Archive for sea salt

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.

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Cider-cured herrings for four people

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Cider is such a great drink to use in your cooking, and the addition of Julian Temperley’s Kingston Black apple apéritif gives this Scandinavian dish a bit of a British kick. You will need to marinate the herrings for 4-5 days before serving.

16 herring fillets, scaled, boned and trimmed

For the marinade:

300ml cider vinegar
300ml warm water
80g sugar
2 tsp sea salt
25-30 fresh green peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
8 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
6 shallots, peeled and cut into rings

For the sauce:

2 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
2 tsp Tewkesbury mustard
1-2 tbsp Kingston Black apple apéritif
1-2 tbsp chopped dill or fennel

Bring all of the ingredients for the marinade to the boil then leave to cool and add the shallots. Mix with the herring fillets, then lay the fillets in a non-reactive container and pour over the marinade. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4-5 days before serving.

To make the sauce, mix the Kingston Black with the mustard and mayonnaise, then whisk into the marinade to about the consistency of double cream; stir in the dill.

To serve, remove the fillets and dry on some kitchen paper. Fold them in half with the skin on the outside and arrange on a serving plate with a few of the shallots and green peppercorns on top. Serve the sauce separately.

Chicken and plantain moqueca

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

1 whole chicken, about 1.6kg, cut into 8 pieces with the skin on
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons dende (palm oil)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
half a green pepper, thinly sliced
125ml white wine
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
700ml chicken stock
350ml coconut milk
3 tablespoons tomato purée
2 bay leaves
450g ripe plantains (look for yellow and black-speckled skin)
3 plum tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and sliced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

This is a version of the traditional seafood moqueca. The plantain, which Brazilians prefer ripe or semi-ripe, brings a soft sweetness and plenty of starch to the stew.

Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the dende oil. Rub the chicken all over with the oil. Cover the bowl with cling-film and marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining dende oil into a large flameproof casserole and swirl around so the entire base is covered. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and brown them lightly over a medium heat, for 3 minutes per side. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with foil, making sure no steam can escape.

Add the onion, spring onions, and pepper to the pan and cook them in the left-over dende oil, stirring often, until they become soft, about 4 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce by half, while using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits that remain in the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, tomato puree, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Add the chicken and any remaining juices that accumulated in the bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until the chicken starts to get tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, trim the ends off the plantains and cut 3-4 vertical slits in the skin, making sure not to cut deep into the fruit. Peel and cut the plantains into 2.5cm chunks.

Add the plantains to the moqueca after it has been simmering for an hour. Cover and continue to simmer until the plantains become soft but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the liquid seems too runny, uncover the pan and continue to simmer, allowing the steam to evaporate and thicken the stew. Season with salt and pepper.

Just a few minutes before serving, add the tomatoes. Garnish with the fresh coriander and serve over white rice or farofa.

From Cook Brazilian by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz

Pizzette with roasted tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke and chard

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

If you prefer you can substitute the Jerusalem artichokes with the finest possible sliced potatoes (they need not be cooked before they go in the oven). One or two very good-quality anchovies would also be good.

four pizzette discs
500g artichokes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 small ripe tomatoes
600g chard
100ml robust extra virgin olive oil
100g Gorgonzola dolce

Preheat the oven to 230°C.

Now wash the artichokes well under cold running water and slice into quarters. Toss with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Roast until golden-brown and tender – this will take about 35 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, add the tomatoes.

While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the chard. Rinse well and tear the leaves from the stalks. Boil a pan of well-salted water, plunge in the chard and cook for three minutes. Drain in a colander and put in a bowl.

Pour over half the olive oil and toss together lightly using your fingers. Add the cooked vegetables from the oven and toss once more.

Once the pizzette are ready to go into the oven, slice the cheese finely and lay on the base, dividing evenly between all four.

Spoon over the warm vegetables and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook until the cheese is oozing and melted. This should take about 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, place on warm plates and serve immediately.

Meatballs with yellow polenta

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

1kg minced pork
1kg minced veal
75g soft white breadcrumbs
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
small bunch of thyme, leaves only
75g freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of sage
200ml full-bodied red wine
2 jars of good quality Italian tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix very well. The easiest and most thorough way of doing this is with your hands. Once the mixture is well combined, roll into 18 generous-sized balls and set aside while you make the sauce.

Place a large, heavy-based pan on top of the stove, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onion, chilli and garlic, turn the heat down slightly and cook for 10 minutes; the onion should be soft and translucent.

Add the bay leaves, sage and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further five minutes, then add the wine and return the heat to medium.

Allow the wine to bubble for a minute, then add the tomatoes, place a lid on the pan and cook for half an hour, by which time the sauce should have reduced a little to be rich and dark.

Season with a good pinch of salt and a little black pepper and add the meatballs. Return the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then serve.

Autumn squash soup with walnut pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

There is an abundance of squashes and pumpkins on the market at the moment; the deep orange-fleshed varieties offer the best flavour and colour.

a good knob of butter
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg ripe, orange-fleshed squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pesto:

40g good-quality walnuts, lightly toasted
50g fresh basil leaves and any soft stalks
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
a good pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp freshly grated mature Pecorino (or use 6 tbsp Parmesan)
100-120ml extra virgin olive oil (preferably a sweeter variety)

To make the the pesto, put the walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a liquidiser and coarsely blend. Add the cheese and blend again briefly, then transfer to a bowl.

Gently cook the leek and onion in the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan until soft. Add the squash and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper then simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Re-heat the soup and adjust the consistency with a little vegetable stock or water if necessary and re-season with salt and pepper. Serve with a spoonful of the pesto on top.

How to make perfect pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Do you have a passion for pesto? What’s your favourite pesto recipe, and is there any better way to eat it than with linguine and green beans?

(Source: Guardian)

Energetic Italian grannies make their pesto by hand in a marble mortar, adding the basil leaves one by one. The result is the silkiest, smoothest pesto imaginable. Modern granddaughters are more likely to reach for the food processor, and the result is almost as good.

4 packs basil, or 1 large basil plant, leaves only
25g pine kernels
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp granular sea salt
50g freshly grated Parmesan
100-200ml extra virgin olive oil

Wash and dry the basil leaves. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the pine kernels lightly for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

If you’re using a mortar, pound the garlic with the salt to make a soft mush. Pound in the pine nuts, then work in the basil leaves, 2-3 at a time, with a circular movement of the pestle, until all is reduced to a silky paste. (The mixture can be frozen at this point). Work in the cheese, then beat in the olive oil with a wooden spoon until you have a thick, dense sauce. Add more or less oil depending on the texture you like.

If you’re using a processor, drop all the ingredients in and blitz to a luscious green sauce.

To serve, cook the pasta of your choice according to packet instructions. Ligurian cooks put a few small cubes of potato to cook with the pasta because the starch improves the sticking power of the pesto. Before dressing the pasta, dilute the pesto with a tablespoonful of pasta cooking water.

To store the pesto, pour into a jar, float a layer of olive oil on top, cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

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