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Cover: A dish for all seasons

June, 2012

11Jun 12

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes 

We’re heading towards the summer; and that’s when crab is in the peak of its season. You can get hold of fresh crab from late spring, right through the summer and into early autumn. These ginger and coriander crab cakes are a delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood, complemented with plenty of ginger zing, lime zest and coriander burst!

If you find yourself near the Cromer coast this summer, make sure to buy plenty of the infamous Cromer crab, which is often served in the shell, ready to eat. Just squeeze over some lemon and tuck into it right there gazing out at the waves. For another idea to enjoy the season’s fresh seafood, take a look at this crayfish rice with mango recipe. Serve the crab cakes with a mixed salad and a beer topped with lime.

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
These ginger and coriander crab cakes are a delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood, complemented with plenty of ginger zing, lime zest and coriander burst!
Ingredients
  • 420g cooked crab meat, ready to eat
  • 2 spring onions, chopped as finely as possible
  • 110g mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp juice of a freshly squeezed lime
  • 3 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • A splash of Tabasco sauce
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g breadcrumbs, dried
  • Plenty of extra virgin olive oil to fry
Instructions
  1. Mix the crab, onions, garlic, mayonnaise, lime juice, coriander, Tabasco and ginger together in a large bowl. Season very generously with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Create 12 crab cakes using the palms of your hands.
  3. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs into another small bowl. Dip each crab cake into the egg and then cover in breadcrumbs on the top, bottom and sides.
  4. Heat plenty of olive oil in a frying pan, on a medium heat; and shallow fry the crab cakes in batches. They will absorb quite a bit of oil, so add more as necessary. Cook each patty for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown.

 

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07Jun 12

Blood Orange Sorbet

Blood Orange SorbetBlood oranges have a beautiful, intense colour can give vibrancy to all sorts of dishes including salads, cooked meals and desserts.

Serve blood orange sorbet for pudding with a glass of champagne, or in between courses to cleanse the palette.  This one is definitely for the grown-ups as it contains orange liqueur. (If you prefer strawberry, this strawberry sorbet with moscatel is also a tasty treat!)

What you need:

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 1L blood orange juice, freshly squeezed with the pulp strained off
  • Orange zest to garnish

What to do:

  1. First you need to make a sugar syrup.  Take a large saucepan, add the sugar and pour in the water, stirring together as the sugar begins to dissolve.  Gradually bring the mixture up to the boil, stirring constantly.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Leave the mixture to cool completely.
  2. Take a large mixing bowl, pour in the blood orange juice, and stir in the liqueur.  Gradually add the sugar syrup to the orange and liqueur mixture, tasting as you go, until the combination is lovely and sweet.  If you prefer a more tart sorbet, you can control that by adding less of the sugar syrup.
  3. Once you’re happy with the flavour (and still hopefully have plenty of the mixture left for Mum!) transfer the syrupy sorbet into a freezer-proof container and set it in the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours.  And here comes the slightly tricky bit.  You will need to make the sorbet on a day when you’re going to be available to stir the sorbet occasionally as it sets.  Over the 5 hour period of setting, remove the sorbet once or twice an hour, stir it and put it back into the freezer.  The only way around this last phase is to churn the sorbet until it sets in an ice-cream maker before freezing it.
  4. When ready to serve your sorbet, spoon it into a pretty bowl or half of an emptied orange with an ice-cream scoop, garnish with the orange zest and serve with a glass of champagne.

20 minutes to prepare, plus cooling time, and at least 5 hours setting time.

Makes: 4-6 servings

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05Jun 12

Lamb’s Lettuce Salad with Serrano Ham and Apricots

Spring Salad with Serrano Ham and ApricotsLamb’s lettuce salad with Serrano ham and apricots is a really simple salad with few, but very tasty ingredients.  I like the subtle play between the sweetness of the apricots and the saltiness of the Spanish ham.  Both are balanced wonderfully by the creamy texture of the avocado and the subtle freshness of the lamb’s lettuce.

Lamb’s lettuce is said to contain around three times the level of vitamin C that a common lettuce contains.  This salad makes a good light lunch or supper, but if you’re feeling ravenous, you can always eat it with a big hunk of buttered bread, or as a starter to a more substantial meal. (For more lamb’s lettuce salads, try this seared scallops with brittle Parma ham recipe.)

Lamb’s lettuce is in season through Winter and Spring.  It is a hardy plant that doesn’t rely solely on insects for pollination.  The wind helps to carry and drop the seeds, and in certain eras, it was thought to carpet the British countryside in swathes.  I love it for its softness and appearance – those rich green floral-shaped leaves make any salad look beautiful.

