Cod Cheeks; A Cheeky Sandwich

For the Crispy Battered Cod Cheeks

Mix the flour, cornflour, salt, egg yolk and ale into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage. Fold the egg whites into the batter and leave to settle for five minutes.

Remove the skin from the cod’s cheeks, wash and pat them dry on kitchen paper.

Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, dip the cod cheeks in the batter and fry them for about 3 -4 minutes until golden brown all over. Cooking time will be dependent on the size of the cheeks. Drain the cheeks on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve.

Fennel and Kolhrabi Slaw

Cut the tops from the fennel, finely chop. Use a Japanese mandoline to finely slice the fennel and kohlrabi, mix with the fennel tops. Season well and add olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

 

Aubergine Chips

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cut the aubergine in half scoop the inside flesh out leaving about 1 ½ cm thick white flesh attached to the skin. Cut it into long fingers about ½ wide. In a large mixing bowl mix the crushed garlic, aubergine fingers, ras-el-hanout and seasoning with the olive oil.

Spread the aubergine fingers on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden.

To Serve:

Cut a floury bap in half, toast the bottom and spoon the fennel and kohlrabi slaw on top. Arrange the crispy battered cod cheeks on top and serve with the aubergine chips on the side.

Serves 4

Crispy Cod Cheek Salad

Wash and dry the cod cheeks.

In a small bowl season the flour, in another bowl whisk the egg and in the third bowl place the panko and lemon zest, season lightly with salt and pepper. Dip each cheek in the flour then egg then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the cheeks are done.

While the cheeks are resting in the fridge mix the salad, place the remaining ingredients in a bowl except the tartar sauce, season and lightly dress with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Heat a deep fat fryer oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, fry the cheeks for about 3 -4 minutes until golden brown all over. Cooking time will be dependent on the size of the cheeks. Drain the cheeks on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve on a bed of the mixed salad and tartar sauce on the side.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Dingley Dell Pig Art; Pig Hash

Dingley Dell Pig Art; Pig Hash

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the oil, saute the diced onion and garlic until lightly caramelised, season to taste. Add the diced potatoes, saute until golden brown, add the flaked meats and saute for a further 2 mintues.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the sliced spring onions, lemon juice and zest and chopped herbs. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Transfer the hash to a warm serving plate. In a separate clean frying pan fry the eggs "sunny side up".  Serve immediately.

Serves 2

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Mulberry and Adnams Gin Bakewell Tart

Mulberry and Adnams Gin Bakewell Tart

Sweet Pastry

Weigh the softened butter, salt, sugar and vanilla seeds in to the bowl of a mixer, use the flat paddle attachment and cream the sugar and butter until fluffy and pale in colour.

Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly whisk. Slowly add the egg a bit at a time to the butter mixture, mix well.

Remove the mixing bowl and sieve the flour over the creamed butter, return to the mixer with the paddle, slowly mix the flour into the butter - do not over mix. Once the pastry comes together, stop.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, divide the pastry in appropriate sizes - do not knead the pastry, just push it together in to flat squares.

This recipe makes approximately 2 x 240g blocks. Cover each piece with clingfilm and make it airtight. I like to make them into flat, square and even sizes so that they fit comfortably in to my freezer, nice and tidy.

This recipe will be sufficient for two tarts of this size.

Line a 10cm x 35cm x 2.5cm fluted oblong tart case with sweet pastry. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Bakewell Mixture

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, cream well after each addition. Add the zest and juice.

Fold in the ground almonds. Spread the jam at the base of the well rested pastry case, sprinkle over the remaining ground almonds followed by the batter, and lastly, scatter the mulberries and flaked almonds.

Bake for 45 minutes, leave to cool before pouring over the glaze.

Mulberry Jam

Weigh the mulberries, caster sugar, gin and water into a medium saucepan. Disolve the sugar over low heat, once dissolved increase the heat and boil vigorously until 107 °C, stir in the juice and leave to cool.

Glaze

Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl stir in the gin and lemon juice, adding bits of the juice at a time until the glaze has a drop but not too runny consistency. Pour the glaze over the cooled tart, leave to set.

Makes 1 tart = 8 portions

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Buckler Leaf Sorrel and Spinach Soup

Buckler Leaf Sorrel and Spinach Soup

Buckler Leaf Sorrel and Spinach Soup

In a large saucepan with rapid salted boiling water blanch the buckler leaf sorrel and spinach leaves, dunk them in ice water to cool rapidly and to ensure they keeps their colour.

In a another large saucepan sauté the potatoes, onion and crushed garlic in two tablespoon of olive oil, cayenne pepper and seasoning until lightly coloured, which will take about 2 minutes at high heat. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Add the grated nutmeg and lemon juice and remove from the heat.

Drain the blanched sorrel and spinach. Add to the soup base and blend the soup until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and chill the soup over ice.

Sorrel Pesto

Toast the linseeds and pine nuts, set aside to cool completely. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and let the flavours develop for about 20 minutes.

To Serve

Serve the soup either chilled or reheat and serve immediately with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a few drops of crème fraiche and a few spoons full of the sorrel pesto; garnish with herbs and edible flowers.

Serves 6

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Strawberry Arctic Roll

Strawberry Arctic Roll

For the Strawberry Jam

In a medium heavy based saucepan sprinkle the sugar over the strawberries, followed by the lemon juice. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes. Dissolve the sugar over low heat, stop stirring once the jam starts to boil, cook the jam to 110°C, and transfer the jam to a clean container and leave to cool completely.

For the Strawberry Ice Cream

In a large container whisk the strawberry puree, milk, sugar and cream. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Churn the ice cream.

Once ready layer clingfilm on a clean chilled working bench, spoon the ice-cream on the clingfilm and arrange a row of the strawberry quarters, roll the ice-cream into a sausage 4cm in diameter and about 20cm long. Roll all the logs and place them in the freezer overnight to set.

The following day prepare the sponge and continue making the arctic roll.

For the Sponge

Pre-heat the oven the 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and doubled in volume. Fold in the sifted plain flour and lemon zest.

Using a pallet knife to spread the sponge about 0.5cm thick on the parchment paper using the whole size of the sheet, bake for 4-5 minutes in the preheated oven and once cooked immediately sprinkle the brown side with caster sugar, keep the paper on and roll the cake up like a Swiss roll. Leave to cool completely. Do so with the rest of the sponge mix. Each sheet of sponge should cover at least two strawberry ice cream logs.

Assemble the Arctic rolls: spread strawberry jam on the white side of the sponge, unwrap the strawberry ice cream log and place it on one side, roll it up tightly and cut the sponge where the two edges meet. Wrap it again in clingfilm and return to the freezer to set. Repeat the processes with the rest of the ice-cream logs.

To Serve:

Slice the arctic roll into serving size portions, spread some of the strawberry jam on the plate, arrange the arctic roll and serve with a small portion of goat milk panacotta topped with strawberries macerated with thyme and balsamic. Garnish the plate with hydrated strawberry crisps and strawberry sherbet.

Makes 12 - 16 portions

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Posh Doggy Biscuits

Posh Doggy Biscuits

Sutton Hoo Chicken Liver, Carrot and Oaty Biscuits

Make the dough one day in advance, let it absorb the liquids.

Use a blender to blend the carrot, oil, water, chicken livers and 1/3 of the oatmeal until a fine puree.

Stir in the remaining oatmeal, oats and sunflower seeds.

Divide the dough into 4 even size sausages, roll the dough in clingfilm. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the biscuits in 1/2 cm thick pieces. Remove the clingfilm and transfer them to a baking tray.

Bake the biscuits for 20 -25 minutes, let them cool on a cooling rack.

Keep them in a air tight container.

Makes approximately 40 biscuits

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Dingley Dell Smoked Ham Scotch Egg

Dingley Dell Smoked Ham Scotch Egg

Dingley Dell Smoked Ham Scotch Egg

Mix the cooked flaked ham knuckle meat with the sausage meat, seasoning, crushed garlic, ground fennel seeds and the chopped herbs. Peel the soft-boiled hen’s eggs.

Pack the meat around the soft-boiled eggs; leave them to set in the fridge.

Panée the eggs: roll the Scotch egg in the flour, then the whipped egg and then lastly in the panko breadcrumbs.

Heat a deep fat fryer to 160°C, fry the eggs until golden brown, drain them on kitchen paper.

To Serve:

Serve the Scotch egg on its own or with a seasonal salad of artichokes, broad beans and nasturtium leaves and flowers.

Serves 4

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Asparagus, Keens Cheddar Brûlée

Asparagus, Keens Cheddar Brûlée

Keens Cheddar Brûlée

Place 12 15cl glass jars on a tray in the fridge.

Cut the cheese in four even size pieces. Secure the lid on the thermomix, lock and turn the speed dial to 10, carefully drop the cheese onto the blades and grind the cheese for 10 seconds to a powder. Use the build in weighing scales and weight the rest of the ingredients into the bowl.

Set the timed for 14 minutes at 90°C, speed 3. Once cooked immediately turn pour the brûlée mixture into the chilled serving jars, carefully retrun to the fridge and leave to set over night.

When ready to serve sprinkle demerara sugar onto the cheddar brûlée and use a blow touch to caramelise the sugar, serve immediately.

Conventional Method:

Use a use a double boiler. Finely grate the cheddar cheese, mix with the rest of the ingredients, pour the mixture into the top part of the double boiler. Return to the heat and stir for approximately 14 minutes, until the mixture thickens and the eggs are cooked. Do not over heat the mixture as it will separate and curdle. Continue the recipe above once the mixture is cooked.

Makes 12

Sorrel Pesto

Toast the linseeds and pine nuts, set aside to cool completely. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and let the flavours develop for about 20 minutes.

To Serve: Blanch 8 fresh asparagus spears per person in salted rapid boiling water, refresh in ice water once tender to the knife point. Toss the chilled drained asparagus in a dressing of your choice, I have used a sorrel pesto for this dish. Serve one jar of the Keens cheddar brûlée per portion and a decent helping of fresh bread.

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Sutton Hoo Chicken Escalope; New Season English Asparagus Salad

Sutton Hoo Chicken Escalope; New Season English Asparagus Salad

Butterfly the chicken breasts, place each in a small sandwich bag and use a mallet or rolling pin to flatten slightly.

Mix the ingredients for the crust: the parsley, oregano, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and grated cheese, and season lightly.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and olive oil. Once melted add the crushed garlic, lemon juice and seasoning.

Dip each piece of chicken into the melted butter the roll it in the crumb mixture. Use your hands to press the crumbs on firmly.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with oil and pan-fry each chicken escallop until golden on each side and cooked all the way through, drain on kitchen paper.

While the chicken drains, return the pan to the heat and saute the new potatoes until golden brown in a dash of olive oil.

Serve the chicken escalopes with new season English asparagus, broad beans and watercress.

Serves 2

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Pickled Eggs and Pork Scratchings

Pickled Eggs and Pork Scratchings

Spiced Pickled Eggs

In a medium saucepan bring the vinegar and spices to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Sterilise one large glass jar, pour the cooled pickling liquid into the jar.

Boil the eggs for 9 minutes, cool in ice water and peel immediately, place the cold boiled eggs in the slightly cooled vinegar solution in the jar, ensure the eggs are completely covered with the vinegar, seal and refrigerate for two weeks.

Makes 20 pickled eggs

Pork Scratchings

Remove as many hairs as possible from the pork skin.

Grind the star anise, peppercorns and coriander seeds using a pestle and mortar. Rub this into the pigskin.

Spread a layer of salt on a plastic tray, lay the bay leaves out, lay the pig skin on top and cover with more salt. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 5 days.

Once time is up wash the salt off and soak the pig skin in clean cold water over night. The following day, drain and pat the pig skin dry.

Place it on a deep over tray and cut the lemon in half, rub both halves on the skin, pour the duck fat over to cover.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Cook the pig skin for 2 1/2 hours. Cool and remove the skin from the duck fat.

Lay the pigskin on a cooling rack over a baking tray, return to the preheated oven until golden brown, crisp and puffed. Keep a close eye so that it does not burn.

Leave to cool, use a sharp knife to cut it into bite size pieces or simply snap using your bare hands and enjoy!

Keep the remaining pork scratchings in an air tight container.

Makes plenty!

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An Elegant Tea Party for The Royal Wedding

An Elegant Tea Party for The Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding Blend of White Earl Grey & Rose Victoria Sponge

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line and grease two 2 x 18cm cake tins.

Use a mixer to cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Blend in the rose water.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.

Sift the flour and fold it into the cake mixture; add a few tablespoons of the tea to let the batter down.

Divide the cake batter between the two cake tins and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Let the cake cool on a cooling rack.

Once completely cold (leave for an hour or so), transfer the cake to a plate, spread raspberry jam on one side, and place the second half on top.

White Tea and Rose Glaze:

Mix all the ingredients well; add more of the tea to make a runny glaze. Pour it over the cake and dust with rose petal sugar.

Twinings Royal Wedding Blend of White Earl Grey & Rose, Rhubarb Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

(makes 12)

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and place 12 cupcake cases into a muffin tin.

In a small sauce pan mix the rhubarb, sugar and infused tea, dissolve over low heat, bring to the simmer for 1 minute, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Mix the yoghurt, eggs, melted butter and vanilla in bowl. In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and almonds, make a well and pour the liquid in the centre, mix until blended - do not over work the batter.

Spoon a tablespoon of the mix into each muffin case, drain the rhubarb and divide it amongst the cases. Top with the remainder of the cake batter.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let the cupcakes cool on a cooling rack before applying the frosting.

White chocolate Frosting

Cream the butter and half the icing sugar, add the melted white chocolate and the remainder of the icing sugar and continue creaming. Leave to set for a few minutes.

Use a butter knife to spread the frosting over the cupcakes, garnish with sugar roses and edible glitter.

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Pan-Roasted East Coast Skate, Anchovy and Broccoli Pickle

Pan-Roasted East Coast Skate, Anchovy and Broccoli Pickle

Pan-Roasted Skate

Season the skate wings on both sides. Heat a non-stick frying pan - once warm but not smoking hot add the butter, when the butter starts to foam add the fish presentation side down first, pan-fry for 3 -4 minutes, turn the fish over and continue cooking for a further 3 – 4 minutes on the reverse side. Once cooked let the skate rest for 2 minutes, transfer to a serving plate and serve with the anchovy and broccoli pickle.

Anchovy and Broccoli Pickle

Roughly shred the blanched broccoli and kale. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and season to taste, leave to marinade for 20 minutes. Serve the pickle with the pan-roasted skate wing.

Serves 2

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Rhubarb, Pecan and Buttermilk Pudding; Buttermilk Ice Cream

Rhubarb, Pecan and Buttermilk Pudding; Buttermilk Ice Cream

Rhubarb and Buttermilk Pudding

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and grease 12 x 8cm in diameter rubber muffin moulds.

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until pale and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Stir in the buttermilk.

Sift the flour, bicarb of soda, ground ginger, salt and baking powder over the creamed butter mix, and fold in using a large metal spoon.

Wash and cut the rhubarb into slices and mix with the pecan nuts. Spoon a bit of the batter into the moulds followed by a few bits of the rhubarb and pecans, and fill the mould with more batter. Divide the remaining rhubarb and pecans between the moulds and place them on top.

Bake the Puddings for 25 – 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let them cool before removing from the moulds.

Serve slightly warm with the buttermilk ice cream.

Buttermilk Ice Cream

Mix all the ingredients, refrigerate and rest for 1 hour.

Churn the ice cream using an ice-cream machine. Please read the manufactures instuctions to use.

Keep the ice-cream frozen until needed.

Makes 12 puddings

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Morston Mussels with Leeks, Smoky Bacon and Aspall Cyder

Morston Mussels with Leeks, Smoky Bacon and Aspall Cyder

Thoroughly wash the mussels, remove the beards and discard any that are heavy, broken or that remain open when tapped.

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, bacon, and leek with the bay leaf and garlic.

Add the cider to the pan and bring it to a gentle boil. Add the mussels, cover the pan tightly with a lid and steam for 2 minutes, or until the mussel shells start to open. Add the cream, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. (Discard any mussels whose shells remain closed).

When ready, toss in the chopped herbs; serve in a bowl and grate over fresh horseradish to taste, serve with plenty of fresh bread.

Serves 1

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Roasted Woodcock, Truffled Jerusalem Artichokes and Boulangere Potatoes

Roasted Woodcock, Truffled Jerusalem Artichokes and Boulangere Potatoes

Roasted Woodcock

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the head and truss the birds with the slices of bacon. Roast the birds in the preheated oven for 14 minutes, rest for 10 minutes. Remove the legs and breast; return the legs to the oven to continue roasting for a further 10 minutes.

Remove the guts which should have turned into a soft pate, and stir into a boiling hot game sauce.

Remove the breast from the crown and crisp the skin in a hot pan with foaming butter.

Serve immediately.

Truffled Jerusalem Artichokes

Peel and slice the Jerusalem Artichokes into ½ cm thick rounds. Heat a non-stick frying pan with half of the butter, once it starts to foam add the sliced artichokes, then season and sauté until they start to colour. Once they are golden brown deglaze the pan with the wine and cover with a lid to cook until tender.

Once cooked add the truffle oil and set aside until needed.

Boulangere Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 140°C and grease a 25 x 15 x 5cm baking tray with butter.

Sweat the shallots in the butter, season with salt and pepper and cook until transparent and tender, stir in the thyme leaves.

Bring the stock to the boil and remove from the heat. Using a mandoline to slice the potatoes, dip them in the hot stock, drain and layer them in the greased tray, alternate with a layer of the cooked shallots, stock and sliced potatoes, season as you go along, continue until the tray is full. Cook the potatoes in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Leave to cool, press overnight.

Cut the potatoes out and place in the serving containers. Reheat the potatoes in the oven.

To Serve

Serve the roasted woodcock on a plate with Jerusalem Artichoke puree, purple sprouting broccoli, the truffled artichokes and the Boulangere potatoes. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and serve separately in a sauce jug.

Serves 2

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Turnip, Bacon and Aspall Cyder Gratin

Turnip, Bacon and Aspall Cyder Gratin

Peel the turnips and slice them 3/4mm thick.

Slice the bacon into thin slices, and sauté until crispy, remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the same pan to the heat, melt the butter and sauté the finely sliced shallots with seasoning until golden. Deglaze the pan with the cider, add the horseradish and mustard; cook until the cider thickens. Add the stock and cook until the stock is reduced by half. Add the cream, bring the sauce back to the boil, taste and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and half the crispy bacon. Remove from the heat.

Mix the sliced turnips with the mixture and layer the turnips in a baking dish, pour over the creamy mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes, garnish with the crispy bacon, finely shredded fresh parsley and golden toasted sour dough breadcrumbs, before serving finely grated fresh raw horseradish over the hot gratin to serve.

Makes 8 small dishes, serving 2 people as a side.

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Pan-Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Horseradish and Apple

Pan-Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Horseradish and Apple

Cauliflower, Apple and Horseradish Puree

Prepare the apples and cauliflower. Heat a large saucepan, melt the butter, once it starts to foam add the apple, cauliflower and seasoning. Saute until the cauliflower and apple starts to take on a bit of colour, reduce the heat and add the milk. Cover the pan with a lid and gently simmer until the cauliflower and apple is tender, add the freshly grated horseradish and blend until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if need.

Apple Crisps

Preheat the oven to 100 °C.

Dissolve the sugar in the water and lemon juice, bring it to the boil and simmer for two minute, leave to cool until needed.

Wash the apple and remove the core with a apple corer, slice the apple finely using a mandolin approximately 2mm thick slices. Dip each slice in the cooled suryp and lay it flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Dry the apple crisps in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, keep a eye on it so that it does not brn however the crisps must dry and be crisp once cooled.

Cauliflower Beignets

Mix the flour, cornflour, salt, egg yolk and sparkling water into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage . Fold the egg whites into the beignet batter and leave to settle for five minutes.

Cook the cauliflower in salted boiling water until tender, refresh in ice water and drain well.

Mix the two table spoons of extra flour with a some of the curry salt.

Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, toss the cauliflower in the seasoned flour, dust off the excess and then dip each florette in the batter and fry them for about two minutes until golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve immediately.

Curry Salt

Mix the ingredients and keep in a air tight container until needed. This salt is handy and makes a lovely seasoning for white fish such as cod, skate, halibut.

To use season the fish or scallops with the curry salt as per normal salt seasoning and cook immediately. Do not leave the fish or scallop to sit with the salt as it will draw out moisture and make the fish dry, rubbery and tasteless.

Pan-Seared Scallops

Heat a non-stick frying pan with the oil, season the scallops of both sides with the curry salt, once the pan is hot enough place the scallops presentation side down into the pan for 2minutes, the scallops will caramelise and turn golden, flip it over and continue cooking for a further 1 minute on the reverse side. Drain and plate the dish up immediately.

To Serve

Heat the puree and spoon it onto the plate, arrange the cauliflower beignets and serve three scallops per portion, arrange the apple crisps and garnish lightly with herb cress leaves.

Serve immediately

Serves 4

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My Treacle Tart Recipe

My Treacle Tart Recipe

Maddy’s Best Ever Treacle Tart Recipe

Whizz the fresh breadcrumbs as finely as possible. I use my Thermomix - rip fresh bread into chunks, let the blades run at speed 10 and drop the torn bread onto the running blades.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg and cream together. Gently heat the golden syrup to make it runnier and easier to mix - do not exceed 37°C. Whisk the golden syrup, lemon juice and zest  into the egg mixture, and stir in the ground almonds and breadcrumbs.

Let the mixture rest over night in the fridge.

The following day preheat the fan assisted oven to 160°C. (If the oven is too hot the tart will burn easily and stay raw inside)

Line a 10cm x 35cm x 2.5cm fluted oblong tart case with sweet pastry. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Whisk the treacle tart mixture and pour into the raw lined pastry case.

Carefully transfer the tart to the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 - 45 minutes. It will still have a gentle wobble in the center but will firm up once cooled.

Leave the tart to cool at room temperature.

Once cold remove the over hanging pastry with a sharp small serrated knife, then remove the tart from the case and cut it into slices. Serve with whipped Chantilly cream, mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.

Makes approximately 6 slices

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Bitter Chocolate and Rendelsham Forest Chestnut Truffle Cake

Bitter Chocolate and Rendelsham Forest Chestnut Truffle Cake

Bitter Chocolate and Chestnut Cake Base

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 28cm x 18cm x 4cm rectangular cake frame with parchment paper. In a small saucepan bring the rum and fresh peeled and roasted chestnuts to the simmer; remove from the heat and leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Whilst the chocolate is melting separate the eggs, whisk the whites with the sugar until a soft peak meringue.

Once the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and stir the soaked chestnuts, rum and egg yolks into the melted chocolate. Fold the ground almonds and whipped egg whites into the mixture.

Spoon the cake mixture into the lined metal ring. Bake the cake for 20 – 22 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely, using the back of a spoon to press the cake down. Make the mousse part.

Bitter Chocolate and Chestnut Mousse

Weigh the chestnut puree and rum into the bowl of a thermomix, set the timer for 6 minutes at 80°C, speed 4. Once heated turn the speed dial to 10 for 20 seconds to smoothen the puree, add the chocolate and stir to melt. Add the egg yolks and blend till smooth.

Whip the egg whites with the sugar till soft peaks can be formed, and whip the cream till a soft ribbon stage. Fold the whipped egg whites and cream into the chocolate mixture.

Spread the mousse over the cake, level out and refrigerate until set completely before glazing the cake with the glaze. This normally takes 6 hours.

Bitter Chocolate Glaze

Soak the gelatine in cold water. In a small saucepan bring the water, cream and sugar to the boil, remove from the heat and add the drained soaked gelatine leaves, stir to dissolve, sift in the cocoa powder and mix well, pass the glaze through a fine sieve and leave to cool to 18°C before pouring the glaze over the set mouse.

Candied Chestnuts

Cut the fresh roasted peeled chestnuts into quarters. Heat a medium non-stick saucepan with the sugar, butter and chestnuts, let the sugar start to dissolve and stir continuously to cause crystallisation whilst the sugar turns to caramel. Boil until a dark caramel colour, pour the candied crystallised chestnuts out onto a lined baking tray. Leave to set and cool. Chop the candied chestnuts into smaller pieces for serving.

To Serve

With a warm sharp long bladed knife cut the cake into 2cm wide slices. Place one slice on a serving plate garnished with chocolate sauce, spoon the candied chestnuts over the top and sprinkle chocolate cookie dust as garnish over the cake.

Serve 10 - 12 slices of cake

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Red Wine Poached Quince and Goat’s Cheese Filo Tart

Red Wine Poached Quince and Goat’s Cheese Filo Tart

Quinces Poached in Red Wine

Place all the ingredients apart from the quinces in a deep saucepan, dissolve and bring it to a gentle simmer, for 5 minutes.

Peel and core the quinces. Place the prepared quinces in the simmering liquid, place a piece of grease proof paper on top (cartouche) and gently simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the quinces are tender.

Let the quinces cool completely in the liquid.

Spiced Filo Sheets

Preheat the oven to 180 °C, convection oven (turn the fan off).

Melt the clarified butter and brush each sheet of filo with butter, sprinkle the ground star anise, place another sheet on top and continue the process until all five sheets are on top of each other, use a sharp knife to cut the filo in 5 cm x 12 cm rectangles.

Make four long sausages with foil and place it on a baking tray with 10 cm gaps in between, drape the buttered and spiced filo over the foil to create waves.

Bake the filo in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, check if it's golden and crisp, and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes until the filo is crisp and golden.

Let the filo waves cool completely, keep them in an airtight container until needed.

Whipped Goats Cheese

Using a machine with a balloon whisk attachment whip the goats cheese, mascarpone, cinnamon and seasoning until creamy.

Add the cream and whip further until a thick ribbon stage.

Transfer the whipped cheese to a container and refrigerate  until needed.

Quince Chutney

Place the chopped onion, garlic and ginger with the sugar, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and orange juice in a large saucepan. Over low heat dissolve the sugar and bring the mixture to the boil, add the prepared quinces and cook rapidly until the sugars start to thicken and the quinces are softening.

Stir occasionally to prevent the chutney form sticking and burning, and once you're happy with the thickness of the chutney, add the orange zest and juice.

Transfer the chutney to sterilised jars and leave to cool completely.

To use for this recipe blend a few tablespoons of chutney into a smooth puree.

Salted Caramel Walnuts

  • 200g walnuts
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g Malden Sea Salt
  • 1tbs unsalted butter

Heat a frying pan with the butter, nuts, sugar and salt, heat until the sugar has melted, cook until the sugar caramlises to golden brown.

Transfer the caramelised salted walnuts to a line tray, leave to cool. Break the walnuts into pieces for serving.

To Serve

Spread the pureed quince chutney onto the plate, sprinkle some crumbed goats cheese over and place a wave of filo on top. Cut the quinces poached in red wine and arrange them on top. Place a quinelle of the whipped goats cheese on top of the filo wave, scatter more crumbed goats cheese, scatter the salted caramel walnts and garnish the plate with fine herbs and or cress leaves.

Serves 6/8

Chef's Tips

Once your quince stash runs out use pears instead. Alternatively, replace the goat's cheese with a creamy blue cheese.

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Cranberry, Orange and Port Sauce

Cranberry, Orange and Port Sauce

Peel and finely dice the onion, mince the garlic and fresh ginger and mix it all together.

Place all the ingredients apart from the orange zest into a medium size saucepan and season lightly with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Over a low heat, bring to the simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook the sauce until a thickened but drip consistency this takes about 20 minutes, add the orange zest, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Don’t forget it will thicken as it cools, so don’t let it get too thick.

Pour the cranberry sauce into a sterilized jar and seal.

Makes roughly 250 - 300ml cranberry sauce

Chef's Tips:

Use the left over cranberry sauce on cold Turkey or Goose sandwiches lathered with cranberry sauce and plenty of watercress. Or stir a spoonful of cranberry sauce into a casserole especially lamb or game, it enriches the flavour. Enjoy!

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Iron Bark Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup

Iron Bark Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup

Iron Bark and Pumpkin Soup

Heat a large saucepan and melt the butter. Add the diced pumpkin to the melted butter with the ras-el-hanout and a small amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Cook until the pumpkin starts to soften; this should take about 5 minutes. As soon as the pumpkin starts to colour, deglaze the pan with the wine, cook until the wine is absorbed by the pumpkin, add the stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 20 minutes.

Add the cheese and half of the chestnuts to the soup and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Blend the soup until very smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning and thickness if needed.

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Wash the pumpkin seeds and remove as much of the pumpkin membrane as possible. Mix the seeds with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and spread onto a baking tray. Roast the seeds in the oven, starting with 5 minutes, stir and continue with nominations of 5 minutes until the seeds are golden. Let the seeds cool completely - once cold they will crisp.

To Serve

Serve the boiling hot soup with a few drops of pumpkin oil, the candied pumpkin seeds, a sprinkle of sumac and use a micro plane to grate the remaining roasted chestnuts over the soup.

Serves 6 - 8

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Wild Rabbit Terrine with Quince Chutney

Wild Rabbit Terrine with Quince Chutney

Wild Rabbit Terrine

Cook the ham hocks and make the jelly: Place the hocks in a deep saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil, removing the impurities. Top the water up and add the carrot, leek, celery, two sprigs of thyme, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Simmer for about 3 hours until the ham is cooked. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve and measure 1L of the cooking liquid. Soak the gelatine in cold water and add it to the 1L of warm stock. Flake the ham meat from the bone and remove the fat.

Cook the rabbit legs: Remove the rabbit back and front legs, remove the loins and set aside. Place the legs with 1tbs of olive oil, salt and the remaining thyme and one garlic clove in a vacuum bag, seal and cook them in a preheated water bath at 83°C for 12 hours. Flake the cooked meat.

Wash and sauté the Trompette de la Mort mushrooms in butter, season and drain. Remove only the very green leaves of the cabbage, shred and blanch in salted water, refresh and drain.

Cook the rabbit loins in a non-stick frying pan with butter for about 5 – 6 minutes until slightly pink, rest the loins for 5 minutes before assembling the terrine.

Heat the stock and pour some of the hot stock over the cooked ham and flaked rabbit meat.

Line a terrine mould with clingfilm; build the terrine starting with the ham and some stock, followed by the cabbage and mushrooms, season after every third layer. Follow with the flaked rabbit meat, more mushrooms and cabbage, place the loins in and add more stock. Complete the terrine layer by layer until the mould is packed, make sure the last layer is a layer of ham, close the clingfilm over the terrine and place a heavy weight on top. Place the terrine in the fridge and leave to set over night.

Quince Chutney

Peel and dice the quinces into 1cm diced pieces.

Place all the ingredients with seasoning in a large saucepan over low heat to dissolve the sugar.

Once the sugar has dissolved bring the mixture to a rapid boil and simmer until the chutney becomes thick. You will notice that the bubbles become laboured and heavier. Stir regularly to prevent the chutney from sticking.

Cook until the chutney is the right consistency.

To Serve

Slice the terrine 1.5cm thick, glaze with truffle oil and season if needed with sea salt flakes. Serve the terrine with a light salad and the quince chutney along with toasted brioche or sour dough bread.

Serves 8-10

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Medlar and Quince Jelly, Quince Curd and Garibaldi Biscuits

Medlar and Quince Jelly, Quince Curd and Garibaldi Biscuits

Medlar and Quince Jelly

Wash and peel the quinces, cut them into smaller pieces. Wash and chop the very ripe medlars into quarters, place the quinces and medlars in a saucepan with the juice of one lemon and cover the fruit with cold water.

Bring the fruit to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Pass the cooking liquid through a jelly bag and leave to hang overnight.

Measure 10 parts of the cooking liquid with 7 parts of caster sugar, melt the sugar and bring the liquid to a rapid simmer. Skim the impurities from the surface and cook the jelly to 107°C.

Let the jelly cool slightly and then pour the jelly into chosen moulds and leave to set. This normally takes about 12 hours.

Quince Curd

Pre-heat the oven to 110°C. Peel the quinces; place them in a vacuum bag with the 50g of sugar and seal on hard vacuum. Place them in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, cool.

Cut the soft quince flesh into smaller pieces and place it in a Thermomix bowl with the remaining sugar and blend until smooth. Add the eggs and lemon juice, set the timer for 12 minutes at 90°C, speed 4. Once the time is done turn the speed dial to 10 and blend for 1 minute, adding the cold butter pieces at a time.

Transfer the curd to a container to cool.

Crème Fraiche Espma

Soak the gelatine in cold water until completely soft, squeeze to remove the excess water.

Place the cream, soaked gelatine and caster sugar in a metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water, stir until the sugar and soaked gelatine dissolve. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the crème fraiche and mix.

Pour the mixture into a clean 1Liter cream gun, secure the lid and charge the cream gun with two gas charges. Shake vigorously and place the cream gun in the fridge to chill.

It will need about 2 hours to chill completely.

When you are ready to use the espuma shake the cream gun vigorously to loosen the mixture.

Garbaldi Biscuits

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until creamed.

Sift the flour over the creamed butter mixture and add the currants, mix it all together but do not over work the mixture.

Spoon the mixture onto clingfilm and roll it up in cylindrical shapes or sausages. Refrigerate for 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut the biscuits 1/2 cm thick slices, remove the clingfilm and space them evenly on the baking tray. Bake the biscuits in the pre-heated oven for 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. As soon as you remove them from the oven sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool completely.

To Serve

Pipe the quince curd onto the jelly, followed by a squirt of the crème fraiche foam. Garnish with a light sprinkle of sumac or freeze dried raspberries for a dash of colour. Serve immediately with a couple of the garibaldi biscuits.

Serves 6 -8

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One Bite Luxury Mince Pies

One Bite Luxury Mince Pies

Luxury Sweet Mincemeat Mixture

  • 175g seedless raisins
  • 120g sultanas
  • 120g currants
  • 50g cut mixed peel
  • 50g chopped dried prunes
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 225g cooking apples - peeled, cored and grated
  • 115g shredded suet
  • 1 orange zest and juice
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 25g chopped almonds
  • 25g chopped pecan nuts
  • 10g mixed spice
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 75ml brandy

Mix all the ingredients together (use only half the brandy) in a large deep baking tray and cover and leave to stand overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 120°C, cover the tray with foil and place in the oven for about 2 hours.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then mix in the rest of the brandy.

Sterilise clean glass jars in the oven and spoon the warm mincemeat into the sterilized jars, seal and leave to mature.

Makes 1.3 kg

Chef's Tip:

 

This mincemeat needs to mature for at least two weeks before using. Once sealed, it can keep for at least 6 months.

Make the perfect  gift: Fill clean sterilized glass jars with 300g mincemeat and attach a recipe to the side for the pastry and baking method for making mince pies at home.

Sweet Pastry

  • 460g plain flour
  • 280g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Rub the butter and vanilla seeds into the flour and sugar, add the eggs and bring the pastry together without over-working the pastry.

Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide the pastry into appropriate sizes. Do not knead the pastry, just push it together into flat squares.

Refrigerate the pastry for at least a half an hour before rolling the pastry out.

Preheat the oven to 160 °C.

Line the chosen moulds and spoon the sweet mincemeat mixture into the line pastry. Decorate each pie with either another piece of pastry on top or alternatively place one pecan nut on top. Bake the pies for 25 - 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Transfer the cooked pies to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Serve them slightly warm.

Brandy Cream

  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 shot of brandy (25ml)
  • 50g icing sugar
Mix the cream, brandy and icing sugar, and using a balloon whisk, whip the cream till ribbon stage.
Keep refrigerated until needed.

Makes at least 65 one bite mince pies

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Venison Burger with Roasted Parsnip Straws

Venison Burger with Roasted Parsnip Straws

Venison Burgers

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil and saute the diced onion, grated carrot and celery with seasonig until soft. Do not colour - when the onions turn transparent then it's ready. Leave to cool completely and add the roasted mashed garlic.

Measure all the ingredients including the cooked onion mixture into the bowl of a mixer, attach a dough hook and kneed the meat until all the ingredients are well mixed. I prefer to use a mechanical form of mixing for burgers as it tightens the meat and prevents it from falling apart when cooking.

Test a small amount in a hot pan and taste, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Shape the burgers approximately 175g and compress into a patty shape. Let the burgers rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Cook the burgers 5 - 6 mintues on each side in a hot griddle pan, alternativley brown the burger in a hot pan and transfer it to a preheated oven at 200°C and cook for a further 5 - 6 mintues.

Serve the burger patty on a bun with a spoonful of the beetroot relish, slices of tomato and salad leaves. Garnish with home made onion rings and chips of your choice. For this recipe I have chosen roasted parsnip straws.

Roasted Parsnip Straws

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Peel the parsnips and cut them length ways, toss them with the oil and lightly season them with salt and pepper. Roast the parsnips in the preheated oven until tender and golden brown.

While the parships are roasting prepare the salt: Using a pestle and mortar crush the coriander seeds, add the maldon salt and the chopped thyme, and mix.

Once the roasted parsnips are done, drizzle over the honey and season with the thyme and coriander flavoured salt.

Serve immediately.

Beetroot and Red Onion Relish

Coarsely grate the peeled raw beetroot and finely slice the red onions.

Heat a medium saucepan with butter and sweat the onions, garlic, chilli flakes and beetroot with seasoning until it starts to caramelise. This should take about 10 - 15 minutes.

Add the sugar and cook until dissolved. Deglaze with the vinegar and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Once the relish is done stir in the chopped thyme, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Transfer the relish into sterilised jars and keep refrigerated until needed. The longer you let the relish mature the better the flavour, however you can use it straight away as it's equally as delicious.

Serves  6

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Slow-Cooked Pheasant, Pink Fir Fondant Potatoes and Celeriac Cream

Slow-Cooked Pheasant, Pink Fir Fondant Potatoes and Celeriac Cream

Slow-Cooked Pheasant

Prepare the pheasants by plucking the birds and remove as many of the feathers as possible. Remove the legs from the crowns. Use the legs for the recipe below.

Remove the breast meat from the crowns. Season the breast with salt and pepper, and place the seasoned breast in a vacuum pouch and add the rapeseed oil, thyme and garlic. Seal the bags on full vacuum.

Cook the pheasant breast in the preheated water bath till 58°C, core temperature, it takes about 28 minutes.

Chill the pheasant breast in iced water and refrigerate until needed.

To serve the pheasant: brown the pheasant breast on the skin side in the hot pan with butter, until golden brown.

Transfer the pheasant breast to an oven tray and roast the breast for about 6-8 minutes, let the breast rest for 8 minutes once roasted.

Pheasant and Prune Sausages

Preheat the water bath to 83°C.

Place the prepared legs in a vacuum pouch with two tablespoons of rapeseed oil, garlic and thyme, lightly season the legs. Seal the bag and cook the pheasant legs for 12 hours.

Once cooked, flake the meat and mix 200g of flaked pheasant meat with the sausage meat, season to taste add nutmeg and stir in the chopped herbs and prunes.

Shape into 30g sausage shaped balls and wrap each sausage in a rasher of the smoked streaky bacon.

Cook them in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden and cooked all the way through.

Herbed Pearl Barley

Cook the pearl barley in salted boiling water with a few aromatics such as carrots, celery, thyme, garlic and leeks, once cooked drain and refresh.

To reheat warm the pearl barley through in a pan with the shallot confit and rapeseed oil, season to taste and stir the herbs through just before serving.

Pink Fir Fondant

Scrub the pink fir potatoes and dry.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with a bit of the butter, brown the potatoes all over, and season lightly. Once the potatoes are golden add the remainder of the butter with a dash of water, place a cartouche on top and transfer the potatoes to a preheated oven at 180°C. Cook them for about 15 - 20 minutes (the time depends on the size of the potatoes) until tender.

Celeriac Cream

Peel and finely slice the celeriac, place it in a vacuum bag, add the butter and seasoning. Seal on hard vacuum.

Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan and place the vacuum bag in the water, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to simmer for 40 minutes.

Puree the celeriac in a blender until very smooth, add the cream, and if it’s still too thick then add more cream.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if need.

To Serve

Spoon the celeriac cream onto warm plates; place the drained fondant potatoes in position along with the cooked pheasant sausage. Spoon the warm pearl barley onto the plate and place the sliced pheasant breast on top. Serve with blanched purple sprouting broccoli and a drizzle of pheasant Madeira sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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A Tasting of Game

A Tasting of Game

Wild Rabbit Rillette

To braise the rabbit legs: Pre-heat the oven to 160 °C. Heat a medium oven proof casserole dish with the oil, season the legs lightly and brown them in the dish, add the prepared onions, leek, carrot, crushed coriander seeds, one sprig of thyme and crushed garlic, brown until golden then add the stock. Cover the dish with the lid and once the stock is starting to boil transfer the dish to the oven and braise the legs for 1 hour, until they are tender. Let the rabbit legs cool slightly, drain them from the liquid and flake the meat.

Heat a small frying pan with 1 tbs of the duck fat and saute the chopped banana shallots until tender, add the flaked rabbit meat and add another 80g of the duck fat, stir in the chopped herbs, capers and gherkins. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Spoon the rillette into the serving jars, leave them to cool, melt the remaining duck fat and pour it onto the surface of the rilette and set them in the fridge.

Game Terrine

Cook the ham hocks, flake once cooked and pass the cooking liquid through a fine sieve. Soak the gelatine leaves and dissolve, mix the gelatine with 500ml of the ham stock.

Cook and flake the duck and rabbit legs. Prepare the mushrooms and saute them in butter. Blanch the shredded cabbage in boiling water, refresh in ice water, drain and set aside.

Pan-fry the duck breast and cook them for about 6 - 8 minutes, until medium rare. Let them rest and once rested cut them into strips.

Line a small terrine mould with cling film and layer the terrine with the different components, pour the stock in between each layer.

Press and leave the terrine to set over night in the fridge.

Venison Scotch Egg

Mix the cooked venison meat with the sausage meat, seasoning and the chopped herbs. Cook the eggs and peel once cold.

Pack the venison sausage meat around the cooked, soft boiled egg, leave them to set in the fridge.

Panée the eggs: roll the scotch egg in the flour, then the whipped egg and then last in the panko breadcrumbs.

Heat a deep fat fryer to 160°C, fry the eggs until golden brown, drain and serve them immediately.

Partridge, Prune and Smoked Streaky Bacon Sausages

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Season the partridge and rub the oil over the bird. Roast it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, leave to rest and flake the leg and breast meat.

Mix the cooked partridge with the soaked prunes, sausage meat, shallots and chopped shallots, season to taste.

Shape 25g  sausages and wrap one slice of smoked streaky bacon around each sausage.

Cook the sausages in the preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

To Serve:

Cut a generous slice of the terrine and garnish it with mixed cress. Place the rabbit rillette on the plate along with the venison scotch egg and the partridge sausages. Serve with a jar of home made piccalilli.

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Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

Truffled Parsnips and Borlotti Beans

If you are using fresh borlotti beans: Cook the borlotti beans in seasoned water with the sprig of thyme until tender; drain and set aside. Alternatively use tinned borlotti beans or use dried borlotti beans that have been previously soaked in cold water and cooked until tender.

Peel and dice the parsnips into 1cm cubes. Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the butter - once it’s foaming sauté the parsnips with seasoning until they turn golden brown, reduce the heat and leave the parsnips until golden, caramelised and tender but not mushy.

Add the cooked borlotti beans and truffle oil and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Set aside until needed.

Thyme Roasted Parsnips

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a roasting tray with parchment paper.

Peel the parsnips and cut each into 6 long wedges. Lay the parsnips on the tray, season and add the oil, mix.

Roast the parsnips for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden, once cooked chop the thyme and scatter over, set aside until needed.

Parsnip Puree

Peel and dice the parsnips into 2cm dice, heat a saucepan with the butter and sauté the parsnips until they start to turn golden, season as you cook. Once the parsnips are nearly tender enough add the milk and continue cooking until soft.

While the parsnips are still hot puree until a smooth but thick puree, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Pickled Girolles

Clean the girolle mushrooms and cut them into smaller pieces if needed. Heat 1tbs of oil in a medium non-stick frying pan, sauté the girolles with seasoning for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the mustard, thyme, hazelnut and the rest of the rapeseed oil and sherry vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Let the mushrooms mature for a day before using.

To Serve

In a small saucepan reheat the truffled parsnips and borlotti beans with a few spoons full of the pickled girolles. Heat the puree and the thyme roasted parsnips.

Spread the puree on a warm plate; arrange the truffled parsnips and the thyme roasted parsnips on top. Scatter chopped roasted hazelnuts over with a few slithers of Shipcord cheese shavings. Toss a few watercress sprigs and mixed cress with a drop of truffle oil and vinaigrette to garnish the dish. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Chef's Tip:

Use haricot or butter beans instead of borlotti beans.

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Chickpea Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Chickpea Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly grease a large oven roasting tray.

Wash the butternut skin and pat dry, cut the butternut in half and remove the seeds. Cut the butternut in even size slices and or wedges and arrange them on the roasting tray, drizzle over the olive oil, season and sprinkle over the ras-el-hanout. Roast them in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes or until tender when you  stick a sharp knife into the flesh. Once cooked remove the tray form the oven and drizzle over the pomegranate molasses and let the butternut cool in the tray.

Once cooled, wash and shave the fennel using a sharp mandolin, scatter it over the roasted squash, scatter the drained chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, chopped coriander  leaves, sliced salad onions and salad leaves.

Drizzle the tahini lemon yoghurt and serve.

Tahini Lemon Yoghurt

In a small bowl mix the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and zest. Season to taste and if the dressing is a touch too thick add a few drops of cold water to thin it down to a dripping consistency.

Serves 4-6 people

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Partridge, Fig and Salted Caramel Walnuts

Partridge, Fig and Salted Caramel Walnuts

Partridge

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare a saucepan filled with water, one sprig of thyme, coriander seeds and peppercorns, bring it to the boil.

Remove the legs from the partridges; roast them in the preheated oven with olive oil and seasoning for 25 minutes. Flake the meat whilst hot. Heat the olive oil with the shallots and seasoning, cook until transparent and add the cooked flaked leg meat, cook until the shallots are tender, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Poach the partridge crowns in the boiling water for 3 minutes, leave to rest for 5 minutes and remove the breast from the bone. When ready to serve heat a frying pan with butter and caramelise the partridge breast in the foaming butter skin side down, caramelise the fig in the same pan. Serve immediate.

Lentils

Heat a saucepan with the butter and sauté the trompette de la mort mushrooms for 2 minutes, add the leg meat, lentils and 1 tbs of the damson vinaigrette. Cook for 5 minutes, adjust the seasoning if needed and add the thyme leaves.

Salt Caramelised Walnuts

Heat a frying pan with the butter, nuts, sugar and salt, heat until the sugar has melted, cook until the sugar caramlises to golden brown.

Transfer the caramelised salted walnuts to a line tray, leave to cool. Break the walnuts into pieces for serving.

Damson Vinaigrette

Blend all the ingredients until emulsified, season and set aside until needed.

To Serve

Spoon the lentils onto a warm plate, arrange the partridge breast and figs on top of the lentils, arrange the rest of the figs on the plate and drizzle the damson vinaigrette round the plate. Scatter the walnuts and garnish with cress. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Pan-Roasted Teal and Pearl Barley Salad; Damson Vinaigrette

Pan-Roasted Teal and Pearl Barley Salad; Damson Vinaigrette

Teal

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare a saucepan filled with water, one sprig of thyme, coriander seeds and peppercorns, bring it to the boil.

Remove the legs from the teals; roast them in the preheated oven with olive oil and seasoning for 25 minutes. Flake the meat whilst hot. Heat the olive oil with the shallots and seasoning, cook until transparent and add the cooked flaked leg meat, cook until the shallots are tender, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Poach the teal crowns in the boiling water for 2 minutes, leave to rest for 5 minutes and remove the breast from the bone. When ready to serve heat a frying pan with butter and caramelise the teal breast in the foaming butter skin side down for about 2 minutes, cut the teal breast on an angle and serve immediately.

Pearl Barley Salad

Cook the pearl barley in plenty of water until tender.

Once cooked drain and add the rest of the ingredients, season to taste.

Damson Vinaigrette

In a small saucepan bring the damsons, sugar and water to the boil and cook until the damsons are soft.

Blend the damsons until smooth and add the rest of the ingredients, blend until emulsified, season to taste and set aside until needed.

To Serve

Spoon the warm pearl barley salad onto a warm plate, arrange the teal breast top. Serve the teal with a few sauteed girolle mushrooms, pea shoots and drizzle the damson vinaigrette round the plate. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Roasted Heritage Squash and Salt Baked Beet with Soft Boiled Hens Egg and Rosehip Elderberry Vinaigrette

Roasted Heritage Squash and Salt Baked Beet with Soft Boiled Hens Egg and Rosehip Elderberry Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Heritage Squash

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Wash the squash, cut into pieces, mix with the oil and seasoning and ras–el-hanout. Place the squash on a baking tray and roast the squash in the oven until tender and golden brown. Leave to chill

Salt Baked Beetroot

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Wash the beetroots and place them in a deep oven tray and cover the beetroots with the salt.

Bake the beetroot in the preheated oven for 3 hours, until tender. Leave them to cook and peel.

Keep the beetroot refrigerated until needed.

Pickled Cauliflower

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut the cauliflowers into small florettes.

Mix the cauliflower with the oil, ras–el-hanout and seasoning, spread on a baking tray.

Roast the cauliflowers in the oven for 10 minutes, chill.

Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrette

Cut the rosehips in half, remove the seeds. Place the rosehips, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan, dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce by half, add the elderberries, and remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 2 hours.

Season to taste and stir in the olive oil.

Chill until needed.

To Serve

Soft boil two eggs, pee,l and cut them in half. Arrange the squash, beet and cauliflower with the egg on the plate, season and drizzle the vinaigrette over, place a few sprigs of baby cress leaves and serve.

Serves 4

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Honey, Plum and Blackberry Jelly with Plum Sorbet

Honey, Plum and Blackberry Jelly with Plum Sorbet

Honey Plum and Blackberry Jelly

Wash the plums, remove the stones and cut into quarters. Place the plums, blackberries, water, vanilla seeds, sugar, lime juice and honey into a vacuum bag and hard seal.

Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan and place the vacuum bag in the water, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the bag from the water and leave to cool and infuse overnight.

Pass the cooled syrup through a fine sieve or hang it in muslin for one hour to drain.

Discard the fruits and keep the juice. Measure the juice and for a turn out jelly soak 6 leaves of gelatine per 600ml of juice and soak 5 leaves for 500ml, If you set the jelly in glasses then use 5 leaves of gelatine per 600ml of juice and 4 leaves for 500ml.

Soak and once soft, melt the gelatine and add it to the plum and blackberry juice.

Pour the jelly into 8cm x 3cm size moulds and set in the fridge.

Plum Sorbet

Wash the plums, remove the stones and cut them in quarters. Freeze them individually until hard frozen. It is important that the frozen plums must be kept separated in their individual pieces.

Place a clean container in the freezer and chill the thermomix bowl in the fridge.

Weigh the sugar into the thermomix bowl. Grind the sugar and spice for 30 seconds on speed 10.

Add the frozen plums and lemon juice. Insert the thermomix spatula. Gradually turn the speed to 9 and blend the plums for 1 minute.

Scrape the sides down and repeat this process until the plums are smooth.

Add the egg white. Blend for 30 seconds on speed 8.

Scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the sorbet on speed 4 for 30 seconds.

Scoop the sorbet in to the cold plastic container and store in freezer until needed.

To Serve

Turn the jelly out onto a chilled plate, place a teaspoon full of chopped pistachio nuts on top and place a small quenelle of plum sorbet on top. Garnish the plate with fresh blackberries.

Serves 6

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3 Michelin Star Evening at The British Larder, Suffolk

3 Michelin Star Evening at The British Larder, Suffolk

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Smoked Bacon, Artichoke and Hen’s Egg Tart

Smoked Bacon, Artichoke and Hen’s Egg Tart

Short Crust Pastry

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the water and mix until the pastry comes together. Do not over work the pastry, wrap it tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry out until 1/2cm thick and line one 10cm x 35cm x 2.5cm oblong tart case.

Let the pastry rest for half a hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C, line the tart case with blind baking beans and blind bake the pastry for 20 - 25 minutes until it's cooked. Leave to cool slighty, brush the inside with a beaten egg yolk and return the case to the oven for one minute before pouring the filling into the warm tart case.

Smoked Bacon and Egg Custard

Preheat the oven to 130°C.

Heat a non-sick frying pan with the butter, once melted saute the bacon and onion until golden brown.

Add the mustard, seasoning and the cream. Bring the mixture to the boil, simmer for 1 minute, remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Whisk the eggs and add to the cream, mixing well.

Dice the cheese and scatter over the warm blind baked tart case, ladle in the egg mixture and arrange the baby artichoke quarters on top.

Carefully place the tart into the preheated oven and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until just set.

Once cooked leave the tart to cool at room temperature before cutting the tart into even sized pieces.

Artichokes

Turn the baby artichokes; place them in ice-cold water, lemon juice and vitamin C powder to prevent them from discolouring.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the shallots, garlic and drained artichokes until they start to take on some colour. Season and add the herbs.

De-glaze the pan with the wine and add the stock. Cover the artichokes with a kartouche and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the artichokes are tender, remove from the heat and leave to cool in the liquid.

To Serve

Cut the tart into 6 even size portions. Serve the tart either slightly warm or at room temperature. Cut each artichoke into 4, heat a frying pan with olive oil and saute the artichokes until lightly golden. Serve the warm artichokes with a light herb and garden pea salad.

Serves 6

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Camomile Smoked Pear Pastilles

Camomile Smoked Pear Pastilles

Place the fresh camomile, 30g of caster sugar and water into a small saucepan over low heat. Dissolve the sugar and bring the syrup to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes.

Peel, core and cut the pears into quarters. Place the pear with the camomile syrup into a vacuum bag, seal on hard vacuum. Let the pears infuse over night.

