Tag Archives: cooking

Kitchen Heroes: Celeriac

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A nice sharp santoku ready to slice and dice..

Second into the kitchen heroes hall of fame is celeriac.  A root vegetable with a wonderfully mellow celery-esque taste with all the texture qualities of turnip or swede.  It is naturally creamy, sweet and takes on powerful flavours with ease.

Celeriac is a kitchen hero for me because of its versatility.  It is absolutely superb roasted, mashed, steamed, boiled, braised or turned into a delicious soup.  Once you have topped and tailed the root, simply peel the rough skin away before working quickly with your chopping as it will discolour like an aubergine or parsnip.

Here is some inspiration as my current favourite – braised celeriac in white wine with onion, celery, rosemary, chilli and garlic.

Fry off all these ingredients in a saute pan with a matching lid.  When you get a bit of colour on the veg, stir in a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, some chopped pickled chilli and a glass of wine.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes and finish with a swirl of honey, lemon juice and fresh parsley.  Serve as a side with pork tenderloin or your favourite grilled meat.

Celeriac makes it in to our weekly shop more often than not these days, and with it being packed full of vitamin k – great for healing wounds and healthy bones, there is every excuse to give it a go in your shop next week.

Heatwave BBQ with a twist

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Paella on hot coals..

A bit of a recipe this week – but not as I would normally post with the finest of details and ingredients.  That is because I would love my readers to go and experiment with this one.

It’s beautiful BBQ weather in the UK at the moment with temperatures reaching 31 Celsius here today in Bournemouth.  If you’re aiming to feed 6 or so with your BBQ, it’s all too tempting to play it safe with burgers, sausages and co – but why not create a one-pan masterpiece with your own signature paella.

A meal all in one pan, and if you don’t have a paella pan then any all metal pan (no plastic handles) with a reasonably large flat surface area to work with will do.  There is no harm in doing this on the hob either if you fancy.  I cannot recommend enough getting yourself a paella pan from Amazon though.

Now here is where you’re expecting the recipe to start, but to keep you creative I’ll give you the key ratios for a 6-8 person paella:-

  • 500g paella rice (handy as you can buy a packet this size)
  • 200ml white wine (you may just have to drink the rest)
  • 1 litre chicken/veg/fish stock (infuse with saffron if you’ve got some)
  • 400g fresh or tinned tomatoes, chopped

The rest is as flexible as you like.  Start by frying off any combination of onions (red/white/spring), peppers, celery, garlic, chilli, chorizo, chicken or even the traditional rabbit before stirring in your rice for a few minutes.  Pour in the wine and once evaporated, add the stock and tomatoes and simmer away for ten minutes.  You can then finish with any combination of your favourite seafood.  Chunks of haddock or cod, tiger prawns, squid, mussels, cockles – it’s up to you!  Choose what you like and make it your own.

We always finish with lashings of lemon juice, peas and plenty of black pepper.  If you take off the heat and cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving, you’ll have the perfect paella to impress your guests with.

Happy BBQing!

Kitchen Heroes: Rapeseed Oil

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A finishing touch..

An exciting new series begins this week, with the first of ‘kitchen heroes’.  Adding to my best kept secrets, recipes and restaurant reviews, ‘kitchen heroes’ will highlight every day ingredients that can make the world of difference to your cooking in some of the simplest ways.

There is no better place to start for me than rapeseed oil.  A mellow flavoured, yet sunset yellow oil that can finish off a soup or sauce wonderfully with a splash or swirl.  It is becoming quite the trend, with infused varieties from garlic, chilli and even smoked.  A few drops of smoked rapeseed oil in your favourite mashed spuds is next level stuff, trust me.

Any readers that exclusively watch TV celebrity chefs as their inspiration for cooking would be forgiven for thinking that there is any other cooking oil than the olive variety.  And as smashing as olive oil is, for dressing a salad or kicking off a risotto alongside a knob of butter – it has a relatively low burning point.  That means you are never going to get anywhere near crispy enough potato wedges, or roasted vegetables.  It allows roasting tray ‘on the hob’ cooking before transferring to an oven and is wonderfully light and low in saturated fat.

