Porcini and Chestnut Risotto, Truffle Cream

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fter the indulgence of Christmas sometimes something a little less meat-dominant, goose fat roasted or gravy soaked is required. Although don’t get me wrong, it still is a festive, celebratory and just that – indulgent – season so lets not be eating green salads and spag bol just yet. Risotto is perfect for using up leftover scraps and cheeses but can still be pimped with indulgence and provides a warming hearty bowl of soul food when the fun of Christmas is behind you but the frost and cold still linger outside. Feel free to tag team in any other ingredients you prefer or have hanging around using rice, parmesan, shallots and stock as the foundations in all variations.

This recipe was particularly perfect after Christmas when chestnuts, cheese and leftover mushrooms were lingering in the fridge! And if you were lucky enough to be given a nice bottle of truffle oil..ahem..then a spike of it here goes a long way into disguising even the greediest of carnivores into noticing that this is in fact a vegetarian supper….

Happy New Year everyone. If not made before 2017 this is certainly one to make in the cold and bracing January days!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 350g arborio/risotto rice (about 4 large handfuls)
  • 3 shallots/2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30g butter and tbsp olive oil
  • Large glass dry white wine
  • Hot vegetable stock (about 700ml)
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 100g parmesan, grated
  • 50g butter, diced
  • Large bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 180g pre roasted and peeled chestnuts, finely chopped or grated.
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 200g mascarpone/creme fraiche
  • Truffle olive oil (You can also use fresh shaved truffle here!)
  1. Begin by soaking the dried porcini mushrooms in a jug with enough boiling water to cover and leave for about 15 minutes until softened and hydrated again.
  2. Next, heat 15g of the butter and a splash of olive oil in a large high sided frying pan or saucepan. Soften the chopped shallot gently on a low heat until translucent and soft. After about 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Next add the rice and turn up the heat to medium and toast the grains while stirring consistently. The grain should begin to turn translucent too and ‘toast’.
  4. After a minute or so of toasting, add the white wine which will bubble briskly and stir until just absorbed.
  5. Drain the soaked mushrooms, chop and set aside. When draining, reserve the mushrooms soaking liquid but discard the final part that will contain any grit from the mushrooms.
  6. Use this hot liquid first before using the hot stock to add to the rice. Stir in the liquid ladle by ladle absorbing the liquid into the rice before adding the next but ensure it does not dry out. Add the liquid after 3/4 of the ladle before has been absorbed. This should take about 18 minutes stirring consistently.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the other 15g of butter and a splash of oil in another frying pan. Fry the chopped chestnut mushrooms until golden and then set aside until needed.
  8. When the rice is just al dente to taste, add in the chopped porcini and continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked to your liking and the texture is still loose. (Don’t allow it to stiffen). Taste and season as needed with plenty of black pepper.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, add in the fried chestnut mushrooms, the chopped parsley and chestnuts and stir to combine.
  10. Finally, scatter over the parmesan, the 50g diced butter and the juice of the lemon. Cover the pan with a lid and remove from the heat and allow it to rest.
  11. Meanwhile, combine the mascarpone/creme fraiche with about 1 tbsp truffle oil or enough to taste depending on the strength that you like it.
  12. Once done, remove the lid from the risotto and stir in the melted cheese to combine evenly. If the texture is a little stiff, add a splash of hot stock to loosen so you get an ‘oozing’ consistency.
  13. Give the risotto once final stir to combine and then serve in warmed shallow bowls and top with the truffle cream and any reserved chopped parsley.

Coconut-nut Granola with Cacao Nibs

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fter my last bounty of coconut goodies from ‘Coconut Collaborative’ I didn’t think I could get any better. Until….a box of samples arrived from the lovely Kiwi people on the other side of the globe at ‘Lovingearth‘. Theres nothing quite like the excitement of a DHL parcel sitting patiently outside your door when you get home especially when you know it contains delicious offerings. A mix of wonderful raw chocolate, raw ingredients and most importantly coconut based products, Lovingearth has an exceptionally focussed and wholesome philosophy. So apologies to the regular readers of ‘forage in the pantry.’ who know my love of coconut but it is indeed one of my favourites. So when I saw the coconut sugar, oil and a bounty of nuts I thought some cheeky granola was in order. Coconut-nut granola with some bitter cacao nibs to fuel the coldest or wettest of November London mornings.

