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Beetroot with green sauce

by Valentine Warner from What to Eat Now

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 1 to 2 hours

Ingredients

2 medium raw beetroot
olive oil
large-flaked sea salt
For the green sauce
handful fresh mint, finely chopped
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp baby capers, rinsed and drained
½ banana shallot (or 1 ordinary shallot), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 canned anchovy fillets in oil, drained, chopped
½ tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon, juice only



Method
1. Put the beetroot into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside until just cool enough to handle, then carefully rub off the beetroot skins. Discard the skins.
2. Place the mint, parsley, capers, shallot and garlic into a bowl.
3. Add the anchovies and the mustard and mix well.
4. Add the olive oil and the lemon juice sparingly, adding more as required. Mix well and leave to stand.
5. Chop each beetroot into eight equal wedges and place into a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and drizzle with the green sauce.
6. Serve immediately.




Onion tart

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 8

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time over 2 hours


Ingredients
125g/4oz butter
14 medium onions, very finely chopped
100ml/3½fl oz white wine vinegar
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 ready-cooked savoury pastry case
50g/2oz parmesan, freshly grated
To serve
freshly ground black pepper



Method
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based non-reactive pan with a lid over a very low heat. Add the onions and cook with the lid on, stirring regularly to ensure the onions do not burn, for about two hours. The onions should be very soft, sticky and brown.
2. Turn up the heat and add the vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt. Cook until the vinegar has almost completely reduced. Stir regularly for about 30 minutes to prevent the onions burning, until the onions are a deep golden-brown. (A little colour from the bottom of the pan is fine - just stir it in.)
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
4. Fill the ready-cooked pastry case with the onion mixture and smooth it out evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with grated parmesan season with freshly ground black pepper.
5. Bake the tart in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave to rest for ten minutes.
6. To serve, slice while warm and serve on warmed plates.

Pumpkin soup

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 8-10

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 1 to 2 hours

Ingredients

1 x 4kg/8lb 13oz pumpkin
125g/4oz butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.7 litres/3 pints chicken stock (vegetarians may substitute vegetable stock)
3 tablespoons sherry



Method
1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and set aside. Scoop out the seeds and fibres from the middle and discard.
2. Using a sharp knife and a spoon, carefully hollow out the pumpkin, removing the flesh and setting aside. (It is imperative that you do not cut right up to the inside of the skin or pierce it. Leave 2cm/1in of flesh all around the inside.)
3. Roughly chop the scooped-out pumpkin flesh.
4. Melt the butter in a large pan with a lid over a low heat and add the onions. Cook the onions gently for about 15 minutes, until they are softened and golden-brown.
5. Add the pumpkin flesh, the cinnamon and nutmeg, and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and cover with the lid. Cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the base from burning, until the pumpkin is cooked through.
6. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the soup to a food processor in batches and blend until smooth.
7. Return the soup to the pan and bring to a low simmer and cook for a further half an hour.
8. Forty-five minutes before eating, preheat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas 3.
9. Pour the soup into the hollow pumpkin shell, add the sherry and stir to combine.
10. Place the reserved pumpkin 'lid' onto the pumpkin and place onto a large baking tray. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, to bring the soup up to temperature.
11. To serve, carefully remove from the oven and serve the soup in the pumpkin at the table. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Plum crumble

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 6

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour


Ingredients
For the filling

butter, for greasing
12-15 large ripe plums, stones removed, chopped
½ lemon, juice only
160g/5½oz caster sugar
For the crumble
175g/6oz plain flour, sifted
50g/2oz caster sugar
50g/2oz dark muscovado sugar
100g/3½oz butter, chilled, cut into cubes
100g/3½oz rolled porridge oats
2 lemons, zest only
custard, to serve



Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/Gas 4.
2. Grease a 30cm/12in square ovenproof dish.
3. Place the plums and lemon juice into the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with the sugar.
4. For the crumble, in a bowl, rub together the flour, caster sugar, muscovado sugar and cold butter cubes. (It is important that the butter is cold, or you will end up making more of a dough than a crumble.) When a crumble has been achieved, add in the oats and lemon zest. Mix well.
5. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the plum mixture in the dish, then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown.
6. To serve, spoon out generous portions into bowls and serve with lashings of custard.

Pear and Stinking Bishop cheese tarts

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Makes 6

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour


You will need 6 x 10cm/4in deep, loose-based tart tins.

