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Seafood Pancakes with creamy cheesy mash. Serves 6
Prepare in advance A delicious supper for friends, fish will do but living in Charente-Maritime, I use local mussels, prawns and scallops, with salmon. The shellfish is vital for their liquor (Cockles, mussels in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s I believe). A bag of frozen mixed seafood (defrosted) will do but if so, use some white wine in the sauce.
For the crêpes (pancakes)
# 250 g plain flour
# Pinch of salt
# 2 eggs beaten
# 200 ml milk
# 1tbsp. melted butter
+ butter for cooking
# 3 tbsp plain flour
# 3 tbsp butter
# 500 ml milk Salt and pepper
# 450 g cooked skinless and boned salmon
# 250 g cooked peeled king prawns
# 100 g large cooked mussels/ cockles (save the juice for the sauce)
# 100 g cooked queen scallops
# 2 tbsp chopped dill Pinch of salt
Mashed potato for 6 people. Grated cheese to cover (I use a hard cheese like Cantal, Comte, Gruyere or Emmental but you can use a good old fashioned Cheddar!)
Sieve the flour, add salt. Make a well and add beaten eggs. Beat until smooth and lump free. Add half the milk and the melted butter, beat well. Add remaining milk and stir, leave for 15 minutes. Lightly grease a 22cm pancake pan (or frying pan) with a little butter, heat until very hot, add a ladle of batter to evenly and thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook until lightly set and golden. Flip and cook other side. Remove from pan, place on a sheet of kitchen paper, if using straight away, keep warm. Repeat to create the other five pancakes!
For the filling, heat butter in a saucepan. Once melted, add flour and whisk to make a roux. Add salt and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium, add seafood liquor or a glass of white wine, and then the milk gradually. Whisk until smooth, thick and glossy. Add more milk if too thick. Add the cooked seafood to the sauce, stir gently. Lastly, add the dill and season to taste.
Combine the two key items on a surface and roll to thick sausages. Put into a buttered baking dish. Top with creamy mashed potato and sprinkle with cheese. At this stage if using fresh seafood you can refrigerate or freeze. When ready bake in the oven at 200C for 30-40 minutes. Serve with a green salad or green vegetables.
BAR-B-QUE PORK SHOULDER
1 Pork Shoulder, the size of which depends on how many you are feeding.
2 tbs of salt
2 tbs of sugar
These quantities of salt and sugar relate to a pork shoulder weighing between 5lb – 6lb.
Vinegar Bar-b-que Sauce:-
450 grms apple cider vinegar
225 grms water
55 grms brown sugar
3 tsps fine sea salt
4 tsps dry chilli flakes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Mix the salt and sugar in a bowl until combined.
Between 1 and 3 days before you want to bar-b-que, sprinkle the salt and sugar rub all over the whole pork shoulder, making sure you cover every surface.
Normally, pork shoulder will be scored by the butcher. If not then do it yourself with a Stanley knife but be careful.
Work this rub in between the score marks and refrigerate the shoulder uncovered for at least 1 day but preferably 3.
Make sure you take the shoulder out of the fridge at least an hour before you intend to cook it to ensure the internal temperature comes up to room temperature.
If you are using a coal charcoal bar-b-que, push the hot coals to the side leaving a gap in the middle. You can then put the shoulder in the centre. This cooking method works by indirect heat and not the usual direct heat commonly associated with a bar-b-que. If you have a gas bar-b-que with several burners, use the outside burners and leave the internal ones off. It can be an idea to put the foil tray with water in the centre under the pork. This keeps the whole thing moist. The idea is to keep the temperature between 93?c and 150?c. Once the bar-b-que is at the correct temperature put the shoulder on the grill and roast for about 6 hours. The lower the temperature the better the end result but the longer it takes to cook. The length of time it will take to cook very much depends on the shape of your meat and the efficiency of your bar-b-que. Once the internal temperature of the joint reaches about 90?c, the pork has been cooked. Don’t be concerned if the temperature is at around 65?c for a long time, even a few hours. This is natural but wait until it comes up to temperature. If the joint is relaxed enough so you can pull it apart with a fork it is ready, if not give it another half an hour.