Drain the pears, keep the syrup. Place the pears on a cooling rack. Mix half of the camomile tea with 30ml of cold water, leave to soak for 30 minutes. Spread the soaked tea over a roasting tray and mix the rest of the dry tea in with the wet tea. Place the cooling rack over the tea. Cover the tray with foil, place the tray over a naked flame, the tea will start to smoke, once you have a sufficient amount of smoke remove the tray from the naked flame, set aside for 30 minutes so that the pears take on the flavour of the smoke.

Line a Line a 14cm x 21cm x 1.5cm tray with a double layer of cling film. I found these exact trays at Muji and they are perfect.

Place the pears and the retained liquid into the bowl of the thermomix and blend for 5 minutes on speed 10.

Place 500g of the pear puree and glucose in a medium size saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook till the puree reach107°C.

Mix 300g of caster sugar with the pectin and add the mixture to the boiling pear mixture, melt the sugar and bring the mixture back to the boil and cook till the mixture reaches 107°C for the second time.

Immediately pour the boiling hot mixture into the lined tray and leave to set completely at room temperature.

Cut the pear pastilles into squares and roll each square in golden caster sugar.

Makes 24 pieces

Food Fanatics Tips
Do not keep the pastilles in the fridge as they will start to dissolve. Keep them in a air tight container in a dry cool place. Cut and roll them in the sugar as needed.

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Oven-Roasted Rump of Lamb with Baby Artichokes, Beet and Fennel Puree

Oven-Roasted Rump of Lamb with Baby Artichokes, Beet and Fennel Puree

Artichokes

Turn the baby artichokes; place them in ice-cold water, lemon juice and vitamin C powder to prevent them from discolouring.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the shallots, garlic and drained artichokes until they start to take on some colour. Season and add the herbs.

De-glaze the pan with the wine and add the stock. Cover the artichokes with a cartouche and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the artichokes are tender, remove from the heat and leave to cool in the liquid.

Fennel Purée

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter starts to foam, add the sliced fennel and seasoning, place the lid on top and sweat the fennel until it starts to turn transparent.

De-glaze the pan with the wine and cook until the wine is reduced to syrup. Add the stock and cook until the fennel is tender, then reduce until the stock is completely cooked away.

Purée the fennel until smooth, and chill.

Baby Beets

Remove the tops of the beetroots and boil them, until tender, in salted water. Once cooked, refresh and peel the beetroots.

Place the beetroots, oil, sherry vinegar, crushed coriander seeds and garlic, thyme and bay leaf in a vacuum bag and seal on hard vacuum. The beetroots are best left to mature for a day before using.

Oven-Roasted Rump of Lamb

Heat a frying pan, season the lamb rumps and brown with the butter; place the lamb rumps in a preheated oven at 200°C for 8 minutes.

Let the lamb rumps rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

To serve

Prepare the artichokes: drain them from the liquid, cut them into quarters and remove the furry bits from the inside. Heat the butter in a frying pan and cook until golden brown, drain.

Heat the baby beetroot, broad beans, lamb sauce and fennel purée.

Arrange the vegetables and purée on the plate and slice the rested lamb and place on the plate. Spoon the hot sauce over, arrange the buckler sorrel leaves and baby beetroot tops. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

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Herring Escabeche Salad

Herring Escabeche Salad

Herring Escabeche

Prepare the fish; remove the pin bones, wash and pat dry. Cut the herrings to the desired size and lightly score the skin. Place the herrings in a wide, shallow container and glaze the fish with half the oil, add the bay leaf and summer savoury, set aside.

Heat a medium saucepan and toast the coriander seeds and star anise in the warm dry pan, remove from the heat.

Return the pan to the heat with the remaining oil and sweat the onions, fennel, garlic, carrot and toasted spices until it turns transparent with no colour, lightly season and add the sugar and saffron.

Add the white wine and vinegar, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.

Season the herrings with the Malden sea salt and ladle the pickling liquid over. Allow the herrings to cool completely. It’s best to leave them in the fridge for 12 hours for the flavour to develop.

Pickled Green Beans

Top and tail the beans and slice at an angle.

Bring the salted water to the boil in a large saucepan and blanch the beans for 1 minute, refresh in icy cold water.

In a separate medium saucepan mix the malt vinegar and cornflour till smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the refreshed blanched beans; bring the mixture back to the boil for 1 minute.

Transfer the pickled beans to a sterilised clean container, cool and refrigerate. Refrigerated they will keep for up to 2 months, if unopened.

To Serve

Serve the herring escabeche and pickled green beans on a plate, garnish the plate with some of the pickled vegetables and juices, and add a few sprigs of watercress.

Serves 6

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Salted Peanut Brittle Biscuits

Salted Peanut Brittle Biscuits

In a food processor or thermomix grind the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, peanuts and the vanilla seeds till it represents coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the butter, egg and peanut butter and blend until the mixture becomes a paste.

Turn the biscuit dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and push it all together, do not knead the the dough. Divide the mixture in two and roll each into a sausage about 5cm in diameter and wrap it tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate over night. It's very important that the mixture rests well, if not the biscuits will bake unevenly, spread a lot with the potential for the edges to burn. I made the mistake once as I was in a rush and so the next time I allowed the  proper resting time and made the most delicious and beautiful biscuits.

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking trays with either parchment paper of silpats.

Remove the clingfilm from the well rested biscuit dough sausages and slice them into 1/2 cm thick slices, place these on the baking trays, leave plenty of room for them to spread. Bake the biscuits for 12 - 14 minutes. Once baked let them rest on the baking tray for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat the process and bake the rest of the biscuits.

Makes 40 biscuits

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Set Goat’s Milk Pudding With Cherry Sherbet Dusted Doughnut

Set Goat’s Milk Pudding With Cherry Sherbet Dusted Doughnut

Set Goat's Milk Pudding

Choose the serving glasses, wash and polish them, and place them in the fridge to chill.

Split the vanilla pod, and heat it with the cream, sugar and milk. Leave to infuse for 6 minutes. Drain the soaked gelatine, add to the warm milk and stir to dissolve. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and pour it into the chilled glasses.

Cherry Compote

Place the stoned cherries and sugar in a small saucepan and leave for 30 minutes.

Gently heat the cherries, dissolve the sugar and once it comes to the boil increase the heat and boil rapidly. Remove the impurities and cook the compote until it reaches 102°C. Remove the pan from the heat, add the juice of half a lemon, and leave to cool.

Cherry Sherbet Sugar

In a food processor blend the dried cherries, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda to a fine powder. Stir it into the caster sugar, so it's ready for the fried doughnuts.

Doughnuts

Mix both flours and rub in the fresh yeast so the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt until the butter is melted; leave to cool until it reaches 37°C.

Add the egg yolk to the milk mixture. Make a well in the centre of the flour; pour in the mixture and blend to form dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then leave until double in size. Divide the dough into 15g balls, roll until smooth and leave to prove until double in size.

Heat the oil to 160°C, deep fry the doughnuts until golden brown, drain and roll each in the cherry sherbet sugar and serve immediately.

Cherry Salad

Wash and stone the cherries, cut them into quarters, add the lemon zest and mix.

To serve

Serve the set goat's milk pudding with a spoonful of the cherry compote and cherry salad. Skewer the doughnut, balance it over the pudding and serve immediately.

Serves 6

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The Bakers Blessing by Peter Reinhart

The Bakers Blessing by Peter Reinhart

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Lavish Lobster Macaroni Bake

Lavish Lobster Macaroni Bake

Lobster Bisque

First cook the lobsters to obtain the meat. Bring a large pan of water to a rapid boil. Put a knife through the brain of the lobster to ensure it's put to sleep humanely. Remove the tails and claws.

First cook the tails for 3 minutes and refresh in ice water. Then cook the claws for at least 7 minutes, depending on the size of the claws, refresh in ice water. Remove the meat from the tails and claws, refrigerate.

Roast the heads along with the rest of the shells at 220°C for 30 minutes, Crush the shells.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot, sauté the shallot, fennel, carrots, celery, garlic, peppercorns and coriander seeds until golden brown. Add the herbs, cayenne pepper, tomato purée, diced tomatoes and roasted crushed lobster carcasses.

Deglaze the pan with the brandy, cook until sticky, add the vermouth and cook until it becomes syrupy.

Add the fish and veal stock, bring the bisque to a gentle simmer for 40 minutes, and remove the impurities as necessary.

Blend the bisque using a Thermomix and pass through a fine sieve.

Bring the bisque to the boil and reduce until it is the correct consistency. Add the cream and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Lavish Lobster Macaroni

Cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted boiling water, drain and refresh.

Mix the cooked macaroni with the lobster bisque; you will need to judge how much bisque you require, you will not need it all. Mix in 100g of the mascarpone, half the Parmesan, sliced spring onion, egg yolks and add the chopped herbs and lobster claw meat. Season to taste.

Spoon the lobster macaroni into a lightly greased serving oven proof dish, spoon the rest of the mascarpone on top in small dollops and scatter the remaining Parmesan over.

To Serve

Bake the lobster macaroni until hot and the top has caramelised, heat the lobster tails, slice and arrange on top with the semi-dried tomatoes, fried basil leaves and a lobster claw. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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The Doors Are Open

The Doors Are Open

I know you’re all hungry to see an example of our menu at the British Larder, Suffolk, so I have posted one here…

British Larder Suffolk

Dinner Menu 05th Augusts 2010

To Start…

Bread Basket & Slightly Salted Butter £2.00

Spinach and Garden Pea Soup; Goats Cheese and Thyme Cigarillo (V) £4.75

Warm Mackerel and New Potato Salad with Creamed Horseradish and Radishes £5.75

Upside down Beetroot Tart, Broad Bean Cream (V) £5.50

Pinney’s of Orford Smoked Salmon Plate, Capers and Lemon £8.50

To Share …

The Orford Smoke House Experience: Smoked Prawns; Smoked Salmon with Capers and Lemon; Smoked Trout Pate £10.00 per plate

To follow…

East Anglian Cauliflower Cheese with Roasted Vine Tomatoes (V) £11.00

Slow Cooked Bramfield Reared Shoulder of Lamb; Hill Farm Rapeseed Oil Mash; Salt Baked Beetroot and Griddled Leeks £15.00

Oven Roasted Sutton Hoo Chicken with Crushed New Potatoes; Sautéed Savoy Cabbage and Pancetta £14.50

Pan-Fried East Coast Line Caught Hake with Clams Cooked in Aspal Cider and Buttered Spinach £14.50

Bramfield-Reared Rib Eye Steak, Crispy Onion Rings, Chips & Béarnaise Sauce £19.00

Lavish  Mersea-Landed Lobster Macaroni Bake £23.50

To accompany…

All £2.50

Rosemary and Sea Salt Roasties / Pan-fried leeks, Peas and Wilted Spinach/ Leafy Summer Salad/ Glazed Carrots with Garden Herbs

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Malted Prune Loaf

Malted Prune Loaf

Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease a 2lb loaf tin and dust it with rolled oats.

Weigh the flour, salt, baking powder and mixed spice into the bowl of a mixer and attach the paddle attachment, mix for a few seconds, add the diced prunes and egg whilst preparing the liquids.

In a small saucepan heat the butter, golden syrup and malt until the butter is melted, remove from the heat and stir in the ale.

Slowly incorporate the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, mix until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle more rolled oats over the top, bake in the preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes. Insert a metal skewer, if it comes out clean the loaf is cooked, if not then return the loaf to the oven and bake until cooked.

Leave the loaf to cool in the tin.

Serves 8 /10

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Orford-Landed Seabass with Crispy Potatoes, Bacon and Sea Purslane

Orford-Landed Seabass with Crispy Potatoes, Bacon and Sea Purslane

Warm Smoked Bacon, Broad Bean and Sea Purslane Salad

Cook the new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, refresh and drain. Peel the potatoes and break them into bite size irregular chunks.

Wash the radishes, remove the leaves and slice the radishes finely using a mandoline.

Blanch and refresh the broad beans and remove the outer skins and finely shred the sea purslane.

Shred the smoked back bacon.

Broad Bean and Sea Purslane Tempura

Mix the flour, corn flour, salt, egg yolk and sparkling water into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage. Fold the egg whites into the beignet batter and leave to settle for five minutes.

Prepare the broad beans by removing the outer skin, rinse and drain the popped broad beans. Rinse the sea purslane and drain on kitchen paper.

Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, dip the broad beans and sea purslane in the batter and fry them until golden brown all over. Drain the tempura broad beans and sea purslane on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve.

Seaweed Vinaigrette

Weigh all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, apart from the oil, and put into a blender. Blend until smooth and then slowly incorporate the oil to form an emulsion. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

To Serve

Sauté the salad: When your ready to serve, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the potatoes and shredded bacon until golden brown, add the sea pusrlane and broad beans, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Pan-fry the sea bass: heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, season the fish with salt only and sauté the sea bass skin side down first for about 2 minutes until golden brown, but it does depend on the thickness of the fillet. Once golden turn the fish over for one minute on the flesh side, drain and gently place the sea bass on top of the warm salad. Garnish the sea bass with the broad bean tempura and the seaweed vinaigrette.

Serves 4

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Hitting The Ground Running

Hitting The Ground Running

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Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries

Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries

Sweet Pastry

To make the sweet pastry, cream the softened butter, salt, sugar and vanilla seeds until fluffy and pale in colour. Lightly whisk the egg and slowly incorporate, a bit at a time, into the butter mixture. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, do not knead the pastry, just push it together into flat square. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for three hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface, to about 4mm thick, carefully line the pastry ring, and leave the pastry hanging over the edges. Line a 10cm x 35cm x 2.5cm pastry case with blind baking beans and blind bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 150°C and continue blind baking until the pastry is cooked and crisp without any colour. While the pastry is blind baking, prepare the second stage of the elderflower and crème fraîche filling.

Elderflower Crème Fraîche Tart

To make the elderflower crème fraîche tart, prepare the crème fraîche one day in advance: weigh 600g crème fraîche into a sieve lined with muslin cloth, leave to drain overnight in the fridge.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy, stir in the lime zest, elderflower syrup and weigh 500g drained crème fraiche into the mix, mix well.

Preheat the oven to 110°C.

Once the blind baked pastry case is ready, pour the crème fraiche mixture into the tart case and bake the tart for 45 minutes or until just set. One wobble in the center is good. Carefully remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Strawberry Sorbet

To make the strawberry sorbet, weigh the sugar into the Thermomix bowl, secure the lid and blend on speed 10 for 10 seconds, add the frozen strawberries, lemon juice and liqueur.

Secure the lid and insert the Thermomix spatula, gently turn the speed dial to speed 10 and blend.

Scrape the sides down and repeat this process until the strawberries are smooth. Add the egg white. Blend for 30 seconds on speed 10. Scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the sorbet on speed 4 for 30 seconds. Transfer the sorbet in to the cold plastic container and store in freezer until needed.

Strawberry Pearls

To make the strawberry pearls, place the oil in the freezer to chill as cold as you possibly can get it.

Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft.

Blend the strawberries with the sugar until smooth, melt the soaked gelatine and add to the strawberry juice and pass it through a fine sieve.

Use a small syringe or pipette and drop small droplets of the strawberry mixture into the cold oil, leave them to set.

Once the pearls are set, carefully transfer them to a small sieve and lightly rinse them under cold running water, leave to drain. Keep the strawberry pearls chilled until needed.

Strawberry Sherbet

To prepare the strawberry sherbet, weigh 20g of the dried strawberries, citric acid, sifted icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a food processor and blend till a fine powder. Keep the sherbet in a clean airtight container of glass jar until needed.

Elderflower Macerated Strawberry with Summer Savory

For elderflower macerated strawberry with summer savory, wash and hull the strawberries, pat them dry. Cut the strawberries in half and slice each half keeping it together. Place the sliced strawberries in a small container and splash over the elderflower cordial and sprinkle the chopped savory. Leave to marinate for five minutes.

To Serve

cut a 4cm wide slice of the tart and position it on the plate. Position the elderflower macerated strawberry on the one side, spoon the strawberry pearls on the opposite side, place a quenelle of the strawberry sorbet in the middle. Garnish the tart with a dusting of the strawberry sherbet and a few of the elderflowers. Hydrated strawberry crisps are an optional garnish.

Serves 4

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Cranachan, Small Pots of Raspberry Pleasure

Cranachan, Small Pots of Raspberry Pleasure

Toasted Oat Wafers

Preheat the oven to 200 °C and spread the oats on a baking tray. Toast the oats in the preheated oven, keep an eye on it as it does burn easily, stir the oats once or twice to evenly toast , leave the oats to cool.

Place a silpat on a large baking tray before boiling the sugar.

Weigh the glucose and fondant into a medium non-stick saucepan, melt over a moderate heat, once melted increase the heat and boil till the sugar reaches 160°C.

Pour the boiling hot sugar onto the silpat and leave to cool at room temperature.

Once the sugar is cooled completely break it up using a rolling pin and then powder the sugar and toasted oats using a very powerful blender such as a Thermomix.

Reduce the oven heat to 160°C and turn the fan setting off.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, use a cookie cutter and sprinkle the sugar powder evenly onto the parchment paper in the desired shapes, I used a 5cm diameter ring cutter.

Bake  in the pre-heated oven for approximately 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and forms a clear crisp disk.

Let the wafers cool completely, they will be super fragile.

Cranachan

Preheat the oven to 200 °C and spread the oats on a baking tray. Toast the oats in the preheated oven, keep an eye on it as it does burn easily, stir the oats once or twice to toast evenly, leave the oats to cool completely.

Select four serving glasses for serving, set aside on a tray.

Select the best raspberries, about half the amount, set them aside.

Lightly crush the remaining raspberries with a fork, do not mash  too much.

Soft whip the double cream, whisky and the icing sugar, fold the crème fraîche and the crushed raspberries into the soft whipped cream mixture.

Spoon half of the cream mixture in to the selected glasses, arrange a few raspberries, scatter a sprinkle of toasted oats and top with a little honey, repeat the process and finish each glass with the remaining raspberries, scatter the toasted oats and serve with a toasted oat wafer.

Serves 4

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Come along to our launch!

Come along to our launch!

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Chocolate Fudge Cake With Cherries In Red Wine

Chocolate Fudge Cake With Cherries In Red Wine

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease 6 8cm x 3cm size cake moulds and dust them with cocoa powder.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, once melted remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and stir till dissolved. Set aside to cool but not set.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the cooled melted butter and chocolate mixture and whisk well to incorporate.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together.

Fold the sifted flour into the egg and chocolate mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared moulds and place them on a baking tray in the centre of the preheated oven for 10 - 12 minutes. I like to just cook my cakes, to ensure a moist fudgy centre.

Leave the moulds on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cold and set, gently turn the cakes out from the moulds.

Original Beans Chocolate Ganache

In a small saucepan bring the cream to the boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, stir continiously until the chocolate has completely melted.

Pour smooth chocolate ganache into a small container and leave to cool, once cold, cover and refrigerate to set completely. I normally make this a day in advance to ensure that the ganache sets.

Cherries in Red Wine

Prepare the cherries, cut them in half and remove the stones.

In a small saucepan bring the wine, vanilla seeds and sugar to the boil over low heat. Reduce by half until syrupy.

Pour the hot syrup over the prepared cherries and leave to marinade. It's best to make this a day in advance.

To Serve

Select a serving plate or plates, arrange the cakes on the plates and add a spoonful of the cherries on top, place a small quenelle of the chocolate ganache on top of the cherries and drizzle with a little of the red wine syrup.

Serves 6

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Time To Confess

Time To Confess

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Fresh Buffalo Curd Summer Salad

Fresh Buffalo Curd Summer Salad

Fresh Buffalo Curd

Rinse a medium saucepan with cold water, measure the fresh buffalo milk, lemon juice and salt into the dampened pan and set aside for 20 minutes.

Over very low heat gently bring the milk to 80°C, stir only if you need to prevent the milk from burning. Do not disturb the milk too much. Once the milk reaches the temperature remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool at room temperature for 3 hours.

Line a sieve with muslin cloth and carefully pour the curdled milk through the muslin, leave to drain naturally for 1 hour. Hang the muslin in the fridge and leave to continue to drain overnight.

The following day, discard the whey and transfer the fresh curd cheese to a clean container, the fresh curd is now ready to use.

This quantity of milk makes approximately 750g of fresh buffalo curd cheese and will keep for 5 days in the fridge.

Summer Salad

Peel the kohlrabi, use a mandolin to finely slice and then cut into 1cm wide strips, dunk the strips in ice water to crisp.

Wash the courgettes and use a vegetable peeler to slice into long ribbons.

To slice the asparagus, remove the stalk and use a vegetable peeler to slice into strips.

Blanch the shelled fresh peas,  refresh and drain. Place the peas in a small bowl, add a teaspoon of the lemon oil and season to taste, lightly crush the peas.

Wash and drain the micro salad.

Lemon Oil

Measure the ingredients into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid, shake vigorously and adjust the seasoning if needed.

To Serve

Place the strips of drained kohlrabi, courgette and asparagus on a large flat tray, season and drizzle with the lemon oil, leave for 5 minutes to marinade.

Serve a quenelle of the fresh buffalo curd on a spoon, season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, add a few drops of the lemon oil and some of the picked purple thyme leaves, position the spoon on the plate.

Arrange the marinated vegetables on the plate; garnish each plate with the micro salad, a few drops of the lemon oil and a dusting of the wild sumac.

Serves 4

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The British Larder Is Taking Roots

The British Larder Is Taking Roots

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Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad

The Chicken

Remove the two legs and breast.

Use the legs for the potted chicken and the breast needs to be char-grilled or fried in a griddle pan when you are ready to serve the dish.

Parmesan Foam

First infuse the water: Bring the water, peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaf, crushed garlic and vinegar to the boil in a small saucepan. Simmer for 2 -3 minutes, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Soak the gelatine in cold water, drain and squeeze to remove the excess water.

Pass the infused water through a fine sieve, keep the liquid and discard  the solids. Add the soaked gelatine to the liquid and melt over low heat, add the grated Parmesan. Blend until smooth, add the dijon mustard and yoghurt, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and transfer to a clean cream whipper and charge with two gas charges, refrigerate to set and chill.

Parsley Crumb

Place the parsley and crust- less bread in a blender and blend till fine bright green crumbs are formed.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

TIP: This crumb freezes well and make a great instant garnish for dishes such as shepherds pies.

Potted Chicken

Preheat the oven to 200°C, season the chicken legs and place them on a roasting tray in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

Cool and flake the meat from the bones, chop the skin if crisp and mix it through the chicken.

Place the chopped shallots, bay leaf, seasoning and half of the fat in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until transparent, cooked but not coloured.

Mix the cooked shallots, flaked chicken meat and the leaves of one of the thyme sprigs, divide the mixture between 4 small ramekins.

Melt the remaining fat, leave it to soft set,still spreadable but not runny, spoon the semi-set fat on top of the potted chicken. Garnish each pot with the leaves from the remaining sprig of thyme.

Refrigerate to set.

To Serve

Char-grill the chicken breast or use a griddle pan to cook the chicken breast till cooked but moist.

Soft boil the eggs, cool, peel and cut each egg in half. Dip each half egg in the green crumb, spoon a small amount of the parsley crumb onto the plate and place the half soft boiled egg on top.

Toast the bread, wash the gem lettuce and slice the radishes. Arrange this on the plate along with the sliced cooked chicken breast, serve half a breast per person. Place a pot of potted chicken onto each plate.

Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the foam into a small glass jar, place it on the plate and serve the chicken Caesar salad.

Serves 4

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Quinoa Salad with Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette

Quinoa Salad with Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette

Quinoa Salad

To Cook The Quinoa: Fill a large pan with water and season with salt, bring the water to a rapid boil and add the quinoa and turmeric. Stir the quinoa regularly and ensure the water boils rapidly throughout the cooking process. Cook the quinoa like pasta until tender but still with a light al dente bite. Drain the quinoa using a fine sieve and refresh under cold running water. Leave to drain.

Mix the cooled and drained quinoa with the rest of the ingredients and add the vinaigrette to taste, do not add all the vinaigrette as it might drown the salad. I like to serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side so that guest can add more if they wish.

Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette

Measure all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a jug of a blender and blend until smooth, taste and adjust the seasonign if needed.

Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated for up to 5 days if you do not use it all at once.

Food Fanatics Tip

What is Tahini? Think peanut butter, only made with sesame seeds. Tahini is made by soaking sesame seeds in water for a day, then crushed to separate the bran from the kernels. The crushed seeds are put into salted water, where the bran sinks, but the kernels float and are skimmed off the surface. They are toasted, then ground to produce their oily paste. There are two types of tahini, light and dark, and the light ivory version is considered to have both the best flavour and texture. You can buy tahini from most good supermarkets, delicatessens  or health food stores. Tahini is most closely associated with the Middle East and is used to make hummus, baba ghanoush and halvah.

Serves 4/6

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Mango and Orange Blossom Pudding, Orange Polenta Biscuits

Mango and Orange Blossom Pudding, Orange Polenta Biscuits

Orange, Polenta and Wild Sumac Shortbread

Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy.

Add the polenta and cream the mixture for a further 1 minute.

Fold the flour and cornflour into the creamed butter mixture.

Transfer the dough onto clingfilm and form into a sausage shape about 3cm in diameter, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Unwrap the dough sausage, roll it in caster sugar and re-roll to the original thickness and shape. Refrigerate until hard, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut shortbread disks into ½ cm thick slices, remove the clingfilm and roll each slice in caster sugar, and place on baking tray, sprinkle on sumac.

Bake for 12 minutes, dust with more sugar once it comes out of the oven.

Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack and chill.

Makes about 22 - 24 biscuits

Orange Blossom Air

Soak the gelatine in cold water until completely soft, squeeze to remove the excess water.

Place the cream, soaked gelatine and caster sugar in a metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water, stir until the sugar and soaked gelatine dissolve. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the natural yoghurt, stir and add the orange blossom water to taste.

Pour the mixture into a clean 1/2 Liter cream whipper, secure the lid and charge the cream whipper with two gas charges. Shake vigorously and place the cream whipper in the fridge to chill. It will need about 2 hours to chill completely.

When you are ready to use the orange blossom air/ foam shake the cream whipper vigorously to loosen the mixture.

Mango Jelly

Blend the mango, sugar, cream and juice until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the soaked gelatine, sir and pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Pour the mango into serving glasses, carefully transfer them to the fridge and leave to set completely.

Thermomix Method:

Weigh the sugar into the TM bowl, grind on speed 0 for 20 seconds. Add the mango, cream and juice and blend on speed 10 for 1 minute, scrape the sides down.

Set the timer to 8 minutes, 100°C speed 4.

Add soaked gelatine and blend for 20 seconds speed 10.

Pour the mango jelly into serving glasses, carefully transfer them to the fridge and leave to set completely.

To Serve

Dice the mango and cut the orange segments into smaller pieces, add a pinch of sumac and divide the mixture between the glasses.

Shake the orange blossom air vigerously, if it's too firm dip the cream whipper in hot water for a few seconds to loosen the mixture.

Squirt the orange blossom air on top of the mango and orange salad and garnish the air with a pinch of sumac and chopped fresh thyme.

Serve the puddings with a few orange, polenta and wild sumac short breads.

Serves 6

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Pickled Summer Carrot, Salmon Gravalax and Borage

Pickled Summer Carrot, Salmon Gravalax and Borage

Pickled Summer Carrots

With a mandolin slice the peeled carrots on an angle  about 2mm thick and lightly sprinkle with salt, set aside for 1 hour.

Place the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan, dissolve the sugar over low heat, turn the heat up and cook the syrup for 10 minutes.

Wash the carrots under cold running water to remove the salt and leave to drain.

Add the carrots to the boiling syrup; bring  back to the boil for 2 minutes.

Let the carrots cool for a few minutes then transfer to sterilized containers.

Either use immediately or let the pickled carrots mature for one week before using.

Fills three 250ml preserving jars.

To Serve

Choose 4 starter size serving plates, refrigerate them for 20 minutes before serving. The chilled plates will keep the salmon cool on a hot day. Divide the salmon between the 4 plates, laying it flat to cover the base of the plate. Arrange the drained pickled carrots, borage flowers and baby salad leaves. Drizzle with the pickling liquid and olive oil and serve.

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How to make Culinary Foams, Air and Espumas

How to make Culinary Foams, Air and Espumas

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The British Larder Waldorf Salad

The British Larder Waldorf Salad

Oxford Blue Dressing

Cream the egg yolk, mustard, cheese, lemon juice, sugar and seasoning until smooth. Slowly add the two oils while slowly whisking the mayonnaise to form an emulsion, if the mayonnaise become thick half way through add the water and continue adding the oil while whisking.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Chill the mayonnaise for 30 minutes, this will help the flavours to develop.

Waldorf Salad

Wash and peel the celery, cut into 5cm long batons x 2 -3 mm thick, keep them covered with damp kitchen paper until needed.

Lightly roast the walnuts in a preheated oven, cool completely.

Wash the watercress and apples.

When you are ready to serve, remove the core with an apple corer, then use a mandolin to slice the apples into 2 -3mm thick slices, keep the apples together to make them look as if they are whole again. Lightly dress each slice with  the dressing and place the apple in it's natural shape in the centre of the chosen plate. Arrange the celery batons, roasted walnuts and watercress round the apple, crumb the cheese and divide it between the plates and spoon on drops of the dressing and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Chive and Sea Salt Short Breads with Pickled Pear and Montgomery Air

Chive and Sea Salt Short Breads with Pickled Pear and Montgomery Air

Chive and Sea Salt Shortbread

Preheat the oven to 160 °C.

Cream the soft butter, salt and sugar until pale in colour and light and creamy. Add the egg yolk and cream together.

Fold in the cheese, chives and sifted plain flour and mix until the dough represents coarse breadcrumbs. Do not over work the mixture as it will make the dough elasticated.

Push the dough together and wrap it in clingfilm, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Thermomix Method:

Weigh the butter, salt and sugar directly into the TM bowl, blend on speed 10 for 20 seconds. Insert the butterfly whisk and cream the mixture on speed 4 for 1 minute. Add the egg yolk and double cream and cream again on speed 4 for 30 seconds. The mixture will become light and fluffy.

Remove the butterfly whisk and add the chives and cheese, secure the lid, set the dial to lock position and press the "turbo" button a couple of times to incorporate the cheese and chives.

Add the sifted flour, secure the lid and turn the dial to the lock position and press the "turbo" button a couple of times to incorporate the flour, the mixture will look like coarse breadcrumbs. Do not over work the dough as the shortbread dough will become elasticated.


Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and push it together with your hands, do not kneed the dough. Wrap it tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll the shortbread out about 3mm thick on a lightly floured work surface or between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut into 1 1/2 " squares and line the inside of a miniature muffin tray.

Bake the shortbread in the preheated oven for 1 - 12 minutes, carefully turn them out and leave to cool and crisp up.

Once cooled keep the shortbread in an airtight container  until needed.

Bacon Dust

Preheat the grill, lay the bacon on a baking tray and grill the bacon until very crispy, turn it a couple of times during the cooking process to ensure the bacon is completely dry and crispy without it being burnt.

Let the bacon cool on a cooling rack, this will allow it to crisp up, pat dry with kitchen paper and remove as much fat as possible.

Once the bacon is cold break it into even size pieces. Turn the thermomix on with the blades running at speed 10, drop the bacon all at once onto the running blades and place the measuring cup in place, grind for 20 seconds or until you are satisfied with the bacon crumb texture. If you do not have a Thermomix you could use an ordinary blender or alternatively chop the cooked bacon by hand but the texture needs to be as fine as possible..

The bacon crumb is now ready to be used.

Montgomery Air

Bring the water and cream to 80°C in a small saucepan, add the cheese and drained gelatine and blend the mixture until smooth.

Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and pour it into a 1/2 L siphon bottle or cream whipper, secure the lid and charge with two gas pellets, shake the cream whipper vigorously and refrigerate to cool.

Pickled Pear

Peel the pear and remove the seeds, finely dice into about 2 - 3mm pieces.

Gently mix all the ingredients together and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

To Serve

Lay the shortbreads out on a tray. Drain the pickled pears and spoon a small amount into each shortbread cup. Shake the cream whipper vigorously, if the mixture has solidified, dip the cream whipper in warm water to loosen the contents. Squirt a small amount on top of the pickled pears and garnish each with the bacon dust, a sprinkle of chopped thyme and a dusting of paprika, serve immediately.

Serves 24

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Roasted Woodpigeon Breast with Pickled Morel Mushrooms and Watercress Emulsion

Roasted Woodpigeon Breast with Pickled Morel Mushrooms and Watercress Emulsion

Salt-baked Cheltenham beetroot

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Wash the beetroots, scrub the skin and remove the leaves, but leave a small piece of the leaf stalk attached to the beetroot. Cover the damp beetroot in the Fleur de Sel, lay them on a baking tray and place the tray in the preheated oven for one-and-a-half hours.

Let the beetroots cool and then dust off as much salt as possible. Cut them in half if they are small and quarters if they are larger. Brush the baked beetroots with oil and set aside until needed.

Spelt Salad

Mix the cooked spelt grains with the herbs, oil and vinegar, season to taste and leave to develop flavours for 10 minutes.

Pickled Morel Mushrooms

Clean the morel mushrooms and cut them into rings. Heat 1tbs of oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and sauté the morel mushrooms with seasoning for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat then add the thyme leaves, sherry vinegar and the rest of the oil. Let the oil heat through with the heat of the pan then set aside for 20 minutes.

Watercress Emulsion

Place all the ingredients, apart from the oil for the watercress emulsion, in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the oil slowly while blending to form an emulsion.

Roasted Woodpigeon

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan, season the pigeons and colour them golden brown for one minute on each breast, then transfer the pigeons to a roasting tray and place them in the preheated oven for four minutes.

Let the pigeons rest for six minutes, remove the breast from the carcase and serve.

To serve

Place three pieces of the salt-baked beetroots on the plate and spoon the spelt salad in the centre. Drain the morel mushrooms and place them on the plate, drizzle the watercress emulsion and place one pigeon breast on top of the spelt salad. Garnish the plate with fresh rosemary flowers and sprigs of fresh watercress.

Serves 4

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Orange, Polenta and Wild Sumac Shortbread

Orange, Polenta and Wild Sumac Shortbread

Orange, Polenta and Wild Sumac Shortbread

Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy.

Add the polenta and cream the mixture for a further 1 minute.

Fold the flour and cornflour into the creamed butter mixture.

Transfer the dough onto clingfilm and form into a sausage shape about 3cm in diameter, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Unwrap the dough sausage, roll it in caster sugar and re-roll into its original shape and thickness. Refrigerate until hard, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut shortbread disks ½ cm thick slices, remove the clingfilm and roll each slice in more caster sugar, and place on baking tray, sprinkle sumac.

Bake for 12 minutes, dust with more sugar once it comes out of the oven.

Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack and chill.

Makes about 22 - 24 biscuits

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Asparagus Soup with Crisp Asparagus Rolls

Asparagus Soup with Crisp Asparagus Rolls

Asparagus Soup

Heat the butter in a large saucepan  and sauté the onions and potato with seasoning until transparent, use a lid to help the softening process and to prevent the onions and potatoes from colouring.

De-glaze the pan with the wine and cook until the wine becomes sticky and reduced.

Add the stock, bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, add the cream, bring the soup back to the simmer for 5 minutes and transfer the soup to a blender.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan  and sauté the asparagus for 3 – 4 minutes with seasoning to soften them slightly.

Add the sautéed asparagus to the soup base and blend until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and serve immediately.

Food Fanatics Tip:
This asparagus soup is equally delicious served either hot or cold. If you would like to serve the soup cold then it ‘s very important to chill the soup as quickly as possible as it will discolour and lose it’s bright green colour, place the soup in a container into ice water, this way it will cool quickly.

Crisp Asparagus Filo Rolls

Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Prepare the asparagus: cut them into 8cm long spears and use the remainder of the stalk in the soup.

Cut the filo pastry into 6cm x 12cm strips, lightly brush with melted butter sprinkle with the sumac and ras-el-hanout.

Place an asparagus spear on one end, leave the head exposed and roll each spear up in the lightly buttered filo pastry.

Do the same with the rest of the asparagus spears.

Bake them for 15 – 18 minutes until crisp, serve immediately with the hot asparagus soup.

Food Fanatics Tip:

These crisp asparagus filo rolls can be made up to two days in advance but do not bake them until needed. They are also delicious served either hot or cold.

To Serve:

Serve the hot soup in a bowl and garnish it with teaspoons full of fresh curd cheese, olive oil and fresh thyme leaves and serve the crisp asparagus filo rolls on the side.

Serves 4/6

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Saffron Orange Soused Mackerel Salad

Saffron Orange Soused Mackerel Salad

Saffron Orange Vinaigrette (use half for the fish and the rest for the salad)

Place all the ingredients into a small jar with a tight fitting screw lid and season the vinaigrette lightly, as the soy sauce is salty. Shake the jar vigerously, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Leave the vinaigrette to infuse whilst preparing the mackerel and salad.

Saffron Orange Soused Mackerel

Wash the mackerel fillets under cold running water and pat the fillets dry with kitchen paper. Cut each fillet of mackerel on an angle to create 3 even size diamond shapes. Score the skin of each diamond several times; do not cut all the way through to the flesh just the skin.

Food Fanatics Tip: This will prevent the fish from curling up and allows the fish to cook evenly.

Season the mackerel lightly. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan  and place the mackerel diamonds skin side down in the hot but not smoking pan. Press down, with two fingers, on top of each piece for a few seconds to prevent it from curling up. Sauté for two minutes until crisp and the skin is golden brown. Flip the fish over and turn the heat off and pour over half the marinade into the warm pan.

Immediately remove the fish and reduced sauce from the pan, leave to rest whilst plating up the salad.

Raw Fennel, Kohlrabi and Chicory salad

Wash the fennel bulb, remove the outer layer and use a sharp mandolin to finely shave the fennel into a large mixing bowl.

Peel the kohlrabi and finely slice using the mandolin, then finely julienne by using a sharp knife, add the julienned kohlrabi to the fennel.

Wash the chicory, remove the root end and separate the leaves, add the chicory to the fennel mixture, add the orange zest, orange segments and chopped dill and season to taste.

Add the other half of the saffron orange vinaigrette to taste when you are ready to serve.

To Serve

Place three neat piles of the salad on the plate, top each with a diamond of mackerel and garnish the salad with the tahoon or mustard cress and drizzle with the reduced marinade from the pan.

Serves 4

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Warm Treacle Cider Ham Hock Spring Barley Salad with Rumpy Rolls

Warm Treacle Cider Ham Hock Spring Barley Salad with Rumpy Rolls

Woodbridge Mill Wholemeal Rumpy Rolls

In a cup mix the yeast with 60ml of  water until it's dissolved, leave for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl mix the two flours and salt and make a well in the centre. Add the yeasty water together with the rest of the water, use a spatula or pallet knife to cut the water and yeast into the flour, mix until it all comes together and knead the dough for 8 minutes to form an elastic and smooth bread dough.

Food Fanatics Tip: please note that wholemeal flour absorbs more water than white flour so if the dough feels slightly dry add a bit more water.

Place the bread dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to proove until double in size.

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, use your fingers to spread the dough into a large rectangle and then fold the two long sides inwards to form a long narrow log. Cut the log into 50g balls and roll them into smooth bread rolls. Place the bread roll dough on a lined baking tray with about 6 cm gaps between each, cover the tray with a clean tea towel and leave the to proove until double in size.

Use a very sharp knife to cut marks in the top of each roll and lightly dust with wholemeal flour. Place the baking tray into the preheated oven, pour 150ml cold water on the floor of the oven and quickly close the door. Bake the rolls for 12 - 15 minutes, until cooked with a crisp crust.

Let the rolls cool on a cooling rack.

Makes 12/13 x 50g rolls

Warm Treacle Cider Ham Hock Spring Barley Salad

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion, celery and garlic until transparent and it starts to take on colour, add the pearl barley and cook for 2 minutes.

Deglaze with the beer and cook until the pearl barley absorbs the beer, add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Food Fanatics Tip: do not add salt at this stage as it will make the barley tough, add the seasoning towards the end of the cooking time. Gently simmer the barley for about 30 minutes, add light seasoning after the first 20 minutes. Stir occasionally,  and keep the pan covered with a lid at all other times.

While the barley is cooking cut the chorizo sausage in 1cm slices and pan-fry until cooked and golden brows, set aside.

Once the barley is cooked remove the lid increase the heat to a rapid boil, add the ham, peas, asparagus and broad beans and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes dryer and the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter, adjust the seasoning and add the lemon juice, zest and the chopped parsley. Stir in the cooked sliced chorizo sausage, serve the warm salad in a warm bowl, garnish the dish with fresh pea tops and serve with the warm freshly baked rumpy rolls.

Serves 6 as a starter portion or 3/4 for a main

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Richardson’s Smokehouse Smoked Mackerel Spring Salad with Ham Cakes and Dill Crème Fraiche

Richardson’s Smokehouse Smoked Mackerel Spring Salad with Ham Cakes and Dill Crème Fraiche

Smoked Ham and Rocket Cakes

Boil the potatoes in salted water, drain and mash.

Mix the mashed potatoes with the flaked smoked ham hock, finely sliced spring onions, egg yolk, chopped rocket, grain mustard and season to taste.

Shape 50g cakes 4cm round, the cakes will keep for up to two days in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

When you are ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large frying-pan.

Pan-fry the cakes until golden brown on both sides, place them in the preheated oven for 8 minutes to make sure that they are cooked all the way through and piping hot.

Dill Crème Fraiche

Mix all the ingredients, season to taste and leave to infuse and develop  flavours for 10 minutes.

Smoked Mackerel Spring Salad

First caramelize the lemon slices: Cut each lemon into three even thick slices. Heat a non-stick frying pan and caramelise the lemon slices, without any oil, until golden, transfer them to a plate.

For the Spring Salad: Mix the blanched asparagus spears, podded broad beans, sliced radishes and chosen salad or cress leaves with the oil and season to taste.

For the smoked mackerel: Remove the bones, head and fins and cut the mackerel into 6 even size pieces.

To Serve

Cook the smoked ham and rocket cakes and serve two cakes per plate, spoon the dill Crème fraiche into small dipping pots and place it next to the cakes. Divide the spring salad between the plates, place a piece of smoked mackerel next to the salad and place a caramelized lemon slice on the other side.

Serves 6

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Pan-Fried John Dory with Cockles, Samphire and Cockle Velouté

Pan-Fried John Dory with Cockles, Samphire and Cockle Velouté

Steamed Cockles

Soak the cockles in fresh cold water overnight and then wash them under running cold water for 20 minutes to wash away all the sand. If there are any open cockles, discard them immediately.

Drain the washed cockles in a colander. Peel and finely slice the banana shallots and add these together with the whole sprigs of parsley to the cockles.

Heat a large saucepan over high heat and, as it approaches "smoking hot", add the cockles, sliced shallots and parsley. Shake the pan, add the wine and fit a tight fitting lid. Keep the pan on the heat and give it a gentle shake. Steam the cockles for two minutes.

Once all the shells have opened, remove the pan from the heat and immediately transfer the cockles to a fine sieve, lined with muslin, placed over a bowl to collect the cooking juices.

Pick the cockle meat from the shells and return to the passed cooking juices, then chill.

Cockle Velouté

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter starts to foam, add the sliced shallots and crushed coriander seeds and sweat until transparent with no colour.

Add 150ml of the cockle wine cooking liquid and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the fish stock, bring the sauce to the boil and cook until reduced by half.

Add the cream, bring the sauce back to the boil and pass the velouté through a fine sieve into a small saucepan. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Chill and set aside until needed.

Gnocchi

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into large equal-size chunks. Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked, drain and transfer them to the lined baking tray.

Place the tray into the preheated oven and dry the potatoes out for 10 minutes. This is to remove any excess water. Push the dry, warm potatoes through a ricer into a large mixing bowl, add the egg, pasta flour and seasoning and mix it all together until the gnocchi dough forms.

Wrap the dough ball in clingflim and refrigerate for two hours.

Once rested, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, divide into four equal pieces and roll each piece into 2cm thick sausages. Use a sharp knife and cut 2cm wide gnocchi pillows. Sprinkle the semolina over a baking tray and place the gnocchi pillows on the tray.

In a large saucepan, bring the salted water to a rapid boil, add the gnocchi all at once, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and bring the water back to the boil.

Blanch the gnocchi for four minutes. Once they all float, they are ready to be transferred to ice water to chill them immediately.

Drain the gnocchi, toss them in a splash of olive oil and transfer them to a clean, dry tray. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Pan-fried John Dory

While sauteing the gnocchi and samphire, heat some oil in a second large frying pan. Season the John Dory fillets with the salt and place the fillets presentation side down into the hot pan and add the knobs of cold butter. Pan-fry for one-and-a-half minutes before flipping the fish over, then continue cooking for a further one-and-a-half minutes. Drain the fish fillets on kitchen paper.

Sautéd Samphire and Capers

Wash the samphire and remove any brown dried-out stalks.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a rapid boil and blanch the samphire for one minute, refresh and drain.

Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Once the butter starts to foam, add the gnocchi and sauté until golden brown all over - about four minutes. Add the drained samphire, cockles and capers, sauté for one minute and add seasoning, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and the parsley. It's ready to serve.

To serve

Bring the sauce back to the boil. On warm serving plates, spoon the samphire mixture, place a piece of pan-fried John Dory on top followed by more cockles and samphire. Froth the sauce using a hand-held blender and spoon the foaming sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Carpaccio of Suffolk Cod with Shallot, Ginger and Soy Vinaigrette

Carpaccio of Suffolk Cod with Shallot, Ginger and Soy Vinaigrette

Soy and Shallot Vinaigrette

Using a jar with a tight fitting screw top lid place all the ingredients in the jar, do not season, remember that soy sauce is salty, shake the jar vigorously, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Set aside and let the vinaigrette infuse for 1 hour before using.

Food Fanatics Tip

This vinaigrette is at it's best after a day or two as the flavours will develop. If you have leftovers of the vinaigrette stir it into a beef stir-fry with udon noodles, it makes a delicious stir-fry sauce. The vinaigrette will keep for up to 10 days refrigerated and works very well with various ingredients. These include  carpaccio of beef, raw wafer thin slithers of beef or tossed into a salad of char-grilled chicken breast, finely sliced pak-choy, sauteed shiitake mushrooms and bean shoots.

Fresh Cod Carpaccio

Place 4 serving plates in the fridge to ensure that they are very cold.

Slice the fresh raw cod into wafer thin slices using a sharp knife.

Place the wafer thin slices of cod on the chilled plate leaving 2-4 mm spaces between each slice for the marinade. I normally serve 60 - 80g of raw cod per portion for a starter.

Carefully brush a drop of the oil over the fish and season with the Maldon sea salt.

Stir the vinaigrette and use a teaspoon to spoon the vinaigrette around the cod on the plate. Garnish the cod with a scattering of freshly grated lemon zest, a sprinkle of wild sumac and a scattering of mustard cress.

Serve immediately with freshly baked rye or sour dough bread.

Serves 4

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A Macaron Frenzy

A Macaron Frenzy

Macaron Recipe

Preheat the oven to 150 °C.

Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar, discard the impurities and hard lumps.

In a clean and grease free mixing bowl whisk the egg white until it starts to aerate and lightly foam, add the caster sugar and continue whipping until a soft peak meringue forms.

Add food colouring of your choice (optional) and the sifted almonds to the meringue and mix lightly until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, I prefer using disposable piping bags however any type will be appropriate.

Cut a 1cm gap at the point of the piping bag.

Line two large baking trays with parchment paper, spread a dash of the mixture underneath the paper to stick it to the tray.

Pipe 2cm macaron droplets evenly sized and  spread with a 3cm gap between each.

Leave the macarons to form a skin, about 10 - 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on your chosen garnish, optional.

Bake the macarons for 12 - 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring  to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Dust each half macaron with edible glitter, optional.

Loosen the macarons carefully from the baking paper, pair them up in lines with  one half turned over so that the flat side points up.

Pipe the filling of your choice on the flat side of one half and then sandwich the two halves together.

Keep them in a airtight container for up to 5 days.

Macaron Flavourings and Fillings

Wasabi and White Chocolate Butter Cream

Cream the butter and icing sugar till pale in colour and fluffy.

Melt the white chocolate, cool and gently fold the cooled  chocolate and wasabi paste into the butter cream.

Transfer the butter cream to a piping bag and if its too soft , refrigerate to become firmer, about 30 minutes.Alternatively if it's the right spreadable consistency leave at room temperature until needed.

Makes approximately 60 finished macarons

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Baked Potato and Leek Soup With Roasted Chicken Cigarillos

Baked Potato and Leek Soup With Roasted Chicken Cigarillos

Baked Potato and Leek Soup

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Wash the potatoes, pierce them all over with a fork and rub the olive oil with seasoning over the potatoes. Place them on a roasting tray and roast them in the preheated oven for 1 hour, turning them once during the cooking time. Once cooked let them cool for 10 minutes, cut the baked potatoes in half, use a spoon to scoop the cooked potato flesh from the skins.

Rip the skin into pieces, place them on the oily roasting tray, turn the oven off and place the tray in the hot oven, they will become roasted and crisp.

Cut the leeks in 1cm rings, wash and drain.

Heat a large saucepan with the butter and saute the leeks, seasoned with salt and pepper, until the leeks starts to take on colour.

Add the cooked potato and stock to the sauteed leeks, bring the soup to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the soup for 10 minutes, add the cream and blend the soup until smooth. It's optional to pass the soup through a fine sieve.

Return the soup to the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Leek Garnish

Slice the leek into 1cm thick rings, wash and drain, try and keep them in one piece.

Heat a frying pan with the butter and oil, saute the leeks with seasoning until golden brown on both sides. Be gentle to prevent them from falling apart. Once golden on both sides add the water and bring the water to the boil, cook until the water has evaporated and the leeks are cooked.

Set aside until serving.

Roasted Chicken Cigarillos

Preheat the oven to 180 °C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Heat a frying pan with the butter and saute the sliced leeks with seasoning until soft.

In a mixing bowl mix the flaked roasted chicken leg meat, cooked leeks, 1 tbs chopped chives.

Cut the filo sheets in half and melt the 40g butter.

Brush each filo sheet lightly with butter and divide the chicken meat between the 8 pieces of filo pastry, scatter the remaining chopped chives and roll each cigarillo up tightly.

Place the cigarillos on the baking tray, brush each with more melted butter and bake them in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Serve the hot soup with the sauteed leeks, crispy potato skins and chicken cigarillos.

Serves 4

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Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns

Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns

Sweet Dough

In a small saucepan melt the butter, turn the heat off and add the milk to the saucepan, let the milk warm through to blood temperature.

In a food processor blend half the flour, yeast and vegetable suet until the suet is completely broken down as fine as the flour. I used my thermomix and blended it on speed 10 for 20 seconds, but any blender will do. I found that the suet does not completely break down if you do not do this.

Transfer the flour, suet and yeast mix to the bowl of a mixer, add the rest of the flour, salt and sugar, attach the dough hook and turn the machine on to run at a low speed.

Add the warm milk and butter mixture and mix until a dough forms, add the egg and knead the dough for 6 minutes. The dough will be very soft and you might think it's too wet but it's perfectly fine, do not add extra flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and work the dough into a ball with a smooth top. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel or clingfilm, leave the dough to prove until double in size. Mine took 1 1/2 hours today (in the summer it should prove slightly faster).

While the dough is proving make the filling and continue following the method below.

Sultana and Cinnamon Filling

Cream the sugar, cinnamon and butter, if the butter is hard, soften  for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Soak the sultanas in boiling hot water for 10 minutes, drain and squeeze to remove the excess water.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, use your fingers to spread the dough evenly into a rectangular shape. You could use a rolling pin if preferred, I do not like using the rolling pin as it compresses the dough and it looses it's lightness and puffiness.

Spread the softened cinnamon filling over the rectangular dough, scatter the drained soaked sultanas and grate over the zest of one orange.

Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll, dip a serrated knife into flour and cut through the sausage into 9 pieces.

Place the buns cut side flat onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave to prove until double in size.

Preheat the oven to  200 °C while the buns are proving for the second time, this should take about 20 - 30 minutes.

Bake the buns for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, if they turn dark brown before the time is up place a piece of foil over the top to prevent the buns from turning too dark.

While the buns are baking make the orange blossom honey glaze.

Orange Blossom Honey Glaze

Measure all the ingredients into a small saucepan.

Over low heat melt the marmalade and honey and bring the juice to a gentle simmer until reduced by half. The glaze will become shiny and sticky, do not reduce it too far as it should still be of pouring consistency.

Once the buns are cooked let them cool for 10 minutes, use a knife to loosen them by their joints to form gaps for the glaze to run into. Bring the glaze back to boiling point and pour the hot glaze over the buns.

Let the buns cool completely.

Serves 9

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Woodpigeon Pastrami with Fresh Radishes and Watercress on Sour Dough Bread

Woodpigeon Pastrami with Fresh Radishes and Watercress on Sour Dough Bread

For the pigeon pastrami

For the smoking

First cure the pigeon breast and legs. To do this make a curing spice mix by grinding together the curing spices, salt, garlic, thyme and sugar. Remove the pigeon breast and legs from the carcass. Rub the curing spice mix into the breast and legs. Vacuum-pack the breast and legs with the spice mix and leave to cure for eight hours.

Wash the cured pigeon legs and breast and pat dry using kitchen paper. Crush the pink peppercorns and cover the pigeon breast and legs.

Once you are ready to smoke the pigeon, make a smoker using a deep oven tray, metal cooling rack and tin foil. Line the baking tray with a layer of the foil, spread the dry rice, sprigs of thyme and juniper berries and position the cooling rack over the rice mixture. Place the pigeon breast and legs skin-side down on to the cooling rack. Place the tray over heat and start the smoking process. Cover the rack with foil and, once the rice starts to smoke, turn the heat off and leave the pigeon breast to smoke for six minutes and the legs for 12 minutes.

