Showing posts from February, 2011

Lemon Thyme Cream and Caramelised Grapefruit

Despite the fact that the snowdrops are doing their best, by this time in February it often feels to me as if winter will never end. So I felt in need of a treat, preferably a sunny one. And what’s sunnier than grapefruit? All the elements are simple and fairly traditional but it does take a bit of time. This will serve two but there will be some bits and pieces left over as cook’s treats. For the Sablé Biscuits:         100 g unsalted butter         70 g icing sugar         130 g plain flour         1 egg yolk For the Crème Patissière:         280 ml full-fat milk         3 or 4 sprigs lemon thyme (ordinary thyme will do)         Zest of about ¼ lemon;         ¼ tsp vanilla paste (or extract – paste is in short supply thanks to Mr Oliver)         4 egg yolks         60 g caster sugar         25 g plain flour         2 tsp cornflour For the Croquant decoration:         50 g butter, softened         2 tbsp grapefruit juice         20 g plain flour For the Cara

Tea-poached Chicken Chilli

While sipping a thoughtful cup of tea recently I came over all Proust-like and remembered a shop that sold tea near where I grew up in South London. I used to go to this shop in the late sixties and early seventies but I don't think it had changed much since Edwardian times. The shopkeeper would pull out dark wooden drawers and dispense small portions of exotic teas into little paper bags. The tea can't have cost much – I was pretty broke at the time (some things don't really change). It was the first time I'd tasted or even heard of green tea, maté, lapsang souchong, gunpowder and, the best name of all, broken orange pekoe. I would buy whichever tea the shopkeeper decided that I should try next and wander off to spend the afternoon drinking tea with a few like-minded friends. We'd talk (we had to, there was no internet then) and listen to Jefferson Airplane and the Incredible String Band – well, it was the late sixties and, yes, I really was that much of a nuis

Pork Apicius

Dom at Belleau Kitchen has issued  a new challenge  - to cook a random recipe from your cookbook collection. Dom suggests taking all the books off the shelves, but I couldn't quite face that so I used a random number generator instead. That gave me 3 shelves from the bottom and then 8 books from the right. I found myself holding a copy of 'The Cuisine of Alain Senderens' , first published in 1981 (and out of print, I believe). I had a slightly bad feeling about this – it contains some scary recipes. I've nothing against M. Senderens, of course, especially since he's the man who sent back his three Michelin stars. Come to think of it, how do you do that? Do you put them in a star-shaped envelope and post them?  The random page number (66) took me to 'Ragoût Malin' – this is a ragoût of frog's legs, oysters and langoustines. Dom said we shouldn't cheat and should cook whatever recipe was chosen but I wasn't going to ask the local shopkeepers i

Lamb with Three Types of Lime

I made some  lime pickle recently and, in doing so, I deliberately made too many preserved limes so that I'd have some to use in other recipes. I got carried away with the idea of limes in this recipe and added dried and fresh limes into the mix as well. Let's face it, I really like limes. If you've not tried using preserved or dried limes then I promise all three of the types of lime used here really do taste very different from one another. 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 cm fresh ginger, grated 250 g lamb neck fillet, trimmed of excess fat and cut into roughly 3 cm pieces 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp paprika 1 small dried lime, pierced several times with a knife 300 g new potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks 125 g carrots, peeled (if necessary) and cut into small chunks Small handful of green beans, cut in half Peel from about ½ a preserved lime, salt wiped off and finely sliced 2 tsp fresh lime juice ½ – 1 tbsp runny honey In