Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mmm,marmalade!!!


Another year another challenge. What to do with a glut of lemons? How can I find yet another new and innovative way with them? There is only a certain amount of curd and jam that even a guest house can store and consume. But I have an idea up my sleeve,it´s easy peasy and ohhhh so tasty too...Mmm,marmalade -but with a twist, Lemon carrot marmalade.I like a marmalade with a bit of oomph, and this strange sounding tart-sweet marmalade has just that,candied fragments of tart lemon and sweet carrot ignited with hot ginger.This will find our guests with taste buds begging for more.Breakfast rises to  a special occasion when I bring out this glossy marmalade.I myself have been known to spread it on a buttery teacake or scone for a lively afternoon nibble.
The lemon makes it a little more subtle and you don't actually taste the carrots; they just mellow it. All in all, if you like marmalade you should give it a try. It's not hard to make.Carrots add a new dimension of flavour to an all too familiar marmalade,not to mention giving it a vibrancy.Here are carrots out and proud.There´s nowt as queer as taste- a fancy marmalade created from a few inexpensive ingredients.


Lemon Carrot Marmalade 
makes 3 x 450g jars

1 pound 450g sweet carrots
2 medium lemons
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely chopped
4 cups bottled natural spring water

Peel the carrots and grate them on the large side of a four-sided grater.place carrots in a heavy non-reactive pan large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably.
Seed and juice the lemons.Discard the pips and set aside the juice.Finely chop the remaining entire rind.Add to the pan along with the sugar,ginger, lemon juice and water.Stir to mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Cook at a simmer and stir occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken.Lower the heat and stir frequently until the juices are thick and the marmalade is glossy.
Total cooking time is about 1 hour
Transfer to jars and allow to cool.seal the lids of the jars tightly and refrigerate.
Keeps for up to 1 month kept refrigerated.

Marmalade and jams continue to thicken as they cool.About two thirds of the way through the cooking,spread a small spoonful of the marmalade on a saucer and put it in the freezer for a few seconds,just until it cools, to check the consistency.The Marmalade is ready when it lightly wrinkles as you move your finger through it

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lemon drizzle kicks

Lemon cake Nirvana
I love lemon, I love cake and I love loafing on a lazy Portuguese Sunday afternoon. So what better than a lemon drizzle cake to occupy me.With a basket load of lemons from the garden and a copy of Nigella on the kitchen counter I set about getting some drizzle kicks with a great Portuguese bake off. The lovely loafiness of this cake is a winner.Simple, not overly rich and but with an amazing lemon flavour, it is so delicious and moreish. Each slice laden with a light lovely meltiness that leaves you wanting more.

Lemon Drizzle loaf
You will need a 450g loaf tin buttered and lined

125g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 large lemon
175g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk

FOR THE LEMON DRIZZLE
juice of 1and a half lemons (4 tablespoons)
100g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Butter and line the loaf tin.Cream together the butter and sugar in the food processor, add the eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.Add the flour and salt,folding in gradually,and finally the milk.spoon into the prepared loaf tin and put in the oven.While the cake is in the oven,make the syrup; put the lemon juice and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. bake the cake for 45 minutes,or until golden, risen in the middle( though it will sink a little on cooling) and a cake skewer comes out clean.As soon as you have taken the cake out of the oven, puncture the top of the loaf all over with the same skewer.Pour over the syrup,trying to let the middle absorb it as well as the sides, then leave it to soak up the rest.Don´t attempt to take the cake out out of the tin until it is completely cold., as it will be sodden with syrup and will crumble.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Peru in Portugal-Lets do Lunch