Ingredients
For the pastry
250g/9oz plain flour
25g/1oz caster sugar
150g/5oz chilled butter, cut into cubes
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
25g/1oz butter
3 small dessert pears, (such as Conference), peeled, quartered, core removed, sliced
1 tsp caster sugar
1 large free-range egg
1 large free-range egg yolk
284ml/10fl oz single cream
100g-125g/3½oz-4½oz Stinking Bishop or Roquefort cheese, rind removed, chopped into small cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper



Method
1. For the pastry, place the flour and sugar into a food processor with the butter and blend using the pulse setting, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add the egg and blend until the mixture just comes together as a dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, divide into six equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Roll out each ball of dough to line six 10cm/4in deep loose-based tart tins. Trim the excess pastry from the edges, then press around the sides gently until the pastry extends 2.5cm/1in above the edge of each tin. Place onto a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
5. Line the tart tins with small sheets of baking parchment. Fill the lined tarts with baking beans or uncooked rice and bake blind for 20 minutes.
6. Carefully remove the baking beans or rice and discard the baking parchment from the tarts and return to the oven to bake for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and just cooked. Remove from the oven and set aside.
7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/360F/Gas 4.
8. For the filling, melt the butter in a frying over a medium heat. Add the pears and fry for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned.
9. Add the sugar and cook the pears for a further 1-2 minutes, until caramelised and golden-brown. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool for a few minutes.
10. Whisk the egg, egg yolk and cream together in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
11. Place equal amounts of the pear slices and pieces of the cheese loosely into the pastry cases (don't overfill the tart cases).
12. Pour the egg and cream mixture into each tart until it reaches almost the top of the pastry.
13. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the filling is just set - it should wobble a little.
14. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before serving.

Apple charlotte with stem ginger

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

You will need a 16cm/6in pudding basin.
Ingredients
6 Cox, Braeburn or Russet apples, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
4 pieces stem ginger in syrup, with 3 tablespoons syrup from the jar
½ lemon, juice only
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
½ large loaf good quality white bread, crusts removed, thinly sliced
clotted cream, to serve



Method
1. Preheat the oven to 230C/445F/Gas 8.
2. Place the apples into a pan with the ginger syrup, lemon juice and three tablespoons water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are very soft.
3. Blend the apple mixture with a stick blender to a smooth purée (or blend in a food processor).
4. Chop the stem ginger into thin slivers.
5. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat to clarify it, skimming off the white solids (curds) as they rise to the top. When the butter is clear, remove from the heat. (A little residue on the bottom of the pan isn't a problem.)
6. Place the base of a 16cm/6in pudding basin onto one of the slices of bread and cut around the base to create a circle of bread to fit into the bottom.
7. Using a pastry brush, paint the bread circle on both sides with the clarified butter, then place it into the bottom of the basin.
8. Cut the remaining bread slices in half and brush them on both sides with the clarified butter. Place all but 4-5 of the buttered slices around the inside of the pudding basin, making sure they all overlap by about 1cm/½in.
9. Fill the bread casing with the apple mixture.
10. Cover the apple filling with the remaining butter-painted bread slices.
11. Cut two circles of clean cardboard to fit snugly the inside of the top of the basin and wrap both in kitchen foil (alternatively use a plate that fits inside the basin. Place this on top of the basin and weight it down with a heavy pan (such as a cast iron fying pan). Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the bread topping is starting to turn golden-brown. Remove the weight and foil lid and return the charlotte to the oven to bake for a further 7-8 minutes, or until light golden-brown.
12. To serve, place a plate on the top of the basin and turn out the pudding onto the plate. Break the top crust of the charlotte and spoon in two large dollops of clotted cream and allow to melt into the pudding, then serve in generous slices.

Crayfish with hazelnut and pastis butter

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 2-4

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 10 to 30 mins


Ingredients
For the stuffing

1 large handful slightly stale, rustic-style bread, torn into pieces
large handful hazelnuts
1 lemon, zest and juice
125g/4oz butter, cut into small cubes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
splash pastis
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
large handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
For the crayfish
30 raw signal crayfish (substitute with langoustines if unavailable)
lemon wedges, to serve



Method
1. Preheat the grill to its highest setting.
2. Place the bread into a food processor and blend into medium-sized breadcrumbs.
3. Add the remaining stuffing ingredients, except for the parsley, to the breadcrumbs and blend until thoroughly combined. (If it becomes a lump, remove the lid and break it up a little with a spoon.) Stir in the chopped parsely.
4. For the crayfish, using a sharp knife, cut all of the crayfish lengthways from tip to tail. Remove any waste sacs from the crayfish.
5. Arrange the crayfish, side-by-side, on a roasting tray. Smear up a generous amount of the stuffing onto the flesh side of each crayfish half.
6. Sprinkle the crayfish with salt and place under the grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes, or until completely cooked through. The shells will turn completely red when cooked. If there are any remaining signs of dark brown or blue colouring, they are not ready and require a few minutes more.
7. To serve, transfer the cooked crayfish to a plate, and arrange in rows. Serve with lemon wedges.

