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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with seasonal food

16Oct 12

Raspberry Mousse

Raspberry MousseWho doesn’t love a cool chocolate or fruit mousse for dessert? Well, now that raspberries are in season (traditionally throughout July and August), what better dessert to make with those freshly picked, or freshly bought, pink, furry, juicy fruits than a delicious raspberry mousse? It makes a real summertime treat for adults and kids alike.

Everyone in my family loves it, and we can never get enough! The best thing about it is that it can be made all year round because frozen raspberries make for an equally great mousse.

Fun fact: I found out the other day that almost all the raspberries sold in the UK are grown in Scotland, and that their production forms an important part of the Scottish economy, particularly in the Tayside area where raspberry farmers earn about £12m a year!

I’d always thought mousses were hard to make, but it’s actually not that difficult, especially if you have an electric whisk! You just need to be very careful and slow when folding in the whipped cream and beaten egg whites so as not to deflate the mixture, and it should be a success! (Also have a go at this white chocolate mousse.)

Raspberry Mousse
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6
 

A delicious mousse made from freshly picked raspberries
Ingredients
  • 300g raspberries
  • 250ml double cream
  • 80g white sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 gelatine leaves
  • A few raspberries for garnish

Instructions
  1. Blend the raspberries in a blender to make a smooth purée.
  2. Add 60g of sugar to the purée and mix in.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of double cream to the purée and place over a low heat, without allowing to boil.
  4. At the same time, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 5 minutes to soften them.
  5. Remove the purée from the heat and leave to cool down.
  6. While the purée is still warm, mix in the gelatine leaves until totally dissolved, then leave mixture to cool.
  7. Whisk the rest of the double cream until soft peaks form. Add the raspberry purée little by little, folding it into the whipped cream slowly, letting air into the mixture.
  8. Beat the egg whites. When peaks start to form, slowly add the rest of the sugar while whisking, until stiff peaks form.
  9. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture, as before, to complete the raspberry mousse.
  10. Spoon the mousse into individual glasses, cups or bowls and leave to set in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.
  11. Garnish each bowl with some fresh raspberries before serving.

 

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17Sep 12

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce
My mother-in-law sent me this rabbit in almond and liver sauce recipe to try because I mentioned that we don’t often cook rabbit at home. It’s not as popular and easy to get hold of here in the UK as it is in the rest of Europe, probably because it was so cheap and plentiful during WWII that it was later associated with food rationing. I think it’s making a comeback though, as I’ve seen it in some restaurants and “gastropubs”. And with the economic downturn, it makes a cheap and lower fat alternative to other meats.

Also, it’s in season all year round, but my butcher tells me that the best sized rabbits are available from July to December. I suggest buying wild rabbit; it’s free range and has a natural diet, which means it’s tastier and better for you. Most butchers should have it – just check that it’s wild and British.

If you’ve never tried this meat, I really recommend this dish, as the almond sauce goes really well with the subtle game taste of the rabbit. And why not also try my paella valenciana? Or this braised rabbit?

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

This Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce is perfect for those who have never tried rabbit.
Ingredients
  • 1 cleaned wild rabbit, jointed into 8 pieces, and its liver
  • 300ml meat stock
  • 200g roasted almonds
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • Salt

Instructions
  1. Fry the rabbit’s liver and almonds with the bay leaf, white pepper and a large pinch of salt.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the meat stock.
  3. Purée in a blender, then set aside.
  4. Lightly fry the onion, garlic and rabbit pieces in a casserole with a pinch of salt, then add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the liver sauce to the casserole and boil for 30 minutes, until the rabbit meat is cooked.
  6. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve with boiled potatoes, chips, or your favourite vegetables.

Notes
Here are some tips from my butcher: Buy a rabbit with pink and rosy flesh, and a fresh smell. It shouldn’t have bruised or dark areas of flesh, nor should it have a very strong gamey smell. Wild rabbit is very tender, but be careful not to overcook it as it can turn tough.

