washed sea samphire for about a minute, drain and roll in olive oil or butter with a dash of lemon juice.
Plate the fish, cooking vegetables and samphire - pour the cooking juices from the fish over the fillet and serve.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Prawns with Tomatoes, Garlic and White Wine.

Finely chop a couple of cloves of garlic and lightly fry in olive oil being careful not to colour it as this will make it go bitter.
Add some de-seeded and chopped tomatoes and cook to soften.
Adda glug of white wine and cook off the alcohol.
Reduce the heat and simmer to cook through.
Add the prawns and cook until the are pink and scatter with finely chopped parsley.
Serve with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Rock Samphire with Bacon and Cockles.

On a recent trip to Pembrokeshire in South Wales I finally got to sample Rock Samphire something I have wanted to taste for years.
It was growing in abundance on the rocks and cliff faces around the beaches and coves.
Rock Samphire is completely different to Marsh or Sea Samphire and is also from a different plant family.
The Sea version grows on mud flats that are covered by the sea at high tide and it is exposed at low tide for picking and can only grow in this tidal area.
Rock Samphire on the other hand grows out of the crevices and cracks in the rocks above the shoreline mainly in rugged coastal areas like Cornwall and South Wales. 
Bring a pan of unsalted water to the boil and add the washed samphire. Simmer for around fifteen mins until it has tenderized.
Drain and leave to cool.
Finely chop a shallot and soften in oil, add lardons or chopped smoked bacon and fry until they start to colour.
Add a knob of butter - when melted add the samphire and roll in the butter.Cook for 2-3 mins then add the cockles to heat through.
Finish with some finely chopped dill and parsley.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Duck Breat with Cointreau Sauce, Pak Choi and Sweet Potato Gratain.

This is a variation on duck and orange and works very well.
Peel and slice the sweet potato. Place in layers in a ramekin or baking dish. Dot with butter and season as you lay the layers of potato in.
Pour half a glass of milk over the top and allow to soak through. Place in an hot oven at 180 degrees and cook until the potato has softened.
While the potatoes are cooking heat an oven proof pan on the hob.
Season the duck breast and add a dash of sesame oil to the pan. Put the duck breast in the pan, skin side down, and cook for 4-5 mins until it has started to colour - turn and place the pan in the oven.
Cook for a further 5-7 mins depending on the size of the breast.
Return to the hob and take out the breast - leave to rest under foil.
Add a quartered pak choi to the pan and turn a few times - de-glaze the pan with Cointreau.
return to the oven for few mins until the pak choi wilts slightly.
Return the pan to the hob and remove the pak choi.
Add any resting juices from the duck breast and a small knob of butter.
Stir and reduce until you have a sauce.
Slice the duck breast and pour the sauce over the top.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Clams with White Wine, Fennel and Parsley

Finely chop a small carrot, a shallot, a stick of celery and lightly saute in oil.
Slice a bulb of fennel and add to the pan.
Cook until the fennel has softened - increase the heat and add a glass of white wine.
Burn off the alcohol lower the heat to a simmer and add your clams.
Steam until all the clams have opened (discard any that don't).
Serve with a good handful of chopped parsley.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Pea, Lettuce and Mint Soup.

In a sauce pan soften finely diced carrot, onion and celery in oil.
Add water and add chopped lettuce, peas (frozen or fresh) and some mint leaves, season.
Cook until the lettuce has wilted and the peas are cooked through.
Blitz in a blender, return to the pan - taste and adjust seasoning if it needs it and serve.

Chicken Breast and Wild Garlic Veloute with Seasonal Vegatables

A very seasonal dish for the British spring - you could also serve the veloute and vegetables as a starter.
In an oven proof pan cook the chicken skin side down in butter and / or oil until it has coloured.
Put in the oven pre heated to 180 degrees.
Heat and reduce chicken stock in a saucepan to about half of it original amount - add wild garlic leaves - you need a good handful per person.
Cook for a few minutes until the leaves have wilted.
Place in a blender and blitz.
Return to the pan and add a roux (an equal amount of butter and flour mixed together).
Cook until the roux melts stirring it in and keep warm until the chicken is cooked.
Serve with steamed seasonal veg - I used asparagus, baby carrots, fennel and jersey royals rolled in butter and chopped chives.


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Baby Artichoke Barigoule.

A classic French starter - it can be made with full grown artichokes too just half or quarter them and remove the choke.
To prepare the baby chokes have a bowl of cold water with lemon juice in it on hand to dip the chokes in as this will stop them discolouring.
First remove the tougher leaves from around the base of the choke.
Cut the top of leaves off about a third of the way down - this varies depending on size and age of the chokes. dip into the water and lemon juice.
cut the tip of the stalk off and holding the choke upside down peel away the inedible out part of the stalk - try to take the remaining tough out leaves at the same time.
If a choke has started to develop in the center remove it and place the choke in the water.
repeat with the rest of the chokes - you want to remove all leaves etc the are too tough to eat.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a lidded  saucepan.
Chop lardons or a rasher of streaky bacon and fry until they start to release there fats.
The add very finely diced carrot. celery and onion - cook for a few mins to soften.
Add the chokes a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped fennel (any veg can be used for this part so use what is seasonal or available that you think will work).
Raise the heat and add a small glass of white wine.
Burn off the alcohol reduce the heat and put the lid on and braise for about 10-12 mins (this again varies depending on the age and size of the chokes).
Turn the chokes a few times while braising.
Serve with some chopped parsley or chives.