Monday, 4 March 2013

2013 - hope this year is drier!

Firstly apologies for taking so long to update blog and add new recipe. Since December we have been away on Holiday (Brazil) and February went too fast!

Next recipe up will be some ideas from our trip to Brazil.

Now guests know my views on South American cuisine - which frankly is rather poor. Our trip to Mexico 2 year ago being a huge let down, stunning ingredients cooked to death until brown.

I had higher hopes for Brazil and although the standard was a little better, native cuisine is still thin on the ground.

The worry is that 60% of restaurants are Italian but not real Italian but rather like the British High street where we find hundreds of fake Pizza/Pasta places. Apparently its what people like to eat and makes a change from home cooked food. God only knows what they would make of real Italian food.

Nevertheless we persevered and found some local places serving Brazilian food.

Highlights were eating a lovely sea food dish in Salvador called mocqeca (sort of Goan fish curry without the spice.)

Trying some interesting freshwater fish from the Amazon

Going to one of their famous meat bbq restaurants in Rio and eating very good Sushi!

and last and not least drinking a lot of the local sugar cane spirit drink especially one served with crushed Kiwi fruit.

I'll put up the recipe for the Moqueca next post

Monday, 17 December 2012

Souper dooper - winter soups

Now that the weather has become distinctly colder and the rain still comes down I find that the lure of a warming soup after a long walk hard to resist. So in response to some recent customers here are two favourites: One classical and one with a bit of oomph. Both are excellent on Boxing day as they use left over ingredients.

Stilton & Broccoli Soup with Cheese scones

1 large head of broccoli (or use left over cooked )
Small bunch parsely or 100 grams of Spinach
125 grams of Stilton (rind and all) finely chopped. Save 25 grams for garnish
500 ml of Vegetable stock
100 ml double cream
1 onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic
25ml of olive oil and knob of butter


280 grams Self raising flour
100 grams parmasan or stilton shavings
Pinch of Salt
20 grams butter, softened
1 egg
185 ml of milk

Sweat the onions for 5 minutes until soft then add garlic and cook for one more minute
Add the cooked Broccoli (if using fresh Broccoli, steam this for 5 minutes until tender) and parsley/spinach

Add the stock and cook for 5 minutes and take of heat. Add cheese and allow to melt. When nearly done. liquidise until smooth and set aside to let flavours develop. When ready to serve check seasoning and then add cream and gently re-heat. Don't let soup boil. Serve with extra cheese sprinkled on top and with warm scones.

To make scones.

Put all dry ingredients in bowl and add butter. Mix between fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in centre and add beaten egg and Milk mixture, gently bring scone mix together using a metal spatula or spoon. DO NOT over mix.

Roll out on a floured service to about 1 inch thick.Using a serrated cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place on non stick baking tray or one lined with non stick parchment.  Brush with milk & bake in a hot oven (220C)  for about 15 to 20 minutes until brown on top. Serve warn.

Chorizo, sweet potato butter beans and coriander Soup

A semi chunky soup perfect for cold days.

2 small cooking Chorizo sausages (you can use ready cooked chorizo which will be less fattening)
1 large onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 can of Butterbeans (or any other white bean)
2 large Sweet potatoes chopped into medium dice (or left over roasted ones)
small bunch fresh coriander
1 small red chilli
1 litre of chicken stock


Sweat onions in 50 grams of butter until soft, add garlic and cook for 1 minute, Skin cooking chorizo and chop into small dice. Add to onion mix and cook for 5 minutes. (note: paprika oil will come out of sausage and turn whole pan red) When finished add drained butterbeans and then pour over stock. Cook for 25 minutes or until potato is soft. Take of heat and with a slotted spoon remove half of solid ingredients.and then blend remaining mixture to a rough puree. Add back the unblended mix, add fresh chopped coriander and check seasoning.,Warm through and serve with some crusty bread. For a luxury taste add some double cream at last stage..

Chefs Tips

All soups keep well and taste even better next day (if they last this long!)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Hello Treacle

Just to show how traditional we are as a nation here's my recipe for that most English of  Desserts, Treacle Tart.