For the pickled red cabbage

Using a pestle and mortar, finely grind the spices for the pickled cabbage, add the salt and garlic and grind until a smooth paste.

Transfer the finely sliced cabbage, ground spices and both vinegars to a bag, vacuum-pack tightly and refrigerate for 12 hours.

The cabbage pickle is now ready to be used.

To serve

Smoke the pigeon pastrami breast and legs. Drain the pickled cabbage. Toast the sourdough bread in a griddle pan.

Place the warm toasted bread on a serving plate, spoon on 50g of the pickled cabbage, slice the smoked pigeon breast and set out on top.

Complete with an arrangement of the sliced cornichons, radishes, watercress and mustard cress. Skewer one pigeon's leg with two halves of caper berries and serve it on the same plate.

Serves 4

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Dukkah Dusted Lamb Cutlets with Quinoa and Aubergine Salad

Dukkah Dusted Lamb Cutlets with Quinoa and Aubergine Salad

Dukkah Spice and Nut Blend

In a pestle and mortar crush the cloves, fennel, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, turmeric and dried chillies to a powder.

Add the hazelnuts, pistachio nuts and sesame seeds, mix lightly and the dukkah spice and nut blend is ready to be used.

Store the mixture in a airtight container until needed.

Dukkah Crusted Lamb Cutlets

In a small mixing bowl mix the dukkah spice and nut blend with the oil, honey, lemon juice and zest.

Season the lamb cutlets with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, dip each cutlet into the dukkah mixture, rub the mix in, coating both sides.

Let the cutlets marinade for 10 minutes.

Heat a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan, cook the cutlets 3 minutes on each side, leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Quinoa and Grilled Aubergine Salad

First cook the Quinoa: Use a medium size saucepan. put in the quinoa, turmeric, salt and pepper  and cover with twice as much cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the quinoa is  tender to the bite (almost like pasta, al-dente and not completely pappy). Once cooked, drain the quinoa using a sieve (a colander's holes are too big and it will all wash away) refresh under cold running water and drain.

Make a vinaigrette: Measure the honey, olive oil and pomegranate and orange blossom vinegar into a mixing bowl and whisk, season to taste.

Griddle the Aubergines: Heat a griddle pan. Wash and cut the aubergine in 1/2 cm thick rounds. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper on both sides. Griddle the aubergines on the hot griddle pan, do not add any oil, cook for approximately 2 minutes on either sides, you are looking for dark griddle marks. Place the hot aubergines in a tray and pour the vinaigrette over, leave to soak and absorb the vinaigrette for 20 minutes, turn them over after 10 minutes.

Finish the quinoa salad: Mix the drained quiona, cooked and sliced green beans, chopped herbs, drained soaked golden sultanas together, season to taste and then drizzle the vinaigrette from the tray over to bind it all together, add further vinaigrette to taste.

Saffron Yoghurt

In a small mixing bowl mix together the yoghurt, saffron, lemon juice and zest, season to taste and leave the mixture to infuse for 20 minutes before serving.

To Serve:

Arrange the quinoa and aubergine salad on a serving platter, place the cooked and rested lamb cutlets on the opposite side and spoon the saffron yoghurt into a small dipping pot and serve.

Serves 2

Food Fanatics Tips

The dukkah spice and nut blend is a great store cupboard ingredient. You can purchase ready made blends and some may not contain  nuts. I made my own and incorporate ingredients that I like and store it in a small spice pot amongst the rest of my spices. It's a lovely touch to add to Persian or Moroccan styles of cooking. To transform ordinary steamed rice add a few teaspoons full of the dukkah spice and nut blend, toss and serve.

This blend is also delicious with chicken, quails or white fish such as monkfish, turbot, brill, cod, haddock and or halibut.

With the summer and BBQ season approaching make super yummy chicken skewers as follows: Cut deboned chicken thigh meat into large even size pieces (I cut deboned thighs in half, leave the skin on for extra flavour) make the marinade as per the recipe above for the lamb cutlets (remember to double the quantities for a large amount of chicken), leave to marinade over night and the following day I skewer the diced chicken onto metal skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer and cook them over a hot BBQ. It's delicious served with a yoghurt based sauce such as the saffron yoghurt or even plain yoghurt mixed with seasoning and chopped mint, delicious!

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Peanut Honeycomb Baked Mascarpone Cheesecake

Peanut Honeycomb Baked Mascarpone Cheesecake

Cheesecake Biscuit Base

Place the biscuits in a clean polythene bag, use a rolling pin to crush them into even size pieces, but avoid making fine crumbs.

Transfer the crushed biscuits to a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and marmalade, mix well.

Line a 22cm spring form cake tin with four layers of cling film or parchment paper. (The cling film works well as it does not melt if you use this number of  layers).

Press the biscuit base into the tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Mascarpone and Crème Fraîche Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to  140°C.

Whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes creamy and slightly aerated.

In a separate bowl cream the mascarpone, crème fraîche and lemon juice until smooth and fold  into the egg mixture.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared cake tin.

Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 1hour 20 minutes, give the tin a tap and if the mix  wobbles more than once it requires further cooking. TOP TIP: Once the mixture passes the  'wobble' test, then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool down. This is a very important tip as it will prevent the cheesecake from cracking.

Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, remove the spring form and transfer the cake to a serving plate. Melt the chocolate over a Bain-Marie. Break the honeycomb into small pieces and scatter over the cheesecake.  Drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the cheesecake and dust with icing sugar for added deliciousness.

Peanut Honeycomb

Scatter the salted peanuts over a parchment lined baking tray and set aside.

Weigh the sugar and golden syrup into a medium size saucepan, over low heat melt the sugar, do not stir, just jiggle the pan, once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and let the caramel boil until a deep caramel colour, not too dark as it will taste burned.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda, stir quickly as the caramel will bubble vigorously and expand, quickly pour the frothing mass over the salted peanuts and leave to cool completely.

Very Important Safety Tips

It's very important to remember that caramel can cause serious and very painful burns please take extra care when making this recipe. Make sure you have a pot stand ready to rest the hot pan on, use a wooden or heat resistant plastic spoon as metal conducts heat and can cause injury.

Serves 12

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Keralan Style Cod Loin En-Papillote with Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw

Keralan Style Cod Loin En-Papillote with Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw

Keralan Cod En-Papillote

For the marinade:

First make the marinade by placing the ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste.

Rub the marinade over the two cod loins, fold the thin tail end of each cod  underneath the loin( this will ensure that the fish cooks evenly).

Refrigerate to let the fish absorb the marinade and infuse for 20 minutes.

For the En-Papillote:

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Heat 1tbs of sunflower oil  in a non stick frying pan and colour the cod presentation side  first for 2 minutes to give it a lovely caramelised colour. Once browned immediately transfer the fish to the parchment paper. Cut 2 x large pieces of parchment paper measuring 60cm x 40cm. Place one piece of fish in the center browned side up, one piece per paper. Fold the two ends of the paper together to close the opening and then tuck the other two sides underneath to close the parcel. Transfer the parcels to a baking tray and bake the cod in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 2 minutes. Open the paper and serve the cod on the Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw.

Food Fanatics Tips

For the BBQ: This dish is perfect to be cooked on the BBQ however use foil instead of parchment paper. Remember to lightly grease the foil with sunflower oil. Place the foil shiny side up, grease the shiny side and follow the rest of the instructions for the fish as above. Close the parcel by folding the edges together and place the cod parcel over cool coals on the BBQ. I would recommend cooking the cod right at the end just before serving, cook for 10 minutes on the BBQ, leave the cod loin to rest for 2 minutes before opening the foil parcels and serve.

Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw

First make the  vinaigrette by mixing the oil, honey and limejuice together and season to taste.

In a large mixing bowl add the sliced fennel, bean shoots, shredded bok choi, sliced green beans, lime segments, coriander leaves, shaved coconut, sliced spring onions, coriander cress and toasted almonds, add the vinaigrette and give the salad a good mixing.

Serve immediately with the Keralan Cod.

(Serves 4 - 6)

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Oyster Beignets With a Sorrel Velouté

Oyster Beignets With a Sorrel Velouté

Sorrel velouté

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sweat the diced shallots with seasoning until they turn transparent. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and reduce by half.

Add the stock and bring to the boil and again reduce by half. Add the cream, bring the velouté back to the boil, adjust the seasoning if needed and add the lemon juice to taste.

Pour the velouté into a blender, add the sorrel and blend until smooth. Pour into a cream whipper. Secure the lid and charge with two gas charges. Shake the cream whipper vigorously and chill.

Oyster beignets

Mix the flour, cornflour, salt, egg yolk and sparkling water into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage . Fold the egg whites into the beignet batter and leave to settle for five minutes.

Shuck the oysters, wash the shells and oysters in cold water, rinse and drain them on kitchen paper.

Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, dip the oysters in the batter and fry them for about one minute until golden brown all over. Cooking time will be dependent on the size of the oyster. Drain the oysters on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve.

Pickled cucumber

Wash and peel the cucumber, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Finely dice the cucumber in 2-3mm brunoise, add the vinegar sugar and salt and leave to macerate for 10 minutes. Drain the cucumber on kitchen paper.

To serve

Spoon the drained pickled cucumber into the shells. Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the sauce into a small bowl and then spoon the foaming sauce over the cucumber. Place a crispy golden oyster beignet in each shell and garnish with edible dried wild flowers and coriander cress.

(Serves 8)

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How To Use Agar Agar

How To Use Agar Agar

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Pistachio and Walnut Baklava with Rhubarb and Rose Delights

Pistachio and Walnut Baklava with Rhubarb and Rose Delights

Rhubarb and Rose Delights

Wash the rhubarb and chop it, with skin and all, into small pieces.

Put the water, sugar,rhubarb and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over a low heat.

Once the sugar has dissolved increase the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Leave the rhubarb juice to infuse for 10 minutes. Pass the rhubarb and keep the pulp for the rhubarb and apple puree.

Line a 22cm x 15cm tray with clingfilm and set aside.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water, once they have bloomed squeeze to remove the excess water.

Weigh 450ml of the bright pink rhubarb juice into a medium non-stick saucepan, add the soaked squeezed gelatine leaves and the dissolved corn flour water, bring the juice to a rolling boil for 12 – 14 minutes, approximately 112°C, stir continuously to prevent the mixture from catching and burning.

Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and leave to cool at room temperature for about 12 hours, do not refrigerate.

Once the jellies are set, cut them into the desired shapes and roll them in a mixture of 1 part corn flour and 2 parts icing sugar.

Keep the jellies in an airtight container in a cool well-ventilated room, do not refrigerate.

Rhubarb and Apple Puree

Peel and chop the apples, place these and the water into a small saucepan and bring it to the boil, cook for 5 minutes until the apples are soft

Blend the rhubarb puree, cooked apples and water till smooth, pass the puree through a fine sieve, chill.

Pistachio and Walnut Baklava

Syrup:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Weight the nuts, cinnamon and sugar into a food processor and pulse blitz till the nuts are all the same size, not powdered but a coarse crumb texture.

Melt the butter and cut the filo pastry sheets in half to measure 20cm x 30 cm sheets. Start assembling the baklava in a tray measuring 3.5cm high x 32cm x 22cm. Brush each sheet with the melted butter and lay 10 sheets with butter at the base of the tray, divide the nuts and sugar mixture in half, spread one half over the filo. For the next layer brush another 10 filo sheets  with melted butter, press down onto the bottom layer and place the last half of the nut and sugar mixture on top. Finish the baklava  with 12 layers of filo pastry, each sheet brushed with melted butter.

Use a sharp pairing knife and a ruler, to measure, cut through the first 12 layers and make 24 pieces, measuring 2.5cm wide x 10cm long . Bake the baklava for 45 minutes.

While the baklava is baking make the syrup.

Bring all the ingredients for the syrup to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the syrup is of coating consistency. Pass the syrup through a fine sieve.

Once the baklava is cooked remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes then cut the baklava all the way through to the base of the tray. Then ladle the hot syrup over the hot baklava. It will take a bit of time to absorb all the syrup keep adding a ladle at a time.

Leave the baklava to cool and rest over night, for a minimum of 12 hours.

Assembly of the dish

Place a piece of baklava onto a serving plate, spoon two teardrops of the rhubarb and apple sauce onto the plate, cut the rhubarb and rose delights into desired shapes and dust them in a mixture of corn flour and icing sugar, arrange them on the plate.  Garnish the plate with chopped pistachios and tiny sprigs of coriander cress. The combination of coriander and rhubarb works incredibly well.

Serves 24

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Hot Cross Buns, Cardamom and Golden Sultana

Hot Cross Buns, Cardamom and Golden Sultana

Dough

Measure the milk and crushed cardamom pods into a small saucepan, bring the milk to boiling point, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Pass the milk through a fine sieve, return the milk to the saucepan add the sultanas and return the saucepan to the heat, bring the milk to boiling point, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer weigh both flours, sugar,  pinch of salt, yeast, mixed spice and ground cinnamon and rub the yeast into the flour with your finger tips or with the dough hook attachment of the mixer.

Add the melted unsalted butter and egg, mix whilst the machine is on the lowest speed slowly add the infused milk and sultanas, continue until the mix forms a dough. Knead the dough for 8 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth dough ball, transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a dry clean tea towel and leave to prove until double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 23cm square cake tin or two 1lb loaf tins. As I only had one large  and one small loaf tins,  I baked 8 in one and 4 in the other.

Once the dough has doubled in size, gently turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into 12 even size balls.

Roll each ball till smooth and place the ball into the greased baking trays. Cover with clean dry tea towels and leave to prove until double in size.

Make the cross paste...

Cross Paste

Mix the flour and water till a smooth paste and transfer to a piping bag, pipe thin lines of crosses on top of each bun.

Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 30 -35 minutes.

Let them cool in the tray for a few minutes, turn them out and leave to cool on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Return the buns to the baking trays to apply the glaze.

Glaze

Weigh the honey, water, crushed cardamom pod and juice of 1/2 lemon into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, simmer for one minute.

Add the soaked gelatine leaf, stir and leave to infuse for 15 minutes whilst the buns are baking. Pass the glaze through a fine sieve and let the mixture cool until just before the gelatine sets, it must still be pourable.

Brush the glaze over the cooled buns and garnish with the chopped pistachio nuts. Let the glaze set and serve.

Makes 12 large hot cross buns

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Venison Haunch Steak with Spelt Grain and Red Wine Sauce

Venison Haunch Steak with Spelt Grain and Red Wine Sauce

Venison Haunch Steak with Spelt Grain

First make the sauce as it takes the longest, you can make the sauce a day in advance, keep refrigerated until needed.

Cooking the Spelt: Use a medium size saucepan and add 3 times the amount of water to spelt grain, bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the spelt is tender, add a teaspoon of salt right at the end of the cooking time. The spelt takes about 10 minutes to cook, drain using a colander.

Chef's Tip: Adding the salt at the end of the cooking time for grains and pulses is to prevent the grains from becoming  tough(on the outside) and chewy. This method only applies to grains and pulses.

Carrot Crisps: Peel the carrot and use a vegetable peeler to create long carrot peelings, heat a deep fat fryer to 160°C and fry the carrot crisps until crisp, drain on kitchen paper and season with salt once cooked. Set the crisps aside until needed.

Sauteed Leeks: Wash and cut the leeks into 1cm rings, heat a non-stick frying pan with half the butter and saute the leeks until golden on both sides, season with salt and pepper and set aside until needed.

To cook the venison steaks: Heat a large frying pan with the oil, season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides, place the steaks into the hot pan and do not touch the steak for 2 minutes. After about 1 minute place three finger- nail size knobs of cold unsalted butter into the pan. After the 2 minutes cooking time turn the steak over, cook it on the other side for another 2 minutes, again add 3 small knobs of cold unsalted butter half way through the cooking. Transfer the steaks to a tray lined with kitchen paper and leave to rest for 4 minutes.

Chef's Tip: The normal rule of thumb is that you should rest the meat for the same time as it took to cook.

While the steaks are resting bring the sauce to the boil, add the cooked drained spelt and the chopped thyme, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Carve the steaks into 1cm thick slices and serve on top of the hot spelt, sauce and leeks.Garnish the dish with the carrot crisps and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Red Wine Sauce

Prepare the vegetables by peeling and washing all the vegetables. Cut them all  the same sizes about 2cm pieces and just crush the garlic with the heel of your hand.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan  and saute all the vegetables, coriander seeds, juniper berries and cloves until golden brown, this should take about 10 minutes. Do not burn the vegetables. The idea is to caramelize the vegetables and bring out the natural sweetness.

Add the tomato puree and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, stir regularly to prevent the puree from burning. Do not be tempted to add extra oil as it will make the sauce greasy.

Add the red currant jelly, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary and deglaze the pan with the wine, turn the heat up and cook until the wine reduced by half.

Add the stock, bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, do not boil the sauce too fast and do not cover the pan with a lid. Gently simmer for 20 minutes, removing the impurities with a ladle.

Pass the sauce through a fine sieve, discard  the solids and return the sauce to a clean saucepan.

Reduce the sauce until it has a coating consistency.

Set the sauce aside until needed.

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Venison Casserole with Cheddar Chive Dumplings

Venison Casserole with Cheddar Chive Dumplings

Venison Casserole

If you buy the venison already diced, remove it from the packet and pat dry using kitchen paper.

Prepare the vegetables, wash , cut and set aside.

Place the flour in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper . Add the diced venison, toss to cover the meat in the flour.

Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish and saute the venison until golden brown all over, remove and set aside.

Return the casserole dish to the heat and saute the carrots, shallots and celery in the remaining oil until golden brown. Add the venison, crushed coriander, cloves and the remaining flour left over from dusting the venison, saute for about 4 minutes.

Deglaze the casserole dish with the red wine and cook until the wine becomes thick and sticky, add the stock.

Cover the casserole dish with a lid and bring the casserole to a gentle simmer, add the bay leaf and rosemary, stir and cook the casserole over very low heat for 35 - 40 minutes.

Food Fanatics Tip

It's very important not to cook the casserole over a high heat, it must just about tick over as venison is very lean, contains hardly any fat and will become leathery and dry very quickly. You almost poach the venison in the sauce. By covering the meat in flour before browning protects the lean fat free meat, if you do not do that the meat can also become dry and very chewy.

Cheddar and Chive Dumplings

While the casserole is cooking make the dumplings and cook them in a separate pan in boiling chicken or beef stock.

Weigh the flour, suet, chopped chives, grated cheddar cheese, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl, mix well.

Add the ice cold water and mix quickly, do not knead the dough as it will become heavy and claggy.

Form 8 even size dumpling balls.

Bring the stock to a gentle simmer, place the dumplings in the simmering stock and cook them for 15 -20 minutes without a lid.

Once the casserole and dumplings are cooked, carefully transfer the dumplings to the casserole dish, bring it back to the simmer for 5 minutes and serve the casserole piping hot.

Serves 4

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Venison Shank and Chestnut Mushroom Suet Pudding

Venison Shank and Chestnut Mushroom Suet Pudding

Venison and Mushroom Filling and Sauce

Preheat the oven to  160°C.

Pat the venison shank dry with kitchen paper, season the flour with salt and pepper and coat the  shank in the flour.

Wash and cut the leek, onion, celery and carrots all the same size, drain well.

Heat the oil in a large oven safe casserole dish  and saute the shank until golden brown all over, remove from the casserole dish, set aside and return the casserole dish to the heat.

Saute the carrot, onion, leek and celery until golden brown, add the tomato puree, the remaining flour left over from the dusting, sugar, crushed coriander and juniper berries. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat, deglaze the dish with the port wine and cook until the Port is absorbed by the vegetables and becomes thick and sticky, return the venison shank to the dish.

Add the stock, rosemary and bay leaf, cover the dish with a lid and bring the stock to the boil.

Place the casserole dish covered with a lid in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Remove the meat, set aside and pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.

Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and reduce until thick and coating, reduce by half the original measure.

Remove the bone and sinew and flake the cooked venison meat.

Heat a medium frying pan with the butter and saute the chestnut mushroom quarters seasoned with salt and pepper until golden brown. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a large mixing bowl.

Add the flaked venison shank about (350g) , 200ml of  the reduced sauce , the chopped parsley and chives, mix well. Set aside to cool while lining the pie dishes.

Add the sherry vinegar to the rest of the sauce and set aside to serve with the steamed suet puddings.

Suet pastry

Weigh the flour and suet into a large mixing bowl, add seasoning and mix well.

Add a tablespoon of ice cold water at a time and mix until the pastry forms an easy to handle dough, I started with 6 tbs of ice cold water and then added a bit at a time until it was easy to handle. Do not over work the mixture as your pastry will be heavy and claggy, work quickly with light fingers.

If you prefer use a mixer; take extra care not to over work the suet pastry.

Once the pastry comes together and forms a ball, wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Lightly grease  6 - 5cm high x 7.5cm wide pudding basins with sunflower oil.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry 3 - 4mm thick and line the pudding basins with the suet pastry.

Fill each dish with 110g of well mixed pie filling, divide the liquid evenly between the puddings, dampen the rim with cold water and cover each pudding with a suet pastry lid, crimp and make a large steam hole in the center of the lid with a metal skewer.

Steam the puddings for 1 hour, turn the puddings out onto warm serving plates.

How to steam: I used the thermomix to steam these puddings. Fill the jug with 1L of water, secure the lid and place the steamer basket on top, place the puddings inside and cover with he lid. Set the timer for 60 minutes at Veroma, speed 3. If you do not have  a thermomix then use a saucepan with a steamer compartment, half fill the pan with water, place the puddings in the steamer compartment and place a lid on top, bring the water to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and steam the puddings for 1 hour.

Bring the sauce back to the boil and spoon a generous amount of sauce over each pudding, serve with cooked green beans.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

If you like kidneys: dice two venison kidneys into 2cm pieces and saute them at the same time as the mushrooms, for about 3 minutes. Do not over cook the kidney as it goes rubbery, drain the mixture in a colander and add the sauteed  kidneys and mushrooms to the cooked venison shank mixture.

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Molasses Roasted Pineapple with Dark Brown Sugar

Molasses Roasted Pineapple with Dark Brown Sugar

Dark Brown Sugar Espuma

Soak the gelatine in cold water till it has bloomed.

In a small saucepan heat the milk and sugar over low heat till the sugar has dissolved, once the sugar is melted turn the heat up and boil for 1 minute.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, squeeze the gelatine to remove the excess water and add to the warm mixture, mix well.

Pass the mix through a fine sieve and pour it into a cream whipper, charge with two gas pellets, shake vigorously and refrigerate for 4 hours so that the mixture thickens.

To use, shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the espuma into the glass.

If the mixture has set solidly then hold the cream whipper under a tap of warm running water to loosen the mixture inside, shake and use.

Molasses Roasted Pineapple

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare the pineapple: Cut the pineapple in 1/4's, remove the skin, core and eyes and weigh 500g of prepared pineapple 1/4's into a bowl.

Crumb the molasses sugar and ground ginger over the pineapple and use your hands to rub the sugar into the pineapple.

Transfer the prepared pineapple to a lined baking tray and roast it in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, glaze it twice during the roasting time by spooning the melted sugar back over the pineapple.

Let the pineapple cool for 5 minutes and then shred it using two forks.

Transfer the shredded pineapple to a sieve and leave to cool and drain.

Salted Peanut Brittle Biscuits

In a food processor or thermomix grind the flour, bicarbonate of soda, peanuts and the vanilla seeds till it represents coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the butter, egg and peanut butter and blend until the mixture becomes a paste.

Turn the biscuit dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and push it all together, do not knead the the dough. Divide the mixture in two and roll each into a sausage about 5cm in diameter and wrap it tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate over night. It's very important that the mixture rests well, if not the biscuits will bake unevenly and spread a lot  with the potential for the edges to burn. I made this mistake once as I was in a rush  but learnt my lesson and using the proper resting time  I made the most delicious and beautiful biscuits.

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking trays with either parchment paper or silpats.

Remove the clingfilm from the well rested biscuit dough sausages and slice them into 1/2 cm thick rings, place  on the baking trays, leave plenty of room for them to spread. Bake the biscuits for 12 - 14 minutes. Once baked let them rest on the  tray for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat the process and bake the rest of the biscuits.

Assembly

Spoon the chilled, shredded and molasses roasted pineapple into the bottom of 6 serving glasses, divide the yoghurt between the glasses.

Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the brown sugar espuma on top.

Crush one biscuit and sprinkle the crumbs on top for garnish and serve the glasses with 4 biscuits per glass.

Serves 6

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How To Use Gelatine

How To Use Gelatine

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Goose Egg on Springstep Dairy Smoked Goats Cheese Potato Rosti

Goose Egg on Springstep Dairy Smoked Goats Cheese Potato Rosti

Potato and Smoked Goats Cheese Rosti

For the Rosti:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the 30g of butter in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the onions with seasoning until golden brown and completely transparent and cooked.

Tip: Once the onions starts to take on colour cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat so that they "steam-fry" this will ensure soft golden brown onions with a sweet caramelized flavour.

Melt the remaining 70g of butter and add to the grated potatoes and  season.

Add the caramelized onions (Keep 2tbs of cooked onions aside for garnishing the plate), chives, spring onions, 40g of the shredded spinach, 40g of the crumbed smoked goats cheese and hens eggs to the potatoes, mix well.

Heat some olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Ladle in 110g of the mixture to form individual portions, push the mixture out to the required size (about 10cm in diameter),   cook on both sides until lightly coloured, repeat until all the mix is used.

Place the rostis on a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.

Makes 6 x 110g rostis, about 10cm wide

To serve:

Fry the goose eggs in the remaining oil, season the eggs with the truffle salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Divide the remaining spinach amongst 6 warm plates, place a cooked rosti on top and place the fried egg on top of the rosti. Garnish the plate with the left over crumbed smoked goats cheese and cress.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

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Rhubarb and Custard Pie Pudding

Rhubarb and Custard Pie Pudding

Rum Crust

The pastry requires a minimum of  2 hours resting and my suggestion would be to make the pastry the day in advance, leave it to rest in the fridge and make the rest of the pudding the following day.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg  and rum and cream  to incorporate.

Sift the flour, baking powder and ground almonds over the creamed butter mixture and fold it in. Turn the pastry out onto a sheet of clingfilm, bring the pastry together but do not knead it. Cover the pastry tightly and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Thermomix Method: Using the built in weighing scales weigh the sugar directly into the TM bowl, secure the lid and grind the sugar for 10 seconds on speed 10. Add the butter, cream for 30 seconds on speed 8, scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk. Cream the butter and sugar for 1 minute at speed 4, scrape the sides down and repeat the process until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the egg and rum and cream for 30 seconds on speed 4. Sift the flour, baking powder and almonds into a separate bowl and add it to the creamed butter mixture. With the butterfly whisk still attached, fold the flour in for 10 seconds on speed 2. Scrape the sides down and repeat it for the second time, once the flour is incorporated stop and do not beat the pastry too much. Turn the pastry out, press it together and cover tightly with cling film, refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Poached Rhubarb

Wash the rhubarb and cut into 2cm pieces.

Pour the water, sugar and the vanilla seeds  into a medium saucepan, heat over low heat until the sugar has dissolved,then turn the heat up until the syrup boils rapidly for 1 minute.

Add the rhubarb cover the pan with a lid and poach the rhubarb for 5 minutes. Do not over cook the rhubarb as it will collapse and loose it's shape, it is better if the rhubarb is still crunchy at this stage.

Drain the rhubarb in a fine sieve, retain the syrup.

Spread the rhubarb in the base of the chosen oven dish, 24cm square or round is suitable.

Pastry Cream

Rinse a medium saucepan with cold water drain but do not dry the pan, add the milk and vanilla seeds and heat over medium heat until the milk starts to boil.

In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, sugar and corn flour until it forms a smooth paste .

Add half of the hot milk to the egg mixture, mixing very well. Return the custard to the warm milk and over a low heat, cook for 5 minutes,  stirring continuously until thickened. Sir in the rum.

Thermomix Method: Using the built in weighing scales weigh all the ingredients apart from the rum directly into the TM jug. Secure the lid turn the speed dial to 4 for 20 seconds. Set the timer for 7 minutes, at 90°C and turn the speed dial to 4. Once cooked scrape the sides down add the rum and turn the speed to 10 for 20 seconds to ensure a very smooth pastry cream.

Pour the warm pastry cream over the poached rhubarb.

To Bake

Preheat the oven to  180 °C.

Roll the rested chilled pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface to 1/2 cm thickness. Cut a disk that will fit flat on top of the pastry cream. Gently transfer the pastry to the dish and lay it on top of the pastry cream. Use a metal skewer to make about 6 - 8 steam holes in the pastry, bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let the pudding cool for 15 minutes then brush the rhubarb vanilla syrup over to glaze.

Serve either warm or cold.

Serve 8

Food Fanatics Tip

This pudding is truly delicious and I could happily make one for every season. Exchange the rhubarb for apples, blackberries, saffron poached pears, blueberries, raspberries, poached quinces or pineapple.

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Mushroom and English Chorizo Minestrone

Mushroom and English Chorizo Minestrone

The most difficult task  of  this recipe is the preparation of the ingredients, it takes a bit of time, so pour yourself a glass of wine and take your time. Peel the onions and slice them through the root, like a cake, into thin slices. Peel and dice the potato into 2cm cubes and cut the chorizo sausage into 1cm pieces. Cut all the mushrooms into wedges as per the onions and crush the garlic.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat and sauté the onions, diced potato, salt and pepper, smoked paprika, all the mushrooms, chorizo and the crushed garlic until golden brown. Cover the pan with the lid for a few minutes while sautéing so that it does not take on too much colour, stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning. Do not be tempted to add more oil, the sautéing process takes about 8 - 10 minutes.

Add the orzo pasta and mix well.

Once you are happy with the amount of colouring deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until all the wine is absorbed.

Add the stock, cover the pan with a lid and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, stir frequently to prevent the pasta  sticking to  the base of the pan and gently simmer for 25 minutes over low heat.

Serve the piping hot soup with a sprinkling of chopped chives and warm freshly baked bread on the side.

Serves 6 - 8

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The Perfect Partnership for Quality Cheese: Roasted Grape Puree and Caramelized White Onion Bread

The Perfect Partnership for Quality Cheese: Roasted Grape Puree and Caramelized White Onion Bread

Roasted Grape Puree

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Wash the grapes and remove all the stalks.

Use a metal skewer or cocktail stick and make about 2/3 holes into each grape.

Place the grapes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. If you dampen the paper and crumple it slightly, forming a cup shape it will help the juices to remain in the middle of the tray.

Roast the grapes in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until they are completely collapsed and nearly turned into a jam.

Puree the roasted grapes until very smooth  and chill.

The roasted grape puree should be served chilled, keep refrigerated for up to one week in a clean sterilized jar.

Makes approximately 200ml

Caramelized Onion Breads

Preheat the oven to 200 °C and grease a mini cupcake tray with 12 holes.

First make the caramelized onions: Peel and slice the onions, heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the onions with seasoning until golden brown. Begin with high heat and once the onions start to take on colour place a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to cook the onions through. Let the caramelized onions cool.

Make the bread dough: Weigh the flour and yeast into a mixing bowl, if you use fresh yeast use your fingers and rub it into the flour until resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the salt, oil and water and work the dough until it all comes together. Knead the dough for about 6 - 8 minutes until if feels silky and smooth.

Transfer the bread dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave to prove until double in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured dusted work surface and roll the dough out into a oblong, spread the cooled caramelized onions over the dough and roll into a spiral shaped sausage. Cut the sausage into 12 pieces and place them,spiral up, into the greased mini muffin holes.

Cover the tray with a clean dry tea towel and leave to prove until the rolls have risen.

Bake the breads for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, turn them out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Makes 12 mini rolls

Serve the roasted grape puree and warm caramelized onion rolls with cheese of your choice.

I served a less strong rind washed cheese, Cornish Soft, available from Paxton and Whitfield, andI let the cheese come to room temperature to bring out the full character of the cheese.

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Braised Beef Rib Stroganoff, January King Cabbage and Carrot Crush

Braised Beef Rib Stroganoff, January King Cabbage and Carrot Crush

Braised Beef Ribs

Preheat the oven to  170°C.

Cut the carrots, onions and celery into the same size pieces.

Heat a large casserole dish with half the oil, season the ribs with salt and pepper and brown them all over, once golden brown transfer them to a tray whilst browning the vegetables.

Return the casserole dish to the heat with the remaining oil and saute the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, peppercorns and coriander seeds until golden brown. Add the bay leaves and thyme and continue sauteing for  a further 1 minute.

Return the beef and deglaze the casserole dish with the brandy, simmer until the brandy is absorbed by the vegetables, add the stock and bring it to a gentle simmer.

Place  a piece of parchment directly onto the surface of the stock, place the lid on top and put the casserole dish in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Carefully remove the beef from the sauce, set the beef aside.

Pass the sauce through a fine sieve.

Stroganoff Sauce

Heat a saucepan with the butter and saute the onions and mushrooms until golden brown and tender.

Add the stock and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for 4 minutes.

Add the cream and stir in the paprika, bring the sauce back to the boil, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

The sauce is now ready to serve.

Braised January King Cabbage

Preheat the oven to 200 °C.

Cut the cabbage in half and then cut each half into quarters.Wash and drain the cabbage.

Heat a large casserole dish with the butter, once the butter starts to foam season the cabbage quarters and brown them on all sides until light golden brown.

Add the stock and bring the stock to a gentle simmer, place a piece of parchment directly on top of the cabbage and cover the dish with the lid. Transfer the casserole dish to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the casserole dish from the oven and leave the cabbage to cool down slightly. Remove the cabbage from the dish and drain the quarters on kitchen paper.

The cabbage is now ready to serve or if you prepare this in advance chill the cabbage and when you are ready to serve re-heat the cabbage in the oven until piping hot on the inside.

Carrot and Grain Mustard Crush

Heat a large saucepan and melt the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the carrots and seasoning.

Saute the carrots for 2 minutes stirring regularly, reduce the heat and cover the pan with a lid, cook for 10 minutes over low heat, stir regularly. By cooking the carrots this way you bring out the natural sweetness of the carrots and this adds depth of flavour to the dish.

Add 150ml water to the carrots, bring the water to a gentle simmer, return the lid and continue cooking the carrots for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the carrots from the heat, add the mustard and crush the carrots with a potato ricer.

Either serve the carrot crush immediately or chill and reheat once you  are ready to serve.

Assembly of the Dish

Reheat the beef, cabbage, carrot crush and sauce.

Gently cut the meat away from the bone and cut into slices.

Spoon a quenelle of the carrot crush onto each warm plate, followed by the braised cabbage, spoon some sauce onto the plate, arrange the beef slices on top and top the beef with more sauce. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over and place two cornichons onto each plate and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Poppy Seed and Blood Orange Sticky Cake

Poppy Seed and Blood Orange Sticky Cake

Poppy Seed and Blood Orange Cake

Preheat the oven to  180 °C, grease and line a 27cm x 15cm loaf tin with parchment paper.

Put the milk and poppy seeds into a small saucepan,over a low heat bring the milk to near  boiling. Turn the heat off and leave the poppy seeds to soak whilst whipping the butter and sugar.

Whip the soft butter, sugar and orange zest until pale in  colour, light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition.

Sift the flour and baking powder and gently fold the flour into the beaten butter mixture. Do not overwork the mix.

Add the blood orange juice to the soaked poppy seeds and milk mixture, then fold this into the cake batter.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared loaf tin and bake it in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Test if the cake is cooked by inserting a metal skewer, if the skewer comes out clean then the cake is cooked.While the cake is baking, make the blood orange marmalade sauce.

Let the cake cool down for 20 minutes before spooning over the blood orange marmalade.

Blood Orange Marmalade Sauce

In a small sauce pan dissolve the sugar in the orange juice over very low heat, once the sugar dissolves  turn the heat up to  a rolling boil.

Add the julienned orange skin, brush the sides down with a pastry brush dipped in hot water, do not stir whist the marmalade is boiling.

Cook the sauce until thick and glossy, if you have a  sugar thermometer then boil until the sauce reaches 102°C.

Let the sauce cool down slightly before pouring it over the cooled cake.

Serves 10/12

Food Fanatics Tip

Substitute the blood oranges for normal oranges or clementines or satsumas. Store the cake in a airtight container, it seems to get better with age served slightly warm.

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Broccoli and Chestnut Mushroom Salad with a Subtle Heat

Broccoli and Chestnut Mushroom Salad with a Subtle Heat

Remove the broccoli florets from the stalk and cut them all the same size. Bring a large saucepan with salted water to a rapid boil and blanch the florets until tender, refresh in ice-cold water, drain and set aside.

Peel the stalk and use a mandolin to finely slice into round wafer thin disks.

Peel and finely slice the shallots. Heat a large non-stick frying pan with 1 tbs of olive oil and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the julienned chili, reduce the heat and sauté for a further 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar and lemon zest, let the sugar dissolve and bring to the boil. Once the vinegar starts to boil remove the pan from the heat and add the wafer thin broccoli stalk disks, stir and set aside to cool and infuse.

While the broccoli pickle cools, sauté the chestnut mushroom quarters in the remaining oil with seasoning until golden brown, once cooked add the juice of one lemon.

Mix the sautéed mushrooms, drained blanched broccoli and pickled broccoli stalks together. Arrange the salad in your chosen bowl or on individual plates and sprinkle poppy seeds as a garnish.

The salad is now ready to be served either slightly warm or chilled.

Sevres 10

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Pancake Day, The British Larder Way! Raspberry, Lime and Coconut Pancakes

Pancake Day, The British Larder Way! Raspberry, Lime and Coconut Pancakes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, add the lime zest and set aside.

Whip the egg whites till they become foamy and aerated, add the honey and continue whipping until the meringue forms soft peaks, fold the dessicated coconut into the meringue.

Whisk the egg yolks, milk and melted butter together and fold the wet ingredients into the flour to form a batter, if the flour makes lumps do not worry as these will dissolve however do not over mix the batter as this will make the pancakes tough.

Fold the coconut meringue and frozen berries into the batter, use a large spoon and do not overwork the batter.

Heat some butter in a large non-stick frying pan and once the butter starts to foam, spoon tablespoons of the batter into the pan to make approximately 6cm  diameter pancakes. Once the pancakes turn golden brown  flip them over and continue cooking them on the reverse side until golden brown. Drain the pancakes on kitchen paper.

Serve warm with a large dollop of crème fraîche, a swizzle of honey and a generous squeeze of lime juice.

Makes approximately 28 6cm pancakes

Food Fanatics Tip

I have used frozen fruits from my freezer which were left from my summer harvest. You can use any berries of your choice however I recommend that you use them from frozen, do not defrost the berries as they become shapeless and looses all their juiciness.

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Roasted Heritage Carrot Soup

Roasted Heritage Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup

Preheat the oven to 200 °C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Top and wash the orange heritage carrots carrots, keep the skin on and cut them into 1cm pieces. Wash and peel the purple and yellow carrots, slice them into 1/2 thick rings.

Spread the orange carrots on one of the two the lined baking trays, add 3/4's of the the oil, salt and pepper, mix and roast the carrots in the preheated oven for 1hour. Check the carrots towards the end and stir them to prevent them from burning. If there are a few dark ones it's absolutely fine just like mine in the picture above. Toss the purple and yellow carrots in the rest of the oil, season them with salt and pepper and spread them on the second lined tray, roast them for 40minutes, stir them occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the whole garlic cloves for the last 20 minutes of the carrot roasting time.

While the carrots and garlic are roasting start to make the base of the soup.

Heat a large saucepan with the butter, once it starts to foam, add the sliced shallot and saute them until they start to turn golden brown.

Add the coriander seeds and fry them for 1 minute, add the roasted orange carrots. Pop the roasted garlic flesh out of their skins and add to the soup, saute for a further 1 minute.

Add the stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, cook for 10 minutes.

Puree the soup until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

To serve bring the soup back to the boil, if the soup is too thick, then let it down with vegetable stock or a dash of water.

Serve the soup in warm soup bowls, garnish with the roasted yellow and purple carrots, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and scatter flatleaf parsley and grind a dash of black pepper over the soup.

Serves 6

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Two Lentil Makhani Dal with Freshly Baked Peshawari Naan Breads

Two Lentil Makhani Dal with Freshly Baked Peshawari Naan Breads

Peshawari Naan Breads

Weigh the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, ground almonds, coconut and chopped sultanas into the mixing bowl of a mixer. If you use fresh yeast rub the yeast into the flour until it represents fine breadcrumbs..

In a separate bowl whisk the milk, yoghurt, egg and melted butter together.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mix whilst mixing on low speed, knead the dough for 8 minutes on low speed.

Lightly grease a large mixing bowl. Turn the naan bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form the dough into a smooth ball.

Place the dough into the lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave the dough to prove until double in size. In the winter this stage can take quite a long time, if you do not leave your dough to prove properly your bread will taste yeasty and could have a heavy dense texture.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even sized logs, cut each into 50g balls.  Use a rolling pin to roll each ball out into a oblong shape about 1/2 cm thick. Use your finger tips to press dimples into each part.

Carefully transfer the breads to a lightly oiled baking tray. Lightly cover  with a clean dry tea towel and leave the naan breads to prove for the second time.

Preheat the grill to a medium heat. Melt the 10g of unsalted butter and 1tbs honey.

Once the naan breads are puffy, grill them for 2 - 3 minutes on each side.Brush  one side with the honey butter, return and grill this side  for a further minute, turn the naan over and repeat the process on the reverse side. Grill them until golden brown on each side.

Serve the warm naan breads slightly warm.

Thermomix Method:

Using the built in weighing scales weigh the sultanas into the TM bowl, secure the lid, set the dial on the lock setting and press the pulse button a couple of times to chop the sultanas.

Using the built in weighing scales add the flour, yeast, coconut, almonds, sugar and salt to the sultanas in the TM bowl and mix 20 seconds/50˚C/Speed 3 to mix and warm the flour.

Melt the butter in the microwave, add the melted butter, yoghurt, milk and egg to the flour mixture, Set the timer for 1 minute 30 seconds, turn the speed dial to the lid locked position, and press the Dough button. The kneaded mixture should end up soft, pliable and a bit tacky.

Remove the lid, turn the bowl upside down, undo the base unit and the dough and blade unit will drop out.  Pull any loose bits of dough off the blades and gather the dough together into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to prove until double in size.

Bake the naan breads as per recipe above.

Makes 10 naan breads

Two Lentil Makhani Dal

Soak the black and green lentils overnight in 4 times the volume of cold water. You can mix them together,but it's very important to have enough water and to allow sufficient time for the lentils to rehydrate, I normally work on a minimum of 6 hours.

Make the curry paste: Use either a pestle and mortar or a powerful blender to mince the chillies, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander seeds and curry powder until a fairly smooth paste.

Heat a large saucepan with 50g of the butter or ghee and saute the diced onions, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick until the onions start to turn golden brown, add the curry paste and saute the paste for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Do not let the curry paste burn, turn the heat down slightly if it turns quickly, it's important to saute the curry paste for a few minutes to develop the flavour.

Drain the soaked lentils and add them to the saucepan, stir and add salt and pepper. Saute for 1 minute, add the sugar and vinegar and cook for a further 1 minute, stirring continuously.

Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock, bring the dal to a gentle simmer over low heat, cover the saucepan with a lid and gently simmer for 30 minutes.Stir occasionally to prevent the dal from catching.

Remove the lid and continue cooking the dal for a further 10 minutes over low heat. I like my dal quite dry and not soupy like some recipes recommend, if you prefer it wet then stop the cooking once the lentils are cooked.

Once cooked, melt the remaining butter or ghee and stir it into the makhani dal, add the lemon zest, juice and chopped coriander, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve the Two lentil Makhani Dal with natural yoghurt, lemon zest and chopped coriander and the freshly baked Peshawari Naan breads

Serves 6 - 8

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Spelt, Honey and Walnut Bread

Spelt, Honey and Walnut Bread

Place the yeast, 50g flour and the honey in a small mixing bowl and add 50g of the water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot until the mixture starts to bubble.

In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, salt and the remaining water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.

Grease a large mixing bowl. Once the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel. Leave to prove until the dough has risen to double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and dust two baking sheets with flour, set aside.

Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into 2 x 420geven size dough balls.

Roll each ball into a evenly shaped smooth ball, place each ball onto the dusted floured tray and cover gently with cling film or a clean dry tea towel and leave it to prove for the second time until nearly double in size. Brush the risen bread carefully with the egg yolk and use a knife to make small cuts at the top of the risen bread.

Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven and pour 100ml of cold water directly onto the floor of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to  puff and form a lovely crust. Bake the loaves for 35 - 40 minutes, give the bread a tap at the bottom and if it sounds hollow it means the bread is cooked, place the bread onto a cooling rack dust it with white flour and leave to cool completely.

Makes 2 x 420g loaves.

Food Fanatics Tips

Wholemeal and spelt flours absorb more water so if the dough feels slightly sticky at the beginning do not panic as the water will soon be absorbed. If there is too little water  from the start your bread will be heavy and dry. Never use fast action yeast, I have had  disasters every time I have used it. I normally ask  my local supermarket for some fresh yeast, if they have it they will normally be pleased to give you a small piece for free.

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Rhubarb Melting Moments for My Valentine

Rhubarb Melting Moments for My Valentine

Forced Rhubarb Vanilla Jam

Remove the leaves and wash and dry the rhubarb. Cut the stalks into 1cm pieces.

Place the rhubarb, both sugars, one vanilla pod, seeds and the tablespoon of water into a jam pan or thick based saucepan.

Let the sugar dissolve over very low heat, stir to encourage the sugar to dissolve.

Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up, cook the jam over high heat. Do not stir the jam too often, just every now and then to prevent it from catching.

Wash the sides of the pan down with a clean pastry brush that's dipped in boiling hot water. If you do not do this the jam will crystallize easily.

Cook the jam till it reaches 105°C; alternatively to check if your jam is ready, place a small plate in the freezer, drop a few drops of jam onto the plate, if the jam sets immediately and you can draw your finger through without the jam running it means it's ready. Remember the longer you cook the jam  the darker the caramelized  colour  will become and the flavour more earthy.

Once the jam reaches the correct temperature add the juice of one lemon, stir and remove the jam from the heat.

Let the jam cool slightly before ladling your jam into cleaned sterilized jars.

How I sterilize my jam jars: I sterilize my jam jars by preheating the oven to 100°C, wash the jam jars and lids in hot soapy water, dry and then place them on a baking tray in the preheated oven. Leave the jars in the oven for 25 minutes, let them cool down slightly before you ladle your warm jam into the sterilized jars. Secure the lid immediately and leave the jam to cool at room temperature.

Makes approximately 600g of jam

Melting Moments Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with silpats or parchment paper.

Cream the butter, vanilla seeds and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.

Sift the flour and cornflour and fold it into the creamed butter mixture. The biscuit dough will be very firm, the softer the butter (not melted though) the easier it will be to work with.

Transfer the biscuit dough into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe one row of biscuit bases 3cm in diameter and one row of tops,  a 3cm diameter circle.                                          Leave enough space between each biscuit as they will need a bit of room to grow. Pipe equal amounts of tops and bases.

Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes, make sure that they are cooked through but not brown in colour. They should be pale and light.

Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack leaving the biscuits to cool completely while making the lemon butter cream.

Lemon Butter Cream

Cream the butter until creamy and pale in colour.

Add the sifted icing sugar and lemon juice to the creamed butter, whip until the butter cream becomes fluffy.

Fold the lemon zest into the butter cream.

Transfer the butter cream to piping bag with a star nozzle

Assembling the biscuits

Once the melting moments are completely cold, pair them up and lay them out onto a clean work surface. Turn the biscuit with the hole the right way up and dust with icing sugar. The  inside of the bases should be  facing upwards so as you can pipe on a circle of the lemon butter cream,leave a hole in the centre for the jam.

Spoon a generous spoonful of the rhubarb jam in the centre, place the biscuit with the hole on top to complete your  melting moment sandwich.

They are now ready to eat!

They will go soggy if you leave them overnight so I recommend you do not complete the assembly until required. They will remain crisp and good for about 2 - 3 hours.

Makes approximately 25 melting moments

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Exquisite Lamb Moussaka

Exquisite Lamb Moussaka

Individual Lamb Moussakas

Confit Lamb Shoulder: Preheat the oven to 160°C. Select a deep casserole dish that will allow the shoulder of lamb to be covered with duck fat.

Rub salt and pepper generously over the boneless shoulder of lamb. Place the lamb in the casserole dish, add 1 bay leaf and the 2 large sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Melt the duck fat and cover the lamb shoulder with the duck fat, place a piece of parchment paper on the surface of the fat and bring  to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Place a lid on top to cover the dish and transfer the dish to the preheated oven. Cook the lamb shoulder for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, insert a sharp knife, if the knife comes out easily the lamb is tender enough and cooked, if it struggles slightly return the lamb to the oven and continue cooking until tender.

Carefully remove the lamb from the oven and leave it to cool for about 30 minutes. Drain the fat and place the lamb on a cooling rack for any remaining fat to drip off, leave it for about 30 minutes. Whilst the lamb is still warm but not too hot, flake the meat and remove as much fat as possible. Set the flaked meat aside until the tomato sauce is ready.

Make the tomato sauce whilst the lamb is cooking in the oven: Finely dice the shallots and crush the garlic. Heat a medium saucepan with the oil and saute the shallots, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and seasoning until golden.

Add the tomato puree, sugar and sherry vinegar and cook for 2 minutes until the shallots become sticky, add the red wine and cook until the wine become sticky and coating the shallots.

Add the chopped tomatoes and more seasoning, bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes over low heat until the tomato sauce become thick and rich.

Once the sauce is ready add the flaked cooked lamb shoulder to the tomato sauce and mix well.

Add the 2tbs of chopped mixed soft herbs to the meat and tomato mixture and leave to cool.

Griddle the aubergines: Heat a griddle pan on the cooker until very hot. Slice the aubergines into 1/2 cm thick slices, lay them on a baking tray, season on both sides and brush them with olive oil. Griddle the aubergines until they have dark bar marks on both sides. Set aside until needed.

Yoghurt Sauce: In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks and yoghurt together and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg.

Assemble the Moussaka: Assemble the moussakas up to one day in advance and keep refrigerated until needed.

Use 6 5cm wide x 3.5cm high metal rings. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the rings onto the tray.

Spoon in the meat and tomato mixture , place a slice of aubergine on top and a teaspoonful of the yoghurt mixture, this should half fill the ring, add another layer of meat and aubergine and finish the moussaka with the yoghurt sauce. TIP: if the aubergine slice is too wide then cut a wedge out like you would cut a wedge of cake, pull the sides together to shape a circle that would fit inside your ring a perfect band of purple aubergine skin on the outside.

Repeat the process until all the rings are filled. Keep the moussakas refrigerated until needed.

Mild Harissa Sauce

Chop the banana shallot and the chilli and crush the garlic.

Heat a small saucepan with the oil and saute the chopped chilli, shallots, garlic, garam masala, cumin seeds, coriander seeds until the shallots start to turn transparent and take on colour. Add the sugar, tomato puree, sherry vinegar and seasoning, cook for 1 minute stirring continuously.

Add the stock and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for 12 minutes.

Pulse the sauce with a stick blender to bring it all together, do not blend the sauce too much as the colour will become light orange and rather unpleasant looking.

Set aside until needed.

Make the sauce one day in advance and keep refrigerated until needed.

Semi-dried Baby Plum Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half.

Place the cut tomatoes on the cooling racks, lightly season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and scatter the chopped thyme over the tomatoes.

Place the tray in the preheated oven for approximately three hours. I set a timer for two hours to begin with and then check them and increase the drying time to to suit my needs.

Once the tomatoes are semi-dried remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool.

You can dry the tomatoes in advance and keep them in a glass jar in the fridge. Cover the tomatoes with olive oil, when you are ready to use the tomatoes, drain them from the oil alternatively use them immediately.

Sous-Vide Rack of Lamb

Preheat the water bath to 62°C.

Prepare the rack of lamb by cleaning the bones, season with a small amount of salt. Place the rack into a vacuum bag, add the herbs and peppercorns.

Seal the bag on hard vacuum and insert the thermometer needle if you have one.

Place the rack of lamb in the preheated water bath and cook until the core temperature reaches 40°C, it takes about 40 -45 minutes however it all depends on the size of the rack and how many items you have in the bath at the same time. For these reasons I recommend using the thermometer designed to be used for sous-vide cookery.

Once the rack is cooked, remove the rack from the vacuum pouch and pat it dry with kitchen paper.

Assemble the dish

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the moussakas for 20 minutes until the yoghurt sauce becomes golden brown.

Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat, add a teaspoon of butter. Once the butter starts to foam and brown,place the sous-vide rack of lamb  fat side down, until the fat turns golden brown, this takes about 5- 6 minutes. Turn the lamb over and seal the other side for a further 2 minutes. Transfer the rack of lamb to a cooling rack and leave to rest for 4- 5 minutes so that the meat releases it's juices.

Remove the ring from the baked moussakas, place the mousaka on the plate, spoon the sauce onto the plate.

Carve the lamb into 6 even size cutlets, season the cut side of the meat with Maldon sea salt and place one cutlet on each plate.

Garnish the plates with the semi-dried tomatoes and small watercress leaves and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

Serve immediately

Serves 6

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Cauliflower Soup with Morbier Air Profiteroles

Cauliflower Soup with Morbier Air Profiteroles

Cauliflower Soup

Remove and discard the green outer leaves from the cauliflower. Finely chop the  cauliflower. It's not necessary to individually cut  the florets as it just wastes time.

Heat a large saucepan with the unsalted butter, as soon as it starts to foam add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Saute the cauliflower and stir continuously, as soon as it starts to take on colour add the stock of your choice, cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the soup to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the soup for 12 minutes.

