Friday, 16 December 2011

Gingery Rhubarb Fool

This, my friends, is a very easy and fast desert that will impress. Not everyone likes stem ginger and so this can be left out without and detrement to the dish. When in a hurry, I use the jars of rhubarb compote available in supermarkets but it is best with freshly made rhubarb. Ready made custard can also be used but again home made creme anglais is best.

  • For the Rhubarb -
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 2 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of aprocot jam
  • 1/2 vanilla pod or equivalent vanilla extract
  • 2 stalks of rhubarb - young and tender, trimmed and cut into batons
  • For the cream -
  • 150ml of custard
  • 150ml of double cream, whipped into peaks
  • 1/2 vanilla pop or equivalent extract
  • Optional - 1 tbsp finely sliced stem ginger
  • For serving -
  • Half a pack of gingernut biscuits (crumbled)
In a pan put the wine, sugar, jam and vanilla seeds and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and then poach the rhubarb for about 8 minutes until tender. Remove the rhubarb and set aside. Keep the syrup for serving.
Fold the vanilla, cream and custard together until combined. I do not mix too much as it makes the cream less light and I like the contrast between the cream and custard. To serve, place biscuit crumbs in the bottom of the bowl followed by some rhubard and a very small amount of syrup. Then cover with some cream mixture. Repeat the process again and then sprinkle some crumbs on the top. (you don't have to do two layers and sometimes the dish is just as good with a single layer of each of the above) You could add a couple of slivers of stem ginger if you wanted!
I serve in a cone glass bowl so the diner can see the layers.

Lobster Thermidor (sauce)

I have had a few varieties of sauce that is served as Thermidor, whether it be for Crab or Lobster. Some of them are great and some are so so. This one I would put into the great category  I like it because it it doesn't use any cheese. Feel free to experimnet with a little Parmesan or Old Winchester.
This sauce was supposedly created in France to celebrate a play called Thermidor.....and the word comes from Greek, meaning heat. Well there you have it, enjoy!

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 200ml of fish stock
  • 200ml of white wine (dry and good quality)
  • 300ml of bechemal sauce
  • 100ml of Double cream
  • 1 tsp of Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp of English mustard powder
  • 50g of butter (chilled and diced)
  • Salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

In a saucepan add the white wine, stock and shallot and boil and reduce until about 1/3rd left. Add the bechemal and and cook over a low heat for about 15-20 mins stirring every now and then. Pour in the cream and simmer for 5 mins. Mix the English mustard with a little water and then add both mustards to the sauce and cook for a couple of minutes. Now take off the heat and whisk in to the sauce bit by bit.Taste and season with salt and cayenne. I have been advised that you can add a little brandy at the end of the cooking - I have not tried it but is sounds like a good idea!
What you now do is your choice! But I would be tempted next time to try this with some grilled fresh mussels - done in a sort of gratin!

My sister has pestered me to put this up on the blog - I hope you enjoy and if you need me to come over and do some tasting, let me know!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Lamb Shanks with Rioja, Chorizo and Garlic

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 4 good sized Lamb shanks
  • 300ml Rioja
  • 250ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 125 grams Chorizo
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Bulb of garlic
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 3 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 300ml quality beef stock
  • 1 Red onion
  • 2 Carrots

Its not often I follow a recipe from the TV but this recipe from Lorraine Pascal is really very good – and very easy to do. In fact the mash probably takes more time! I have modified it a little but not to its detriment.
Season the shanks and brown in a little oil in a frying pan. In a large pan (that has a tight fitting lid – such as Le Creuset) – mix the wine and vinegar and bring to the boil. Once the shanks are brown, add to the boiling mix together with the garlic, rosemary, chorizo, bay leaves, paprika, peppercorns and stock. Fit the lid and place in a 150C oven for 2 hours.
Slice carrots and chop onion into large pieces.
After 2 hours take the shanks out of the oven and add the vegetables and put back into the oven for another 30 mins at 150C
Removes the shanks and the vegetables from the pan and strain the liquid back in the pan to be reduced. Turn the heat up on the hob and boil the sauce until it starts to thicken and turn a dark rich colour. You may wish to skim some fat off the top of the liquid that comes from the shanks and the chorizo.
Serve with mash and pour some of the rich sauce around and on the shanks together with some of the vegetables.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Beef Stroganoff

There is a restaurant in Lanzarote that is a bit like going back in time! The building is an old Castillio near the town of Arricefe. Its design is very similar to what was considered ultra modern in the 70’s and now it still looks good – black iconic chairs and black tablecloths! There are 2 amazing things about this place – one the view from the panoramic glass windows and two, the beef stroganoff that is cooked at your table (very 70’s). This dish, like the crepe suzette they serve, is cooked at the table by waiters who look like they have worked there since the 70’s.

The point of this intro is to why I keep getting asked to make beef stroganoff at home! This is close but still not quite as good as the one from Castillo de San Juan (They have prepared sauces that are in jugs and its difficult to tell what is in each one!)