All you need to do then is to take all the crackling off and take the meat from the bone, shredding with two larger forks.
If the crackling is not done to your satisfaction, put it back on the bar-b-que for the crackling to heat up. Once you’ve got the shredded pork, mix all the ingredients together for the cider bar-b-que sauce and cover the meat with it, mixing it thoroughly. This can then be served either on a plate or preferably in a bun.
It might be an idea to give this a go in the winter months. It just means the chef will be outside freezing whilst the guests are in the warm laughing at him or her! I’m sure a few glasses of mulled wine will put that right!
Good luck and let me know how you get on.
1 kilo of ripe tomatoes, skin on, roughly chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
200ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of sherry vinegar
100grms slightly stale crusty white bread, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
For the garnishes:
½ an onion, finely sliced
½ a green pepper, finely sliced
1 hard boiled egg
An amount to your liking of Spanish Serrano ham or Italian Prosciutto ham, finely chopped
Mixed the diced tomatoes and cucumber with the garlic and olive oil in a bowl or food processor, or if you haven’t got one of those, use a hand blender or if you’re lucky enough to have a Bamix, use that. For those of you who do a lot of blending I would thoroughly recommend investing in a Bamix, they are expensive but well worth it. You can make mayonnaise with one!
Squeeze out the bread, tear it roughly into chunks and add it to the mixture. Blend it until smooth then add salt & vinegar, much to your taste rather than any prescribed amount and stir well.
Some people who are crazy add Tabasco, it depends on your pallet and your liking for heat, I know certain of my mates who would put loads in but frankly I would try it with and without.
Squeeze the mixture through a sieve to remove any of the seeds and any remaining tomato skin.
If you can be bothered get your fine sieve, put a square of muslin inside it, pour the mixture in and let it drip out but use the back of a ladle to push the mixture through. It’s quite laborious but gives you a far cleaner mixture at the end.
Cover it and refrigerate until it’s freezingly cold.
When you serve, put the garnishes out of your choice, I’ve indicated the garnishes as recommended by Tony Moody but you can actually put as much as you want out of different garnishes, such as capers, chopped gherkins, and the like. If you have some really fruity extra virgin olive oil, drizzle that around the soup.
The traditional Gazpacho has ice cubes added or even crushed ice, if you have one of those machines on your refrigerator. I don’t bother – if you blend it well pass it and refrigerate enough you shouldn’t need it
I can recommend this as an absolutely stunning starter.
Give it a go – assuming the weather is reasonably warm and even if you have it with a starter to a hot main course in the winter you will find it very refreshing.
PINEAPPLE CREAM CAKE
8 rolled digestive biscuits
1 beaten egg
4oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Medium sized crushed pineapple
1/2pt whipped cream (thick)
A big breakfast or soup plate
Beat butter and sugar together add beaten eggs and beat until like whipped cream
Put layer of biscuit onto a dish or plate
Spread butter over, add pineapple then cream put a few biscuit crumbs on top
Chill for at least 12 hours in fridge
Chicken Wraps with Fajita
I was bought yet another recipe book – other married blokes get socks and handkerchiefs, I get recipe books. This was the ‘How to Bake’ book from Paul Hollywood, he of the ‘gelled straight grey hair from the Great British Bake Off programme.
Reading through the book I found his recipe for flat breads which looked incredibly easy so I tried it and was very surprised with the results. The main reason was that one of our favourite quick meals is Chicken Wraps with Fajita mix and the flat breads taste better than any tortilla I had bought.
500 grams of white strong bread flour – you’ll find this in Central Stores
10 grams of salt
10 grams of yeast
50 grams of unsalted butter, softened
310 grams of room temperature water
You basically combine the flour, yeast and salt, making sure the yeast and salt are on opposite sides of the bowl before you mix. If you don’t the salt can kill the yeast. Add the butter and about half the water bringing everything together. Gradually keep adding the water until you have dough like mixture which collects all the dough off the side of the bowl.
