Category Archives: starter

Starter: Goat’s cheese tartlets – Main: Mediterranean chicken

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I started my new job just over a week ago and I am finding the early mornings a bit of a shock to the system.  That being said I’m slowly getting back into the routine of things. One thing that I can say however is that I have not missed the London commute during my time off; the tube whilst practical is not a pleasant experience in rush hour.   Consequently I am forcing myself to brave the elements and cycle to work 2-3 times a week…

There was one thing that I had been missing whilst I was living in France and that was cooking/going to dinner parties.  This weekend I had the flat to myself and I seized the opportunity to get friends over and spend the evening eating good food and drinking far too much wine!

We started off the evening with a very simple canapé/starter of goat’s cheese and sun blushed tomato tartlets.  I used filo pastry to make them as it is beautifully light and the resulting tartlets look very pretty.  On this occasion I didn’t serve the tartlets with anything, however, a simple rocket salad work well.

For the main I cooked chicken in a Mediterranean style sauce mixing a combination tomatoes, olives and feta.  The resultant dish was fresh and packed full of flavour.  I would recommend serving the chicken on a bed of mashed potato with steamed vegetables.  It is a simple dish to make and is a great option to make if you are having lots of people over!

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Mediterranean Chicken (Serves 5-6)

Ingredients:

  • 5/6 chicken breasts
  • 800g chopped tomatoesDSC_0551 (3)
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes
  • 100-125g black pitted olives
  • 2 large onions (finely sliced)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ glass of red wine (I used a Rioja)
  • 200g feta cheese (cut into cubes)
  • ½ tsp herbs of Provence
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • Seasoning
  • olive oil for cooking with

Steps:

1.  Preheat an oven to 180C fan.

2.  Place the onions and garlic in a frying pan with a little oil and cook on a medium heat until they are soft.

3.  Pour a little oil into a large roasting tray, add the chicken breasts and make sure they are coated with the oil and season well.

4.  Add the softened onions, olives, chopped tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, wine, lemon zest, bay leaf, herbs and mix together.

5.  Cover the roasting tray with tin foil and cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

6.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven.  Scatter over the feta cheese and parsley and then serve with some mashed potato and the vegetables of your choice.

 

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Goat’s cheese and sun blushed tomato tartlets

Ingredients: (makes 24)

  • ½ a packet of filo pastry (cut into 2” squares)DSC_0543 (3)
  • 250g goat’s cheese (cut into small pieces)
  • 100-125g sun blushed tomatoes (cut into small pieces)
  • 2tsp freshly chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • black pepper

Steps:

1. Preheat an oven to 170C fan.

2.  Lightly grease two mince pie trays, place 2 squares of filo pastry into each of the moulds.

3.  Mix together the goat’s cheese and sun blushed tomatoes in a bowl, then put a little of the mixture into the centre of the pastry.

4.  Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with black pepper.

5.  Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden brown and the cheese has melted.

6.  Remove from the oven and scatter over the chopped parsley just before serving.

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Oysters

My first experience of an oyster was not a good one, I had one in the North of France when I was about 6 years old and I remember thinking that the texture was not very agreeable.  With the beauty of hindsight I have come to realise that oysters are something that you grow into and I now very much enjoy them raw with just a squeeze of lemon or just a little shallot dressing.

The last time we had oysters it turned out that we had mislaid our shucking knife, undoubtedly it is ‘somewhere safe’…   So armed with a flat headed screwdriver and relatively blunt knife the Old Man set to work, as you can see in the pictures below the flat headed screwdriver worked a treat.  Where there is a will there is always a way….

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Oysters

Ingredients:DSC_0308 (3)

  • 12 oysters
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
  • crushed ice (to serve on)

For the shallot and red wine dressing:

  • 1 shallot (finely sliced)
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • seasoning

Steps:

1.  Hold an oyster in a tea towel, then take a shucking knife and insert the blade between the top and bottom shell and twist it from side to side until the hinge of the oyster breaks.  Lever the top of the shell open, by running the blade of the knife along the edge of the shell to free the oyster.  Discard the top shell and remove any small fragments of shell that may have broken off as it was opened.