Sandwiches, bread and Cheese, soup or salad; thats what most of my lunches are made of. Running a busy guest house, during the week, I don´t so much sit down to eat in the middle of the day as make a rapid pit stop at the fridge.
There are occasions however -usually on a Saturday,with more time to spare when I find myself with a rabid hunger. I don´t mean a three-courser ( although that has its place) but food that, although quick to prepare, seems like a little bit of indulgence.The starting point for a bloody good lunch for me is the food I start  thinking about while I´m out walking the dog or shopping in the market place first thing in the morning. Well its the weekend, my eyes caught sight of turkey mince.Turkey(Peru) is commonplace on butchers counters in Portugal, but not minced.My ears were in tune to an Ottolenghi recipe that I had kept in my back head for a while now. I had seen ready prepared turkey burgers in the butchers but had never plucked up the courage to ask him to mince a breast, so that I can make my own.Turkey trotting home I am thinking what a lovely lunch I am going to drum up for myself and the thespian. Not too much of an extravagance, but nevertheless that indulgence I was looking for.
Turkey Burgers with wasabi guacamole 
Serves 4 
Although not essential I was looking for that little bit of indulgence so I decided to opt for the suggested condiment of Wasabi Guacamole too and I am so glad I did.

2 courgettes, coarsely grated (net weight 250g)
Salt and black pepper
600g minced turkey, or chicken
2 medium free-range eggs
1½ tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chopped coriander
3 tbsp chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
60g chopped spring onion
Sunflower oil, for frying
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp mirin
½ tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the wasabi guacamole
2 ripe avocados, peeled (net weight 300g)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp wasabi paste
20g chopped spring onion
Salt
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the grated courgette in a sieve, mixed with a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and leave to drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands, then put the courgette in a large mixing bowl along with the turkey, eggs, cumin, coriander, mint, garlic, three-quarters of the spring onion, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Mix together well, then shape into 12 patties weighing about 80g each.( I had to add some dried breadcrumbs to the mix at this point to make it workable).
Heat two tablespoons of sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry the patties for four minutes, turning once, until nice and brown on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray and finish off in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
While the turkey cakes are in the oven, make the guacamole: mash the avocado with a fork and mix together with the lime juice, wasabi, chopped spring onion and half a teaspoon of salt.
Mix the sweet chilli and mirin in a separate bowl, and brush this over the turkey cakes as soon as they come out of the oven. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve with the guacamole on the side.

Turkey burgers, who ever would have thought.Yotam Ottolenghi you are a star.These are phenomenal. Once you've made these, they're bound to feature regularly in your repertoire. – they are quick and easy to make, great for kids and so easy to make that you might as well make a double batch. Freeze half for that frequent occasion when you need fashionable food fast. Stick them in buns and you have the perfect TV dinner.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Double A-side - Malasadas and cinnamon syrup

 
"When it´s all said and done,two heads together can be better than one"
"Pillow talk"

So you can flip all you like, but since my last posting I have found a heavenly double A-side recipe for a unique type of pancake that originated in Madeira. A Portuguese doughnut traditionally eaten on Mardi Gras,Shrove Tuesday (or "Fat" Tuesday,) for which it is both a delicious treat and an efficient way to use up lard and sugar, rich foods that are traditionally avoided during Lent. Food travels and so the Portuguese immigrants that came from Madeira would have brought with them their traditional foods. One of the things would have been this yeasted fried dough-pastry called Malasada. These days in other parts of the world it is also known as Portuguese Doughnut.
Discovering this recipe has made me decide that I prefer my pancakes dropped; that’s the way I am having them this year, and even though I’ve finally mastered the art of flipping, I have to tell you, but there’s only one way I want my pancakes – dropped!That is, pancakes where the batter is dropped into hot oil,fried, then liberally drizzled with homemade syrup flavoured with cinnamon or vanilla.
We’re talking here about pancakes that are pillowy soft, light, airy, and wonderfully fragrant with the yeast, warm to the touch. You take one, swirl it in the little pool of syrup at the bottom of your bowl or plate, take a bite, douse the other half, bite-side down into the syrup, getting it into all the airy pockets…  close your eyes and feel the warm syrup squirt all over your mouth as you bite down and chew. You want to open your eyes as you finish that one, going for another but you ask, “Must I open my eyes and break this spell?”- "I´m going in" as Nigella would say.
In a bizarre twist of culinary fate, the malasada is now also a Hawaiian specialty, having been made so popular by Azorean immigrants to those islands,so much so that Mardi Gras there is now known as Malasada Day.