Actually its a bit of a misnomer as no Treacle is used just Golden Syrup, and its a far cry from my mothers teeth sticking version of the 1960's. I am indebted to the great Shaun Rankin for the inspiration. Serves 8 -10.

Treacle Tart with vanilla ice cream or custard

520 gm of plain flour
250 gm of unsalted butter
75 gm icing sugar
2 eggs


720 gm of Golden Syrup
2 eggs
75 ml double cream
1 lemon
10 gm salt
90 gm butter
175 gm wholemeal breadcrumbs

First Make Pastry

In a food processor combine flour & sugar with butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Add two eggs and combine until just come together, take out and knead until smooth, wrap and chill in fridge for 20 minutes

Roll out pastry and to fit 25 cm quiche tin and chill again for 20 minutes.

Fill pastry with baking beans and cook for 18 minutes at 180C. Drop temperature to 160C uncover pastry and cook until pastry is biscuit coloured (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and trim excess pastry.

To make filling, pour golden syrup into pan and heat gently. In another Pan heat 90 gm of unsalted butter and clarify, pour butter into syrup and remove from heat. Mix eggs and cream together and add to syrup (make sure syrup is not hot or eggs will cook) Add salt and lemon juice

Mix together and then add breadcrumbs and combine

Pour into cooked pastry base and put back into oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden. The syrup will look molten but will set as it cools.

Serve with Ice cream or custard.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Stuffed Partridge Breast with slow gravy and Savoy

Autumn is firmly here with early morning mists, leaves turning colour and the call of the Pheasant from the woods.

So Game is firmly on the menu.

Currently the local estate is providing us with fresh Partridge and Pigeon and here is my seasonal recipe to create Autumn on a plate.

Stuffed Partridge Breast with mushroom stuffing, proscuito wrap on buttered savoy and sloe gin gravy.


Serves 2

2 x Partridge
2 slices of Proscuitto or Parma Ham
100 grams fresh mushroom diced (chestnut and if you can get them chanterelles)
Fresh thyme
Small glass of brandy or maderia
1 litre of game stock
25 ml Sloe Gin
1 savoy
100 grams butter


First take off the breasts, remove skin and set aside.

Set oven temp to 190C  (175C Fan)

Make stock by adding carcass of birds to large pot, add diced carrot, onion, celery and bouquet Garni, bring to the boil, skim and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove solids and sieve into clean pan.

Make mushroom stuffing by saute mushrooms in 25 grms of the butter, add thyme leaves and then when nearly cooked add brandy and flame. Cook for 1 more minute and set aside to cool. In a bowl use a hand blender to make into a rough paste.

Gently flatten partridge breasts and then lay a ham slice on a sheet of cling film. Spread the cooled mushroom
pate onto the breast and then lay another on top. Roll up in clingfilm. Repeat with other breasts and then place in fridge to firm up.

Boil stock to reduce by 2/3rds and add slow gin, check seasoning, if necessary add a small roux to thicken.

Shred Savoy and wash, place into pan with remaining butter but no water and season. Cook until softened and keep warm.

To cook Partridge: sear breasts in non stick pan in a thin film of olive oil until browned. Place in Oven for 13-14 minutes until just cooked.

To serve

Place small mound of Savoy on plate, slice Partridge into 4 rounds and place on top. Spoon gravy around outside.

Serving suggestions:  Make some mini garlic roast potatoes and a Carrot puree. Top with a deep fried parsnip crisp.

Cooks notes:

If your partridge comes with Livers etc, add these to mushroom mix. Also cook off legs and add shredded meat to stuffing.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Sweet Potato soup with chorizo, red pepper & tomato

Apologies for taking time to add another recipe. Now the late summer sun (and the Goodwood Revival) has passed and another band of rain and wind heralds in Autumn its time to step up the hearty part of eating.

None does this better than soup, preferably a big hearty one served after a long walk.

Normally Autumn soups are obsessed with Pumpkin and Squash and you could substitute the Sweet Potato for Squash if needed. However there is something about sweet potato that compliments Chorizo, so try this version first.