3.  Put the crushed ice on a plate and then arrange the shells containing the oysters on top.

4.  Make the shallot dressing, by mixing together the vinegar, seasoning and shallots then pour the mixture into a small bowl or jug.

5.  Serve the oysters with the wedges of lemon and shallot vinegar on the side.

[Note:  Oysters are best bought when there is an ‘r’ in the month, so from September to April.]

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A couple of pork based pâtés

About a month ago I made a series of pâtés at the same time that I posted a blog about a rabbit and pork terrine.  The pâtés have now been sampled and I thought it was about time I wrote them up…

Locally, pâtés tend to be very simple often consisting just of: pork meat (ground relatively coarsely), pig’s liver, eggs (one to every kilo of meat) and seasoning.  It is incredibly simple and tastes very nice particularly when served with gherkins or good chutney.

On finding out that it was possible to buy good quality pâté meat (by this I mean a combination of coarsely ground pork and liver that had been pre-seasoned) from a local store for the reasonable price of 3€ a kilo, Mumsy and I bought 15kg and spent a day mass producing various types of pâtés .  I decided to ‘free style’ a little and try out a few recipes using slightly different ingredients, for example hazelnuts that we had picked and frozen earlier in the year,  whereas Mumsy followed some tried and tested recipes.  All of the pâtés have come out well and make a nice addition to bread and cheese at lunch time as well as a good starter or pre-supper nibble to go with an ‘apéro’ or two.

Pork meat can be quite fatty,  do not be alarmed if when you follow one of the recipes below it looks as though you have a lot of fat around the inside of the jar, it is normal, just cut the fat off before serving.  The second thing to note is – if you are making a number of different types at the same time, make sure you label them properly before putting them into the pot to cook (we thought we had marked our pots sufficiently with a pen, however, when we removed them after cooking we realised all markings had come off, so it has been a ‘lucky dip’ scenario whenever we get out a new pâté …).

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Fruit and Nut Pork Pâté (makes 5-6 pots)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg pre-seasoned pork meat for pâté (alternatively use a combination of pork belly, pork shoulder and pig liver and season well)
  • 2 handfuls of hazelnuts
  • 1 good handful cranberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp ground mace
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries (ground in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1tsp peppercorns (ground in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 50ml cognac

Steps:

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.

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2.  Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars (preferably Le Parfait, Mason or Kilner jars)  making sure you do not overfill the jars; the pâté should stop just below the lid line.  Make sure the tops of the jars are clean before closing up the jars.  [Depending on the type of jar you are using don’t forget to place an intermediary lid (to create a seal) on before screwing on the lid tightly.]

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(Due to the quantity of pâté that we made, we used a large outdoor burner that could hold 20-25 pots at a time.   A large pasta saucepan would be perfect if you are making smaller quantities.)

3.  Place all of the jars in a large saucepan. (When you do this place a couple of tea towels at the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the jars on the bottom cracking and make sure that the pots can’t move about by packing them in with other tea towels or pieces of broken tile.  Finally, weigh them all down with something heavy like a brick as shown in the pictures above.) Cover the jars completely with water, cover with a lid and bring up to a boil and then simmer for 2-3hrs.

4.  Allow to cool in the saucepan and then remove and store in a cool place.

 

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Sweet and Spicy Pork Pâté (makes 5-6 pots)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg pre-seasoned pork meat for pâté (alternatively use a combination of pork belly, pork shoulder and pig liver and season well)
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 dried chilli (finely sliced)
  • Armagnac (to brush the pots with)

Steps:

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.

2.  Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars (preferably Le Parfait, Mason or Kilner jars) make sure you do not overfill the jars; the pâté should stop just below the lid line.  Make sure the tops of the jars are clean before closing up the jars.  [Depending on the type of jar you are using don’t forget to place an intermediary lid (to create a seal) on before screwing on the lid tightly.]

3.  Place all of the jars in a large saucepan. (When you do this place a couple of tea towels at the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the jars on the bottom cracking and make sure that the pots can’t move about by packing them in with other tea towels or pieces of broken tile.  Finally, weigh them all down with something heavy like a brick as shown in the pictures above.)  Cover the jars completely with water, cover with a lid and bring up to a boil and then simmer for 2-3hrs.