Once you are happy with the dough, sprinkle some flour on a work surface and start kneading as you would normally do with bread, for about 5 or 10 minutes. Once you are happy with the dough’s consistency – it should be quite smooth and silky – put it in an oiled bowl and cover with tea towel, put it somewhere draft free and let it double in size, this should take about two hours, but to be honest you could leave it for three hours or more if you wanted to.
Next take the dough from the bowl and fold it back on itself repeatedly turning it 45° each time. This will knock the air out of the dough which is what you want for flat bread.
(Incidentally, if you are making a loaf of bread the Richard Bertinet way, he was dead against knocking out the air and it does give a much lighter loaf.)
Put a frying pan on the stove and get it very hot. Divide the dough into pieces and roll them up into balls about the size of a squash ball. Roll out the dough into the typical circular shape and add a small amount of olive oil to the frying pan initially, fry the discs of dough until they are coloured on one side. Flip them over and colour the other side. Do this repeatedly until you’ve done all the flat breads. As each one is finished, put on a wire rack to cool. They can be frozen or eaten straight away.
This follows on from the flat bread recipe; once I’ve made some flat bread I decided to make some wraps using some Chicken Fajita mix. Unfortunately, in our cupboard, we didn’t have any of the shop bought fajita mix so I decided to make some myself. The recipe below is a combination of recipe’s I found on the web but it gives this superb mixture without the dusty taste you can get from commercially produced mixes. The trouble with those is you don’t know how long the ingredients have been lying around in the packet.
1 tablespoon of corn flour
2 teaspoons of chilli powder – more if you like it hotter
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of crushed chicken stock cube – this is optional – try with and without and see which you prefer
½ teaspoon of onion powder
Dash of Cayenne pepper – again to taste
¼ teaspoon of cumin powder
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
Simply put all this in a bowl and mix with hand, spoon or whatever you feel like. And there you have it. This will keep for probably about a week, if it should last that long!
To make the wraps and fajita mix into a meal then simply add chopped onion to frying pan which has some hot oil in it and gently fry until you have what you believe is an acceptable colour. I tend to go for slightly darker onions than most but it is to your preference.
About half way through, say about 5 to 7 minutes, add a chopped red pepper. Meanwhile, cut up a chicken breast or two, depending on how many people are eating and coat them in the fajita mix. Once liberally coated, add these to the onion and pepper mixture, frying them until they are soft but cooked. I tend to use a digital meat thermometer as it is more accurate than simply guessing, and I can’t stand overcooked chicken breast meat!
Serve it in a big dish along with your wraps, some salsa and sour cream and a bunch of salad leaves. An extraordinarily simple dish but very satisfying.
THE recipe for Christmas leftovers from Steve Johnston
Meat bones- these can be browned for a darker stock
2 celery sticks
1/2 bulb of garlic crushed
1 large onion
2 bay leaves
Herb mix: rosemary, parsley, thyme sprigs
Roughly chop all the veg, sling everything in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Before it reaches boiling point, turn down to a low simmer for about 3-4 hours, skimming off any scum as it appears.
Strain through a fine sieve and, if you can, line it with muslin as it strains better.
This now gives you the stock for risotto
1 litre of stock
2 tbs olive oil
Knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely or crushed
2 stick of finely chopped celery
400 g risotto rice
Large glass of white wine or Pernod if you have it
Make sure the stock is hot and add the oil and butter to the pan. When the butter starts to foam, chuck in the garlic and onion and fry gently for about 15-20 mins until the onion is soft. Don’t let the onion go brown as it will look wrong.
Now add the risotto and stir it until it looks slightly jelly like – takes a minute or two. Chuck in the booze and let the alcohol evaporate
Now add the stock with a ladle. After each ladle, massage the rice until it becomes creamy. Make sure each ladle of stock is absorbed before the next one. Carry on cooking until the rice is cooked al dente. Add hot water if all the stocks gone before the rice is cooked.
