Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savoury and the appetite is keen.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

Devilled Kidneys


2 ts Worstershire sauce
2 ts mushroom ketchup
1 ts English mustard powder
2 oz butter; melted
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 " salt
1 " black pepper; freshly ground
8 lamb's kidneys
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts chopped parsley


Mix together the Worstershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, mustard, 1 ounce
butter, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.

Clean the kidneys by removing
the outer skin and cutting away the core.

Cut each kidney into three or
four pieces.

Heat the remaining butter with the oil in a frying pan and
cook kidneys for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally.

Pour the sauce
mixture over the kidneys and stir for 1 to 2 minutes to coat the kidneys.

Serve on warmed plates, with hot buttered toast.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Søren Kierkegaard quote

"...therefore would I rather be a swineherd on Amager, and be understood by the swine than a poet, and misunderstood by men."

— Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Danish existentialist philosopher writing in Either/Or (1843).



Baked Hot Citrus Gammon



  • 1.2 kg unsmoked gammon (boned and rolled)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chopped chillies
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 10 whole black peppercorns


Place the unsmoked gammon joint (without any packaging) in a large stock pan and cover with cold water.

  1. Add to the water the black peppercorns, fresh flat leaf parsley, bay leaf and the zest from two clementines and one lime. Place the rind less fruit into a refrigerator until their squeezed juice is required later in the recipe.
  2. Bring the gammon and ingredients in the water to the boil. This may take a while. Once boiling well reduce the heat under the stock pot until the liquid is a gentle simmer. Leave the stock pan simmering gently for two hours, checking every 30 minutes. Turn over the gammon at the one hour point. This should be done with great care.
  3. Once the gammon is slowly cooked, the stock pan should be removed from the heat, the liquid drained from the gammon and the gammon set to one side uncovered to slightly cool. Within 20 to 30 minutes, the gammon should be able to be handled. Cut away the skin and most (but not all) of the fat. Score into the fat in a criss-cross pattern.
  4. In a separate bowl make up the hot citrus rub. Ingredients for the hot citrus glazing are the chopped chilled, finely chopped garlic cloves, the freshly squeezed juice of the clementines and lime plus the light brown sugar. Mix well in the bowl.
  5. Spoon the glaze over the boiled gammon and bake the gammon, standing in the Clementine and lime liquid, in an oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the garlic is roasted.
  6. Carve the Baked Hot Citrus Gammon immediately for serving or eat as a cold cut within 2 days of cooking.

Friday, September 25, 2009

John Steinbeck quote

It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.  ~John Steinbeck

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fish pie



55g/2oz scallops

455g/1lb cod or Huss fillets, skinned and cubed
115g/4oz mussels
115g/4oz cooked tiger prawns
55g/2oz butter
55g/2oz plain flour
150ml/¼ pint dry white wine
425ml/¾ pint stock
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp soured cream
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
4 sliced boiled eggs

900g/2lb potatoes, par-boiled and grated
1-2 carrots, peeled and par-boiled
30g/1oz butter, melted
55g/2oz strong cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. In a small pan heat the butter, add the flour stirring continuously.
3. Heat the wine, stock, bay leaf and seasoning. Add slowly to the flour mixture, stirring continuously.
4. Add the fish, shellfish,boiled egg slices, soured cream and herbs. Pour into a 1.2 litre/2 pint pie dish.
5. Mix together the potato, carrot, butter and cheese; place on top of the fish sauce.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Samuel Johnson quote

Any of us would kill a cow rather than not have beef

Samuel Johnson


Beef Carbonade



  • 3 - 3.5 lbs. of stew beef, cut in 2" cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of flour
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon of wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 3 cups of beer
  • 2 cups of boiling water (approximately)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    Heat the butter on high.
    Sauté the meat until brown.
    Sprinkle the flour on the meat and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
    In a heavy casserole dish:
    Place half of the meat in the bottom,
    Add herbs (cumin, tarragon and parsley), onions (cut in fine slices),
    Place remainder of the meat on top,
    Pour beer over the meat and add enough boiling water just to cover.
    Salt and pepper to taste and add thyme and bay leaf,
    Cook until boiling.
    Mix the vinegar and Honey and add into the dish.
    Place lid on casserole dish and put in oven heated to 300 degrees F.
    Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours

  • Shoulder of lamb Navaran

    shoulder-lamb navarine

    Serves 6-8
    50g butter
    900g British shoulder or leg lamb, cubed
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp flour
    300ml beef stock
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    1 tbsp tomato puree
    1 bouquet garni
    2 bay leaves
    450g baby new potatoes, scrubbed
    225g baby carrots, trimmed
    225g shallots, peeled and left whole
    For the herb dumplings:
    50g self-raising flour
    50g fine breadcrumbs
    2 tbsp suet, shredded
    Handful parsley, finely chopped
    1 tsp rosemary chopped
    1 egg.