Sweet Potato soup with red pepper, chorizo and tomato


1 large Sweet potato or 2 smaller ones  (about 400 grams)
1 Red pepper, diced
1 small red chilli finely diced
Small bunch of fresh coriander
4 cooking chorizo's (rosario) skinned and diced
2 onions finely diced
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 litre of chicken stock
dollop of creme fraiche

Sweat the onions in a tbs of Olive oil until soft, add the garlic and then the diced chorizo, cook for 10 minutes. Add the red pepper and sweet potato cook for another 5 minutes, but don't burn the potato.

Add the stock and simmer until potato is soft.

Cool down and then take out about 250 ml of the soup and blend the rest, check seasoning.

Add the chunky portion back to the rest of the soup.

To serve re-heat gently, add the creme friache and serve in bowls with some coriander leaves on top.

Note: You could add some baby spinach leaves when re heating to add colour and also add some finely sliced chilli as a garnish

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Hake with Chorizo, Red Pepper stew & King Prawns

Hake is a fabulous fish that deserves greater recognition but sadly the British fear of eating anything other than Cod, Plaice and farmed Salmon means that you rarely see it in supermarkets but good fishmongers will have it. Weirdly the supermarkets prefer to flog you some insipid farmed tilapia from Israel rather than serve you some fresh wild Hake from our own waters.

Our loss is Spain's gain and in Northern Spain they love Hake and have dozens of recipes. So here is my take on a Northern Spanish Dish that has proved very popular in the Restaurant.

Baked Hake with Chorizo, Red Pepper stew and king Prawns

Ingredients  (Serves 4)

4 hake fillets from a large Hake (about 150 g per portion)
2 large red peppers, finely sliced
1 onion finely sliced
1 clove garlic finely sliced
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 large cooking chorizo sausages, de-skinned and sliced into rounds
8 Raw crevettes or shell on King prawns
Silicon parchment or foil

First make the stew

Sweat the sliced onion,peppers,chorizo and garlic in the olive oil until onions and peppers are softened. Chorizo oil will run and make the whole thing a lovely paprika red.

Once cooked, set aside and add chopped parsley and check seasoning

Meanwhile set oven to 180C.

Take some baking parchment and place one fillet in middle, season, add slice of lemon and then knob of butter. Do this to the remaining fillets. Fold up parchment to make a pouch and then place in oven for 15 minutes.

Whilst these cook, warm through red peppers and saute prawns in a little oil and season with salt and pepper

Reheat stew and place portion in the centre of the plate and when Hake is ready take out of bag, discard lemon and place Hake on top of stew. Save buttery liquid in bag and pour over fish, place pan fried prawn on top and serve. You can put a little salad or new potatoes with the dish and dress with some olive oil. But like all Spanish food simplicity is best.

This dish can be made with Cod fillet or other firm white fleshed fish.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Lemon verbena panna cotta with raspberries

Well summers finally here so a quick dessert recipe that just perfect for a hot day.

Lemon verbena is a very useful herb that grows anywhere in most soils and as a perennial comes up each year. It has no flowers but its leaves are full of citrus oil and when crushed they smell most wonderfully of lemon. Useful in both desserts and marinades for chicken and fish.

Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberries

Recipe - makes 6 to 7 pannacottas

500ml of double cream
450 ml of full fat milk
3 1/2 sheets of full size gelatine leaves
200 grm of caster sugar.
Bunch of verbena leaves
250 gram Fresh raspberries
100 gram icing sugar


Mix cream, milk and sugar in large saucepan and bring to gentle simmer or until sugar has dissolved
Wash and add verbena leaves to mixture and let steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile place Gelatine leaves in cold water until soft, squeeze out excess water and then add to hot mixture. Leaves will dissolve.

Strain mixture int new jug and remove leaves, pour into metal ramekins or small pots, wait till cool and then put in fridge to set.

Make a simple raspberry coulis by cooking half the raspberries with 100grams of sugar and then strain into pot

To serve: Quickly dip ramekin into hot water for a few seconds and then turn out onto plate. Pour some coulis around and add some fresh raspberries.