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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sun / Oven Dried Tomatoes

Image courtesy of

The one thing i love about the warm climate of the mediterranean region is it produces some wonderful fruit due to the abundance of sun. A pinnacle of which - the sun dried tomato is a staple of alot of meditteranean cuisine in a variety of dishes inclusive of tapas, antipasti etc.

In Britain alas we are not so fortunate. That said there's no means to say we cannot use conventional cooking methods to produce something similar that will satisfy your need for sun dried tomatoes. This simple recipe will produce some good results which you will enjoy time and time again.

These also make great gifts, when presented nicely, so can be made up n advance and passed on to loved ones at a later date.

You will need (makes roughly 36):

18 ripe plum tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes for even sweeter)
sea salt
6 cloves garlic sliced thinly
8 tbsp chopped oregano
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
4 rosemary sprigs
balsamic vinegar

The doing bit:

Preheat oven to 100C (or as low to it as you can get. Even lower than this is better but will take longer). Slice the tomatoes in half and scoop out most of the seeds. Place cavity side down on some kitchen paper for about half an hour.

Place the tomatoes cavity side up on a wire rack, on a roasting tray sprinkle with sea salt and add a slice of garlic to each tomato along with a liberal sprinkling of the oregano and a blade or two of rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil, and add a few drops of balsamic vinegar to each tomato half. Place in oven for about 3-4 hours, or leave out in the sun for several days if possible.

Storage: Place under olive oil in a sealed jar until use. Use in any recipe that requires them.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Turkey, Lemon & Herb Terrine

This is a rather simple recipe that can be produces really cheaply using turkey legs. Granted not everyone likes the dark meat, but this recipe might just convert you. Its very tasty :)

I made this to take to work as something a little bit different for mealtimes away from the usual fish and chicken approach. granted it took a little more time than i usually spend on my work meals but hey, i may as well be good to myself. Sneaking a slice earlier suggests im going to very much enjoy it. I may take along some of my fig balsam vinegar to dress it with.

You will need:

2 Turkey legs, cooked / slow roasted so the meat is tender.
juice of 2 lemons
1 star anise
12 leaves sage
2 handfuls spinach
salt and pepper

The doing bit.

Once the turkey legs are roasted keep back any juices and add to a pan along with the star anise, and lemon juice. Reduce gently by two thirds and set a side to cool slightly.

Take the meat from the bones and shred into small pieces. Add to a mixing bowl with the spinach and sage and season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Add the meat to the terrine layering carefully. Press as firmly as possible, add the liquor from the pan and set in a refrigerator for 12 hours.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Rhubarb Compote

This wonderful accompaniment can go with a variety of things. Rhubarb goes with all things gamey, so its a treat to have with duck, goose, guinea fowl, venison or even beef if the tone suits. Aside form this it goes phenomenally well with smoked fish sucj as mackerel (with a hint of truffle if you're feeling adventurous).

If necessary you can also add this to desserts as an accompaniment too - it goes phenomenally well with alot of things in the dessert world also with apples, pears and even strawberries (in some contexts) or can be aded to pies and crumbles as a secret ingredient.

You will need(makes a large batch:

1 Kilo of rhubarb stripped and diced
75g of fresh ginger skinned and cut into a fine dice, or grated from frozen
125g of red wine
250ml additional red wine* (for the stock syrup)
250ml (by volume) sugar* (for the stock syrup)

The doing bit:

Make stock syrup  by combining the additional red wine ans sugar in a pan, and heating gently until the sugar has melted into the wine.

To the stock syrup add the rhubarb and cook till tender

Add to this the ginger reduce by a third on a low heat

Add the red wine and reduce by another third the mixture

You should have a deep red colour and a thick consistency.

allow to cool slightly and store.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Brandade Dressing

This dressing is primarily used to serve with brandade dishes such as Cod Brandade, but goes well as an accompaniment or dressing to a variety of fish dishes, salads and similar light meals.

Makes 600ml

1 Onion finely chopped
25g of thyme chopped
25g of rosemary chopped
25g of basil chopped
25g of chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic crushed
50g of unsalted butter
500ml of olive oil
300ml of red wine
50g of chopped walnuts
50g of chopped olives
25g of anchovies chopped
25g of capers chopped
8 tomatoes concassed

Sweat off onions, herbs and garlic in the butter and a little olive oil till soft

Add red wine and reduce to about 2 tablespoon of liquid

Add remaining olive oil, with the rest of the ingredients; omitting the tomatoes

Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, then add tomatoes, season remove from the heat

Friday, 29 June 2012

Vierge Dressing

Vierge is one of those classic flavours that accompanies mainly fish dishes - the most prominent of which being more sweetly palatable fish such as seabass and seam bream. It does however go well alongside a multitude of fishes and even white meats where applicable. Its easy to make, it just takes a while. When you taste it you'll see why.

You will need:

550ml of olive oil
50g 0f Coriander seeds
1 Bunch of tarragon, stripped and chopped
12 black peppercorns, crushed
4 shallots finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic crushed
Sea salt

Warm the oil with the coriander seeds
Pour over the other ingredients
Marinade for a week

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Double baked cheese souffle

Cheese souffle is porbably one the most notorius dishes that people acclaim to easily go wrong/ in all honesty theyre not that much of a nightmare, just be sure not to open the oven whilst cooking, and if you must, do not slam the door when closing. Other than this its pretty much plain sailing.

You will need (makes 8)


Double butter ramekins, this is done by buttering then freezing or chilling the ramekins then buttering again

Sauté off the spinach with seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg

Chop up the spinach then squeeze to remove water

Blend heated butter with flour to make a paste

Put the spinach into milk pan and bring to the boil once simmering

Beat the flour paste into the spinach milk until a smooth sauce is created

Add the cheese, nutmeg and mustard stir in to form a smooth sauce

Allow the cheese sauce to cool, while the sauce is cooling separate the eggs and beat the egg white into stiff foam

Mix in the egg yolks into the cheese sauce

Fold in the egg whites

Pour the mix into each of the ramekins leaving a 1 cm from the top

Bake for 8 minutes then cool and fridge

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Parmesan Crisps

Image provided courtesy of

These are usually served as an accompaniment to either a main meal or a starter type dish or even with soups. They provide an interesting texture, definite depth of flavour and can provide means of being a vehicle for accompanying flavours also. Ill also warn you they're incredibly moreish.

You will need: (makes one large crisp)

50g grated parmesan cheese
one tiane / serving ring (heat ristsant) - egg rings will do perfectly.
Silicon mat

The doing bit:

Pretty simple. Just add the grated parmesan to the ring on a silicone mat and flatten so that the cheese is evenly spread. Grill for about 3 mins until the cheese begins to bubble / colour. Remove from heat, then allow to cool.

feel free to add a variety of seasoning, such as chilli, herbs, pepper, paprika etc depending on what you're going to serve it with. Finely chopped rosemary work brilliantly.