Monday, April 29, 2013

Boudin Noir Aux Pommes

As a child I thought there could be nothing more revolting than Black Pudding, the English variety, heavy almost always overcooked with big lumps of white fat, to this day shudder at the offerings of School breakfast black pudding too horrid for words.

It wasn't until I was eight or nine years of age in a Brasserie in Paris that quite by accident I ordered Boudin Noire aux Pommes, I had no idea what it was but thought it sounded good, On its arrival I thought it was a sausage with this rich delicious minced filling and I adored it.
 I am still not fond of the English variety but the French and Spanish version is something quite different a wonderful starter or light Lunch.

Daniel Galmiche in his French Brasserie Cookbook has a version with Pears, but perhaps through childhood memories I prefer the more traditional caramelised Apple.

In a saucepan bring salted water to a simmer, not a boil as the skins are easily burst and gently simmer the sausage for around 4 minutes. Meanwhile in a non stick frying pan bring a dollop of Butter to a medium heat until it is frothing and add slices of Apple, cook gently for 3 minutes until they take on some colour then add a tsp of Sugar and a good glug of Balsamic vinegar and a splash of Water and let it cook down to a light Syrup.
Now add your Sausage to another frying pan with a little Sunflower Oil and cook at a Medium heat again for say 3 minutes and serve. Bon appetite !

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pan Roasted Salmon with Lemon & Coriander Mayonnaise

 This very simple rather Summery dish is a version of Daniel Galmiche's the only difference is that he uses Lime rather than Lemon in the Mayonnaise, which is without doubt a far better choice, I just didn't have a Lime to hand last night!

 Start by making the Mayonnaise I love making my own but mid week a jar of Hellmann's is forgivable, In a bowl Zest a Lemon add a handful of Coriander Leaves finely chopped a couple of large spoonfuls of the Mayonnaise Salt and Pepper and a squeeze of Lemon juice. If you have Lime use it instead in exactly the same way and mix it all together
Now score the skin of your Salmon Fillet with a sharp knife and season. In a non stick frying pan heat a dollop of Butter and a splash of Olive Oil on a medium high heat until its foaming and add your Salmon skin side down for 4 minutes. Don't move it.
Then flip the fish over and cook for a minute, flip it once more skin side down and put in a pre heated oven at 200c for 5 minutes.

Let the fish rest for a minute or two before serving. I made some charred Asparagus and a crushed New Potatoes with Coriander, and a spoonful of the zesty Mayonnaise on the side. Perfect

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

French Rabbit Casserole with Lemon & Garlic

 Or as this dish is called in France "Lapin en Cocotte au Citron a L'ail", why is it that to the English at least, dishes sound so much more appetising in French or Italian!

This recipe is from Daniel Galmiche's brilliant "French Brasserie Cookbook" and whilst its a simple dish it does need to be cooked with some care.
In France, Spain and Italy, Rabbit is hugely popular yet in England it is less common. It is very much like Chicken but with a more gamey flavour and I would really encourage you to try it
Its the first time I had attempted this recipe and on reading it through I thought it would benefit from the addition of white wine, but I followed the recipe to the letter and rather glad I did, wine would have changed this dish to something completely different, as it was the sauce was a light syrupy delight.

So for the first time at least, stick to the recipe. This is a spectacular dish a beautiful marriage of flavours and a recipe I whole heartedly urge you to try.

Pre heat your oven to 180c. Put the zest and juice of a lemon in a bowl with a couple of tbsp of Olive Oil and add your Jointed Rabbit, season with Salt and Pepper and let it marinate for 5 minutes.
In a large Casserole dish add 15g of Butter and a good glug of Olive Oil and put on a medium high heat and sauté the rabbit pieces until golden brown, takes around 8 minutes each side. Now add 4 Garlic cloves unpeeled crushed with the flat  edge of your knife and the Lemon marinade, turn the heat down slightly and stir to deglaze your pan.

Reduce the liquid for around 5 minutes until it is slightly syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Add a 500ml of Chicken Stock, I had added the heart liver and head of the Rabbit to a Chicken stock to get more Flavour, and poured it through a sieve into the casserole dish with a couple of sprigs of fresh Thyme bring to the boil and put in the oven 30 to 35 minutes.
After half an hour remove the rabbit from the casserole dish onto an ovenproof serving dish and keep warm in the oven. Return the Casserole dish to the hob and bring the cooking liquid to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, for about 5 minutes until the sauce has the consistency of a light syrup.