 

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25Jul 12

Gooseberry and Almond Cupcakes

Gooseberry and Almond CupcakesI remember warm summers when I was a little girl, helping my grandmother make jams, cakes and pies with the gooseberries from her garden. I used to love their tangy taste, but was oblivious to the fact that they are a good source of fibre and vitamins A and C! (Also try these lemon blueberry muffins.)

We don’t have gooseberries in our garden, unfortunately. But when I saw them in a farm shop the other day, they brought back such nice memories that I had to buy some. They are in the peak of their season right now (June and July), so they may even be sweet enough to be eaten raw. However, I’ve baked some gooseberry and almond cupcakes, based on my grandmother’s “cherry financiers” recipe, changing some of the ingredients. I was quite chuffed with how they turned out actually!

Gooseberry and Almond Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 24-30 cupcakes
 

Gooseberry and almond cupcakes made with fresh British gooseberries, tangy summer fruits that are in the peak of their season in June and July.
Ingredients
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 250g butter
  • 200g fresh gooseberries, washed and quartered
  • 165g powdered or icing sugar
  • 120g powered almonds
  • 5 egg whites

Instructions
  1. Mix together the sugar, flour and powdered almonds in a bowl.
  2. Soften the butter on a low heat and add to the mixture, stirring until smooth.
  3. Beat the egg whites until fluffy peaks form and then fold carefully into the mixture.
  4. Add the quartered gooseberries and mix in.
  5. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake in a preheated oven (180º) for about 20-25 mins or until golden and well risen.
  6. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
  7. Sprinkle each cupcake with a little icing sugar before serving.

 

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21Jul 12

Asparagus and Cream Cheese Ravioli

Ravioli with Asparagus in a Tarragon Cream CheesePasta – a soft and sensual art in creation and consummation…

Home-made pasta offers a world of discovery.  Try making this asparagus and cream cheese ravioliAsparagus is in full season from April to June. So why not take advantage of the season and also try this asparagus and cheese pudding?

What you need:

  • 500g strong pasta flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • Semolina flour for dusting
  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A little olive oil
  • 80g butter
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to season
  • 425g ricotta cheese
  • 1 large handful of fresh tarragon, finely shredded
  • 90g parmesan cheese, finely grated, and some to sprinkle when you serve

What to do:

  1. Whizz the pasta flour and eggs for about 30 seconds in a food processor.  Let it rest for a couple of minutes and whizz again for a short time, forming dough.  Remove and knead by hand for a couple of minutes until smooth and elastic.  Wrap with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for one hour.
  2. When ready, split the dough into 4 balls, re-wrapping those you’re not working with.  Press one with your palms to flatten it a little then pass it through your pasta machine on the widest setting.  Fold the dough in to the middle from both sides and run it through again.  Do this twice more until your pasta is the width of the machine.  Dust the dough with flour and change the setting on your machine to one thinner.  Keep working the dough through a setting at a time until the pasta is 1-1.5mm thick, in long sheets.
  3. Wash the asparagus and cut into thin pieces. Fry them in olive oil, a little of the butter and the garlic.  Season well with salt and pepper and let cool.
  4. Mix and mush the ricotta, parmesan, asparagus and 2/3 of the tarragon in a bowl.
  5. Lay a pasta sheet out onto a flour-dusted surface and place generous single teaspoons of the mixture onto it, 5cm apart along the length.  Brush water onto the pasta around the filling and gently lay another pasta sheet over the top of the first one.  Use the little finger side of your hand and gently press the pasta together, cupping your curled hand around the filling pressing out any air and sealing the pasta sheets together.  Crinkle cut in between the ravioli to separate them.  Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets and filling.
  6. Cook the pasta in gently boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  Sprinkle the remaining butter and salt onto the drained pasta.  Garnish with the rest of the parmesan and tarragon.