So grab yourself some cold pressed rapeseed oil and toss generously with par boiled potatoes cut into wedges – throw into a pre-heated roasting tray with some fresh rosemary and garlic.  Crank up and roast at 210c and you will not be disappointed with the results.

Have a browse of the Stainswick Farm site and see if there are any that take your fancy:-

http://www.stainswickfarm.co.uk/index.asp?m=1&t=Home

Staycation secrets…

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Thurlestone Beach in April 2017

Farm shops are often neglected by tourists – whether it is because you are staying in a B&B or hotel, or perhaps the nearest bright blue lights of Tesco have presented an easy choice for a quick dinner.  But I would encourage you to look for the nearest farm shop on your next trip away, there are some real hidden gems in the UK.  They all tend to source local where possible which is great for the local producers, economy and carbon footprint.

An Easter break took us to a small village near Torcross, Devon; where I was delighted to find a superb, well stocked farm shop at Stokeley Barton Farm.  Boasting a butchers, greengrocers, bakery, delicatessen, cafe and plenty of store cupboard items including local wines, beers and ciders, there was enough inspiration for some fantastic home cooked meals in our cosy cottage.  Perfect relaxation after long walks from the pictured Thurlestone to neighbouring Bigbury-on-sea and beyond.

Pan roasted pork chops with sage and rosemary from the herb garden, a white wine and bacon sauce, cheesy mash and some fresh purple sprouting broccoli.  If that isn’t enough to get you along to a farm shop, I’m not sure what will!

Stokeley Farm Shop

Stokeley Barton Farm

Kingsbridge

Devon TQ7 2SE

http://www.stokeleyfarmshop.co.uk/

Pan seared sea bass, lemongrass risotto

A classic risotto is a wonderful thing, but with a Thai twist, you can be far more creative and drop a lovely fresh piece of pan fried fish on top.  A can of coconut milk is the perfect substitute for stock, when serving 2 people.

Pan seared sea bass, lemongrass risotto

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bashed and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped & separated
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp thai fish sauce
  • 160g frozen petit pois/garden peas
  • Cornish sea salt
  • Pink peppercorns, crushed
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Method:

  1. Start your risotto in the normal way by choosing your best non-stick pan and gently sweat the onion and celery in the olive oil with a pinch of good quality sea salt for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, lemongrass, chilli and coriander stalks, continuing to fry gently for 2 more minutes until fragrant.
  3. Pour in your risotto rice, stirring continually to coat the rice until it becomes translucent.
  4. Zest the lemon into the pan and continue stirring as you add the coconut milk little by little as the rice absorbs all the liquid.  Juice the lemon and add alongside the fish sauce and some crushed pink peppercorns.
  5. When the rice is nearly cooked, stir in the peas for 2 minutes before folding in the chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Season to taste, take off the heat, cover.
  7. Take your sea bass fillets and score the skin as pictured with a sharp knife. This will prevent the skin curling up in the pan and increase your chances of a crispy skin and soft flesh.  Season the skin with sea salt, getting in between those grooves you have scored.
  8. Bring a non-stick frying pan up to a medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil, placing the sea bass fillets skin side down.
  9. Cook skin side down for 2-3 minutes, be confident!  You need to do 85% of the cooking on this side.  You will start to see the flesh turning bright white.  Season the fish on the flesh side whilst cooking.  Flip and cook for 1 minute further.
  10. Dish up your risotto, serving the fish on top and adding some lemon wedges and coriander leaves to serve.

Smoked Mackerel Tartare with Cucumber Ketchup

A stunning but simple starter to impress your dinner party guests.

I put this together for Christmas 2016, as a starter to blow away any prawn cocktail…but despite its wonderful colourful presentation – anyone can throw this together in a matter of minutes.  The smoky, rich tartare compliments the sweet beetroot and sharp but refreshing ketchup.

