April, 2010


27
Apr 10

The perfect poach

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Poaching is a wonderfully delicate, gentle and subtle method of cooking. A poached egg is a luxurious, melting treat – breaking into one and watching its golden, silky yolk flowing across a piece of buttered toast is as close to food perfection as one can get. A scattering of sea salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill are all the garnish this plate needs.

Poaching is a great way to cook fruit too – their flavour is sweetened, their flesh softened, taking even the hardiest of ripen-at-home fruits and turning it into a fragrant and luscious pudding. Vanilla flecked thick Greek yogurt makes an ideal accompaniment.

Rhubarb seems to lend itself best to a very gentle poach. I’m sure London’s top chefs would cook it sous-vide (in a temperature controlled water bath) for hours on a very low heat. For me though, a fairly weak sugar syrup (1 part sugar to 8 parts water) is all that is called for. Finger-length pieces swim around over a very low flame, cooking for maybe eight to ten minutes.

A gentle turn half way through to ensure even cooking, then I spoon them out of the liquor before cranking up the heat and reducing the syrup to a quarter of its volume or so. I remove it from the heat, add a splash of Prosecco and spoon it over the rhubarb before serving it alongside one of my favourite puddings -caramel panna cottas.

A final sprinkle of some crushed Amaretti biscuits is all that is needed to give the final dish some contrasting crunch to go with the perfectly cooked rhubarb.


21
Apr 10

The ice is right

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My love affair with ice cream is quite blatant for those of you who have been keeping tabs on my cooking via A Byte to Savour. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve eaten entire tubs of a certain well-known brand of ice cream in a single sitting.

And somehow there’s always room for more. I justify it with the fact that ice cream melts and fits around everything else in an already full tum. Somehow there is some ice cream logic there. At least, in my mind, there is.

Peanut butter ice cream is fantastically simple to make, requiring very little effort and tasting fantastic. Couple this ice cream with some shop bought chocolate cookies for a primo dessert – I’d be tempted to make sandwiches with the biscuits, squishing the ice cream in the middle with maybe just a smidge of something saucy – a butterscotch or chocolate sauce perhaps.

Click here for my recipe for peanut butter ice cream


16
Apr 10

A messy Sunday afternoon

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I don’t tend to go in for house-warming parties; I’ve never quite seen the logic in getting the house all clean and spangly and then inviting a load of people round to make a mess of it!Sunday lunch is a much more sedate and enjoyable way to get settled into a new place – and saves the breakages and spills so often associated with late nights and loud music.

The Sunday lunch we had did eventually turn into a very late impromptu party, so it was rather lucky I’d made a big enough pud for the extra people who turned up over the course of the afternoon and evening.

This pear and hazelnut mess gives a nod towards the classic French dessert poires belle helene.

Click here for my recipe for Pear and hazelnut mess with chocolate shavings


7
Apr 10

A beautiful blood orange beverage

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Blood oranges have their own perfumed unique flavour alongside their striking, vivid, scarlet interiors. There is something endlessly charming about the fact each one is different in shade and intensity; some are coloured with just the faintest shade of pastel peach while others are shot through with the deepest of sanguine crimsons.Some of you may remember a recipe I did a while back on my own blog for a Clementine cosmopolitan – the short, punchy fresh drink is one of my favourites and perfectly set up for little twists and plays depending on what you’ve got in the fridge or what’s in season.

I was cooking dinner for a blood orange fanatic so it seemed only fitting to incorporate them somehow and this blood orange cosmopolitan made a deliciously, tasty and stylish tipple.

Blood orange cosmopolitan

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