Malasadas

Oil for deep frying
6 cups flour
6 medium to large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar plus one teaspoon
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup of warm water (approximately 110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 sachet dry yeast (1/4 ounce size)
The coatings: plain sugar, or a mixture of sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon


Combine the yeast together with a quarter cup of warm water in a small mixing bowl and  set aside.  With the electric mixer and the beater attachments firmly in place, beat the  eggs on medium to fast speed in a large bowl without the oil coating until they are thick and fluffy.  Now, change the mixer’s attachment to the dough mixer, or the dough hook as it is sometimes called, and then add the yeast mixture from the small bowl, the melted butter,sugar, milk, whipping cream, and the teaspoon of salt, or “a pinch,” if you prefer.
Begin mixing all of the ingredients and then slowly adding the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough starts to softly form into a large ball.Put the dough ball into a bowl coated with oil and tightly cover with plastic wrap, adding a kitchen towel or two to the top for extra warmth if you’d like to speed up the process a bit, while allowing the dough to double in size and shape, which usually takes a little more than one hour before reaching the right size.
While the dough is busy rising in the bowl, begin heating the oil in a pan or deep fryer ountil it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees.  Using a deep fryer is a bit more convenient as it easily allows you to see the temperature of the oil, and gives you the ability to set it to stay there while cooking the malasadas.  They also can be safer to use, as they come equipped with a basket for raising and lowering the food into the hot oil to help eliminate the risk of burns from the oil splattering.
After the dough has risen, scatter flour on a flat, even surface to make rolling the dough easier, aiming for a thickness of about a quarter of an inch or so, and then using a sharp knife, cut into one-inch sized square pieces.  Drop the pieces of dough squares into the heated oil for about three minutes, or when they become a golden brown color, or actually anywhere from two to four minutes depending on your personal preferences.  While the malasadas are frying in oil, stir often to avoid them becoming stuck to one another or getting uneven spots of brown.
If you aren’t using a deep frying with a basket attached, remove the malasadas with a slotted spoon to help the excess oil drain away before placing on a few paper towels.  Before the pastries become cool, roll them in the remaining white sugar, then serve while warm and enjoy.Drizzle with cinnamon syrup and then make more.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

On the flip side


"Entrudo" *or pancake day, is upon us once again,which means that in some shape or form,pancakes are going to be beaten,fried tossed,dropped,raced and eaten every which way across the globe in much the same way as they have been for the past 500 years.The batter must be right,the pan must be right and the cook´s temperament must be right.If your mood is anything but peaceful make bread instead.Should you feel the need to vary your pancake from the usual lemon, sugar or syrup concoction,you could try a recipe from elsewhere in the world.Pancakes it seems predate bread as one of mans oldest forms of cooked food.The Russians specialise in the yeast-risen,buckwheat blini (drop scone) which tastes as good eaten with honey for tea as it does with its traditional accompaniment of smoked salmon.The Italians meanwhile make a Ligurian speciality, (farinata ). An egg free chick pea batter is used,giving a taste closer to an Indian pancake than a European crepe.The chick pea flour is mixed with water to make a thinnish paste,lots of olive oil is added and the mixture is then poured into a large round,flat pan.It is baked in a wood oven,and is ready when a light crust has formed on the top. Farinata is rarely made or eaten at home,its real place is in the street being sold from stalls in the markets, or in Enotecas where it is washed down with a glass of fine Italian vino.When property searching we should have settled for that Portuguese quinta with the traditional wood burning oven on the terrace, sigh, if only.

Cecina o farinata ( Ligurian pancakes)
serves 6
300g/11oz chick pea flour
100ml 73.5 fl oz olive oil,plus extra for brushing
salt and pepper

Pour 1.5 litres /2.5 pints cold water into a large bowl.Gradually add the flour,whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.Add the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well. leave to stand for 30 minutes.preheat the oven to 220C/425F / gas mark 7.Brush an ovenproof pan with with oil.Pour the chickpea mixture into the pan and bake until the top is crisp and golden. Sprinkle with pepper,cut into wedges and serve either hot or warm.