Pour the sauce over the Rabbit and serve with some Chopped Parsley and a buttered Spinach

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gambas Pil Pil

By and Large in Andalusia there is a culture of rarely drinking alcohol without eating, makes a lot of sense, of course the English in Spain don't always take a lot of notice and seem to drink morning noon and night.
 But the Tapas culture is a wonderful thing that I really enjoy, little nibbles are so often more exciting than the big event, and in Spain Lunch is very much the main meal and Tapas will often suffice in the Evening.

My favourite Tapas is Gambas Pil Pil, Its very quick and simple and this is very much an authentic recipe that you will see throughout Spain. Key is to use very Fresh Raw Prawns, the pre cooked ones will go rubbery, Shell them and put in a bowl with a tsp of Paprika Picante and a squeeze of Lemon juice.

 In a Cazuelita which is an earthenware dish that can be put on an Electric or Gas Hob, heat to a Medium High Heat with some Good Quality Virgin Olive Oil add 5 or 6 finely chopped cloves of Garlic, dried or chopped Fresh Chillies and add your raw Prawns , after a minute or so they turn pink add a glass of Manzanilla or white wine, it will bubble and sizzle scatter some chopped Parsley and serve with crusty bread to mop up those delicious juices and a glass of ice cold Manzanilla.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thai Weeping Tiger

 I had the most wonderful week at work, hard work with a huge dollop of good luck led to a weekend of indulgence and Yahooing which I couldn't have enjoyed more. Come Sunday I was very glad to stay at home and what could be better to recover than some spicy Thai food and no booze!
There are a few stories why this is called Weeping Tiger but truth is I have no idea why it's called that, I first had this in the 1990's at the Blue Elephant in London loved it then and order it whenever I see it on the menu.

It couldn't be simpler start with some finely chopped Ginger about a third of a thumbs worth put it in a bowl with 3 or 4 chopped Red Chillies, yep its very hot, use less if you are nervous, add a good glug to fill a small bowl about half way of Light Soy Sauce the juice of two limes a tbsp of Fish Sauce and ideally fresh Coriander, I only had dry but that worked, and half a clove of crushed Garlic, I usually boil the garlic first so it doesn't have that raw taste which can be a bit overpowering.
Give it all a good stir and taste may need a little sugar. I use this as both a marinade and a dipping sauce to serve with the meat.
Now marinate a Rib Eye or Sirloin Steak for about 20 minutes, because of the Lime it's probably enough and then cook your steak on a griddle pan a minute either side let it rest and drizzle with the sauce.

Delicious , I served with Sticky Thai rice and a Red Chicken Curry gorgeous.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


 The Italian Frittata always seems to me to be the more casual relation to the more formal traditional fold over French Omelette and I rather like that. You will never see this on an Italian Restaurant Menu, it is meant  to be a dish served at home, a heart warming dish using up mostly Mediterranean Vegetables but you know you can put whatever you like in this

 I live in Spain and adore Tortilla or Spanish Omelette which traditionally is just Potatoes Onions garlic and a little Egg, so I do like more often than to use a lot of Potato in my Frittata.

So on this occasion I started with Chopped Potato and Onion and cooked them in Olive Oil for around 20 Minutes. I then added some sliced Red Pepper some chopped Chilli, Some dried Parsley some mushrooms I had left, and a handful of Spinach,
Once the Spinach had wilted I added 4 Eggs which I had whisked up in a bowl with a fork..let it cook only a couple of minutes and then put the whole pan under a preheated grill for around 5 minutes until it has bubbled up and tinged a little.

You could make this with or without Potatoes or Mushrooms , you could add cheese, its up to you, Its a wicked dish great served Hot or Cold and wonderful on Picnics

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bread Sauce

What a delight a good home made Bread Sauce is, forget the ghastly packet stuff, This is just perfect with Roast Chicken or Turkey. I always make it at Christmas but have to admit not that often in the year.