What you need:

  • Pack of lamb’s lettuce, ready washed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 pack of Serrano Ham
  • 12 soft, preserved apricots
  • 1-2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar

What to do:

  1. Open the pack of Serrano ham about an hour before you want to eat it, letting it come up to room temperature.
  2. When you are ready to make the salad, arrange the lamb’s lettuce on the plates, covering almost the entire surface of the plate.
  3. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and the skin and slice into strips lengthwise.
  4. Tear the soft apricots roughly in half.
  5. Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, runny honey, sugar, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard in a small bowl with a teaspoon.
  6. Arrange the avocado on the lettuce in a floral circle and dot the apricot pieces in between.  Roll the ham into the shape you like and space it out over the top of the salad, making sure that all of the ingredients are visually balanced.
  7. Drizzle over the dressing in a spiral pattern, or serve the dressing in a small bowl on the table.
  8. Season the salad all over with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

15 minutes to prepare

Makes: 2 servings

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04Jun 12

Coronation Chicken Salad

Coronation chicken salad

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee coming up in June, I’m helping my neighbours to organize a little old-fashioned street party, and I’m going to make a Coronation Chicken Salad. The original Coronation Chicken dish that was invented for the Queen’s Coronation banquet in 1953 included whipped cream and was served with a rice salad, but I want to make something lighter and crunchier.

So I’m going to use this recipe that I tried out last summer, replacing the cream with healthier Greek yoghurt and including celery to add a bit of crunch to the creamy texture of the sauce. Apricots are in season in the UK from May to September, but you can use dried apricots if you can’t get hold of fresh ones. (I also recommend this warm chicken salad with garlic and tomato bread.)

Coronation Chicken Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Coronation Chicken Salad with Greek yoghurt and celery to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken (about 1.5kg), poached and cooled
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100g fresh apricots
  • 100ml red wine
  • 175ml mayonnaise
  • 175ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • Watercress, according to preference
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove the meat from the bones of the poached chicken.
  2. Peel the apricots and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. While the apricots are simmering, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the finely chopped onion and lightly fry for about five minutes.
  4. Add the curry paste, tomato purée, wine, bay leaf and half the lemon juice.
  5. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for about ten minutes.
  6. Drain the apricots and purée them in a blender, press through a sieve and leave to cool.
  7. When the curry sauce has reduced, remove the bay leaf and leave the sauce to cool.
  8. Mix together the apricot purée, the mayonnaise and the cooled curry sauce.
  9. Fold the yoghurt into the mix, and then add the chicken, chopped celery and the rest of the lemon juice.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and serve with watercress and white baguette.
Notes
I used poached chicken because it's really tender and succulent, but if you prefer, you can use roast chicken (or the leftovers from a Sunday roast). If you're using dried apricots, you only need 50g, but you'll need to soak and boil them to make the purée.

 

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02Jun 12

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Pick up some rhubarb and have a go at making this Rhubarb and Ginger Jam, which you are bound to love spread thickly on your cherry and walnut hot cross buns or morning toast, dolloped on top of a blob of Cornish vanilla ice-cream, or even served as a sweet sauce with roast pork and chicken.

 

What you need:

  • 1.5kg jam sugar (it is important to buy the right sugar for the added pectin it contains)
  • 1.5kg trimmed and prepared rhubarb (so buy a little extra weight for the trimming wastage)
  • The juice and the zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 75g crystallised ginger, chopped into little pieces
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

What to do:

  1. Give each stem of rhubarb a really good wash in cold running water.  Chop it into 2.5cm slices.  In a large bowl, mix the chopped rhubarb with the lemon zest and juice, ground and grated ginger, crystallised ginger and the jam sugar, coating all of the rhubarb in the mix.  Cover the mixture loosely with clingfilm and leave it for around 2-3 hours so that the sugar absorbs into the juices of the rhubarb.  It helps to stir the mix every so often during this resting time.
  2. Take a few clean little plates and put them (empty) into the freezer – this is to bring their temperature to sub-zero.  I know it sounds curious, but it’s all about testing the setting point of the jam a little later. Trust me on this one.
  3. Pour the rhubarb mixture into a preserving pan.  Over a medium heat, begin to cook the contents, stirring until the sugar is totally dissolved.  Bring the mix up to the boil and cook on a fairly high temperature for 15 minutes until the mixture has reached its setting point and the rhubarb is so soft, it starts falling apart.
  4. To test whether the conserve has reached setting point, remove one of the small plates from the freezer and drip a teaspoon of the rhubarb mixture onto the plate.  Let it sit for 35 seconds before gently pressing it with your fingertip. If the jam wrinkles, the setting point has been reached.  If it doesn’t, it’s not yet ready, so keep cooking, and try again in a few minutes.
  5. Once set, remove the conserve from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before spooning it into your sterilised jam jars.  Seal the jars straight away, and label with the date after the jars have cooled right down. The jam will be good for six months or so.

20 minutes to prepare – 20 minutes to cook, plus soaking time
Makes: 6 x 450g jars

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