May 21 2007

Terrine of Pork and Chicken

Prepare the terrine at least a day in advance.

You will need:-

500gms streaky bacon

500gms belly of pork

500gms boneless chicken

3 crushed cloves of garlic

2 finely chopped shallots

1teaspoon green pepper corns

5-6 crushed juniper berries

1 generous tablespoon fresh chopped herbs e.g. parsley, thyme, marjoram

Small glass of red wine

Bay leaves and lemon slices to decorate

Mince the belly of pork with 250 grams of chicken. Mix well adding  the crushed garlic, chopped shallots, green peppercorns and crushed juniper berries. Pour over the glass of red wine and allow to marinade.

Line a pound loaf tin or similar shaped oven proof pie dish with streaky bacon. Take each rasher and stretch it with the back of a knife on the chopping board. Then line the dish so that each rasher covers the bottom and one side with the end hanging over the edge.

Take half the minced meat and fill the dish halfway. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Cut the remaining 250 grams of chicken into strips and place down the centre together with 100 grams of chicken livers. Add more herbs and cover with the rest of the minced meat. Press down gently and wrap the bacon over the top. Decorate with lemon slices and a couple of bay leaves, cover with tin foil and place in a Bain Marie; a roasting tin half filled with hot water.

Place in a moderate oven for an hour and a half checking regularly and topping up water in the Bain Marie when necessary.

To be sure the meat is cooked pierce with a long skewer, if the juice is clear the terrine is cooked, if it is still pink, cook a little more.

When you are confident it is cooked take it out of the oven and lift carefully from the Bain Marie. Tip water out and return the cooked terrine to the dish. Put a heavy weight on the top. I use a brick and Granny’s old weights from her old fashioned kitchen scales, but improvise. The juices will overflow a little. When the whole is quite cool, refrigerate. Slice and serve with salad and new potatoes the next day.

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May 21 2007

Venison Sausages with “Francatelli’s” Sauce

Francatelli was Queen Victoria’s Chef but don’t let that put you off! Venison is a very healthy meat dense and rich in flavour but low in fat, good for those watching their cholesterol. It is important to keep the meat moist while cooking without adding extra fat and defeating the object! That’s where Francetelli comes in. Strictly speaking the sauce was made separately and served with the cooked venison but try it like this……….

500gms Venison sausages
2 shallots
1 tin chopped tomatoes
3 table spoons red wine
3 tablespoons red currant jelly
grated rind of lemon
small stick of cinnamon (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Chop the shallots finely. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add shallots and allow to soften but not brown, add the sausages and the tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally until the sausages are cooked through. Cut one in half to make sure. Add the wine, lemon zest, cinnamon and redcurrant jelly to the pan and give it a stir. Heat gently, taste, season, remove the cinnamon stick and serve with new potatoes and summer vegetables or a green salad.

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May 21 2007

Turkey Pudding !

Here is an OLD ENGLISH recipe which still survives in Sussex.

Line a deep pudding basin with suet crust pastry, pack tightly with pieces of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Cover with a lid of the suet crust and steam as you would a steak and kidney pudding.

Dorothy Hartley ( Food in England: 1974) says a mushroom sauce goes very well with this.
Bonne Appetite!!

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May 21 2007

Tarragon Chicken For two….

Gently poach two chicken Supremes or chicken breasts in enough stock to just cover them. Add a little white wine and a few sprigs of fresh *French tarragon. Cook for about twenty minutes. Set chicken aside in a warm place (not a hot oven!!) while you make the sauce.

Strain the cooking juices through a sieve. Melt 1 oz of butter in a little pan, stir in a tablespoon of flour…..off the heat…..gradually add the strained juice stirring all the time to make a smooth mixture. Return to the heat and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Cook two more minutes. Add a large spoonful of crème fraiche or cream. Warm gently, don’t boil!

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with the new potatoes, spinach and asparagus!

*You can use Russian Tarragon which grows more abundantly than its French cousin but the flavour is milder and a little bitter

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May 21 2007

Tagliatelle al Ragu Bolognese

Our English interpretation of this Italian classic often lacks some traditional ingredients. In Italy minced prosciutto fat or pancetta is added to the Ragu. Even a little minced streaky bacon will help to give that special depth of flavour.

To feed four people first make the Ragu. Heat 50gms of butter in a heavy pan, add the pancetta, bacon or prosciutto fat with finely chopped carrot, celery and onion. Cook gently without browning for about 10 minutes.

Next, stir in 200gms lean minced beef or 100gms beef and 100gms minced pork. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Pour in a glass of red wine letting it bubble for a minute or two to evaporate the alcohol. Add a tin of tomatoes or a little good stock and tomato puree to loosen the mixture.

