Archive for freshly ground black pepper

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.

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Baked breakfast tomatoes with duck eggs

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

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.

Grilled cherry tomato and roast ham penne

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

400g wholewheat penne
360g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
ground black pepper
110g honey-cured roast ham, torn into strips
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Boil the pasta in a large pan of water for around 10-12 minutes until al dente.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high. Put the tomatoes cut side up into a shallow roasting tin. Drizzle with oil and season. Grill for 7-10 minutes until they start to shrivel.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Fold in the tomatoes and ham. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and serve.

Poached chicken with asparagus

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

Half Hour Meals

The crucial thing with this dish is to use a good strong chicken stock.

4 free-range chicken breasts
500g asparagus with the woody ends trimmed
500ml good strong chicken stock
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the asparagus about 3-4 cm from the tips and roughly chop the ends, reserving the tips. Cook the chopped ends in some of the chicken stock for 5-6 minutes until soft, then remove with a slotted spoon and blend to a smooth purée in a blender.

Place the chicken breasts in a wide saucepan and pour in the liquid that the asparagus has cooked in, and cover with the rest of the stock. Season, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 6-7 minutes, then leave in the liquid.

Cook the asparagus tips in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until tender and drain.

To serve, re-heat the purée and spoon on to warmed serving plates and place the chicken on top. Toss the asparagus tips in a pan with some of the olive oil and season; then scatter over the chicken. Drizzle some more oil over.

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.

Orange and onion salad

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

This recipe is from Simon Hopkinson’s book The Vegetarian Option (Quadrille, £20). The choice of onions here is crucial; use the freshest possible sweet white onions. You could also use blood oranges.

4 oranges (or blood oranges)
1 or 2 small sweet white onions, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges and, using a small, very sharp knife, further slice off the skins of the oranges, cutting close to the flesh and removing all traces of pith. Slice thinly, removing any pips, and arrange neatly, slightly overlapping, on a big white plate (any food looks good on a big white plate).

Thinly slice the onions and lay them on top of the oranges – with a sprinkling of salad garnish if you like. Spoon enough olive oil on to the assembly to suit you, and grind over some pepper.

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