4.  Allow to cool in the saucepan and then remove and store in a cool place.

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Warm salad with pear and parma ham

After all the rich food that I have been ‘blogging’ about lately I felt it was about time to do something a little healthier…  This recipe is a great starter that looks good and takes about 5-10 minutes to prepare.  The chicory/endive gives the salad slightly sharp taste and a nice crunchy texture, whilst the warmed and slightly caramelised pear counters that sharpness adding sweet undertones.  There is not much else that can be said about this dish other than give it a go…

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Warm Salad with Pear and Parma Ham (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 pears (sliced lengthways roughly 3mm in thickness)DSC_0274 (3)
  • 8 slices of Parma ham
  • 3 spears of chicory/endive (finely sliced)
  • knob of butter
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • pepper (to season)

Steps:

1.  Place the butter and oil in a frying pan and heat.

2.  Once the butter has melted add sugar and stir until it dissolves.

3.  Add the pears to the frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning them over after about a minute.

4.  Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further minute stirring gently being careful not to break up the pears.

5.  Then plate up – place chicory at bottom of each plate, add the pears, drape over two slices of Parma ham and drizzle over the juices from the pan.

6. Finally season with a little pepper and serve.

Black diamonds of the kitchen – truffles…

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Our house is located roughly 30 minutes from one of the most renowned truffle markets in the France, if not the world – Lalbenque Truffle Market in the Lot.   If you look up ‘Truffle’ in Larousse Gastronomique it states, “The Black Truffle of Perigord and that of the Lot are the most highly esteemed.”  By all accounts the truffles were so highly rated that a railway spur was built specifically to connect Lalbenque to Paris so that the restaurateurs in the capital could enjoy this delicacy.

The truffle market is held every Tuesday from December to March and makes for very good ‘people watching’.  The few times I have been it has been easy to spot those who have travelled down from Paris as they wear smart clothes and have well-polished shoes in stark contrast to the locals who are dressed in weather-beaten clothes that are better suited for the cool winter days.

The market is divided up into individual and wholesale sellers.  Just outside the Mairie, two tables are set up where individual truffles are sold in small cellophane bags with the prices clearly marked. On the other side of the street the wholesale sellers line up on long wooden benches and present their bounty in wicker baskets lined with gingham material, normally a small piece of card is visible indicating the weight of the truffles inside.

At 2pm the sale commences for the individual truffles, you need very sharp elbow and a fierce determination to battle your way through the crowd in order to purchase your prize.  I have watched in admiration the old ladies who beat their way to the front to get a 20g truffle for a price in the region of €17-20.

 
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On the other side of the street it is a more serious affair.  There, the proud truffle hunters stand behind their baskets fielding questions about the weight and quality of their truffles.  A rope barrier separates the buyers from the sellers and creates a path for the council officials to pass ensuring that procedures run smoothly.  The all-important matter of price is not allowed to be discussed until 2.30pm once the whistle has been sounded.  Once this happens things turn somewhat frantic as the buyers rapidly negotiate a price to be paid in cash there and then.

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The last time I went to Lalbenque was just before Christmas.  At one end of the market there was a lot of excitement.  As I approached it soon became clear why – there was an enormous basket, filled to the brim with truffles, said to weigh 8kg.  It was estimated that the basket hamper would sell for around €7,500-8,000 – a little out of my price range…  I spoke with several people and they informed me that a bounty of this size is a real rarity and is unlikely to happen again.

Sadly, I was unable to buy any truffles at this market.  However, on Christmas Eve our local market at Caussade had a small truffle stand where I was able to buy 2 very small ones weighing 17g in total.  The first thing I have to say is the smell of the truffles was extraordinary – having left them in the car whilst I did the shopping when I returned the car was filled with the fragrant scent of truffles.

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On getting them home, I decided to use them as a garnish, firstly in an omelette (which I am pretty sure you’d all be able to make…) and then secondly on top of some smoked salmon bellinis.  Truth be told, the truffles lacked taste and were somewhat disappointing as they were very dry despite having been sliced into wafer thin slithers.  It is arguable that they would have benefitted from having been softened in a little melted butter, but I felt that this would have overwhelmed their flavour.  However, for me, I am pleased I bought them if only for the enjoyment I got from their smell as I drove home.