I’ve used a range of Loving Earth’s ingredients here but sub in and out what you want and what takes your fancy.

Makes 1 batch

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A little side note on some of these raw and new (for some) ingredients. I’ll admit, I didn’t have the faintest idea where coconut sugar actually came from until I headed over to the Loving Earth website. So I also recommend taking a look at their page on product info if you’re curious.

Coconut Sugar – made from the coconut palm blossoms believe it or not. From the sap of the cut flower buds! Nutritionally it has a naturally low Glycemic Index which means it releases energy slower in the body unlike honey etc. Its been used as a natural sweetener historically and has a rich toffee-like flavour which makes an amazing 1:1 swap in baking for another level of flavour. Try flapjack, coconut loaf or brownies as an example!

Coconut Oil – the pressed oil from the coconut meat itself!

Cacao Nibs – even better for you than dark chocolate and packed FULL of antioxidants. Cacao nibs are derived from cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks, and broken into smaller pieces.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray with a sheet of parchment.
  2. Mix the oats, nuts, coconut, sugar, almonds, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the coconut oil and honey in a large pan until melted fully and combined. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
  4. Pour the warm syrup over the oats and stir thoroughly to combine ensuring all the dry mixture is coated.
  5. Spread out evenly on the baking tray. use the biggest tray you can. You don’t want the granola to be in a thick layer – use two trays if needed.
    bake for 20 minutes, giving it a good mix half way through.
  6. Once baked, leave to cool, untouched. Once cool it will crisp up and you can stir through your dry additional ingredients – cacao nibs and raisins here.
  7. Store in an airtight container and use to scatter over your yoghurt or fruit.

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Cheesy Breaded Hake

T

his recipe is a perfect Monday night dinner to start the week on a healthy note and get some flavour after perhaps (I mean I’m just suggesting….) a boozy weekend…ahem..? The fresh delicate flavour of the fish, the slight decadence of the greasy fried cheesy breadcrumbs with a good squeeze of lemon and the sharp tang of a few gooey capers satisfied all my cravings in one. With a fresh crunchy salad with yet more lemon it cheered a soggy Monday after what was the worst day of rain we’ve had in long time. So after laying out my running shoes and the entire contents of my running rucksack to dry I cracked on with priority two….dinner.

I’ve left the measurements vague. Its really dependant on how many you’re cooking for and how cheesy you like it. And I’ll admit, after a soaking run home I wasn’t really in the mood to measure for the sake of this blog post as that really does take away the ease and love of this recipe for  Monday night. No rules, no orders, just guidelines…..Experiment!

  • White fish fillets – use a meaty fish here. I used hake but cod, haddock, tilapia, whiting, monkfish etc all work too (skinned)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Parsley, chopped roughly (reserve a handful for garnish)
  • Lemon, zest and juice (1 between 2)
  • Egg, beaten (Around 1 per fillet)
  • Plain flour
  • 1 heaped 2tsp capers per person
  • Sunflower oil, 1 large knob butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C..
  2. Place the flour in a small bowl and the beaten egg in another.
  3. The measurements for the coating are loose….use as many breadcrumbs as you require for the number of fish fillets. Use about a quarter of the weigh in breadcrumbs for the cheese and as much parsley as you dare. One very large handful of breadcrumbs usually accommodates 1 fillet but it depends on size and if you’re double dipping (see step 4)! Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Taking your fish fillets, dip first in the flour and dust off the excess then dip in the egg. Then plunge the fillets straight into the breadcrumbs and coat well. Repeat with a second layer of egg and breadcrumbs if you like a thick coating. It will be a messy job, press the coating into the fish as best you can.
  5. Place the fillets on a plate and chill for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat a large deep saucepan with a good layer of sunflower oil and a knob of butter.
  7. When hot but not smoking, add your chilled fish fillets and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Flip and repeat until you have a toasted solid golden crust. Either continue to cook throughout in the pan or finish in the oven until cooked to your liking (depends on the fish size but around 7-8 minutes).
  8. Whilst finishing cooking or whilst the fish rests, chop the capers roughly with the remaining parsley. Add the zest of the lemon and combine. Garnish over the crispy fillets with half a wedge of lemon on the side to squeeze over.

