Sunday, 24 June 2018

Cauliflower Four Ways.

This is a wonderful starter, but each of these ways of cooking cauliflower would work as a starter or side in their own right.
Get a whole cauliflower, strip off the leaves (you could take the leaves off the stalks and wilt them down for an extra element to the dish), cut the stalk off so the flower sits on a chopping board.
Cut a 2cm wide strip right through the middle of the cauli - this is your steak.
Set a side for cooking later.
Break off the smaller florets and put in a steamer. S
team for 5mins until par cooked. Leave to cool.
Finely slice the larger florets - you should get a good three or four slices from the centre of the florets.
Dress them with white balsamic and some good oil.
Add capers and and some chopped parsley. Leave to marinade.
Gather together all the off cuts and left over cauli and place in a saucepan with a little slightly salted water. Boil for a few mins until the cauli is cooked through and drain off the cooking liquid.
Add grated  parmesan and blitz until smooth - return to the pan and keep warm.
Make a spice mix by crushing a teaspoon of coriander seeds, a tea spoon of cumin seeds, a quarter of a tea spoon of celery seeds, 3 or 4 pepper corns, a quarter of a tea spoon of fennel seeds, a dash of cayenne pepper (or dried chilli flakes) and a dash of celery salt in a mortar and pestle (your spice mix can be all or some of these or different spices of your choice).
To cook the cauli steak pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Melt a knob of butter in a oven proof pan and fry the steak on one side until coloured.
Flip it over and put in the oven for 10/12mins or until it is soft, but retains its shape.
Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat some oil.
Toss the steamed florets in the oil until coated the add the spice mix and cook until  crispy on the outside.
Plate up the warm puree, serving the spiced, roasted steak and cauli salad around it.

Lamb Neck Fillet with Asparagus, Watercress, Fennel and Raddish Salad & Mint and Parsley Dressing.

Season the lamb and marinade in a little olive oil and lemon juice for a few hours or over night.
For the dressing and chopped mint, parsley, a good quality vinegar, halve a clove of garlic and oil in a blender and blitz.
Griddle the neck fillet on a high heat caramelizing the out side but leaving the inside blush pink.
While the meat is cooking cut the woody ends of the asparagus and peel off the the outer stringy bottom ends of the stems. Steam for around 8 mins depending on the thickness of the stalks.
Roll in melted butter and a grind of pepper.
While the lamb is resting add the dressing to a small saucepan and put on a gentle heat.
Finely chop the fennel and radishes add to the watercress and dress lightly with oil a bit of lemon juice and a little salt.
Plate up the lamb on the dressed salad drapping the asparagus over the top and drizzile with the parsley and mint dressing.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Asparagus with Tarragon, Chive and Mustard Dressing.

Warm some good quality oil in a sauce pan and add a squeeze of lemon.
Add finely chopped chives,  tarragon and a teaspoon of good mustard.
Keep warn while you cook the asparagus and spoon over the top before serving.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Chili Sauce.

This is my recipe for classic kebab shop chili sauce.
Its very easy to make and tastes authentic.
You can use any colour or type of chili's you like, but I find adding a green one add a slight sourness to the sauce rather like gazpacho.
If you want a milder sauce leave out the seeds and take away the white parts of the chili's as this is where the heat is.
Place half a roughly chopped small onion, three de-seeded chopped tomatoes, two red chili's seeds removed, one green chili, a splash of lemon juice, a squeeze of tomato puree and a glug of sherry vinegar in a blender
Blitz all the ingredients and push through a sieve into a saucepan.
Gently heat and cook off any excess moisture, or add a squeeze more tomato puree to get the desired consistency.
Allow too cool and use.

You can also thin down the sauce with oil and lemon, add some chopped  garlic and use as a marinade for lamb or chicken.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wild Garlic Oil.

You can use this method to make any flavoured oil using any combination of herb / flavouring and oil. Use it in salad dressings, for marinades, as a dipping oil or spread on good quality bread after it has been griddled for garlic bread.
Roughly chop two large handfuls of wild garlic leaves and place in a saucepan.
Cover with rapeseed oil and gently heat.
Remove from the heat and leave to infuse as the oil cools. You can repeat this process a few time to increase the flavour of oil if desired.
When the oil is cool place in a blender and blitz.
Strain through a fine sieve or muslin.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Spring French Peas with Chicken Breast.

This is a take on the tradition french peas adding spring onion and wild garlic to replace the finely grated garlic and pearl onions.
It would also be great with a pigeon breast rather than chicken.
First heat an oven proof pan with a good knob of butter and cook your chicken breast skin side down until it starts to brown. Lower the heat and cook on for a few mins then transfer to a preheated oven.
In a little  butter cook some finely chopped smoked bacon until it starts to crisp.
add a couple of finely sliced spring onions, soften.
Add a couple of cups full of frozen peas and a little boiling water or stock (chicken or veg) simmer until the peas are half cooked.
Add finely sliced little gem lettuce and cook for a few mins.
A few mins before serving add the finely shredded wild garlic and mint leaves, cook for a few mins and serve.
If you use traditional garlic grate half a clove very finely into the peas about a minute before the end of cooking.

Baked Radishes, Wild Herb Salsa Verde and Truffled Brie.

I ordered a similar dish to this recently in my local pub and despite thinking it was a good idea was slightly disappointed as the radishes were cold and soft, so thought i would do my own version.
Cooking the radishes softens them and also takes the heat away so you can use quite fiery ones if you like the heat - i prefer them to be served warm and only par cooked so they still have crunch in the center and a bit of heat left.
Any good cheese will do - it doesn't have to be a soft one, a quality cheddar such as Lincolnshire Poacher would also work.
First make the salsa verde, you can use garden herbs, wild herbs or a mix. I used thyme, mint, parsley and foraged wild garlic, nettle tops and a few hawthorn buds as they were in season. You could also use hedge garlic (garlic mustard), bitter cress, winter cress, watercress, chickweed, wood sorrel, lambs lettuce, sorrel etc.
Roughly chop the herbs and place in a blender with a good dollop of mustard, I used Dijon, but any quality one is fine. Biltz, then add a some cider vinegar and biltz again. Taste and adjust the flavours if you need to.
Next is the radishes. Remove the radish leaves and roots - reserve the leaves. Heat some butter in an oven proof pan. Add the radishes and coat with melted butter. Place in an oven pre heated to 180 degrees for five mins (this differs slightly depending on the size and variety of radishes).
Serve on a slice of good quality toasted bread with  the radish leaves (or a combination of other leaves) dressed with wild garlic oil (see previous recipe) chunks of cheese and a few teaspoons of the salsa verde.