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Smoked Salmon Bellinis (makes – 15-20)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 heaped tbsp plain flour (roughly 100g)
  • 1 heaped tsp butter (melted)
  • 40-50ml milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g smoked salmon (cut into 1” squares)
  • 2-3tbsp crème fraiche
  • ½tsp horseradish sauce (optional)
  • pepper (for seasoning)
  • 5-10g truffle (finely chopped, for garnish – optional)
  • 15-20 small parsley leaves
  • vegetable oil (for cooking with)

Steps:

1.  Firstly make your bellinis, by whisking the egg, milk, flour,salt and butter together in a bowl – add more milk as needed until you have a batter with the consistency of thick pouring cream.

2.  Heat a little vegetable oil in a non stick frying pan.  Drop a small spoonful of the batter into the frying pan (so that you have small bellinis roughly 1” – 1”½ in size).  Cook the bellinis on each side for 30 seconds to a minute, or until they are golden brown.  Continue cooking the bellinis in batches until you have used up all of the batter.

3.  In a small bowl mix the crème fraiche, horseradish sauce and pepper.

4.  Spoon a little of the mix onto each of the bellinis, top with a piece of smoked salmon and then garnish with either a pinch of truffle or a parsley leaf.

[Note:  You can vary the flavour of the bellinis by adding ½tsp if dill or ½tsp of finely chopped chives to the batter mix before cooking].

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French Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons

I know it is a little late, but … Happy New Year to one and all!  I hope that everyone has had a suitably indulgent Christmas and New Year.  I have just returned from a trip to the UK –  just in time as the snow arrived two days ago and we have been snowed in ever since.  However, as I type this blog the first snow plough is passing along the top road, doubtless to the dismay of our neighbours’ children who are enjoying a ‘snow day’.

This type of weather demands warm food and I can think of nothing better than a good soup.  If you have got the time then French onion soup is delicious.  The secret to a good French onion soup is taking the time to let your onions soften completely otherwise you don’t get their beautifully sweet flavour coming through (and I think we all know about the side effect of uncooked onions…).

This type of soup tastes infinitely better if you use a good beef stock, not only as it gives a slightly richer flavour than a chicken stock, but it deepens the colour.  This is really a soup to try, but just make sure you don’t rush it. Enjoy.

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French Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • 1kg onions (finely sliced)
  • 2/3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 4/5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1l stock (preferably beef stock)
  • 2 ½ glasses dry white wine
  • Seasoning

For the cheese croutons:

  • 6 slices of French bread
  • 100g grated Emmental or Gruyere

Steps:

1. Gently heat the oil in a large pan.

2.  Add the onions and sugar, cover with a lid and cook very gently, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes on a low heat until they are soft.

3.  Add the thyme and the wine and cook for about 10 minutes on a slightly higher temperature.

4.  Then add the beef stock, season well and cook for a further 10-15 minutes.

5.  Just before you are ready to serve, remove the sprigs of thyme from the soup and make your croutons by toasting the slices of French bread, scattering over the cheese and then melting under a medium grill for 1-2 minutes.

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Cauliflower and blue cheese soup

Cauliflower is fairly good value at the moment and I have been trying to think of some different things to do with it.  As cauliflower and cheese is a classic combination I thought I would try it in a soup.

I found that blue cheese works well in the soup as it adds a salty creaminess that doesn’t overpower the flavour of the cauliflower. By adding crème fraiche, I found that it enhanced the creaminess of the cheese and helps to make the soup silkier.  The lardons give yet another texture – especially if you can make them golden brown and slightly crunchy.  However, they aren’t strictly necessary but are a nice addition.

I served this soup with homemade cornbread which added a light sweetness which lifted the soup, however good French bread would work just as well.