Rabbit with petits pois, cider and lettuce

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 6

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 1 to 2 hours

Ingredients

2 rabbits, each jointed into 6 pieces (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
salt
1 tbsp plain flour (optional)
large knob butter, plus extra if necessary
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
450g/1lb smoked pancetta cubes or lardons
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
660ml/1 pint 4fl oz dry farmhouse cider
2 x 400g/14oz cans petits pois (reserve the canned juices of one can, drain and discard the other)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
50ml/2fl oz red wine vinegar
1 small Cos lettuce, or 2 Little Gem lettuces, chopped into 2cm/¾in strips
large handful fresh mint, chopped
boiled or mashed potatoes, to serve



Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
2. Heat a large knob of butter in the base of a lidded flameproof casserole large enough to fit all the rabbit pieces in. Initially, you need to fry the rabbit in two batches. Don't cram it all in at once, or you won't get the desired browning.
3. Season the rabbit pieces with salt. You may dust them with flour - this is not necessary, but will produce a thicker sauce at the end of the cooking process.
4. When the butter is starting to turn golden-brown, add half of the rabbit pieces. Don't stir them, but leave them to brown. After two minutes, turn the pieces over and brown the other side. Remove the pieces and repeat the process with the remaining rabbit. You may need to add another knob of butter. Remove the second batch of rabbit and set aside with the first.
5. Add two tablespoons of water to stop the browned bits at the bottom of the pan from burning.
6. Add the vegetables and pancetta pieces, adding a little splash of olive oil. Fry for a few minutes.
7. Add the bay leaves, nutmeg and thyme and fry over a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and golden-brown.
8. Nestle the rabbit pieces among the vegetables and pour in as much cider as is needed to cover them.
9. Add the peas and reserved liquid from one can, then cover with the lid.
10. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for one hour.
11. Remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. Add a splash more cider if the rabbit has become uncovered. Return to the oven for another hour.
12. Remove from the oven and remove the lid. Place over a medium heat on the hob.
13. Add the butter and lettuce and stir it to combine. As soon as the lettuce has wilted, but the stalk is still obviously crisp, the dish is ready to be served.
14. Serve at the table in the casserole, or transfer to a nice serving dish, and scatter the mint over the top. Serve with boiled potatoes or a creamy mashed potato.

Rough puff pastry

Makes 1kg / 2lb 4oz

Preparation time over 2 hours

Cooking time no cooking required


NB: Ideally make this pastry the day before use so it has time to chill.

Ingredients
450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
large pinch sea salt
375g/13fl oz cold butter, cut into 2cm/¾in pieces
250ml/9fl oz cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and add the butter. Mix the butter around with a large metal spoon to coat it in flour.
2. Mix the water and lemon juice together in a jug and pour it into the flour and butter mixture.
3. Using a round-tipped knife, cut across the contents of the bowl several times, turning the bowl continuously as you chop the butter into the flour, until the dough comes together.
4. When the dough has come together as a loose lump, tip it onto a lightly floured work surface and quickly shape it into a thick slab, roughly the dimensions of a house brick.
5. Flour the work surface well and roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 38cm/15in x 20cm/8in.
6. Fold one-third of the dough to the centre, then fold the other third over that. Roll the pastry out again to the same 38cm/15in x 20cm/8in proportions. Fold in exactly the same way again.
7. Rotate the pastry a quarter turn and repeat step 6. Continue rolling, folding, pressing and turning a quarter-turn 3-4 more times. Don't worry too much if the butter oozes through the dough occasionally in the early stages, just keep the board and rolling pin well floured.
8. After the last folding stage, wrap the pastry in cling film and place into the fridge to chill for several hours, preferably overnight.
9. When ready to use, if the pastry is very firm, allow it to warm in the room for a few minutes before using. (NB: wrapped puff pastry will store well in the freezer for up to six weeks.)