Add the cream, bring the soup back to simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

The soup is now ready to serve. If you are not serving the soup immediately then chill and reheat once you are ready to serve.

The Soup will keep for up to three days refrigerated in a clean air tight container.

Morbier Air

Just a little warning that this cheese sauce does not look great when cooking but once blended the cheese sauce will look creamy, smooth and appealing.

Soak the gelatine in cold water.

Chop the cheese in small pieces, place the cheese, water and cream in a small saucepan and gently heat over low heat, once the cheese mixture reaches 80°C transfer the cheese mixture to a blender. Squeeze the excess water from the getatine and add the soaked gelatine to the warm cheese sauce. Blend the cheese until smooth.

Thermomix Users: Place the chopped cheese, water and cream in the TM bowl. Set the timer for 6 minutes at 80°C, speed 3. Once the cheese has melted and  starts to bubble turn the heat off, squeeze the soaked gelatine to remove the excess water and add the gelatin to the cheese sauce. Turn the speed dial to 10 to puree the cheese sauce until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Pass the cheese sauce thought a fine sieve and pour the sauce into a cream whipper. Attach the needle attachment to the cream whippers lid and seal whipper with the lid. Charge the whipper with two gas pellets, shake the whipper vigorously and refrigerate to let the cheese set.

Once you are ready to serve the profiteroles: remove the cream whipper from the fridge about 30minutes before needed, shake the cream whipper vigorously, if the mixture remains set then dip it under a running hot water tap to melt the gelatine slightly. Shake the whipper vigorously, insert the needle into the base of the choux bun and squirt the morbier air into the cavity of the choux buns.  Serve the choux buns immediately.

The Morbier Air can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge in the cream whipper. Remove the cream whipper from the fridge 30 minutes prior to use to allow it to loosen up slightly.

Tiny Choux Buns

Preheat the oven to 220°C, line two baking trays with either parchment paper or silpats and have ready a jug with 100ml of cold water.

I have been making choux pastry in the Themomix for about a year and would never return to the conventional way. The Thermomix  saves time, washing up and a lot of stirring. You could however follow the conventional way if you do not have a thermomix, the ingredients remains exactly the same.

Weight the salt, water and butter directly into the thermomix bowl, place the cap in the hole and set the timer for 5 minutes at 100°C, speed 1.

Add the flour, return the lid and remove the cap, and blend the mixture at speed 4 for 2 minutes.

Remove the lid and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

Return the lid and secure, turn the dial to speed 5, add the eggs one at a time directly onto the running blades, mix the eggs into the flour mixture for 5 minutes. The choux pastry will be glossy and ready to use.

Transfer the choux pastry to a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe 2 cm wide tear drop choux buns onto a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silpat. Leave a large enough gap between the buns to allow them to puff.

Place the tray in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and quickly pour the cold water on the bottom of the oven floor and close the door quickly. The water will create steam and the buns will form a crispy outer shell and a large air cavity will be created on the inside. Bake the buns for 5 minutes at 220°C, turn the heat down to 180°C for a further 20 minutes. I normally bake one tray at a time, I find they come out crispier and cook better if there is good air circulation.

Once the buns are cooked and are light and crispy, transfer them to a cooling rack and leave them to cool completely.

Keep the buns in an air tight container in a dark cool and well ventilated space, they will remain crispy for upto 3 days.

Watercress Oil

Place all the ingredients into a small jug and use a stick blender to blend the watercress oil until smooth.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

To Serve

Remove the morbier air form the fridge and loosen the mixture by shaking the cream whipper vigorously and dipping it under hot running water if necessary.

Bring the cauliflower soup to the boil, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. If the soup is slightly thick add a bit of stock or water to let it down to the required consistency.

Fill the choux buns with the morbier air.

Ladle the soup into the serving bowls, drizzle the watercress oil and shave the toasted hazelnuts over the soup to garnish. Serve the soup immediately with the morbier air choux buns garnished with the watercress leaves.

Serves 8/ 10

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The Perfect Dunking Hazelnut Biscuits

The Perfect Dunking Hazelnut Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper or use non-stick baking trays.

Place the soft butter and sugar in a the bowl of a mixer and cream until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment. If you are using vanilla seeds cream them with the sugar and butter.

Add the egg and whip until creamy, if you are using vanilla essence add it with the egg to the butter mixture.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the creamed butter mixture and add the lightly crushed hazelnuts, mix in gently, do not over work the biscuit dough.

Make even size balls, I use a teaspoon as a guide for the size.

Space the biscuits on the prepared baking trays leaving at least 5 cm gaps, this allows the cookies to expand and bake evenly (in the winter I press the balls down slightly as the dough will be cold and stiff this will encourage them to spread evenly), bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes.

Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store the biscuits in a air tight container for up to one week.

Makes about 50 biscuits.

Food Fanatics Tips
Add 200g milk or white chocolate chips to the biscuit dough and reduce the hazelnuts to 50g. Alternatively replace the hazelnuts with 200g dried cranberries and add the zest of one orange for a tasty twist.

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Lemon Curd Tarts

Lemon Curd Tarts

Lemon Curd

Bring a medium saucepan half filled with water to a gentle simmer.

Place the eggs, salt and sugar in a metal mixing bowl, choose one that will fit comfortably over the saucepan without falling in.

Use a whisk to mix the sugar and eggs add the lemon juice and mix well.

Place the bowl over the simmering water while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, once the curd starts to thicken continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. The curd will coat the back of the spoon and you will be able to draw a path with your finger though it.

Remove the curd from the heat and quickly whisk the cold butter into the curd until it's completely dissolved leaving the curd rich, creamy and glossy.

Transfer the curd to a clean container and place a piece of clingfilm directly on top of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin, let the curd cool.

Themomix Method:

Using the built in weighing scales weigh the freshly squeezes lemon juice, caster sugar, salt, egg yolks and whole eggs directly into the Thermomix bowl, blitz for 10 seconds on speed 8, scrape the sides down, insert the butterfly whisk. Set the timer for 5 minutes at 70°C, speed 4.

Cut the cold butter into small even size pieces, set the timer for 2 minutes at 70°C, speed 2 and slowly drop the pieces of cold butter through the hole onto the curd.

Scrape the sides down, remove the butterfly whisk and secure the lid, blitz the curd for 20 seconds on speed 9, transfer the curd to a clean container and place a piece of clingfilm directly on top of the curd to prevent it from forming a skin, let the curd cool.

Once cooled keep refrigerated until needed.

Blind Baked Puffy Pastry Shells

Preheat the oven to 180°C, and turn a muffin tray with medium 12 size holes upside down and grease the back of the holes.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry about 2- 3mm thick out, cut 12 x 10cm in diameter disks, let the pastry rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Cover the greased pastry moulds with the pastry disks and bake them for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, I suggest you check them every now and then as mine kept on popping off, this might sound weird but my pastry was cooked well all the way through and they puffed absolutely beautifully.

Let the puffy pastry cups cool completely on a cooling rack before filling them with the lemon curd and dusting them heavily with icing sugar.

Makes 12 individual tarts

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Pheasant Ravioli with a Chestnut Sauce and Curly Kale Pesto

Pheasant Ravioli with a Chestnut Sauce and Curly Kale Pesto

Fresh Egg Pasta

Use a food processor to make the pasta dough.

Weigh the flour, salt and oil into the bowl and pulse a couple of times to rub the oil into the flour.

Add the egg yolks one at a time while the blade is running, followed by the whole eggs, blend for about 2 minutes until the pasta dough forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough ball for 4 minutes until it's smooth and silky but a tight dough ball.

Clingfilm the dough tightly and place in the fridge for 1 hour to rest and chill.

Pheasant Ravioli Stuffing

First confit the pheasant legs in the fat:

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Season the pheasant legs with salt and pepper, leave to marinade for 1 hour.

Heat the duck or goose fat in a small oven proof  tray or dish, add the crushed clove of garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Pat the pheasant legs dry with kitchen paper and add them to the warm duck fat, ensure that the legs are covered completely with the fat.

Over low heat bring the fat to a gentle simmer, cover the fat with a parchment paper and place a lid on the dish. Place in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

Test if the pheasant legs are cooked. If the bones wiggle and the meat flakes easily it's ready to be removed from the fat. Drain the legs and let them cool slightly before removing the skin and flaking meat, let it cool completely once flaked.

Secondly make a chicken mousse:

Place the chicken breast meat and the egg white in a food processor and puree until smooth.

Add seasoning and the cream, pulse until the cream is incorporated. Do not over work the chicken mousse as the cream will separate.

Thirdly make the ravioli filling:

Weigh 100g of the flaked cooked pheasant leg meat into a mixing bowl.

Add the chopped mixed herbs and 100g of the chicken mousse, use a spatula to fold all the ingredients together, work quickly but lightly. if you over work the mix it will separate.

Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Place the filling in the fridge to chill and firm up for about 1 hour before making the ravioli. Once the mix is chilled and firm, divide the mixture into four  5og balls, let them chill in the fridge.

Pheasant Ravioli

Roll the pasta out to 1mm thick using a pasta machine, cut 10cm disks, you will need 8 disks.

Place a ravioli stuffing ball on 4 disks,brush them with the whisked egg and then place another piece of pasta disk on top of each. Dust your hands with flour and lift the ravioli in your hand gently pushing the air out and pinching them together. They will look like space ships.

Cut each one with a pair of scissors to remove the excess pasta.Please look at the photos above.

Next step will be to cook them, follow the assembly part of the recipe below.

Pheasant and Chicken Stock

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the pheasant carcase and leg bones on a roasting tray and roast it for 30 - 35 minutes until dark and well roasted.

Prepare the vegetables, wash and cut it into even size pieces.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil and brown the vegetables until golden brown, add the coriander seeds, peppercorn, bay leaf and thyme.

Add the browned partridge bones, chicken wings (not roasted), deglaze with the wine and cook until the wine becomes sticky and coating the vegetables and bones.

Add the water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Skim the impurities with a ladle and simmer the stock for 30 minutes.

Pass the stock through a fine sieve or muslin cloth, discard the bones and vegetables and keep the stock refrigerated until needed.

Makes approximately 750ml stock.

Chestnut Foam

Heat a large saucepan with the butter and saute the leek, shallot and garlic until golden, add the thyme and chestnuts, deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until the wine becomes syrupy and sticky.

Add the stock and bring the sauce to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 25 minute. Add the cream, bring the sauce back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Blend the sauce until smooth and pass the sauce through a fine sieve, let the sauce cool.

TO HEAT AND SERVE THE SAUCE: When you are ready to serve pour 250ml of the cooled sauce back into a saucepan and add the lecithin powder, blend until the sauce foams heavily, gently heat the sauce over low heat until warm but not boiling, foam again until a heavy foam blanket sits on top of the sauce, leave it to settle for a couple of minutes and serve the foam, scooping it from the surface.

Curly Kale and Chestnut Pesto

Wrap 2 cloves of garlic tossed in 1 tsp of olive oil in foil and roast it at 200°C for 20 minutes. Remove the husks and keep the roasted garlic pulp.

Bring a large saucepan with salted water to the boil. Blanch the curly kale for 7 minutes in the boiling water, add the pousse for the last 30 seconds of the cooking time and refresh in ice water until completely cold, drain.

Squeeze the kale and pousse to remove the excess water.

Place the squeezed curly kale and pousse along with the roasted garlic pulp, 80ml of olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, sea salt, Dijon mustard, the lemon zest, roasted chestnuts, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar into a blender and puree until the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I like my pesto smooth however it would be just as delicious if you made it slightly chunky.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

Assembly of the dish

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to the boil to cook the ravioli.

Cook the buttered curly kale and keep it warm.

Reheat and foam the sauce:  When you are ready to serve pour 250ml of the cooled chestnut sauce back into a saucepan and add the lecithin powder, blend until the sauce foams heavily, gently heat the sauce over low heat until warm but not boiling, foam again until a heavy foam blanket sits on top of the sauce, leave it to settle for a couple of minutes and serve the foam scooping it from the surface.

Cook the ravioli in the rapid boiling water for 4 minutes, gently remove them from the water and drain them on kitchen paper.

Divide the buttered kale between 4 plates, place a ravioli on top of each. Place a quenelle of the pesto on top and spoon the chestnut foam around. Finish the dish with olive oil and freshly grated chestnuts, serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Duck, Onion and Date Pastilla

Duck, Onion and Date Pastilla

White Onion and Tamarind Chutney

First make a tamarind paste: Peel the tamarind pods and place the tamarind in a small saucepan with the cold water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook the tamarind for 6 -7 minutes until it starts to dissolve. Use a spoon or a fork to mash the pulp and remove the tamarind seeds, mix the tamarind pulp with the water to form a tamarind paste. Pass the tamarind paste through a sieve to remove any remaining seeds and strings. Make sure you end up with 80 g of the tamarind pulp. Alternatively buy ready prepared tamarind paste.

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Peel the onions, use a mandolin to finely slice the onions. Place the sliced onions, crushed garlic, tamarind pulp, crushed chillies, vinegar, cinnamon stick, saffron, ginger and sugar into a large saucepan, place the pan over low heat. I normally start the cooking process with the lid in place, until the sugar has dissolved, stir regularly.

Remove the lid and cook the chutney over medium heat, stir occasionally and do not let the chutney burn. Cook until the chutney is the correct consistency, preferably dry and sticky for this pastilla recipe. If the chutney is too wet the pastry will go soggy.

Remove the chutney from the heat, transfer it to a clean container and let chutney cool completely before using it in the pastilla recipe.

Food Fanatics Tip

This chutney keeps well and develops a delicious flavour if left to mature for a couple of days. Transfer the chutney to sterilized jars and keep for up to 3 months in a dark but well ventilated space.

Confit Duck Legs

Pat the duck legs dry with kitchen paper, rub the salt into the duck flesh and over the fat, add the star anise and cinnamon stick, place the seasoned duck legs in a container cover with cling film and refrigerate for 6 hours. I normally leave the duck legs over night to develop flavour.

Preheat the oven to 160C. In a medium oven proof dish or saucepan melt the duck fat. Pat the duck legs dry with kitchen paper, place the duck legs, cinnamon stick and star anise in the melted duck fat, place a layer of parchment paper on the surface of the melted fat (this is called a Kartouche) and cover the dish with either a tight fitting lid or foil. Place the dish in the preheated oven and cook the duck legs for approximately 2 1/2 hours. To test if  the legs are cooked,  insert the back of a fork, if it goes in and come out easily the meat is cooked,  if this is not the case continue cooking the duck until it's soft and flaky.

Drain the duck legs from the duck fat, let it cool slightly before removing the skin, fat and bones. I normally wear disposable gloves. Flake the meat and let it cool completely before mixing with the rest of the ingredients for the pastilla.

Sous-Vide Duck Legs

Alternatively cook the duck legs in the water bath. Heat the water bath to 82C.

Pat the duck legs dry with kitchen paper, rub the salt into the duck flesh and over the fat, add the star anise and cinnamon stick, place the seasoned duck legs in a clean vacuum bag and seal the bags on hard vacuum.

Cook the legs in the preheated water bath for 8 hours. Let the duck legs cool slightly before opening the bag, remove the skin and bones and flake the cooked duck meat. Keep the cooked duck meat refrigerated until needed.

Duck, Onion and Date Pastilla Mixture

Roughly chop the chilled cooked confit duck meat and dice the Medoul dates.

Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

Keep the mixture refrigerated until you are ready to make the pastillas.

Duck, Onion and Date Pastilla

To make the pastilla: Place one piece of the filo pastry on a large chopping board or a clean work surface. Lightly brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sumac and chopped parsley. Place another sheet on top and press down so that they stick together.

Cut it into 6cm wide strips, I get 6 strips out of this. Spoon 20 g of the duck mixture at the bottom of each strip.

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Fold the pastillas into triangles, brush the end with more melted butter and fold them over, brush the outside with melted butter and garnish the pastillas with sumac. Let the butter set completely. Continue until all the mixture is used.

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Place the pastillas on a lined baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 200C and bake the pastillas for 18 - 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before serving them with the lemon yoghurt and sumac dip.

Lemon Yoghurt and Sumac Dip

Mix all the ingredients together, season to taste and keep the dip refrigerated until needed.

Makes 24

Food Fanatics Tip

These pastillas could be made  larger and serve one or two as a portion for a starter.

You could make the pastillas in advance and freeze them. Make sure you separate each layer with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Cook the pastillas from frozen,but cook them  for a longer time and make sure they are piping hot on the inside.

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Makin’ Whoopee…Salted Peanut Whoopie Pies…

Makin’ Whoopee…Salted Peanut Whoopie Pies…

Salted Peanut Frosting

Make this cream cheese frosting in advance, it needs to set otherwise your whoopies will have a runny filling. I normally make the cream cheese frosting the evening before I need it, as it just simply speed things up. Alternatively if you make it on the day when you need it make sure you leave the frosting in the fridge to set before using.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool, it does not matter if it starts to set as long as it's still soft and pliable. I always melt a bit extra as you will find that it sticks to the bowl. Weigh the 50g required of melted butter after melting.

I also made this in my thermomix however you could have used any other make of blender.

First blitz the salted peanuts. Weigh the peanuts directly into the bowl and secure the lid and turn the dial on lock, press the pulse button until the peanuts are crushed and resemble breadcrumbs. Do not leave the peanuts to blend for too long as it will become a paste. Tip the crushed salted peanuts into a small bowl.

Place the icing sugar and cream cheese in the bowl and blend for 20 seconds, scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk and whip the cheese for 2 minutes on speed 2.

Add the cooled, slightly set but still soft butter to the mixture, add the crushed peanuts and continue whipping with the butterfly whisk for a further 1 minute.

Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with a star nozzle (optional) and let the frosting cool in the fridge until set.

If you do not have a Thermomix then use any other branded machine with a balloon whisk attachment and follow the method as per above. Crush the peanuts using a pestle and mortar or any other machine with a blade to chop the nuts to the required texture.

Whoopie Pies Cake Recipe

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Weigh the sugar into a large mixing bowl and loosen it up by letting it run through your fingers, like sand,  break up any lumps.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder over the sugar and mix it together.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg, crème fraîche and oil together. Add the boiling water whilst whisking and immediately stir the liquid into the sifted flour mixture. I have done this all by hand but you could  use a mixer to do this. Do not over work the mixture, once it all comes together stop mixing.

Leave the cake batter to rest and cool down for 5 minutes. This stage is actually important as I baked the first tray and they came out all misshapen. Once I left the cake batter to cool a bit it was easier to work with and my whoopies came out more evenly and better shaped.

Transfer the cake batter to a piping bag (I tried shaping them with spoons but the piping bag gave me the best looking results). Pipe the cake batter in aproximatly 5 cm rounds, remember they will expand and spread so your whoopies will be slightly bigger than the size  piped . Bake them in the preheated oven for 10 - 12 minutes, if they are a bit bigger than my size in this recipe I suggest you to bake them a tad longer. You are looking for a soft but cooked half moon cake, use a pallet knife to remove  from the paper. If  a crust has formed at the bottom it means they are cooked. Once the whoopies cool down they will have a bit of a crunch on the outside and the inside wil be caky and soft.

Transfer the cooked whoopies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 24 - 28 half moon whoopies

Chocolate Glaze

I make this once the whoopies have gone into the oven, this glaze should have cooled down slightly but should still be runny and not completely set when you garnish the whoopies.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft.

Weigh the caster sugar, water and cream into a small saucepan and bring it to the boil, boil the mixture for 2 minutes over high heat.

Add the cocoa powder and return the mixture to the heat and continue boiling for a further one minute over high heat.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and squeeze the gelatine to remove any excess water, stir the soaked gelatine into the warm cocoa mixture, mix well and transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool till about 22°C - 24°C.

Once the glaze reaches this temperature it's easier to apply to the whoopies.

Pair up the whoopies  so that you have two that are of similar size and place the one side of the pair on a cooling rack with the flat side down, spoon glaze over to cover the whoopie completely, sprinkle each whoopie with your desired garnish. This is optional, I have used edible gold and sliver leaf however edible glitter or silver balls and sugar sprinkles will be just as pretty.

Let the glazed over  whoopie half moons set in the fridge. Remove them from the fridge as soon as the glaze is set.

Pipe the set salted peanut frosting on to the other half of the whoopie pair, then place the glazed other half on top and the whoopies are ready to be enjoyed.

Makes aproximalty 12 - 14 finished whoopie pies

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Seville Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

Seville Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

Cut away all the skin and pith from the oranges so that you are left with a pile of skins separated from the orange flesh.

Put the orange flesh, juice and pips in a food processor and blend until smooth. The seeds contains lots of natural pectin that will help set the marmalade perfectly.

Push the purée through a sieve into a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan.

Remove as much white pith from the skin as possible. Slice the skin into very thin matchstick strips and add these to the sieved flesh in the pan.

Add the juice from the lemon and the water.

Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds into the liquid and add the pod as well for extra flavour.

Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour until the rind is very soft and the mixture has reduced by half.

Over a low heat, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Boil for about 10 minutes, skimming off any froth and impurities from the surface.

After 10 minutes, spoon a little of the marmalade onto a cold plate and place in the fridge. If it sets to a jelly the marmalade is cooked. If not, cook for a further 5-10 minutes and test again.

Allow the marmalade to cool slightly, and then pour into the hot sterilized jars.

How to prevent crystallization:

It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the marmalade has cooled down completely. I have three simple preventable reasons why crystallization could happen. One-  if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved. Two - once the sugar has dissolved and the marmalade has reached the vigorous boiling stage  you do not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and fall back into the boiling syrup the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals known as crystallization. Third preventable reason - you should never stir boiling marmalade or sugar syrup for that matter. If you do stir the boiling syrup it knocks the sugar crystals together and encourages the formation of larger crystals and crystallization sets in once cooled.

How to sterilize the jars:

This is one of the most crucial tasks and you should never cut corners. If you not do this properly you might find your handy work becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the chosen jars in hot soapy water; let them drain, do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the marmalade, never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass.

Makes 8 250g jars

Food Fanatics tips
Make sure you remove all the impurities from the top of the boiling marmalade, this will help it stay very clear and shiny. You can use other oranges however the high seed content in these Seville oranges is the secret to a successful marmalade. The seeds contain a high pectin level and the natural pectin helps the marmalade to set.

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Firecracker Roasted Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Firecracker Roasted Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Roasted Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Preheat the oven to 200 °C.

Prepare the pumpkin, if the skin is thin and fairly soft I normally keep the skin on as it adds extra nutrition and fibre to the soup. Remove  and keep the seeds.

Roughly dice the pumpkin, mix it with 2tbs of the peanut oil and seasoning, spread the diced pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast the pumpkin for 30 minutes until golden brown in the preheated oven.

While the pumpkin is roasting make the chilli and shallot paste for the soup.

Place the chilli, chopped lemongrass, shallot, ginger, garlic, celery, coriander roots, palm sugar and fish sauce in a blender and puree until smooth.

Heat a large saucepan with the remaining peanut oil and gently fry the chilli and shallot paste for about 5 minutes, add the drained soaked yellow split peas and saute for a further 2 minutes. Add the water and gently bring the soup to a gentle simmer, cover the saucepan with a lid, simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the roasted diced pumpkin, bring the soup back to the simmer, cover the pan with a lid and gently simmer the soup for a further 40 minutes, stir the soup occasionally.

Add the coconut milk, bring the soup back to the boil and simmer for further 5 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth, adjust the seasoning if needed and let the soup down with a little water if it's too thick for your liking.

Bring the soup back to the boil before serving.

Serve the soup in warm bowls garnish the soup with the rocket, coconut and coriander crush, toasted firecracker pumpkin seeds and slithers of roasted pumpkin.

Rocket, Coconut and Coriander Crush

Wash the rocket salad and coriander leaves, drain them well.

Place the rocket salad, coriander, garlic, ginger and seasoning in a blender and blend, leaving the mixture slightly coarse.

Add the oil  and pulse blend to emulsify the mixture.

Stir in the toasted dessicated coconut, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Transfer the mixture to a clean container and keep refrigerated until needed. This sauce will last for one week in the fridge.

Toasted Firecracker Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat the oven to 150 °C.

Wash the pumpkin seeds and remove the pumpkin hairs, drain well. Toss the seeds, oil, crushed chillies and salt.

Spread the seeds on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and toast the seeds in the preheated oven for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. I normally set the oven for 10 minute periods and stir after each setting, this also allows me to judge for how much longer I should toast the seeds.

Let the seeds cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. They make a lovely snack and will keep crisp for up to one week in an airtight container.

Serves 8

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Rescue Remedy; Oaty, Peach and Pear Smoothie

Rescue Remedy; Oaty, Peach and Pear Smoothie

Wash the pear, plum and peach. Choose very ripe fruits and if the skin is not too blemished keep the skin on as it provides  extra flavour and fiber. Remove the stones from the plum and peach and remove the core from the pear.

Place the diced fruit, porridge oats, apple juice, honey or Maple Syrup, yoghurt, ginger and cinnamon in a blender and blend until smooth.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2

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Raw Salad of Fennel, Seville Orange, Chicory and Kohlrabi

Raw Salad of Fennel, Seville Orange, Chicory and Kohlrabi

Seville Orange Vinaigrette

Place the freshly squeezed orange juice , olive oil, mustard, honey and seasoning into a small clean jar with a tight fitting lid.

Shake the jar vigorously to emulsify all the ingredients to form this delicious and vibrant vinaigrette, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated in the jar until needed.

Fennel, Seville Orange, Chicory and Kohlrabi Salad

Wash the fennel bulb, remove the outer layer and use a sharp mandolin to finely slice/shave the fennel into a large mixing bowl.

Peel the kohlrabi and finely slice using the mandolin, then finely julienne by using a sharp knife, the finer the julienne the tastier the salad, add the julienned kohlrabi to the fennel.

Wash the chicory, remove the root end and separate the leaves, add the chicory to the fennel mixture, add the orange zest, orange segments and chopped dill and season to taste.

Add the Seville orange vinaigrette to taste when you are ready to serve, mix well and serve immediately and garnish the salad with the tahoon or mustard cress.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

The raw salad undressed will last  well and crisp in the fridge, prepare the salad and vinaigrette but do not add the vinaigrette until just before your ready to serve the dish.           I keep the undressed raw salad for up to two days in the fridge covered with  damp kitchen paper in an air tight container, it's amazing how crisp and well it keeps.

If you cannot find kohlrabi in the supermarket or at your local farmers market then I suggest you use turnips. Read below to find out why turnips.

What is Kohlrabi? Kohlrabi is one of the brassica families (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes), it's a cross between cabbage and turnips. The taste is subtle, slightly sweet with a slight hint of broccoli. I prefer to eat it raw however it's delicious when braised with Port wine and chicken stock. It's one of the most used vegetables in Kashmir so I think next time I get my hands on another kohlrabi, I will braise it with sultanas, garam masala, coconut milk and flaked almonds...mmm does sound seriously good!

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Coconut Panacotta and Passion Fruit Eggs

Coconut Panacotta and Passion Fruit Eggs

Cleaning The Eggs

This task is time consuming and you should take extra care to keep the number of broken eggs to a minimum.

Preheat the oven to 100°C. Place a cooling rack over a baking tray.

Use a egg topper to crack the top of the egg carefully, then remove the top and any small bits of loose shell. Empty the contents from the shell, keep the egg yolk and whites to make other dishes. Carefully wash the shell in warm water, rub your finger on the inside to remove any bits of the membrane.

Place the cleaned empty egg shells onto the cooling rack and place them  into the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Let the sterilized egg shells cool completely before you fill them with the coconut panacotta mixture.

Coconut Panacotta

Soak the gelatine in cold water.

Bring the coconut milk and double cream to the boil, simmer for one minute, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the white chocolate

Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove the excess water and add the gelatine to the warm coconut mixture, stir until the chocolate and the gelatine are dissolved.

Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and pour it into the prepared egg shells. Carefully transfer the eggs to the fridge and leave them to set completely. I normally leave the eggs for about 4 hours to set completely.

Once the coconut panacotta has set, use a small parisienne scoop to to scoop out a small bit from the center to make a small indent. This is  for the passion fruit jelly which resembles the egg yolk.

Passion Fruit Jelly

Only prepare the passion fruit jelly when the coconut panacotta is completely set and you have scooped out the holes in the center of the panacotta.

Soak the gelatine in cold water.

Mix the passion fruit puree and sugar together, heat it over low heat in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble, remove the saucepan from the heat. Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove the excess water and add the gelatine to the warm passion fruit mixture, stir until the gelatine is dissolved.

Pass the passion fruit puree through a fine sieve and leave to cool completely but not set, it must still be pourable. Pour the passion fruit jelly carefully into the centre of the coconut panacotta. Carefully return the eggs to the fridge to set the passion fruit jelly, this should take about 2 hours.

Serve the eggs in the egg boxes with small spoons.

Makes 18 eggs

Food Fanatics Tips

Add a bit of sparkle by sprinkling some of Laura Santini's Edible Food Bling made from flakes of edible gold and silver onto your party eggs. I received a set for Christmas and I cannot wait to use it next time I make these eggs.

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Beetroot Stained Salmon Gravadlax

Beetroot Stained Salmon Gravadlax

Beetroot Stained Salmon Gravadlax

Remove the scales and pin bones from the salmon, remember that the fish should be super fresh. Pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper.

Mix the salt, sugar, chopped dill and orange zest and spread half of this mixture in the bottom of a deep tray or dish for the salmon to cure in. Make sure the length of the fish fits in  the dish as it should remain flat at all times.

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Place the salmon skin side down onto the salt sugar mixture, spread the rest of the mix over the salmon.

Peel the beetroot and grate the beetroot using a course grater, spread the grated beetroot over the salmon, pasting it on nice and thick, cover the salmon directly with cling film and place something heavy directly onto the salmon to weigh it down.

Place the salmon in the fridge and leave to cure for 2/ 3 days, turn it each day that you leave it to cure. I cured my salmon for 2 days as the fish was fairly thin but if you have a thick piece of salmon I suggest the full 3 days curing time.

After your fish is cured remove it from the dish and rinse the salmon under cold running water, pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper and place the salmon on a clean tray, cover with food wrap and refrigerate until needed.

The salmon will last for up to 5 days in the fridge once cured.

Celeriac Remoulade

Peel the celeriac and use a mandolin to finely slice the celeriac and then julienne it  very finely with a sharp knife. The finer you julienne the celeriac the better your remoulade would turn out as you do not cook the celeriac but eat it raw.

Place the julienne of celeriac in a large mixing bowl, add seasoning, mustard and mayonnaise, mix very well to ensure a even distribution of the mayonnaise and mustard.Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and add freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste.

Transfer the remoulade into a clean container and refrigerate until needed.

Food Fanatics Tip

I normally make my remoulade a couple of day's in advance, it saves time and I like the improvement of taste. The celeriac remains crispy.

Beetroot Puree and Jelly

For the puree: Peel and cut the beetroot into even size pieces, place the beetroot in a saucepan cover with cold water, add the vinegar and add salt to the water, bring the beetroot to the boil and cook until tender.

Drain the beetroot from the cooking liquid, keep the liquid.

Puree the beetroot, with 50ml of the cooking liquid, until smooth in a food processor, taste and adjust the seasoning. If the puree is a bit too thick add a bit more of the cooking liquid. Take 200g of the puree to make the jelly and cool the rest until needed.

For the jelly: Get a tray ready, I used a 14cm x 21cm x 1.5cm tray. I found these exact trays at Muji and they are perfect. Do not line the tray with cling film as agar does not set in this product, bizarre, I'm not entirely sure why.

Place 200g of the beetroot puree, 50ml of the cooking liquid and the agar agar into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, once it's boiling pour the mixture immediately into the tray and do not move the tray until the jelly is completely set. If you  move the tray it will not set.

Leave to cool completely before using.

Mini Spelt, Walnut and Honey Loaves

Place the yeast, 50g flour and the honey in a small mixing bowl and add 50g of  water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot until the mixture starts to bubble.

In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, salt and the remaining water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.

Grease a large mixing bowl, once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel. Leave to prove until the dough has risen double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease 12 mini loaf holes.

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Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and if you are making the individual mini loaves divide the dough into 12 x 40g even size dough balls. Roll each ball into a evenly shaped log that fits into each greased mini loaf hole, once you have rolled all the loaves cover the tray with cling film or a clean dry tea towel and leave it to prove for the second time until nearly double in size, brush the risen loaves carefully with the egg yolk and use a pair of scissors to make small cuts at the top of the risen loaves.

Place the baking sheet with mini bread loaves in the middle of the preheated oven and pour 100ml of cold water directly onto the floor of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to puff and form a lovely crust. Bake them for 16 - 18 minutes, turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

Assembling the Dish

Slice the gravadlax into wafer thin slices and arrange them on one side of the slate square, fill small spoons with the celeriac remoulade and place it at the oposite end of the plate, slice the mini  bread loaves in slices and place them next to the celeriac remoulade spoon.

Pull a long swipe of the beetroot puree on the slate, from one corner to the other. Arrange the pickled baby beets, a couple of tiny spoons of the jelly, a few dollops of the horseradish cream and arrange the salad leaves over the dish followed by a few strands of orange zest.

Serves 10

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Cider, Apple and Golden Sultana Braised Red Cabbage

Cider, Apple and Golden Sultana Braised Red Cabbage

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

In a large oven proof casserole dish or saucepan( with metal handles) melt the butter until it starts to foam and saute the onion, garlic and sultanas for 5 minutes stirring occasionally, until the onions starts to turn golden brown.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the apples and orange zest, season well with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and cover with a tight fitting lid.

Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours stirring at half hourly intervals.

Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the orange zest and the prepared bramley apples and then cook for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and cool the braised cabbage, keep refrigerated until needed. I like this cabbage best if it's left to mature for a day or two before eating.

To serve wash and core the coxes apples, slice and saute them until golden in a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Reheat the braised cabbage in a saucepan, bring the cabbage to a gentle simmer and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stir regularly.

Serve the braised cabbage with the sauteed cox's apple slices.

Makes approximately 12 - 15 portions

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A Few Festive Treats with Homemade Sweet Mincemeat

A Few Festive Treats with Homemade Sweet Mincemeat

Christmas Sweet Mincemeat for Keeps

Mix all the ingredients together(use only half the brandy) in a large deep baking tray and cover and leave to stand overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 120°C cover the tray with foil and place in the oven for about 2 hours.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then mix in the rest of the brandy.

Sterilize clean glass jars in the oven and spoon the warm mincemeat into the sterilized jars, seal and leave to mature.

Makes 1.3 kg

Food Fanatics Tip:

This mincemeat needs to mature for at least two weeks before using. Once sealed, it can keep for at least 6 months.

Make the perfect  gift: Fill clean sterilized glass jars with 300g mincemeat and attach a recipe to the side for the pastry and baking method for  making mince pies at home.

Luxury Mincemeat Biscuits

Preheat oven to 180 °C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together, then beat in the vanilla.

Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together, and add to butter mixture.

Mix until well blended.

Stir in the nuts and mincemeat, mix well.

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Drop 20g of the biscuit mix onto the prepared baking trays. Use a fork dipped in plain flour to press the biscuits down to even thickness. Please make sure you leave enough of a gap between the biscuits as they do spread.

Bake the biscuits for 8 to 10 minutes until light but golden brown for a soft eat, if you prefer a crispy crunchy biscuit bake them for 12 - 15 minutes, dust them with icing sugar and leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

Makes about 35 - 40 biscuits

Food Fanatics Tips:

Keep the biscuits in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

They make a very pretty gift and would be adored even by those individuals who do not normally enjoy a good mince pie. Pack 5/6 of these festive luxury mincemeat biscuits into a cellophane bag and wrap a festive and colorful ribbon round, attach a pretty hand written tag. I love these kind of gifts as they are so personal!

Festive Power Bars

Pastry:

Filling:

Topping:

Pre-heat the oven to 175ºC and line a 22cm x 12cm x 7cm loaf tin with parchment papaer.

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Make the pastry: Measure the flour and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add sufficient ice cold water to firm the dough.

Roll out the pastry to a rectangle, line the base of the prepared tin with pastry.

Spread the mincemeat evenly over the pastry base.

Topping: Pour the flour, semolina, cinnamon, oats and caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the butter, use your fingertips to rub the butter in until lit looks like breadcrumbs. Add the nuts and run your fingers through to mix.

Scatter the crumble over the mincemeat. Press the crumble topping down firmly with your hands.

Bake in pre-heated oven for about 35 - 40 minutes until golden brown.

Let it cool completely before cutting into 4cm slices.

Makes 5 power bars

Food Fanatics Tips:

These power bars are the perfect festive pick me up treat come 4pm or  have one of these for breakfast.

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Apple Snowball

Apple Snowball

Apple Snow

Soak the gelatine in cold water until completely soft and squidgy.

Heat the double cream and apple juice in a small saucepan, as soon as it starts to boil remove it form the heat. Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove the excess water and add to the warm cream, whisk until the gelatine is dissolved.

Add the natural yoghurt and mix well, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Pour the mixture into a cream whipper, secure the lid, attach the chosen nozzle and charge the cream whipper with two gas charges, shake vigorously and place the cream whipper in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Warm Spiced Apple Rum

Pour the apple juice into a medium saucepan, add the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom pods, clove studded orange and the rum.

Gently heat the apple juice to just before boiling point, leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Once you are ready to serve pass the apple rum through a fine sieve and pour the warm spiced apple rum into the  glasses.

Remove the cream whipper from the fridge,dip it a couple of times in warm water to loosen the mixture and shake vigorously before squirting the apple snow onto the warm spiced apple rum drink. Dust the snow with ground cinnamon and garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick.

Serve immediately.

Serves 10 -12

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Slow Cooked Pheasant Breast with Griddled Leeks and Pickled Mushrooms

Slow Cooked Pheasant Breast with Griddled Leeks and Pickled Mushrooms

Pickled Wild Mushrooms

Clean the mushrooms, and cut them in even size pieces. If you are washing the mushrooms dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper.

Place both oils, sugar, vinegar, bay leaf, coriander seeds and seasoning in a small saucepan, gently heat the liquid to blood temperature, if your using a probe heat to 37°C.

Add the cleaned dried mushrooms to the warm liquid, transfer the mushrooms and liquid to a clean storage container or sterilized glass jar and leave to infuse for a minimum of one hour. I make the pickled mushrooms a day in advance. They will keep for up to five days in the pickling liquid.

Slow Cooked Pheasant Breast

Preheat the water bath to  63 °C.

Prepare the pheasant breast by removing as many of the feathers as possible. Season the breast with the Carnal Sin Blend, salt and pepper, add the zest of one lemon, the olive oil and rub all the flavourings into the breast.

Place the breast in a clean vacuum bag, wear clean disposable gloves when you are doing this, seal the bags on full vacuum.

Cook the pheasant breast in the preheated water bath till 58°C, core temperature, it takes about 28 minutes if you do not have the correct probe.

Chill the pheasant breast in ice water and refrigerate until needed.

If you do not have  a water bath then I suggest you roast the pheasant breast in the oven. Preheat the oven to  200°C. Heat a non-stick frying pan with the oil and season the pheasant breast with the Carnal Sin Spice Blend, salt and pepper and the zest of one lemon.

Brown the pheasant breast on the skin side in the hot pan, add a teaspoon of butter after one minute, brown the pheasant until golden on the skin side for about 2 minutes.

Turn it over and seal the flesh side for 1 minute.

Transfer the pheasant breast to a oven tray and roast the breast for 8 minutes, let the breast rest for 10 minutes once roasted.

Mushroom Puree

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the butter, as soon as it starts to foam add the sliced mushrooms with seasoning and saute until they are golden brown.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine and add the chopped thyme leaves, saute for a few seconds and add the double cream, bring the cream to the boil and simmer until it became thickened.

Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a blender and blend until smooth, set aside until needed.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

First make a red wine reduction with the red wine, bay leaf, coriander seeds and peppercorns, bring the wine to the boil in a small saucepan and reduce to 50ml.

Pass the wine reduction and measure 50ml into a small jug, add the Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, pinch of caster sugar and seasoning, blend to mix, add the oil a little at a time to form an emulsion, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Transfer the red wine vinaigrette to a small clean bottle or container, set aside until needed.

Griddled Leeks

Choose preferably two very fresh and thin or young leeks .Cut the leek to the length of your serving plate, trim  and cut the root to provide a dramatic texture on the plate.

Bring a large saucepan with salted water to the boil and blanch the leeks in the rapid boiling water for 8 minutes and refresh them in ice water.

Remove the outside skins from the leeks and cut them in half length ways. I serve half a leek per portion.

Preheat a griddle pan. Season the leeks with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle the olive oil over the leeks.

Griddle the seasoned leeks till bar marks appear on both sides. Keep warm until serving.

Assemble the dish

Blanch the curly kale in salted boiling water, drain and finely chop. Heat the mushroom puree and drain the pickled mushrooms.

If you cooked the pheasant breast in the water bath then heat a non-stick frying pan with the butter, remove the pheasant from the bag and brown it on the skin side in the foaming butter until golden brown, cook for about 2 minutes on each side.

Rest the breast for 4 minutes and slice the breast in slices. I serve 4/5  slices per portion all depends on the size of the breast. If you roasted the pheasant breast in the oven then once the pheasant is rested slice the breast and serve.

Place the curly kale in a pile on the plate and lay one warm griddled leek over and place the warm sliced pheasant on top of the leek, place two quenelles of the warm mushroom puree on the plate. Scatter the drained pickled mushrooms and season the plate with a sprinkle of Laura's Salt of the Earth.

Serves 6 main course portions

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The British Larder’s Home Made Christmas Hamper

The British Larder’s Home Made Christmas Hamper

Smokey Roasted Chili Nut

Preheat the oven to  180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix all the nuts except the flaked almonds into a mixing bowl add the water, oil, salt, ground cloves, smoked paprika, salt and crushed chillies, mix well.

Spread the nuts on the lined backing tray and roast them in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, stir them once and add the flaked almonds, mix and return the tray to the oven.

Roast the nuts for a further 5 minutes, keep a eye on them as you do not want the nuts to burn, remove them from the oven when sufficiently roasted.

Let the nuts cool completely before bagging them in a cellophane bag or a clean empty glass jar.

Makes 200g smokey roasted chili nuts

Food Fanatics Tips

Choose your own selection of nuts. I have chosen to use shelled nuts however you could use pistachios in their shells. You could also personalise your spices to make something very  special for each person. You could also use dried herbs or dried citrus fruit skins to flavour your nuts.

Beetroot, Ginger and Cranberry Chutney

Peel the beetroot and dice in approximately 1/2 cm pieces. Peel the onions and slice using a mandolin. Peel and grate the ginger.

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan over low heat, dissolve the sugar and bring the chutney to a gentle simmer.

Stir the chutney regularly while cooking to prevent it catching. Cook the chutney for about 35 - 40 minutes, I stop the cooking the chutney once it  has thickened and the beetroots are cooked. I like my chutney thick and quite dry but it's your choice. If you would like to test your chutneys setting point, place a small plate in the freezer, pour a teaspoon of chutney on the ice cold plate, let it cool for 5 minutes and then you will have an  indication of what it would look like once cooled.

Let the chutney cool for 10 minutes before you fill your sterilized jars.

Sterilising the jars:

This is one of the most crucial steps to successfully preserving food and you should never cut corners with this one. If  this is not done properly you might find your preserved goods become mouldy and ferment sooner than expected. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the warm chutney into the sterilised jar.

Never pour cold liquid into hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass. Take extra care when sterilising the jars, if they are overheated they might explode.

Caribbean Spiced Vanilla Rum

Choose a bottle,  clean it thoroughly with hot soapy water and sterilize the bottle in the oven as per the method above.

Let the sterilized bottle cool completely.

Place the cloves, vanilla pod and cinnamon stick inside and fill the bottle with the rum.

Secure the lid and decorate the bottle with string, twine or ribbon of your choice. Attach a luggage tag with the title and write a use for the product on the back.

Food Fanatics Tips

I did not give quantities for this recipe as it's your choice to what size bottle you use. You can use any spirit and spice of your choice.

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Tamarind Pears with Creamed Tapioca and Toffee Pear Lollipops

Tamarind Pears with Creamed Tapioca and Toffee Pear Lollipops

Creamed Tapioca

Soak the tapioca in 5 times the same value of cold water over night.

Rinse the tapioca under cold running water and transfer to the themomix bowl. Add the butter, vanilla seeds, salt and milk. Set the timer to 10 minutes at 90°C speed 3 reverse blade setting.

Rest the cooked tapioca for 5 minutes in the thermomix bowl with the lid on.

Whisk the yolks and sugar until pale in colour, add to the cooked tapioca mixture, return to the machine. Set the timer for 10 minutes at 70°C speed 3 reverse blade setting.

Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft and wrinkly, squeeze to remove excess water, add to the cooked tapioca mixture and stir.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks and fold into the cooked tapioca mixture.

Transfer the cooked mixture to the chosen serving glasses and fill them half way.

Set in the fridge.

Pear Espuma

Peel, remove the core and cut the pears into small pieces.

Heat a medium saucepan with half the butter. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the pears and honey. Stir and cook for two minutes. Add the water, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat, dice the rest of the cold butter and add to the cooked pears, whip until the butter dissolves.

Transfer the cooked pears to a blender and blend until smooth. Cool over rice.

Once the puree is completely cold whisk in the yoghurt and transfer the mixture to a clean cream whipper, charge with two gas pellets, shake vigorously and refrigerate until needed.

Tamarind Pears

Peel the tamarind pods and remove the strings.

Place the tamarind pulp, sugar, water and vanilla pod in a small saucepan. Dissolve the sugar over low heat, bring the syrup to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the tamarind has softened and dissolved.

Pass the pulp through a sieve ; add the lemon juice and whisk until smooth syrup, chill.

Peel the pears, and cut into 2cm barrels, slice each barrel into to 2mm thick slices. Work on 6 - 8 slices per glass.

Place the slices of pear into a clean vacuum bag and pour in the tamarind syrup, seal on hard vacuum. Let the pears macerate for 20 minutes before using.

Sumac Toffee Pears

Make a dry caramel by melting the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, once dissolved add the sumac and increase the heat and boil the sugar until it becomes a rich caramel colour.

Prepare the pears by using a apple corer to cut long barrels, then cut each barrel into 2cm long pieces, skewer a cocktail stick into the one side of the barrel of pear.

Once the caramel reaches the correct colour place the pan over ice water to stop the caramel from colouring. Dip the pear lollipop into the caramel and shake to remove most of the caramel, to leave a thin coating of caramel.

Serve these toffee pears immediately. They will not keep and must be served immediately as the moisture of the fresh pear will dissolve the caramel.

Assembly of the dish

Open the tamarind pears and drain the sliced pears.

Place 6 – 8 slices on top of the set tapioca and pour on a teaspoon of the tamarind syrup.

Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt a small amount of pear espuma on the side of the tamarind pears and dust with a small pinch of wild sumac.

Serve immediately with the toffee pears.

Makes 12 pre-dessert portions

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Clementine Sherbet Verrines

Clementine Sherbet Verrines

Clementine Jelly

Place the peeled clementines in a food blender and blend until smooth, pass the juice through a fine sieve. Discard  the fleshy parts and keep the juice.

Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft.

Bring 300ml of the clementine juice to the boil with the sugar, as soon as it starts to boil remove the clementine juice from the heat, squeeze the gelatine to remove any excess water add the soft gelatine to the warm juice and stir to dissolve. (Keep the rest of the juice for the granita.)

Add the juice of half a lemon.

Fill 12 shot glasses half way full with the clementine jelly, refrigerate until set. This takes about 6 hours. I normally leave the jellies to set overnight.

Clementine Granita

Bring the clementine juice, sugar and glucose to the boil, as soon as it boils remove it from the heat, stir until the sugar and glucose dissolve.

Add the juice of half a lemon, pour the mixture into a small palstic container and place it in the freezer. Stir the granita every hour, using a spoon to scrape the ice crystals, repeat this about 5 or 6 times.

Yoghurt Espuma

Soak the gelatine in cold water until completely soft, squeeze to remove the water.

Place the cream, soaked gelatine and caster sugar in a metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water, stir until the sugar and soaked gelatine dissolve. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the natural yoghurt, stir.

Pour the yoghurt mixture into a clean 1/2 Litre cream whipper, secure the lid and charge the cream whipper with two gas charges. Shake vigorously and place the cream whipper in the fridge to chill. It will need about 2 hours to chill completely.

When you are ready to use the yoghurt foam shake the cream whipper vigorously to loosen the mixture.

Clementine Sherbet

Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the clementine skins, remove as many of the white membranes as possible and break the skins into even size pieces (about the size of a 50 pence piece).

Spread the clementine skins on a large baking tray and place the tray in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, stir the clementine skins regular and check if they are dry. Do not leave the skins in the oven too long as they will discolour and look unattractive.

Once the skins are crisp remove them from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Place 10g of the crisp clementine skins in a food processor and blend till a powder has formed. Add the citric acid, wild sumac, sifted icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda, blend until completely smooth.

Keep the sherbet in a  clean air tight container of glass jar.

Food Fanatics Tip

The clementine skins will be very light once dry so do not underestimate the amount to be dried. If you have some dried skins left over tie them together with a couple of cloves in muslin and hang it in your kitchen larder it smells fresh and festive.

Assembly of the dish

First make the clementine and fresh mint salad. Remove as much  of the white membranes, as possible, from the clementine segments. Cut the clementine segments into smaller pieces and mix with the chopped fresh mint.

Divide the clementine and mint salad amongst the jelly glasses, top with a spoonful of the clementine granita and a squirt of the yoghurt espuma and dust each glass generously with the clementine sherbet. Serve immediately.

Makes 12 shot glasses

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Date, Almond and Clementine Christmas Stollen

Date, Almond and Clementine Christmas Stollen

Tea Soaked Dates and Raisins

In a small bowl mix the chopped dates, raisins and bicarbonate of soda.

Make the strong tea and while hot, pour 80 ml over the mixed dates and raisins, leave to soak for at least 1 hour.

While the fruits are soaking make the stollen dough.

When you are ready to use the tea soaked dates and raisins, drain off  the excess tea and add the clementine zest to the soaked fruits.

Food Fanatics Tips:

I normally use dried dates but if you do have medoul dates to hand remove the stones and cut them in finger nail size pieces. Start the soaking process with the raisins, bicarbonate of soda and the hot tea and soak for 30 minutes. Add the chopped medoul dates and soak for a further 10 minutes. I also find soaking the fruits overnight works perfectly for me, the fruit  soaks up nearly all the tea and it makes it easier to work with.

Drunken Egg Wash

Whisk all of the ingredients together, set aside until needed.

Stollen

I used a stand up mixer with a dough hook attachment to make my stollen dough however you could easily make it by hand with Richards directions in the video above.

Weigh the flour, yeast, ground mixed spice and butter into the mixing bowl, attach the dough hook and mix until the butter is rubbed in and represents fine bread crumbs.

Add the salt and sugar and mix swiftly. The sugar and salt can have an effect on the yeast especially fresh yeast and for that reason I add the salt and sugar after the initial mixing stage.

Whisk the whole eggs and milk together. While the machine, with the dough hook, is mixing on low speed (one) add the milk and egg mixture, continue kneading the dough for 8 - 10 minutes on the slow speed setting. The dough will look sticky and wet but it's perfectly good.

Thermomix Method:

Weigh the flour, yeast, ground mixed spice and butter directly into the TM bowl using the build in weighing scales. Gradually turn the dial to 8 for 30 seconds until the butter is rubbed into the flour and represents fine bread crumbs. Add the salt, sugar, eggs and milk, lock the lid and press the pulse button twice. Set the timer for 1 minute 30 seconds, lock the lid and press the dough button. WARNING: this dough is meant to be sticky, do not panic. Continue the recipe as below.

Turn the sticky sweet dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a medium size lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean dry tea towel in a warm place. When I made the second batch of stollen my kitchen was very cold and it took nearly two hours to prove, be warned it does take quite some time. Prove the stollen dough until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough gently our onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even size logs. Spread and move each log into a rectangle of about 25cm long by 15 cm wide. I try not to use a rolling pin as it compacts the dough too much and all that time waiting for it to prove is sort of defeated, use your fingers.

Spread 100g of the  tea soaked date and raisin mixture over each log, fold the dough over to cover the mixture, retaining the 25 cm long side. Take the 100g marzipan log and roll it in your hands to about 10 cm long, place this in the middle of the 25cm stollen dough, roll the dough over the marzipan like an envelope, turn the loaf over so that the joint is at the bottom of the stollen loaf. Do the same with the second loaf.

Place the stollen loaves on a large lined baking tray with a 15cm gap between them. Lightly cover the loaves with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to prove for the second time, about 35 - 40 minutes.

While the stollen is proving for the second time preheat the oven to 180°C.

Once the stollen is ready to be baked brush each loaf generously with the drunken egg wash and dust it heavily with caster sugar. Place in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and throw 100ml of cold water on the bottom of the hot oven, shut the door immediatly and bake the stollen for 40 minutes, repeat the egg wash for the second time and return the stollen to the oven for a further 5 minutes. The reason for the cold water in the oven is to create steam this gives the stollen a lovely crunchy crust and gives the stollen a bit of a lift, it adds to the lightness of the loaves.

Transfer the stollen loaves to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To serve heavy dust the stollen with icing sugar, slice and serve.

Makes two loaves

Food Fanatics Tips

Replace the dates with dried cranberries and if you really want a boozy kick replace the tea with dark Rum, Brandy or Cognac. Make a delicious bread and butter pudding with the left over stollen. This stollen freezes well. If you do decide to freeze the stollen make sure you freeze it on the same day that you have baked them to ensure freshness.

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Festive Ginger Christmas Cookies; Perfect for Christmas Tree Decorations

Festive Ginger Christmas Cookies; Perfect for Christmas Tree Decorations

Ginger Biscuits

Cut the butter in small pieces; let it come to room temperature.