Cozinheiro´s twist:Before baking the farinata sprinkle with a topping of sliced red onion and rosemary and or some parmesan or other grated melting cheese.

That said there is nothing like a delicious sweet pancake to raise your spirits (that too).

* Entrudo
The origin of Brazil's carnival goes back to the 18th century when Portuguese immigrants from the Azores introduced a pre-lent festivity called "entrudo", a chaotic event where participants threw flour, water, and limão de cheiro missiles at each other in a street event that often led to riots. No change there then!!! 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pá de Porco -Rubbing shoulders in Portugal

Pá de Porco Assada
When I made the decision to make Portugal my permanent home a close friend of mine gave me this advice."Estrangeiros" in Portugal we are and "Estrangeiros" we will always be. We remain guests in this country and should respect this at all times.How right she was. In 6 years of living In the Algarve I have not been aware  of ever having rubbed anyone up the wrong way. When it comes to food however I can often be critical. One can absorb a nation´s culinary culture and take on board the traditions that come with it, but there are times when one has to agree to differ.I have never rubbed the lesser known shoulder of pork,but have been meaning to tackle it for along time.Recently a follower of this blog asked me if I could come up with a recipe for this particular cut.I found this recipe for spicy Portuguese garlic roasted pork, traditional of the Azores.This recipe is a common way of slow roasting pork in Portugal,using a marinade of hot chilli paste, garlic,and wine.
Slow cooking is the essence of this cut of pork so don´t think of attempting this for a mid-week supper.Plan this hearty roast for a leisurely day on a weekend, though, because it may take most of the afternoon to cook.The meat also requires to be marinated for 24 hours.My resulting roast was a little on the dry side and a little overcooked: I would assume this is how the Portuguese enjoy eating it, but I prefer my pork a little less done. I leave the rest up to you.Portuguese households are never without a jar of hot chilli paste. If you dont have a jar of home made paste to hand, choose your chillies and quantity thereof according to your own taste and what you have available.The quantity of paste this recipe yields will give you sufficient to keep a jar in the refrigerator after you have rubbed the pork for this particular recipe.

Shoulder roasts are not tender cuts of pork, so they need to be roasted slowly. It is essential to keep the moisture in during cooking or cover the roast  with aluminum foil.The roasting heat should be kept to between 300F and 350F degrees. Unlike loin roasts and tenderloins, which roast best without moisture added, shoulder roasts need the moisture to cook evenly and cook out their fat content. Use chicken stock or water in the bottom of the pan to ensure continuous circulation of moisture. Plan 40 to 50 minutes per pound for the top of the shoulder contains more fats and gristle that take longer to break down. A 4-lb. boneless shoulder will take from 3 hours to 3 hours and 20 minutes.The lower part of the shoulder needs 35 to 40 minutes per pound to roast properly. All cooking times can only be approximate because each roast varies in fat content and composition; always check your roast with a meat thermometer to make sure that its inner temperature has reached 170 degrees before taking it out to "rest." It will continue cooking for a few minutes after being taken out of the oven.

Spicy Portuguese Roast shoulder of pork
( Pá de Porco Assada )

serves 8 

Six to eight jalapeno chillis /malaguetas deseeded, or 50g piri piri chillies 
de-seeded and chopped
1/2 cup garlic
Tablespoon Flor de sal
3 tablespoons Sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons ( 1 small tin) tomato puree
1/4 cup olive oil
4 to 5 pound cut boneless pork shoulder
2 cups chicken stock