1 hour to prepare plus chilling time, 10 minutes to cook

Makes 4 servings

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18Jul 12

Rich Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Stock

Rich Shepherd's Pie with Red Wine Stock

Have a go at this rich shepherd’s pie with red wine stock, using the best of the season’s lamb. (For a a more vegetarian-friendly aubergine bake, try this baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pesto.

What you need:

  • 450g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 90ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 2 aubergines, cut into small cubes
  • A generous splash of Worcester sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp tomato purée
  • 100ml red wine
  • 90ml lamb, beef or chicken stock
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 floury potatoes, King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled and cut
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Splash of milk
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water for around 15-20 minutes, checking to see if they are tender with a sharp knife.
  3. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, make the pie filling:  Dry fry the lamb mince in a hot, wide and high-sided pan, until browned all over.  This will take around 5 minutes.  Transfer the lamb to a sieve over a bowl to drain.
  4. Meanwhile, add some of the olive oil to the frying pan, and sauté the onions and garlic together for 4-5 minutes until soft.
  5. Combine in the carrots, aubergines and the remaining olive oil (see how much oil the aubergines absorb when they cook!) and cook on for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Add the drained lamb back to the pan, splash over with the Worcester sauce, pour in the tomato purée, add the pinch of sugar, and continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes, stirring the ingredients well.
  7. Now pour in the hot stock and the wine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir, and bring the liquid up to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 6-8 minutes.  Add in the chopped tomatoes, the fresh parsley and thyme.
  8. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them, pat them lightly with kitchen paper and mash them.  Add in the milk and butter, combining the ingredients together.
  9. Transfer the pie filling into a large oven proof dish and cover over with the mashed potato.  Use a fork to create plough lines, and bake the pie in the oven for around 20-30 minutes, until the lamb filling is bubbling and the potato turns golden brown.

Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 40 – 60 minutes to cook

Makes 4 servings

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16Jul 12

Butter Bean and Chorizo Stew

Butter Bean and Chorizo Stew

Butter beans tend to have a fairly limited growing season in the UK – late spring to early summer.  They tend to do a little better in warmer climates, but you can grow them successfully in the UK.  Try planting them after the last frost and harvesting them 80-90 days later.

My butter bean and chorizo stew recipe uses large butter beans, which incidentally are low in fat and a great source of iron.  As we all know, we are fortunate enough to be able to buy butter beans pretty much year-round, either dried or with salty water in jars.  I usually buy them ready-to-use in jars, which avoids the overnight soaking and cooking stages.

I love to make this stew on those spring evenings that still have a chill in the air, on April shower days or crisp early May nights to warm and comfort the family. (Another great option is this bacon, carrot, butter bean and coriander soup.)

What you need:

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or a little more, or less, to your taste
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large carrots, washed and sliced into 1.5cm rounds
  • ½ sweet chorizo sausage, cut into 1.5cm rounds
  • About 500g jar large butter beans, ready to use.  Use a little more, or a little less – it doesn’t matter
  • 600ml tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 2 small tumblers of water, approximately

What to do:

  1. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, fry the onions in the olive oil on a medium heat for a few minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, carrots, chorizo and butter beans and continue to fry for around 5-10 minutes until the carrots begin to soften around the edges.
  3. Pour in the tomato-based pasta sauce and stir to coat all of the ingredients.  Add a small tumbler or two of water until the sauce arrives at the consistency you like.
  4. Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Great served with home-made garlic bread or Rosemary Focaccia to tear and dip.

15 minutes to prepare, 50 – 60 minutes to cook

Makes 4 generous servings

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12Jul 12

Kiwi Fruit Smoothies Collection

Kiwi smoothieTime to raise a glass to your health!

Kiwi fruit is readily available in the UK from January to August.  This visually stunning fruit is so good for you.  It packs a punch in vitamin C and also contains potassium, vitamin E, vitamin A and plenty of dietary fibre, amongst other nutrients.

