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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Dry confit seasoning

500g of rock salt

4 Star anise

100g of Juniper berries

50g of cinnamon

50g of Cracked black pepper

4 Lemon zest

60g of Ginger

2 Sticks of Lemon grass

Blend the star anise, berries, rock salt, cinnamon and black pepper in a food processor.

Peel and chop the ginger into strips, & add to the mix, along with the lemon zest. Chop the lemongrass as finely as possible & add.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Colcannon Parcel

This cute little appetiser works well from autumn to late spring - utilising flavours and ingredients which originate and compliment the original colcannon. I like to use colcannon around Hallowe'en, yet it holds great merit in winter and spring too with its earthy flavours. Currently in use as a starter on our table d'hote menu at the Foxlowe hotel in Leek, Staffordshire, it sets the palate in readiness for a myriad of other springtime flavours which emerge as a wondrous variation from the stodginess of winter.

Ingredients (Per serving):

1 rasher of streaky bacon
1 large leaf of savoy cabbage
1 large cooked salad new potato
1 tsp creamed horseradish
salt & pepper
tsp butter

For the sauce:

50ml double cream
tsp dijon mustard
Dash dry white wine


In a small mixing bowl, crush the new potato and stir in salt & pepper and the creamed horseradish. Lay out the bacon on a chopping board with the cabbage leaf on top. Spoon into the centre of the leaf the potato mix, tuck in the edges of the cabbage and roll into a parcel shape. Wrap with the bacon until it overlaps itself.

In a small roasting tin place the parcel(s) with a little water & cover with foil. Cook in the oven until bacon is cooked & cabbage is bright green. Remove from oven and in a small pan add the butter and sear the parcel until bacon gains more colour (like a golden brown).

For the sauce: In a saucepan add the wine and heat until boiling. Stir in the mustard then add the cream. Reduce volume by half.

Cut the parcel in half then stack centre plate. Drizzle sauce over or around parcel & serve.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Anchovy & Roast Red Pepper Compote


150ml of olive oil

6 Large red peppers roasted and skinned then seeded, sliced into a 5mm dice

50g of thyme

15 Anchovy fillets

Hand full of torn basil leaves

50g of capers diced

50ml of balsamic dressing

4 Cloves of garlic, crushed

Heat the oil, add peppers, garlic and thyme sauté for about five minutes

Add anchovy and cook till anchovies are melted into the peppers

Season carefully as the anchovies can be salty

Finish with capers, gurkins, balsamic vinegar and basil

Caesar Salad Dressing

Image courtesy of

I have always loved caesar dressing, as its an a=excellent accompaniment - and not just to caesar salad either. It serves well as a dressing for a number of applications, and can be used effectively with fish and meat. It also goes remarkably well with asparagus, and can be a good substitute for hollondaise in the classic "grilled asparagus with poached egg" 

Here is the recipe we always used in the trade - im quietly confident there are others out there although ive never found a problem with this one. 

2 Egg yolks
50ml of red wine vinegar
Juice of one lemon
5 Anchovy fillets
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
15ml of Dijon mustard
15ml of English mustard
Healthy pinch of black pepper
Healthy glug of Worcestershire sauBoldce
300ml of good virgin olive oil

Add all the ingredients into a food processor, with the exception of the oil, blend
Add the oil as you would mayonnaise in a (very) steady stream.

Red pepper mousse

This recipe comprises all the things i love about peppers, their sweetness their texture and their wondrous flavours that complement such a wide spectrum of accompanying ingredients. When experimenting with this recipe and mousses in general i was trying to move away from the standard "salmon" and similar mousses that everyone uses for starter and side dishes. Instead the use of a red pepper gave opportunity to the vegetarian frontier - which are often as an audience can be found to be neglected or offered "token" gestures. 

This recipe makes a large batch (about 14 portions so feel free to divide by two or three for a more family size. 

*** (Makes about 14 timbales)
5 Red bell peppers
4 egg whites
300g cream cheese
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tsp paprika
1 clove peeled garlic
Pinch Salt
Pinch Pepper


Grease and line with cling film about 8 timbale moulds (metal!).

Cut cheeks from peppers and place in small roasting tin. Add water to tray (just enough to cover the peppers half way up) and cover tray with tinfoil. Cook peppers in oven until the flesh begins to soften. Allow peppers to cool then peel cut away the flesh from the skin. We are going to use the skin for a decoration so do not discard. Instead, put the skin (shiny side down) into the bottom of each mould. Any skin left over add to the food processor.

Whip up egg whites until foamy.

Combine in food processor pepper flesh, and all other ingredients. Add the egg whites last.

Pour mixture into moulds, leaving about ½ centimetre from the top
Cover moulds with foil tightly. Poach timbales in bain marie until mixture is firm to touch. Allow to cool and refrigerate.