Saturday, 28 May 2011

Strawberry and wild rose petal pavlovas

Another flower recipe - what the hell, the summer months are quite a lean time for the forager, we might as well enjoy these fragile festoons along the hedgerows while we still can. Serves 4.

4 egg whites
200g Light muscovado sugar
1stp Cornflour
1tsp Rosehip vinegar
500g Strawberries
1tsp Rosewater
A few tablespoons of granulated sugar
A large handful of wild rose petals
A large pot of double cream, whipped

1 Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks; slowly whisk in the sugar, then the cornflour and vinegar. Spoon 4 meringues onto parchment covered baking sheets, bake for 1 hour and turn the oven off. Leave to cool.
2 Roughly chop 250g of the strawberries. Place in a pan with the granulated sugar, a splash of water and simmer for 10 minutes. When the strawberries have broken down, add the petals and rosewater. Keep on the heat for a further 5 minutes, then pass through a seive into a bowl.
3 Whisk the cream until thick. Take a few tablespoons of the strawberry syrup and fold into the cream, only briefly so that the syrup streaks the cream. Spoon the cream onto the meringue nests, then arrange chopped strawberries on top. Finish with and extra drizzle of syrup.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pan-fried Sea Bass with a quick tomato salsa

You could serve this salsa with salmon, mackerel - any white fish; it would also be great spooned over a piece of chicken snatched straight off the barbie. I hear the weather forecast for tomorrow is a bit grim, so we're seizing the opportunity to have something light and summery while the going's good.

2 Line-caught Sea Bass fillets

A small punnet of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 Red chilli, finely chopped
The juice of 1 lime
2tsp Fish sauce
1tsp Sugar
A pinch of salt
Fresh coriander leaves
Rapeseed oil

1 Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Mix the the tomatoes, shallot and chilli together in a bowl, stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and coriander then put to one side.
2 Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan. Place the fillets skin side down in the pan and fry for 4-5 minutes, after which the skin should be nice and crispy. Flip over with a spatula and cook on the white side for about a minute. Plate up, then serve with a generous spoonful of salsa.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hampshire breed sausages with puy lentils

I'd thought the term 'Snorker' to be an oft-used colloquialism for the

sausage around these parts. However, upon mentioning to friends that I was

"Gonna buy some good snorkers at the weekend", i think it was assumed

that I was referring to either a) some kind of bizarre sub-aquatic

enterprise, or b) an acquisition altogether more saucy, perhaps

warranting a Sid James-esque cackle as I left the shop. As it happened

I was just going to the butchers to get some bits for lunch, but such

is the way. Serves 2.

4 Hampshire breed sausages

200g Cooked puy lentils

1 Red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Fresh thyme, stalks removed

2tsp Dijon mustard

4tbsp Olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

A small bunch of spring onions

1 Pop your sausages under the grill. Gently soften the garlic, chilli,

onions and thyme in a pan, stir in the lentils and turn the heat off.

2 When the sausages are just about ready, spoon the mustard into a jam

jar, then add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Season, shake well and stir

into the lentils, along with the spring onions. Serve

with the cooked snorkers.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Elderflower cordial

It’s the first port of call for many when the elderflowers emerge each year, and for good reason. I’m working on some unusual ways of using elderflower with meat at the moment (stick with me here), but for the moment here’s a recipe for the classic cordial.

For a quick and refreshing cocktail, mix 1 shot of vodka, a splash of elderflower cordial, mint leaves, sliced cucumber and ice in the bottom of high ball glass, then top up with soda water. It's a quencher.

Elderflower cordial

25 Elderflower heads

2kg Granulated sugar

3 Pints boiling water

1 Unwaxed lemon

1 Unwaxed orange

50g Citric acid

Add the sugar to large bowl/pan and pour over the boiling water. Stir to dissolve, then add the zest and juice of the lemon and orange. Give the elderflowers a little shake outside to get rid of any bugs, then stir into the sugary syrup. Cover with a cloth and leave for 24 hours. Strain through muslin and decant into sterilised bottles*.

* Make them strong bottles. One of mine exploded once; it was not in the slightest bit amusing.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Orecciette with braised rabbit, wild fennel and red clover flowers

I couldn’t resist adding a few red clover flowers to this dish, in a (my sister would suggest sick) nod to Thumper’s favourite nibble in Bambi. His enthusiasm was well founded, they have a gentle pea-like flavour. Making your own orecciette is rewarding and theraputic in equal measure; it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. Serves 2.

For the Orecciette

200g Semolina

100g Plain flour

Warm water

1 Rabbit, jointed

2 Bay leaves

A Few sprigs of thyme

A Few black peppercorns

Chicken stock

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Large red onion, finely chopped

1tsp Wild fennel seeds

Salt and pepper

A small bunch of flatleaf parsey leaves, roughly chopped

Wild fennel fronds

A few red clover flowers

Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

1 Mix the semolina and flour together in a large bowl. Add the water slowly, bringing everything together until you have a firm dough. Knead on a floured work surface for 10-15 minutes, at which point the dough should be nice and elastic.

To shape, flour your hands and roll out a small, marble-sized ball of dough. Place in the centre of your palm and gently flatten with your thumb, pulling away slightly at the end to create a curled ‘ear’ shape. Pop your orecciette onto a floured tray.

2 Heat the stock in a shallow pan with bay, peppercorns and thyme. Add the rabbit, topping up with a little water if necessary to just about cover the meat. Braise for about an hour, taking care that the water doesn’t boil. When the rabbit is tender, remove from the stock and set aside to cool. Strain the stock through a sieve, then pour back into the pan. Top up with a little more water, bring to the boil and add the orecciette.

3 Remove the rabbit meat from the bones, then heat a slosh of good olive oil in a sauté pan. Soften the garlic, onion and fennel seeds, before adding the rabbit to warm through. When the pasta is soft and to your liking, kill the heat on the stock and remove the ears with a slotted spoon.

4 Stir the pasta into the softened onions and rabbit, along with a couple of ladels of stock and some roughly chopped parsley. Season, then serve with parmesan, wild fennel fronds and red clover flowers (chive flowers are good too if you’re sans clover).

For more fresh pasta recipes, Giulia Scarpaleggia is curating this month's pasta themed Monthly Mingle. See below for more information...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Violet and lime granita

This dessert is simple, refreshing and quick to make. Sharpness of lime adds spirit and a gentle, almost melancholy violet hue cools the scorched reds of a hot summer’s day. Perfect for an alfresco supper at dusk, or spooned into paper cups for the younglings.

2 Cups of Water

1 Cup of Violet sugar

Zest and juice of 4 Limes

Heat the water in a pan, add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Squeeze in the lime juice, then allow to cool. Strain, pour into a container and freeze overnight. To serve, scratch at the frozen surface with a fork and scoop into chilled glasses.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Shot for BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2011 issue
Recipe: Julie Frankland
Prop styling: Jo Harris
Food styling: Kate Calder