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Cauliflower and blue cheese soup

Ingredients:

  •          1 medium cauliflower (cut up into medium sized pieces)
  •          1 onion (diced)
  •          2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  •          2 bay leaves
  •          1 small bunch of thyme (tied together)
  •          1 ½  litre stock (vegetable or chicken)
  •          50g blue cheese (e.g Bleu d’Auvergne)
  •          3 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
  •          ½ tsp pepper
  •          50g lardons (for decoration, optional)
  •          oil (for cooking with)

Steps:

  1. Place the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaves in a large pan with a little oil and sweat on a medium heat until the onions are soft.
  2. Add the cauliflower and stock, bring up to the boil and cook until a knife goes easily through the cauliflower.
  3. Remove the thyme and bay leaves then, liquidise the soup.
  4. Put the soup back into the saucepan and add the crème fraiche, crumble in the cheese and season.
  5. Cook for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile cook the lardons in a hot saucepan until they are golden brown and crispy.
  7. Serve the soup with a few of the lardons scattered on top with some French bread or cornbread.

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Rabbit and Pork Terrine

Last week I went into a local store (Quercy Frais) to buy some pork to make a terrine.  On asking the advice of the butcher, I was informed that if I wanted meat for a pâté I should wait until Thursday when they held their weekly pâté promotion for seasoned pâté meat at 3€ / kg.  Thinking this was a great deal we decided to go for it.  So, on Wednesday we placed an order for the number of kilos we were after (15kg) and went back in to collect it on Thursday.  What we got is a combination of pork meat, pork liver and pig fat that had been seasoned and coarsely ground.

Please note when I set out to make my terrine I was looking to buy 1kg at most.  However, after much discussion at home we decided to make up a variety of different pâtés in various quantities.  I think in total we have around forty 400g pots which are now stashed away in the larder ready to be opened when they are needed.  Despite our forward thinking and marking each of the pots with a marker pen before they were placed into a huge vat, the pen markings came off the pots during the cooking process – so now it is a case of a lucky dip when selecting our pâtés…

Over the course of the next week or so I will blog all of the pâté recipes.  First up is a Rabbit and Pork Terrine,  I made it by first poaching the rabbit simply because I find it easier to get the meat off the bone after cooking.  I then added a selection of spices, fruit and vegetables that complimented both of the meats very well.  By wrapping the terrine in streaky bacon it held its shape making it far easier to cut into slices.

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Rabbit and Pork Terrine

Ingredients:

Poaching the rabbit:

  • 1 large rabbit
  • 2 onions (cut into quarters)
  • 2-3 carrots (cut into chunks)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (keep in their skins)
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1 – 2 litres chicken stock (enough to cover the rabbit)
  • seasoning

For the terrine:

  • 800g poached rabbit meat (removed from the bone)
  • 800g pork meat for pâté (alternatively use a combination of pork belly, pork shoulder and pig liver and season well)
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries (crushed)
  • ¼ tsp allspice (crushed)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves (from the poaching pot squeezed out of their skins)
  • 400g apricots (roughly chopped)
  • 2 eggs
  • 15-18 thinly sliced rashers of streaky bacon
  • 3 bay leaves (for decoration)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns (for decoration)
  • butter (for greasing)

Steps:

Step 1 – Prepare your rabbit:

1.  Preheat oven to 160C fan.

2.  Place the rabbit, onions, carrots, garlic, juniper berries and seasoning in a casserole dish (with a lid) pour over the stock until the meat is covered.

3.  Cover and place in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

4.  Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool.

5.  Strip the meat from the bones of the rabbit and cut up roughly.  (Keep the stock to make a soup later in the week).

 

Step 2 – Prepare your terrine

1.  Combine the rabbit meat, spices, onions, garlic, apricots and eggs in a bowl.

2.  Add the pork meat and mix well.

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3.  Prepare your terrine dish by greasing with butter and then lining the sides with the streaky bacon.

4.  Pack the rabbit and pork meat into the terrine dish pressing down firmly.

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5.  Wrap in the bacon, place the bay leaves and peppercorns on top with a final knob of butter.  Cover with the lid.

6.  Place in a roasting tin that has been half filled with boiling water.

7.  Place in an oven at 160C fan for 1 ½ hours.

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8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

9.  To serve, remove the terrine from the dish by warming in a little hot water for a few minutes, run a knife around the edges and then tip out onto a plate.

10.  Serve with, some French bread and gherkins and/or chutney and/or red onion and port marmalade.

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A hearty chestnut soup

Given that chestnuts are very much in season at the moment I thought I would share another recipe in quick succession.  We ate this today for lunch and it was ideal after a long morning of painting.  I did all the preparation for the soup first thing so that I could literally throw everything in a saucepan and cook it when I came back into the house for lunch.