    Preheat the oven to 180C 350F or gas 4. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof casserole dish and add the meat, salt and pepper. Stir well to brown meat on all sides, then remove and set aside.
    Add the sugar to the casserole and brown gently to make a caramel. Return the meat to the casserole, add the stout and stir well.
    Add the stock, garlic, tomato puree, bouquet garni and bay leaves and stir well again. Cover and cook for one hour.
    For the dumplings, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, suet, chopped herbs, seasoning and egg together and, using your hands, roll into walnut-sized balls.
    After one hour cooking, remove casserole from the oven, add the potatoes, carrots, shallots and dumplings and return to the oven and cook for a further 40 minutes. Check the vegetables are cooked and then serve.

    William Blake Quote

    When the stars threw down their spears, / And watered heaven with their tears, / Did he smile his work to see? / Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”

    William Blake


    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Beouf Wellington

    beouf wellington


    1 kg/2lb 4 oz middle cut beef fillet, trimmed
    ¼ bunch of thyme, finely chopped
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    55g/2oz butter
    1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
    500g/1lb 2oz flat field mushrooms, finely chopped
    a few drops of truffle oil
    1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    English mustard, to taste
    500g/1lb 2oz block puff pastry
    1 egg, lightly beaten, to seal the pastry
    melted butter, to glaze


    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
    2. Season the beef with the thyme, sea salt and pepper and rest for 30 minutes.
    3. Heat a pan and sear each side of the beef until golden brown.
    4. Allow to cool to room temperature.
    5. For the Duxelle, sweat the butter, garlic and mushrooms in a pan over a low heat until all the moisture evaporates.
    6. Add the truffle oil and parsley, and season to taste.
    7. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
    8. Smear the beef with an even coating of English mustard.
    9. Lightly dust a sheet of baking paper with flour.
    10. Roll the pastry so it is a little wider than the beef, and the beef can be completely rolled in pastry.
    11. Place the pastry so the longest half is facing you.
    12. Spread the Duxelle mixture evenly over the half of the pastry closest to you.
    13. Place the beef on top of the mushroom mix.
    14. Roll the beef up in the pastry, leaving a slight overlap of 3cm/1¼in. Brush this with beaten egg and seal.
    15. Trim the ends of the pastry so they are flush with the beef.
    16. Cut a sheet of baking paper to the size of the beef Wellington.
    17. Place the beef Wellington on the paper, lightly brush the top with melted butter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    18. Put the beef Wellington in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until dark golden in colour.
    19. Serve.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Wild mushroom+ mascarpone quiche

    mushroom tart

    1. 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    2. 45g butter
    3. 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
    4. Large pinch of caster sugar
    5. 500g mixed wild and chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
    6. 25g mascarpone
    7. 100ml double cream
    8. 2 large eggs, beaten
    9. 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
    10. 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
    11. 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    For the pastry case
    1. 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    2. 65g chilled butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
    3. 65g chilled lard, cut into pieces
    4. 40g parmesan cheese, finely grated
    1. 1. For the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Add the butter and lard and whizz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese, then 2 tablespoons cold water and mix until the pastry comes together into a ball.
    2. 2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Lightly grease a 23cm round x 4cm deep loose-bottomed flan tin. Thinly roll out the pastry on the floured surface and use to line the flan tin. Chill for 20 minutes.
    3. 3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Line the pastry with baking paper and beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the pastry is pale-golden.
    4. 4. Meanwhile, heat the oil and 15g butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, sugar and some seasoning and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until soft and lightly caramelised. Tip into a large bowl.
    5. 5. Melt another 15g butter in the pan, add half the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened and excess moisture has evaporated. Season and tip into the bowl with the onion. Repeat with the remaining butter and mushrooms. Set aside to cool slightly.
    6. 6. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone with the cream until smooth, then mix in the eggs and half of the grated cheese. Stir into the mushroom and onion mixture with the tarragon, parsley and some seasoning.
    7. 7. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden.