Serve with fresh vegetable, salad or some big sweet potato wedges. A tartare sauce wouldn’t go amide here either…or a lemony yoghurt. Being in the wine trade, I’m also dying to advise a wine that would go perfectly here but seeing as its Monday and a healthy start I won’t. But if you were to open a bottle of something sharp and zesty like a Chenin Blanc then you wouldn’t be going far off…ahem….cheers.

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Blackberry and Ginger Pudding

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T

his is one of the tastiest but easiest little puddings to knock up and its packed full of flavour and perfect for a winter evening with a steaming bowl of velvety sweet custard. Ambrosia obviously. But if you’re feeling the urge to make a your own creme angliase then my cinnamon version found here is great. Its not a steamed pudding as such but it may as well be with its warm spongy texture and comfort. I’ll admit the ginger is excessive but don’t be shy, you’ll appreciate the bounty if you go all in here – its a ginger pudding after all. A little lemon zest lifts it into a lighter pudding and the blackberries are just so god damn seasonal. And a nod to the ‘forage’.

This recipe if straight from Sky Gyngell’s ‘A Year in my Kitchen’ and I made no changes. Its perfect.

Serves 4

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • Zest 2 lemons
  • 4 knobs of stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Blackberries
  • Pinch salt
  1. Grease 4 mini pudding moulds or ramekins. I also lined the base with a little parchment to stop it sticking. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one by one until combined
  4. Next sift in the flour and fold in.
  5. Fold in the lemon zest and ginger.
  6. Spoon a generous tbsp of golden syrup into the base of each pudding bowl. Top with enough blackberries to cover the base in a single layer. Spoon over the sponge mixture divided between each mould.
  7. Grease 4 small sheets of foil and cover the moulds loosely with it. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  8. Turn out onto a plate and serve warm with a steaming helping of custard.

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Chickpea Curry, Coconut Yoghurt, Naan and Mango Chutney

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 am not a vegetarian (lets just make that clear) but sometimes meat just isn’t required. When flavour is so prominent there is sometimes no need for it and this curry certainly has a big punch of spice. If you’re going to make a curry, don’t be timid, the more spice the better in my eyes! And I reassure you that you won’t miss the meat in this one – chickpeas make a substantial replacement. However feel free to replace with diced chicken, whole chicken legs, chunky white fish or even lamb. Or keep it vegetarian but pulse free with chunky cauliflower or broccoli or stirring through some spinach at the end.

Homemade flatbreads, sweet mango chutney and a cooling coconut yoghurt are the perfect side dishes. Who needs a takeaway….

Serves 4

Curry

  • 2 x cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can (full fat) coconut milk
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large/ 2 small red onions roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 thumb piece ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fengrueek seed
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, garam marasal, curry powder, tumeric
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • Bunch coriander
  • 1 lime
  • Spinach or extra vegetable optional

Yoghurt & Flatbread

  • 250g plain yoghurt
  • 2 large handfuls desiccated coconut
  • 500g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • Milk
  • Mango chutney to serve
  1. Start by mixing the flatbread dough. Add the flour, nigella seeds and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add a small splash of milk (a little at a time) mixing as you go until you have a smooth dough that is not too wet. If you do add too much milk just counteract with some extra flour. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until combined and smooth. Leave the dough ball to rest in a floured bowl while you make the curry.
  2. Start the curry by toasting the whole spices in a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes to release the fragrance. When you smell them toasting remove from the heat and add to a pestle and mortar and grind well. Add the dry spices and set aside.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan/saucepan (bear in mind you will need the curry in a saucepan later so use whatever is easiest) and gently soften the red onion for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Next add the spices to the onion mix and fry for about 2 minutes adding a splash more oil if needed.
  5. Next add the tinned tomatoes and simmer gently for a minute mixing well to incorporate the onion spice mixture before adding the coconut milk to the sauce.
  6. At this stage I recommend transferring the sauce to a saucepan with a lid if you haven’t already. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce before adding the chickpeas. Season to taste and keep on the simmer while you make the flatbreads and yoghurt. Add a splash of water for a thinner sauce or simmer to reduce for a more concentrated texture (depending on preference)
  7. Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan until just turning golden. Remove and add to the yoghurt. Set aside.
  8. Take the rested flatbread dough and divide out into generous golf ball sized rounds. Roll into flatbreads, the thickness of a 10p piece and set each aside. Heat a dry frying pan on high and turn on the extractor fan! Dry fry the flatbreads on each side. They should puff up a little in pockets and char a little. You’ll have to play with your own hob temperature but a high heat is needed. Continue with all the breads, wrapping them in a pile in a clean tea towel to keep them warm and soft after each one.
  9. (If adding any vegetables, add to the hot curry now and simmer until cooked.)
  10. When the breads and yoghurt are done and the mango chutney is at hand and ready to go, chop a large handful or coriander and the stems and add to the curry. Squeeze in the juice of the lime and taste and adjust the flavour as needed.
  11. Serve the curry in large warm bowls topped with the yoghurt, chutney and a scattering of coriander. Dip in your flatbreads to your hearts content.

