Scallops with pancetta velouté and parsnip purée
You know when you start cooking something and you realise that the list of ingredients alone belies the time and effort requires to cook a meal...Well last night I started cooking Scallops with pancetta velouté and parsnip purée, a recipe from James Nathan (08's Masterchef winner - amazingly talented!).
The dish, once completed (I think it took just over an hour and a half), tasted fantastic...I dread to think how long it would have taken to cook all three of his proposed "Valentine menu" courses though.
It would have been nice to visit The Vineyard, when James was working there to try out some of his creations in the flesh. I've only been to the (two star) Vineyard once and, in spite of the foam on every course, the food was divine. The Vineyard is about two miles from where we live in Newbury.
The recipe, if you have plenty of time to set aside, is available online here.
Chestnuts - a nice festive food to celebrate. Not to celebrate the religious tomfoolery surrounding Christmas, which would be a daft thing for an atheist to do ;), but to celebrate being with the ones you love.
- That's all
Preheat an oven to 220 degrees and place an oven proof bowl in it to warm thoroughly.
Cross the end of each chestnut and then place in the preheated dish. Sprinkle in a good grind of salt and roll the chestnuts around.
The chestnuts need to be cooked for 20 minutes and should be agitated half way through.
My first attempt at cooking a risotto. Despite Sandra’s protestations “Sacrebleu!!!! Stirring it that much will only make it lumpy”, it turned out to my satisfaction. Actually, it was pretty damn fine :)
Ingredients (this serves 4):
- 450g Risotto rice
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 2 Cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 750ml chicken stock
- 5 Squid, cleaned
- Juice of half a lemon
- 75g Peas (frozen are fine)
- 200ml White wine
- Pinch of saffron
- 60g grated parmesan
First prepare the squid. Chop it into 1 inch slices and score each section diagonally. Heat 2 teaspoons of butter in a frying pan and cook the crushed garlic for 1 minute. Add the squid and stir constantly for 3 minutes while the squid cooks. Set aside the squid and garlic butter in a bowl and add the lemon juice.
Heat the chicken stock in a pan until it simmers.
Take a thick bottomed pan and melt a tablespoon of butter and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and soften until slightly golden. Add the rice and saffron and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue to stir.
For the next 15 minutes you need to ladle the stock into the rice to keep it “wet but not swimming”, stirring regularly.
After 15 minutes, add the cooked squid (and garlic juice that sits in the bowl) and the peas to the mixture. Continue to add stock, stir, reduce and add stock for a final 5 minutes
Finally, stir in the parmesan and yet another tablespoon of butter.
Hello Baby Louis
Sandra and I are delighted to announce that Little baby Louis was born at 06:26 on the 19th of November at a weight of 7lb 4 after a smooth labour.
Thanks to everyone that sent the lovely flowers and we are now making use of the lovely gifts given during Sandra’s baby shower.
I’ve been told that being a father will teach me many things and given the first few days it is clear that this is an understatement. Lesson one: ‘sleeping like a baby’ doesn’t mean what I thought it did!!!
Pictures of Louis and his family are here.
A nice way to quickly cook asparagus
- Good handful of green asparagus (mature or young shoots are both fine)
- 1 Lemon
Wash and then trim the rough end of the stalks.
If you are using mature asparagus then slice each spear in two lengthwise.
Pre-heat a griddle. Cook the asparagus for around 5 minutes in total, turning occasionally. Twice during cooking add a sprinkle of salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
A classic French recipe...And a nice way to load thousands of calories into a dish containing the usually healthy potato.
- Half a kilogram of potatoes
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 150ml Double Cream
- 150ml Full fat milk
- Good knob of butter
- Salt and pepper
Peal the potatoes and cut into very thin slices.
Take a over-proof dish and run the crushed garlic around the base. Mix the cream and milk in thoroughly.
Layer the potatoes into the dish and pour on the cream and milk.
Finish with a good grind of pepper and a small sprinkling of salt. Add small chunks of the butter on top and finally place into a preheated oven (150 degrees) for 90 minutes.