    Alexandre Dumas quote

    "I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a small provincial town."
    Alexandre Dumas, early 19th century


    Lobster Bisque


    • 1.5kg lobster heads
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 small carrot, chopped
    • 1 stick celery, chopped
    • 2 sprigs flat-leaved parsley
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 large tomato
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, plus extra to serve
    • 1 tbsp brandy
    • 300ml dry white wine
    • 1 litre fish stock
    • 500ml veal stock
    • 250ml double cream
    • 8 tsp Armagnac
    • sea salt


    1. Crush the lobster heads with a mallet or a rolling pin until they are well broken up.

    2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, carrot and celery over low heat. When the vegetables are lightly browned, add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf and the lobster heads, stirring so that the contents do not stick or burn. After about 5 minutes, stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée and cayenne pepper. Add the brandy and stir well for a minute or two, then add the wine. Bring to the boil and cook for at least 3 minutes.

    3. Add the fish stock and veal stock and bring back to the boil. Season lightly with sea salt. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off the scum that appears on the surface.

    4. Drain through a colander set over a large bowl, pressing the lobster bones well to extract all the juices and flavour. Then strain this liquid through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Bring to the boil and skim.

    5. To serve, bring the soup back to the boil and allow it to reduce by one-third. Add up to 250ml double cream, according to taste, and boil for 5 minutes. Pour 2 teaspoons Armagnac per person into four warmed soup bowls and pour the soup over it. If you have any lobster claw meat available add that too.

    6. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, dress with a little chives and serve immediately.

    Edward Lear quote

    Time will show as the Lobster said when they assured him he would become red if he fell into the boiler.”
    Edward Lear, English artist, writer (1812-1888)

    lobster lobster1

    Duck leg confit

    duck leg confit

    • 4 duck legs
    • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 3 heads of garlic
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • rendered duck fat, for cooking

    For the Madeira sauce

    • 75g butter
    • 2 shallots, chopped
    • 150ml Madeira
    • 175ml dry white wine
    • 300ml thickened veal stock

    1. Lay the duck legs on a tray and sprinkle with sea salt, chopped bay leaves and thyme leaves.
    2. Cut 2 garlic heads in half and arrange around the duck legs. Cover with food wrap and leave to marinade for 24 hours in the fridge.
    3. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas ½. Wash off the herbs and pat dry. Lay the duck in a deep, heavy based saucepan.
    4. Add the onion and carrot and top with the remaining halves of garlic.
    5. Melt the duck fat and pour over the legs. Cover with a lid and cook for 3 hours, making sure that the fat does not boil.
    6. Remove the legs from the pan and place in a clean bowl. Leave to cool.
    7. Strain the fat through a fine sieve and pour over the duck legs. Refrigerate for 2 days (they will keep like this for a long time if well covered with the fat). To serve, remove from the fat.
    8. When you are ready to serve the duck legs, preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Heat a frying pan and lay the duck legs in, skin side up. Cook for 2 minutes, before turning over. Transfer to a hot oven and cook for 10 minutes, until hot all the way through and crisp.
    9. Drain the legs on absorbent paper.
    10. Meanwhile, make the Madeira sauce. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the shallots until softened but not coloured.
    11. Add the Madeira and white wine and reduce by two-thirds. Pour in the thickened veal stock and bring to the boil; simmer for 5 minutes.
    12. Stir in the butter.
    13. Present the duck skin side up. Serve sauce in a sauce boat.