I was making a Roast Chicken with sage and Onion stuffing so decided I would have to make some and very glad I did!
As far as I know this is the sole surviving bread thickened sauce from Medieval times. Its easy cut an Onion in half and stud it with about half a dozen cloves add a dozen whole black peppercorns and a bay leaf and a pint or so of full fat Milk and a pinch of Salt
Bring it to nearly a boil and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming and leave it to infuse for at least 2 hours.
I blend the Breadcrumbs in a food processor crusts and all , if you haven't got any stale bread, put 3 slices in your toaster for a minute and that will dry out the bread without colouring.
Once the Milk is infused set aside the Onion Bay and Peppercorns and add your breadcrumbs and gently heat add a big chunk of butter and some double cream and stir.
Once the breadcrumbs have swollen return the studded Onion and keep in a warm place until you serve absolutely scrumptious

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bangers & Mash

The ultimate comfort food, a marriage made in heaven, Embarrassingly  simple but so delicious. I hesitated as to wether I would post this, but then why not, so English I used just a simple Pork Sausage but would be Lovely with Cumberland Sausages or Venison sausages.

My only twist is adding a spoon of Dijon grain mustard to the Onion Gravy and a splash of Madeira but apart from that this is fried sausages then once they have browned add a sliced Onion and turn the heat down and let it cook out for ten or fifteen minutes,a spoonful of flour, cook it out a minute or so then splash of Madeira some Water from the Potatoes a sprinkling of OXO Beef Stock cube a spoonfull of Dijon mustard stir and reduce.

Serve with fluffy buttery Mashed Potatoes and a sprinkling of freshly chopped Parsley. Wonderful !

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

There is some controversy as to wether this dish comes from Northern Italy or Southern Italy, my money is on the South, but who knows my version is a combination of the classic Italian dish crossed with the French Aubergine a la Provencal as it has a more robust breadcrumb topping that gives a lovely contrast of textures.
Its something of a favourite amongst my Vegetarian chums perhaps because it does feel like a proper main course. In the main I use this dish as a vegetable side dish with grilled meats, just wonderful as an accompaniment to BBQ's though especially with Boulangere Potatoes.
Start with some Olive Oil in a pan and sweat down your Onions and Garlic for around 15 minutes at a low heat, add at least a tablespoon of dried Oregano, sounds a lot but it isn't and finely chopped stalks of Parsley. Cook that out for another few minutes and add a can of Tomatoes and a can of chopped Tomatoes put the lid on, turn the heat right down and cook for about half an hour until it is sweet and reduced crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stirring from time to time, Season and add a splash of Red Wine Vinegar.
Like Jamie I prefer to Griddle my slices (Lengthwise) of Courgette and Aubergine so they get those lovely charred lines across them.
Take an earthen wear Dish and add a ladle of the Tomato Sauce grate some fresh Parmesan add a layer of Aubergine and Courgette repeat until the Dish is full. Top with more Tomato Sauce Parmesan and a cup or two of Breadcrumbs swirl the top with Olive Oil and add some fresh Oregano Leaves place in a preheated Oven at 200c for 30 to 40 minutes.

Delicious and so easy the flavours marry together beautifully and the crunchy texture of the breadcrumbs a delight.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chicken Breast on a bed of Spain

I do feel so very fortunate to live in Andalusia, The food, the culture, the landscape, the Sea, the people, not to mention the climate. Last Sunday I was searching the web for a Roast Chicken Lunch that would be distinctly Spanish all that I could find was Jamie's Chicken with Chorizo, so I made my own interpretation of Spanish Roast Chicken.

Last night I had a couple of Chicken breasts wondering what on earth I could make and Jamie's dish gave me the inspiration to make a bed of Potatoes Tomatoes garlic and Chorizo on which to place my charred Chicken breast.
 Funny how dishes can stay in the back of your mind. The result was a great deal more than the sum total of the individual ingredients and was so typically Andalusian. I start by just chopping a large unpeeled Potato into cubes no need to peel.
I added a few small sweet Tomatoes cut int Quarters two cloves of Garlic crushed and a few slices of uncooked chorizo, Good glug of Oil some salt and Pepper,a sprinkle of dried Parsley and mixed all together with my fingers in a clay dish and popped it in the oven at 200c for an hour.
The Chicken I just cooked on a Griddle pan and finished in the oven to finish off for 15 minutes, Half way through cooking the Potato mix I added some Almonds and a glass of Manzanilla.

