12 Feb 2012
1 half skate wing
1 tbsp capers
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch long stem broccoli
1 tbsp fine chopped parsley
250ml white wine
1 shallot fine diced
1carrot fine diced
1 bay leaf
4 black peppercorns
Take all the ingredients for the court bouillon and bring to a rolling simmer in a large shallow pan, place the thickest side of the skate wing face down in the bouillon to simmer, this side will take approx 3-4 minutes to cook, then turn over and simmer the thinner side for approx 3 minutes, once cooked you can place a lid on the pan and rest off the heat for a few minutes in order to plate up the rest of the ingredients. Meanwhile roughly chop the capers and put to one side. Heat a small pan and melt the butter gently and cook on till it starts to brown in colour, don't let it go too far or it will change from a glorious nutty rich butter to a bitter taste, take off the heat and add the capers and some parsley. Bring a pan of up to boiling water and drop in the vegetables and simmer for approx 4 minuets, drain and add a knob of butter and a sprinkle of salt.
Place the skate wing on a warmed plate, with the vegetables and drizzle over the warm nutty butter and caper sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste
STUFFED SPRING ROLLS READY TO EAT NOW OR TO BE LIGHTLY FRIED
FIVE SPICE SZECHUAN PEPPER RUB
FAST ROASTED CRISPY SPICED DUCK
FINE SLICED VEGETABLES FOR THE SPRING ROLL
RICE PANCAKES SOAKED AND READY FOR STUFFING
LAYERED ALL THE INGREDIENTS READY TO ROLL
1 carrot finely sliced
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 scallion fine sliced
1 red chilli fine sliced
1/4 cucumber peeled and fine sliced
1/4 cabbage fine sliced
4 rice pancakes
FIVE SPICE INGREDIENTS
1 tsp szechuan peppercorns
1 tsp star anise
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white peppercorns
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
50ml soy sauce
Dash sesame oil
Pea size wasabi
1/2 sliced red chilli
Drop of rice wine vinegar
Drop of of mirin
FIVE SPICED SZECHAUN PEPPER RUB
Take all the ingredients except the salt and place in a non stick pan, gently toast the spices and then place in a pestle and mortar, add the sea salt and grind to a powder.
SEASONING & ROASTING THE DUCK
De-bone the duck and cut in half or ask your local farm shop or butcher to do it for you. Lay skin side up in a shallow roasting tin. Drizzle the ooil over the ducks & sprinkle the spices liberally over the duck and rub in well, turn over the duck and rub in the spices into the under side of the bird, returning the duck skin side up and cook in a hot oven 220 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool then slice finely.
Slice all the vegetables into equal thickness and length, fine slice the spring onion & chillies.
THE DIPPING SAUCE
Mix the wasabi with the soy sauce, pour in the mirin and rice wine vinegar, swirl to mix and dash over the sesame oil, finish off sprinkling the red chilli slices in the centre.
Take one rice pancake and soak in a bowl of warm water for 1 minute, place on a board and pat dry with kitchen roll. Take a little of each vegetable and place in the centre of the pancake, top with roasted duck.
To roll the pancake take the top and fold it over the filling, pushing back in on itself slightly under the filling, take each side of the pancake and bring them in to the centre, like a envelope, now just roll the pancake up to finish, check that the ends have tucked in. The spring rolls are ready to eat now or ready to deep fry in nut oil for a light crispy finish.
9 Feb 2012
FABULOUS FAST GIRLY LUNCH WITH NO PREP SO ALL THE TALKING IS NOT INTERUPTED, MAXIMISE YOUR LIMITED TIME
LOVE MY LOCAL FARM SHOP
Run in to my local farm shop on the way to my fabulous best friends house for lunch, we take it in turns to do so, and sometimes we both just grab great fresh food from our local suppliers so we can make the most of our hour or so together before the school run. Beautiful brie, fresh baked rustic loaf, homemade cheddar and cherry tomato quiche, with salad chopped from my garden on the way out to the car, just perfect and lots of time to catch up.
Thick fillet of cod or firm white fish
50g butter just melted
1 lemon zested & juiced
100g fresh soft breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper
Flat leaf parsley fine chopped
15 capers roughly chopped
1 tsp fine chopped dill or parsley
2 tbsp mayo
2 cornichons fine chopped
Fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper
FIRST MAKE THE TARTARE
In a bowl place the mayo, capers, cornichons and herbs, add some of the lemon juice and taste, if you feel it needs more lemon or more mayo adjust accordingly. Season to taste. If you like you can add some lemon zest into the tartare.
Heat a non stick pan medium hot. Take the cod or white fish fillets and paint with some of the soften butter, sprinkle over some of the lemon zest, season with sea salt and pepper then gently and lightly coat in the fresh breadcrumbs. Add the butter to the hot pan with the ooil and pan fry the cod. We are only going to turn this fillet once, so don't be tempted to touch it too soon, we want the fillet to cook just over half way before turning. Once cooked squeeze over the lemon juice and place a lid on the pan or a sheet of tin foil, to keep warm while we load up the roll. Toast the ciabatta rolls in the oven and get ready to assemble.
Take the ciabatta roll and cut in half, spread the tartare like butter on both sides of the roll, on the bottom place the fillet of fish and top with the tartare, you can add crispy lettuce if you like.