The soup is a wonderful combination of flavours, the carrots and chestnuts provide a certain sweetness, whilst the lardons add the right amount of salt to give it balance. The soup was fresh and filling and I am fairly sure we will be enjoying another batch of this again next week!

 

A hearty chestnut soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 2 baby/small leeks (sliced)
  • 12-15 chestnuts (see chestnut preparation)
  • 100g lardons
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 litre of good stock
  • seasoning
  • oil (for cooking with)

Steps:

1.  Place the lardons in a saucepan with a little oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on a high heat.

2.  Add the carrots and potatoes, stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3.  Add the stock, leeks, thyme and seasoning, stir and cook for 10 minutes.

4.  Finally add the chestnuts and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Serve.

Venison pasty

This weekend a member of the hunt came over bearing a side of roe deer as a thank you for allowing them to shoot on our land; so on Monday it needed to be butchered into manageable pieces.  After about an hour and a lot of knife sharpening I had a huge leg, a long slab of fillet, a kidney and about 2 ½ kilos of stewing meat packed away in freezer bags.  You might be wondering where the shoulder went – as the deer was shot just behind the foreleg it meant there were bits of bone fragment and shot around the shoulder.  Consequently, it was easier to clean and remove the bits of bone fragment from the shoulder by cutting it into stewing meat.

In France they do not tend to hang meat (in general) for very long – in this instance the deer had not been hung at all!   Therefore I was interested to see how it would affect the tenderness of the meat given that I was not going to be slow cooking it before putting it in the pastry.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the deer was not at all tough.  What I must stress however, is that it is incredibly important to try and remove as much of the sinew, veins and membrane as you can before you cook the meat.  This can be very time consuming, but it is worthwhile as it stops the meat becoming chewy or tough.

I decided to make some pasties using a little of the stewing meat and the kidney.  Last year I did a sailing course in Falmouth and it was there I discovered how comforting a good pasty can be – particularly after you had spent the entire day getting cold and wet on a boat.  The thing that I noticed when I had tried them was the importance of good seasoning, as it can make or break a pasty, so don’t be shy about using a healthy amount of salt and pepper.  The recipe below would work well with beef or chicken if you can’t get your hands on some venison.  If you fancy making it completely vegetarian just add some other vegetables in the place of the meat, for example carrots, spinach, butternut squash, Jerusalem artichokes, etc..

 

 

Venison Pasty

Ingredients: (makes 3 large pasties)

For the pastry:

  • 8oz plain flour
  • 2oz chilled butter
  • 2oz chilled hard margarine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp water (to bind)
  • 1 beaten egg (for glazing)

For the filling:

  • 400g venison (any sinew and membrane removed and chopped into chunks)
  • 1 kidney (de-veined and chopped into chunks)
  • 1 medium potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 baby turnips (peeled and diced)
  • 2-3tbsp red wine
  • sprinkling thyme
  • seasoning

Steps:

1. Firstly make the pastry – place the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut the butter and margarine into cubes, add to the dry mix.

2. Using your fingers crumb together the mixture (don’t worry if you have a few small bits of butter that haven’t broken down).

3. Then add the water (a little bit at a time) until the pastry comes together and you can make a ball.  Wrap the pastry in some cling-film and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

4. Whilst the pastry is chilling prepare you’re your filling, by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl, cover with cling film and set to one side until you are ready to use it.

   

5.Once the pastry has been chilled, remove from the fridge cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Roll out each ball on a floured surface to your preferred thickness, then using a bowl/plate as a template cut out a circle roughly 20cm in diameter.

6. Divide the filling equally between each of the pastry circles.  

   

7. Using a pastry brush, gently brush some of the beaten egg around the edge of the pastry to help it seal when you fold it over into a “D” shape.

8. Seal the pastry together first using your fingers and then take a fork and gently press down on the edges to form a crimped edge.

9. Finally, place the pasties on an oven tray that you have lined with greaseproof paper, brush the outside of the pasties with some of the egg wash and using a knife pierce the top of the pasties twice (this will allow the steam to escape whilst it is cooking).

10. Place the pasties in an oven that you have preheated to 190C fan for 40-45 minutes. Serve.