It has an intense, and some would say sharp, flavour when scooped straight out of its furry greenish-brown skin.  I love it just like that, or mixed in with strawberries and other fruits to make a colourful fruit salad.  But today, I’m going to share a few smoothie recipes with you: kiwi and strawberry smoothie, creamy kiwi smoothie (pictured) and sherbet zest kiwi smoothie.

These smoothies will make a wonderful dessert or a healthy mid-afternoon filler.  So let’s toast your health together in celebration of the wonderful kiwi fruit! (For a different type of fruit smoothie, try this Indian lassi with cardamom and pistachios.)

 

Kiwi and Strawberry Smoothie

What you need:

  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 8 strawberries, topped and sliced
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Generous splash of apple juice
  • 8 ice cubes

What to do:

  1. Pop the ice into your blender, followed by the kiwi fruit, the strawberries, banana and lime juice.  Add a generous splash of apple juice and blend for around 35-45 seconds.  Pour into chilled glasses and delight in the flavours!

5 minutes to prepare

Makes 4 servings

 

Creamy Kiwi Smoothie

What you need:

  • 4 kiwis, peeled
  • 2 tbsp good honey
  • 12 tbsp natural yoghurt

What to do:

  1. Blend the ingredients together in a blender or smoothie maker for around 35-45 seconds, pour into a glass and fill up your body with the wonderful nutrients.

5 minutes to prepare

Makes 4 servings

 

Sherbet Zest Kiwi Smoothie

And now for something a little different…

What you need:

  • 100g kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 100g lime sherbet
  • 200g peeled and diced banana
  • 200g honey dew melon, peeled, deseeded and cubed

What to do:

  1. Blend the ingredients together in a blender or smoothie maker for around 35-45 seconds, pour into a glass and enjoy the tang!

10 minutes to prepare

Makes 4 servings

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10Jul 12

Spinach with bacon and pine nuts

Spinach with bacon and pine nutsA starter that brings four flavours and textures together:  It’s soft, salty, crunchy and sweet.  Go on, try it…

Spinach with bacon and pine nuts uses soft and subtle spinach, brought to life by the saltiness of the bacon, the crunch of the pine nuts, and the sweetness of the raisins.  If you can find a good cured Parma ham, or Spanish Serrano ham to cut into chunks to replace the bacon, they also work really well in this dish.  We often make this dish as a starter, or as a side dish to accompany lamb, beef or pork.  Spinach is in season in the spring.

If you like this combination, I would also recommend these mini-pancakes with mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts.

What you need:

  • 1 kg freshly washed baby spinach leaves
  • 100g small bacon cubes
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to season

What to do:

  1. Cover the raisins with water in a bowl to soak for a little while.
  2. Wash the spinach thoroughly under running water unless you have bought it prewashed and ready to use.  If you are washing it, pat it gently dry afterwards with kitchen paper.
  3. Heat 250ml water on the hob in a large pan, and when it reaches the boil, add the baby spinach leaves, season with salt, cover the pan, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5-8 minutes.  Alternatively steam the spinach.  It’s best to cook it for just enough time to soften it, but without overdoing it, so as to keep the nutrients it contains as alive and effective as possible.  When cooked, remove and drain the spinach and set it to one side.
  4. Drain the water off the raisins, and pat them dry on kitchen paper.
  5. Heat the oil in a shallow, heavy-based frying pan, and fry the bacon pieces on a medium to high heat for a few minutes, moving them about as they cook.  Add the pine nuts and keep stirring as you cook for another few minutes.  Now add the raisins and do the same for another couple of minutes.
  6. Add the cooked spinach to the pan, mixing all of the ingredients together.  Taste a little of the dish and add more salt if necessary, then grind over with a little black pepper.

10 minutes to prepare, 15-20 minutes to cook

Makes: 3-4 starters or side servings

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06Jul 12

Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls

Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls

The shiitake mushrooms in these crispy vegetable spring rolls help to give them a Chinese-style flavour.  You will find spring roll wrappers in Asian supermarkets, or you can order them over the internet. (You can also try these Vietnamese spring rolls.)