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 1 small onion - sliced
  • 200g of mushrooms - sliced
  • 700gm of fillet steak – cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp English Mustard
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 100ml brandy
  • 100ml pasatta
  • 100ml beef stock
  • Single cream 75ml
  • Butter
Fry the onion in a small amount of butter until soft and then add the mushrooms until all are soft. Remove from the pan. Cut the fillet steak into thin strips and fry in some more butter until brown all over. Add the brandy and ‘flame’ off the alcohol. When the alcohol has burnt off, remove the steak from the frying pan and keep to one side. The remaining sauce can now have the mustard stirred in and the remaining ingredients (excluding the cream) added. Reduce slightly then add the onion mixture and the steak at the end to warm up again. Stir in the cream and then serve with soft rice. I’ll add a few phots when I find them!!!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Porcini Mushroom and Spelt Risotto

This is a relatively simple dish that is so rewarding and enjoyable. If you have never tried Spelt (pearled) then delay no longer - it is a great alternative to rice! Mrs H. loves spelt and this dish is no exception!

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter):
  • 30gms of dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • 1 litre of chicken stock (or vegetable if you prefer)
  • 3 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 250gms of Spelt (pearled)
  • 50gms of grated parmaesan cheese + some for serving
  • 25gms of butter (slightly salted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Re-hydrate the mushrooms in about 300ml of boiling water and leave to steep for about 30 minutes. Drain and chop (roughly) the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan and add the onion which has previously been finely chopped. Fry until soft. Now add the mushrooms and fry for a further few minutes. Add the spelt and make sure that all the grains are covered in the oil. Mix the stock and the reserved soaking liquid together and then add to the spelt at about 100ml at a time stirring as you go. When this is absorbed, repeat until the spelt isal dente. This process takes about 20 minutes but keep tasking to ensure you get the spelt to a consistency you like. (You may not use all the stock mixture)
Remove from the heat and had the parmesan and diced butter and stir in well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and enjoy.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Haggis Scotch Eggs

I have been toying with making these little beauties for a while but never seemed to have got around to making them. I was very pleased with them. Serve them with a garnish of your choice or just a dollop of the horseradish mayonnaise.

Ingredients (Makes 8):
  • 8 quail eggs
  • 125g sausage meat
  • 150g haggis
  • Plain flour
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 30g fresh brown breadcrumbs
  • 20g oats (very slightly blended to reduce crumb size)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oil for deep frying (150 degC)
  • For the horseradish mayonnaise:
  • 2tbsp quality mayonnaise & 1tbsp horseradish mixed well
Cook the quails eggs for 1.5 to 2 minutes in boiling water then wash in cold water and peel and pat dry. Mix the haggis and sausage meat together with a little seasoning until well mixed. Set up 3 dishes with flour, egg and the breadcrumb/oats mixed. Take some haggis mixture and form into pattie and then make a ‘cup’ that will take an egg (about 6mm thick) place egg in the hollow and then work the mixture around the egg to form a neat covering and the basis of a scotch egg (make sure there are no gaps in the casing) I find that the egg is about 5cms in diameter. Prepare all the eggs and then on to the next stage. Roll each egg in flour (shake excess off) cost in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumb mix until well covered. When all eggs are done, deep fry in oil for 4.5 minutes. Allow the eggs to drain well and finally pat dry with a kitchen tissue if required. Serve immediately or allow to cool.
Having been inspired by a photo that Lee posted from The Friday Food Club, I substituted the egg with grated beetroot (cooked) It’s a bit fiddly and a lot messier but the results are great and a perfect match with the horseradish may. One tip – pat the beetroot a little to ensure it is not too wet! It will make the forming of the ‘egg’ easier. Enjoy (PS Sorry there isn't a better photo of the beetroot version - couldn't resist it and only remembered to photo is at the last minute!)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Hottest Chilli Sauce?

My mate Tim always loves his chilli sauce, so it was a ‘no brainer’ for me when I saw this at the Good Food show at Olympia last year. Dragons Blood, Batch 13 holds no punches! In fact Tim’s words were ‘I’m on fire!’
We think it’s the hottest yet!!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Spiced Apple Cake (Thermomix)

This cake came out a little like a parkin and was delicious. Next time round I may cook for a little longer and adjust the ingredients.
  • 0.5kgs of eating apples (3 or 4 approx)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 75gms of caster sugar
  • 75gms of soft dark brown sugar
  • 25gms of sunflower oil
  • 125gms of plain flower
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pf cocao
Pre-heat oven to 180°C . Prep a 20cms square baking tin (4cms deep) (I use butter) and put to one side. Peel and core the apples and chop roughly in TM for about 3 secs, Speed 5. Cover and put to one side. Clean TM and thoroughly dry. Insert butterfly whisk into TM. Add the egg whites and beat until stiff for 3mins,speed3. Now add the sugar gradually until well mixed – speed 3 again. Remove the butterfly, scrape down the bowl and add all the ingredients excluding the apples and mix for 15 seconds, speed 5. Add the apples and mix to combine well for 10 seconds on reverse, speed 1. Scrape down with a spatula and ensure well combined. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 30mins until a stick comes out clean from the cake.Remove from tin and place on a rack to cool down. Serve in slices plain or with a spread of butter with a cup of tea – Perfect!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Review: Bocca di Lupo, Archer St, London, W1