Combine the chillies, garlic, flor de sal and paprika in a food processor and pulse until a paste is formed. Add the wine,olive oil and tomato puree and process again.
Using a sharp paring knife cut deep slits all over the pork to allow the paste to penetrate the meat. Rub the paste vigorously all over the pork and cover with plastic film. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350F and bring meat to room temperature.
Transfer the  meat to a roasting pan large enough to take the meat.
Add the chicken stock to the roasting pan,it should come about one inch up the sides of the roasting pan.
Transfer to the oven.Roast the meat for 1 hour turning occasionally or until browned on all sides.Add  more water to the roasting pan at periodic intervals if necessary to ensure pork drippings do not burn on the bottom of the pan.Reduce the oven temperature to 300F and continue cooking for a further 1.5 hours or until the meat is fork tender.Set aside the meat to rest for 15 minutes.Using a  spoon skim as much fat from the surface of the drippings as possible.
Serve with tomato and sage beans, Roast potatoes or Portuguese rice.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Good in bed

Seville orange muffins, strawberries and coffee.....in bed

I always feel that Valentines day falls victim to exploitation.The price of roses spirals out of all proportion while restaurants hike up their prices just for one night serving gauche and very average food. Do I really want to sit opposite my partner while their expression says more about the coeur la creme looking like a drowned lampshade than celebrating the heart of the matter, a night out with my beloved. Money can´t buy you love,the way to your lover's heart is through the stomach.How´s about giving your partner a little gift of food? Breakfast in bed.... A pot of Earl Grey tea or a rack of hot toast, an oeuf en cocotte and a cup of frothy coffee would not go amiss.Oh, and a glass of champagne.I can think of few things that would give me more pleasure than this ( well actually there are a couple of things, but this is a food blog). You could creep silently downstairs and bake a tray Seville orange muffins.It only takes half an hour before you are rushing back up the stairs with your warm batch wrapped in a linen napkin. The aroma of your gorgeous hot buns ascending the stairs is enough to rekindle any dormant flame.
"Morning love,did you sleep well?" A great novelty for an occasion like this is the `Full English´ in a cup.This holds up well and you wont have to rush up the stairs as if your souffle was wobbling and about to collapse.Avoid banana or you wont be able to keep a straight face on your delivery,and watch out for anything crumb inducing;dont forget at the end of the day it is your bed.Soft white meringue peaks on your duvet are a the devil to vanish.All you need is love....  and chocolate

Seville Orange Breakfast Muffins
Makes 12
75g unsalted butter
250g self-raising flour
25g almonds
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
75g caster sugar
zest of 2 Seville oranges
100 ml freshly squeezed  navel orange juice
100 ml full fat milk
1 egg
12-bun muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
Melt the butter and set aside.Combine the flour,ground almonds,bicarb,baking powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl.Measure the orange juice and milk into a jug and whisk in the egg and then the cooled,melted butter.Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. the batter will be lumpy but that´s as it should be; you want everything to be no more than barely combined.The whole point of muffin mixture is that it should never be overworked.
Spoon the mixture equally into the muffin cases and cook for 20 minutes.remove,in their paper cases,to a wire rack and let cool slightly( but not completely) before devouring.

The Full English in a breakfast cup





 Happy Valentines Day 

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Rice 'n' easy does it


In time of austerity we turn to recipes that give us the ultimate satisfaction without the strain on our weekly shopping budget.Apart from bread and potatoes,which appear at almost every meal, here in Portugal you will also frequently find rice.On many an occasion have I found both rice and potatoes on the same plate.The majority of Portuguese meals are well starched.Rice is more often than not wet and soupy without the 'every grain must be separate obsession' of other countries.Its there to absorb flavour,and it does so admirably.No more so than in this dish.
Chicken liver pilaff with spinach and peas, all enlivened with a little allspice, a truly impressive looking dish,but its really simplicity itself to prepare.Pilaff in Portugal? This is a tricky one so I had to return to something my mother used to cook and see how I could update it, and Portugalise it. I added the spices missing from her recipe which are the flavours adored by Portuguese cooks.With the addition of Allspice, chilli and cinnamon, I was on course to producing this stunning supper on an offally tasty budget...