To serve just spoon the Potato mix onto the centre of the plate spooning on some of those lovely Oils that have seeped out of the chorizo top with your Chicken Breast add some fresh Parsley and serve. This really is quite special, would work well with fish too

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pimientos de Padron

Absolutely one of my favourite tapas dishes, these delicious little Green capsicums are from the town of Padron in Galicia. I guess they may be quite difficult to buy outside of Spain so you may need to go to a specialist Spanish supplier.

They are deliciously sweet but one in a dozen or so is very hot, you really can't tell looking. They are simply cooked in a skillet with Olive Oil heated until it is nearly smoking hot then add the peppers, (wash and dry them first) for 4 or 5 minutes turning from time to time until slightly blistered and charred.

Drain the Peppers on some kitchen paper, and sprinkle generously with Sea Salt or salt Flakes. Irresistible with an ice cold glass of Manzanilla.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bloody Mary Prawn Cocktail

Prawn Cocktail is so retro, in my childhood it was on just about every Menu and must have been the most popular starter in the country. Today it's seen as a bit old hat sadly, I don't know why, the vagaries of fashion I suppose but to my mind prepared well with fresh ingredients its a delicious little treat.

A La Jamie Oliver, I have gone for this perhaps more contemporary version with the flavours and spice of a Bloody Mary and adapted it slightly to my taste, but you could adapt it to yours too.

I use Fresh Prawns and Saute them for a minute or so in Oil and then place them in Iced Water to stop them cooking and refresh them. Pre cooked Prawns are all to often overcooked and a bit rubbery and you don't get that sweet fresh flavour.

Then make the sauce, couldn't be easier, Take 3 or 4 tbsp of Mayonnaise add a large tsp of Cayenne Pepper, 2 tbsp of Tomato Ketchup, a generous drizzle of Tabasco Sauce a shake of Worcestershire Sauce a splash of Brandy and the juice of half a lemon.

Stir the mixture together and add the prawns after you have shelled them and place in the fridge for about an Hour.

To serve shred some Iceberg Lettuce , a handful of Cherry Tomatoes cut into halves and spoon in your mixture. Delicious served with some fresh Brown Bread

Monday, April 8, 2013

Charred Saddle Cut Lamb Chops with Chilled Tzatziki

I saw this recipe on Nigel Slaters "Simple Cooking" show on Saturday, filled with inspiration I shot down to my butchers to get some Lamb.
The Lamb Chops he had whilst looking fabulous were really tiny, so I went for Saddle cut Lamb Chops, or Barnsley cut chops as they used to be known, cut from the Loin its a double chop and they looked stunning.
There is something very Summery about a sizzling hot Charred Lamb Chop with the refreshing chilled "Tzatziki" style yoghurt and as Spring has finally broken in Andalusia it seemed the perfect Spring dish to celebrate.

Nigel served his dish with a Pickled Red Cabbage, but I thought I would make a simple Pea and Mint Puree some Boulangere Potatoes and Provencal Tomatoes and jolly glad I did the combination was more substantial and absolutely delicious
Start by placing the Chops in a tray and give them a good glug of Olive Oil , scatter on some fresh Thyme leaves a pinch or two of Ground Black Pepper, a Little dried Parsley and the juice of half a Lemon and leave them to marinate for at least an hour.
Meanwhile make the Yoghurt dip, take half a Cucumber, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds and grate the Cucumber into a bowl add a good pinch of Sea Salt add a handful of fresh chopped Mint add a tub of Greek Yoghurt mix together with a squirt of Lemon Juice and pop it into the fridge to chill. Just before serving drizzle with a Lemon infused virgin Olive Oil
I put my Potatoes and Tomatoes into the oven at 200c for an hour and had a glass of wine!
About ten minutes before the Potatoes are ready to come out the oven get a Griddle pan scorching hot, and griddle your chops about two minutes each side for pink...Let them rest covered in foil and make your Pea and Mint Puree. The meal was a great success I served with some crusty bread and a bottle of Cote de Rhone