What you need:

  • 10 spring roll wrappers
  • ¼ white cabbage, shredded into fine pieces
  • 60g shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin slices
  • 50g sugar snap peas, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 6 bamboo shoots, finely sliced
  • ¼ to ½ pack of beansprouts
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped width-wise
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1L vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Handful of fresh mint, chopped into fine shreds

What to do:

  1. Place a wok on a high heat and when hot, add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Add all of the vegetables and stir fry until slightly softened.
  2. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar, and season well with salt and pepper.  Stir well and remove the wok from the heat.  Stir in the mint and transfer the vegetables into a cold bowl to cool.
  3. Add the litre of vegetable oil to a deep heavy-based saucepan (or deep fat fryer if you have one) and heat the oil on a medium to high heat.
  4. As the oil is coming up to the heat, make up the spring rolls.  Lay out a spring roll wrapper in front of you with one corner facing you to create a diamond effect.  Brush a little of the beaten egg onto the four edges of the wrapper.
  5. Spoon a portion of the vegetables onto the wrapper, a few centimetres from the bottom, in a thin strip, taking care not to touch the edges with filling.
  6. Lift the bottom of the wrapper over and tuck it in under the filling.  Fold the left, then the right sides over the top, and roll upwards to form a tube.  Now brush a little more egg over the top edge and seal it along the roll.  Repeat with the other wrappers until you have 10 rolls.
  7. When the oil is hot, lower in the spring rolls and deep fry them until golden brown all over – just a minute or two.  Drain them on kitchen paper before serving.

Try serving with dips of fresh minty yoghurt and Pantai sweetened chilli sauce.

30 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook
Makes 4-6 servings

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29Jun 12

Paella Valenciana – Rabbit Paella with Spring Onions

Paella ValencianaPaella Valenciana is a Spanish dish from the coastal region of Valencia. During certain fiestas in Spain, the whole village congregates in celebration, and a feast is cooked up for everyone in a gigantic paella dish (which can be metres wide)!  Everyone is there.  The kids play and the grandparents sit and talk in the sun.  I’ve been to a few of these events over the years, and I love both the community feeling, and watching on as the paella is cooked over coal.

One of the secrets of making good paella is this – when you add the stock, stir everything once, then don’t stir it again for the rest of the cooking time.  This way you can create a pretty arrangement of all of the ingredients and they stay in place.  This is particularly effective with seafood paella such as this prawn paella with chorizo.

What you need:

  • 400g rabbit, roughly cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 400g chicken, roughly cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 250g green beans
  • 150g fresh peas, removed from the pod (or substitute with frozen peas)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
  • 400g paella rice
  • 1.5L chicken stock
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground paprika, sweet or smoked
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Salt

What to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a paella dish or large, flat-based frying pan.
  2. Add the chicken and the rabbit, browning the meat all over on a fairly high heat to seal in the juices.  Fry like this for 4-5 minutes, turning the meat as necessary.
  3. Add the onions and the green beans to the pan, and on a medium heat, cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, the saffron, the sweet paprika and the salt, and fry for a few minutes before pouring in about two-thirds of a litre of the chicken stock.  Stir immediately, just once, and bring the stock up to the boil.  Add the peas and then turn down the heat and simmer until the rice softens – this could take 20-30 minutes depending on the rice you are using.  Don’t cover the pan with a lid but do keep an eye on the dish and add more stock if necessary as it absorbs and evaporates during cooking.  Don’t let the pan run dry because the rice will then stick.  At the end of the cooking time, you are aiming for all of the stock to have been absorbed into the dish, leaving the rice soft, moist and full of flavour.
  5. Season lightly again all over with salt and place the cooking dish on a mat on the table to serve once sat down together.  Enjoy with wine or beer and a hunk of baguette.

20-30 minutes to prepare, less than 45 minutes to cook

Makes: 4 main courses

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