 

Gooseberry Cobbler

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 feel ashamed to call this cooking. Assembling if you like. It must be one of the easiest puddings out there – hearty and warming. It doesn’t have a chance against a crumble I’ll be the first to admit but lets just say its the crumbles foreign not so pretty and less intelligent cousin. With a sad tinge of Autumnal chill to the weather this weekend and being the first day of October my expectations of an endless Indian Summer were dampened metaphorically and literally after ending up a little wet at work.

A few weeks back I returned home to my Wiltshire bolt and origins of the real pantry to a bounty of delicious homegrown gooseberries! Picked from the allotment and waiting patiently for my greedy hands! So cobbler it was….adapted from Delia Smith.

Serves 4

  • 500g gooseberries
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 110g cold, cubed butter
  • 170ml buttermilk
  • Pinch salt
  • Demerara sugar
  • Ice cream/custard to serve. Or my cinnamon creme anglaise
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Start by placing the gooseberries in a baking dish and scatter over the caster sugar and cordial evenly.
  3. To make the topping, place the flour, baking powder, salt and cubed butter in a food processor and blend together until you have a breadcrumb like consistency. Then at this stage add the buttermilk and pulse until you get a sticky dough.
  4. Rustically distribute large tablespoons of the topping over the gooseberries making sure you cover the majority of the fruit.
  5. Sprinkle over some crunchy demerara sugar and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the topping if golden, cooked and the fruit is bubbling up underneath.
  6. Serve warm with custard or ice cream. My cinnamon creme anglaise is recommended –  see here for full recipe

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Ultimate Cornbread

T

his recipe comes directly from Brad McDonald’s book ‘Deep South‘. After being lucky enough to dine in his awesome restaurant ‘The Lockhart’ before he packed up to open ‘Shotgun BBQ‘ I experienced the jaw dropping sights and tastes of his signature cornbread. Basted in thick honeyed butter bubbling at the sides in its case iron dish it was brought to the table disguised as a lemon drizzle!? And boy did it taste good. Its a bit simpler in flavour (and perhaps authenticity?) than my own signature version which you can find here which is full of sweetcorn for texture, chilli for spice and a bit of cheeky cheddar for tang. Whilst both have their own style, the winner here is the buttery honeyed topping. Slatered warm with salted butter this makes the perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soured cream drizzled chilli or simply a bucket of homemade fresh guacamole as I did here.

Having not yet tried Shotgun BBQ it will be my next fit spot…

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I used a mini retro loaf tin to create these cute mini loaves perfect for individual portions. However I would also recommend using small loaf tin, one large one, or failing that a muffin tin! This recipe would make about 8 small muffins I think. But feel free to use any tin available – the depth will just mean the cooking tin will vary but if you stick to 25 minutes or so first starters and a knife inserted into the centre is clean then voila!

Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g polenta/cornmeal
  • 25g soft light brown sugar
  • 4g baking powder
  • Large pinch salt
  • 225ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20g butter, melted
  • 30g lard
  • 50g unsalted butter & 50g runny honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and place a small knob of lard in each tin
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Add the wet and mix well to combine
  4. Spoon into the muffin tins/loaf tin (allowing room for rise)
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden. A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean
  6. While they are baking, combine the honey and butter for the topping in a saucepan and melt to combine
  7. When the loaves are ready baste in the hot honey butter and then return to the oven for a few minutes
  8. After this time, remove from the oven and serve immediately, hot and buttery!

