Archive for butter

Chicken and lobster pie

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

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 butter
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.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

The combination of cauliflower and cheese is a classic partnership. You can use a strong cheese like Cheddar or Lancashire or even add a few nuggets of blue cheese at the end. You can also make this with leftover cauliflower cheese and just add a bit of extra milk and stock.

1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, white part only, roughly chopped
2-3 good knobs of butter
1 medium-sized cauliflower, roughly chopped, with the dark outer leaves removed
750ml vegetable stock (or a good cube)
500ml milk
salt and freshly ground white pepper
120g grated mature Cheddar cheese
2 slices of bread, crusts removed and cut into rough 1cm dice
2 tbsp olive oil

Melt the butter in a pan and with the lid on gently cook the onion and leek, without colouring, for 4-5 minutes, until they are soft.

Add the cauliflower, stock and milk. Season, bring to the boil and simmer for 35 minutes, with a lid on, or until the cauliflower is soft.

Blend in a liquidiser with two-thirds of the cheese until smooth and strain through a fine-meshed sieve and season again if necessary. You can add a little more cheese for added flavour if you wish.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and cook the croutons on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, turning every so often until golden.

Transfer to some kitchen paper, season and mix the rest of the cheese with them while they are still hot. Scatter the croutons over the soup and serve.

Tuna tortilla

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

A can of tuna can often save the day when it’s transformed into a tasty snack or a brunch-type dish such as this. It’s pretty good value for money and it will go quite a long way when you add in a few cooked potatoes.

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
a couple of knobs of butter
8 medium eggs, beaten
a couple of medium-sized potatoes (250-300g), peeled, cooked and cut into rough 1cm dice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 x 200g can of tuna, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a non-stick frying pan and gently cook the onions in the butter for 3-4 minutes without colouring until soft.

Meanwhile, mix the eggs, potatoes, parsley and tuna and season to taste.

Add the egg mixture to the pan with the onions and stir over a medium heat until the mixture begins to set, then stop stirring and allow the tortilla to set on the bottom without colouring.

Remove from the heat and turn out the tortilla on to a plate. Serve hot or cold.

Mackerel with peas and orange

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

There are endless things to do with mackerel but this is one of my favourites. It’s a nice clean summery dish and you can prepare it with mackerel fillets or just cook them whole. If the mackerel are small, then use two fillets per person, or alternatively you could ask your fishmonger to butterfly them.

4 fillets from a large mackerel, weighing about 100-120g each, or 8 smaller ones
1 tbsp flour for dusting
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
100g butter
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
the grated zest and juice of one orange
100ml fish stock
120-150g shelled weight of peas, cooked
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat half the butter in a pan and gently cook the shallots for a couple of minutes until soft, add the orange zest and juice, fish stock and peas, season and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the rest of the butter until emulsified and remove from the heat. Heat the rapeseed oil in a heavy or non-stick frying pan. Lightly flour the mackerel on the skin side and season. Fry the fillets skin-side down, first for 2-3 minutes until the skin is crisp, then turn them and cook for a couple of minutes on the other side. Spoon the peas on to serving plates; lay the fillets on top.

Cauliflower Cheese

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

1 large head cauliflower
8 tbsp butter
10 tbsp plain flour
2 pints whole milk
salt & pepper
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
2 rashers bacon, diced
200g smoked cheddar, grated
200g breadcrumbs

Break the cauliflower into florets. Steam it for 15 minutes until tender, and set aside and keep warm.

Sauté the diced bacon in a wok on high heat until crispy – then remove from wok with slotted spoon (so fat is drained) and set aside. Reserve bacon grease for other uses.

Make a béchamel sauce: melt a stick of butter in a pan over a moderate heat and then stir in flour a spoonful at a time until you have a thick paste (a roux). Cook the roux for a couple of minutes, stirring, stirring all the time and watch it expand. Slowly add milk and keep stirring until you have a smooth, thick sauce. You may want to switch to using a whisk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Gradually stir in two-thirds of the grated cheese. Save the rest to sprinkle on top.

Put the cauliflower into a baking dish and then pour the sauce over it. Then, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. In a small saucepan, melt 3-4 tbsp butter and then mix it through the breadcrumbs to moisten them. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs on top.

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned and casserole is bubbling. Sprinkle the reserved bacon on top when it comes out of the oven, and serve.

Black pudding sandwich

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

This is a version of the Fernandez and Wells sandwich that I would scoff for breakfast when I worked near Soho, in London, years ago. The quality of the black pudding is crucial as that cardboard-like stuff with the texture of sawdust just won’t work.

8 baps or rolls or barmcakes or 8 slices of sourdough
softened butter
6 duck eggs, boiled for 5 minutes, then refreshed in cold water and peeled
4-6 tbsp top quality mayonnaise
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400-450g top quality black pudding
vegetable or corn oil for frying

Slice the black pudding into 1cm thick slices if they are the large cylinder types or into 2 or 3 lengthways if they are the Bury-style puddings.

Chop the duck eggs and mix with a good amount of mayonnaise and season well. Pan-fry the black pudding for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Spread the butter on to the bread then spoon the egg mayonnaise on to one half with the black pudding on top and the other half of the bread on top.

Give the bread a light toasting on each side and serve.

Celeriac and Lancashire cheese pie

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

If this sounds like some kind of vegetarian main course at a dinner party, well it pretty much is, and most vegetarians would be really happy to be served a slice of this. You could even get away with serving non-vegetarians this dish – or just make it to take in a packed lunch for work or a spot of fishing.

a couple of good knobs of butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 celeriac weighing about 350g
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g Lancashire cheese, grated
about 250-300g puff pastry, rolled to cm thick
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the onion without colouring for 2-3 minutes; remove from the heat and leave to cool. Cut the celeriac in half and slice it as thinly as possible with a very sharp knife or a mandolin. Blanch the slices in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes.

Cut the puff pastry into two discs, one about 20cm across and the other about 25cm. Lay the smaller one on a tray and prick holes in it with a fork. Arrange layers of the celeriac on the pastry, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge; scatter with some onion, a little cheese and season.

Continue layering up the rest of the ingredients in a dome fashion until you have used them all up. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg and lay the larger one on top, pressing the edges together with your fingers. Brush the top with egg and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes; test with a knife to ensure the celeriac is cooked.

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