    Walter Cronkite Quote

    The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.
    Walter Cronkite


    Duck Breast with Blueberry Sauce



    • 10 g salt
    • 2 g fresh-ground black pepper
    • 6 g dried thyme leaves
    • 3 g crushed dried rosemary
    • 45 ml olive oil
    • 4 potatoes, cubed
    • 660 g fresh or frozen blueberries
    • 120 ml water
    • 120 ml apple juice
    • 100 g white sugar
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
    • 3 slices pancetta or bacon, cut into thin strips
    • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
    • 75 g sliced shiitake mushrooms
    • 910 g bok choy, sliced
    • 4 (8 ounce) boneless duck breast halves
    • 30 ml vegetable oil
    • 15 g butter
    • 30 ml aged balsamic vinegar


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl mix together the salt, ground black pepper, thyme, and rosemary; set aside. This will be your spice blend for seasoning the roasted potatoes and the duck breasts.
    2. Place cubed potatoes into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of your spice blend over the top of the potatoes. Toss the potatoes in the pan until they are evenly coated with oil and seasonings. Spread into a single layer across the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
    3. While the potatoes are roasting, stir together the blueberries, water, apple juice, sugar, and jalapeno in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of syrup, about 10 minutes.
    4. Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove the pancetta to drain on a paper towel, leaving the drippings in the skillet. Add the shallots and the mushrooms to the hot skillet; stir and cook them until soft and just beginning to brown. Remove the shallots and mushrooms and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high and place the bok choy in the hot skillet. Stir and cook the bok choy until the leaves are wilted and the white stalk pieces are tender, about 5 minutes. Return the shallots, mushrooms, and pancetta to the skillet, turn off the heat and set aside.
    5. Rinse the duck breast halves and pat dry. Rub the remaining spice blend onto both sides of the duck breasts. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat, when the pan is hot put in the vegetable oil and butter. Immediately place the duck breasts in the pan, skin and fat side down. Do not move the duck breasts until the skin is deep brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part is 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) for well done. Remove the duck from the pan and place on a plate, covered with foil to rest for 5 minutes. While the duck is resting, place the skillet with the bok choy mixture onto a burner over medium heat to warm through.
    6. Slice each duck breast diagonally into 1/2 inch strips. Divide the bok choy mixture among four plates and drizzle each serving with 1/2 tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar. Arrange the sliced duck breasts on top of the bok choy mixture; ladle on blueberry sauce. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes on the side.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Salmon and caper sauce



    • 100g butter
    • 250g shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    • ½ x 1kg new potatoes, peeled and par-boiled for 5 minutes then cooled
    • 15g coriander, finely chopped
    • 2 x 15ml spoons cider vinegar
    • 100ml sunflower oil
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 salmon fillets
    • 250g dwarf beans
    • 284ml fish stock
    • 142ml double cream
    • 40g capers, drained and rinsed
    • 15ml spoon gin


    Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook the shallots gently until almost caramelised then allow to cool.

    In a large bowl coarsely grate the potatoes. Add the shallots, coriander, vinegar, oil and seasoning.

    Mix and form into 4 large flat patties and cook slowly in a large frying pan until golden on both sides.

    At the same time, place the salmon fillets in a frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

    While the fish and rostis are cooking, place the fish stock in a small saucepan over a medium/high heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Cook the green beans in boiling water until tender and keep warm.

    Stir the cream into the stock and continue reducing until the sauce thickens, then add the capers, gin and seasoning to taste.

    To serve, place the rosti on a plate, top with some green beans, then the salmon fillet and spoon over a little caper sauce.

    Louis XI quote

    I have chased the English out of France more easily than my father ever did, for my father drove them out by force of arms, whereas I have driven them out with venison pies and good wine.

    -Louis XI
    Said after the signing of the Treaty of Picquigny, Sep.

    The Ballad Of Bouillabaisse


    The Ballad Of Bouillabaisse


    A street there is in Paris famous,
    For which no rhyme our language yields,
    Rue Neuve des Petits Champs its name is--
    The New Street of the Little Fields.
    And here's an inn, not rich and splendid,
    But still in comfortable case;
    The which in youth I oft attended,
    To eat a bowl of Bouillabaisse.

    This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is--
    A sort of soup or broth, or brew,
    Or hotchpotch of all sorts of fishes,
    That Greenwich never could outdo;
    Green herbs, red peppers, mussels, saffron,
    Soles, onions, garlic, roach, and dace:
    All these you eat at TERRE'S tavern,
    In that one dish of Bouillabaisse.

    Indeed, a rich and savory stew 'tis;
    And true philosophers, methinks,
    Who love all sorts of natural beauties,
    Should love good victuals and good drinks.
    And Cordelier or Benedictine
    Might gladly, sure, his lot embrace,
    Nor find a fast-day too afflicting,
    Which served him up a Bouillabaisse.