Once the butter is soft, cream the butter and the sugar.

Add the golden syrup and  the eggs one at a time, mix well after each egg.

Sieve the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda together.

Gently fold the flour in to the creamed butter mix.

Divide the ginger biscuit dough in to two even sizes.

Well wrap each part  in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll the ginger biscuit dough out to about 5mm even thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes, arrange the biscuits on the prepared tray, leave at least 1cm gaps as they do swell and get stuck. Use a sharp knife to make holes for the ribbons, be generous with the size of your holes as they close up easily.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until golden but not too dark. Immediately re-enforce the holes to make sure that the gaps are big enough for the ribbons before the cookies cool down too much. If you make the holes after they have cooled down they cookies will break, disaster!

Let the biscuits cool on a cooling rack.

Decorate with royal icing and garnish with edible glitter or a garnish of your choice.

Thread ribbons or string through the holes.

Keep the ginger biscuits in an airtight container or hang them immediately on your festive Christmas tree.

Royal Icing

Mix all the ingredients together to a smooth paste, if the icing is too wet add more icing sugar and if it's too dry add more lemon juice. The icing goes  hard quickly so make it when you are ready to use it. I make little portions at a time so that I can play with the colours. It's very important to sift the icing sugar to prevent lumpy bits.

Use a piping bag to pipe shapes and garnish the biscuits. I used a small pallet knife or butter knife to spread the icing over some of my cookies and it does give a lovely effect, dust them with the glitter before the icing sets.

Makes plenty..... sorry I did not count them, keep them in a air tight container. They do last for good while.

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Lunch by Brett Graham, The Ledbury

Lunch by Brett Graham, The Ledbury

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Hay Baked Jerusalem Artichoke and Smoked Cream Salad

Hay Baked Jerusalem Artichoke and Smoked Cream Salad

Preheat the oven to 200°C and locate a cooling rack that fits over an oven tray.

Soak the hay in the cold water for 30 minutes, drain thoroughly in a colander.

In a large saucepan cover the Jerusalem artichokes with water and add salt to the water bring to the boil and cook until the chokes are nearly tender.

Drain the chokes and peel them while they are still slightly warm, cut them in half.

Place the drained soaked hay in the bottom half of the oven tray and place the cooling rack above, arrange the chokes on top of the cooling rack.

In a small saucepan season the double cream and 1/2 garlic clove, heat gently to just before boiling and pour  into a small metal bowl or oven safe dish, place the warmed cream on the cooling rack next to the chokes, cover loosely with a foil dome.

SmokedChokes3Heat the tray on the cooker until the hay starts to smoke, once smoking leave the foil covered tray in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the cream, it will look like baked set cream but once you stir it it will revert to liquid again, slightly thickened though.

Return the chokes without the foil covering to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Keep the chokes warm for serving.

While the chokes are baking in the oven prepare the hazelnut confit leeks. Slice the leek in 1/2 cm rings, wash and dry.

Make a vinaigrette with the sugar, mustard, hazelnut oil, vinegar and seasoning, heat gently in a small saucepan, do not boil just warm it through about blood temperature.

Heat a small non-stick frying pan with 1 teaspoon of butter, once it starts to foam add the sliced leek with seasoning and fry until golden brown. Transfer the golden leeks to the warmed hazelnut vinaigrette, let it infuse for at least 15 minutes.

Wipe the frying pan clean, return to the heat with the remaining butter, once it starts to foam add the ripped ciatabata bread and toast until golden, drain on kitchen paper.

Soft boil the hens eggs for 5 minutes, peel and cut them in half and season with maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Assemble the dish by tossing the smoked artichokes in a little bit of olive oil, arrange them on the plate with the pickled leeks, micro salad leaves and pour the smoked cream in a small dipping pot and place the soft boiled egg on the plate.

Serves 4

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Pear, Quail, Walnut and Stilton Salad

Pear, Quail, Walnut and Stilton Salad

Blue cheese Gnocchi

Preheat the oven to 100°C.

Peel and roughly dice the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, drain the potatoes, lay them on a oven tray and dry the potatoes in the preheated oven for 10 – 20 minutes to remove any excess water.

Place the flour and semolina in the thermomix and blend for 30 seconds on speed 10.

While the potatoes are still warm pass the potatoes through a food mill with the crumbed Stilton, milled flour and seasoning. Mix in the egg and rest the gnocchi mixture in the fridge for 1 hour.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with semolina, divide the gnocchi mixture in to 6 even size balls, then roll each ball into thin long sausages with the diameter of 20 pence piece, cut each piece in 1.5cm long pillows, use a fork and mark the one side of the gnocchi.

Blanch the gnocchi in salted rapid boiling water for 2 minutes, or until they float, transfer them with a slotted spoon to an ice water bath to cool them rapidly.

Drain the gnocchi and toss with olive oil, keep them refrigerated until needed.

Quail Sausage

Preheat the water bath to 68°C.

Season the quail’s legs with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Place the quail’s legs in a vacuum bag with the slices of lemon and sprig of thyme. Seal on hard vacuum.

Cook for 50 minutes in the preheated water bath. Once cooked, cool in ice water.

Flake the quail leg meat from the bones and remove the skin.

Sauté the morel mushroom in the teaspoon of butter until golden, drain on kitchen paper and rough chop the mushrooms.

Place the chicken breast meat in the thermomix bowl, blend for 30 seconds on speed 10, scrape the sides down and repeat the process until the chicken meat is smooth. Pass the chicken puree through a fine sieve to remove the connective tissue.

Transfer the chicken puree to a small bowl, season and then whip in the cream bits at a time. Do not overwork the mousse.

Fold the flaked quail meat, chopped watercress and chopped sautéed morel mushrooms into the chicken mousse and season to taste. Transfer the mixture to a disposable piping bag.

Lay a double layer of clingfilm on the work surface.

Cut the pancetta slices in half and lay the pancetta slices onto the clingfilm to form a long rectangle.

Cut the piping bag, make a large opening about the size of 20pence size, and pipe the mixture onto the pancetta slices. Roll the pancetta up to form a sausage with the help of the clingfilm.

Secure the openings of the clingfilm.

Poach the sausage in the preheated water bath at 68°C for 20 minutes and cool the sausages over ice. Reshape and roll the sausage up in clean clingfilm once chilled to secure the round shape.

Place in the fridge to set.

Quail Breast

Preheat the water bath to 68°C.

Clean the quails and pat them dry with kitchen paper.

Heat a non-stick frying pan; Season the quail crowns and sauté in the warm pan with the butter until golden brown all over.

Place the browned quail crowns in two separate small vacuum bags with one slice of lemon and one sprig of thyme per bag. Seal on hard vacuum and cook the quail crowns for 20 minutes in the preheated water bath.

Chill the quail crowns in ice water, until completely cold.

Once chilled remove the crowns from the bags, remove the breast from the carcass, drain on kitchen paper, and set aside till ready to serve.

Pickled Walnut Salt Encrusted Quails Eggs

Bring a small saucepan with water to the boil, add the quails eggs and soft boil for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, cool and peel the eggs.

Finely chop the pickled walnut, lay the chopped walnut on a tray and let it dry out. Add the salt and then return the dried chopped walnut and salt to the chopping board and chop until very fine.

Roll each quails egg in the pickled walnut salt, set aside.

Pear Jelly

Peel, core and slice the pear.

Place the sliced pears and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes.

Puree the boiled pears including the water.

Return the pear puree to the heat whisk in the agar agar and bring the puree to the boil for 1 minute.

Pour the hot pear jelly in the container, leave to set at room temperature, and do not move the container before the jelly is set, as any agitation will prevent the jelly from setting.

Sautéed Honey Pears

Peel, core and quarter the pear.

Cut each quarter into 5 and place the pears in a vacuum bag.

Add the honey and seal on hard vacuum; let the pears macerate over night.

Open the pouch and drain the pears.

Heat a small non-stick frying pan with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the pears and sauté until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper.

Assembly of the dish

Heat a non-stick frying pan and sauté the gnocchi until golden in a portion of the butter and drain on kitchen paper.

Sautee the sausage slices until golden on both sides and drain on kitchen paper.

Sauté the quail breast for two minute on the skin side.

Arrange the Quail sausage slices, sautéed honey pears, gnocchi, jelly, quails egg and mixture of salad leaves. Slice the quail’s breast in three and place in position on the plate.

Serves 4

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Goji berry and Yacon Muesli Muffins

Goji berry and Yacon Muesli Muffins

Goji berry and Yacon Muesli Crumble

Preheat the oven to  180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Weight all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, use your finger tips to rub the butter into the flour until it represents large crumbs.

Spread the crumble mixture on the lined baking tray and place the tray in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Let the crumble cool completely.

Muffin Batter

Preheat the oven to  180°C and grease 12 muffin holes.

Sift the dry flour, ground ginger, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl mix the yoghurt, egg and melted butter.

Sift the flour mixture for the second time over the yoghurt mixture and add the 150g baked crumble mix, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet batter, do not over mix the batter, it does not matter if it is slightly lumpy.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and fill the greased muffin tray holes 3/4's full, top each muffin with the rest of the baked crumble mixture.

Place the muffin tray in the preheated oven for 28 - 30 minutes, they will rise and the crumble mix might pop off slightly, this is fine as some of the mixture will remain stuck to the muffins.

Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the tray before gently turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 12

Food Fanatics Tips

The seceret for a ultra light muffins are to sift the dry ingredeints twice and no to over mix the batter.

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Momofuku’s Pork Buns Recreated by The British Larder

Momofuku’s Pork Buns Recreated by The British Larder

Sous-Vide Belly of Pork

Heat the water bath to 83°C.

Prepare the pork belly by removing the rind and score the fat with diamond shapes, do not cut all the way through, just score the fat. Cut it into 6 x 7cm x 7cm pieces. Make sure you wear clean disposable gloves when you prepare the meat for sous-vide cooking.

Stir the rest of the ingredients together to make the marinade.

Place the belly of pork into a clean large vacuum bag and add the marinade, I seal the belly twice on hard vacuum as the vacuum opens the pores of the pork and the marinade penetrates faster and more effectively. (Seal the bag once, cut the bag open and seal again)

Cook the pork belly pieces in the preheated water bath for 9 hours. If you have left the pork belly whole I recommend that cooking time should be 12 hours.

Chill the belly in ice water once cooked and refrigerate until needed. Do not keep the cooked sous vide belly of pork for longer than three days in the fridge.

To reheat the belly: Preheat the oven to 160 °C, open the vacuum bag and place the pork pieces on a lined baking tray, place the sauce into a small saucepan and reduce over high heat to form a thick glaze. Place the pork in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, slice them in 5mm thick slices for the buns, place the slices on a tray and glaze the pork with the reduced sauce. Keep it warm until your buns are ready to be serve.

Steamed Buns

Weigh the flour, suet, fresh yeast, baking powder, powdered milk and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a mixer, with your fingertips rub the fresh yeast into the flour until it's evenly distributed and resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the salt and sugar and attach the dough hook, mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then while the machine is running on low speed slowly add the water.

Mix with the dough hook for 5 minutes until the dough come together in a smooth and velvety ball  but not sticky, if the dough seems a bit dry at this stage add a extra 20ml of water and mix for a further 2 minutes.

Lightly grease a mixing bowl and place the smooth dough ball in the bowl and lightly cover with a clean and dry tea towel. Leave to prove until double in size for about 1 and half hours, it was very cold when I made these buns and for that reason it took a while to prove.

Push the air out out and divide the dough into 4 equal shape logs and cut each log into 25g balls, roll the dough into smooth balls and place them on a lightly floured tray with adequate space form them to double in size, lightly cover with a clean and dry tea towel and leave to prove for about 30 minutes until double in size.

Place a large saucepan with water on the cooker, bring to the boil.

Grease a chopstick lightly with oil, on a lightly floured work surface roll each ball with a rolling pin to about 4" oval shapes, place the greased chopstick in the middle and fold the dough bun over (as in the photo). It almost looks like a little pac-man, place the buns on individual grease proof squares back onto the tray, lightly cover with a clean and dry tea towel and leave to prove for about another 30 minutes until they are puffed up.

Place the puffed buns in a steamer basket with enough space between each to swell even further, place the steamer basket over the pan of rapid boiling water and steam the buns for 10 minutes.

To serve the buns reheat them in the steamer for 3 - 4 minutes.

Food Fanatics Tip

Make the buns a day in advance keep them refrigerated and re-heat them in the steamer for 3 - 4 minutes.

Quick Salted Cucumber and Radish Pickles

Wash the cucumber and radishes. Use a mandolin to slice the cucumber into 2mm thick slices. Cut the radishes into quarter wedges.

Mix the sugar and salt together, David Chang advises that you should use a ratio of 3:1 sugar to salt but I have adjusted that slightly as I thought is was very salty.

Mix the cucumber slices and radish wedges with the sugar and salt mixture, leave to cure for 10 minutes.

Wash the pickles thoroughly under cold running water and leave them to drain in a colander for about 5 miutunes, pat them dry with kitchen paper and toss them in the oil.

Refrigerate the pickles for 20 minutes before serving.

Food Fanatics Tips

Use the pickles within 4 hours, unfortunately they do not keep very well however refer to the book for two alternative pickling methods, they all sound delicious and interesting.

Assembly of the Pork Buns

Reheat the buns and pork belly, open each bun and spread hoisin sauce on both sides, arrange a selection of the pickles, pork and the spring onions, serve.

Makes 25 pork buns


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Prawn Coconut Laksa

Prawn Coconut Laksa

Fresh Home-Made Laksa Paste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until a smooth paste.

Alternatively use a pestle and mortar to grind all the ingredients till fine.

I found it difficult to just make what you need so I make a larger quantity and then freeze the paste in ice cube trays, use them from frozen, perfect.

Prawn Coconut Laksa Soup

Heat a wok or large saucepan with the sesame and sunflower oil, wok the seasoned aubergines and pea aubergines until golden brown and remove from the pan, set aside keep them warm.

In the same wok fry the prawns for 2 -3 minutes, set aside, keep warm.

Fry the laksa paste in the same wok for 2 minutes, stir continuously, deglaze with the fish sauce and add the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes.

While the soup is coming to the boil bring a large saucepan with salted water to the boil and cook the ramen noodles until tender, drain.

Place the ramen noodles, aubergines, prawns and shredded choi sum in warm soup bowls; pour the hot soup over.

Garnish with the fresh raw bean shoots, roughly chopped fresh coriander and add a generous amount of freshly squeezed lime juice to taste.

Serves 2

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Fresh Cranberry and Chestnut Cantucci

Fresh Cranberry and Chestnut Cantucci

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line one large baking tray with parchment paper.

Weigh the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a mixer, attach the whisk attachment and whip until light fluffy and aerated, whip it for about 5 - 6 minutes at full speed.

Remove the whisk  and attach the paddle attachment.

Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder over the whipped egg, add the orange zest, roughly chopped chestnuts and the whole fresh cranberries mix it in on low speed until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Let the dough rest in the bowl in the fridge for 40 minutes to 1 hour, the dough is very soft and sticky, it does make a bit of a mess but well worth the effort.

Turn the chilled dough out onto a floured work surface, divide into two even logs 28cm long x 5cm wide, place the two logs onto the lined baking tray with 10cm gap between the two to allow them to cook evenly and not get stuck together.

Whisk one egg, using a pastry brush  brush the egg glaze over the logs.

Bake the cantucci in the preheated oven for 22 - 25 minutes, test if it's cooked by inserting a metal skewer. If the skewer comes out clean then its cooked, if not return to the oven and bake until cooked.

Let the cantucci cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170°C.

Cut the logs into 1cm thick slices and place the slices on two baking trays, place them in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes turn them once during the cooking period, bake the cantucci until dry but not too dark in colour.

Let the cantucci cool completely on a cooling rack and keep them in a clean air tight container for up to two weeks.

Dust them with icing sugar just before serving them with a glass of mulled wine or Vin Santo.

Makes 50 cantucci

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Reminiscing About El Bulli Menu 2009…Salted Peanut and Corn Snow Wafers

Reminiscing About El Bulli Menu 2009…Salted Peanut and Corn Snow Wafers

Salted Peanut and Corn Snow Wafers

Put the oil and popcorn kernels into a large saucepan and cook over a high heat, cover the pan with a lid and pop the popcorn. Once popped, season with salt and let the popcorn cool.

Place a silpat on a large baking tray before boiling the sugar.

Weigh the glucose and fondant into a medium non-stick saucepan, melt over a moderate heat, once melted increase the heat and boil till the sugar reaches 160°C.

Pour the boiling hot sugar onto the silpat and leave to cool at room temperature.

Crisps5Crisps6Crisps7

Preheat the oven to  200°C, dampen the raw peanuts with a sprinkle of water and dust with salt, spread the nuts onto a baking tray and cook them in the pre-heated oven until roasted but not too dark in colour. Let the roasted peanuts cool before crushing them using the pulse setting on a blender or lightly crush them in a pestle and mortar.

Pulse blitz the cooled popcorn to make them into snow flake like pieces.

Once the sugar is cooled completely break it up using a rolling pin and then powder the sugar using a very powerful blender such as a Thermomix.

Crisps3Crisps4Crisps8

Reduce the oven heat to 160°C and turn the fan setting off.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and sprinkle the sugar powder evenly onto the parchment paper.

Bake it in the pre-heated oven for 3 minutes, sprinkle over the crushed roasted peanuts and popcorn snow. Scatter on more of the sugar powder and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and forms a clear crisp sheet with the popcorn snow and crushed peanuts.

Let the wafer cool completely, it will be super fragile, snap into serving size pieces and serve as a canape or use as garnish on a dish.

Makes approximately one 30cm sheet

Food Fanatics Tip

Use the sugar powder as the foundation and then adapt this recipe flavours to suit your needs. I think that pistachio would be delicious and very colourful. You can make this either as a savoury or a sweet wafer.

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Schezuan Pear Broth with Mackerel Dumplings

Schezuan Pear Broth with Mackerel Dumplings

Schezuan Pear Broth

Peel, core and quarter the pears and place them in a vacuum bag with the schezuan peppercorns. Seal on hard vacuum and let the pears infuse for 2 hours.

In a medium saucepan heat the fish stock, chillies, sliced ginger, lemongrass, miso paste, saffron and the contents of the pear vacuum pouch. Bring the broth to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Let the broth infuse for 20 minutes.

Pass the broth through a fine sieve; keep the pears and discard  the rest of the solids.

Return the broth to a clean saucepan ready to be reheated.

Slice the pears to serve as a garnish. Place the sliced pears on the same tray as the braised baby bok choy ready to be reheated.

Mackerel Dumplings

First make a scallop mousse by placing the scallop meat in the thermomix, blend on speed 10 for 30 seconds, scrape the sides down and repeat the process if needed. Add the cream all at once with seasoning, pulse blend for 20 seconds, remove the mousse from the bowl and mix gently, do not over work the mixture.

Add the diced mackerel, sliced spring onion, chopped coriander and a dash of limejuice to the scallop mousse, gently fold the mixture together.

Use a 80mm round cutter to cut the square wonton wrappers into rounds.

Mackerel5Mackerel6Mackerel1

Whisk the egg and brush one half of the wonton round with egg wash, spoon a small teaspoon full of mackerel filling in the centre, fold the round in half covering the filling, rub the air out and then fold the tortellini shape around your baby finger bringing the edges together and secure  with egg wash.

Bring a large saucepan of seasoned water to the boil. Poach the dumplings for 1minute 30 seconds in the rapid boiling water, remove them with a slotted spoon, directly into an ice bath.

Cool the dumplings rapidly, drain and pat dry, splash with peanut oil to prevent them from drying out.

They are now ready to be reheated.

Braised Baby Bok Choy

Wash the bok choy and drain well.

Heat a deep sauté pan with the butter, brown the bok choy on both sides until golden, season.

Once the bok choy is brown enough add the stock, cover with a cartouche and reduce the heat to a gentle heat.

Braise the bok choy for 5 minutes until the stems are tender.

Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and remove the root but keep the bok choy intact.

Trim the bok choy up and fold them into tidy rectangles about 4cm long parcels. Place the braised baby bok choy on butter paper on a tray ready to be reheated.

Lightly Cured Mackerel

Wash the mackerel fillets; remove all the pin bones and scales, pat dry with kitchen paper. Score the skin and cut the mackerel in 3 cm long pieces.

Mix the sugar and salt and cover the fish with the cure.

Let the fish cure for 10 minutes, wash the sugar salt off under cold running water, pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.

The mackerel fillets are now ready to be seared.

Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan with the oil, once the pan is hot enough add the fish skin side down and add the butter, sauté the fish for 3 minutes, flip it over for 30 seconds on the flesh side, remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Assembly of the dish

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, poach the dumplings for 1 minute and 30 seconds, drain and glaze with peanut oil.

Heat the broth. Sautee the mackerel and reheat the braised bok choy and pears.

Place the braised baby bok choy in the centre of a heated serving bowl. Place the dumpling on top with the sautéed mackerel. Place the pieces of pear around the bowl with sautéed enoki mushrooms and Sango radish sprouts. Pour the hot broth around and serve immediately.

Serves 6

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Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Fermented Black Beans and Soba Noodles

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Fermented Black Beans and Soba Noodles

Prepare the broccoli spears by removing the older leaves and the hard bits of stalk. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the broccoli spears until tender, drain and refresh them in ice water. Alternatively steam the broccoli spears until tender.

Bring a large pan of salted boiling water to the boil and cook the soba noodles until tender, drain and refresh, once cooled toss them with a little bit of sesame oil and set aside.

Soak the fermented black beans in the boiling water, set aside.

Heat a large non-stick wok with the remaining sesame oil, wok the sliced shallots, ginger and chili until the shallots starts to take on a golden brown colour. Add the fermented black beans,water( used for soaking the beans) and the Mirin. Bring to the boil and add the soba noodles and blanched broccoli, wok until the noodles and broccoli are warm.

Serve immediately and sprinkle the black sesame seeds over the dish.

Serves 4

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Damson Parfait with Olive Oil and Thyme Sable

Damson Parfait with Olive Oil and Thyme Sable

Damson Puree

Wash and drain the whole damsons.

Using the built in weighing scales weigh the damsons and sugar directly into the TM Bowl. Set the timer to 15 minutes at 100°C, speed 1 reverse blade.

Pass the damson puree through a sieve to remove the stones. Discard the stones and return the puree to the jug. Blend the puree until smooth for 30 seconds speed 10.

Transfer the puree to a clean container and cool over ice.

Damson Parfait

Line a 9 “ x 13 “ metal baking tray with a double layer of cling film, smooth the air bubbles out and place the baking tray in the freezer to chill.

Using the built in weighing scales weigh the egg yolks, 100g of the sugar and the water directly into the TM bowl and insert the butterfly whisk securely. Set the timer to 15 minutes at 70°C, speed 4, cap on.

Once the sabayon is cooked, remove the cap and set the timer for 15 minutes, speed 3 to cool the sabayon.

In a second TM bowl using the built in weighing scales weigh the cream and damson puree directly into the TM bowl, insert the butterfly whisk securely. Set the timer to 50 seconds, speed 4 to semi whip the cream. Set the semi whipped cream aside.

In a clean TM bowl using the built in weighing scales weigh the sugar, grind the sugar to a powder for 30 seconds speed 10, transfer the sugar to a small clean bowl.

In the same sugary bowl using the built in weighing in scales weigh the egg whites directly into the TM bowl, insert the butterfly whisk securely. Set the timer to 2 minutes speed 4; add the powdered sugar during the last 30 seconds. Set the timer for a further 3 minutes speed 4 to whip the meringue to soft peaks.

Transfer the sabayon to a clean large mixing bowl and gently fold the semi whipped cream in using long gentle folding motions.

Fold the meringue in and pour the parfait mixture  aboutb2cm deep into the prepared chilled lined tray.

Place the parfait in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours.

Line a flat baking sheet with cling film and place the tray in the freezer.

Once the parfait is frozen solid use a 60mm round cutter dipped in hot water (not boiling) to cut 14 60mm rounds x 20mm, place them on the chilled lined tray, return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Olive Oil and Thyme Sable

Using the built in weighing scales weigh the sugar directly into the TM bowl and grind the sugar for 30 seconds on speed 10.

Weigh the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter directly into the TM bowl using the built in weighing scales. Blend 45 seconds on speed 10.

Add the egg; blend on for 10 seconds on speed 10.

Scrape the sides down, add the flour using the built in weighing scales. Incorporate the flour by blending the mixture for 20 seconds speed 6.

Fold the thyme leaves in for 10 seconds speed 4.

Transfer the soft dough to parchment paper, press the dough flat and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll the dough between tow sheets of parchment paper 2mm thick. These biscuits are very fragile and light; as soon as the mixture comes back to room temperature it will melt. Return the thin sheets of rolled out biscuit dough to the fridge to set.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Remove the one side of the parchment paper and place the biscuit dough on the parchment paper on a baking sheet in the preheated oven, bake for 5 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven and immediately cover the top of  the biscuit  with caster sugar, dust with your hand to get a even spread then cut the hot biscuit with a 60mm round cutter, the same size as the parfait.

Transfer the fragile biscuits to a cooling rack to cool and crisp completely.

Should be sufficient for 14 portions however these biscuits are very fragile so add 10 % extra for the broken ones. This mixture should comfortably make this amount plus extra.

Keep the biscuits in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the dish.

Damson and Sloe Gin Drizzle

Mix the two ingredients together and set aside.

Thyme Infused Oil

Place the thyme and oil into a clean vacuum bag and seal on hard vacuum.

Half fill the TM bowl with water insert the TM insert steamer basket and place the vacuum bag inside, close the lid and set the timer to 15 minutes at 100°C.

Cool the thyme oil in ice water, set aside until needed.

Assembly per portion

Make a salad with the blackberries and damsons; mix with the lemon stock syrup.

Garnish the chilled plate with the damson and sloe gin drizzle and arrange the blackberry and damson salad on the plate, dash a few drops of thyme oil and scatter the thyme flowers and leaves.

Mix the blackurrant powder and sugar.

Sandwich the parfait between the two sable biscuits; roll the exposed parfait exterior in the blackcurrant sugar.

Place the parfait in position on the chilled plate and sprinkle a little of the blackcurrant sugar to finish the dish off.

Serve immediately.

Makes 14

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Banana and White Chocolate Cupcakes with Magical Glittering Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana and White Chocolate Cupcakes with Magical Glittering Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana and White Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.

Cream the soft butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the mashed banana, cream until well incorporated, add the eggs one at a time, cream well after each addition.

Sift  the flour, baking powder and cornflour over the creamed banana mixture and add the white chocolate chips, fold it all together. Do not over work the cupcake batter.

Fill a disposable piping bag with the cupcake batter and fill each case  three quarters full.

Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 20 - 22 minutes, test if they are baked by inserting a metal skewer if the skewer comes out clean then the cupcakes are done.

Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before decorating them with the cream cheese frosting.

Alejandro's Cream Cheese Frosting

Whip the sifted icing sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. I use a mixer with a whisk attachment for this stage.

Pour the cooled melted butter slowly into the whipping cream cheese mixture, whip the cream cheese mixtrue for a couple of mintues to incorporate air.

Let the cream cheese frosting set in the fridge for at least one hour before using. This frosting is best made the day before required so that it can set slightly and get a fantastic gloss.

This frosting is fairly soft, take it out of the fridge for 20 minute before needed to come to room temperature.

Garnish the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting and make it look extra pretty with silver balls and edible glitter.

Makes 12 cupcakes

I buy the edible glitter from our local cake craft shop. Please make sure that the glitter is edible, do not use craft glitter. I also found this website that sells it for a very reasonable price, Celebration Toppers. A small tub goes a very long way providing you apply the glitter with a small brush. I found a very fine brush at the same cake shop however you could alternatively buy a cheap painters brush from a craft shop. Dip the dry brush into the glitter and shake it over the iced cupcakes to apply a bit of glitz and sparkle to your cupcakes.

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Orange and Honey Caramelised Brussels Sprouts

Orange and Honey Caramelised Brussels Sprouts

Bring to the boil a large saucepan filled with salted water, blanch the Brussels sprouts until tender but still al dente. Drain and refresh in ice water, then drain the Brussels sprouts in a colander.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a 1/3rd of the goose fat and sautee the smoked pancetta lardons until golden brown, transfer the cooked lardons to kitchen paper to drain.

Return the pan to the heat and add the rest of the goose fat until it starts to foam, add the drained cooled Brussels sprouts with the cinnamon stick and seasoning, saute until the sprouts start to take on colour, add the hazelnuts and honey, stir and saute for a couple of minutes.

Return the lardons to the pan and deglaze with the orange juice, reduce the juice until it becomes sticky (this should not take long at all), add the orange zest and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tips

Replace the hazelnuts with chestnuts for a festive Christmas cheer.

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Forest Cappuccino with Beefsteak Mushroom Croustades

Forest Cappuccino with Beefsteak Mushroom Croustades

Mushroom Cappuccino

Heat a large saucepan with the butter, once the butter stars to foam sauté the mushrooms, sliced shallot, diced celery and crushed garlic with seasoning until deep golden brown.

Deglaze the pan with the Madeira and rapid boil until the Madeira turns syrupy and coats the mushrooms and shallots with a glossy coating.

Add the stock of you choice, reduce the heat and bring the soup to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes. I cook the soup for the first 15 minutes with the lid on so that the liquid does not evaporate too much and remove the lid for the last 5 minutes. All over low heat at a gentle simmer.

Add the cream and bring the soup back to the simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a liquidiser or Thermomix and blend until very smooth and frothy.

For extra cappuccino foaminess return the soup to a deep saucepan and use a stick blender or a ba-mix to aerate the soup further, the soup must be hot I find it aerates best if the soup is just before boiling point. If the soup is too thick it will not foam, add a dash of cream to let the soup down slightly, I also find adding a small knob of cold butter also do the trick. Fatty components helps the soup to aerate.

Serve the frothy soup immediately with the warm brioche and beefsteak mushroom croustades.

Beefsteak mushroom brioche croustades

Prepare the beefsteak mushroom by slicing  thinly and then soak it in the milk for 10 minutes, drain and wash the mushroom under cold running water, pat dry. This needs to be done to extract the bitterness from the mushroom.

Clean the rest of the wild mushrooms, slice and set aside.Slice the banana shallot into thin rings.

Toast the brioche until golden brown on both sides either under a preheated grill or using a toaster. Use a 4cm size cutter and cut 12 circles out of the toasted brioche, set aside.

Heat a large non stick frying pan with the butter and oil, as soon as the butter starts to foam sauté the mushrooms, garlic and shallots with seasoning until golden brown.

Once the mushrooms are cooked add the chopped fresh thyme and divide the mixture between the toasted brioche croustades and garnish each with a small sprig of the chickweed.

Serve the croustades with the cups of foamy hot mushroom soup.

Serves 12 espresso cups

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Pheasant Forestiere with Wilted Wild Watercress

Pheasant Forestiere with Wilted Wild Watercress

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare the pheasant by removing the legs and  the breast meat from the bone. Discard the bone and wrap one slice of smoked streaky bacon around each pheasant breast.

Peel the onions, do not cut the root part too deep as the onions will fall apart. Dust the mushrooms and slice them about 1/2 cm thick. Prepare the celery and garlic.

Season the pheasant legs and heat a large oven proof casserole dish with half of the butter. Sauté the pheasant legs and breast until golden all over in the nutty brown butter, transfer to a plate.

Return the casserole dish to the heat and melt the rest of the butter and once the butter starts to foam and turn brown sauté the onions, mushrooms, celery and garlic until golden add seasoning.

As the onions start to turn darker brown, deglaze the pan with the brandy and cook until the brandy become sticky and coating, add the sherry or wine and cook until sticky and coating.

Return the browned meat to the casserole dish and add the stock, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, once boiling place the lid on top and place the casserole dish in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

While the casserole is in the oven, bring a small saucepan with salted water to the boil and blanch the wild watercress for two minutes in the rapid boiling water, refresh in icy cold water, drain and set aside.

Once the casserole is ready remove from the oven and remove the lid and return the casserole to a low heat, add the cream and simmer to the correct consistency, add the fresh thyme and blanched watercress and adjust the seasoning if needed. It's optional to remove the meat from the casserole dish once it comes out of the oven, set the meat aside to rest whilst finishing the sauce by adding the cream bring it back to the boil, simmer until slightly thickened and add the thyme and blanched watercress and serve with the pheasant breast and leg meat.

Serves 2

Food Fanatics Tip

The watercress is entirely optional, replace with spinach or curly kale. If you do not have the pheasant  then use either rabbit, partridge or chicken thighs.

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Sautéed Cod with Textures of Jerusalem Artichokes

Sautéed Cod with Textures of Jerusalem Artichokes

Pickled Artichokes

Peel the artichokes and slice them as thinly as possible using a sharp mandolin, take extra care and watch your fingers.

Immediately mix the sliced Jerusalem artichokes with the vinegar, lemon juice, seasoning, sugar and olive oil, let the pickle macerate for minimum one hour in a container in the fridge.

This will be fine to be done one day in advance especially if you can vacuum pack the mixture.

Jerusalem Artichoke Puree

Prepare the Jerusalem artichokes by peeling them and cut them in thin even size slices.

Heat a small saucepan with the butter, add the sliced artichokes with salt and sweat the chokes with the lid on. The chokes will be colourless,but as soon as they start to take on colour add the wine and cook with the lid on until the wine becomes thick and coating. Add the water, turn the heat to very low, place the lid to cover the pan and cook the chokes very slowly until completely soft, remove the lid and boil rapidly until nearly all the water has evaporated.

Add the cream, bring the cream to the boil and puree the artichokes until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Jerusalem Artichoke Crisps

Heat a small saucepan three quarters filled with sunflower oil to 160°C.

While the oil is heating place a plate, slotted spoon and a double layer of kitchen paper ready next to the oil.

Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and sliced them as thin as possible using a mandolin.

Fry them till golden brown and crisp in the preheated oil.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the Jerusalem artichokes crisps and drain them on the kitchen paper, season them immediately with salt.

Lightly Cured Cod

Prepare the cod by removing the skin and pin bones, cut the cod into 55g -60g pieces, the perfect size for a starter. If you wish to serve this dish as a main course I suggest cut the cod into 100g -120g pieces.

Mix the sugar and salt and cover the fish with the cure.

Let the fish cure for 10 minutes, wash the sugar salt off under cold running water, pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.

The cod is now ready to be cooked.

Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan with the oil, dust the cod pieces with the curry powder. Once the pan is hot enough add the cod presentation side down into the hot oil and add the butter, sauté the fish for 2 -3 minutes, flip it over for a further 30 seconds on the reverse side, remove the golden brown cod from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Assembly of the dish

Choose the serving plates and lightly warm them.

Prepare the pea shoots and mustard cress, wash and drain them, set aside.

Cut the apple in small batons and drizzle a bit of the pickling liquor over the apple batons.

Heat the puree and cook the cod.

Spoon a table spoon of the warm puree on the warm plates, place the pea shoots on top followed by the cod, garnish the dish with the pickled Jerusalem artichokes and apple batons and then finally place a few artichoke crisps on top and drizzle lightlywith the pickling liquor round the plate.

Serves 6 starter portions

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Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup

Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted Garlic

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the garlic bulb in half, place the salt and sugar in a small bowl and then dip the cut side of the garlic in the sugar salt mixture.

Place the remaining salt and sugar mix in two heaps on a lined baking tray and divide the water between the two heaps, place the garlic cut side down onto the tray, cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes, if the sugar caramel looks like burning add a drop of water and continue the cooking until the garlic is tender.

Let the roasted garlic cool.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup

Pop the soft cooled roasted garlic cloves out of the skins, discard the skins. Prepare the Jerusalem artichokes by peeling and slicing them, slice the peeled banana shallot.

Heat a large saucepan with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the sliced banana shallot, garlic pulp and the sliced Jerusalem artichokes with a little bit of seasoning. Saute until golden brown, the darker the artichokes and onions the deeper and more intense the flavour will be. Season the soup a little at a time to prevent over seasoning.

Once the artichokes and onions are golden to dark brown deglaze the pan with the brandy, cook until the caramelised parts dissolve and the brandy is reduced to a syrup, coating the chokes.

Add the vegetable stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer with a lid covering the pan. Gently simmer the soup for 25 - 30 minutes.

Blend the soup until very smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I used my thermomix and blended the soup for two minutes at speed 10, the powerful machine made my soup velvety and creamy, the finer the soup is  blended the better the flavour, any blender will be equally as good.

Serve piping hot garnished with thyme leaves, olive oil and crispy Jerusalem artichoke crisps.

Serves 4/6

Food Fanatics Tip

Even though this soup is silky and creamy it does not contain any cream and therefore is the perfect low fat recipe, however if you would like to tame the garlic slightly add a little bit of single cream or creme fraiche.

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Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies perfect for Halloween

Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies perfect for Halloween

Pulled Pork

Place the pork onto a chopping board.

Make the spice mix: use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar or Thermomix to grind the sugar, salt, smoked paprika, cinnamon stick, mustard powder, pepper, chili powder, coriander seeds, garlic and fresh ginger to a powder.

Rub the dry spice rub into the meat, let the meat marinade over night in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Place a cooling rack into a oven roasting tray, use one where the rack preferably fits inside.

Place the marinated pork with the fat side up onto the cooling rack and then pour the apple juice and water into the tray, cover the whole tray with foil (rub a bit of butter on the foil to prevent it sticking to the meat).

Place the pork in the preheated oven for 4hour 30 minutes.

Remove the pork from the tray and return the pork without the liquid on a separate tray to the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes to crisp the fat, watch that it does not burn.Keep the liquid.

Let the pork rest for 20 minutes, take two forks and pull the pork flesh into strands.

In a large mixing bowl mix the pulled pork with the cooking liquid, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Three quarters fill the prepared pastry moulds with the pulled pork mixture, try and get some of the juice into the meat to keep it moist.

Top the pulled pork pies with the prepared buttery pumpkin mash.

Bake the pies in the preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes, let the pies rest for 5 minutes before gently removing them from the moulds and enjoy!

Shortcrust Pastry

Weight the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, use a cheese grater to grate the chilled butter into the flour, use the coarse side, with your fingers  rub the butter into the flour until it represents coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the cold water and use a knife to cut the water into the flour and butter mix, push the dough together, do not knead or over work the pastry as it will become grey and stretchy.

Leg the pastry rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry out about 3- 4mm thick and use a 16cm in diameter plate to cut 10 disks, place them in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.

Grease 10 x  8cm tall pudding moulds and line them with the pastry disks, trim the excess pastry off to the rim.

Let them rest in the fridge whilst finishing off the filling.

Buttery Oven Baked Pumpkin Mash

Preheat the oven to 150°C, I baked the pumpkin for the last 40 minutes of the meat cooking time in the same oven, bottom shelf.

Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.Wash the seeds, mix with salt and dry them in a cool oven until crispy, use as a snack or garnish.

Place the two pumpkin halves on one large piece of foil on a baking tray.

Divide the butter between the two pumpkin halves, scatter one teaspoon of sugar on each pumpkin half and season generously with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Close the foil parcel to cover the pumpkin completely.

Place the pumpkin in the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Once the pork is out of the oven turn the heat to 180°C and open the foil parcels return the pumpkins to the oven, top shelf and continue cooking for 15 minutes to caramelise the edges.

Let the pumpkins cool for 5 minutes then use a fork to mash the pumpkins in their skins, make sure you scrape all the flesh out, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

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Makes 10 pies

Food Fanatics Tips

If your not keen on pumpkin substitute the pumpkin with buttery potato mash. You can also make crustless pies by pressing the meat into a large oven dish and covering the meat with the mash of your choice.

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Hearty Cavolo Nero, Borlotti Bean and Smoked Bacon Soup

Hearty Cavolo Nero, Borlotti Bean and Smoked Bacon Soup

Prepare the bacon and vegetables: Cut the bacon into small lardons, I normally buy a chunky piece of bacon or pancetta, the smokey flavour is essential for the extra hearty taste. Wash the vegetables and cut the peeled carrot into roughly 5mm dice (you do not need to be precise with the measurements I'm only giving you an indication of the rough size required),  and do the same with the celery, onions, leek and butternut squash. Shred the cavalo nero and set aside.

If you used tinned borlotti beans then drain them ,alternatively if you used dried borlotti beans soak them over night in 3 times the weight in water and cook them until tender before adding them to the soup.

Heat a large saucepan with the half  the oil and saute the bacon until golden brown, remove the bacon from the pan and return the pan to the heat.

Saute the carrots, onions,crush garlic, celery and butternut squash until golden in the remaining oil with a bit of seasoning, not too much,as the bacon is salty.

Return the smoked bacon to the pan and deglaze with the white wine, cook until all the caramelised bits that got stuck to the pan have dissolved and the wine becomes glossy around the vegetables.

Add the stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, cook for about 15 minutes, add the drained cooked borlotti beans ( I used fresh borlotti beans and added them raw at this stage but if you use tinned or dried they must be cooked before they are added at this stage).

Bring the soup back to the simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, add the shredded cavalo nero and simmer for a further 6 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve this hearty broth with buttered chunky bread and lots of grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4/6

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Kitchen Classic – Aubergine Parmigiana Made With My Own Home Grown Aubergines

Kitchen Classic – Aubergine Parmigiana Made With My Own Home Grown Aubergines

Heat a griddle pan on the cooker until very hot, and preheat the oven to 180°C. Place 4 individual oven safe serving dishes on a baking tray.

Transfer the tomato sauce to a large saucepan and bring it to the boil, reduce the sauce to 500ml to make it thicker and richer, stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan.

Slice the aubergines into 1/2 cm thick slices, lay them on a baking tray, season on both sides and brush them with the olive oil. Griddle the aubergines until dark bar marked on both sides, return to the oven tray.

Pour 1cm thick layer of sunflower oil into a small saucepan and heat the oil gently, fry 1/3 of the basil leaves carefully until crispy on both sides, drain on kitchen paper and season, leave to cool.

Once the sauce and aubergines are ready start assembling the parmigiana dishes.

Start with a layer of the tomato sauce, aubergine, mozzarella, coarse bread crumbs, parmesan, fresh basil and oregano and fresh black pepper. Divide the ingredients between the four dishes and finish  with one slice of aubergine and grated Parmesan.

Bake the dishes in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, let them rest for 5 minutes before garnishing them with the crispy basil leaves and serve.

Serves 4 individual portions

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Guinea Fowl with Cep Butter and Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Guinea Fowl with Cep Butter and Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Cep Mushroom and Herb Butter

Heat a medium frying pan, melt the 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter, once the butter starts to foam add the diced porcini mushrooms and crushed garlic with seasoning. Saute until golden brown. Drain the sauteed mushrooms on kitchen paper.

In a small mixing bowl mix the soft unsalted butter with the drained mushrooms, chopped mixed herbs and seasoning.

Transfer the butter to a disposable piping bag and keep at room temperature until ready to be used.

Guinea Fowl Breast

Prepare the guinea fowl breast by removing any excess skin, and clean the bone to French trim standard.

There is no need to season the guinea fowl at this stage as the butter has been well seasoned. This is enough seasoning, over seasoning will ruin this delicate tasting meat.

Cut the tip off the piping bag and insert it between the fowl flesh and skin, pipe in 1/4 of the butter mix underneath each fowl breast skin.

Use your fingers to flatten and spread the butter.

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Take the tip of the breast and pull it around to the bone to form a circular shape with the breast (photo above), then wrap two slices of smoked streaky bacon around each breast where the skin and flesh meets. Secure each breast with a piece of kitchen string and place the prepare guinea fowl parcels onto a lined baking tray ready to be roasted.

You can do this preparation upto two days in advance and roast the guinea fowl  prior  to serving the dish.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, roast the guinea fowl breast for 20 - 22 minutes, let them rest for 3 minutes before serving.

How to clean and store cep (porcini) mushrooms

  1. Always store cep (porcini) or other mushrooms in a clean container and do not cover it with cling film or a lid. Cover the mushrooms with a damp tea towel or kitchen paper.
  2. Do not wash mushrooms or submerge them in water, they are like sponges and will soak up a lot of water which will ruin the mushrooms.
  3. Use a clean dry paper towel to dust off any soil, dirt or twigs, alternatively use a clean dry soft brush to dust them, be gentle as the mushrooms could easily be damaged.
  4. Cep (porcini) mushrooms have a green foamy fungus that grows underneath the cap, this must be removed (as in the second picture). The green foam is unpleasant and the taste could ruin the flavour of the mushroom.
  5. Use a sharp small kitchen knife to peel the stalks of the ceps as in the third picture.
  6. The mushrooms are now ready to be used.

Guinea_Fowel2Guinea_Fowel3Guinea_Fowel4

Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Prepare the sprouts by washing and slicing them finely.

Dice the smoked pancetta into very small pieces.

Heat a large non stick frying pan with the butter, once it starts to foam add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, add the Brussels sprouts and season very lightly (do not forget that the pancetta is already salted). Saute the sprouts until they start to take on colour, deglaze the pan with the wine and boil rapidly until the wine evaporated and coats the Brussels sprouts.

Add the chicken stock and cream, bring the creamed Brussels sprouts to the boil and reduce until the required thicknesses, this will not take long at all so please watch the sprouts.

Serve the creamed Brussels sprouts immediately with the roasted guinea fowl and sauteed ceps.

Assembly of the Dish

Preheat the oven to 200°C, roast the guinea fowl breast for 20 - 22 minutes, let them rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the butter, once it starts to foam add the slices of cep mushrooms with light seasoning and saute them until golden brown on both sides, drain on kitchen paper.

Serve the roasted guinea fowl, suatee cep mushrooms and creamed brussels sprouts on warm plates.

Serves 4

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Sauteed Cavolo Nero and Caramelized Chervil Root with Ewes Milk Cheese Shavings

Sauteed Cavolo Nero and Caramelized Chervil Root with Ewes Milk Cheese Shavings

Peel your chosen root vegetables ( I have chosen to use chervil roots). Cut them in 1/4 wedges length ways. You can do the same with either Jerusalem artichokes, white carrots or parsnips. Place the prepared root vegetables in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add salt to the water, bring to the boil and cook until tender but when you insert a sharp knife  they must still hold their shape.

Drain the cooked but still firm root vegetables and cool under cold running water, drain.

Prepare the butternut squash, peel and remove the seeds. Slice the squash in 3 -4 mm thick slices.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a dash of the oil and a 1/3rd of the butter, once it starts to foam add the sliced squash with seasoning and fry them until golden on both sides and tender, drain.

In the same frying pan add more oil and butter and saute the cooled drained root vegetables with seasoning until golden all over, drain.

In the same frying pan and the rest of the oil and butter saute the cavolo nero until tender, season.

Mix the cavolo nero, squash and chervil roots with a drizzle of the balsamic and grain mustard vinaigrette.

Arrange all the components on the chosen serving dish, add a few more drizzles of the balsamic and grain mustard vinaigrette and garnish with the shaved ewes milk cheese.

Balsamic and Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

Place all the ingredients in a small glass jar, secure the lid and shake vigorously to form an emulsion. Set aside until needed.

The vinaigrette will last for up to one week in the fridge in the glass jar.

Serves 4/6

Food Fanatics Tips

I have chosen to use only the very tender and young small cavolo nero leaves, do not throw the tougher outside leaves away. They will be prefect shredded and boiled in salted boiling water until tender, mix it through creamy mashed potatoes or risotto.

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Creamy Parsnip Soup with Red Leg Partridge Sausage Rolls

Creamy Parsnip Soup with Red Leg Partridge Sausage Rolls

Red Leg Partridge Sausage Rolls

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare the partridge meat, remove the breast from the carcase and the meat from the leg bones. Set the bones aside to make the stock for the soup.

Dice the partridge meat into smaller rough  pieces.

In a large mixing bowl mix the pork mince, diced partridge meat, diced smoked bacon, grated fresh raw parsnip, ground coriander, seasoning, chopped parsley and one egg. I like to get my hands into the mix to ensure a even distribution of ingredients.

Whisk the remaining egg and set aside.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface in a rectangular shape till about 3mm thick. Cut the pastry in about 8cm wide long strips and roll the meat into a long sausage shape, place the sausage meat in the centre of one of the 8cm wide pastry strips and brush the one side with the egg wash, fold it over so that the pastry overlaps to form a long sausage roll. Flip the sausage roll over so that the overlapped pastry is at the bottom, leave to rest whilst making the rest of the  long sausage rolls.

Once all the sausage rolls are made cut these into smaller sausage rolls about 3cm long , place them on the lined baking tray, leave at least 3cm gaps between each sausage roll to allow the air in the oven a chance to circulate and the sausage rolls room to expand. I work on two mini sausage roll per portion.

Brush the sausage rolls with the egg wash and garnish with the linseeds.

Bake the sausage rolls for 25 - 30 minutes, let them rest on a cooling rack once cooked.

Serve the sausage rolls at room temperature, store any left over sausage rolls in the fridge for up to three days.

Red Leg Partridge Stock

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the partridge carcase and leg bones on a roasting tray and roast it for 30 - 35 minutes until dark and well roasted.

Prepare the vegetables, wash and cut it in even size pieces.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil and brown the vegetables until golden brown, add the coriander seeds, peppercorn, bay leaf and thyme.

Add the browned partridge bones, deglaze with the wine and cook until it the wine become sticky and coating the vegetables and bones.

Add the water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Skim the impurities with a ladle and simmer the stock for 30 minutes.

Pass the stock through a fine sieve or muslin cloth, discard the bones and vegetables and keep the stock refrigerated until needed.

Makes approximately 750ml partridge stock.

Parsnip Soup

Heat a medium saucepan, melt the butter as soon as it starts to foam add the finely sliced parsnips with seasoning, saute until the parsnips start to become transparent ie no colour.

Add the white wine and cook until the wine is completely absorbed and glaze the parsnips, add the stock and bring the stock to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook the soup until the parsnips are completely soft.

Add the cream, bring the soup to the boil, simmer for 3 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender or thermomix and puree until silky smooth, pass the soup through a fine sieve.

Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Keep refrigerated until required. Bring the soup back to the boil for a few minutes before serving. If the soup is a touch too thick add a little water or stock to let it down.

Caramelised Chervil Root Soup Garnish

Peel the chervil roots and cut each into 1/4's and then cut the quarters into 1cm long pieces. Bring a medium saucepan with salted water to the boil, cook the chervil roots until tender and drain them.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with the butter and sautee the blanched chervil roots until golden brown add seasoning, drain on kitchen paper.

Garnish the soup with the warm caramelised chervil roots.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tip

If you are not making the partridge rolls then substitute the stock with either vegetable or chicken stock. The partridge in the rolls could be substituted with chicken breast meat.

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Twice Baked Quince and Hazelnut Crumble with Quince Custard

Twice Baked Quince and Hazelnut Crumble with Quince Custard

Bay Leaf and Vanilla Poached Quinces

First prepare the poaching liquid before preparing the quinces as they discolour quickly.

Place the sugar, water, vanilla seeds and pod, bay leaf, rosemary and the juice and the lemon carcase into a saucepan, bring the syrup to the boil over very low heat.

Let the syrup boil for two minutes then start to prepare the quinces.

Peel and core the quince, cut into roughly 1cm pieces, place the quinces into the hot syrup, place a cartouche on top and slowly poach the quinces over low heat so that they retain their shape but cooked at the same time.

Once the quinces are done turn the heat off and set aside whilst preparing the crumble.

Hazelnut Crumble

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place the flour, sugar, golden syrup, salt and soft butter into a mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the oats and chopped hazelnuts, mix and transfer the crumble mixture to the lined baking tray, even out and bake the crumble mixture for 20 minutes, stir it once during the cooking time.

Quince Crumbles

Preheat the oven to 180°C and place 8 espresso cups on a baking tray.

Spoon the drained poached quinces into each cup about 3/4's full, pass the poaching liquid through a fine sieve and spoon over 2 tablespoons of the poaching liquid into each cup.

Fill the cups to the top with the baked hazelnut crumble.

Place the cups on the baking tray, when your ready to serve the crumbles bake them for 15 - 18 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let the crumbles cool for 5 minutes before serving them with the quince custard.

Quince Custard

Place the poaching syrup, milk and cream in a saucepan, gently bring it to the boil.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolk and sugar, pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg mix and then pour the egg  mix back into the hot milk mix.

Return the mixture to low heat, stir continuously until the custards thicken but do not boil the custard as it will curdle.

Once the custard is cooked pass the custard through a fine sieve and serve with the crumbles.

Serves 8 espresso cup size portions

Food Fanatics Tip

Remember the custard will have a grainy texture due to the natural  texture of the quinces. If you do not like this texture I suggest  that you do not use the poaching liquid, substitute the syrup for milk.

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Venison and Butternut Squash Canapes with Fried Quails Eggs

Venison and Butternut Squash Canapes with Fried Quails Eggs

Preheat the oven to 200°C and heat a griddle pan on the cooker.

Mix the couscous with the water and let it hydrate completely.

Peel the butternut squash and cut 12 disks measuring 3cm diameter x 1/2 cm thick rounds. Brush them with the olive oil and season, then griddle them on both sides, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, over roast until they are tender but still firm, cool the butternut squash disks once cooked.

In a large mixing bowl mix the venison mince with the egg, 50g grated butternut squash from the trimmings, ras-el-hanout, hydrated couscous, seasoning and the grated onion.

Make small 3cm in diameter patties about 12 weighing 25g each.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with a dash of oil and fry the patties until golden brown on both sides and cooked all the way through, if your not confident on cooking them on the cooker all the way then brown them on both sides and finish them in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.

Fry the quails eggs and cut them to the same size as the patties.

Assemble the canapes by placing a fried quails egg on top of each pattie and then place a pattie on top of the squash disk, garnish with a light dusting of ra-el-hanout and salad leaves.

Makes 12 canapes

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Turkish Inspired Aubergine Soup with Dry Toasted Almonds

Turkish Inspired Aubergine Soup with Dry Toasted Almonds

Soak the golden sultanas and bay leaf in hot water, set aside.