At the same time as you make your rice, add your leftover meat ( turkey, chicken, or indeed anything you have from Christmas Day) to the spare gravy. Add this warm mixture to the centre of the risotto and serve. Add grated Parmesan if you like for that extra Italian taste.
CHICKEN WITH TARRAGON SAUCE
1 bottle of Noilly Pratt (can use Pernod)
2 shallots finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, gently crushed
A few sprigs of thyme
4 chicken wings
3 bunches of tarragon
1 teaspoon of peppercorn and coriander seeds
1 to 2 litres of double cream (I have used crème fresh and it is just as good for those of you who don’t want to use cream)
½ litre chicken stock, preferably homemade
Roast the chicken in a sauté pan until golden using neutral oil such as rapeseed. Once the chicken wings are golden coloured add everything else apart from the cream and tarragon. Reduce this mixture until its sticky by cooking all the alcohol out this allows the sugars to come out. Add the stock and reduce by ¾’s, add the cream and the chopped tarragon, bring to the boil and reduce to a little bit thicker than double cream consistency.
Pour through a sieve and its ready.
If you are really fussy you can put a piece of muslin in the sieve before you pour the cream mixture into it as this will take out all the bits.
We omitted to give the method for Steve Johnston’s recipe that accompanied his article
“The recipe that changed my parents” We hope it is not too late for you to enjoy.
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed to a puree using salt as an abrasive
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 sprig of Rosemary & Sage tied together
100 grams-ish Pancetta lardons or smoked streaky bacon – if using bacon chop into lardons
½ kilo of minced beef (room temperature)
Large glass of red wine
1 can of tomatoes
50ml of beef stock
2 large tablespoons of tomato puree – alternatively you can use sundried tomatoes whizzed in blender.
Fresh herbs such as Oregano, marjoram etc. – up to you
175 grams Lasagne dried or fresh, just follow the packet instructions if using dried
Parmesan seasoning to finish
100ml of whole milk
50 grams butter
50 grams plain flour
Grated cheese – cheddar is fine
Preheat oven to 180 °C (gas mark 4)
Heat some oil in a large pan adding the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and fry until golden, on a high heat – you need to keep stirring this otherwise it will catch.
Season the meat with salt & pepper, add to the pan on top of the vegetables, making sure the meat covers the entire base of the pan in one layer.
The idea is to sear the beef and not boil it and if you put it in one layer you will know when it’s ready when you see holes appearing in the top surface and a brown colouration to the holes (honest!). Once this happens rake the meat up and mix it with the vegetables. If at any stage the vegetables catch then tip in some more oil. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes until the meat starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Now add the wine and let if reduce until it virtually disappears. At that point add the tomatoes and the tomato puree, cook for a couple of minutes whilst stirring all the time.
Next add the stock and the fresh herbs, bring to the boil. At this point you need to judge whether you’ve got enough liquid, if not just simply add some more water. This is also the time to check the seasoning to see if it tastes approximately as you want. Now put the dish covered in the oven for about an hour or so until the sauce is thick. If during this cooking time the sauce gets too dry add some more water. You will know when it is ready because it will be smooth and shiny. Check the seasoning again and allow to cool slightly.
To make the roux (posh word for butter and flour mix!), melt the butter in the pan and add the flour, whisking as you do. Whisk until the Roux lightens in colour; at that point gradually add the milk which should have been warmed through. Once you achieve the consistency you are looking for, start to add the cheese. If you would rather have a plain white sauce, you can always add pieces of mozzarella to the meat layer before you add the sauce and the lasagne sheets (I can’t be bothered as I like the taste of the cheddar).
Once the meat is ready and the white/cheese sauce is of the consistency you think is right, take it off the heat and let it cool.
Arrange the meat, pasta and sauce in layers in a buttered shallow baking dish, with a layer of meat, lasagne, and cheese sauce. Make sure you have enough sauce to cover the last layer of lasagne and place as much parmesan over the top of the dish according to your taste. This can be baked in a reasonably hot oven for around about half an hour until it is brown and bubbling. You can serve it straight from the dish and, if you are going to be adventurous, sprinkle grated pecorino cheese over the top.