    I wonder if the house still there is?
    Yes, here the lamp is, as before;
    The smiling red-checked ecaillere is
    Still opening oysters at the door.
    Is TERRE still alive and able?
    I recollect his droll grimace:
    He'd come and smile before your table,
    And hope you liked your Bouillabaisse.

    We enter--nothing's changed or older.
    "How's Monsieur TERRE, waiter, pray?"
    The waiter stares and shrugs his shoulder--
    "Monsieur is dead this many a day."
    "It is the lot of saint and sinner,
    So honest TERRE'S run his race."
    "What will Monsieur require for dinner?"
    "Say, do you still cook Bouillabaisse?"

    "Oh, oui, Monsieur," 's the waiter's answer;
    "Quel vin Monsieur desire-t-il?"
    "Tell me a good one."--"That I can, Sir:
    The Chambertin with yellow seal."
    "So TERRE'S gone," I say, and sink in
    My old accustom'd corner-place
    He's done with feasting and with drinking,
    With Burgundy and Bouillabaisse."

    My old accustom'd corner here is,
    The table still is in the nook;
    Ah! vanish'd many a busy year is
    This well-known chair since last I took.
    When first I saw ye, cari luoghi,
    I'd scarce a beard upon my face,
    And now a grizzled, grim old fogy,
    I sit and wait for Bouillabaisse.

    Where are you, old companions trusty
    Of early days here met to dine?
    Come, waiter! quick, a flagon crusty--
    I'll pledge them in the good old wine.
    The kind old voices and old faces
    My memory can quick retrace;
    Around the board they take their places,
    And share the wine and Bouillabaisse.

    There's JACK has made a wondrous marriage;
    There's laughing TOM is laughing yet;
    There's brave AUGUSTUS drives his carriage;
    There's poor old FRED in the Gazette;
    On JAMES'S head the grass is growing;
    Good Lord! the world has wagged apace
    Since here we set the Claret flowing,
    And drank, and ate the Bouillabaisse.

    Ah me! how quick the days are flitting!
    I mind me of a time that's gone,
    When here I'd sit, as now I'm sitting,
    In this same place--but not alone.
    A fair young form was nestled near me,
    A dear, dear face looked fondly up,
    And sweetly spoke and smiled to cheer me
    --There's no one now to share my cup.

    . . . . .

    I drink it as the Fates ordain it.
    Come, fill it, and have done with rhymes:
    Fill up the lonely glass, and drain it
    In memory of dear old times.
    Welcome the wine, whate'er the seal is;
    And sit you down and say your grace
    With thankful heart, whate'er the meal is.
    --Here comes the smoking Bouillabaisse!


    William Makepeace Thackeray




    For croutons
    • 12 to 16 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette slices
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, halved

    For soup
    • 1 lb crab meat
    • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 lb boiling potatoes
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 9 cups white fish stock(or store-bought)
    • 3 pounds white fish fillets (such as monkfish, turbot, red snapper, striped bass, porgy, grouper, and/or cod), cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1/2 pound cockles or small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed
    • 1/2 pound cultivated mussels, scrubbed and any beards removed
    • 1/2 pound large shrimp in shells
    • Rouille


    Make croutons:
    Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 250°F.

    Arrange bread slices in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and brush both sides with oil. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes. Rub 1 side of each toast with a cut side of garlic.

    Make soup:

    Cook tomatoes, onion, and garlic in oil in cleaned 6- to 8-quart pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir potatoes into tomatoes with fennel fronds, bay leaf, saffron, sea salt, and pepper. Add stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Add thicker pieces of fish and cockles to soup and simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Stir in mussels, shrimp, crab and remaining fish and simmer, covered, until they are just cooked through and mussels open wide, about 5 minutes.

    Stir 3 tablespoons broth from soup into rouille until blended.

    Arrange 2 croutons in each of 6 to 8 deep soup bowls. Carefully transfer fish and shellfish from soup to croutons with a slotted spoon, then ladle some broth with vegetables over seafood.

    Top each serving with 1 teaspoon rouille and serve remainder on the side.

    Ingredients for Rouille

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a baguette, crust removed)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Preparation

    Pour water over bread crumbs in a bowl. Mash garlic to a paste with sea salt and cayenne using a mortar and pestle. Add moistened bread crumbs and mash into garlic paste.

    Add oil in a slow stream, mashing and stirring vigorously with pestle until combined well.