Smoked Mackerel Tartare with Cucumber ketchup

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 4 peppered smoked mackerel fillets
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 2 pickled gherkins
  • 4 tbsp homemade or good quality mayonnaise (I like rapeseed oil mayo)
  • chopped dill
  • juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon to your taste
  • 4 Sourdough crispbread
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 2-3 cooked beetroots in their own juice (not pickled)
  • radish slices
  • microherbs or salad cress for garnish
  • good quality salt flakes

Method:

  1. Make the cucumber ketchup ahead of time by roughly chopping the cucumber. Heat the vinegar and sugar together in a pan until the sugar dissolves.  When cooled, add alongside the cucumber to a blender and blitz until smooth, seasoning with salt.  Turn the blender back on and add the xanthan gum, mixing well.  The mixture will now be gelatinous and ready to put in a squeezy bottle for the final presentation.  Pop in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.
  2. Skin the mackerel fillets and roughly chop on a large board.
  3. Quarter your boiled eggs and add to the board.
  4. Slice the gherkins and add to the board.
  5. Chop the dill finely and sprinkle over the mixture on the board.
  6. Dollop over the mayonnaise and start bringing together the mixture with a spoon.
  7. Using a large kitchen knife, chop through the mixture continually for as long as it takes to bring together a fine mixture that resembles a sandwich filler consistency.
  8. Squeeze over the lemon juice and season with salt to taste.  Refrigerate in a container until you are ready to assemble.
  9. Cube the cooked beetroots.
  10. To assemble, stick each crispbread to a plate with a dollop of your favourite homemade fish pate – I have a very simple smoked mackerel recipe that works wonderfully with this dish.  Use a cooking/presentation ring to layer up the smoked mackerel tartare and then beetroot cubes.  Lift off the cooking rings before adding small blobs of your ketchup, radish slices and the garnish of your choice.

Stilton, mango and honey ciabatta with a king prawn salad

This perfect, posh cheese on toast goes hand in hand with a fresh prawn salad

This perfect, posh cheese on toast goes hand in hand with a fresh prawn salad

This recipe is inspired by one of my father’s many kitchen creations, adapted into a light, fuss-free Summer supper. A posh cheese on toast!

Cheese and fruit are a well known combination, but there are so many mis-guided concoctions on our supermarket shelves. For me, the sight of overly sweet dried cranberries, hammered into the side of a lovely mature piece of cheese is a crime against good food! Despite that, the sweet but tangy mango and lemon in this recipe works perfectly with the power of any blue cheese, finished beautifully with a drizzle of runny honey.

To make the dish fit for a simple homemade main course, I’ve chosen to add a really quick dressed salad with cooked king prawns.

Stilton and mango, the Wisdom family hereby patents the combination!

Stilton, mango and honey ciabatta with a king prawn salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 2 long white ciabatta rolls
  • 1 lump mature stilton
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 2 handfuls pine nuts
  • 24 cooked king prawns
  • runny honey for drizzling
  • mixed leaf salad of choice
  • 1 lemon
  • balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and cracked black pepper for seasoning

Method:

  1. Slice the ciabatta rolls in half lengthwise and arrange evenly on tin foil ready for the grill.
  2. Season the ciabatta rolls with coarse rock salt, cracked black pepper, drizzled olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little grated lemon rind.
  3. Slice the stilton and arrange on top of the ciabatta rolls before placing under a pre-heated grill until the stilton is melted and nicely browned, the ciabatta toasted. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in small dry frying pan over a moderate heat until gently browned.
  4. Peel and slice the mango into chunky strips, laying them over the top of the stilton.
  5. Scatter the toasted pine nuts over the top of the stilton and mango ciabatta.
  6. Drizzle the honey lightly over the dish.
  7. Dress a mixed leaf salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked black pepper.
  8. Place a small salad portion each side of the ciabatta and top with three king prawns each side.
  9. Finish the dish with a little drizzle of lemon juice and a good helping of cracked black pepper.
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