Showing posts with label STOCKS AND PASTES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STOCKS AND PASTES. Show all posts

Rowan berry Jelly

Rowan berry jelly is not something I'd tried before and the feedback on making it was mixed ... bitter, too tart, unpleasant was just some of the feedback I received from my twitter foodie crowd. I also had a number of people advise me that with game it adds something special so it was worth trying and our forager had brought two containers full into the restaurant.

About 600g picked rowans
3 Apples
Reduce over moderate heat
Add approx 2 cups of sugar

What I was left with was a very strongly flavoured, bitter and extremely dry jam ... way too strong to serve and not very pleasant. It did, however, have an unusual flavour that, just before binning the jelly, I tried to keep by adding to some blackberry reduction we use to sauce our venison ...

At a ratio of about one spoon of rowan jam to 1/2 cup of blackberry reduction we suddenly have a very good sauce with a back taste of rowan and a dryness that adds really well to venison ... and is now on the menu.

Crab Thermidor

OK ... its a simple dish to make but its all in the tasting like so many of my dishes. I don't put amounts in many recipes as I cook by taste the best way is to start with the basics and try for yourself. Different cheeses, stocks, crabs etc will have different tastes so the only way to make a dish you love is to taste as you cook.

A brown crab is not expensive, should be about £4. Ingredients for the stock should also be free from a decent fishmonger when you buy your crab.

First make a really good seafood stock with flatfish bones, scallop frill and a few prawn shells. Read about making stocks in a previous post here .

One good crab, spider tastes best but brown can be used for everyday
Seafood stock (about 300ml per crab)
Gruyere cheese
Parmesan cheese
English Mustard powder

Clean the crab, extract the meat and clean the shell ready for use as a bowl.
Make a veloute with the stock, by making a roux with some butter and plain flour then adding heated stock slowly mixing till the consistency of double cream.
Season then add some gruyere and parmesan to taste ... should be a nice balance of cheese and sea flavour.
Add tabasco and some english mustard to bring in a nice heat to the dish.
Add the meat to the shell then pour the sauce over.
Add a little extra cheese on top then bake for 20min or so.
It should be cooked through and slightly browned on top.

Serve in the shell, use some green veg to balance the shell or some foil.

enjoy !

Scallops and seaweed

I've been working on this for a while ... Arame seaweed (about £3 at an asian supermarket for a 30g bag of dried seaweed which will make approx 10 portions) tastes amazing with miso and a strong beef stock but I've struggled to get a balance to match the strong umame flavour of the seaweed. I matched it with some scallops, ginger, garlic and chilli.
Three pans to cook, one for the seaweed, one with some sliced garlic, ginger and red chilli cooked in butter and finally cook the scallops in butter and oil. Bring the dish together using a large ring like so:
Then add the seaweed and remove the ring ... the garlic and seaweed juices mix together for an amazing flavour and the scallops lift the whole plate with their sweetness ...

Now back to the Texturas ... made some lemon drops and added them to vodka ... amazing but none lasted long enough to photograph !


I love having good stocks on hand, in the freezer. From a quick risotto dinner to gravy/veloute, soups, pies, fondant potatoes and more, it is one of the most useful ingredients to have.

To make good stock the starting point is a mirepoix (chopped onion, celery and carrots in 2:1:1 ratio), this gives the depth of flavour to the stock.

To the mirepoix and water add the following:
  • Vegetable stocks can have mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes ... a bit of citrus is good too. A basic stock can just be mirepoix as a great basic stock.
  • Fish stocks should be made with gelatinous fish, flat fish are great for this, also monkfish, don't bother with salmon or oily fish like mackeral. Trim gills and guts (after the fillets have been taken off), I also use a lot of Squid and scallop frills when I've got plenty from a good dive trip !
  • Prawn can be a stock on its own or add a little to fish stock ... be careful as they can be very overpowering.
  • Chicken stocks like a bit of citrus, half an orange or lemon, then you can use the raw carcass once you've taken the meat off or the bones from the roast for a darker stock.
  • Beef is delicious but takes more work ... roast some marrow bones (cut in half to let the marrow out) for an hour or so as the basis for the stock.
Never add salt ... never ever! Season the meal not the stock, different meals take different seasoning ... so season towards the end of cooking.

A lot of people like to add spices, particularly bay leaves, I prefer to add these to the meal in the same way as seasoning and keep the stocks just about the main ingredient of the stock.

For making each of the stocks its basically the same, heat in water, sieve and concentrate the flavour by reducing the volume.

Vege and fish bring to boil then keep hot but not boiling or it will turn bitter, it is ready in 30-45 minutes. Chicken and Beef can take a gentle simmer, chicken for 2-4 hours and the beef bones for up to six hours to get all the flavour out. Skim if there is foamy scum on top.

I then cool stocks and even fridge overnight to solidify any fat and scum before sieving and reducing, when sieving don't force the fluid out if you want clear stock. The finer the sieve the better.

Once sieved I think all stocks benefit from reduction, rolling simmer till the flavour is concentrated, vege and fish stocks don't take reduction to strong concentrate so well for me ... plus the smell can get too much ! reduce them by 30% or so. Freeze in portion sizes of about 1 cup.

Chicken and beef stocks are great for reducing right down, 95% of volume ... ie 10" of stock liquor in a pot reduces to 1/2" of fabulous concentrated flavour, it will be a thick jelly when cold. I freeze them in the ice cube bags, one 'cube' per portion as a rule of thumb.