    Oscar Wilde quote

    After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives.   Oscar Wilde



    • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
    • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper, or combination of red and green bell pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
    • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
    • 1 pound peeled, cleaned, and cooked shrimp
    • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced

    Heat oil over medium heat in a large deep skillet. Add ham; brown lightly. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until tender. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, water, rice, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and sliced chorizo and heat through. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

    Serves 4 to 6.

    Venison and Blackberries

    venison with blackberries


    For the venison
    250g/9oz smoked streaky bacon, pounded thin with a knife handle or rolling pin
    1 kg/2lb 2oz venison loin, fat trimmed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    For the glaze
    110ml/4fl oz chicken stock
    110g/4oz blackberries
    1 tbsp sloe gin
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    For the rösti
    500g/1lb 2oz old potatoes, grated
    500g/1lb 2oz turnip, grated
    250g/9oz carrot, grated
    50g/2oz butter, melted
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tsp olive oil
    For the parsnip crisps
    vegetable oil, for frying
    1 parsnip, thinly sliced
    To serve
    150g/5oz sugar snap peas
    200g/7oz green beans
    olive oil, for drizzling
    salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. For the venison, cut the loin into medallions about 2cm/¾in thick.
    2. Wrap a piece of bacon around the side of each venison medallion, securing with a cocktail stick.
    3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the venison and fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and leave to rest on a warm plate.
    4. For the blackberry and sloe gin glaze, add the stock to the pan and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate the caramelised meat juices.
    5. Add the blackberries and poach for 2-3 minutes, mashing them lightly with the back of a fork.
    6. Add the sloe gin and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    7. For the rösti, mix the grated vegetables together and place in a clean tea towel. Roll the towel tightly into a ball and squeeze out all the water from the vegetables.
    8. Break up the ball of vegetables into a bowl and add the melted butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well to combine.
    9. Press the mixture into a patty about 1cm/½in thick.
    10. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the rösti. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden-brown and crisp.
    11. For the parsnip crisps, cover the base of a deep sided frying pan with about 3cm/1¼in of vegetable oil. Carefully drop the parsnip slices into the hot oil and fry until golden-brown and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper.
    12. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the the sugar snap peas for two minutes and the green beans for 3-4 minutes. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    13. Cut the rösti into four pieces and place a piece in the centre of four serving plates. Top each rösti with the venison, a spoonful of sauce and some parsnip crisps. Place the greens alongside and serve immediately.

    Louisiana Gumbo



    oil for frying
    275g/10oz onions, chopped
    225g/8oz green peppers, chopped
    2 sticks celery, chopped
    25g/1oz spicy sausage, sliced
    25g/1oz smoked pork or bacon, cubed
    1 tsp crushed garlic
    ½ tsp dried oregano
    ½ tsp dried thyme
    1 bay leaf, crumbled
    1 tsp salt
    1½ tsp cayenne pepper
    1½ tsp paprika
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
    1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
    300ml/10fl oz puréed fresh tomatoes, strained
    crab shells to flavour (optional)
    450g/1lb large prawns (reserve the shells and heads for the stock)
    1 dozen oysters
    225g/8oz crab meat
    6 freshwater crayfish
    200g/8oz cooked rice to serve

    For the fish stock:

    fish heads, tails and trimmings
    1 onion
    2 carrots
    1 stick celery
    1 leek
    1 bay leaf
    2 sprigs parsley
    black peppercorns
    prawn shells and heads


    1. Place all the ingredients for the stock in a large saucepan and cover with about 1.7 litres/3 pints cold water. Simmer for as long as possible - 4 hours if you can manage it - and strain. Set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions, green peppers and celery and let them sweat for a few minutes. Add the spicy sausage and smoked pork.
    3. Stir in the garlic, herbs, salt and spices.

    4. Add the Tabasco sauce, puréed tomatoes and 1.1 litres/2 pints of the fish stock. Simmer for at least 45 minutes.
    5. Add crab shells, if you have them, to give a little extra flavour and colour, the prawns, oysters, crab meat, crayfish and Simmer for another 10 minutes.
    6. To serve as a main course, place a quarter of the rice in each bowl and top up with Gumbo.