500g flour wholemeal plus xtra for dusting
1 jar smooth peanut butter (optional)
100g milk powder
100g oats or granola
Enough milk to bind
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and bring to a firm dough. Roll out to approx pound coin thickness and using a cookie cutter, I used a bone shape one, cut out the biscuits, re-roll the pastry and repeat.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and bake for 15-20minutes until golden brown. Store in a air tight container for upto 3 weeks.
FABULOUS FLAVOURSOME HEARTY FEEL GOOD GUMBO
THE HOLY TRINITY
BOUNTY FOR THE GUMBO
THE BROWN ROUX
MAKING THE BASE STOCK
THE HOLY TRINITY & ROUX COOKING OUT
THE FINISHED STOCK READY FOR THE FINAL INGREDIENTS
10 shell on large raw prawns
ooil & knob of butter
4 cooking chorizo
2 ltrs homemade chicken stock
4 tbsp plain flour
1 onion fine diced
2 Green peppers fine diced
2 sticks of celery fine diced
3 bay leaves
Small bunch thyme leaves
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
100g okra sliced
1 dressed crab meat
4 crab claws
10 fresh head & shell on prawns
8oz chicken thigh meat, sealed
1 tin good quality tomatoes chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
Juice of whole lemon
Chopped bunch parsley
For the stock, peel the raw prawns and put to one side, take all the shells & place in a deep pan with a knob of butter and ooil and gently fry, after a few minutes bash down with the back of a ladle or rolling pin to help release all of the beautiful red oils from their shells. Once you have done this add the chicken stock and simmer very gently for approx 20minutes, then pass through a sieve.
In a non stick pan gently sear the chorizo sausage slices till just slightly charred, remove from the pan and with all the juices and fat reserved in the pan add the flour and this will make your roux, if you need more fat to make it a little looser add a knob of butter or ooil. Cook the roux out moderately & gently for approx 30 minutes to deepen the colour and flavour.
Now add a good slug of ooil or butter and add the holy trinity, this does seem so wrong at this stage, but trust me it is the traditional method and it works for a reason... Stir gently and cook on for approx 5 minutes, add the bay leaves and thyme and cook on for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, Tabasco and okra and cook on for another couple of minutes.
Add the stock gradually into the holy trinity roux mix and mix really well. Bring to a simmer, at this point you can stop and rest the gumbo, ready to add the fish and meat later when you are ready to serve which is what I do, so that I can be with my friends enjoying great company and great food with all the work done and the flavour maturing. When ready to cook bring the gumbo up to a simmer add the crab, raw prawns, seared chicken and leave to tick over for 5 minutes, add the parsley. Taste and get ready to season with the magic.
THE MAGIC THAT LIFTS THE GUMBO
Seasoning: Lemon juice, Tabasco, salt & pepper. This is the key to the very best gumbo's they are almost there and then the adjustment of the seasoning is what makes it so very special. I personally find that the lemon and Tabasco are my best friends, but seasoning is so personal, so experiment.
PERFECT RICE FOR THE FINISHED DISH
Perfect rice, one measurement of soaked washed rice to two measurements of water, add a knob of butter, bring to a simmer, DO NOT STIR, place lid on and simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and DO NOT TAKE OFF THE LID for 10 minutes.
Place some rice in the serving bowl and ladle over the gorgeous gumbo and enjoy.
8 Feb 2012
CRISPY FLAKEY BUTTERY HOMEMADE PASTRY WITH A GLOURIOUS PIE FILLING
OH I LOVE PIE SOOOOO MUCH, COMFORTING AND WELCOMING NO MATTER HOW GREAT OR AWFUL YOUR DAY HAS BEEN THIS NORISHES THE CARB SOUL
450g plain flour
1 tsp salt
175ml cold water
Put the flour and salt in a bowl, grate the butter and lard into the flour and cut in with a knife, add the water, bring the mixture together to form a dough, knead for a couple of seconds to form a smooth dough and wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for approx 30 minutes.
THE PIE FILLING
Left over roast turkey or chicken 8oz
Home baked ham 4oz
1 onion fine diced
1 leek fine diced
1 celery fine diced
100g butter (1/2 for finish)
Dash ooil & knob of butter
50g plain flour
600ml chicken stock slightly warmed
100ml dry white wine
100ml double cream
Melt the butter in the ooil and gently fry the onions, leek & celery for 10 minutes. Now melt half of the extra butter in the same pan, add the flour to make a roux, cook out gently for 5 minutes, not letting the roux catch or colour. Add the wine and stir in well till you get a smooth paste, then start to add the warmed stock a ladel at a time and stir well each time, once you have the thickness you desire for the sauce, simmer very gentley for 5 minutes, then add the thyme, turkey and ham. Stir in the butter and double cream, taste and then adjust with seasoning if required. Sometimes I feel that a hint of cayenne pepper lifts this dish or a dash of fresh lemon juice. Leave to cool ready to fill the pastry case.
Take two thirds of the pastry, roll out and line a pre greased pie tin. Fill with the cooled pie mixture almost to the top, with the remaining pastry roll out the lid for the pie and any decorative leaves or symbols you want, egg wash the top of the sides of the pie ready for the lid to join, place on top and gently push together. Egg wash the top of the pie and add any decorative pastry, egg wash and then bake in a pre heated moderate oven 180 degress for approx 45minutes to 1hour.