Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Salmon Fishcakes with Dill and Lemon Mayonnaise

Poached salmon makes great fishcakes.  I try to keep the flakes of fish as big as possible by folding the fish into the potato mixture after all the other ingredients have been incorporated.

Makes 5 large fishcakes

1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large salmon fillets
1 bay leaf
12 whole peppercorns
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 large bunch dill, keep a few leaves for decoration then finely chop the rest (save 1 tbsp for the sauce)
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 oz butter
Oil for shallow frying (I used rape seed oil)
3 slices seeded brown bread, made into breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp plain flour

Poach the salmon with the bay leaf and peppercorns in simmering water for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and place a lid on top.  After 7 minutes remove the lid and drain off the liquid.  Remove the peppercorns and bay leaf.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender, drain and return to the pan to dry out add the butter and mash until you have a smooth consistency.  Set aside.

Add the chopped capers, chopped dill, parsley and lemon juice to the potato mixture and mix thoroughly.  Flake the salmon fillets and gently fold them into the potato mixture.  Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
Mix the grated lemon zest into the breadcrumbs.

Form the fishcake mixture into large patties then dip each patty first into flour then into the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat, test by dropping a few breadcrumbs into the pan, if they gently sizzle the oil is ready. 

Place the fishcakes in the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes, turn them and cook the other side for 2 minutes followed by a further minute each side.

For the dill and lemon mayonnaise

6 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped dill
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Mix all the ingredients together and keep it cool until needed.

Serve the fishcakes piping hot with the mayonnaise on the side.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Little Pies with Chicken Ham Chestnuts and Cranberries

Another great freeze-away for Christmas, small savoury pies.  These ones have a bit of a festive edge with cranberries and chestnuts.

For the pastry

8 oz plain flour
2 oz butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 oz white cooking fat, chilled and cut into cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp English mustard powder
a little chilled water

Seive together the salt, flour and mustard powder.

Rub the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs,  add cold water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture forms a dough that is not too wet.

Place the dough in clingfilm and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling

2 large chicken breasts, cut into smallish pieces
1 small red onion, finely chopped
100 g vacuum packed chestnuts, chopped
25 g dried cranberries
200 g unsmoked bacon, chopped
1 tbsp chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
Salt and freshly milled pepper
150 ml double cream
1 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry gently until softened then add the chicken and bacon, turn the heat up slightly and stir fry for 4 minutes until lightly browned.

Toss in the chestnuts and cranberries and cook for a couple of minutes then add the cream , stir to combine then simmer for 2 minutes.  The cream should reduce a little.

Taste the mixture add pepper and salt, if necessary.

Stir in the chopped herbs and leave to cool while you roll the pastry.

On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and using a 3" round cutter cut out 12 rounds, roll out the remaining pastry and cut out 12 x 2.5" rounds for pie lids.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Place the larger rounds into a 12 hole muffin tin and spoon in the filling, wet the edges of the lids with water and place one on top of each pie, press down the edges to seal and brush each pie with beaten egg.  Cut a couple of slits in the centre then bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle over a little sea salt.

Serve warm or cold.

To freeze, cool completely then wrap in cling film before freezing.  Defrost at room temperature.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Apple Galette

200g all butter puff pastry
160g Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into slices 1/8"
2 tbsp sugar,
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp apricot jam
Whole milk

Roll out pastry dough between 2 sheets of cling film to form a 1/8" thick round 14" in diameter.  Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Place apple slices, 1 tbsp sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl, stir to combine.

Spread the apricot jam over the pastry, leaving 1 1/2" plain border. Arrange apple slices in circles over the jam, overlapping slightly.

Fold plain edge border up over apples, pinching any cracks in the pastry. Brush with milk. Sprinkle pastry edges and apples with remaining tbsp sugar.

Bake the galette for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the pastry is golden, (about 20 minutes).

Remove from oven.  Let stand at least 10 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Roast Saddle of Venison with Saute Potatoes and Croutons

Venison has higher iron levels than any other red meat, contains omega 3 fats and less fat than a skinned breast of chicken.

Cook venison as you would beef. To compensate for the lower fat content, I covered with streaky bacon, you could also marinate the meat overnight with red wine and herbs.

Serve it on very hot plates as venison fat has a high melting point and isnt quite so appetizing cold (unlike beef).
Serves 4

Saddle of venison approx 2 kg
8 shallots, peeled
2 glasses red wine, about 250ml
Salt and freshly ground pepper
200g streaky bacon
A few sprigs fresh rosemary
Beef or vegetable stock (I used the cooking liquor from the broccoli)
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Heat a casserole and add 1 tbsp oil, add the venison and seal on all sides.  Remove the meat. 

Add the shallots and wine to the casserole, sit the venison on top and cover it with rashers of streaky bacon and sprigs of rosemary.

Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 40/45 minutes for medium rare / medium,  remove from the oven and rest the meat, wrapped in foil, for 20-30 minutes.

To make the gravy, heat the roasting juices in the casserole with the redcurrant jelly add 2 tsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 tbsp of water and use to thicken the gravy.

For the potatoes
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Olive oil

Boil the potatoes and garlic in salted water for 5 minutes, drain, remove the garlic and add it to the meat juices and toss in olive oil, cook on a baking tray for 15 minutes until golden brown.

For the croutons

Cut thin slices from a baguette, fry them over a medium heat in a little oil and butter for 30 seconds each side, drain on kitchen paper and keep them warm.

Serve with bacon, shallots, saute potatoes,gravy and croutons.

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