Monthly Archives: June 2016

Frozen Raspberry and Orange Parfait in a Dark Chocolate Case

This is the most fantastic dessert for a boiling hot summer day – I know we don’t get many but you can make this and then whack it in the freezer until the glorious British weather delivers a freakily hot day! It’s refreshing, light but sweet; the ripeness of the raspberries married to fresh, sweet orange and then all encased in dark chocolate is just a wonderful combination.

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 20cm deep spring-form cake tin, lightly oiled

175g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

1 tablespoon water

15g unsalted butter

500g fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons clear, runny honey

150ml orange juice, freshly squeezed (makes all the difference)

175g caster sugar

2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

300ml whipping cream

Mint leaves and 3 or four extra raspberries, to garnish

What to do…

To make the chocolate case, tip your chocolate chunks and water into a heatproof bowl and put into a steamer over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the butter. Spoon the chocolate into the base of the tin and spread it evenly up the sides of the tin – you can go all the way to the top and have thin coating of chocolate or just half way, as I did, to have a thicker chocolate case. Pop the case in the fridge.

To make the frozen parfait, use your food processor break down the raspberries into a pulp and then press them through a sieve into a jug to create a pip-free purée. Stir in the honey and set aside.

In a large bowl, use a handheld electric whisk to beat the egg whites and salt together to form soft peaks. Set aside. Rinse off your whisk and then in a smaller, separate bowl whisk the cream until it also forms soft peaks – no more. Set aside. Rinse off your whisk again.

Clean out the sieve and use it to strain the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the sugar and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil fiercely, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Quickly tip the hot orange syrup into the egg whites, whisking the whole time and keep going until the mixture is thick and resembles an uncooked meringue.

Using a balloon whisk, lightly fold in the raspberry purée and when fully incorporated, gently do the same with cream.

Tip the lot into your chocolate case and whop into the freezer for at least 5 hours but preferably overnight.

To remove from the tin, either rub the sides with a hot cloth or – much more fun – go around the outside of the tin with a kitchen blow torch. I then take a steak mallet and gently bang the sides just to make sure that the case has loosened away from the tin. Open your tin mechanism and gently ease the sides away from the parfait. If you’re feeling brave, carefully insert a fish slice all around the bottom of the parfait to separate the chocolate base from the tin-base and then ease it onto a pretty serving plate. If you’re not feeling so brave, just lift the parfait, cake tin-base and all, onto the serving plate. Decorate with raspberries and mint, cut into slices and serve immediately – absolutely delightful: an English summer right there on a plate and a perfect antidote to a hot, sticky summer’s day (or evening) – yummy!

Tips…

The original recipe used white chocolate rather than dark but I elected to use the latter, believing that it would be a better foil for the raspberries. I’m also not that keen on white chocolate. However, if it is your thing, swap out the dark for the white!

If there isn’t a crowd of you when you first serve this, you can quickly cut the parfait into slices and then re-freeze those not required for another day.

Frozen Rasp Parfait slice w

Serving suggestion…

Whizz and then sieve raspberries to create a purée, then stir in some Chambord black raspberry liqueur to suit your taste. Just a little on the side of your frozen parfait is quite delicious!

Inspired by…

Josceline Dimbleby

How easy…

It’s not hard, but takes quite a bit of time and creates a fair old mess. That said, the dishwasher was quickly loaded and doing its business and l like the fact that this can be made waaaay in advance.

 

 

Prawn Saganaki

Ooooh, this is sooooo lovely that I cooked it twice in one week before blogging it – the cooking smells the first time around demanded immediate indulgence so no photographs were taken before we sat down… so I had to cook it again – shame!!!! It smells amazing and tastes even better! Greek in origin, this is a brilliant starter or supper that tastes like it belongs in a gorgeous summer holiday – you can practically feel the Mediterranean sun, smell the lavender carried on the breeze and hear the sea gently lapping on the shore. It’s quick to knock up and is definitely so much greater than simply the sum of its parts.

Serves 4 as a main meal and 6 as a starter

What you need…

A good splash of rapeseed oil

1 red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Pinch of chilli powder

1 star anise

6 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

800g raw king prawns

50g feta

A small handful of parsley, roughly chopped

What to do…

Heat the oil over a moderate heat in a frying pan. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the chilli and the star anise, then add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Next, add in the prawns and cook for a few minutes until they are pink, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking throughout. Remove the star anise.

Crumble over the feta and scatter the parsley on top. Serve immediately with a nice chunky doorstep of good, fresh bread – just yummy!