We decided to meet up with our friend who lives in Covent Garden and her new best restaurant is this place. We got a last minute booking at the bar but when we got there it had been upgraded to a table at the back of the small dining area (probably the best table in the house if I was honest!) You are immediately impressed by the reception and atmosphere. It’s busy yet calm, light but not bright if that makes any sense! It was all looking promising. I had no preconceptions as to what the food was like and had read no reviews (but all were glowing allegedly) so I really had no idea what to expect. Many wines are sold by the glass or carafe and are good value. The house white was perfect.

The menu is quite small and in dimmed lights without the aid of any monocle (I left my sodding glasses at home) I could not make head not tale of the menu – no problem – the girls can order! And order they did. We shared the startes and mains and went for:

  • Shaved Radish, celeriac and pecorino salad with pomegranates and truffle oil
  • Deep fried artichoke a la giudia
  • Pasta – Orecchiette with ‘nduja (spicy sausage) red onion and fresh tomato

  • Roast suckling pig and grapes
  • Luganega – think pork sausage with nutmeg, cinnamon and clove

There are lots of options for small plates or large plates and so I remarked it was like an Italian version of a tapas bar. And in fact it is. I can’t really fault the food. It was fresh, enjoyable and above all unusual – certainly not your run of the mill Italian! Service was above average and apart from a mistake in ordering a rather expensive Chianti (mistake only being the price!!), the bill was very modest.

I shall be back and try and do the menu a little more justice only next time I will be armed with my reading glasses!!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Sticky Toffee Apple pudding with Caramel Sauce

This recipe is based on James Martin's recipe from Saturday Kitchen but with a few tweeks!
It falls into 3 parts: Cake or Pudding, Caramel Sauce and Sharp apple sauce.

Ingredients (serves 6/8):
  • 140gms of butter (softened)
  • 300gms of sharp eating apples
  • 50ml water
  • 30gms caster sugar
  • 175gms of dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200gms self raising flour
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 apple for decoration - cored and sliced in thin wedges
  • (optional 2 tbsp of calvados - I used brandy as I had no calvados!)
Caramel Sauce:
  • 70gms of dark brown sugar
  • 50gms of granulated sugar
  • 120gms of butter
  • 120gms of golden syrup
  • 100ml of double cream or milk depending on thickness required
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsps of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease/flour 23cm spring-form tin. Melt 25g of the butter in a saucepan and add the apples, water and sugar. Cook over a gentle heat until steam appears from the saucepan, then cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until thick and fluffy. Remove the lid and beat the mixture to remove any lumps. Add the calvados and beat until well combined. Beat 90g of the butter and the soft brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Fold the self-raising flour into the cake mixture.
Meanwhile, add the bicarbonate of soda to the apple puree and mix well, then stir this quickly into the cake mixture. Pour into the cake tin and gently tap the sides of the tin to evenly disperse the mixture.
Melt the remaining 25g butter in a saucepan. Arrange the sliced apple over the top of the cake in a circle, and brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the cake. Place in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before turning out.
For the calvados caramel sauce, place the sugar and butter into a small saucepan and cook until melted and well combined. Pour in the double cream and calvados. Simmer gently for three to five minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the lemon juice to the sauce. This makes the sauce a little less sweet but still rich.
To serve, cut the cake into slices and put a spoonful of ice cream on top. Finish by drizzling over some of the sauce and adding some sharp apple puree. (see note below)

Thermomix instructions:
I have only done the apples and the caramel sauce in the thermomix but will update when I have sussed out the cake mix!
Caramel Sauce - put the butter, sugars and syrup into the TM bowl and cook for 5 mins 80deg/speed 1.5. Add the milk and vanilla. Cook for 3 minutes 100deg/speed 2

If you want to cook the apples, core,peel and roughly chop apples. Put into TM bowl with the water and cook for 10mins/90deg/speed1/reverse blade. At this point you can either puree for the sauce (20 secs speed 8) or lightly chop for the cake 5 secs speed 4 - until you get approx 7mm pieces of apple etc.

New gadget in the kitchen - a Thermomix

I have been after one of these gadgets for ages and having had it a few weeks now, I'm not disappointed! (It's a good job really as they are rather expensive) I can now create a host of things with minimal fuss and free me up to do other things in the kitchen - great considering I have limited time anyway. Already I have created perfect soups, a terrific caramel sauce, perfect bechamel /cheese sauces, Cranberry sauce and bread sauce. As the unit cooks as well as processing, there is minimal less washing up as well!
Have a look here to see why it is so good.
Where possible, I will add notes to any recipes so those of you who are lucky enough to own one can apply the recipe to the Thermomix