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.