I eat gallons of soup during the winter months. Seriously, I get through vats of the stuff. It’s so quick and easy, especially creamy blended soups, you can have yourself a warming veg packed meal ready within 30 minutes or so from start to finish. […]
My mum had a special birthday on New Years Eve. I’m not going to tell you how old she was but it was the kind of birthday that you make a fuss over. Having a a birthday on New Year’s Eve isn’t as great as it might sound, yes you’re never short of a party to go to but none of those parties are just for you and if you want a party of your own then everybody’s already got other plans! This year we decided to get together and cook a fancy three course dinner for her and we kicked things off with this delicious, luxurious pate and some fresh bread, baked by my brother.
10g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 70ml of hot water
150g chestnut mushrooms
100g peeled, cooked chestnuts
3 tbsp whipping cream
few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
a few shavings of black truffle (optional and only if you’re feeling extravagant!)
Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms in the hot water and set them aside.
Finely dice the onion and gently fry it in the butter. You want it to be soft but not too coloured. Wipe the chestnut mushrooms with a piece of damp kitchen roll and then roughly chop them. Add them to the frying pan and gently cook them. Roughly chop the chestnuts and fry them for a few moments too. Pour in the porcini mushrooms, together with the soaking liquid but be careful to avoid any grit that may have collected at the bottom. Pour over the brandy and add the leaves from the thyme. Increase the heat a little and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blitz it together. Pour in the cream, season to taste and whizz it up again until you are happy with the texture, you can make it as smooth or course as you like. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins and then pop them in the fridge to chill and firm up a little until you are ready to serve them with some delicious warm bread.
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot […]
I think there’s a tendency, when you’re cooking for people who don’t eat meat, to feel like you have to ‘replace’ that element of a meal. I don’t agree, obviously I don’t want to lose the protein from my diet but there are plenty of places I can get that from. I really do think that if you make your veggies tasty enough then no-one is going to miss the meat.
These crisp, homegrown green beans (which actually started off purple, if you can believe it) have been sautéed in brown butter with caramelised shallots and garlic and finished off with a few crunchy hazelnuts. I mean, would you really feel like you were missing out?
serves 2 (easily multiplied)
200g fresh green beans
1 tbsp butter
1 fat garlic clove
handful of hazelnuts
Lightly steam your beans until they are just tender. Thinly slice the shallot and the garlic. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a low heat and add the shallot, gently cooking it until it starts to caramelise.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Toss in the beans and season with black pepper. Fry for a few moments more and then scatter in the hazelnuts and serve.
I’m not really a fan of smoked salmon. I’m not really a fan of anything smoked (except maybe chili) and I’ve made these a couple of times but I think that the salmon I used the first time I made them was a little milder then the latest ones because I really quite enjoyed them. (To tell the truth these ones got passed to Mr Colonial Cravings after a couple of mouthfuls,but he really enjoyed them so that makes it okay!)
Baking the salmon gives it a really nice flaky texture whilst the creamy filling keeps everything nice and moist.
It’s quite important to chill these before you bake them, otherwise they lose their shape a little. That does mean that you can make them well in advance and leave them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.
Feel free to adjust the amount of horseradish to suit your own tastes. I love it but if you want to tone it down a little then that’s fine by me!
300g smoked salmon slices
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon horseradish sauce
big pinch of black pepper
Wilt the watercress either in a steamer or with a quick blast in the microwave and then roughly chop it.
Beat together the ricotta, lemon zest, horseradish and black pepper. Fold the watercress into this.
Lay out the smoked salmon, using about three slices per parcel and overlapping them to make a wheel/star shape. Spoon a dollop of the filling into the middle of each one and then fold over the edges to create a little parcel. Flip them over so that the neatest side is on top and then put them in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and lightly grease a baking tray. Pop the parcels on the tray and bake them for 10 minutes before serving warm on a bed of dressed mixed leaves.