Venison pie

Serves 4-6

Preparation time overnight

Cooking time over 2 hours

Ingredients

1kg/2lb 2oz shoulder or leg of red deer venison, off the bone, cut into large chunks (you can ask your butcher to do this)
40g/1½oz dripping
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
4 medium carrots, finely chopped
500ml/17½fl oz dark ale
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
3 tbsp malt vinegar
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 large sprig fresh thyme
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 ready-made ginger biscuits, finely grated
sea salt
For the topping
300g/10½oz Rough puff pastry (or 1 pack ready-made puff pastry)
plain flour, for dusting
1 medium egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk



Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Heat the dripping in a large, lidded, non-reactive flameproof casserole, then add the onions. Fry until the onions are soft and golden-brown.
3. Turn off the heat and sift the flour and mustard powder into the pot. Stir until you have a thickened onion mixture.
4. Add the meat and carrots and stir into the onion mixture. (You are not browning the venison, as this will toughen the meat.)
5. Add the ale, sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and both grated ginger biscuits. Stir once more. Cover the contents of the pot with a circle of greaseproof paper and put the lid on the casserole. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1½ hours.
6. Remove from the oven and season, to taste, with sea salt.
7. Transfer the contents of the casserole to a pie dish. Use a smaller-diameter, deep dish, as a wide shallow one will make the pie crust droop in the middle and become soggy.
8. Increase the temperature of the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
9. Roll the puff pastry out on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 7mm/¼in. Lay the pastry over the venison filling, leaving a slight overhang at the edges of the pie dish.
10. Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork and brush the top of the pie evenly with the beaten egg and milk mixture.
11. You can fashion any pastry motif appropriate to the occasion from any leftover pastry and place it on top. Brush this with egg and milk mixture as well.
12. Pierce a small hole into the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape, then place into the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is a rich hazelnut brown.
13. Remove from the oven and serve at the table in the dish.

Sloe gin and blackberry jelly

Serves 6

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 10 to 30 mins


Ingredients

4 gelatine leaves, broken up and soaked in warm water
600g/1lb 5oz blackberries
400ml/14fl oz water
4 tbsp caster sugar
½ lemon
150ml/¼ pint sloe gin



Method
1. Break up the gelantine leaves and place in a small bowl and vocer with just enough water to cover. Soak for 1½ hours.
2. Place the blackberries, water, sugar and lemon juice into a pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer until the fruit has broken down completely to a sauce.
3. Place a sieve lined with two layers of muslin over a bowl and strain the blackberry mixture into the bowl. (Don't press the pulp, as this will make for a cloudy jelly.) Once all the liquid has drained through discard the fruit pulp.
4. Place the collected liquid into a clean pan and cook over a low heat, until just warm, then whisk in the gelatine and water. Make sure you dissolve any lumps.
5. Remove from the heat and add the sloe gin.
6. Pour the mixture into a 700ml/1 pint 3fl oz jelly mould and cover with a plate. Chill overnight in the fridge.
7. To serve, fill a large pan or bowl with hot water to just under the level of the jelly in its mould. Place the mould into the hot water and leave there for no more than 20 seconds.
8. Place a plate over the top of the mould, remove from the water and turn over. Lift the mould off the jelly carefully and serve. (If the jelly does not come loose, return to the hot water for another ten seconds, then try again.)

Shepherd's pie served with pan-roasted carrots recipe

Gordon Ramsay and his brigade of amateur chefs served shepherd's pie served with pan-roasted carrots to diners at the F Word restaurant


Serves 4
Ingredients


Shepherd's pie
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 500g minced lean lamb
· 1 large onion, finely grated
· 1 large carrot, finely grated
· 2 cloves garlic
· 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
· 1 tbsp tomato puree
· Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
· 1 sprig of rosemary, needles chopped
· 250ml red wine
· 300ml chicken stock
· 1kg Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
· 50g butter
· 2 egg yolks
· Parmesan, for grating
· Olive oil
·
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


Pan-roasted carrots
· 2 sprigs of rosemary
· Small handful of thyme sprigs
· 1 garlic clove
· 500g medium sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
· Few knobs of butter


Method: How to make shepherd's pie


1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas 4
2. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot. Season the mince and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir the onions and carrot into the mince then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened
3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Pass them through a potato ricer then beat in the egg yolks, followed by about 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Check for seasoning
4. Spoon the mince into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the mince, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle. Grate some extra Parmesan over and season. Fluff up the mash potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown
5. For the carrots bring a pan of water to the boil with the rosemary, thyme and garlic. Boil the carrots in the water for 3 minutes to soften slightly, then drain and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan then add the carrots and some seasoning. Brown the carrots all over until just tender, adding the butter towards the end of cooking