Tip…

I just love this dish but if you wanted to be a little more authentic, replace the rapeseed oil for olive oil and the star anise for 3 tablespoons of ouzo. If you choose to do the latter, you’ll need to cook it off for a bit before adding the tomatoes to dispel the alcohol and reduce the liquid. However, star anise worked really, really well (weirdly, I didn’t have any ouzo in the house!)

Inspired by…

The Traveller’s Table

How easy…

Soooooo happy that I happened upon this ridiculously easy recipe!

 

Poached Monkfish in Creamy Tarragon Sauce

So simple but absolutely delightful, this supper dish is lovely and tastes like it’s waaaaaay more complicated that it is. The creamy tarragon sauce is the perfect marriage with the monkfish – creamy but light and with the distinctive tarragon flavour that is the bittersweet mix of aniseed and vanilla; and then the slight acidy of lemon juice – just lovely –what can I say? Give it a go!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 kg monkfish, filleted

4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 fish stockpot (I use Knorr)

450ml boiling water from the kettle

150ml white wine

150ml double cream

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

A small handful of fresh tarragon, to garnish

What to do…

Slice the fish into big chunks (5-6cm) and place in the bottom of a large, heavy saucepan. Pour over the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a separate saucepan, pour your boiling water over the fish stockpot and, using a balloon whisk, dissolve to create a fish stock. Add the wine and bring the mixture to the boil before pouring it over the fish. Place the fish over a high heat and bring to the boil again. As soon as it begins boiling, remove from the heat, pop on a well-fitting lid and set aside to let the residual heat gently poach the monkfish for about 8 minutes, or until the monkfish has turned opaque.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a warmed serving dish, cover with foil and keep warm whilst you make the sauce.

Bring the poaching liquid to the boil and boil fiercely for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half, is thicker and syrupy. Gradually stir in the cream and then add the chopped tarragon. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with fresh tarragon and serve immediately. Simply very, very lovely.

Serving suggestion…

Boiled or parmentier potatoes and a green vegetable. I used tenderstem broccoli that had been steamed and then tossed in a little warmed olive oil, flavoured with chopped anchovies and garlic. Yummy!

Inspired by…

Josceline Dimbleby

How easy…

Easy, quick and way tastier than the ingredients might suggest

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Mediterranean Vegetables

 

I love salads and make a huge variety of different ones – mixing traditional and new ingredients with influences from all over the world – but even though there is never a boring salad in our house, sometimes it’s nice to have an accompaniment to the barbecue that isn’t salad and this ticks that box, delightfully! I’ve entitled it ‘Mediterranean’ but that’s just what the aromas and flavours felt like to me but no matter how you describe this Mary Berry-inspired dish, it’s quite delicious and a really lovely change.

Serves 6 as a side

What you need…

1 large roasting tin

1 x 25cm shallow round ovenproof dish, lightly buttered

2 aubergines, sliced

2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced

500g courgettes, trimmed and sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

500g passata

1 teaspoon caster sugar

A handful basil, chopped

50g Parmesan, grated

3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges

4 teaspoons thyme leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

Note…

When I tried this, there were only 3 of us, so the ingredients were halved, hence the smaller dish in the photograph. Ingredients above are for the full recipe, for 6 people.

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7.

Chuck the aubergines, red peppers and courgettes into the roasting tin, drizzle over 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes and then give them a quick mix about before putting them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until lightly browned and just soft throughout. Set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and fry over a moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Tip in the passata and sugar and then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, pop on a lid, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and the sauce, thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

Spoon half the sauce into the base of your ovenproof dish and then top with half the roasted vegetables, ensuring an even mix of the aubergines, peppers and courgettes. Sprinkle over the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the rest of the sauce, covering the vegetables and then top with the remaining roasted vegetables, arranging them in a spiral pattern if you like. Finally, plop/arrange the tomato wedges on the top and sprinkle thyme over the lot. You can sprinkle more Parmesan over if you fancy (I did).

Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, whilst you clear up and pour a glass of wine. The smell will be amazing!

Serve your lovely summer Mediterranean vegetables with barbecued meat or fish or as light lunch or supper with a great doorstop of fresh bread. Whichever way, just yummy!

Tips…

I use Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients’ frozen and chopped garlic just because peeling and chopping fresh garlic is a faff.

I didn’t have any passata so just whizzed a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes in the food processor – this was just for 3 of us but I used all of the tomatoes and the dish tasted great.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

As is my want: very, very easy and quite delicious!