Stir well and then allow simmer for I ½ hours adding more stock during cooking if the mixture begins to look dry. Taste and then add seasoning, maybe some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put 500gms of tagliatelle in boiling water and cook till al dente. Strain the pasta, retaining a little of the water. Rinse the pasta and reheat with olive oil and a little of the reserved water. Serve with the Bolognese Ragu, grated Parmesan cheese and a green salad.

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May 21 2007

Steak and Kidney Pudding

Why not warm up with a good old fashioned Steak and Kidney Pud…

To feed six first cut up 900gms of really good, lean stewing steak together with 300gms of ox kidney. Brown the meat quickly in batches in hot oil. Remove each batch from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Chop a large onion and a couple of shallots and a scrap of celery or celeriac if you have it. Fry gently then, having poured off the excess fat, deglaze the pan with a generous glass of red wine making sure you scrape up all the residue into the bubbling wine.  Mix about 300ml of stock or water with a generous teaspoon of cornflower and add to the pan.  Bring to the boil stirring continually, return the meat to the sauce and put a lid on the pan. Cook gently for one and a half to two hours depending on the quality of your beef in a moderate oven.

Meanwhile to make the Suet Crust mix 350gms of self raising flour with 175gms of prepared suet, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt.  Add enough water to make a stiff dryish dough. Take a 1.75 litre basin and line it with the suet pastry remembering to keep a piece for the lid. To line the bowl roll out a circle, flour it well and fold it in half. Push up the sides to make a flat bowl shape and continue to roll until it looks as if it will fill your bowl. Lift it carefully and open it up and put it into place. Press it gently against the edge of the bowl. Now roll out your lid and set aside.

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When the meat is tender fry 275 gms of mushrooms in a little oil. Stir them into the cooked steak and kidney. This is the moment to add the oysters if you really want to be authentically Old English! Really delicious!

Now carefully spoon the filling into the basin and cover with the pastry lid, sealing well by wetting the rim. To take a large piece of baking foil and fold making a large pleat to allow you pudding to swell during cooking. Cover the pud with this and a pudding cloth. Secure with string. Place it in a steamer if you have one or in a pan of water on a little trivet or on top of an upturned saucer. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Take the cooked pudding from the pan and wrap in a crisp white napkin, in the traditional way:; serve the pud from the bowl! Bon appetite!

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May 21 2007

Steak and Kidney Pie

I always cook the steak and kidney filling first, then make up the pie.

First I brown 500grms of diced beef skirt or chuck steak in hot oil, then remove from the pan into a heavy lidded casserole pot. Next I brown the chopped ox kidney, having made sure all sinew has been removed. The kidney goes in with the beef. I heat a little more oil and soften three fat, finely chopped shallots, add a piece of celery, a few chopped parsley stalks and a couple of rashers of streaky bacon. All these add to the depth of flavour of the finished pie. I sprinkle a tablespoon of flour into the pan, give it a stir, and add a spoonful of tomato puree, red wine and home made stock. As it comes to the boil, stirring briskly, I deglaze the pan, then simmer for a few minutes, pour over the meat, add a bay leaf, cover the pot and place in a moderate oven. I let it cook gently, stirring once or twice, for two and a half hours.
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Cooking time will vary according to the quality of the beef. Don’t be tempted to boil hard, this will only toughen the meat. While it’s cooking I slice 350 gms of flat mushrooms and fry quickly in oil and a little butter.

When it has cooled a little I put the steak and kidney and the mushrooms into a pie dish filling to the brim. I have a little old pie funnel which I put in the centre to let out the steam.

Meanwhile you can make the flaky pastry if you’re really dedicated, I don’t! I buy ready made and enhance it with some extra butter, cheating I know, but so much quicker and really very effective. Simply roll out the pastry into a long strip, butter the centre section fold one third to the centre, butter again and fold again. Now roll out for the pie topping and as you do so, the extra butter will be spread throughout making a lighter flakier texture.

Next wet the edge of the pie dish and cut a strip of pastry to go around the edge of the dish. Put it in place and now wet this too. Roll out the remainder of the pastry till it’s a little larger than the dish; make a cut in the centre of the pastry for the funnel and, using the back of the rolling pin gently lift the pastry on to the pie. Lower it gently onto the edging strip being careful not to stretch it. Press down round the edge and, holding your knife at ninety degrees, trim off the excess. Now seal the edges with the prongs of a fork, or crimp with your finger and thumb.

Decorate your pie with traditional pastry flowers and leaves and brush with beaten egg. In days gone by when baking was done once a week the savoury pies were identified in the larder by their decoration. Put the pie in the ’fridge to rest the pastry, until you need it Bake in a hot oven until the pastry is crisp and golden, about thirty to forty minutes. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, buttery vegetables or a green salad.