    Five Spice Duck Breast

    five spice duck breast
    • 4 duck breasts , look for free-range
    • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
    • olive oil for frying
    • 2 star anise, broken in half
    • 4 bok choi , halved
    • 4 spring onions, cut into lengths
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • chicken stock fresh, cube or concentrate, made up to 100ml
    • 2 tsp runny honey


    Cut slashes through the skin and fat of each duck breast, making sure you don't cut into the flesh. Rub the duck breasts with the five spice and season well. Heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan and when it is really hot add the duck breasts skin-side down. Turn the heat down a little and fry for 8-10 minutes or until the skin is very crisp and brown and the fat has started to melt out from under the skin. Tip out any excess fat.

  • Turn the breasts over and add the star anise to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the duck breasts feel firm to the touch but not too solid - you want them pink in the middle. Take the duck out and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the bok choi to the pan with the spring onions and cook briefly. Add the rest of the ingredients and bubble together briefly. Plate the duck, bok choy and spring onions and spoon the sauce over.
  • Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Quote Voltaire

    Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

    Cajun dirty rice and blackened ribs


    • 3/4 pound chicken gizzards
    • 3 1/2 cups hot chicken broth or beef broth
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
    • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1/2 pound ground lean pork
    • 1/2 cup chopped onions
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onions with tops
    • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or a few dashes Tabasco sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
    • 1/2 pound chicken livers, finely diced
    Simmer gizzards in the chicken or beef broth for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove gizzards with a slotted spoon; grind or mince. Reserve broth. Heat bacon drippings and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy casserole. Sauté the pork and gizzards over high heat until pork is no longer pink. Lower heat; add vegetables and seasonings and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and reserved broth; bring rapidly to a boil, stir once, cover, and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, until rice is tender.
    Sauté minced chicken livers in remaining butter for 3 minutes. Toss with the rice, taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and let rice fluff in a 225° oven for 10 minutes .
    Serves 4 to 6.

    blackened ribs


  • 110 g brown sugar
  • 4 g ground cumin
  • 15 g ground black pepper
  • 10 g ground coriander
  • 30 g chili powder
  • 30 g salt
  • 60 ml soy sauce
  • 65 g chili powder
  • 25 g Cajun-style blackened seasoning(see below)
  • 2725 g prime rib roast, bone in
  • 475 ml water
  • Preparation:

    1. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cumin, black pepper, coriander, 1/4 cup chili powder, salt, and soy sauce. In a separate small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup chili powder and blackened seasoning. Set aside.
    2. Cut ribs from roast, and place in a roasting pan. They will act as a roasting rack. Rub the meat all over with the soy sauce mixture. Then rub and coat with the Cajun seasoning mixture. Let marinate for at least one hour or wrap in plastic, and chill overnight.
    3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
    4. Remove any plastic from roast, and place pan into the preheated oven. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Pour water into the pan to produce moist heat. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and continue roasting for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature is at least 130-140 degrees F/55-60 degrees C) for medium rare, or (145-155 degrees F/63-68 degrees C) for medium . Let the roast stand for 30 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the centre.

    Cajun Style Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 4 teaspoons dried leaf thyme
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Mix
  • Technorati Tags: ,,

    Delicious Beef Curry

    beef curry1

    Dry spice mixture

    • 1 dessertspoon ground coriander
    • 1 dessertspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seed
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
    • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
    • 1 teaspoon green chilli (finely chopped)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground red chilli

    Wet spice mixture

    • 4 oz creamed coconut
    • 4oz tomato puree
    • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind puree
    • 1 dessertspoon honey
    • 1 crushed garlic

    Spice mixture

    • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
    • 1/2 teaspoon cassia bark
    • 1/2 teaspoon curry leaves

    Fried mixture

    • 2 Spanish onions, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove crushed
    • 1 cube of fresh ginger, finely chopped


    1. Mix together the dry spice mixture and roll 1lb cubed beef until well covered.
    2. Chop onions, garlic, ginger and fry for a few minutes in ghee. Add the meat and gently fry a few pieces at a time.
    3. Separately dissolve wet mix ingredients in warm water. Then add to the fried meat, combine and simmer for 15 minutes.
    4. Add spice mixture and gently simmer for a few minutes more.
    5. Put curry in an oiled casserole dish and simmer for half an hour, stir regularly to prevent the curry from sticking.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Sea of Life

    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

    Mark Twain.