Cheese Accompaniments

July 7, 2011

I love cheese, and the cheese board at Moreish was always a big seller when I worked there and still is I hear… 5/6 cheeses each with their own accompaniment… always went down well especially when I remembered the name of each cheese and where it came from and what went with it!

For our supper we served a mini version (after 5 courses we couldn’t do that to our guests)…

We served;
Cornish Yarg
Keens Cheddar
A Westcountry Stilton

Served with pickled carrots, pickled cucumber and shallot chutney.

Tim from Moreish makes his accompaniment in big quantities all the time but I have found some recipes for you (and me!) to make at home.

Pickled Carrots by David Lebovitz

you need;
450 g carrots, peeled
310 ml water
280 ml cider vinegar
50 g sugar
2 garlic cloves, lightly-crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel, dill, or anise seeds (See Note)
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 bay leaves

1. Grate your carrots

3. In a saucepan, heat the remaining ingredients. Once they begin to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes.

4. Remove from heat and add the carrot. Cool until room temperature, then put into jars and chill.

Pickled Cucumber

you need;
1 whole cucumber, peeled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 chopped chilli
60ml/2fl oz white vinegar
50g/2oz sugar
7.5cm/3in fresh root ginger
4 stem ginger in sugar syrup

1. Use a fork to run through the surface of the cucumber, vertically downwards, to obtain a fluted pattern when sliced.

2. Cut cucumber into thin slices and put into a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and chopped chilli and mix well.
Leave the cucumber for 10 minutes to absorb the salt then rinse with cold water.
Drain off excess liquid in a colander. Return cucumber to the large bowl.

3. Grate the fresh root ginger. Cut the stem ginger into thin slices

4. Combine sugar, vinegar and the two types of ginger together. Add to cucumber slices and mix well

5. Decant into a plastic container. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours before serving.

Shallot Chutney

You need;
500g shallots, chopped (good luck!)
30g soft brown sugar
salt to taste

1. heat a little oil in a pan and cook the shallots over a low heat until they become clear, then add the sugar and turn up the heat.

2. Stiring all the time add salt, continue for 15-20 minutes before turning the heat down and continuing for another 5-10 minutes.

This shouldn’t take long but keep your eye on it and use your judgement. You might need to add more sugar and salt.

 We served the cheese with various different biscuits, including charcoal and parmesan crackers. Delicious.

Spiced Berries

July 6, 2011

For our dessert proper we served a very tidy Eton mess, with spiced berries.

There are recipes on the blog already for meringues, take a look here (right at the bottom) but served with these spiced berries instead of fresh fruit takes it to a whole new level.

You need;
110ml water
2 cloves
4 cardamom pods
½ cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 small handfuls raspberries
1 small handful blackberries
1 small handful blueberries
2 handfuls strawberries (chopped)

1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then turn off the heat, stir in the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and star anise, and set aside for 5-10 minutes

2. Then add the raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries to the spiced water.
Simmer over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the water has reduced by half.

Drain the fruit and reserve the spiced syrup.

3. Serve onto the plate and drizzle the syrup over the top, serve with some little meringues and whipped cream with fresh mint.

 

We got to try this as well… amazing!

Our pre-dessert was a mini pud, I love this kind of thing they are great to finish off a meal at home to give you that sweet hit, and can be made in advance.

This was a mini black forest gateaux. this should make 8 little portions.

You need;
for the cherries:
200g dark cherries, stones removed and sliced
115ml kirsch liquor
115g granulated sugar
toss together and set in fridge for an hour before using

225g bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped
80 ml milk
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with a fork
4 egg whites
115ml heavy cream, cold

1. Put a medium-sized mixing bowl and a wire whisk in the freezer and get them cold, this will make whipping the cream mush easier.

2. Melt your chocolate in the microwave.

3. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and sugar to the boil and then take off heat. Whisk the yolks constantly and slowly drizzle the hot milk in and whisk until the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. 
Make sure you add the hot milk in small amounts at first; otherwise the egg yolks will cook too quickly and the mixture will curdle.  Once you’ve addedmost of the milk this way, the temperature of the egg yolks will rise enough to allow the rest of the milk to be added at once then add the melted chocolate and whisk to combine.

4. In another mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water, place the egg whites and whisk until hot-to-the-touch. Add the salt and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and mix well. Fold in the rest gently.

5. Place the heavy cream in the chilled mixing bowl and whip with the chilled whisk until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and mix well. Fold in the rest gently.

Then get your serving dishes, whether big or small, make a layer of the soaked cherries then the chocolate mousse and chill for at least an hour or until you want to eat them.

Serve with a little drizzle of fresh cream and a cherry on top.

This was mine…

It was good.

I would advise you to make little ones as this was more than enough for me, it’s very rich and there is a real kick to those cherries.

The lamb once prepped was also another simple dish to do yourself…

You need;
a rack of lamb per person (we did 2 bones across for each person)
150g breadcrumbs
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil
60g grated parmesan
3-4 new potatoes per person, peeled
enough oil to cover the potatoes (olive is best but expensive)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 little gem lettuce per person
sea salt and black pepper
2-3 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp butter
salsa verde

1. Get your potatoes on, heat the oil gently, and add your potatoes when hot. Do not let the oil spit too much. Cook them slowly on a low-medium heat in the oil with the thyme and garlic.