I served mine with guacamole  – see here but a chilli would also go down a treat.

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Apricot, Thyme, Honey and Goats Cheese Grain Salad

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T

his weekend summer finally arrived! I woke in Wiltshire to gleaming sun rays through my curtains, clear blue skies and the promise of a warm balmy day. I could already taste BBQ in the air and with some thick marbled dexter steaks sitting patiently in the fridge, all we needed was a side dish to accompany.

Now I call this a ‘grain’ salad as its open to using any type of grain or pulse of choice. Cous cous, pearl barely, lentils. Follow your taste buds. But for this creative dish I used quite an original and special one. Sent from overseas England has yet to offer this nutty, textured ingredient. Its a cross between cous cous and pearl barley but get this health addicts –  its gluten free! But like I said sadly its not available in the UK yet but at least you know which food blog to check out when it does (ahem). This special packet of gold dust for coeliacs arrived for me overseas from a budding provider and I was keen to taste it. Being very versatile I wanted to use it simply and being gentle in taste it can easily handle strong flavours. Simmer for about 30 minutes and drain for a delicious texture and a wonderful flavour.

Available in both wholegrain and normal.

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Serves 4

  • 200g sorghum/pearl barley/giant cous cous/lentils
  • 6 fresh apricots
  • Small bunch thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (I used Odysea’s ‘Wild Thyme and Fragrant Herb Honey‘)
  • 125g soft, goats cheese
  • Handful of rocket
  • 1 lemon
  1. Simmer you grain of choice until tender but with a little bite. Drain and leave to cool until just warm.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.. Slice the apricots in half, de-stone and place on a baking tray. Drizzle over the honey and half the thyme leaves. Season and drizzle over a splash of olive oil and toss together. Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the apricots are roasted and softened but still hold their shape. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before cutting each half again in half.
  3. When ready to serve, season the grains and combine with the warm roasted apricots, the rest of the thyme and a handful of rocket leaves. Crumble in the goats cheese.
  4. Finally, dress with the juice of the lemon and stir gently to combine and coat in the lemony juices.

WINE: Served with a deliciously fruity glass of California’s ‘Folk Machine Pinot Noir’ available at Armit Wines

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‘forage in the pantry’ Summer Supper Club

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fter a successful first supper club earlier in the year, the excitement, delight and adrenaline of the event left me hungry to plan and host another! And with that, 3 apprehensive months later my summer edition arrived with a spice packed menu to tempt my next set of 30 greedy foodies.  And what a sunny and  special one this continued to be. Complete with the tuneful soothing and mesmerising sounds of my beautiful singer Doll Duncan…

For this summery occasion the menu was themed around spice from around the world in an original and eclectic mix of flavours and dishes to reflect my style. The sun was beaming as guests arrived to be welcomed with a crisp glass of sparkling Nyetimber to ease us all in to what I hoped to be an evening not to be missed. I began the menu with a fresh colourful starter of warm feta, pea, mint and dill fritters topped with a quenelle of beetroot and walnut humus. Served alongside this, some warm crusty bread and my homemade smoked salt and fennel butter! And who’d have thought, after all the flavours and tastes the evening offered I had more comments and astonished delight at my flavoured butter! On par with my truffles for simplicity, flavoured butter truly is an amazingly simple and easy addition to create which adds a brilliant twist to a meal (recipe to follow). With the taste buds awoken, I followed the starter with a generous oozy and velveting spoonful of my creamy spiced take on a lentil dahl (I did’t hold back on chilli, I’m told….). My ‘hug in a bowl’ dahl was then topped with a curry roasted cauliflower salad flecked with crisp spring onions, chopped mint and coriander. This miniature mountain of flavour was finally topped with a juicy and lovingly warm shredded handful of duck coated in a fresh zesty lime dressing…..

