26 October 14

Smoked Haddock and Cockle Consommé

The method used to cook this soup technically means it is not a consommé, but as the broth is cooked in a pressure cooker and is very clear, in my opinion it is as good as a consommé.

We could call this cheat’s consommé, if you prefer.

I adore smoked haddock, but then again I quite enjoy smoked foods in general. It’s the depth of flavour, the intriguing method of how the flavour is achieved and simply the fact that with wood and good-quality ingredients, the character and flavour of the food can be manipulated to achieve something rather remarkable.

I could smoke the haddock myself, but we do have a good supplier which means I can concentrate on cold-smoking my venison, lamb and other meat joints. In all fairness, I do not have that much experience in cold smoking fish.

I tend to hot-smoke fish and meat using a


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17 October 14

Chicken Baked in Corn Cob Leaves with Corn and Potatoes

Corn on the cob is one of my favourite ingredients. I loved it as a child and I love it even more as an adult. I have wonderful memories of my father and mother cooking corn on the cob for Saturday lunch in the biggest saucepan you have ever seen, every year in the autumn.

It was a memorable family occasion, because my parents boiled the corn in this enormous saucepan filled with salted water until soft, then we would sit around the table with napkins and lashings of margarine, salt and pepper. My mother only served white sliced bread with it and it was heaven. I loved it.

I also remember us all sitting around afterwards (like baboons!) with the toothpicks, removing the bits stuck between our teeth. When my mother reads this she will probably want to kick me on the shins, as she’ll probably want to die


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07 October 14

Damson Bavarois with Spiced Baked Damsons and Petit Brown Sugar Meringues

We have three rather old damson trees of the early variety in our garden, situated next to the beehives. What a great combination! The bees work very hard to pollinate our damson trees and, consequently, we benefit from some wonderful honey and plenty of delicious damsons. We have been at the British Larder Suffolk for 4 years now and every year so far we have enjoyed a healthy crop of damsons from these wonderful trees. I feel quite guilty as they are very old and I feel that I might be taking advantage of them. The advice I have been given is to remove them and replace with new trees, but I am not quite ready to say my goodbyes just yet. So, it’s my passion to use the damsons for as many recipes as I possibly can. You could almost call this story my ‘damson diaries’! We harvest the


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20 September 14

Pan-fried Plaice with Brown Shrimp and Lemon Butter Sauce

Some wonderful, large, really fresh whole plaice landed on my chopping board this week. They are superb, especially as the larger the plaice, the easier they are to cook without overcooking them.

The standard recommendation is to cook flat fish, such as plaice, on the bone to prevent it from overcooking and becoming dry, but to be honest, I and a lot of others, do not enjoy all the kerfuffle with the bones. Ask your fishmonger to do all the hard work for you and get them to take the fillets off the bone as two whole fillets per fish (one larger fillet from each side of the fish, rather than two smaller fillets from each side of the fish). The bones make a delicious stock too, so ask your fishmonger to reserve them for you.

Remember, the smaller the fish, the less cooking is required (and once the fish


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