Prepare the vegetables, cut the aubergines into 2cm dice, crush the garlic and slice the red onion. If you choose to salt your aubergines then do so, leave them in a colander for 30 minutes to 1 hour and pat them dry before sauteing them.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan or wok with a bit of the oil and saute the aubergines with seasoning in batches until very very dark in colour, not burning but very well caramelised. Do this in batches as it will help you to get the required colour. Drain the aubergines in a colander.

In the same pan and with the remaining oil saute the onions, garlic, ras-el-hanout and ground cumin until golden brown, add the honey and drained soaked sultanas and bay leaf.

Transfer the caramelised aubergines and onion mixture to a large saucepan and add the tomato sauce or tinned  chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook the soup for 25 - 30 minutes over low heat, if you boil the soup too fast the flavours will not develop and the liquid will evaporate, a gentle simmer is perfect.

Blitz the soup using a stick blender or a Thermomix until smooth, return the soup to the pan and if it's a bit too thick add a little bit more vegetable stock, bring the soup back to the simmer before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and dry roast the almonds until they have a golden tint.

Garnish the soup with a swirl of natural yoghurt, sliced spring onions and a dusting of the golden dry toasted almonds.

Serves 6

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Chocolate and Amaretti Torte with a Divine Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate and Amaretti Torte with a Divine Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Amaretti Cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4. Grease a 17cm x 6cm spring form cake tin with butter and dust cocoa powder.

Using the built in weighing scales weigh the amaretti biscuits, chocolate and flour directly into the TM (Thermomix)  bowl. Grind it on speed 8 until powder, tip out and set aside.

Using the built in weighing scales weigh 150g of the sugar directly into the TM bowl and grind the sugar for 5 seconds on speed 10. Add the butter and mix together, gradually increasing to speed 5 until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and insert the butterfly whisk and beat on speed 4 until light and creamy.

Add the yolks one at a time through the hole in the TM lid onto the running blades at Speed 3.

Add the amaretti mixture to the TM bowl a little at a time, through the hole in the lid with the blades running at Speed 3.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside while whipping the meringue.

Wash the TM bowl, lid and butterfly with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry thoroughly. It is important that the bowl and whisk are grease free at this point.

Weigh 50g of the remaining sugar into the TM bowl and grind the sugar on speed 10 for 5 seconds, add the egg whites and whip for 10 seconds on speed 10, this will make the egg whites foamy and make the whipping process easier.

Scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the egg whites for 1 minute 3 seconds on Speed 4 until the meringue forms stiff, but not dry, peaks.

Add about a quarter of the egg whites to the remaining cake batter in the bowl and stir to loosen the consistency, then fold in the rest of the whites.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake; the cake should be moist.

Let the cake cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before you loosen the sides and remove the cake , let the cake cool further on a cooling rack while making the frosting.

Non Thermomix Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4. Grease a 17cm x 6cm spring form cake tin with butter and dust cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate in the freezer to get really cold. Crush the amaretti biscuits in a pestle and mortar and mix the amaretti crumbs with the flour.

Grate the really cold chocolate on the finest side of a grater (the reason fir chilling it is so that it does not melt as you hold it in your hands) and mix the finely grated chocolate with the amaretti and flour mix, set aside.

Cream the butter and 150g of the sugar until pail and fluffy, add the egg yolks one at a time, beat well after each addition.

Add the amaretti and chocolate mix and gently fold it into the creamed butter.

In a separate bowl whip the egg whites with the remaining 50g of sugar until soft peaks, fold the whipped egg whites into the butter mixture.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepare cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake; the cake should be moist.

Let the cake cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before you loosen the sides and remove the cake , let the cake cool further on a cooling rack while making the frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, place the chocolate in the TM bowl and grind it at speed 10 for 10 seconds until a powder.

Add the cream, set the time for 4 minutes at 70°C, speed 3, scrape the sides down.

Place the cake on a cooling rack and pour the chocolate frosting over the cake, let the frosting cool and set,  garnish the cake with chocolate shavings.

Non Thermomix Method:

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, set aside.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, as soon as the cream starts to boil remove it from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate, stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Place the cake on a cooling rack and pour the chocolate frosting over the cake, let the frosting cool and set,  garnish the cake with chocolate shavings.

Serves 8

Food Fanatics Tips

If you have 2 TM bowls, leave the cake batter in your first bowl and use the second bowl to whisk the egg whites. Then add a quarter of the whites to the first bowl (with the Butterfly Whisk still in it) and mix a few seconds at Speed 2 to loosen the mixture. Add remaining whites and mix at speed 2 to fold them in. Easy!

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Orange and Cardamom Soaked Brioche Buns

Orange and Cardamom Soaked Brioche Buns

Brioche Buns

Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease 12 large cannelle moulds, if you choose the smaller cannelle canape size, this recipe will make ups to 18 pieces.

Place the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Attach the dough hook and start mixing.

Add one egg at a time and knead the dough well after each addition.

Knead the dough for two minutes on a medium speed; slowly add the diced butter bits at a time.

Knead until the dough become glossy and elastic and until all the butter is incorporated.

Grease 12 moulds and half fill the moulds with the dough; loosely cover with cling film and leave to prove till double in size.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, let them cool for one minute in the moulds, turn them out onto a cooling rack.

Thermomix Instructions

Weigh the flour, yeast, salt and sugar directly into the TM bowl. Blend for 20 seconds on speed 10.

Add the eggs and set the timer to 1minute 30 seconds lock the lid and press the dough setting.

Set the timer again for 1 minute and 30 seconds, lid locked and press the dough setting, add the diced butter while the dough is kneed.

Grease 12 moulds and half fill with the dough; loosely cover with cling film and leave to prove till double in size.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, let them cool for one minute in the moulds, turn them out onto a cooling rack.

Orange and Cardamom Syrup

Weigh all the ingredients into a medium size saucepan and place over low heat. Dissolve the sugar, once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and boil the syrup for 5 minutes.

Sterilize a large kilner jar. Place the buns into the jar using a sterilised pair of tongs, pour the warm syrup over the buns, seal the jar and let the buns mature for 6 hours before serving.

Makes 10 - 12

Food Fanatics Tip

I make this recipe often. I found that the Brioche last for 7 days in the syrup. Take extra care when you remove the soaked brioche from the jar as they will be full of syrup and perhaps more fragile than expected. I keep the syrup in the fridge, bring it to the boil to sterilize, and use it again for the next batch. You will need to add more syrup as they are rather thirsty little fellas.

For a boozy kick substitute 100ml of the water with 100ml of dark rum.

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Wild Boar Bacon and Lemon Thyme Popcorn – My Tribute to Partick Swayze

Wild Boar Bacon and Lemon Thyme Popcorn – My Tribute to Partick Swayze

Preheat the grill, lay the bacon on a baking tray and grill the bacon until very crispy, turn it a couple of times during the cooking process to ensure the bacon is completely dry and crispy without it being burnt.

Let the bacon cool on a cooling rack, this will allow it to crisp up, pat dry with kitchen paper.

One the bacon is cold break it into even size pieces. Turn the thermomix on with the blades running at speed 10, drop the bacon all at once onto the running blades and place the measuring cup in place, grind for 10 seconds. Add the freshly chopped lemon thyme and a generous amount of Maldon sea salt to the powdered bacon.

Heat a large saucepan with the sunflower oil and add the bacon dripping to the pan, add the popcorn and place the lid on top, shake the pan a couple of times and once the popcorn starts to pop turn the heat off and leave the saucepan on the cooker until you cannot hear the corn popping any longer.

Remove the lid and add the powdered bacon to the warm popcorn and mix well, serve immediately.

Serves 2, all depends on the occasion it would serve 10 people at a drinks party.

Food Fanatics Tips

This bacon flavoured popcorn should be eaten  on the same day of preparation, I do not recommend you to keep it. Use any bacon of you choice, if you are going to use streaky it would be best to double the quantity.

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Venison and Smoked Pancetta Meatballs with Curly Kale and Parsnip Mash; Red Onion Gravy

Venison and Smoked Pancetta Meatballs with Curly Kale and Parsnip Mash; Red Onion Gravy

Venison Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Soak the crumbed bread in the milk.

In a large mixing bowl mix the minced venison, soaked bread and milk, egg, ground coriander, chopped mixed herbs and a seasoning.

Make even size meatballs and wrap one slice on pancetta around each ball, I formed them slightly oblong so that they cook evenly.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a tablespoon of sunflower oil, brown the balls evenly all over, transfer them to a lined baking tray and roast the balls in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.

Let them rest for 4 minutes before serving on a heaped spoonful of the parsnip and curly kale mash and a generous amount of the red onion gravy. I serve this dish in a bowl plate so that I can have a generous helping of sauce.

Parsnip and Curly Kale Mash

Place the peeled and sliced parsnips in a large saucepan covered with cold water and seasoning, bring to the boil and cook until the parsnips are tender.

Whilst the parsnips are boiling blanch the curly kale in salted boiling water until tender, drain once.

Drain the parsnips and push them through a ricer,add the butter, cream and blanched curly kale, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Keep the mash warm until the meatballs and gravy is ready to serve.

Red Onion Gravy

Heat a medium saucepan with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the onions and saute with seasoning until they start to turn golden brown.

Add the redcurrant jelly and cook for a few minutes until the redcurrant jelly has dissolved and become liquid.

De-glaze the pan with the red wine and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat or until the red wine has reduced and become sticky around the onions.

Add the stock and bring the gravy to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the gravy until the right consistency, check the seasoning and just before your ready to serve the gravy add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir it in quickly to give your gravy a lovely gloss.

Serve immediately with the meatballs and parsnip and curly kale mash.

Serves 2

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One £10 Chicken Three Meals – Part Three

One £10 Chicken Three Meals – Part Three

Roasted Chicken Broth

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Place the bones on a lined baking tray and roast them in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes, until they are golden to dark brown.

Heat a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil and saute the carrots, onions, celery, leek and garlic until golden brown with the seasoning, add the bay leaf, thyme and coriander seeds towards the end.

Add the golden roasted bones, break them up into smaller pieces so that they all fit into the pan and then pour the water over the bones.

Bring the broth to the simmer and remove any oil and impurities that surface with a ladle. Simmer the broth for at least one and a half hour, do not boil it too fast as the liquid will simply evaporate alongside all the goodness.

Let the broth cool naturally while it absorbs the flavour from the bones.

Pass the chilled broth through a fine sieve or a jelly bag  which works brilliantly too. Discard  the bones and return the broth to a clean saucepan.

If you want to clarify the broth at this stage then whisk one egg white with seasoning and stir it into the cooled broth, return to the heat and bring the broth to a gentle simmer while stirring, do not let the egg catch at the bottom.

Simmer for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the egg is completely solidified and floating on the surface. Pass the broth for the second time through a jelly bag and your consommé is ready to be served. It's really not that difficult and perhaps  will add an extra 15 minutes to the task.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with the remaining oil and saute the sliced shiitake mushrooms until golden with seasoning.

Bring a medium saucepan with seasoned water to the boil and cook the noodles and broccoli, drain and mix with the cooked chicken and sauteed mushrooms.

Bring the soup to the boil and add the garnish and serve.

Serves 2 main meal portions or 4 starter portions

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One £10 Chicken,Three Meals – Part Two

One £10 Chicken,Three Meals – Part Two

Chicken Ballotine

Bring a medium size saucepan filled with water to the boil while making the ballotine.

First make the mousse:

Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan with the butter and saute the sliced mushrooms with seasoning until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper. Use one of the two legs, remove the skin, bone and sinew and cut 100g of the leg meat into smaller pieces. In a food processor blend the leg meat until smooth, add half of the cream and pulse a couple of times. Add seasoning and the rest of the cream, pulse another two times and transfer the chicken mousse to a smaller mixing bowl. Do not over blend the mousse as it will separate. Fold the cooled drained mushrooms, crushed cobnuts and chopped herbs into the mousse, refrigerate while you are boning the other leg. Keep all the bones for the third and final dish.

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De-bone the remaining chicken leg, keeping the skin on and the chicken leg whole. Make sure that there are no splinters of bone left on the inside.

Stuff the leg with the mousse and roll the leg up.

Lay the pancetta slices flat on the chopping board and place the chicken leg on top, roll the pancetta around the chicken leg and wrap in a double layer of clingfilm.

Poach the ballotine in the simmering water for 30 minutes, make sure that the water is simmering and not boiling too fast. Dunk  in ice water to cool it quickly.

Let the ballotine  cool completely whilst making the rest of the components to the dish.

Watercress Vinaigrette

Place the watercress, mustard, honey and vinegar with seasoning in blender and puree until smooth. Slowly add the oil and blend to emulsify, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Butternut Squash Puree

In a medium saucepan melt the butter and sautee the squash trimmings until they start to colour add seasoing and the honey.

Add the stock and cook the squash until tender with a lid on, remove the lid and reduce the stock by half.

Transfer the butternut squash to a blender and puree until smooth, chill.

Assembly of the Dish

Remove the clingfilm from the ballotine.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with one teaspoon of butter and brown the pancetta until crispy, drain the ballotine on kitchen paper.Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and return to the heat. Melt the remaining butter and sautee the mushrooms until golden with seasoning and add the figs at the end to brown them on both cut sides until golden, remove from the pan.

Heat the butternut squash puree just slightly to break the fridge chill, it does not need to be piping hot.

Select four serving plates and draw a line with the puree, arrange the figs and mushrooms followed by two slices of the chicken ballotine, watercress vinaigrette, leaves and cobnuts.

Serve immediately.

Serve 4

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One £10 Chicken, Three Meals – Part One

One £10 Chicken, Three Meals – Part One

Roasted Then Poached Chicken Crown

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Season the chicken generously all over.

Heat a large frying pan with the oil and brown the chicken crown, skin side down, until golden brown place the crown on a roasting tray in the oven for 15 minutes. Remember the chicken will be partly cooked and not all the way through, this is not a error.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before removing the breast meat from the bone, keep the bone to make a stock.

Place the two breasts flesh side down into a deep enough oven tray or casserole dish to hold the stock.

Bring the stock to the boil and pour the hot stock around the chicken to just cover the surface of the tray but not covering the skin of the chicken, add the sprig of thyme.

Return the chicken to the preheated oven at 200°C for 18 - 20 minutes, ensure that the chicken is hot all the way through. Serve with the butternut squash Anna, chantenay carrots and purple sprouting broccoli.

Butternut Squash Anna

Cook in the same preheated oven at 200°C as for the chicken, place four 6.5cm dariole moulds on a baking tray. Make the Anna in advance and preheat when you are ready to serve.

Peel the squash and use a mandolin to finely slice the squash into about 2mm thick slices and use a 4cm round cutter to cut the squash into disks. Keep the trimmings to make a butternut squash puree for another dish or a soup base.

Heat the butter until it starts to bubble, remove from the heat and mix the squash disks with the melted butter and seasoning.

Pour a teaspoon of the melted butter into each mould and then divide the butternut disks between the four moulds, cover with the remaining melted butter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, let the Anna's cool in the moulds in the butter.

When you are ready to serve, heat the Anna's in the oven, carefully turn them out, drain the excess butter and serve.

Serves 2

Food Fanatics Tips

Traditionally Anna's are made with potatoes. Anna means wafer thin slices of potato cooked in butter. I have chosen butternut for this recipe, remember butternut cooks faster than potatoes so adjust the cooking time if you use potatoes or celeriac. Turnips, swede and carrots will also be a lovely alternative.

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Fig and Pine Nut Tart

Fig and Pine Nut Tart

Sweet Short Crust Pastry

Weigh the softened butter, salt and sugar in to the bowl of a mixer, use the flat paddle attachment and cream the sugar and butter until fluffy and pale in colour.

Slowly add the egg to the butter mixture, mix well.

Remove the mixing bowl and sieve the flour over the creamed butter, return to the mixer with the paddle, slowly mix the flour into the butter, do not over mix. Once the pastry comes together stop.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, do not knead the pastry, just push it together into a flat square, wrap with clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge.

Thermomix Instructions

Using the built in scales weigh the sugar and salt directly into the Thermomix bowl and grind for 10 seconds on speed 10. Add the butter and blend for 20 seconds on speed 10, scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk. Cream the butter for 1 minute on speed 4. Add the eggs one at a time creaming at speed 3 for 20 seconds per egg. Remove the butterfly whisk and add the sifted flour, blend for 10 seconds on speed 3, scrape the sides down and repeat if necessary. Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, do not knead the pastry, just push it together in to a flat square, wrap with clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge.

Almond Batter

Cream the soft butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.

Ad the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.

Sift the flour and baking powder over the creamed mixture and add the almonds and the lemon zest, fold it all together.

Thermomix Instructions

Using the built in scales weigh the sugar directly into the Thermomix bowl and grind for 10 seconds on speed 10. Add the butter and blend for 20 seconds on speed 10, scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk. Cream the butter for 1 minute on speed 4. Add the eggs one at a time creaming at speed 3 for 20 seconds per egg. Add the sifted flour and baking powder, almonds and lemon zest and fold it gently in for 10 seconds on speed 3, scrape the sides down and repeat if necessary. The almond batter is now ready to be used.

Fig and Pine Nut Tart

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Roll the pastry 3-4mm thick out on a lightly floured work surface, place the rolling pin at one end of the pastry roll it up onto the rolling pin, lift the pastry onto the tart tin. This method prevents you from stretching or tearing the pastry. Line a 9" x 9" square fluted tart tin.

Spread the jam at the base followed by the almond cake batter.

Wash the figs, cut them in 1/4's and then place the figs on top of the almond batter, do not push them in as they will naturally sink a bit.

Scatter the pine nuts and bake the tart in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Once the tart is cooked, heat the honey for a few seconds in the microwave and use a pastry brush to brush the honey over the tart to glaze.

Let the tart cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the cake tine to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

The secret to the pastry recipe is to not over work the pastry, work quick and rest the pastry for at least 30 minutes before using. If you made the pastry a day in advance then remove the pastry from the fridge at least 30 minutes  before using, this will help the pastry to soften slightly and prevent you from stretching the pastry when rolling.

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Harvest Festival on a Plate -Butternut Squash and Hen Egg Salad with Saffron Mayonnaise

Harvest Festival on a Plate -Butternut Squash and Hen Egg Salad with Saffron Mayonnaise

Cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa under cold running water, transfer to a small saucepan add salt, saffron and turmeric and fill the pan with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the quinoa is completely cooked. Rinse under cold running water, drain and chill.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and heat a griddle pan on the cooker.

Wash the butternut, I like to cook it with the skin on. Cut the butternut into wedges and remove the seeds. In a mixing bowl mix the butternut, with 1 tbs olive oil and seasoning.

Char-grill the butternut then place it on a baking tray and continue cooking in the oven until tender but still holds it shape, let the butternut cool once cooked.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets and steam until tender, refresh. Once cooled dress with a dash of olive oil and seasoning, set aside.

Soft boil the hens eggs for 5 minutes, cool and peel. Cut the egg into 1/4's and season.

Heat a small saucepan with the remaining oil and fry the diced bread until golden all over, season and drain on kitchen paper.

Assemble the dish by placing the components of the dish on the plate, garnish with the seeds, nuts and mixed leaf and place the mayonnaise in a small dipping pot.

Saffron Mayonnaise

Whisk the egg yolks, saffron, mustard, lemon juice and seasoning on a medium size metal bowl.

Slowly add the oil in a slow flowing stream whilst whisking to emulsify the mayonnaise. If it's getting a bit too thick add a teaspoon of warm water and then continue to add the rest of the oil. If the mayonnaise gets too thick it will separate if you are trying to add all the oil therefore letting it down with the water is the right thing to do.

Taste and adjust the seasoning of needed.

Keep the mayonnaise refrigerated until needed.

Serves 4 main course/ 6 starters

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Sous Vide Belly of Pork with Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry

Sous Vide Belly of Pork with Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry

Sous Vide Belly of Pork

Heat the water bath to 83°C.

Prepare the pork belly by removing all the hairs with a razor and cut it into 6 x 7cm x 7cm pieces, this is optional as you could cook the belly as one whole piece and cut it into the required shapes after chilling. Make sure you wear clean disposable gloves when you prepare the meat for sous vide cooking.

Stir the rest of the ingredients together to make the marinade.

Place the belly of pork into a clean large vacuum bag and add the marinade, I seal the belly twice on hard vacuum as the vacuum opens the pores of the pork and the marinade penetrates faster and more effectively. (seal once, cut open and seal again)

Cook the 'belly' pieces  in the preheated water bath for 9 hours. If you have left the 'belly' whole I recommend that  cooking time should be 12 hours.

Chill the belly in ice water once cooked and refridgerate until needed.

Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry

Remove the cooked 'belly' from the bag and place it to one side, scrape all the jelly into a small saucepan.

Melt the jelly and pass it through a sieve back into a clean small saucepan and bring to the boil , reduce until it becomes a thick glossy and coating sauce.

Slice the 'belly'  and heat a non-stick frying pan, without adding any oil to the pan, fry  until golden on both sides.

Heat a large wok with the sunflower  and sesame oils and stir fry by starting with the mushrooms followed by the noodles and kale and lastly add the defrosted soy beans, season lightly.

Divide the stir fry between 6 warm bowls and place the pork belly slices ontop and glaze with the sauce.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

The choice is yours on how you wish to serve this dish, I quite like the stir fry as the 'belly' is very rich. Do not over season the stir fry as the sauce of the 'belly' is strong and heavily seasoned with the soy sauce.

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Classic Tart Tatin with Velvety Crème Anglaise

Classic Tart Tatin with Velvety Crème Anglaise

Apple Tart Tatin

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE WITH HOT CARAMEL!

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface 3 - 4mm thick and cut one disk 1 - 2 cm bigger than the diameter of the saucepan, place in the fridge to rest.

In a 16cm flared copper saucepan press the butter and vanilla seeds  to cover the base, sprinkle with sugar and shake to evenly distribute the sugar, set aside.

Peel and core the apples and cut them in half or like in this instance I used the whole baby apples, arrange the apples in the saucepan with the narrowest side of the apple to the bottom and the wider side up, make them stand up, make sure that you have one or two pieces of apple spare to insert later, or in this case I kept one whole apple aside.

Place the saucepan over low heat and caramelise until it becomes dark  all round, now carefully add the remaining apple as the cooked ones have shrunk, push it in very carefully as the hot caramel will spit.

Place the saucepan on a pot rest and place the puff pastry on top. Press the pastry in by the sides of the apple.

Place the saucepan on an oven tray in the preheated oven and bake for 30 - 35minutes. If your pastry is very thick it will require a longer cooking time, I do recommend that you do not roll your pastry too thick as it becomes heavy and the balance of pastry vs fruits is not quite right.

Let the tart tatin rest for 5- 8 minutes, then place a plate on top and quickly turn the pan upside down to turn the tart tatin out, take care with the hot caramel.

Serve with the crème anglaise.

Crème Anglaise

This is the Thermomix method for making crème anglaise, I love it as you have less things to wash and most importantly you do not have to watch and stir it all the time, the machine does that for you. My recipes and cooking times are always for fridge cold ingredients such as milk and eggs, if you are using room temperature ingredients please reduce the cooking time!

Use the built in scales and weigh all the ingredients directly into the thermomix bowl.

Set the timer for 10 minutes at 80°C, speed 4.

Turn the speed dial gradually to 10 and blend for 10 seconds.

Serve with the freshly baked tart tatin.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip

My all time favourite chef’s cheat substitute for making the caramel is as follows: place equal quantities of soft butter and dark Muscavado sugar in a food processor and whip until light and fluffy, spread the sugar butter in the bottom of the chosen baking tray, arrange the fruits on top followed by the pastry, bake for 30 - 35 minutes at 200°C, turn the tart tatin out and enjoy!

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Classic Beef Wellington

Classic Beef Wellington

Mushrooms A La Crème

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the mushrooms and season. Sauté the mushrooms and chopped shallot until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper.

Wipe the pan clean and return to the heat, return the golden brown mushroom and shallot to the pan and add the white wine, cook until the wine has evaporated and left the mushrooms with a gloss.

Add the cream and reduce until thickened and coating the mushrooms, stir in the chopped thyme and truffle oil.

Let the mushrooms cool whilst preparing the rest of the dish.

Wellington

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the oil; pat the beef fillet dry with kitchen paper and season well all over.

Seal the fillet of beef on all sides, do this quickly as you only want to seal the meat and give it some colour, drop the butter into the pan whilst the beef is colouring to add extra flavour, drain on kitchen paper.

Bring a medium saucepan with seasoned water to the boil, dunk the spinach in and refresh immediately in ice cold water. Let the spinach drain in a colander, set aside.

Roll the pastry out ,3mm thick, on a lightly floured work surface and cut 8 x 12 cm disks of pastry. Whisk the egg and get a pastry brush ready.

Place 4 disks of the pastry on a lined baking tray, place one piece of beef  in the middle of each disk.

Squeeze the cooled blanched spinach between your fingers to remove any excess water.

Divide the spinach in four and place the spinach on top of each piece of beef, followed by a generous spoonfulof mushrooms a la crème.

Brush the pastry around the beef with the whisked egg wash and place another disk over the mushrooms to cover the Wellington.

Without stretching or lifting up the whole Wellington , just raise the sides of the bottom pastry and gently press the edges together, press to crimp the edges. Your Wellington will look like a space ship.

Brush the top of the Wellington with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.

Leave the Wellingtons to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, place the baking tray in the oven to got, transfer the Wellingtons to the hot tray in the oven and bake them for 20 - 22 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip

Do not roll the pastry too thick; if the pastry is too thick your beef will be over cooked by the time your pastry is cooked. Make the Wellingtons one day in advance for a dinner party, keep them refrigerated. The choice of mushrooms is entirely up to you I have chosen to use girolles as they are in season and I love them, I have also chosen the shiitake mushrooms as I like their meaty and natural garlicky flavour. You could use only one type of mushroom if that suits you. The truffle oil is entirely optional, I add it for that little tough of luxury!

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Pan-fried Chicken Livers and Cobnuts on Toast

Pan-fried Chicken Livers and Cobnuts on Toast

Heat a griddle pan, rub the slices of bread with the oil and toast on both sides on the preheated griddle pan. Whilst the toast is still warm dip the garlic into the salt and rub the salty garlic over the toast on both sides. Place the toast on four plates and place them in a cool oven to heat the plates and keep the toast warm.

Prepare the livers and apple, season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan and saute the pancetta in the dry pan for 3 -4 minutes, add the butter and once the butter starts to foam and turns a nutty brown colour add the apples and livers and saute for 2 minutes in both sides, leaving the livers still slightly pink on the inside and the apple with a bite.

De-glaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and add a splash of olive oil if it's slightly dry, stir in the chopped fresh thyme.

Divide the livers, apples and pancetta between the four sliced of toast and garnish with the watercress, use a coarse grater to grate the cobnuts over and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tips

Use duck livers instead of chicken livers and serve with half a soft boiled duck egg for the complete breakfast.

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Celeriac and Potato Gratin with Cobnut Gremolata

Celeriac and Potato Gratin with Cobnut Gremolata

Celeriac and Potato Gratin

Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease a oven dish. I have used a 2lb loaf tin and lined it with parchment paper, however you can use a shallower and wider dish, please remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly, the cooking times for this recipe is for making the gratin in a loaf tin.

Pour the cream, stock, bay leaf, garlic, sprig of thyme and seasoning into a medium saucepan. Bring tot he boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the cream to infuse for 20 minutes.

Peel the shallots and slice into rings. Heat a non-stick frying pan with the butter and sauté the shallots until golden, add seasoning and the chopped thyme.

Peel the celeriac and potatoes, cut the celeriac into quarters. Using a sharp mandolin slice the celeriac and potatoes 2mm thick.

Season the sliced celeriac and potato generously with salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring the cream back to the boil and the infused cream through a fine sieve directly over the sliced potatoes and celeriac.

Start layering your gratin, first pour on a bit of cream, then layer the celeriac, then a thin layer of the sautéed shallots, then potatoes then cream and continue until all the ingredients are used. At this stageI give it a good press with my hands.

Let the gratin sit for 30 minutes before cooking.

Bake the gratin for 2 hours, as I said this is for a deep gratin in a loaf tin. If you  make a flatter version then the cooking time should be at least 30 - 40 minutes less. Test if the potatoes and celeriac are cooked by inserting a metal skewer, if it glides in and out with ease it's cooked, if it feels a bit crunchy return to the oven and cook longer. Do not be tempted to turn the heat up before the gratin is cooked, as a high heat will curdle the cream and your potatoes will be raw, not good!

Let the gratin rest and  before you are ready to serve place the gratin in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20 - 25 minutes to heat through and brown.

Cobnut Gremolata

Remove the husks from the cobnuts, crack the shell and remove the nut. Use a coarse grater to grate the cobnuts.

Add the zest of the lemon and the chopped fresh thyme leaves.

Scatter the cobnut gremolata over the cooked gratin and serve.

Serves 8 - 10

Food Fanatics Tips

Please remember to adjust the cooking times if you are  making this gratin in a shallower dish. It's a perfect party piece and the flavour is improved if its made a day in advance, remember to ensure that the gratin is hot all the way through when serving. Make the gremolata fesh just before serving.

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Omelette in One Minute…Dedicated to Julie and Julia

Omelette in One Minute…Dedicated to Julie and Julia

First saute the girolles. Heat a small non-stick frying pan with 1 tsp of butter, once the butter foams and turns nutty brown add the girolles and seasoning, saute until golden brown.

Transfer the sauteed mushrooms onto a small plate lined with kitchen paper.

Crack the fresh eggs into a small bowl, add the water, chopped thyme and seasoning. Loosen the eggs with a fork, do not whisk.

Heat a small 20cm non-stick frying pan with the remaining butter.

As soon as a the butter turns nutty brown and starts to foam add the egg, do not disturb for 5 counts, then shake the pan backwards and forward keeping it on the heat, do not lift the pan from the heat.

Shake a couple of times so that the raw egg gets in contact with the hot pan and shake so that the contents slides towards one end of the pan and the omelette starts to look like a elongated scrunched up rag, add the cooked mushrooms and immediately flip the omelette out of the pan onto a warm serving plate. The cooking time of the omelette takes no longer than one minute, I cooked this one in 35 seconds as I like my egg soft and just set.

Garnish appropriately and enjoy immediately!

Serves one

Food Fanatics Tips

Ensure your eggs are super fresh, check the date or even better if you can buy eggs from someone who has chickens in your local area. Never whisk the eggs, use a fork and do not add too much salt as the salt makes the eggs rubbery. Lastly if you are adding mushrooms always cook them before adding them to the omelette. The mushrooms contain water and as the eggs do not take long to cook, the chances are that the mushrooms could still be raw if they are not cooked before hand.

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Fresh Borlotti Bean, Tiger Prawn and Chorizo Horneado

Fresh Borlotti Bean, Tiger Prawn and Chorizo Horneado

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

First make the tomato and borlotti bean cassoulet. Peel and dice one of the two red onions and crush the garlic. De-seed the red chilli and finely slice.

Heat a medium size sauce pan with 80ml of the olive oil. Saute the diced red onion, sliced red chilli and crushed garlic with seasoning until it starts to colour.

Add the red wine vinegar, stock, tinned tomato and sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the fresh borlotti beans, chopped thyme and oregano. Simmer for 15 minutes until the beans are cooked and the sauce becomes rich and slightly thickened, turn the heat off. Add the lemon juice and zest.

Wash the red peppers and cut them in half, remove the seeds, I keep the green stalks on purely because it looks pretty. Place the peppers in a the oven dish of your choice. If you would like to bake individuals like mine then choose four oven dishes or one large terracotta dish.

Lightly drizzle a tablespoon of oil over the peppers and season. Bake them in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Spoon a few ladles of the borlotti bean and tomato cassoulet into and around the baked peppers.

Remove the skin from the chorizo and cut into even size pieces.

Peel the remaining red onion and cut through the root into 8's.

Peel the tiger prawns and set aside.

Divide the chorizo, baby cherry tomatoes and onion wedges between the four dishes. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Arrange the peeled prawns on top and rip the bread into pieces and scatter it over the dishes.

Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 - 12 minutes.

Serve with freshly chopped thyme and oregano.

Serves 4

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Victoria Plum and Blackberry Frozen Ice Cream Slices

Victoria Plum and Blackberry Frozen Ice Cream Slices

Victoria Plum and Blackberry Puree

Wash the both fruits and drain. Cut the plums in half and remove the stones.

Place the plums and blackberries in a small saucepan with the sugar, dissolve the sugar over low heat, increase the heat and bring the fruits to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Blend the puree until smooth, let it cool completely.

Ice Cream

Line 2 20cm x 10cm or in imperial terms 1lb loaf tins with a double layer of cling film.

Wash the plums and blackberries. Cut the plums in 6's and remove the stone, place the plums and blackberries in the bottom of the lined moulds

Theromix Method:

Wash the plums and blackberries, place the fruits and sugar into the bowl of the thermomix with stones and all. Set the timer for 15 minutes @ 100°C reverse blade setting speed 4. The fruits will cook and the stones will loosen. Once cooked pass the puree through a sieve to separate the stones, return the puree and blend the puree for 30 seconds on speed 10, transfer the puree to a clean bowl and leave to cool.

Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to the boil, reduce the heat to a rolling boil.

In a large metal bowl whisk the egg yolks with 100g of the sugar and the water, place the bowl over the heat boiling water, do not the the bowl touch the water. Whisk continuously until the egg sabayon becomes thick and reaches ribbon stage.

Thermomix Method:

Place the egg yolks, sugar and water into the bowl of the thermomix and insert the butterfly whisk attachment, set the timer to 15 minutes @ 70°C, speed 4.

Then whisk for a further 10 minutes on speed 4 without any heat to encourage the sabayon to cool down and hold the air.

Set the thick sabayon to the side to cool slightly while preparing the next two stages.

In a separate bowl whisk the cream and cold puree to a just set ribbon stage, set aside.

Thermomix Method:

Place the cream and cold fruit puree into the bowl of the thermomix and insert the butterfly whisk attachment, set the timer to 50 seconds, speed 4.

In another bowl whisk the egg whites and the remaining 100g of sugar to a stiff peak meringue.

Theromix Method:

Blitz the remaining 100g sugar on speed 10 for 10 seconds, till a white powder forms, tip the sugar out.Place the egg whites into the bowl of the thermomix and insert the butterfly whisk attachment, set the timer to 2 minutes on speed 4. Set the timer for 3 minutes on speed 3 and while the egg whites are whisking add the sugar powder, whisk until stiff peaks.

Fold the whipped cream mixture into the sabayon using long gentle folding strokes to retain the air.

Do the same with the meringue.

Pour the ice cream mixture over the prepared fruits, fold the cling film over to cover and place the loaf tins in the freezer for a minimum of 8 hours.

Turn the frozen ice cream out of the loaf tin, slice in 8 slices using a knife dipped in hot water, garnish with fresh blackberries and ripped mint leaves and serve immediately.

If your not going to serve the dessert immediately then place the slices back in the freezer until ready to serve.

Serves 18

Food Fanatics Tips

Lining the loaf tins with a double layer of cling film can be a tricky one at the best of times. I have a trick that helps every time. Dampen a double thickness of kitchen towel with cold water, wipe the flat kitchen work surface with the wet paper and lay the cling film on top of the damp spot. Take a dry tea towel and wipe over the clingfilm to flatten and remove any bubbles, then repeat by wiping the clingfilm with the wet paper, lay another piece of clingfilm and flatten with a dry towle to remove bublbes. It's really easy but takes a bit of practice and most importantly patience.

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Mr.Punch and Lady Priscilla’s Lemon Drizzle Cake

Mr.Punch and Lady Priscilla’s Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 12 mini loaf holes or one 1lb loaf tin.

Let the butter soften at room temperature.

Place the soft butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and whisk until palel and fluffy.

Crack the eggs in a separate bowl and add the milk, lightly loosen with a fork.

Add the eggs a bit at a time to the creamed butter mixture and mix well after each addition.

Sift the baking powder and flour into over the creamed butter mixture, add the lemon zest and lightly fold the flour in.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared moulds and bake the mini loafs for 18 - 20 minutes or 1 hour for the large 1lb loaf tin. Test if the loaf is cooked by inserting a metal skewer, if the skewer comes out clean then the loaf is cooked, if it's still wet return the loaf to the oven and continue cooking.

Once cooked let the loaf rest for 5 minutes in the mould before turning it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing with the drizzle.

Lemon and Gin Drizzle

Sift the icing sugar in to a small mixing bowl, add the lemon juice and gin and stir.

Turn the mini loafs the right way up standing on the cooling rack and place a baking sheet below to catch any of the drippings of the drizzle.

Spoon the drizzle over the mini loafs or one large loaf, leave to set at room temperature. Do not refrigerate as the sugar is hygroscopic and will remain runny as it continue extracting moisture from the fridge.

Makes 12 mini loafs or 1 lb loaf

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Crispy Mackerel Wontons

Crispy Mackerel Wontons

First make a white fish mousse:

Remove any skin and bones from the haddock and cut in small even size pieces.

Place the haddock in the thermomix bowl, blend on speed 10 for 30 seconds, scrape the sides down and repeat the process if needed.

Add the cream all at once with the salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Pulse blend for 20 seconds, remove the mousse from the bowl and mix gently, do not over work the mixture.

Add the diced mackerel, sliced spring onion, chopped coriander and a dash of lime juice to the white fish mousse, gently fold the mixture together.

Make the wontons:

Use a 80mm round cutter to cut the square wonton wrappers into rounds.

Whisk the egg and brush one half of the wonton round with egg wash, spoon a small teaspoon full of mackerel filling in the centre, fold the round in half covering the filling, rub the air out and then fold the tortellini shape around your baby finger bringing the edges together and secure them with egg wash as demonstrated in the photos above.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

Poach the dumplings for 2 minutes in the rapid boiling water, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on kitchen paper.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with a tablespoon of sunflower oil and pan fry the wontons until golden all over, drain on kitchen paper while flash sauteing the enoki mushrooms in the same pan.

Place the warm wontons on a serving spoon and sprinkle a light dusting of the sumac, garnish with the enoki mushrooms and sango radish sprouts and fresh whole coriander leaves.

Makes 24 canapes

Food Fanatics Tip:

If you wish to make these for a party then make the wontons the day before.Poach them in the water for 2 minutes then cool them rapidly by dunking them in icy water. Leave them in the fridge over night and the following day take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before you need them then pan fry and serve.

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Julia Childs’ The French Chef Talking Chickens…

Julia Childs’ The French Chef Talking Chickens…

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Old Fashioned Jam Tarts

Old Fashioned Jam Tarts

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Weigh the softened butter, salt and sugar into the bowl of a mixer, use the flat paddle attachment and cream the sugar and butter until fluffy and pale in colour.

Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly whisk. Slowly add the egg a bit at a time to the butter mixture, mix well.

Remove the mixing bowl and sieve the flour over the creamed butter, return to the mixer  use with the paddle, slowly mix the flour into the butter, do not over mix. Once the pastry comes together, stop.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, do not knead the pastry, just push it together into flat square.

Cover with clingfilm and let the pastry rest for 30 minutes before using.

Makes 240g sweet shortcrust pastry

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut the pastry in half, place one half in the freezer and roll the second half between two sheets of parchment paper.

Use a 58mm or 1 1/4 inch scalloped edge round cutter to cut 24 rounds. Line a mini tartlet tray with the pastryand blind bake them for 14 minutes. I line the reverse side of the tray and for that reason I do not need to fill each tart with blind baking beans.

Let the golden brown blind baked tartlet cases cool on a cooling rack.

Old Fashioned Jam Tarts

Divide the jam between the tartlets and lightly dust them with the icing sugar.

Serve them with a cup of carefully brewed tea.

Makes 24

Food Fanatics Tips

These tarts stay crispy even if you do not eat them all at once. I left a few in the kithcen in a airtight container and they remained crispy for two days.I can't confirm whether they would have have ever gone soggy, as by then I had eaten them all, oops.

Any jam would be suitable for these old fashioned jam tarts. I make a large batch of the pastry and freeze them in 120g blocks. It's perfect for lining large tarts or even something as simple as the plate pie.

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Healthy Brown Rice and Hemp Seed Salad

Healthy Brown Rice and Hemp Seed Salad

Rinse the brown rice, place the rice in a medium saucepan cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring the rice to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked.

In a separate small saucepan cover the hemp seeds with water and add salt, bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.

Drain the rice and hemp seeds, cool completely.

Cut the aubergine in 1cm dice, sprinkle some salt and pepper and add the sugar, cumin and ras-el-hanout, let the aubergine sit for 20 minutes. Heat a large nonstick frying pan with oil and saute the aubergines with salt and pepper until dark golden brown, toss the pan occasionally. They must be deep dark brown, if the aubergines are too light in colour they will go soggy and taste unpleasant. Let the sauteed aubergines cool completely.

Transfer the cooked rice, hemp seeds and cooled sauteed aubergines to a large mixing bowl. Add the finely sliced cabbage, spring onions and grated swede, zest and juice of one lemon. Add a table spoon of oil if the salad looks a bit dry.

Garnish the salad with the mung beans and serve.

Serves 6 - 8

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What To Do with a Glut of Tomatoes

What To Do with a Glut of Tomatoes

Tomato, Ginger and Sultana Chutney

Sterilize the glass jars.

Prepare the tomatoes, wash and roughly chop them.

Crush the garlic and dice the peeled onion.

Place the vinegar, sugar, cardamom pods, onion, ginger, seasoning, crushed garlic and coriander seeds in a large saucepan over low heat to dissolve the sugar.

Once the sugar has dissolved bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil until it becomes a syrup. You will notice that the bubbles becomes laboured and heavier.

Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and sultanas and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Cook until the chutney is the right consistency. I like my chutney thick and quite dry but it's your choice, if you would like to test your chutneys setting point, place a small plate in the freezer, pour a teaspoon of chutney on the ice cold plate, let it cool for 5 minutes and then you will have an  indication of what it would look like once cooled.

Once your happy with your consistency add the chopped thyme and onion seeds, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Let the chutney cool for 10 minutes before you fill your sterilized jars.

Makes approximately 600g of chutney

Food Fanatics Tips

As I have already mentioned I love this recipe as it's a fantastic basic recipe that could be adapted easily. For a pear or mango chutney I use the basic recipe and replace the tomatoes with peeled and roughly diced pears or mangoes and replace the tomato puree with 1tsb finely sliced and de-seeded red chillies. I also add a tiny pinch of saffron to the chutney to give it that golden rich colour, be conservative and only add a tiny pinch!

Semi-dried Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 100°C and place two large cooling racks on two large baking trays.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in halves or quarters, the smaller the size the quicker they will dry.

Place the cut tomatoes on the cooling racks, lightly season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and scatter the thyme leaves  over the tomatoes.

Place the tray in the preheated oven for approximately three hours. The length of time that you dry the tomatoes depends on the amount you are drying and also the way that you have cut them. I set a timer for two hours to begin with and then check them and increase the drying time to to suit my needs.

For preserving them I would like them dry enough but not completely shriveled nor juicy and wet.

Once the tomatoes are semi-dried remove the tray from the oven.Sterilize the jars that will be used to store them .

Wearing claen rubber gloves, place the warm tomatoes into the sterilized jars and cover with oil. I use olive oil and once the tomatoes have been used you will have tomato infused oil which makes perfect dressings for pasta dishes or salads.

Makes about 750 gms of semi-dried tomatoes

Tomato Sauce For Keeps

Sterilize glass jars.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half.

Crush the garlic and roughly dice the peeled onions.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil and saute the onion, crushed garlic , bay leaves and seasoning until golden brown.

Add the tomato puree and sugar and cook for 3 minutes, add the prepared tomatoes and water.

Bring the tomatoes to a the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Place a food mill over a clean saucepan and pass the tomato sauce through the food mill, discard the skins and bring the sauce back to the boil.

Divide the fresh sprigs of herbs between the jars, then pour the sauce into the sterilized glass jars or bottles, seal and cool.

Makes approximately 2L tomato sauce

Sterilising the jars:

This is one of the most crucial steps to successful preserving and you should never cut corners with this one. If you not do this properly you might find your preserved goods becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the cooked product.

Never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass. Take extra care when sterilising the jars, if they are overheated they might explode.

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Greengage Jam

Greengage Jam

Wash the greengages, cut in 1/4's and remove the stones.

Place the greengages, water and sugar into a heavy base saucepan and leave overnight to encourage the sugar to dissolve.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and gently melt the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and bring to the boil. I do not cook this particular jam over high heat as I found that it will catch much faster than the berry jams that I have cooked in the past. I also recommend that you give it a slight stir to prevent the fruits at the bottom from burning, now I know this goes against my principles of stirring the jam whilst boiling but I do add the lemon juice at the end which should also help prevent crystallization taking place.

Wash the edges of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water; this will prevent the jam from crystallising.

Boil the jam for about 10 -12 minutes, temperature 106°C; this is the ideal setting point for the jam.

I do not use pectin or pectin rich sugar and for that reason it is crucial to measure the temperature.

When  the correct temperature is reached add the lemon juice and remove the jam from the heat.

Have your jam jars ready, cleaned and sterilised, as it is important to decant the hot jam as soon as possible.

Place a small cartouche of parchment paper directly on to the hot jam and close the jar immediately whilst the jam is hot.

Make sure your hands are clean or wear disposable gloves.

Cool the jam jars, clean and label them.

Makes 4 340g jars of greengage jam

Food Fanatics Tips

Crystallisation of Jam: It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the jam has cooled down completely. I have three simple preventable reasons why crystallisation could happen.

  1. -  if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved.
  2. -  once the sugar has dissolved and the jam has reached the vigorous boiling stage you did not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and falls back into the boiling syrup,the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals know as crystallisation.

Sterilising the jars: This is one of the most crucial tasks and you should never cut corners  If you not do this properly you might find your jam becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected.Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the jam.

Other points are:

  1. Never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass.
  2. Take extra care when sterilising the jars, as if they are overheated they might explode.

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Damson and Bramble Plate Pie

Damson and Bramble Plate Pie

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Weigh the softened butter, salt and sugar in to the bowl of a mixer, use the flat paddle attachment and cream the sugar and butter until fluffy and pale in colour.

Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly whisk. Slowly add the egg a bit at a time to the butter mixture, mix well.

Remove the mixing bowl and sieve the flour over the creamed butter, return to the mixer  use with the paddle, slowly mix the flour into the butter, do not over mix. Once the pastry comes together stop.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, do not knead the pastry, just push it together into flat square.

Cover with clingfilm and let the pastry rest for 30 minutes before using.

Makes 240g sweet shortcrust pastry

Damson and Bramble Pie Filling

Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly grease a 20cm enamel plate,a normal old ceramic plate will work just as well.

Roll the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 5mm thick, cut two rounds both 2cm bigger than the actual size of the plate.

Line the plate with one piece and place both pieces of pastry in the fridge to rest while making the filling.

Wash the brambles and damsons, remove the stones from the damsons and cut them into quarters.

Mix the brambles, damsons, ground almonds, chopped pecans, salt and ground ginger together.

Pile the filling onto the line plate and gently lay the other piece of pastry over the top. Crimp the pastry and use the back of a knife to remove the excess pastry. Make three steam holes on top.

Mix the egg yolk and 1/2 tsp of sugar, brush the pastry top with the sugary egg and bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven and then turn the heat down to 170°C for a further 20 minutes. Remember to place a tray underneath as the pie is bound to leak some sugary fruit juices.

Let the pie rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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Courgette, Goats Cheese and Garden Herb Pesto Bread

Courgette, Goats Cheese and Garden Herb Pesto Bread

Courgette and Garden herb Pesto

Heat a non-stick frying pan and saute the onions, garlic and seasoning in 2tbs of the oil until golden about 4 -5 minutes. Add the courgettes and saute for one minute. Let the mixture cool.

Toast the linseeds and pine nuts and add to the sauteed onion and courgette mixture, cool.

Place the herbs, spinach, lemon juice, Parmesan and remaining oil in the Thermomix bowl and blend until still coarse.

Add the herb mixture to the cooled sauteed onion, courgette and nut mixture. Adjust the seasoning if needed and let the flavours develop for about 20 minutes.

Food Fanatics Tips

Do not be tempted to add too much oil, the mixture must be dry to prevent the bread becoming claggy. Place the leftover pesto in a clean jar cover the surface with extra oil and keep refrigerated, it should last for up to one week.

Bread Dough

Weigh the flour, rosemary, yeast and salt directly into the Thermomix bowl, blend for 30 seconds on speed 8.

Add the oil and water, blend for 30 seconds on speed 8.

Scrape the sides down, lock the lid, set the timer to 1 minute 30 seconds, dial on lock position and press the dough button.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and neatly and glenty fold the dough into a ball to form a smooth top, place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel and let the dough prove to double in size. Should take about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 7"(18cm) OR 8"(20cm) spring form tin and lightly dust with flour.

Carefully turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten using your fingers tips or very lightly roll with a rolling pin into a rectangle about 1.5cm thick.

Spread the pesto and sprinkle the goats cheese, roll the dough into a spiral and cut into 6. Place the spirals in the prepared tin, bake for 55 minutes. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin, brush the top with olive oil.

Serves 6

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Chilled Courgette Soup with Goat’s Milk Yoghurt

Chilled Courgette Soup with Goat’s Milk Yoghurt

Wash the courgettes and cut them into 1/4's, remove the white soft seeds. You will end up with roughly 1kg of the green firm part and 500g of the white soft seedy interior. Keep the white parts for another recipe, however if your not too fussed then use the whole lot. I have chosen to use the firm green parts as I wanted a vibrant green colour.

Peel and finely slice the shallot and crush the garlic.

Chop the green parts in even size pieces, saute the sliced shallots, crushed garlic and courgettes in a tablespoon of olive oil, cayenne pepper and seasoning until lightly coloured, about 2 minutes at high heat. Have the ice cubes ready in a bowl along with the cold or frozen chicken stock. Scatter the sauteed courgettes onto the ice cubes to cool them rapidly.

Add the grated nutmeg, washed spinach leaves and lemon juice.

Blend the soup until smooth, I use a Thermomix which is a very powerful machine and for that reason I do not need to pass the soup however if you prefer a smooth and silky soup I recommend that you pass the soup through a fine sieve or chinoise.

Chill the soup.

Serve the chilled soup with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a dollop of the goats milk yoghurt and garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers and a piece of the freshly baked courgette bread.

Serves 6 for a main meal

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Hedgerow Fruit Pastels

Hedgerow Fruit Pastels

Mirabelle Puree

Wash the fruits, cut them in half and remove the stones.

Place the stones and flesh into a medium size saucepan over very low heat, bring the fruits to the boil. Stir occasionally to prevent the fruits from catching.

The stones contain pectin and for that reason you should boil them together.

Cook the fruits for 30 minutes, pass the fruit puree through a food mill, discard the stones and transfer the fruit puree to a clean container.

Wild Plum, Elderberry and Blackberry Puree

Wash the fruits. Cut the bullaces in half and remove the stones. De-stalk the elderberries and brambles.

Place the stones, flesh and berries into a medium size saucepan over very low heat bring the fruits to the boil. Stir occasionally to prevent the fruits from catching.

The stones contain pectin and for that reason you should boil them together.

Cook the fruits for 30 minutes, pass the fruit puree through a food mill, discard the stone and transfer the fruit puree to a clean container.

Fruit Pastels

Line a 14cm x 21cm x 1.5cm tray with cling film. I found these exact trays at Muji and they are perfect.

Place the chosen fruit puree and glucose in a medium size saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook to 107°C.

Then add the sugar and pectin, melt the sugar and bring the mixture back to the simmer and cook to 107°C for the second time.

Pour the boiling hot mixture into the lined tray and leave to set completely at room temperature.

Cut into squares and roll each square in demerara sugar.

Makes 24 pieces of each flavour puree

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Borlotti Bean and Courgette Hummus

Borlotti Bean and Courgette Hummus

Place the fresh borlotti beans in a small saucepan, cover with cold water add the piece of onion and the bay leaf. Bring the beans to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the beans until they are soft. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the beans for the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.

Drain the cooked borlotti beans, discard the onion and bay leaf and cool the beans in icy water.

Cut the courgettes in even size pieces, heat a non- stick frying pan and saute the courgettes in a teaspoon of oil and seasoning until tender and starting to colour.

Place the drained chilled beans, cooked courgettes, tahini, 3/4's of the sumac, lemon juice and seasoning in a food processor, I use a thermomix. Blend until smooth, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Spoon the hummus in a serving dish, garnish with olive oil and the rest of the sumac.

Makes approximately 300g of hummus

Food Fanatics Tips

If you do not have fresh borlotti beans use either tinned or dried borlotti beans. If you use dried you must remember to hydrate the  beans over night in 5 times the amount of cold water, drain and cook until tender and add the salt at the end. You could also subsitute the borlotti beans for butter beans or chickpeas.

What is Tahini? :- Tahini is sesame seed paste and available from most large supermarkets or health food stores. It reminds me of peanut butter but made of sesame seeds.  Stir well before using and keep refrigerated after opening. I love adding a teaspoon of tahinin to marinades, salad dressings or soups. It also adds an extra dimention to flapjacks and cookies.

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Healthy Bran, Conference Pear and Bullace Breakfast Muffins

Healthy Bran, Conference Pear and Bullace Breakfast Muffins

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease either a 18 hole medium size muffin tray or a large 12 hole tray.

Prepare the fruits, wash the pears and bullace. Remove the stones from the bullace and cut them into 1/4's. Coarsely grate the pears.

In a large mixing bowl weigh the flour, bran, baking powder, chopped hazelnuts, salt, sugar, lemon zest, grated pear and bullace 1/4's.

In a separate bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg and oil together.

Add the wet to the dry and use a large spatula to lightly fold the two together. Mum's tip is not to over work the muffin mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared trays, I fill them all the way to the top as it does not rise too much.

Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C for the last 10 minutes of the baking time so that  they do not brown too quickly or too much.

Makes 12 large or 18 medium size breakfast muffins.

Food Fanatics Tips

If you cannot find wild plums or bullace use plums or damsons instead and the buttermilk could be substitute for natural yoghurt. A grated carrot or apple could be substituted for the grated pear. These muffins freezes very well, defrost them over night.

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My Organic Garden Courgette Fritters with Home Made Kumato Ketchup

My Organic Garden Courgette Fritters with Home Made Kumato Ketchup

Home Made Kumato Ketchup

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in 1/4's, peel and chop the onion and crush the garlic.

Heat the largest saucepan that you have with the oil and fry the onions, garlic,  black onion seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves until the onions turn transparent, add some seasoning at this stage.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, tamarind pulp, mustard powder, cayenne pepper nutmeg and the rest of the salt and pepper. Stir and bring the tomatoes to the boil, cook for 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar and sugar bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 1 hour. Stir regularly and be careful that it does not catch at the bottom.

Use a food mill to pass the ketchup through, do not be tempted to use a blender as this will puree and aerate the ketchup, you will end up with a unpleasant pale yellowy orange colour. The food mill will help remove any remaining skins.Throw the residue away and return the pulp to a clean saucepan.

Bring the ketchup back to a gentle simmer, reduce until required thickness is achieved.

Make approximately 2 Litres of ketchup

Spelt and Ale Batter

Spelt flour absorbs a lot of liquid and the batter could become thick under your eyes. For that reason I suggest you keep the ale bottle to hand to stir in a splash at a time if you make a large batch of these fritters.

Weigh the flour, baking powder and seasoning into a mixing bowl, beat the egg lightly with a fork and mix into the flour to form a paste.

Slowly add the ale to form a batter. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes before using. If the batter becomes a bit thicker than expected add a splash of ale to let the batter down to the required coating consistency.

Courgette Fritters

Wash the courgettes and slice then 5mm thick on a angle.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan  to shallow fry the fritters. Medium heat rather than too hot. Line a tray with kitchen paper to drain the fritters once cooked.

Salt the courgettes and let the courgettes sit for a couple of minutes. Season the plain flour with more salt and pepper, dip the courgettes in the flour and dust off the excess flour then dip the courgettes in the batter.

Shallow fry the fritters in the warm oil until golden and crisp on both sides, drain them on the kitchen paper.

Serve them with the home made kumato ketchup and course sea salt.

Serves 6 tapas style portions

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My Farewell Celebration Cake for Mum; Lemon, Polenta and Almond Cake

My Farewell Celebration Cake for Mum; Lemon, Polenta and Almond Cake

Preheat the oven to 150°C; line and grease a 7"(18cm) OR 8"(20cm) spring form tin, I have used the 7" today and the cake was level with the top. I used to bake this cake in a 8" pan which results in a slightly shallower cake.

I recommend unwaxed lemons for this recipe as it has a clean taste and a very powerful fragrance. Zest all the lemons thoroughly and squeeze the juice, strain the juice to remove the pips and set aside.

Cream the soft unsalted butter, vanilla seeds and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold the ground almonds into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition. Add the amaretto liqueur and the lemon zest and juice.

Sprinkle the polenta and baking powder over the egg batter and lightly fold it in, do not over work the mixture. The mix is naturally runny.

Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tin, place the cake tin in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and bake for 1 ½ hour, test if the cake is cooked by inserting a metal skewer and if it comes out clean with a light oily residue left on the skewer, then its ready.

Sprinkle the flaked almonds and light brown sugar over the cooked cake, I then spray the top of the cake with clean water a couple of times, return the cake to the oven for a further 8 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool until lukewarm before removing the tin.

This cake has a very fine texture and is very rich so small slices will be highly recommended.

Serves 8 - 10 slices of cake

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Picnic in a Jar, Orzo Pasta and Greek Style Meatball Salad

Picnic in a Jar, Orzo Pasta and Greek Style Meatball Salad

Orzo and Roasted Tomato Salad

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Wash the tomatoes, chillies and peppers. Cut the tomatoes in even size pieces. De-seed the peppers and chillies and cut in even size pieces.

Mix the tomatoes, chillies and peppers, tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil and bay leaves. Place the mixture in a deep casserole dish and roast in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Let the roasted tomatoes chill before reserving 100g to make the mayonnaise.

Cook the orzo pasta in salted boiling water and refresh. Toss the orzo in a light coating of extra virgin olive oil once the pasta has completely cooled.

Wash and chop the spring onions and mix with the cooked orzo, chopped coriander and the remainder of the chilled roasted tomatoes. Set aside to make the mayonnaise.

Roasted Tomato Mayonnaise

Blend the roasted tomatoes, egg yolks, seasoning, Dijon mustard and horseradish until smooth.

Slowly add the oil to form an emulsion, blend until all the oil is incorporated.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Add 4 tbs of the mayonnaise to the orzo pasta blend.

Meatballs

Soak the slice of bread in the milk.

Place the beef, soaked bread and the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I like to get my hands dirty to give it a good mix.

Scoop the meatballs in approximately 15g balls, let them rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a dash of oil and pan-fry the meatballs until golden all over and cooked on the inside, stir them regularly without breaking them into pieces.

Let the meatballs cool completely.

Food Fanatics Tips

If you do not have time to pan-fry them then oven roast the meatballs in a preheated oven at 200°C for 12 - 14 minutes.

Makes 45 x 15g meatballs

Assembly of the dish

Orzo pasta salad

45 meatballs

200g feta cheese

3tbs toasted pine nuts

3tbs chopped kalamata olives

Leftover Roasted Tomato Mayonnaise

Divide the orzo pasta salad between the jars, about half way.

Place three cooked and cooled meatballs into each jar, crumble the feta cheese over followed by the toasted pine nuts and chopped black olives and a drizzle of the mayonnaise

Makes 15 small Picnic Jars

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Sweet & Sour Pickled Green Beans

Sweet & Sour Pickled Green Beans

Sterilize 4 x 250g glass jars

Top and tail the beans and slice the beans on a angle. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the beans in rapid boiling water for 1 minute, refresh in icy cold water.

In a separate medium saucepan mix the malt vinegar and corn flour till smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the refreshed blanched beans; bring the mixture back to the boil for 1 minute.

Transfer the pickled beans to the sterilised jars.

Keep for up to 2 months in the fridge.

Delicious served hot or cold.

Makes 4 250g jars

Food Fanatics Tips

After I made this recipe my head started spinning and I thought how delicious this would have been if you had added a 1/3 of cooked haricot beans and a 1/3 of cooked butter beans to this recipe, it gives three bean salad a completely new meaning!

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Roasted Strawberry Scones

Roasted Strawberry Scones

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut them in 1/4's and spread the strawberries on the lined baking tray.

Roast the strawberries in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until they are dry, all the juices became jam like and sticky. Sometimes this might take longer so return the tray to the oven and roast until dry, if they start to colour too much turn the heat down to 180°C. Let the strawberries cool completely before using in the dough.

Sift both flours and baking powder into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt,  the sugar and butter.

Rub the butter in with your finger tips until it represents fine breadcrumbs.

Add the cooled roasted strawberries, mix lightly by letting the flour mixture run through your fingers a couple of times to coat the strawberries.

Add the milk  gradually to form the dough, if the dough is a bit dry then add a dash extra milk.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Roll the dough 2cm thick out on a lightly floured work surface. Use a 6cm diameter cutter.

Place the scones on a lined baking tray and brush the tops twice with egg wash.

Mix the sugar and egg yolk to form the egg gloss. The sugary egg gives the scones a glossy shine.

Let the scones rest for 15 minutes ,after they have been glazed before you bake the scones at 180°C for 20 - 25 minutes.

Transfer the baked scones to a cooling rack to cool completely before heavily dusting with icing sugar and serving with home made strawberry and redcurrant jam and clotted cream.

Makes 18 6cm scones

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Warm Organic Carrots with Puy Lentils and Summer Savoury

Warm Organic Carrots with Puy Lentils and Summer Savoury

Honey Nuts

Heat a medium non-stick frying pan, add the oil, pecan nuts and seeds.

Toast the seeds and nuts until hey start to take on a golden colour, reduce the heat and add the honey, stir continuously to prevent the nuts from burning.

Once you are happy with the colour transfer the honey nuts to a lined baking tray to cool them rapidly, set aside.

Organic Carrot and Puy Lentils

Wash the carrots, remove the green leaves but leave the long root, it looks pretty.Blanch the carrots in boiling salted water until tender, refresh in ice cold water.

Wash the pepper, cut in half, remove the seeds and cut the pepper into long strips.

Heat  a large non-stick frying pan add the oil, and on a moderate heat saute the sliced peppers, crushed garlic and blanched carrots for 3 to 4 minutes,season as required, add the drained cooked puy lentils and cook further for another 2 minutes.

Add the honey, juice and zest of orange, soy sauce and ginger, cook for a few minutes until the liquid thickens and starts to coat the carrots,this should not take longer than 2 minutes.

Transfer the cooked carrots to a serving dish, fold in the nigella seeds, toasted honey nuts and chopped summer savoury and serve.

Serves 4

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Stem Ginger Ice Cream

Stem Ginger Ice Cream

I have used the Thermomix for this recipe. If you do not have a Thermomix you can cook the creme anglaise in a saucepan.

Weigh the milk, sugar, ground ginger and egg yolks directly in to the Thermomix bowl.

Set the timer to 3 minutes at 80°C speed 4.

Add the double cream and set the timer for 3 minutes at 80°C speed 4.

Turn the dial to 8 for 20 seconds.

Pour the anglaise in to an ice cube tray, cool and freeze the anglaise until solid, about 12 hours.

Once the ice cubes are frozen solid pop them in to the Thermomix bowl.

Crush the ice cubes on speed 10 for 30 seconds using the Thermomix spatula to help the movement.

Insert the butterfly whisk, add the diced stem ginger and whip the ice cream on speed 4 for 10 seconds.

Makes approximately 700g ice cream

Food Fanatics Tip

Cooking the anglaise the conventional way:

Rinse a medium saucepan with cold water. Pour the milk and cream into the saucepan and bring to the boil. While the milk is heating mix the sugar, eggs and ground ginger. Once the milk has boiled pour a couple of ladles of hot milk over the eggs, whisk and return the eggy mix to the saucepan. Return the saucepan to medium heat and gently cook the anglaise, stir continuously, do not let it boil. It's done once the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Chill the anglaise over ice and churn in a ice cream machine, add the diced stem ginger at the end, place the ice cream in the freezer to set and enjoy!

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Finger Licking St.Peters Ruby Red Ale Sticky Pork Ribs

Finger Licking St.Peters Ruby Red Ale Sticky Pork Ribs

St Peters Ruby Red Ale and Red Onion Marinade

Peel the garlic and onions. Crush the garlic and finely dice the red onions.

Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan, add the garlic and onions with seasoning and cook over low heat until the onions become transparent in colour.

Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Add both vinegars increase the heat and boil for one minute, add the ale and boil for further 2 minutes.

Sticky Ribs

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the ribs upside down in a deep oven roasting tray and pour half of the warm marinade over the ribs.

Cover the tray with foil and cook the ribs in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and baste the ribs, turn the ribs over and add half of the leftover marinade.

Cover the tray again with the foil and return the tray to the oven for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the foil, baste the ribs and continue cooking without the foil for further 30 minutes until the ribs are glossy and sticky.

Add the rest of the marinade and let the ribs rest for 5 minutes before serving with the roasted corn on the cob and mixed bean salad.

Roasted Corn on Cob and Mixed Bean Salad

Soak the haricot beans in cold water. I work on 5 times the volume of water to beans.

Drain the beans, place them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water , add the sprig of thyme and crush the garlic clove lightly  with the back of your hand.

Bring the beans to the boil, reduce the heat to a light simmer and cook the beans until nearly done, add a teaspoon of salt for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Once the beans are cooked let them cool in the cooking liquid.

Top and wash the bobby beans, I  like the tails left on. Blanch them till tender in salted rapid boiling water and refresh.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Remove the husks from the corn. Rub the oil and seasoning into the cobs.

Roast the corn in the pre-heated oven for 25 - 30 minutes until the kernels are tender, turn the corn a couple of times white roasting. Let the corn cool slightly and remove the kernels with a serrated knife.

Mix the blanched bobby beans, roasted corn kernels, semi-dried tomatoes, drained cooked haricot beans with 2 tbs of the golden onion and balsamic vinaigrette. Set the salad aside to infuse while the ribs are cooking.

Semi-dried Heirloom Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line a baking tray.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in 1/4's regardless of their size.

Place the cut tomatoes on the lined baking tray, lightly season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and scatter the leaves from the lemon thyme over the tomatoes.

Place the tray in the preheated oven for two hours.

Once the tomatoes are semi-dried remove the tray from the oven and drizzle the oil over. Let the tomatoes cool.

Food Fanatics Tips

If you have dried too many tomatoes place the leftovers in a sterilised glass jar and cover with olive oil. Keep refrigerated for up to three months. It's delicious in salads, risottos or pasta dishes. When I have a glut of tomatoes I would preserve them in this way.

Golden Onion and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Peel and finely chop the onion and crush the clove of garlic.

Heat a small sauce pan with the olive oil and gently saute the chopped onions and garlic until golden brown, season.

Add the sugar and remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the vinegar and chopped thyme.

Let the vinaigrette infuse and cool.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

To barbecue the ribs: When I cook ribs on the barbecue I blanch them in boiling salted water for 20 minutes, I then rub them with the marinade and continue cooking them  over  a low heat basting them regularly. Basting the ribs will ensure a sticky thick glossy coating and sweet, succulent and moist  meat.

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Roasted Corn on the Cob and Mix Bean Salad

Roasted Corn on the Cob and Mix Bean Salad

Semi-dried Heirloom Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line a baking tray.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in 1/4's regardless of their size.

Place the cut tomatoes on the lined baking tray, lightly season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and scatter the leaves from the lemon thyme over the tomatoes.

Place the tray in the preheated oven for two hours.

Once the tomatoes are semi-dried remove the tray from the oven and drizzle the oil over. Let the tomatoes cool.

Golden Onion and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Peel and finely chop the onion and crush the clove of garlic.

Heat a small sauce pan with the olive oil and gently saute the chopped onions and garlic until golden brown, season.

Add the sugar and remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the vinegar and chopped thyme.

Let the vinaigrette infuse and cool.

Roasted Corn on Cob and Mixed Bean Salad

Soak the haricot beans in cold water. I work on 5 times the volume of water to beans.

Drain the beans, place them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water , add the sprig of thyme and crush the garlic clove lightly  with the back of your hand.

Bring the beans to the boil, reduce the heat to a light simmer and cook the beans until nearly done, add a teaspoon of salt for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Once the beans are cooked let them cool in the cooking liquid.

Top and wash the bobby beans, I  like the tails left on. Blanch them till tender in salted rapid bo

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Fishworks! Pan-Fried Brill with Creamed Caper Vermouth Sauce

Fishworks! Pan-Fried Brill with Creamed Caper Vermouth Sauce

Aromatic Lentils

Cut the bacon into small pieces.

Peel and finely chop the banana shallot and crush the garlic.

Peel the carrot and cut into small brunoise.

Heat a nonstick frying pan with the butter, as soon as the butter starts foaming add the diced bacon, chopped shallots, garlic and carrots, season and saute until the shallots turn opaque and the bacon caramelizes.

Add the drained cooked lentils and deglaze the pan with the vinegar.

Set the cooked lentils aside.

Caper Vermouth Sauce

Peel and finely chop the banana shallot.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and saute the chopped shallot until it starts to caramelize.

Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and cook for a few minutes until the vermouth reduces by half, add the stock of your choice and the cream. Bring the sauce to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the required thickness, add seasoning to taste, go easy on the salt as the capers could be quite salty.

Drain the capers, taste them and if they are very vinegary and salty rinse them under cold running water and pat dry.

When you are ready to serve bring the sauce back to the boil and add the capers.

Assembling the dish

Wash and finely slice the fennel into thin slithers using a mandolin, season, add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice and zest of half a lemon, set aside.

Heat the aromatic lentils, add the chopped mixed herbs, set aside.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with a dash of the oil over medium heat (you do not want the pan to be smoking hot, it will burn the fish), season the two pieces of fish and prawns and pan-fry them until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes (add half the butter after 3 minutes), turn the prawns and fish over and cook for a further 2 minutes on the other side with the rest of the butter.

Remove the fish from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, let the fish rest for a minute. Continue cooking the prawns for a further minute, I normally turn the heat off at this stage and leave the prawn in the hot pan, if the prawns are small then 6 minutes should be long enough to cook them through.

Serve the warm lentils on a warm plate, place the brill on top, slice the cooked prawn on top followed with the lemon marinated fennel. Heat the sauce and spoon the sauce around the lentils and serve.

Serves 2

Food Fanatics Tips

The brill could be substituted by halibut, sea bass, turbot, lemon sole or sea trout. Saudi prawns are also known as jumbo prawns or king prawns. It's quite an expensive and elaborate dish, the prawns are completely optional or if you feel even more flash substitute the prawn with a lovely meaty scallop. The scallop, brill and aromatic lentils makes a fantastic combination.

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A Glut of Beans and a Cold Summers Evening, Comfort Food!

A Glut of Beans and a Cold Summers Evening, Comfort Food!

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the bone from the lamb shoulder.

Make a dry spice rub with the ground coriander, cumin, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub the dry spice mix all over the de-boned shoulder of lamb.

Crush the garlic and spread half of the garlic on the inside of the lamb, roll the lamb up in a spiral keeping the fat on the outside.

Use kitchen string to tie and secure the lamb shoulder. Heat a non stick frying pan and brown the lamb until golden brown all over, stud the fat with the cloves and weave two bay leaves under the string.

Place the lamb in a deep oven tray and pour 350ml of the stock over. Cover the tray with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.

While the lamb is roasting peel and dice the onions. Use the same frying pan that was used for the lamb and saute the onions and the rest of the crushed garlic until golden in the lamb fat. Set aside.

Wash, de-string and finely slice the beans. Peel the potatoes and cut them in large even size pieces.

Once the lamb is ready remove the lamb from the tray, add the saute onions, sliced beans and prepared potatoes, season well. Add the rest of the stock and return the lamb to the tray. Cover again with foil and return the dish to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Remove the foil, stir the beans and potatoes, increase the heat oven to 200°C for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the lamb from the tray, remove the string and leave to rest for 5 minutes.While the lamb is resting ,place the roasting tray on the cooker on a high heat and reduce the liquid until it becomes slightly sticky, stir in a tablespoon of cold unsalted butter and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Spoon the roasted potatoes and beans onto a serving platter, slice the lamb in six even thick slices and lay them on top, serve.

Serves 6

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Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

Preparing the cake tin:

Spread the soft butter in the base of a 10" tin. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter.

Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones.

Place the plums cut side down onto the sugar and butter layer. I pack them as tight as I can, do not worry too much about leaving gaps.

Set the prepared cake tin aside whilst preparing the cake batter.

Cake Batter:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cream the soft butter and muscavado sugar until flufy and light in colour.

Add the eggs one at a time and cream well after each addition.

Add the lemon zest, salt, flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Fold the dry ingredients into the cake batter, do not over mix.

Thermomix Instructions for preparing the cake batter:

Cream the butter and muscavado sugar in the thermomix for 1 minute 30 seconds on speed 9, scrape the sides down.

Add the eggs and whip for 1 minute on speed 9, scrape the sides down and whip for another minute on speed 9.

Add the lemon zest, salt, flour, ground almonds and baking powder and blend for 20 seconds on speed 4.

Pour the cake batter over the prepared plums.

Bake the cake for 45 - 50 minutes, test if the cake is done by inserting a metal skewer. If the skewer comes out clean the cake is done.

Let the cake cool down for 5 minutes before gently turning the cake out onto a cooling rack. While the cake is cooling make the plum syrup.

Plum Syrup

Wash the plums, cut in half and remove the stones. Cut each plum into 8 .

Place the plums, sugar and cinnamon into a small saucepan and melt the sugar over low heat. Once melted boil for 5 minutes to form a red syrup and plum compote.

Let the syrup cool for 20 minutes, spoon the syrup over the warm cake and serve the compote with the cake along with honey and pecan crème fraîche.

Serves 12

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Char-grilled Balsamic Rump Steak with Heirloom Tomato and Bobby Bean Salad

Char-grilled Balsamic Rump Steak with Heirloom Tomato and Bobby Bean Salad

Golden Onion and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Peel and finely chop the onion and crush the clove of garlic.

Heat a small sauce pan with the olive oil and gently saute the chopped onions and garlic until golden brown, season.

Add the sugar and remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the vinegar and chopped thyme.

Let the vinaigrette infuse and cool.

Semi-dried Heirloom Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line a baking tray.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in 1/4's regardless of their size.

Place the cut tomatoes on the lined baking tray, lightly season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and scatter the leaves from the lemon thyme over the tomatoes.

Place the tray in the preheated oven for two hours.

Once the tomatoes are semi-dried remove the tray from the oven and drizzle the oil over. Let the tomatoes cool.

Haricot and Bobby Bean Salad

Soak the haricot beans in cold water. I work on 5 times the volume of water to beans.

Drain the beans, place them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water , add the sprig of thyme and crush the garlic clove lightly  with the back of your hand.

Bring the beans to the boil, reduce the heat to a light simmer and cook the beans until nearly done, add a teaspoon of salt for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Once the beans are cooked let them cool in the cooking liquid.

Top and wash the bobby beans, I quite like the tails left on. Blanch them till tender in salted rapid boiling water and refresh.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Remove the husks from the corn. Rub the oil and seasoning into the cobs.

Roast the corn in the pre-heated oven for 25 - 30 minutes until the kernels are tender, turn the corn a couple of times white roasting. Let the corn cool slightly and remove the kernels with a serrated knife.

Mix the blanched bobby beans, roasted corn kernels, semi-dried tomatoes, drained cooked haricot beans with 2 tbs of the golden onion and balsamic vinaigrette. Set the salad aside to infuse while char-grilling the rump steaks.

Char-grilled Balsamic Rump Steaks

Preheat the griddle pan.

Season the steaks on both sides and spoon 1 tbs of the vinaigrette over each steak, rub the vinaigrette in.

Wash the salad onions and remove the hairy roots. Rub the salad onions with the oil and season.

Char-grill the steaks until golden brown and medium rare, approximately 1½–2 minutes on each side if the steaks are 1.5cm thick, it will feel slightly resistant when pressed with your finger.

Char-grill the salad onions until golden and slightly soften.

Let the steaks rest and spoon over more of the golden onion and balsamic vinaigrette while resting.

Arrange the bean and tomato salad on the serving plates, slice the steaks in 1cm thick slices and arrange them over the salad and place the char-grilled salad onions on top. Scatter a few micro cress for garnish and drizzle with a bit of the golden onion and balsamic vinaigrette , serve.

Food Fanatics Tip on Cooking Pulses

Never add the salt at the beginning when cooking dried pulses, the salt makes the dry outside husk tough and the pulses will remain hard. Always soak the beans over night in 5 times the volume water to ensure a well hydrated bean. Always simmer the pulses over low heat, if they boil too fast the beans will cook unevenly an you might end up with burst and ugly looking cooked beans.

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Barbecued Pomegranate and Coriander Lamb Kebabs

Barbecued Pomegranate and Coriander Lamb Kebabs

Remove the excess fat and sinew from the lamb shoulder. I like to leave a tiny bit of fat for added flavour. Cut the lamb shoulder in approximately 15g pieces, the weight gives you a good indication of the size required. I recommend that you  cut small pieces and be generous with the amount that you thread onto the skewer. I found that the smaller pieces are less tough than the bigger pieces  of meat.

Make a marinade by mixing the dry spices with the honey, garlic, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, lemon zest and chopped herbs.

Mix the marinade with the lamb and leave in the fridge for 2 hours before cooking.

Soak 5 large bamboo skewers in cold water for 1 hour.

Skewer 5 pieces of lamb onto each skewer.

Barbecue the lamb skewers over moderate heat until caramelized and golden all over. Alternatively heat the grill and grill the lamb skewers for 12 - 14 minutes turning them regularly to ensure a even colouring.

Remove the seeds from the fresh pomegranate and set aside until needed.

Serve the skewers with my delicious North African couscous salad and sprinkle a generous amount of  fresh pomegranate seeds.

Serves 5

Food Fanatics Tips

I prefer to leave the meat marinating overnight to develop flavour. Let the skewers rest for 5 minutes after cooking.

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Gooseberry and Bay Leaf Preserve

Gooseberry and Bay Leaf Preserve

Top and tail the gooseberries, wash and drain in a colander.

Place the gooseberries, bay leaf and sugar into a heavy base saucepan over medium heat. Gently melt the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and bring to a vigorous boil.

Wash the edges of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water; this will prevent the jam from crystallising. Do not stir the jam while it is boiling, this will encourage crystallisation.

Boil the jam for about 10 -12 minutes, temperature 104°C – 106°C; this is the ideal setting point for the jam.

I do not use pectin or pectin rich sugar and for that reason it is crucial to measure the temperature and follow the few rules outlined above.

When  the correct temperature is reached remove the jam from the heat.

Have your jam jars ready, cleaned and sterilised, as it is important to decant the hot jam as soon as possible.

Place a small cartouche of parchment paper directly on to the hot jam and close the jar immediately whilst the jam is hot.

Make sure your hands are clean or wear disposable gloves.

Cool the jam jars, clean and label them.

Makes 3 340g jars of gooseberry conserve

Food Fanatics Tips

Crystallisation of Jam: It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the jam has cooled down completely. I have three simply preventable reasons why crystallisation could happen.

  1. - is if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved.
  2. - is once the sugar has dissolved and the jam reached the vigorous boiling stage  you did not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and falls back in to the boiling syrup,the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals know as crystallisation.
  3. -is that you should never stir boiling jam or sugar syrup for that matter. If you do stir the boiling syrup it knocks the sugar crystals together and encourages the formation of larger crystals and crystallisation sets in once cooled.

Sterilising the jars: This is one of the most crucial tasks and you should never cut corners . If you not do this properly you might find your jam becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected.Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the jam.

Other points are -never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass, - take extra care when sterilising the jars, as if they are overheated they might explode.

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Potted Pigs’ Cheeks with Pea Custard

Potted Pigs’ Cheeks with Pea Custard

For the potted pigs' cheeks

Preheat the water bath to 82°C.

Remove any excess fat, skin or sinew from the cheeks. Wash them under cold running water and pat dry. Season the cheeks with freshly cracked black pepper and coarse sea salt.

Place the cheeks along with a lightly bruised garlic clove, cloves, 30ml extra virgin olive oil, sprig of savory, thyme and bay leaf in a clean vacuum bag. Seal on hard vacuum.

Cook the cheeks in the preheated water bath for 12 hours.

Once the cheeks are cooked, remove them from the bag. Pass the rendered juices through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and flake the meat.

Heat a non-stick sauté pan with the rest of the oil and banana shallots and season lightly. Sauté the shallots until they start to turn transparent, add the flaked meat and the cooking liquid. Gently simmer over low heat until the liquid reduces to a sticky glaze.

Check the seasoning and fold in a generous amount of  the chopped herbs ( chervil, chives and savory.)

Fill four 150ml glass jars halfway with the meat and place the pots on a tray ready for the pea custard.

For the pea custard

Pod and rinse the peas. Blanch them in a pan of salted rapid boiling water, until al dente, refresh in iced water.

Place the chilled blanched peas in a high power blender along with seasoning and savory, blend to a fine purée.

Bring the stock and cream to the boil and add the agar-agar, stir and boil for two minutes.

Pour the hot stock and cream over the crushed peas, blend for a minute and pass the pea custard through a fine sieve into a jug.

Immediately pour the custard on to the potted pigs' cheeks.

Let the custard set, then place the tray in the fridge to cool completely, about one hour. Do not disturb the custard before it sets as agitation could prevent the custard setting.

For the horseradish crème fraîche

To serve

Remove the pots from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving to allow to reach room temperature.

Wash the pea pods and slice them in half lengthways. Wash the radishes and slice them into thin slices on a mandolin.

Use a pastry brush to paint a line of the horseradish crème fraîche on to the slate, arrange the pea pods and tops, micro cress and sliced radishes and shards of dried bread. Place the potted cheeks on one end garnished with peas and micro cress.

Serves 4

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Neal’s Yard Goats Curd Marrow Bakes

Neal’s Yard Goats Curd Marrow Bakes

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease 4 individual oven proof dishes.

Wash and course grate the marrow.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs, cream, garam masala, flour, baking powder and seasoning.

Add the grated marrow and fold together.

Spoon the marrow mixture into the greased dishes, spoon 50g of goats curd cheese on top of each dish.

Bake the dishes in the preheated oven for 20  minutes.

While the marrow is baking grind the parsley, garlic and bread in the Thermomix for 30 seconds on speed 10.

Once the marrow dishes are ready sprinkle the garlic crumb on top and serve immediately .

The marrow dish souffles slightly and will sink once it's left to cool.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip

If you like the sound of this dish but do not have marrow available, substitute the marrow with courgette, butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potato. The goats curd is also optional and can be substituted with normal goats cheese, ricotta, mascarpone or even Stilton will be delicious.

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Home Made Blackcurrant Cordial

Home Made Blackcurrant Cordial

De-stalk and wash the blackcurrants.

Place the blackcurrants, sugar and water into a medium saucepan. Melt the sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

Once the sugar has dissolved bring the syrup to a gentle simmer.

Simmer the fruits for 5 minutes, add the juice and skin of the lemon.

Bring the syrup back to simmer for further 5 minutes.

Let the cordial cool for 10 minutes and sterilise  glass bottle.

Pass the cordial through a fine sieve, pour the cordial into the sterilised bottle, cool and keep refrigerated until needed.

To serve, dilute the chilled cordial to taste with chilled sparkling water and plenty of ice cubes.

Makes 750ml cordial

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Raspberry, Olive Oil and Thyme Shortbread

Raspberry, Olive Oil and Thyme Shortbread

Place the sugar, soft butter, olive oil and salt in the Thermomix, blend for 30 seconds on speed 8.

Add the egg yolks and lemon juice, cream for 30 seconds on speed 8.

Add the flour and blend for 20 seconds on speed 4.

Add the lemon zest, raspberry crumb and chopped thyme.

Stir on speed 4 for 20 seconds.

Spoon the biscuit mixture onto parchment paper and roll it up like a sausage, refrigerate until the dough has set, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the biscuits into 1/2 cm thick slices and place them on the lined trays, space the biscuits with enough room as they do spread a bit.

Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 12 - 14 minutes. Once they are cooked heavily dust the biscuits with caster sugar and let them cool for 5 minutes before your gently transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes aproximatly 24 biscuits

Food Fanatics Tips

Freeze dried raspberry crumb is available from MSK www.msk-ingredients.com, it's fairly expensive but as you use only a small amount it's not all that pricey.

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Thyme Poached Apricots

Thyme Poached Apricots

Thyme Poached Apricots

Heat the water bath to 80°C.

Wash the apricots, cut them in half and remove the stones.

Place all the ingredients in a vacuum bag and seal the pouch on medium vacuum.

Place the apricots in the preheated water bath and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the apricot pouch and cool in ice water.

Let the apricots infuse for one hour before use.

Apricot Puree

Open the cooked apricots and select the most attractive apricots for serving.

Weigh 300g of the cooked apricots in to the Thermomix bowl and puree on speed 9 for 30 seconds.

Scrape the sides down and puree until the apricot  puree is smooth.

Use 200g of the puree for the foam and the rest for serving with the dish.

Thyme Infused Apricot Foam

Dissolve the gelatine in cold water, once soft squeeze to remove the excess water.

Heat 50g of the apricot puree either in a small saucepan or in the microwave add the soaked gelatine and dissolve.

Add the dissolved gelatine and natural yoghurt to the rest of the apricot puree and pass through a fine sieve into a cream whipper.

Charge the cream whipper with two nitrous oxide pellets and shake vigorously.

Place the cream whipper in the fridge to allow the gelatine to cool and set.

Sticky Orange Cake

Wash the orange; place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring the orange to the boil and simmer for approximately 1 ½ hours, until completely soft. Let the orange cool completely in the cooking liquid.

Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease one 24cm x 9cm x 6.5cm loaf shape mould.

Place the boiled orange in a food processor with 50ml of the cooking liquid, puree till a very smooth.

Transfer the orange puree to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar, and mix well.

Fold the ground almonds into the batter.

Sieve the flour and baking powder over the batter and fold the flour in with a metal spoon.

The cake batter will be very runny.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared mould and place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, bake for 1 hour.

Test the cake by inserting a metal skewer; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.

The texture of this cake is moist and dense, nearly the texture of a baked cheesecake.

Let the cake cool for 20 minute, turn the cake out on to a cooling rack and cool completely before you using.

Chocolate Fondant Shards (Sugar Glass)

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

Rapid boil the sugar mixture to 150°C, use a sugar thermometer to test the temperature.

Once the sugar reaches the desired temperature pour the hot sugar on to a cold baking tray.

Let the sugar cool completely, it will set in one solid lump.

Break the hard candied sugar by placing it in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break the sugar in to smaller pieces.

Place the broken pieces in the Thermomix and grind on speed for 10 – 20 seconds.

Scrape the sides down and repeat the process until it forms a fine powder.

Heat the oven to 120°C, Line a baking tray with a silpat and dust the sugar dust into shapes on to the tray.

Bake the sugar until it has melted,but you will need to watch it. Let the sugar shards cool completely before using.

Bake them fresh before use.

Assembling the dish

Cut the Sticky Orange Cake in 3cm x 10cm x ½ cm thick slices. Use some of the apricot poaching syrup and brush it over the cake slices and place the slices of cake in the centre of the plate. Draw lines on the plate with the apricot puree and double cream. Cut the Thyme Poached Apricots in ¼ ‘s and arrange them onto  the cake slices. Shake the cream whipper with the Apricot Foam vigorously and squirt the apricot foam in between the apricots onto the cake. Garnish with the Chocolate fondant shards, extra thyme leaves and grate lime zest using a fine microplane zester over the plate just before serving.

Serves 4

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Chilled Pea Soup With Parmesan Cream and Soft-Boiled Gulls’s Egg

Chilled Pea Soup With Parmesan Cream and Soft-Boiled Gulls’s Egg

For the chilled pea soup

Wash the podded peas and drain in a colander and bring the stock to the boil.

Peel and slice the banana shallot finely. Heat a large saucepan with the butter and sweat the shallot until tender with no colour, add the peas, thyme and seasoning, cook for a couple of minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the vermouth; add the boiling stock and cream and bring the stock back to the boil. Cook for a few minutes, test if the peas are tender.

Once the peas are cooked, purée the soup in a blender as quickly as possible and pass through a fine sieve over ice to chill the soup rapidly.

Work fast to keep the bright green colour.

For the Parmesan espuma

In a medium saucepan melt the butter, add the flour to make a roux, add seasoning.

In a separate saucepan bring the milk and stock to the boil; add ladles of boiling milk-stock one at a time to the cooked roux. Stir well after each addition to secure a smooth sauce. Add the rest of the milk and cook the sauce for six minutes over a moderate heat.

Add the grated Parmesan cheese to the double cream and blend.

Pass the Parmesan cream through a fine sieve and pour into a cream whipper, charge with two pellets, shake vigorously and let the espuma chill over ice.

FOR THERMOMIX USERS

To cook the Parmesan espuma in the Thermomix, first grind the Parmesan, drop the chunks of cheese on to running blades at speed 10 for 20 seconds, pour the ground cheese into a small bowl. Place the butter, stock, flour, milk and seasoning in to the Thermomix bowl. Set the timer for six minutes at 90°C speed 4. Once done, add the cream and cheese turn the speed dial to 10 for 10 seconds.

Pass the Parmesan cream through a fine sieve and pour into a cream whipper, charge with two pellets, shake vigorously and let the espuma chill over ice.

While the soup and Parmesan espuma chill, boil two gulls' eggs for four minutes.

Peel the soft-boiled gulls' eggs, cut them in half and season with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt.

To serve

Lightly crush the blanched peas with a fork, season with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt and add a drop or two of the olive oil. Divide the peas between the four soup bowls, carefully place the halved soft-boiled gulls' egg on top of the pile of crushed peas slightly off centre.

Pour the soup around the egg, shake the Parmesan espuma vigorously and squirt it next to the gulls' egg. Garnish with the flowers, pea tops, finely grated Parmesan cheese and a few drops of olive oil.

Serves 4

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Gooseberry Flapjack

Gooseberry Flapjack

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Spread the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for  6 - 8 minutes.

Reduce the oven heat to 160°C and line a 32cm x 22cm x 3.5cm oven tray with parchment paper.

Weigh the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a large saucepan, melt over low heat stir until the sugar dissolves.

Top and tail the gooseberries and wash and drain.

Add the gooseberries, oats, salt and toasted nuts to the melted butter, mix.

Spoon the mixture into the lined tray and press the oats flat with the back of a spoon.

Bake the flapjack for 35 - 40 minutes, until the oats turn golden brown. The warm flapjack will still be slightly soft, it will become firmer once completely cold, when I'm in a hurry I cheat and place the tray in the fridge.

Let the flapjack cool completely before cutting the flapjack into 18 pieces.

Makes 18 pieces

Food Fanatics Tips

You do not have to wait until the gooseberry season  arrives before you can bake this delicious recipe. Substitute the gooseberries for other fruits such as strawberries, apples, apricots or plums. Dried fruits also work a treat. If you use fresh fruits keep the flapjack in the fridge and if you use only dried fruits and nuts keep the flapjack in a airtight container for up to 5 days in a cool and well ventilated place.

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Malay Chicken Curry Kebabs

Malay Chicken Curry Kebabs

Cape Malay Marinade

Place the garlic, coriander seeds, a small portion of oil and seasoning in a pestle and mortar and crush.

Heat a medium size saucepan with the rest of the oil and saute the chopped onions, celery and the crushed garlic mix until golden brown.

Add the remaining spices, bay leaf, sugar and chopped chillies, saute for a further 2 minutes.

De-glaze the pan with the vinegar and Worcester sauce, cook until the liquids have thickened, add the chutney and water.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the marinade for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and use a hand held stick blender to pulse blend the marinade until a spreadable paste, it's your choice if you want a smooth or slightly coarse marinade.

Let the marinade cool completely, and it is better if it sits for one day as the flavours blend together.

Curried Chicken Sewers

Braai2

Remove the thigh bones from the chicken thigh by simply making an incision next to the bone with a sharp knife. I find that a small paring knife works well. Once you have loosened the bone simply pop it our and remove the two gristly bits at either end.

Mix the natural yoghurt with the Cape Malay marinade and mix with the chicken.

Let the marinade infuse into the chicken for a few hours in the fridge.

While the chicken is marinading ,soak 12 wooden skewers in cold water.

Lay the marinated chicken flat onto a chopping board and skewer with two skewers per thigh on either side to balance it out, this will help to keep the chicken flat and ensures that the chicken  cooks evenly. Sprinkle the nigella seeds over the skewered thighs.

Cook the chicken on the barbecue until cooked all the way through, turn it regualrly to ensure an even caramelisation.

Serves 6

Simple Barbecue Cheese, Onion and Tomato Toasties

Braai3

Butter each slice of bread on both sides.

Peel the onion and finely slice using a sharp mandoline. Wash and slice the tomatoes as thin as possible and grate the cheese.

Assemble the sandwiches by layering the cheese, tomato and onion and seasoning. Place another slice of bread on top.

Barbecue the toasties until golden brown all over, turn them regualrly to prevent the bread from buring.

Enjoy!

Serves 6

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North African Couscous and Pomegranate Salad

North African Couscous and Pomegranate Salad

Place the couscous in a large mixing bowl, add salt and freshly cracked black pepper, ras-el-hanout, juice of one lemon, olive oil, sherry vinegar and the diced dried apricots and mix well.

Pour the boiling water over the couscous until just covered, stir and if it looks a bit dry add another dash of boiling water. Cover the bowl with cling film and let the couscous stand for 6 minutes.

Use a fork to fluff the couscous, if the couscous is a bit hard and dry add another dash of boiling water, let it stand for a further few minutes and fluff again.

While the couscous is absorbing the water prepare the rest of the ingredients. Wash the green pepper, cut in half and remove the seeds. Cut into long strips and then into small dice.

Chop the herbs and deseed  the pomegranate.

Once the couscous is ready add the diced peppers, chopped herbs and pomegranate seeds  along with the lemon zest. Mix and adjust the seasoning if needed.

If the salad is a bit dry add dash of extra virgin olive oil,  but only a small amount.

Serve with a sprinkling of the pomegranate seeds as a garnish and salad leaves such as miniature mizuna and mustard leaf.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

Add the apricots at the beginning, they will swell in the hot water, release their natural sweetness into the couscous and become soft.

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Pea and Slow Cooked Ham Tarts

Pea and Slow Cooked Ham Tarts

Short Crust Pastry

Weigh the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Cut the butter in small pieces and add the butter to the flour. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. Ensure that all the butter is rubbed in and evenly distributed.

Add the ice cold water and use a pallet knife to cut the water into the flour. Work fast and do not over work the pastry, as it will make the pastry grey and stretchy.

Divide the pastry in two and press in squares. Cover the pastry with cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry 3 – 4mm think out and use a 7cm in diameter cutter to cut 6 rounds.

I line the back of a muffin tray with the pastry to make the pastry cases for these tarts. It does look rustic and different from the pristine perfect tarts.

Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes.

While the tart cases are baking make the pea cream filling.

Slow Cooked Ham

Preheat the water bath to 82°C.

Rinse the ham under cold running water, pat dry. Seal the ham on hard vacuum with the herbs in a vacuum bag.

Place the ham in the preheated water bath for 16 hours.

Cool the ham in ice cold water, keep refrigerated until needed.

Pea Cream

Weigh the peas into the thermomix bowl, add the seasoning, lemon juice and the cream. Blend until smooth for 20 seconds at speed 10.

Add the grain mustard and the eggs, blend for 10 seconds at speed 10.

Set the timer to 5 minutes at speed 5 and cook at 80°C.

Assembling the tarts

Preheat the oven to 120°C.

Place the blind baked tart cases the right way up suspended on top of the muffin tray. Shred the ham and place a generous amount of ham into each blind baked tart case.

Pour the pea cream on top of the ham, until just under the rim of the pastry.

Gently transfer the tray to the preheated oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. I like to take the tarts out of the oven while they still have a slight wobble as they  will continue to cook while cooling.

Assembling the dish

Use a pastry brush to paint a line of home made salad cream onto the serving plate. Place the tart onto the plate just off center of the painted line, garnish with salad leaves such as mizuna, lambs lettuce and pea tops. Cut a fresh pea pod in half to expose the fat fresh crispy peas. Drizzle with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Place a small quenelle of mascarpone on top of the pea and ham tart.

Serves 6 starter portions

Food Fanatics Tips

If your tart mixture was slightly aerated and has a white foamy top run a blow torch flame over the top to blow the bubbles away. This will give your tart a shiny glaze.

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Lightly Smoked Lobster with Sea Purslane and Suffolk Samphire

Lightly Smoked Lobster with Sea Purslane and Suffolk Samphire

Smoked Lobster

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Make sure that the lobster fits before you start.

Once the water is boiling rapidly place the lobster inside and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 4 minutes, remove the tail from the body, I wear thick rubber gloves to protect my hands and return the claws to the boiling water for a further 3 minutes.

Cool both the tail and claws in ice water.

Prepare the tail: Crush the shell with your hands, this will make serving easy and ensure that the smoke penetrates the tail. Brush the tail with some of the oil, wrap it in one of the soaked cedar sheets together with a generous amount of the fresh herbs, roll the wood up and secure with kitchen string.

Prepare the claws: Use a small light hammer or cleaver to remove the shell from the claw meat. Glaze the meat with some of the oil and use the asparagus and the remainder of the herbs when rolling the mixture up in the soaked cedar wood sheet Secure with kitchen string.

Cook the parcels on a mild heat. I like to cook them on the cooler parts of the barbecue so that the soaked wood does not dry out too quickly nor burn too fast. If you are using a Webber or a barbecue with a lid use the lid to encourage the smoking. The wood should burn a bit so that the lobster gets the smoky flavour. I smoke it for about 10 - 12 minutes over low heat.

New Potato and Sea Vegetable Salad

Heat a medium non stick frying pan and saute the samphire in a splash of olive oil  for two minutes, remove from the pan.

In the same pan cook the bacon until crispy, remove and deglaze the pan with the vinegar, oil and grain mustard to form the vinaigrette.

Cut the cooked potatoes in half and mix with the warm vinaigrette.

Chop the bacon into small pieces and mix with the potatoes, broad beans and sampire. Add half of the sea purslane and season to taste.

Serve smoked lobster with the potato and sea vegetable salad and garnish with the rest of the sea purslane.

Serves 2

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My Signature Jam, Strawberry and Redcurrant

My Signature Jam, Strawberry and Redcurrant

Hull,wash and quarter the strawberries, drain in a colander for 10 minutes.

Remove the stalks from the redcurrants , wash and drain.

Place the strawberries, redcurrants and sugar in an airtight container, cover and refrigerate over night. The fruits starts to bleed and the sugar begins to dissolve.

Scrape the fruits and sugar in to a heavy base saucepan, place over medium heat. Gently melt the un-dissolved sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and bring to a vigorous boil.

Wash the edges of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water; this will prevent the jam from crystallising. Do not stir the jam while it is boiling, this will encourage crystallisation. However I do lightly stir the jam a couple of times towards the last few minutes of cooking time to prevent the strawberries from catching at the bottom of the pan.

Boil the jam for about 10 -12 minutes, temperature 104°C – 106°C; this is the ideal setting point for the jam and add the juice of one lemon.

I do not use pectin or pectin rich sugar and for that reason, it is crucial to measure the temperature and follow the few rules outlined above.

When  the correct temperature is reached remove the jam from the heat and add the juice of one lemon.

Make sure you hands are clean or wear disposable gloves.

Have your jam jars ready, cleaned and sterilised, as it is important to decant the hot jam as soon as possible.

Place a small cartouche of parchment paper directly on to the hot jam and close the jar immediately whilst the jam is hot.

Cool the jam jars, clean and label them.

Makes 6 250g jars of jam

Food Fanatics Tips

Crystallisation of Jam: It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the jam has cooled down completely. I have three simply preventable reasons why crystallisation could happen.

  1. One is if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved.
  2. Two is once the sugar has dissolved and the jam reached the vigorous boiling stage  you did not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and falls back in to the boiling syrup,the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals know as crystallisation.
  3. Third is that you should never stir boiling jam or sugar syrup for that matter. If you do stir the boiling syrup it knocks the sugar crystals together and encourages the formation of larger crystals and crystallisation sets in once cooled.

Sterilising the jars: This is one of the most crucial tasks that you should never cut corners . If you not do this properly you might find your jam becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected.Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the jam.

Other pointers are -never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass, - take extra care when sterilising the jars, as if they are overheated they might explode.

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Beetroot Tart Tatin with Frozen Broad Bean Crème Fraîche

Beetroot Tart Tatin with Frozen Broad Bean Crème Fraîche

Beetroot Tart Tatin

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease 4 8cm x 2cm round tart moulds with butter.

Course grate the peeled raw beetroot and finely slice the red onions.

Heat a medium saucepan with the butter and sweat the onions and beetroot with seasoning until it starts to caramelise. This should take about 10 - 15 minutes.

Add the sugar and cook until dissolved.

Deglaze with the vinegar and cook for a further 8 -10 minutes. You would like the pickle to be coating and not too dry or too wet.

Once the pickle is done stir in the chopped thyme and cool the pickle.

While the pickle is cooling boil the remaining two whole beets in salted water until tender, peel and refresh.

Slice the cooked beetroot in 1/2 cm thick slices and place one slice in each mould.

Spoon a generous amount of beetroot pickle on top of the beetroot slices and top with the pastry discs. Tuck the pastry in to encase the beetroot.

Let the tarts rest for 30 minutes in the fridge before baking.

Bake the tart tatins for 30 minutes, let them cool for 2 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

Frozen Broad Bean Creme Fraiche

Remove the outside green skins of the broad beans and weigh 40g into a small bowl.

Use a fork to lightly crush them and season to taste.

Stir in the crème fraîche and freeze the mixture until firm enough to scoop.

Serve the tart tatin with a quenelle of the frozen broad bean crème fraîche and micro leaves

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tips

Make small bite size canape tart tatins by filling a small muffin tray with the beetroot pickle, cut the pastry discs slightly bigger than the actual mould as this will allow for shrinkage. The pastry will gently encase the pickle and form a platform for the little tart tatins. Serve with the frozen broad bean crème fraîche.

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Raspberry Vinegar, Savoring Summer…

Raspberry Vinegar, Savoring Summer…

Prepare the raspberries, remove any mouldy bits and lightly wash the raspberries under cold running water and drain.

Use a fork to lightly mash the raspberries.

Add the vinegar of your choice and let it mature for 5 days.

At  this stage you can either  pass the vinegar through a fine sieve  into sterilized bottles/jars or it may be bottled as it is. However if the raspberries are retained, the vinegar  may overtime lose its attractive red colour so at this point  pass the vinegar  to preserve  the colour.

I keep my home made vinegar refrigerated but I'm sure that it would be perfectly fine in a dark cool  and well ventilated cupboard, providing that you have sterilized the bottles correctly.

Makes about two 200ml size bottles of raspberry vinegar

Food Fanatics Tips

As I said this recipe is simple. You can go wild and make all sorts of flavoured vinegars by applying the same method. Other exciting fruits are mulberries, tayberries, rowan berries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries....sure you get the idea!

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Gooseberry Polenta Slice

Gooseberry Polenta Slice

Polenta Pastry

Cream the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, cream well.

Add the custard powder and flour and mix until the pastry comes together. The pastry should be sticky and very soft. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.

Line a 35cm x 10cm x 2.5 cm baking tray with parchment paper, roll the pastry out between two sheets of parchment paper until 6 - 8 mm thick.

Gently line the tray and let the pastry have a 4cm over hang, this will be folded over to encase the gooseberries. Place the lined pastry tin in the fridge until needed.

Gooseberry Polenta Slice

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Wash the gooseberries and remove the stalk, drain well.

Whip the egg white until fluffy and slightly aerated.

Cut the sugar lumps into pieces, do not chop them too small.

Fold the gooseberries into the whipped egg white and fold in the polenta and half of the chopped sugar lumps.

Spoon the gooseberries into the lined polenta pastry case, fold the sides of the pastry over and press to the ends together to make a smooth edge encasing the gooseberries.

Scatter the rest of the sugar lumps over the gooseberry mix, and sprinkle the 5g polenta over the tart.

Bake the gooseberry slice for 40 minutes, turn the oven to 180°C and bake for further 15 minutes.

Let the slice cool on a cooling rack before cutting into 6 even size pieces.

Serves 6

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Cape Malay Curried Lamb and Apricot Sosaties

Cape Malay Curried Lamb and Apricot Sosaties

Cape Malay Sosatie Marinade

Place the garlic, coriander seeds, a small portion of oil and seasoning in a pestle and mortar and crush.

Heat a medium size saucepan with the rest of the oil and saute the chopped onions, celery and the crushed garlic mix until golden brown.

Add the remaining spices, bay leaf, sugar and chopped chillies, saute for a further 2 minutes.

De-glaze the pan with the vinegar and Worcester sauce, cook until the liquids have thickened, add the chutney and water.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the marinade for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and use a hand held stick blender to pulse blend the marinade until a spreadable paste, it's your choice if you want a smooth or slightly coarse marinade.

Let the marinade cool completely, the marinade is better if it sits for one day as the flavours blend together.

Lamb Sosaties

Remove some of the fat and sinew and cut the lamb roughly in 15g pieces, I work on 6 pieces per skewer.

Mix the diced lamb with the marinade, transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for a minimum of one day.

Soak 6 bamboo skewers in cold water a half hour before your ready to assemble the skewers.

Skewer 6 pieces of marinated lamb with two dried apricots and 12 bay leaves per skewer.

Cook the sosaties on a preheated barbecue, turn regularly to ensure an even colour all over about 10 - 12 minutes in total.

Serves 6

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Mandarin Sorbet

Mandarin Sorbet

Place the peeled mandarins in the thermomix and blend on speed 10 for 1 minute.

Pass the mandarin juice through a fine sieve. You need 500g of mandarin juice.

In a clean Thermomix bowl grind the sugar on speed 10 for 10 seconds. Add the glucose and mandarin juice to the powdered sugar and blend on speed 8 for 10 seconds.

Pour the mandarin juice into clean ice cube trays and freeze for one day until rock solid.

Place a clean plastic container in the freezer to chill, ready for the sorbet.

Pop the frozen ice cubes into a clean cold thermomix bowl. Insert the spatula and gradually turn the speed to 9 and mix the mandarin cubes for 1 minute. Scrape the sides down and repeat this process until the mandarin cubes are smooth.

Insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the sorbet on speed 4 for 30 seconds.

Scoop the sorbet into the chilled plastic container for later use or serve immediately.

Makes 4 – 6 portions

Food Fanatics Tip

Garnish the scoops of mandarin sorbet with chopped green pistachio nuts and a sprinkling of sumac. I made small cones with banana leaves, it looks fantastic however you can make home made edible cones with a simple tuile biscuit recipe or serve the sorbet as part of an dessert..chocolate tart springs to mind!

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Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Jam

Gently wash the raspberries, drain in a colander for 10 minutes.

Place the raspberries and sugar in an airtight container, cover and refrigerate over night. The raspberries would have started to bleed and the sugar  to dissolve.

Scrape the raspberries and sugar in to a heavy base saucepan, place over medium heat. Gently melt the un-dissolved sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and bring to a vigorous boil.