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Fennel and Smoked Salt Butter

  • 250g unsalted butter (Softened)
  • 1 heaped tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  1. Dry toast the fennel seeds in a pan until fragrant. Leave to cool before grinding in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Tip into a bowl and then grind the salt flakes to a fine powder too.
  3. Add about 1 tsp each of the ground fennel seed and the salt to the butter and stir well to combine evenly throughout. Add a little more fennel or salt dependant on taste.
  4. Spoon the butter onto a piece of cling film in an oblong shape. Roll into a cylinder and tie up the end tightly like a cracker. Place in the fridge to harden before slicing into rounds.

With satisfied tummies, my lovely diners were relieved momentarily from their eating duties digest and embrace the gorgeous and charming sounds of my dear talented friend Doll Duncan who took to the piano like Beyonce to the stage. With a mix of unique covers (including a fantastic version of Billie Jean) and her own thoughtfully written lyrics she captured the room, and all thoughts of food, stomachs and wine were banished as she distracted our senses.

A short moment of sadness followed as she signed off with her last song but souls were comforted with the arrival of dessert! A very English and seasonal affair. A stick sweet ginger and treacle tart topped with a (ironical festively) spiced apple puree and a spoonful of my homemade rhubarb crumble ice cream. Happy diners.

As the evening darkened and many a late night punter strolled past the open windows curiously wondering what they had missed out on, my velvety homemade dark chocolate truffles teased the room only to be accompanied by coffee, teas and late night tipples from Market Porter’s fantastic range. We drank, talked and relaxed into the wee hours…

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Hosted once again at the charming Porter at Embassy Gardens, nothing sums up the evening better than the video snapshot above, created and shot by the talented Keith Hammond.

 

 

Ricotta Gnudi with Chorizo and Peas

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T

hese little gnudi pillows are a lighter take on the chewier gnocchi – a potato based recipe –  and instead use creamy ricotta and very little flour to form a creamy and lovely textured equivalent. Historically they are known in Italy as ‘naked’ ravioli. Use your imagination….these ones however are clothed in a simple buttery lemon sauce. A delicious end to whats been a temperamental June weekend. Glorious sun one minute and torrential rain the next. Since the gardens and parks are in full green bloom with all the nourishing rain, a dinner inspired using fresh summer vegetables here makes them not an addition to the gnudi main event but an equal partner.

This recipe is speedy to knock up especially once you’ve fried the gnudi. Simply toss together the blanched vegetables in some buttery lemon and voila…you have a perfect summers meal!

Feel free to use any range of vegetables. Sliced blanched asparagus would be glorious here when in season perhaps with pancetta instead of chorizo. Or try string in some last minute wild garlic leaves, basil or mint.

Serves 2

Gnudi

  • 250g  ricotta cheese
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 large egg, beten
  • 20g finely grated parmesan (plus more for garnish)
  • Grated zest 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Sauce

  • 1/2 lemon
  • 100g peas
  • 100g broad beans, podded (or any other summer green veg enough for 2)
  • 100g chorizo, sliced on the diagonal
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • Handful chopped chives
  1. Begin making the gnudi. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined.Jess - Gnudi
  2. Tip out onto a floured surface and roll into a log shape (as thick as you like). Add a little more flour if needed. The texture should come together and not be wet but it will be very soft and pillowy like dough. Quite fragile.
  3. Chop into gnudi pieces (mine were about 2 inch long) and place on a tray until ready to cookJess - Gnudi2
  4. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch your vegetables of choice and then drain and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan, season the water and poach the gnudi for a few minutes. They will rise to the surface and float once cooked and ready. When this happens, use a slotted spoon to drain and place on a lined tray. Keep the water for the sauce.
  6. Heat a frying pan and add half the butter and a little oil. Heat on a high heat and then fry the gnudi until golden brown all over. Place on a warm plate and keep warm once golden.
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  8. In the same pan, add the sliced chorizo and fry just until beginning to crisp.
  9. (You need to now work quickly to prevent the vegetables decolouring). Add the vegetables – peas and beans – to the chorizo in the pan and season.
  10. Next add in the rest of the butter and stir to emulsify the sauce. Add a splash of the gnudi poaching water.
  11. Simmer and then add the gnudi to the mixture and warm through and coat in the buttery juices.
  12. Finally, when all warmed through, squeeze over the lemon juice and the chopped chives.
  13. Serve in deep warm bowls topped with any reserved chopped chives and some more grated parmesan

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