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May 21 2007

Navarin Printaniere

Today I will roast a shoulder of our own spring lamb with garlic and rosemary and serve it with young vegetables from the garden. I’ll dig up some potatoes and pick mange tout peas. Or perhaps I’ll take a little more time and pleasure to prepare a traditional Navarin Printaniere This is not a dish for stewing lamb. It calls for tender, lean meat which will cook gently but quite quickly. I prefer to cut up a shoulder or even use a boned out loin.

Take a little time to trim off any fat and sinew before cutting the meat into fairly small pieces.

Melt a large piece of butter and a little oil in a heavy oven proof pan that has a well fitting lid. Incidentally, the oil stops the butter burning and becoming bitter. Brown the meat quickly turning it over with a wooden spoon until sealed. Then take it out and set aside.

Chop a shallot and crush a garlic clove or two. Add to the buttery juices in the pan and, heating gently, allow them to soften slightly. Stir in a spoonful or two of flour scraping up the meat juices and mixing to a thin paste. Gradually add some stock and a little tomato puree.

Return the browned meat. Heat gently, adjust the consistency, which should be creamy, by adding more stock if necessary. Bring slowly to the boil, cover the pan with its lid and place in a moderate oven for about an hour. Test the meat with a skewer to see if it is tender. If not return to the oven for a little longer but don’t over do it.

Meanwhile prepare some young fresh root vegetables; new potatoes, very young turnips and whole baby carrots. Once the meat is tender add these and cook for a scant half hour without the lid. Top and tail some mange-tout or shell some peas and broad beans, slice your first runner beans or harvest the early French beans; use what you have in your garden or what you can find in your local farmers market.

Blanche the vegetables very briefly in plenty of boiling water, drain well and add to the lamb. Heat through, skim off absolutely any remaining fat, (there shouldn’t be much if you took time to trim your meat) taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve on warm plates with hot, crusty bread.

Follow with fresh raspberries and some really good ice cream. despite the rain I have a bumper crop this year,

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May 21 2007

Sautéd Chicken with Garlic and Herbs.

Fresh free range chicken
2 garlic cloves crushed with salt
2 chopped shallots
2 tbsp olive oil
large knob of butter
glass white wine
juice half lemon

Mixed chopped fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, a little sage and maybe a few wild garlic leaves in spring. In summer the mix will be different, maybe tarragon and lemon zest or basil, chives and marjoram. The herbs that flavour of the dish will reflect the season.

Cut the chicken into six or eight pieces, save the carcass*.

Melt the butter in a heavy based pan, one which has a close fitting lid, add the olive oil. Put the chicken pieces in the pan skin side down. Brown a little then lower the heat and turn the meat. Cover the pan and cook for 40 – 45 minutes turning again occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.

Now add the crushed garlic cloves and chopped shallot to the pan, stir in the wine scraping up all the residue with a wooden spoon, let it bubble, add lemon juice and half chopped herbs, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Put the chicken back into the pan, cover and cook a further five minutes.

Remove from the heat sprinkle with remaining herbs. Serve straight from the cooking pot with crusty bread and a green winter salad.

* Make chicken soup for tomorrow with the carcass!

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May 21 2007

Salting Meat

The meat and fish are preserved in a dry cure of flavoured salt and saltpetre. Saltpetre is sodium nitrite and in these health conscious days regarded as unsuitable for human consumption. Its dubious origins and old stories of its early collection certainly make one wonder! However it is a good preservative and turns the meat pink. If you are not using it refrigerate the meat during curing. Sea salt is considered the best for curing and preserving but rock salt is quite acceptable. Modern fine table salt contains chemicals to stop lumps forming so is therefore not suitable for curing.

For 3kg of meat, I suggest belly of pork to start with, mix 500 gms of sea salt with 15 gms sugar, 1 teaspoon of crushed peppercorns, 15 gms juniper berries, 2 dry bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, 2 crushed cloves. Herbs and spices can of course be varied according to taste.

Rub some of the salt mixture well into the pork skin, then, turning it over, rub more into the meat making sure no part is missed. Put a handful of salt into an earthenware or plastic bowl or bucket and place the meat on top. Pour over the remaining salt covering it completely.

Cover with a piece of close fitting, boiled wood or a scrupulously clean plate and a heavy weight. Leave in a cool, dark place for four days and up to several weeks if you have used saltpetre. Do check in regularly in these modern days of central heating and double glazing. The longer you leave it the more moisture will be drawn from the meat gradually turning the salt to brine. At first the salt draws the liquid from the meat then the procedure reverses and the salt solution begins to penetrate the meat.

Rinse the meat well before cooking, soaking for a couple of hours. Bring it up to the boil, drain and then simmer gently with herbs etc for about forty minutes for a piece of pork belly, longer for a larger cut. Serve hot with traditional choucroute or crisp savoy cabbage or press it under a heavy weight, slice finely and eat cold with all those pickles, chutneys and preserves.

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