Wash the edges of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water; this will prevent the jam from crystallising. Do not stir the jam while it is boiling, this will encourage crystallisation.

Boil the jam for about 10 -12 minutes, temperature 104°C – 107°C; this is the ideal setting point for the jam.

I do not use pectin or pectin rich sugar and for that reason it is crucial to measure the temperature and follow the few rules outlined above.

When you reach the correct temperature remove the jam from the heat.

Have your jam jars ready, cleaned and sterilised, as it is important to decant the hot jam as soon as possible.

Place a small cartouche of parchment paper directly on to the hot jam and close the jar immediately whilst the jam is hot.

Make sure your hands are clean or wear disposable gloves.

Cool the jam jars, clean and label them.

Makes 2 large jars of 450g each or 4 smaller jars about 225g each

Food Fanatics Tips

Crystallisation of Jam: It’s pretty annoying when this happens. Normally it’s only visual once the jam has cooled down completely. I have three simply preventable reasons why crystallisation could happen.

  1. One is if the sugar and fruit start to boil before all the “raw” sugar crystals have dissolved.
  2. Two is once the sugar has dissolved and the jam reached the vigorous boiling stage  you did not wash the edges with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. As the “raw” sugar crystals get stuck to the edge of the pan and falls back in to the boiling syrup,the larger un-dissolved crystals accumulate molecules and this encourages the growth of large crystals know as crystallisation.
  3. Third is that you should never stir boiling jam or sugar syrup for that matter. If you do stir the boiling syrup it knocks the sugar crystals together and encourages the formation of larger crystals and crystallisation sets in once cooled.

Sterilising the jars: This is one of the most crucial tasks that you should never cut corners . If you not do this properly you might find your jam becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected.Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the jam.

Other pointers are -never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass, - take extra care when sterilising the jars, as if they are overheated they might explode.

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Gooseberry Ginger Ale, Memories of My Grandmother

Gooseberry Ginger Ale, Memories of My Grandmother

Gooseberry Ginger Ale Syrup

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Trim the stalks from the gooseberries, wash and drain them.

In a large mixing bowl mix the sugar, gooseberries and ground ginger.

Transfer the gooseberries to a large lined roasting tray, roast the gooseberries for 30 minutes.

Let the roasted gooseberries cool completely.

While the roasted gooseberries cool, soak the sultanas inwater, until the sultanas are swollen and plump.

Transfer the cooled roasted gooseberries, soaked sultanas and water, fresh ginger and the juice of one lemon into the Thermomix bowl.

Blend on speed 10 for 1 minute.

Pour the thick syrup into a clean sterilized bottle, refrigerate and mature the cordial for one week before using.

To serve

Dilute the chilled cordial to taste with chilled sparkling water.

Makes approxiamtly 900g cordial

Food Fanatics Tip

According to Grannies book if you would like to make ginger beer you need to add one sachet of yeast, one teaspoon of tartaric acid  and an extra litre of water to the cordial stage. Keep the mixture in a large container and do not seal it too tightly as it cold explode as the yeast action kicks in. Never use glass bottles. Let it ferment for about 2 day's. Once fermented you can keep the ginger beer in sealed sterilized bottles for up to one week, it will start to loose it's fizz after a while.

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Elderflower and English Wine Jelly

Elderflower and English Wine Jelly

Elderflower and English Wine Jelly

Soak the gelatine in cold water.

Mix the water, cordial and wine. pour a third of the liquid in a small sauce pan, heat to just before boiling point and remove from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and stir the gelatin into the warm mixture. Stir to dissolve.

Once the gelatine is dissolved add the rest of the liquid and pour the jelly into the chosen moulds.

I used 7cm x 8cm size traditional jelly moulds.

Gently place the filled jelly moulds in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours. However I find over night works the best.

Crispy Elderflower Tempura

Lightly whip the egg white until it becomes light and fluffy.

Fold in the flour, cornflour and bicarbonate of soda.

Stir in the chilled sparkling elderflower mix.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

Wash and dry the elderflowers. Cut them in even sized pieces.

Heat the oil to 140°C.

Dip the flowers into the batter and fry them in the oil until golden, drain the flowers on kitchen paper.

Elderflower Chantilly

Whip the double cream and cordial until thickened.

Fold in the Crème fraîche. Refrigerate until needed.

Assembly of the dish

Dip the jelly moulds bottoms in warm water to loosen them and to turn them out with ease.

Place the jellies in position on the chosen plates.

Place a small quenelle of the Elderflower Chantilly on top and garnish with the elderflower tempura, garnish the plate with fresh strawberries.

Makes 6

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Rare Roast Lamb and Lebanese Cucumber Delights

Rare Roast Lamb and Lebanese Cucumber Delights

Home Made Pitta Breads

Weigh the flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub the fresh yeast into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the salt, olive oil and water. Gradually work the liquids into the flour by using a flexible plastic scraper.

Work the dough for about 5 minutes until a smooth and silky texture.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and let the dough prove until double in size.

Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 8 even size balls.

Use your finger tips to stretch the dough into oval pitta shaped breads. Lift the dough from the work surface and gently stretch the dough to a even thickness, it does not matter if you, by accident, make a few holes as it adds to the character of the pitta breads.

Place the dough shapes on a lightly floured baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel and let the pitta prove until double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Heat a griddle pan till smoking hot, gently lift the pittas and bar mark them on both sides. Place the pittas on the baking tray into the preheated oven for 5 - 7 minutes to ensure the dough cooks through.

Remove the pittas from the oven, brush each with extra virgin olive oil and let them cool on a cooling rack until needed.

Rare Roast Lamb Neck Fillets

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Remove the excess fat.

Pour the olive oil, a few drops of the lemon juice, lemon zest, sumac and seasoning over the lamb neck fillets, rub the marinade into the lamb.

Let the lamb marinade for 20 minutes before cooking.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, seal the lamb neck fillets on all sides until golden brown about 6 -7 minutes. Place the fillets on a roasting tray into the preheated oven for 5 - 8 minutes. Let the lamb rest for 3 minutes.

Lebanese Cucumber Raita

Wash and drain the vegetables. Cut the Lebanese cucumber in half, use a teaspoon to remove the seeds.

Slice the cucumber, chop the spring onions and shred the fresh mint.

Add all the ingredients together and season to taste.

Let the raita sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Assembly of the dish

Cut the pitta in half, arrange fresh salad leaves on top. Slice the lamb fillets into slices and place on top of the salad, garnish with extra sliced Lebanese cucumbers and spring onions and a inch of sumac. Spoon the raita into a small bowl and serve alongside the lamb and pita breads.

For the bite size pieces:

Slice a small Lebanese cucumber in half, remove the seeds and cut into 2cm long pieces. Spoon a small teaspoon of the raita into each piece of cucumber, place a slice of the lamb on top, garnish with sliced spring onions, shredded mint and a sprinkling of sumac.

Serves 4

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Gills Baked Gooseberry and Ginger Nut Cheesecake

Gills Baked Gooseberry and Ginger Nut Cheesecake

Ginger Nut Biscuit Base

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.

Crush the biscuits and oats in a food processor, slowly add the melted butter and blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Line the baking tin with parchment paper. I used a 17cm x 6cm springform.

Press the crumbs into the bottom of the lined tin using the back of a spoon. Set aside.

Oven Roasted Gooseberries

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Clean and wash the gooseberries, drain well.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the gooseberries, ground ginger and sugar on the lined tray.

Roast the gooseberries for 20 minutes.

Once they are roasted use a slotted spoon to transfer the gooseberries to cover the ginger nut base, try and avoid transfering too much of the juice but do not crush them too much either. Leave a 1cm gap around the outside of the biscuit base.

Turn the oven down to 180°C, return the cake tin to the oven for 10 minutes.

Cheesecake filling

Once the base is cooked remove for the oven and turn the oven down to 170°C.

Cream the eggs and sugar until fluffy.

Add both cheeses and blend until smooth.

Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the baked gooseberries.

Place the cheesecake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven, it will still look wobbly but do not be tempted to bake it longer. Let the cheesecake cool for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to 200°C while preparing the sour cream glaze.

Sour Cream Glaze

Stir the syrup and sour cream together until smooth.

Spread the sour cream over the top of the baked cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Let the cheesecake set completely in the tin before serving.

Food Fanatics Tips

Gills recipe notes to me were very informative. She mentioned that it might be difficult to find curd  and/or cream cheese. I found both in a good supermarket at their deli counter. If you cannot find cream cheese use mascarpone.

Do not be tempted to over bake the cheesecake, a gentle wobble is good! These cooking times are spot on for the size cake tin that I have used.

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Confit Carrot Arancini Canapes with Roasted Carrot Houmous

Confit Carrot Arancini Canapes with Roasted Carrot Houmous

Confit Baby Carrots

Peel the baby carrots. Place them in a vacuum bag, add the oil and salt. Seal the bag on hard vacuum. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil, place the sealed bag with carrots in the boiling water, reduce the heat to a simmer and confit the carrots for 20 minutes. Cool the carrots in ice cold water.

Remove the carrots from the vacuum bag, drain and cut them in 1cm pieces, set aside.

Roasted Carrot Puree

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Toss the prepared carrots in the olive oil and season.

Spread the carrots on to the baking tray and roast for 40 minutes, until the carrots are tender to the touch.

While the carrots are warm puree them until smooth in the thermomix.

Roasted Carrot Risotto

First grind the Parmesan cheese. Cut the cheese into 3 even size pieces. Place the TM31 jug in position and secure the lid, turn the machine on to speed 10 and drop the cheese onto the running blades and grind for 30 seconds. Place the cheese in a container until later.

Weigh the olive oil and chopped shallots into the TM31 jug. Set the timer for 4 minutes at 100°C speed 2.

Add the rice, butter and the wine ,set the timer to 3 minutes at 100°C reverse blade spoon setting.

Add the stock set the timer to 12 minutes 100°C reverse blade spoon setting. Please stop and stir the risotto half way through the cooking.

Taste the risotto after the suggested cooking time, add  two more minutes if needed.

Add the mascarpone, roasted carrot puree and the ground Parmesan cheese stir and let the risotto rest for 1 minute with the lid on in the jug.

Spoon the risotto into a clean container, cover with cling film and let the risotto cool completely.

Roasted Carrot Houmous

Place all the ingredients in the Thermomix and blend the houmous at speed 8 for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides down and repeat the process until the houmous has the desired texture. I like my houmous to still have some coarse bits.

Spoon the houmous into a serving dish, garnish with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sumac.

Roasted Carrot Arancini Balls

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Divide the risotto in to 32 even size balls. Insert a piece of confit carrot in the centre of each risotto ball, roll to smooth and compress the risotto balls.

Roll each ball in the Panko honey bread crumbs, roll to compress.

Place the balls on the baking tray and bake them in the oven for 20 minutes, shaking the tray once to roll them over to ensure an even golden brown colour.

Serve the warm crispy arancini balls with the roasted carrot houmous.

Makes 32 balls

Food Fanatics Tips:

I cook this risotto in the Thermomix and have all the trust in the world that it will be perfect. Please remember to use the reverse setting. You can if you wish  cook the risotto in a saucepan on the cooker, add the stock ,bits at a time. Stir the risotto continuously to ensure a creamy glutenous texture.

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Baked Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Baked Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

cherries1Baked Cherries

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Wash the cherries, cut them in half and remove the stones.

In a large mixing bowl toss the cherries with the sugar and ground cinnamon.

Spread the sugar coated cherries onto the baking tray and bake them for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let the cherries cool once baked.

Cupcake Batter

cherries3Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Dice the marzipan in small cubes and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, add the zest of one lemon.

In a second bowl cream the sugar and  eggs until thick fluffy and creamy.

Melt the butter and stir the melted butter and milk into the creamed eggs, mix.

Gently fold the sifted flour mixture into the egg mixture, do not over work the cake batter.

Spoon a large table spoon of cake batter into each of the cupcake cases, add a teaspoon of the baked cherries and a few dices of the marzipan, top each cupcake case with more cake batter until just below the rim.

Sprinkle the rest of the diced marzipan on top of the cake batter and bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes.

Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Mascarpone Frosting

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the soft butter.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy, add the mascarpone and mix to cream. Do not over work the mascarpone mixture to prevent it from separating.

Sift the icing sugar over the creamed mascarpone mix and gently fold it in.

Garnish each cupcake with a generous amount of the mascarpone frosting and spoon a generous amount of the baked cherries on top.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Food Fanatics Tips

Do not mix the mascarpone frosting too much as it will separate. Make sure that the cupcakes are completely cold before garnishing them, if they are still slightly warm the mascarpone frosting will melt. Let the frosting set in the fridge for half an hour before using.

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Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower Cordial

Bring the water to the boil, pour the boiling water over the sugar. Stir to dissolve and let it cool completely.

Wash and cut the lemons and limes in quaters and add to the stock syrup.

Pick the elderflowers and remove any dead bits and leaves. Place the elderflowers in a colander and wash under cold running water.

Let the elder flowers drain while the stock syrup cools.

Once the stock syrup is cold add the elderflowers and the citric acid, mix and place the mixture in a deep container in the fridge, place a layer of clingfilm directly on top of the mixture.

Let the cordial infuse for 48 hours, stir a couple of times during this period.

Pass the cordial through a fine sieve and pour into sterilised bottles. Keep refrigerated.

Makes aproxiamtly 2 litres of elderflower cordial

Food Fanatics Tips

If you add the elderflowers to they syrup while it's still boiling hot you will scorch the flowers and it will change the taste of the cordial. I have made this mistake in the past and the end result is not pleasant. Instead of keeping the cordial in bottles you can pour the cordial into ice cube trays and freeze them, this saves space and it will keep slightly longer.

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Early Hertfordshire Pea and Feta Crush

Early Hertfordshire Pea and Feta Crush

Place the washed podded peas in the thermomix bowl, add the oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and cumin. Crush the peas by pressing the turbo button a couple of times until the peas are crushed but not completely pureed. Your looking for the crushed peas to still have some half bits of peas. I like my crushed peas to have a course texture. However this depends on  individual taste. If you like a smoother texture pulse a couple of extra times.

Empty the crushed peas into a mixing bowl and add the lemon zest, sliced spring onions, chopped tarragon, mint and the sumac. Use a spatula to fold the ingredients together.

Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Spoon the peas into the serving dish and garnish with the crumbed feta cheese, pea tops and a sprinkling of sumac.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip

Later on in the season when the peas are bigger and not so tender then quickly blanch the peas in hot salted boiling water for a few minutes and refresh in icy cold water. This will tenderise the peas without loosing the freshness. You can also use frozen peas as they are harvested and preserved in such a manner that they capture the freshness as if it was harvested that day. This recipeis prefect as a side dish for a barbecue or picnic.

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Loquat Iced Tea Smoothie

Loquat Iced Tea Smoothie

Pour the cold water over the assam tea bags and place them in the fridge over night to infuse.

Wash the loquats, cut them in half and remove the stones. Put them in a freezer bag and place in the freezer until frozen solid. this acts as the ice cubes.

Remove the tea bags and pour the tea into a blender with the frozen loquats, sliced bananas, lemon juice and honey. Blend on high speed until smooth.

Add the yoghurt and pulse blend.

Lemon Balm Sugar

Blend the sugar and lemon balm to make flavoured sugar.

Dip the rim of the glass in water and then into the flavoured sugar.

Pour the smoothie in the decorated glass and serve immediately.

Serves 4/5 125ml shots

Food Fanatics Tips

Blend in one tablespoon of dry oats with the smoothie mixture for a ideal slow burning breakfast drink. Serve the smoothie cold to appreciate the subtle fragrances of the Assam tea and loquats.

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Lime, Almond and Strawberry Chutney

Lime, Almond and Strawberry Chutney

Sterilize the glass jars: wash them in hot soapy water then place the jars on a roasting tray in the preheated oven at 100°C for 30 minutes.

Peel and chop the banana shallots. Place the chopped shallots, vinegar, sugar, star anise, toasted cardamom pods, cinnamon, sliced chilies, chopped ginger, cloves, salt and water in a large saucepan.

Dissolve the sugar over low heat once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and cook the chutney base to 105°C.

Wash hull and cut the strawberries into quarters, add the strawberries to the boiling chutney base, bring the chutney back to the boil and cook until the chutney reaches 105°C.

Add the lime zest and juice and fold in the sliced almonds.

Let the chutney cool slightly before spooning the chutney into the warm sterilized jars.

Let the chutney mature for one day before using.

Makes about 2.2kg of chutney

Food Fanatics Tip

Make sure that the chutney base reached the correct temperature before adding the strawberries. If not the colour of the strawberries will fade even more before the chutney reaches the correct temperature and thickness.

Improvise and flavour your chutney with spices of your choice. Other spices that would work well with strawberries are black or pink peppercorns.

Let the chutney mature for a minimum of one day before using as the flavour improves as the flavours mellow and  start to work together.

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Spiedini Toscana

Spiedini Toscana

Prepare the chicken by removing the skin and bones, I normally weigh the chicken after I have removed the bones and skin so allow extra weight for the waste.Cut the chicken thighs into 25 -30g pieces and set aside.

Mix the ingredients for the crust. Chop the parsley and oregano, keep it fairly course approximately the same size as the crumbs. Add the course breadcrumbs, lemon zest and grated Parmesan Cheese.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and olive oil. Once melted add the crushed garlic, lemon juice and seasoning.

Dip each piece of chicken into the melted butter the roll it in the crumb mixture. Use your hands to press the crumbs on firmly. Lay the chicken pieces on a lined baking tray and let them rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

While the chicken sets in the fridge wash the courgettes and slice them about 2mm thick using a sharp mandolin. Cut long ribbons.

Wrap each piece of crumbed chicken in a courgette ribbon and gently roll them in a spiral shape. Skewer four pieces of courgette wrapped chicken on each skewer. One skewer makes a good portion.

Light the barbecue, I like to use a coal barbecue but gas works just as well. Cook the spiedini over a cool barbecue, if you are planning to cook a few items then I would suggest that you cook the spiedini towards the end once the coals have cooled slightly. Turn them all the time to ensure a even golden brown colour and  that they cook all the way through.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tips

Use chicken breast if your prefer,  the crumb and courgette coating protects the chicken and you will still retain a moist chicken dish. This recipe works just as well in the oven ,preheat the oven to 200°C, place the spiedini on a lined baking sheet and roast for 18 minutes turning them once during the cooking time.

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Wild Asparagus and Opal Basil Risotto with Chilled Green Tomato Jelly

Wild Asparagus and Opal Basil Risotto with Chilled Green Tomato Jelly

Green Tomato Jelly

Blend the green tomatoes with salt and pepper to a smooth puree. I did not pass the puree to get a clear syrup as my intentions for this jelly were to retain the tomato flesh texture. If you wish to make a clear tomato juice, double the amount of tomatoes to get 250g of clear juice. Pass the tomato puree through a muslin cloth let it drain for 12 hours to get a clear juice.

As I wanted to get a textured tomato jelly I used the puree without passing, weigh 250g of the green tomato puree with the agar agar into a small saucepan. Bring the puree to the boil, once boiling remove the puree from the heat and pour straight into a flat tray.

Let the jelly set at room temperature without moving the tray. This takes about 30 minutes. Do to be tempted to move the jelly to the fridge as the slightest disturbance while the jelly is in the liquid from will prevent it from setting.

Once the jelly has solidified cut into 5mm squares and top each square with finely grated pecorino cheese.

Wild Asparagus and Opal Basil Risotto

Wash the fennel, remove the tops and keep the tops to garnish the dish. Finely slice the fennel bulbs.

Wash the wild asparagus, cut the heads into spears and blanch till al-dente in boiling water, refresh. Cut the stalks into fine rounds and mix the asparagus stalks with the fennel, set aside.

Saute the diced fennel, chopped shallots in the butter, seasoning and olive oil until transparent.

Add the carnaroli risotto rice and toast the rice for two minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed.

Add ladles of the boiling hot stock to the risotto, cook until all the stock is incorporated and the rice has a firm but cooked bite.

Fold in the sliced fennel and asparagus stalks.

Stir in the Mascarpone and grated pecorino cheese and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve the risotto on a warm plate.

Garnish the risotto with ripped fennel top, blanched wild asparagus spears and picked opal basil leaves, drizzle good extra virgin olive oil. Dot the green tomato jelly over the risotto. The agar agar allows the jelly to withstand heat and does not melt immediate.

Serves 2 main course portions or 4 starter portions

Food Fanatics Tips

Agar agar is available from health food stores or Chinese supermarkets. Look for the powder form of agar agar. It’s a completely natural and vegan ingredient. Agar agar is very sensitive and you must bring the liquid that you wish to set with the agar agar to the boil and pour it into a dish and do not move until the jelly is set completely. If you disturb the jelly before it’s set it will not work! Do not be tempted. You also require very small amounts of agar agar to set liquids so it’s worth to invest in very accurate scales that measure as low as 1 gram.

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Cookies for Nanette; Planning for Our Alice in Wonderland Tea Party!

Cookies for Nanette; Planning for Our Alice in Wonderland Tea Party!

Chocolate and Cinnamon Crackle Cookies

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the cocoa powder, coffee, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon and mix well.

Add the egg whites and yoghurt and mix.

Mix in the flour to make a soft dough.

Divide the cookie dough in three; wrap each quarter in cling film forming a long sausage.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut the cookie sausages in slices and press the cookies out to 5cm diameter by ½ cm thick circles.

Place the cookies on the baking tray and bake  for 10 – 12 minutes. I like them slightly soft, but you can bake them for a further couple of minutes if you prefer them to be crispy.

Once the cookies are cooked let them cool for one minute on the baking tray then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

nanette_merringuesMeringue disks

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper; I normally mark the paper with 5cm circles to indicate the size of the meringues.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a medium saucepan. Gently heat the egg whites over low heat,wear a disposable glove on one hand and use to stir the egg white and sugar, this will help to pasteurise the eggs and dissolve the sugar. Use your hand as a temperature control, the temperature should not exceed 37°C, this takes about 5 minutes. Do not boil the egg whites.

Transfer the egg mixture to a mixer with a balloon whisk and whip the meringue until stiff and glossy.

Transfer the meringue to a piping bag and pipe 5cm wide disks about ½ cm thick.

Place the meringues in the preheated oven and dry them for about 30 – 45 minutes.

Assembling the cookies

Use two cookies with one meringue disk.

Spread home made raspberry jam on one side of one cookie then place the meringue onto the jam, spread the other cookie with more jam and then sandwich it to the meringue cookie.

Complete all the cookie sandwiches and then lightly dust the sandwiches with ground cinnamon.

Makes about 30 cookie sandwiches

Food Fanatics Tip

Serve the cookies on the same day that you have assembled them, if you like to keep some for the following day then keep the components apart and assemble as required. This will prevent the meringue from going soggy.

If you do not bake all the cookie dough at once then place the left over cookie sausages in the freezer, defrost the dough completely and bake as per instructions above.

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Restaurant Sat Bains presents a “Sweet Curry”

Restaurant Sat Bains presents a “Sweet Curry”

Madras Caramel

Place the sugar, butter and glucose in a small saucepan.

Melt over very low heat.

Do not let the mixture boil before the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar is melted, turn the heat up and boil for one minute, add the double cream and Madras powder and bring the mixture back to the boil for a further minute.

Let the madras caramel cool completely.

Natural Yoghurt Mousse with Salted Cucumber and Apples

Soak the gelatine in cold water. Once the gelatine is soft, squeeze to remove any remaining water.

Place the cream, soaked gelatine and sugar in a small bowl over a bain-marie. Let the gelatine and sugar dissolve.

Stir the dissolved gelatine mixture into the yoghurt mix well.

Pour the yoghurt mixture into a clean half litre cream whipper, secure the lid and charge with two gas pellets.

Shake the cream whipper vigorously and let the mixture cool until needed.

Peel the cucumber and apple, dice both in 2mm dice, and squeeze a couple of drops of lemon juice over the apple and sprinkle with the salt. Let the apples and cucumber degorge for 5 minutes. The salt will extract any remaining water. Wash the diced apples and cucumbers under cold running water and dry on kitchen paper.

Mango and Pink Peppercorn Sorbet

Crush the pink peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Weigh the sugar, water, trimoline and crushed pink peppercorns into a small saucepan. Dissolve the sugar, bring the syrup to the boil and boil for four minutes.

Let the syrup infuse for 30 minutes then pass the sugar syrup through a fine sieve.

Weigh 375g of the pink peppercorn infused stock syrup and mix with 450g mango puree.

Transfer the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn to freeze, according to manufacturer's instructions.

Once frozen, remove the sorbet and place into a container. Cover and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

Crispy Coconut Shavings

Preheat the oven to 80°C.

Crack the fresh coconut. Use a mandolin to shave very fine slithers of coconut.

Dip the coconut in stock syrup and lay the coconut onto a baking tray lined with a no- stick baking mat.

Place the tray into the preheated oven a dry the coconut chips.

To assemble the dish:

Use a pastry brush to brush a swipe of madras caramel over the plate.

Scoop a small scoop of the mango and pink peppercorn sorbet on one side.

Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the yoghurt mousse next to the sorbet.

Scatter the apples and cucumbers over the top of the mousse and scatter a few pieces of the coconut shavings over the mango and pink peppercorn sorbet. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 portions

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Golden Beet and Samphire Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Golden Beet and Samphire Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Hot Bacon Dressing

Preheat the grill, lay the bacon on to an oven tray and grill the bacon until crispy.

Scrape the crispy bacon and juices from the tray into the thermomix bowl. Blend the crispy bacon on speed 10 for 30 seconds.

Scrape the sides of the bowl down, add the vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper, blend for 30 seconds on speed 10.

Slowly add the oil onto the running blades at speed 8 until all the oil has been incorporated and emulsified.

Adjust the seasoning if needed, keep the dressing warm.

Golden Beet & Samphire Salad

Preheat the oven to 100°C.

Wash and slice the tomatoes about 2mm thick and lay them onto a tray lined with parchment paper, lightly season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place the tray in the preheated oven for 3 hours until dry . Once the tomatoes are dry transfer them to a cooling rack to crisp.

Boil the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, peel the warm potatoes and slice them about 5mm thick.

Remove the leaves from the beetroots and boil the beetroots in salted boiling water till tender. Peel the warm beetroots and cut them in quarters, keep the beetroot warm.

Wash the new seasons spinach leaves, roll each leaf up like a cigar and slice ½ cm slices or rings, keep them in the ring shape and place this in position on the plates.

Wash the samphire and drain well.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, and sauté the sapphire quickly in the oil. Do not season, as the samphire is salty.

Place the sautéed samphire, warm beetroot wedges and warm potato slices into a large mixing bowl.

Add a table spoon of hot bacon dressing, toss and arrange the salad components with the dried tomatoes on top of the large leaf spinach rings.

Serve 4

Food Fanatics Tips
Samphire can be really salty as they are a sea vegetable and sometimes benefit from soaking in cold water for a couple of minutes before cooking. Early in the season the samphire is delicate and tender and therefore simply sauté the samphire in a hot pan with olive oil. If the samphire stems are thicker and older you will need to blanch them in boiling unsalted water.

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Coconut and Coriander Half Roast Chickens

Coconut and Coriander Half Roast Chickens

Wash the chicken and dry with kitchen paper.

Cut the chicken in half through the breastbone. Flatten the two halves and remove the wing tips and slash the thigh and leg's with a sharp knife, about three or four slashes. This will allow the meat to cook all the way through and the marinade can penetrate the flesh.

half_roast_chickensMarinade

Wash the coriander and drain in a colander.

Chop the coriander and crush the garlic.

Mix all the ingredients together; it does not matter if the almonds get crushed.

Season the marinade lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Rub the marinade all over and well into the chicken, use your hands.

Let the chickens rest for 1 hour before you cook them.

The marinade will penetrate the chicken.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place the two half chickens on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour.

Cooking the chicken at this low temperature ensures the meat is moist and the marinade does not burn and become bitter.

While the chicken is roasting prepare the drizzle.

Creamed Coconut Drizzle

Mix all the ingredients together and season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Let the drizzle chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Once the chicken in ready to serve slice the chicken arrange on a serving plate and serve the drizzle on the side.

I have served this dish with Curly Kale and Mung Bean Slaw

Serves 4

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Marshmallow, Cardamom and Bitter Chocolate Naughty Dunkers

Marshmallow, Cardamom and Bitter Chocolate Naughty Dunkers

Prepare the moulds, wash them in hot soapy water and dry them well. I use a flexible rubber mould with 15 holes 4cm diameter x 2cm deep.

If any water comes in contact with the melted chocolate it will be ruined.

I use the thermomix to temper the chocolate.

To grind the cardamom pods turn the thermomix speed dial to 10 and drop the pods onto the running blades for 30 seconds. Remove any large bits of husk.

Chop the chocolate in even size pieces.

Place the chocolate into the thermomix bowl set the time to 5 minutes at 50°C at speed 1.

Scrape the sides down and set the time to 8 minutes at 37°C, speed 1.

Scrape the sides down and set the time to 2 minutes at 50°C, speed 1.

This might sound a bit crazy but if the chocolate goes over 50°C it’s ruined, you need to melt the cocoa fat inside the chocolate gradually and emulsify the chocolate and fats without incorporating too much air. The result will be a shiny and crisp chocolate.

Spoon the melted chocolate into the clean grease free moulds. Skewer a marshmallow onto skewers that will act as the stirrers, insert one skewered marshmallow into each chocolate filled hole.

Let the chocolate set at room temperature for about 5 minutes, then place them in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool  rapidly and prevent blooming.

Once the chocolate dunkers are set pop them out of the moulds and wrap in parchment paper. Keep the chocolate dunkers in an airtight container in a dark place.

Serve the dunkers with a cup of boiling hot milk.

Makes 15 chocolate dunkers.

Food Fanatics Tip
Dark Chocolate covertures can go up to 50 - 55°C.
Milk and White covertures chocolate go up to 45°C to 55°C

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Pink Peppercorn Strawberry Jelly and Thyme Infused Honey Custard

Pink Peppercorn Strawberry Jelly and Thyme Infused Honey Custard

strawberries_jellyStrawberry and Pink Peppercorn Jelly

Wash, hull and cut the strawberries in ¼ ‘s. Place the strawberries with the rest of the ingredients, except the gelatine, in a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water. Cover the metal bowl with cling film.

Let the strawberries cook over the boiling water for 30 minutes, set aside to infuse.

Pass the strawberry juice through a fine sieve and let it drip dry over night in the fridge, do not squeeze, as it will make the juice go cloudy.

Once the juice is cold, measure 200ml of the juice and soak one leaf of gelatine. Dissolve the gelatine and add to the strawberry juice.

Pour the jelly into the moulds and set in the fridge.

Strawberry Salad

Wash, hull and cut the strawberries in slices.

Add the rest of the ingredients, mix lightly and set aside to macerate at room temperature.

Thyme and Honey Custard

Heat the cream, milk and thyme to just before boiling point. Let the cream infuse for 10 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks and honey.

Bring the cream to the boil, add a ladle of the warm cream to the egg, mix, and return the mixture back to the saucepan. Do not boil, turn the heat down and stir until the cream starts to thicken.

Remove the custard from the heat; pass the custard through a fine sieve.

Pour the custard into a cream whipper and charge with two gas pellets shake vigorously and let the custard cool completely.

Pink Peppercorn Crumb Garnish

Toast the brioche under the grill until golden and crispy, cool.

Grind the toasted brioche and pink peppercorns to fine crumbs and mix in the chopped thyme.

Meringue Sticks

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a medium saucepan.

Gently heat the egg whites over low heat,wear a disposable on one hand and use to stir the egg white and sugar, this will help to pasteurise the eggs and dissolve the sugar.

Use your hand as a temperature control, the temperature should not exceed 37°C, this takes about 5 minutes. Do not boil the egg whites.

Transfer the egg mixture to a mixer with a balloon whisk and whip the meringue until stiff and glossy.

Transfer the meringue to a piping bag and pipe long meringue sticks.

Place the meringues in the preheated oven and dry them for about 30 – 45 minutes.

Assembly of the dish

Spoon the strawberry salad onto the set jelly.
Crush the meringue sticks and place a layer of the meringue bits onto of the strawberries followed with another layer of strawberries.
Shake the cream whipper and squirt the custard on top and finally garnish the dish with the pink peppercorn crumb.
Serve immediately

Makes 4

Food Fanatics Tip
If you require the custard to hold it’s shape for a longer period of time add two leaves of dissolved gelatine leaves to the custard before you pour it into the cream whipper. The added gelatine will stabilise the custard.

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Sesame Toasted Basmati Rice and Broad Bean Salad

Sesame Toasted Basmati Rice and Broad Bean Salad

Heat a large saucepan with the sesame oil over moderate heat, not too hot, as the sesame oil will burn easily.

Add half of the dry basmati rice and seasoning to the sesame oil and toast the rice until golden brown and toasted, stir continuously as the rice will catch and burn easily.

Once the rice is toasted golden brown add the rest of the rice and the water. Bring the rice to the boil, once its boiling, boil for five minutes and then place the lid to cover and turn the heat off. Let the rice rest in the saucepan for 20 minutes to absorb the water.

Hold onto the lid and give the saucepan a good shake to fluff the rice.

While the rice is resting, slice the chestnut mushrooms, leeks, spring onions and dice the celery.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and sauté the mushrooms, leeks and celery in a tablespoon of olive oil until the mushrooms are golden.

Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Blanch the broad beans and pop them out of their light green jackets.

If you are serving the dish warm add the sautéed mushrooms mixture, sliced spring onions and blanched broad beans to the warm fluffy toasted rice, adjust the seasoning and sprinkle the golden linseeds over the salad and serve.

Alternatively if you wish to serve the dish cold let the rice cool completely before you add the rest of the ingredients.

Makes 8 – 10 side portions

Food Fanatics Tip
I find that this dish always taste better the next day.

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Slow Cooked Hens Eggs with Crispy Bread Sticks

Slow Cooked Hens Eggs with Crispy Bread Sticks

slow_cooked-_eggs3slow_cooked_eggs4

Preheat the water bath to 63°C.

Remove the eggs from the fridge at least 30 minuets before cooking.

Wash the eggs and place them gently into the preheated water bath.

Cook the eggs for 45 minutes.

Remove the eggs from the water bath, gently crack the shell and place the egg in a tea cup or bowl, generously season with freshly cracked black pepper and course sea salt and drizzle the oil.

Serve with the crispy bread sticks.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip

These eggs could be served as part of a starter let your imagination run wild!

If you wish to cook duck eggs increase the cooking time with 10 minutes.

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Grilled Madras Razor Clams with Sautéed Rainbow Chard and Cornish New Potatoes

Grilled Madras Razor Clams with Sautéed Rainbow Chard and Cornish New Potatoes

Scrub the muddy potatoes under cold running water. Boil the potatoes in their skins  until tender in salted boiling water. Once cooked drain and cool slightly. Slice the potatoes in ½ cm thick slices.
Heat a non-stick frying pan with 1 tbs butter and sauté the slices of potato until golden, season well with course sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Wash the razor clams, pat dry and place them on a baking tray.

Melt 50g of the unsalted butter; mix with the Madras Curry powder and seasoning.

Preheat the grill, drizzle the madras butter over the clams. Cook the clams under the preheated grill for 6 – 8 minutes.

Separate the stalks and leaves from rainbow chard.

Chop the stalks into 1cm long pieces and julienne the leaves into ½ cm wide strips.

Wash the prepared stalks and leaves but keep them separate.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with the olive oil and start with the chopped stalks first, add seasoning and the half of crushed garlic, sauté for about 2 minutes, then add the leaves toss and sauté for a further two minutes, drain on kitchen paper.

Place the breadcrumbs and parsley in a food processor and blend until bright green, this is also known as persiliade.

Heat two main course plates, arrange the sautéed potatoes & rainbow chard and place the clams on top, finish the dish with a drizzle of the madras butter and a sprinkling of persiliade.

Serves 2

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Restaurant Sat Bains, Organic Salmon, Miso Caramel, Nettle Juice

Restaurant Sat Bains, Organic Salmon, Miso Caramel, Nettle Juice

Salmon

Make a brine by placing the sugar, salt, Kombu and water in a saucepan.

Gently heat to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cool the brine complelty.

Remove the pin bones, skin and all the fat from the salmon. Cut the salmon in 2” long strips. Place the salmon in the brine for 1 hour.

Preheat the water bath to 40°C.

Remove the salmon from the brine and wash it under cold running water.

Cut the salmon in 1” x 2” pieces place the pieces of salmon in a clean vacuum bag and seal on hard vacuum.

Cook the salmon in the preheated water bath for 10 minutes. Cool the salmon completely in ice water.

Miso Caramel

Make a caramel with the water and sugar, once the caramel has reached the desired colour dip the bottom of the saucepan in cold water to rapidly stop the colouring of the caramel.

Once the caramel has cooled slightly but not completely set stir in miso paste to taste and the correct consistency.

Nettle Juice

Peel the banana shallot and potato.

Finely chop the shallot and grate the potato on a grater.

Heat a medium saucepan with the butter, sweat the shallot and potato until transparent with no colour, add the nettles and seasoning.

Add the stock bring the stock to the boil and cook for about 8 – 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Puree the soup in a very powerful blender until very fine and pass the soup through a fine sieve, cool over ice.

Pickled Cauliflowers

Cut the cauliflower into very small florets.

Place the sugar, salt, water and vinegar in a small saucepan, gently dissolve the sugar, bring the pickling syrup to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour the pickling syrup over the cauliflower florets and let the cauliflower pickle for 12 hours.

To assemble the dish

Use a pastry brush to brush a swipe of the miso caramel across the plate.
Place the salmon in the middle of the plate. Scatter the drained pickled cauliflowers over the salmon and garnish the salmon with coriander cress. Pour the chilled nettle juice in a small jug and serve on the side. Let the guest pour their own nettle juice over the salmon.

Sat’s Tips
Buy the best quality miso paste that you can afford. It does make a difference to the taste and flavour of the final dish.

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New Season English Asparagus, Salt & Pepper Roll, Sauce Gribiche

New Season English Asparagus, Salt & Pepper Roll, Sauce Gribiche

Cut the asparagus tips to about 7 cm long.

Finely slice the stalks in 2mm thick rounds.

Blanch both the tips and stalks in salted boiling water, refresh in icy water.

Drain the tips, bundle them and tie with string.

Cut the muffin in 8 wedges like a cake. Heat a non-stick frying pan with the butter and toast the muffin wedges in the butter until golden, drain on kitchen paper.

Sauce Gribiche

Mix all the ingredients for the Gribiche and let the flavours infuse for half hour before serving.

Serve the Bundle of asparagus and toated English muffin wedges on a large slate with a pile of course sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Scoop the sauce into a small dipping pot or bottle.

Serves 2

Food Fanatic Tip
Place a small piece of copper pipe in the salted blanching water. The copper contains free copper or zinc ions that  replace magnesium in chlorophyll, giving the green colour to vegetables.

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English Garden and Giant Pearled Couscous Salad

English Garden and Giant Pearled Couscous Salad

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil; add the Israeli couscous and the turmeric. Cook the couscous like pasta until al-dente.

Refresh the couscous under cold running water and drain well.

In a small bowl mix the juice and zest of the lemon, olive oil and seasoning to form vinaigrette, pour the vinaigrette over the drained couscous.

Blanch the broad bean, refresh and remove their thick light green jackets.

Blanch the garden peas to al-dente and refresh.

Prepare the asparagus by cutting the tips from the stalks. Cut the stalks in thin rounds and blanch both eh stalks and tips, refresh.

Separate the leafy tufts form the fennel chop and add to the salad. Use a mandolin to finely slice the fennel.

Chop the spring onions on an angle.

Add all the ingredients to the couscous and gently mix.

Garnish the salad with the finely sliced breakfast radishes and pea tops.

Makes 8 – 10 portions

Food Fanatics Tips

I'm pretty fanatical about using as much of the produce as possible. For that reason I even used the pea tops from the pea plants, they truly taste of peas and look pretty too. When it comes to the asparagus I used as much of the stalk as possible however the very small bit from the bottom about 2 cm is very hard and not recommended to use. Remember this salad should be changed to suit what's avalable to you and change it as the season progresses.

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Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami

Crush the Biscuits into small pieces, but not crumbs. Add the almonds, cranberries and pistachios and sprinkle half of the port wine over the mixture, set aside.

Put the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl, place over a pot of boiling water, allow to melt.

Once the chocolate is melted add the icing sugar, salt, egg yolks, the rest of the port wine, vanilla and the condensed milk, mix well and continue cooking over the bain-marie for a further 4 minutes to cook the eggs, stir regularly.

chocolate_salami21Add the biscuit mixture. Mix well.

Let the mixture cool for 10 - 15 minute, as it starts to thicken and it's easier to work with.

Shape in to a salami shape with a double layer of cling film. Let the salami set in the fridge.

Remove the cling film and then roll the salami in cocoa powder. Its now ready to serve and I like to wrap it again in the paper and tie it with string to mimic a classic salami.

Thermomix Method

Crush the Biscuits into small pieces, but not crumbs. Add the almonds, cranberries and pistachios and sprinkle half of the port wine over the mixture, set aside.

Melt the butter for 2 minutes at 50°C speed two. Add the chocolate and melt for 3 minutes at 50°C speed 2. Add the egg, salt, icing sugar, condensed milk, vanilla and the rest of the Port wine and set the timer for 6 minutes at 50°C speed 2. Let the mixture cool for 10 - 15 minutes before you mix it with the biscuit mixture, continue making the salami as above.

Makes 2 x 420g chocolate salami's

Food Fanatics Tip

Remove the salami at least one hour before serving from the fridge.
This is a great item to serve as a petit four with coffee. Let the guests cut their own slice, somewhat unusual but a great talking point! Also makes a great home made present.

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White Onion and Pecorino Tarts

White Onion and Pecorino Tarts

Short Crust Pastry

Weigh the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Cut the butter in small pieces and add the butter to the flour. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. Ensure that all the butter is rubbed in and evenly distributed.

Add the ice cold water and use a pallet knife to cut the water into the flour.

Work fast and do not over work the pastry, as it will make the pastry grey.

Divide the pastry in two and press in squares.

Cover the pastry with cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry 3 – 4mm think out and use a 7cm in diameter cutter to cut the rounds.

I line the back of a muffin tray with the pastry to make the pastry cases for these tarts. It does look rustic and different from the pristine perfect tarts.

Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes.

While the tart cases are baking make the custard filling.

White onion and pecorino tart filling

Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C.

Cut 8 slices of white onion in 5mm thick slices, heat a non-stick frying pan and caramelise the onion slices on both sides with half the butter and seasoning. Set the caramelised onion slices aside.

Use a mandolin to slice the rest of the onions very finely.

Heat the rest of the butter and cook the finely sliced onions until transparent with no colour. Season lightly. I normally place a lid on the pan to prevent the onions from colouring.

Drain any access butter and liquid.

Add the cream and milk bring the mixture to the boil and let the cream infuse. Let it sit for approximately 20 minutes to infuse and maximise the flavour.

Whisk the eggs and add the eggs, grain mustard and finely grated pecorino to the cooled cream mixture mix well.

Place the tart cases now on the inside of the baking tray the right way up.

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Pour the mixture into the prebaked tart cases to just below the rim, gently place a slice of the caramelised white onion on top of the egg custard.

Gently place the baking tray with the tarts in the preheated oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

Test the tarts by gently giving the tray a knock with the back of your hand if the tarts are still wobbling continue cooking until they are set.

Let the tarts cool on a wire cooling rack before serving.

I like to serve these tarts at room temperature with a swipe of white onion puree, a mixture of red chard, tahoon cress and a line of freshly finely grated pecorino.

Makes 8 tarts 7cm in diameter

Food Fanatics Tips

Parmesan Cheese is just as good if you do not have pecorino, alternatively use a soft but fairly strong cheese perhaps something in the line of a Goats cheese. My preference is a slightly acidic cheese as it complements the sweetness of the white onions.

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Restaurant Sat Bains presents Beef Cheeks, Seaweed, Oyster, Sprouts and Radish

Restaurant Sat Bains presents Beef Cheeks, Seaweed, Oyster, Sprouts and Radish

Beef Cheeks

Make a marinade split the vanilla pod in half and add the cinnamon stick and both herbs.

Rub this into the cheeks and pour the beers over the cheeks and leave to marinade for 3 day’s.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Remove the cheeks from the marinade.

Reduce the marinade by half to enrich the flavour.

In a heavy casserole dish seal the marinated cheeks until golden.

Add the reduced marinade and 1 Litre of brown chicken stock. Cover the dish with a lid and place the dish in the oven for about 2 ½ hours.

Test if the cheeks are cooked by inserting a small knife, if the cheek glides of it means it’s cooked, if not return the dish to the oven and cook further.

Oyster Emulsion

Blend the oysters until smooth; add the egg yolks and a bit of the oyster juice blend to form an emulsion.

Slowly incorporate the oil to thicken the emulsion.

Season the emulsion to taste and add a drop of lemon juice to taste.

Salad

Use a mandolin to finely slice the radishes and banana shallot.

Use the ground mixed seaweed like a seasoning to taste.

Add the bean sprouts and ground nut oil, mix lightly.

Add the cress when you’re ready to serve.

Heat the beef cheeks in the sauce; whisk a couple of spoons of Roaring Meg into the sauce to refresh the flavour of the beer.

Swipe a tablespoon of the oyster emulsion on the plate; place the beef cheek in the centre. Spoon a small amount of the hot sauce over the cheek. Place a generous amount of the salad in a neat pile on top of the cheek. Serve the beef cheeks with an atomiser filled with yuzu water. Let your guest spray the yuzu water over the cheek before they enjoy it.

Serves 6

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Date and Earl Grey Tea Madeleines with Muscavado Dip

Date and Earl Grey Tea Madeleines with Muscavado Dip

earl_grey_madelines1Date and Earl Grey Madeleine’s

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease either 12 large Madeleine holes or 24 small ones, dust the moulds with flour after greasing.

In a medium size mixing bowl pour the hot water over the dates, salt, earl grey tea bag and add the bicarbonate of soda. Let the mixture infuse for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag after 5 minutes.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mix well after each egg.

Add the date and tea mixture to the creamed butter mixture, mix well.

Sieve the flour and baking powder over the date mixture and fold the flour into the mixture. Work lightly as the air is essential for light Madeleines.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared Madeleine moulds of your choice. Fill the hole about ¾ full.

Bake the Madeleines for 16 - 18 minutes.

Once they are cooked  dust them heavily with the Demerara sugar whilst they are still in the tray, gently lift them out and let them cool on a cooling rack.

Muscavado Dip

Place all the ingredients apart from the cream in a small saucepan.

Melt over very low heat.

Do not let the mixture boil before the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar is melted, turn the heat up and boil for one minute, add the double cream and bring the mixture back to the boil for a further minute.

Serve the warm Madeleines with warm Muscavado dip.

Makes 12 large or 24 small Madeleines

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Curly Kale and Mung Bean Slaw

Curly Kale and Mung Bean Slaw

Slaw

Wash all the cabbages and let them drain in a colander.

Finely shred the Chinese cabbage and curly kale with a sharp knife.

Use a mandolin to slice the red and white cabbage super finely.

Mix all four cabbages together add the bean shoots, toasted peanuts and mung beans.

Lime and Soy Vinaigrette

Small pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I used a small jar with a lid that fits tightly to make this vinaigrette.

I weigh all the ingredients directly into the jar this way I know it’s accurate.

As the soy sauce can be very salty, season the vinaigrette very lightly with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Secure the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously to emulsify the vinaigrette.

Pour the vinaigrette over the slaw, mix well and let the slaw macerate at least 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Garnish the salad with extra toasted peanuts and mung bean.

Makes a lot of slaw (this recipe makes about 12 portions)

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Wild Garlic and Goats Cheese Frittata

Wild Garlic and Goats Cheese Frittata

paxtonWild Garlic and Goats Cheese Frittata Mixture

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 12 4cm in diameter mini muffin moulds.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Fill a container with icy cold water.

Wash the wild garlic leaves and remove the stalks.

Blanch the wild garlic leaves in the rapid boiling water for 30 seconds then use a spider to remove the leaves then dunk them immediately into the icy cold water.

Let the leaves cool completely then drain in a colander.

Select 12 even size blanched garlic leaves set aside.

Place the remaining wild garlic leaves in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Heat a large saucepan with the butter and sweat the finely sliced banana shallots until transparent with no colour.

Add the double cream and milk, bring to the boil and boil for 30 seconds.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs, mustard and 3 teaspoons of the pureed wild garlic.

Stir the egg mixture into the cooled cream mixture.

Pour the mixture into the greased muffin moulds to nearly full.

Divide the cheese in 12 even size pieces and drop the cheese into the egg moulds.

Gently place the muffin tray into the preheated oven and bake for 18 minutes.

Let the frittatas cool for 5 minutes in the mould before turning them out.

Assembly of the dish

Lay the blanched garlic leaves flat on a chopping board and wrap each frittata in a leaf.

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Cut the baby beetroot in three slices and spread a bit of soft goats cheese in between each layer and reshape the beetroot in a small tower.

Garnish the plate with the remaining cheese and pureed wild garlic, place three frittatas on each plate and place one beetroot tower on each plate. Garnish the plate with the red chard and tahoon cress.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip
By blanching the wild garlic leaves you remove the over powering bitterness and sharpness of the wild garlic. Another cheese that will work just as well is Stinking Bishop.

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Crispy Quack Eggs with Radish Mayonnaise

Crispy Quack Eggs with Radish Mayonnaise

Freshly Ground Five Spice

Place all the ingredients for the spice mix into the Thermomix, gradually turn the speed to 10 and grind the spices for 20 seconds until fine.

Repeat the grinding process if the spice mix is not fine enough.

Crispy Quack Eggs

Boil the quails eggs for 1 minute 35 seconds in boiling water, cool and peel.

Place half of the flaked duck meat into the thermomix bowl with the ground spices; add the egg and Worcester sauce. Mix for 10 seconds at speed 10.

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Add the rest of the duck and mix for 10 seconds at speed 4.

Transfer the duck mixture to a clean container and refrigerate for 30 minutes so that the mixture becomes firmer.

Lay a double layer of Clingfilm on a clean work surface, spread the duck on top and then place a sheet of parchment paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll the duck mixture to a thickness of about 5mm. Use a 7cm cutter in diameter to cut 12 duck circles, dip the cutter in flour if the meat sticks to the cutter.

Lift the duck meat into your hand and place a quail’s egg in the centre.

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Gently wrap the meat around the egg and seal completely.

Pane the quack eggs

Season the plain flour with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and place the flour in a small bowl.

Whisk the eggs lightly and pour the mixture into a small bowl.

Place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

First roll the duck covered eggs in the seasoned flour, tap off access flour then roll it in the whisked egg, then roll it in the breadcrumbs.

Repeat this process until all 12 eggs are paned.

Heat a deep fat fryer with vegetable oil to 170°C.

Deep fry the eggs until golden brown drain them on kitchen paper.

Serve the freshly cooked quack eggs with coarse sea salt and the radish Mayonnaise.

Radish Mayonnaise

Place the horseradish, mustard, vinegar and egg yolks in the thermomix jug with salt and pepper.

Grind on speed 10 for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides down and repeat the grinding for the second time to ensure that the horseradish is ground finely.

Insert the butterfly whisk. Set the timer for 3 minutes at speed 4, pour the olive oil slowly onto the cup so that it drips slowly into the jug.

quack8Scrape down the sides, adjust the seasoning if needed and mix again for 10 seconds at speed 4.

Wash the radishes and leaves, slice the radishes finely and julienne the leaves, fold into the mayonnaise.

Makes 12 quack eggs

Food Fanatics Tip
Keep the Radish Mayonnaise in a clean container refrigerated for up to three days.

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Soufflé Orange Tapioca Cream

Soufflé Orange Tapioca Cream

Soak the tapioca in 300ml of the milk for one hour before cooking.

Place the butter,tapioca and the rest of the milk into the thermomix bowl and the set the timer to 40 minutes at 90°C speed 3 on reverse blade.

tapiocaLet the tapioca rest for 10 minutes with the lid on, following completion of the cooking time.

The tapioca is cooked when the balls turn transparent.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Lightly grease twelve 6cm x 6cm ovenproof ramekins and spoon 10 g of Seville Orange Marmalade in the bottom of each ramekin; place the ramekins on a baking tray.

Lightly whip the egg yolks, orange zest and sugar, stir the egg yolk mixture in to the cooked tapioca. Whip the egg white to soft peak and fold the meringue in to the cooked tapioca.

Spoon the creamy tapioca mixture in to the greased ramekins about ¾ full, the mixture can boil over if it’s too full.

Place the baking tray on the top shelf and bake for 20 minutes. Dust heavily with icing sugar and freshly orange zest.

Serve the puddings immediately as the soufflé pudding will sink when it cools down.

Makes 12 individual Soufflé Orange Tapioca Creams.

Food Fanatics Tips
If you do not have a Thermomix, cook the tapioca in a large saucepan over low heat for 40 minutes. Stir the tapioca all the time as it does stick and due to the high starch contents it will catch and burn. I have ruined a couple of saucepans in the past.

If you do like the sound of this pudding and wish to serve it for a special dinner,you can cook the tapioca cream in advance. Grease the moulds and spoon the marmalade in the ramekins. Place it in the fridge and just before serving, whip the egg whites, fold them in and bake and serve. It’s less effort than you think. The smell of the baking Soufflé Orange Tapioca Creams are to die for! Yum Yum

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Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb

Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb

Slow Cooked Duck Legs

Preheat the water bath to 82°C.

Wear clean disposable gloves when you work with the duck legs.

Rub freshly cracked black pepper and course sea salt into the duck legs.

Place the two legs into a vacuum bag with the rest of the ingredients.

Seal the bag on hard vacuum.

Cook the duck legs for 8 hours.

Once the legs are cooked cool the duck legs in ice water until completely cold.

Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb and Redcurrants