Chicken liver pilaff
serves 4 as a main course
500g rice (about two teacupfuls)
125g butter
300g chicken livers,cleaned and cut into even-sized pieces
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 hot red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
1 medium onion finely sliced
2 fat cloves garlic,crushed
30g pine nuts toasted
300g baby spinach,washed
225g petit pois
6 spring onions,finely chopped
1tablespoon each fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley,chopped
salt and pepper
Place the rice in a fine sieve,and give it a rinse under the cold tap,to get rid of any starchy dust( if you don´t pre-wash it the rice won´t fluff up so well at the end).Melt all but a couple of tablespoons of the butter in a large,heavy- based pan,then add the onion and two thirds of the garlic.Stir to coat with butter, cover and sweat for 10 minutes.Marinade the livers in a couple of pinches each of cinnamon and allspice,the rest of the garlic and the chilli.Take the lid off the onion pan,add the rest of the cinnamon and allspice,and cook until the onion turns golden.Add the rice,and stir well so that every grain gets a good coating of the buttery juices.Add an equal volume of water to the rice(about two teacupfuls),season lightly ,stir again,bring to the boil.Cover the pan,turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes,until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.Just before the rice cooking time is up( about 12 minutes), melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and quickly fry the livers until they are  browned all over.Once nicely brown, lift them out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a warm place.In the same pan, cook the peas and spinach until the latter has wilted down.Stir these into the rice,then mix in the coriander and parsley, pinenuts and spring onions,season again,and add the livers.Serve immediately.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Dessert island Dish


At this time of year our thoughts turn to warmer climates and images of paradise

At a recent dinner table while eating a classic French dish cooked that evening by a French national I happened to pass comment that "this would be my "Desert Island dish" and then a thought suddenly came to me- a blog post or series of posts could be in the making.
I would base "my idea" on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs. The original concept asked castaways to choose eight records, a book and one luxury item to take with them to the mythical desert island.All well so far, Feeling an excessive pride in "my grand design" I thought I better tap these very same words into Google.Within seconds I discover I have lost all my credit. Back in April 2001 in the first issue of Observer Food monthly a series had been launched under this very title. Each month they asked a chef to choose five ingredients they´d want if they were stranded on a remote island, and what they´d cook with them.Luckily, the island has a wonderful herb garden and its own olive grove. The rest was up to them.The list of castaways included among others Ruth Rogers founding partner of the River Cafe in London, Richard Corrigan of London Soho´s Lindsay house, chef of scientific extremes, Heston Blumenthal, Mary Contini of Edinburgh Deli Valvona and Crolla, and Chinese Chef Ken Hom.So wiping the smug grin off my face I decide to continue but maybe change the slant. I decided on allowing myself to increase the ingredients allowance to eight.I would include a book, and my love of music would need to be addressed in some way. My only other innovation would be to include the menu for my last supper, assuming that I was never rescued.
I would love to be stranded on a tropical island. My perfect island would have lots of sandy beaches and rocky coves. The water would be clear, warm, and "Tudo Azul"- azure blue.
 I would swim, lounge about and hopefully have time to read. I absolutely love swimming, I love lying about doing nothing and I love sun and heat.Finally I would find the  time to put a fitness regime in place.
I grew up in the country so have fairly romantic notions of what a remote life could be. Growing up almost as an only child my siblings left home when I was still a baby so by force of circumstance I learnt very quickly to be happy with my own company ( an arrogant little cozinheiro I hear you say) but I am  naturally gregarious, always being forward in coming out and talking to strangers. Boredom has never featured in my vocabulary so how long would it take me to get bored? Oh about 30 years I would say, long enough see my lifetime out. I am quite a contemplative soul, so this kind of abandonment would be a great exercise. I´ve always had a childlike inquisitiveness of what surrounds me, and how I can use what is there to my best advantage. I´d use most of the time to experiment with food. I love playing with diferent flavours so this would be a whole new experience for me.
My father taught me how to garden and grow vegetables, and my mother taught me how to cook, and my recent introducton into foraging would put me in good stead for the challenge ahead. I´d be good at gathering but I´m not so sure about the hunting bit, but could soon learn to fish and would be more than happy to live forever on a diet of fruit and vegetables.
Eight Ingredients: 1Rabbit,1chicken,2pigs
cous cous,avocado,Dijon mustard,soya sauce
Book:     Honey from a weed,Patience Gray

