Archive for plain flour

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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Toad in the hole with apple and rosemary

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 red skinned apples, washed and cored
8 pork and leek sausages
a few springs of fresh rosemary
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
150ml half-fat milk
150ml water

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the oil in a large roasting tin and place in the oven to heat up.

Cut each apple into about 8 wedges.

Remove the hot roasting tin from the oven and add the sausages, apple wedges and rosemary and roast for 10 mins or until beginning to brown.
Whilst the sausages cook, place the flour in a bowl with the salt. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Gradually whisk in the milk and water until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven and shake well, pour over the batter then return to the oven and bake for 30-35 mins or until golden and risen. Serve with vegetables and gravy.

Bacon toad in the hole

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

2 large eggs
125g plain flour
250ml semi-skimmed milk
good pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
8 thick, good quality pork sausages
8 rashers rindless smoked back bacon
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
220g cherry tomatoes
300g green beans, trimmed

Preheat the oven to 220°C. To make the batter, put the eggs, flour, milk and salt into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large pan and cook the sausages for 5 minutes over a medium-high heat until browned all over, but not cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Wipe out the cooled pan with kitchen paper.

On a board, use the back of a knife to stretch out the bacon rashers and then wrap one around each sausage. Put the sausages into an ovenproof dish, drizzle over 2 tsp of oil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the dish from oven and pour the batter around the sausages. Bake for a further 25-30 minutes, until the batter is well risen and golden.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in the pan and cook the tomatoes until soft. Place in a jug and blitz using a stick blender. Gently fry the onion and garlic until softened and lightly browned. Pour the blitzed tomatoes into the pan with the onion and garlic, stirring well.

Ten minutes before the end of the toad in the hole cooking time, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the beans and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain, and tip into the pan with the tomato sauce. Season and let simmer for a few seconds, stirring.

Cut the toad in the hole into wedges and serve with the green beans in tomato sauce.

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.

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