Archive for the Food Category
Celebrate the fact that spring has sprung with some fresh watercress, which is just coming into season. If goat’s cheese is not your thing, a good cheddar or blue will work just as well. The most important thing to get right with a tart is the pastry – too often it’s soggy and the ruin of any good filling.
300g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
2 bunches watercress minus the large stalks, torn roughly
125g goat’s cheese, rind removed
3 free-range eggs
200ml double cream
salt and pepper
You will need a tart ring of around 8in in diameter – use one with a loose bottom, or put it on a baking tray.
Roll the pastry out to overlap the edges of the tin. Blind bake the pastry – prick the base with a fork, add some baking beans (or dried pulses or rice) to preserve the shape. Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.
Remove the baking beans and cook the pastry for a further five minutes, until golden brown, then allow to cool.
Beat the eggs and cream together and season.
Steam the watercress to wilt it, dice the cheese roughly, then scatter both around the tart base and pour over enough of the egg mix to cover (we’re binding the filling, not aiming for an eggy tart).
Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes until set. Allow to cool, trim the excess pastry and serve with a green salad.
• Angela Hartnett is chef patron at Murano restaurant and consults at the Whitechapel Gallery and Dining Room, London.
I was brought up on sweet, milky porridge made with rolled oats, but that all changed when I was shown how to make it by champion porridge maker Ian Bishop from Carrbridge in Scotland. My method is now his.
Pour three cups of water into a small saucepan and place over a moderate heat. Tip in one cup of medium oatmeal and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. As soon as the porridge starts to blip, add half a teaspoon of salt. Continue stirring until the porridge has been cooking for a total time of 5 minutes. Tip into warm bowls. Have a bowl of cold milk or cream ready. Lift a spoonful of hot porridge and dip it into the cold milk or cream and eat.
Only stir your porridge clockwise or you risk summoning the devil. A wooden spurtle will get right into the corners and prevent your porridge from sticking. Eat immediately it is ready. The porridge will thicken as it cools. Use medium oatmeal rather than rolled oats. Add salt to all porridge, even if you are going to sweeten it afterwards.
Each to his own, but porridge is correctly made with water rather than milk. The usual embellishments are red-berry jams, golden syrup or honey, but other ideas include a compote of stewed dried figs, maple syrup or a mixture of fresh berries, sugar and ground cinnamon. You could also leave it to set into cakes and fry it in butter. Oatmeal ice cream, made with toasted oatmeal and cream, while not quite porridge, is certainly worth a visit, too.
Photographer James Kendall was rooting through his wife’s 90-year-old grandmother’s larder when he discovered packaged foods dating back to the 1950s. Some canned items were covered in rust.
“She doesn’t really believe in sell-by dates,” explains Kendall. “She holds on to everything, and sees it all as eventually having a use. I think it comes from her living through the war, and being used to rationing.” Among the ageing items were dried onions, smoked cod liver, canned corn, a jar of tartare sauce, and a pack of KP nuts, complete with vintage logos.
Kendall was so excited by the hoard that he took it back to his studio to be photographed – and hopes to exhibit the resulting series at next year’s Brighton Photo Biennial.
“I still daren’t open them,” says Kendall. “They’ve been wrapped in cellophane over the summer, so they’ve had a bit of a baking. I’m not exactly sure what state they’re in now. Probably worse than ever.”
Serve this simple and quick curry alongside a little chutney and some steamed basmati rice.
a tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced
2 green chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
1 bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved for garnish
a tsp coriander seeds
a tsp fennel seeds
a tsp mustard seeds
6 cardamom pods, roasted and ground
2 medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into generous-sized chunks
1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a tbsp fish sauce (you can use a light soya sauce if you prefer)
a tbsp tamarind paste
a tbsp palm sugar
1kg ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tin coconut milk
1 head of cauliflower, broken into 1-inch florets
Place a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat on top of the stove and add the oil.
Once the oil is warm, add the onion, chilli, coriander and crushed spices. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the potatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar.
Stir once or twice, allowing the palm sugar to dissolve as you do so. Then add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and cook for 20 minutes, by which time the potatoes should be tender but not falling apart.
Add the cauliflower and cook for a final 5-10 minutes – I like the cauliflower when it still has a little crunch.
These soft, boozy figs are excellent served with cheese. They work best alongside semi-hard cheeses such as pecorino or wedges of aged and crystallised Parmesan. Or serve them alongside a soft and creamy Gorgonzola dolce.
750ml pints full-bodied red wine
500g dried figs
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp caster sugar
the peel of one orange
Pour the wine into a medium-sized, heavy-based pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Add the figs, bay, sugar and orange peel and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat. And allow to cool. Spoon into sterilised jars and place in the fridge.
Before using, remove from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature.
These figs will last for up to a month in the fridge.
Shellfish like lobster and prawns really do go well with the delicate flavour of chicken. For slow-cooked chicken dishes it’s better to use thighs rather than breast meat as they stay more moist and succulent.
2 cooked lobsters, about 500g each
500g boned and skinned free-range chicken thighs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
350-400g ready-made all-butter puff pastry
plain flour for dusting
1 free-range egg, beaten
For the lobster sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
reserved lobster shells
4 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
60g plain flour
a good pinch of saffron strands
a few sprigs of tarragon
1 tbsp tomato purée
60ml white wine
500ml hot fish stock
500ml hot chicken stock
400ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsp cornflour (if needed)
Remove the meat from the lobster tails and claws and cut roughly into 1cm pieces. Reserve one lobster head (if making a large pie). Break the rest of the shells up a bit, using a heavy knife. Cut the chicken thighs in half, or into thirds if large. Cover and refrigerate the lobster and chicken meat.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the lobster shells, garlic and shallots over a medium heat for 5 minutes until they begin to colour lightly. Add the butter and, once melted, stir in the flour. Add the saffron, tarragon and tomato purée, then gradually stir in the white wine and the hot fish and chicken stocks.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half, then add the cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper, bring back to the boil and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half again. (A simmer plate or heat-diffuser mat is useful here.)
Strain the sauce through a colander into a clean pan, moving the shells with a spoon to ensure all the sauce goes through.
Tip about one-tenth of the shells into a blender and add about a cupful of the strained sauce. Blend until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into the sauce in the pan.
Bring the sauce back to the boil, add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce should be a thick coating consistency by now; if not, simmer a little longer (or dilute a little cornflour in water and stir into the sauce). Leave to cool.
Stir the lobster and chopped parsley and tarragon into the cooled sauce. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Fill a large pie dish or 4 individual ones with the mixture.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 5mm thickness. Trim to about 2cm larger all round than the pie dish (or cut discs large enough to cover individual dishes). Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg. Lay the pastry over the filling, pressing the egg-washed sides on to the rim of the dish(es).
If making a large pie, cut a cross in the centre and insert the lobster head, so it sits proud. Cut a small slit in the top of individual pies to allow steam to escape. Leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the pastry lid with beaten egg and bake the pie for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown (allow 10-15 minutes less for individual pies). Let the pie stand for a few minutes before serving.
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I had this dish near Tarragona in Spain years ago as a starter for a monumental dinner that went on from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., but I thought it would make a great breakfast dish. You can use fresh, over-ripe tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes for this.
2 tbsp olive oil plus a little more for drizzling
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 x 400g cans of good-quality chopped tomatoes, or 1kg skinned ripe tomatoes
a couple of sprigs of thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 English muffins, halved
4 duck eggs
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes and thyme, season and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring every so often.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly toast the muffins on both sides and lay in an oven-proof dish. Pour over the tomatoes, then crack an egg on to each muffin. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked.
Serve immediately, drizzled with some olive oil.