Luxury item: My set of chefs knives
Drink:   Sancerre
Desert Island dish:  Lapin a la moutarde
Last supper if not rescued:  Sea bass with thai flavours

Rabbit in a claypot
(coelho a cacadora no tacho de barro)
My desert island dish would have to be adapted to
the restraints of desert Island cooking so my first compromise would be
to cook the dish in a claypot.The dish would be cooked in a more Portuguese style than its French counterpart.I have written the recipe in astyle that is workable for a normal domestic kitchen.

1x1.5kg wild rabbit
1.5litres stock
14 cloves garlic
125g pancetta Toucinho or smoked bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 onion finely chopped
8 picklimg onions
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1 small button mushrooms
20g butter
freshly chopped parsley
small tub of whipping cream

MARINATING PASTE
1tablespoon Dijon mustard
1tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon light soya sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
Separate the back legs of rabbit into drumsticks and thighs.Remove forelegs and neck and trim off belly flap.Set neck and belly flap aside.Cut saddle into 4 pieces.If you are not a castaway this can be done by your butcher.To make the marinating paste, combine all ingredients.Spread paste roughly over the rabbit pieces.Cover and set aside.Simmer the stock for 1 hour with neck and belly flaps from the rabbit,then strain and reserve.Pre heat oven to 160C Finely chop 2 of the garlic cloves and cut pancetta into 5mm wide strips.Heat half the oil in the clay pot on the stove top and carefully brown the rabbit pieces.Try not to move them around too much, you don't want to dislodge the marinating paste.Transfer the meat to a dish while you deglaze the pot with the wine. Tip these juices onto the rabbit pieces.Heat the remaining oil in the pot and brown the bacon onion and chopped garlic cloves for about 5 minutes,then return the meat to the pot with the pickling onions.
Add a little salt and pepper,then pour in sufficient stock to barely cover the contents of the pot.Press a  buttered piece of baking paper onto the contents,then cover with a lid and bake for 1 hour or until tender.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Cod and Mash



casca de batata com puré de bacalhau e batata
A beautiful marriage not only of textures; creamy cod purée and crispy potato skin, but a fusion of two European culinary favourites. The baked potato has long been a British classic but history reveals the role that salt cod has played in Portuguese history goes even further back.Bringing together two staples that are an ocean apart makes for a very compatible international comfort food.You can purchase a baking potato anywhere, however you would have difficulty sourcing good salt cod in England outside of a speciality Portuguese,Spanish or Italian deli. I am going to suggest a slightly different approach to finishing off the baked potato that comes from a Portuguese recipe Batatas à muro.Instead of gently cutting open the potato with a knife, it is literally bashed ('à muro') This opens the potato and gives you the mashed texture that you need to when mixing it with an additional filling.

225g dried salt cod reconstituted in cold water for 24 hours
2 large baking potatoes
300ml milk
1/2 onion peeled 
a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley
85ml double cream
2 tablespoons olive oil,plus extra for drizzling
3 large cloves garlic,crushed
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
freshly ground pepper
juice of 1 lemon
small bunch of parsley
handful of chives for garnish
spoonful of capers

While the potatoes are baking, place the cod in a saucepan. Add 100ml of the milk, enough water to cover the cod. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside and allow the salt cod to cool in the Once the salt cod is sufficiently cool to handle, take it out and discard the liquor. Flake the salt cod into a bowl, discarding any skin and bones.
Heat the remaining milk and the cream in a saucepan. In another saucepan, heat up the olive oil.Remove all the mash from the baked potatoes and mix it with the garlic and the salt cod.Beat in the hot olive oil and creamy milk until the mixture forms a smooth thick paste.
Season with the nutmeg,cayenne and freshly ground pepper.Add the lemon juice to taste.Return the filling to the two potato shells and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until heated through.Chop the parsley chives and top the potatoes with the herbs and capers.