2. Next make your herb crust by blending the mint and basil, some salt and pepper and breadcrumbs until it’s as smooth as it can be.

You can do the above in advance.

3. Sear the lamb in a hot pan for 5 minutes, turning throughout, before roasting in the oven for another 7-10 minutes. At this stage you need to pull the lamb out and coat it in mustard, any will do, so you can stick on the herb crust. Then pop them back for another few minutes until pink.

If you cooked your potatoes in advance just heat them up again now.

4. Grease a baking tray with the butter. Dot the lettuce with remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Place in a low heated oven until lettuce is tender when poked in center  this should be about 1 hour. This can also be done in advance, we then pan-fried it hot at the last minute.

Then just arrange your dish on your HOT plate…

And cover with salsa verde… beautiful!

These are really just posh pies, the french-dinner party friendly versions of our pasties. Yum!

You could totally customise these and fill them with whatever you want, this is a good vegetarian dish that once again you can prepare in advance.

For each Pithivier you need;
2 circles of puff pastry, roughly 6-8 inches across
100g roasted butternut squash chunks
50g ricotta
a couple of fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper

1. First roast your butternut squash, I would cut the whole squash into the right size chunks, this means it’ll be quicker, season and roast for 20-30 minutes on a medium heat (180-200)

2. Get your ricotta into a large bowl and season

3. Fry your sage leaves with a little oil until they start to crisp and mix all 3 ingredients together.

4. Cut your puff pastry into circles and get your bottoms (slightly bigger circles) and tops in order ready.  Then dollop a bit of the mix in the middle, pop the top on and close up with a fork… you could also add a pattern on top like below.

Cook these for 20 minutes in preparing in advance, or 30 minutes if eating right away; just keep an eye on your pastry it might not even take this long.

We served these on a bed of pan-fried wild mushrooms and spinach…

With some salsa verde.

I know already this is something I will definitely be making again and again at home, imagine eating these beauties for lunch, you could make a batch and freeze them.

This is not really a recipe, but a big huge run-to-the-farmers-market right now recommendation!

Heirloom tomatoes are amazing! So so tasty, better than any tomato I have had from a shop, up there with fresh from the garden tomatoes. They are basically tomatoes that have been openly (naturally) pollinated, ‘non-hybrids’… naturally grown! And the taste proves it. Read more here.

I am going to be keeping my eyes out for these, they are more expensive but so so worth it.

You can see by all the different colours you are putting goodness into your salad.

They come in all sizes too, check out these bad boy!

You need;
a selection of tomatoes, different colours is good here
a pack of/150g soft goats cheese
semi skimmed milk – up to 50ml
basil and/or mint
sea salt
(rough quantities but I estimate you could make 6-8 little starter size salads or 2-4 main size salads with this amount of cheese)

1. First pop your goats cheese into a large mixing bowl and pour a little of the milk in and whip with an electic mixer until combined, keep going until the cheese becomes a good mousse texture and is airy and light.

2. Make your herb salt by chopping up your soft herbs and blending with seat salt until combined (you need very little so use as much salt as you think you’ll need or make extra to use on other dishes)

3. We also made a very simple light dressing by cooking a little vinegar, white, white wine or cider would work here, with some sugar until it reduced a little, then added the tomato juices.

 

So to make this pretty salad (it’s so pretty I think I must have taken 50+ photographs!) we start with a big slice of the big tomato for a base…

Then arranged our chopped tomatoes on top

Then start to add your cheese, we made our into little balls using teaspoons… then placed them on top of the arrangement.

Then drizzled the dressing and arranged some pea shoots (my fave green garnish) and then sent them off to our guests. We also made a little salad for ourselves and I have to say it really is the perfect summer starter I cannot think of anything nice than sitting in my garden eating (a big version) this with a glass of white wine.

Tonight!

I apologise for the many many photographs but I just love the colourful prettiness I couldn’t stop snapping, I hope you enjoyed them!

Cucumber Gazpacho

June 29, 2011

The first recipe I am going to share is an easy one, and great for right now with all the sunshine we’re having this week.

The colour is great you can see the health!

This is a great slimming lunch, nothing bad in there and eat enough and you will be full; believe it or not… I used to live on this when I worked in restaurants.

This makes 2 small portions, or 1 large.

you need;
2 small shallots
1 large clove garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1 large cucumber, cut into small chunks
1 large pepper
2 tsp good balsamic vinegar
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Saute the shallot and garlic over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the shallots start to go nice and clear do not let them brown.
Meanwhile, cut the pepper into chunks and remove all its seeds.

2. In a food processor or blender, puree the shallots, garlic, cucumber, pepper, vinegar, and salt together for about 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Keep blending until completely smooth.

Serve chilled and cool your lunch break down!

We also added a little cube of tomato and basil jelly and I found an easy recipe here if you want to recreate this dish for your next dinner party.

A little extra effort for a wow!