Scallops, Chorizo and Apple

Scallopes, Chorizo and Apple

A deliciously simple starter of seared scallops, fresh chorizo and sautéed apple served with potato purée.

For the best potato purée, bake the potatoes in their skins before passing.

This dish is best made with fresh chorizo as cured can be a little overpowering.

Scallops, Chorizo and Apple

Scallops, Chorizo and Apple
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Potato Purée: 4 Baking Potatoes, 75g Unsalted Butter, 50ml Single Cream, Whole Milk, Sea Salt, Fresh Nutmeg

For the Scallops, Chorizo and Apple: 12 Scallops (Roe and Skirt Removed), 2 Fresh Chorizo Sausages (Diced), 2 Red Apples (Diced), Juice 1/4 Lemon, Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

1) First make the potato purée. Bake the potatoes in a hot oven until tender. Remove from the oven when ready and allow to cool slightly. Remove the flesh from the skin and pass through a ricer into a clean pan. Place the potato skins in a small pan and add a good amount of whole milk and bring to a simmer. Place the pan with the riced potato over a low heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the single cream and beat the potato. Strain the whole milk into the pan, little be little whilst beating until the desired consistency is achieved. Season to taste with sea salt and grated nutmeg. Keep warm or reheat before serving.

2) Fry the chorizo in a small pan until crisp. Meanwhile, season the scallops with a little sea salt and lemon juice and fry in a little olive oil over a high heat for around 1 minute each side or until well seared and just cooked – set aside to rest for 1 minute. Whilst the scallops are resting, sauté the apple in the pan the scallops were fried in for 30 seconds until lightly browned.

3) Serve the scallops on top of some potato purée with a little chorizo and diced apple. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!

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Prawn Fritters

Prawn Fritters

These Vietnamese prawn and potato fritters are incredibly moreish – truly great snack food.

Fantastic served with a punchy lime and chilli dipping sauce.

Prawn Fritters

Prawn Fritters
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the Fritters: 500g Maris Piper Potatoes (Peeled and cut into thin matchsticks), 18 Large Raw Prawns (De-veined and roughly chopped), 95g Plain Flour, 60g Rice Flour, 1tsp Baking Powder, 1tsp Sea Salt, 1/2tsp Ground Turmeric, Sunflower Oil

For the Dipping Sauce: 2tbsp Fresh Lime Juice, 1tbsp Caster Sugar, 1tsp Fresh Ginger (Finely Chopped), 1 Birds Eye Chilli (Finely Chopped), 1 Garlic Clove (Crushed), 2tbsp Water

Method:

1) Place the plain flour, rice flour, baking powder, sea salt and turmeric in a large bowl and mix to combine. Slowly add 250ml cold water whilst mixing to form a batter. Fold the sliced potato and prawns into the batter.

2) Place a large non-stick pan over a medium heat and add enough oil to cover the pan by 1cm. Fry tablespoonfuls of the batter in the hot oil, pressing out to form a thin disk, for 3-4 minutes each side. Drain on kitchen towel and keep warm in a low oven. Continue cooking the fritters until the batter is exhausted.

3) Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

4) Cut the fritters into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

Latkes

Latkes

The ultimate snack food, latkes are best eaten fresh from the pan with a good dollop of homemade apple purée and soured cream.

Latkes
Makes 12

Ingredients:

750g Rooster Potatoes (Peeled and Grated), 1 Onion (Finely Sliced), 2 Large Eggs, 4tbsp Breadcrumbs (Gluten Free if Required), 2tsp Sea Salt, 2tsp Cracked Black Pepper, 1 1/2tsp Baking Powder, Vegetable Oil

Method:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Place the grated potato in a salad spinner and spin to rinse out the majority of the liquid. Alternatively place in a tea towel and rinse out.

2) Place the egg, breadcrumbs, sea salt, black pepper and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Fold in the potato and onion.

3) Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Coat the pan with 0.5cm of vegetable oil. Place dessertspoonful of the potato mixture into the oil and press down to form a circular shape. Fry for 3 minutes each side, drain on kitchen towel then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Continue to cook the mixture in batches until exhausted – you may need to add a little oil to the pan in between batches.

4) Serve the hot latkes with apple purée spiced with nutmeg and soured cream.

Enjoy!

Lamb Leg, Gremolata, Olive Oil Mash

Lamb, Gremolata & Olive Oil Mash

Separating a leg of lamb into individual muscles is a great alternative to cooking with lamb loin.

Get your butcher to seam bone a whole leg of lamb for you and, if serving 4, reserve the topside, silverside and salmon cut silverside for this dish. You can dice the remaining muscles for a delicious casserole or curry. If serving 6 or more all muscles may be used.

I cooked the lamb sous vide at 61C for 1 1/2 hours before searing in a hot pan with thyme, butter and garlic. However, similar results can be obtained by searing and transferring to the oven to finish cooking.

The lamb is served with a zingy gremolata, olive oil mashed potato, braised peas and broad beans and a little lamb jus. I detail the recipes for the olive oil mash and gremolata below, which would also pair well with a roast leg of lamb for Sunday lunch!

Lamb Leg, Gremolata, Olive Oil Mash
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Olive Oil Mash: 1kg Charlotte Potatoes, 100ml Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Freshly Grated Nutmeg, Black Pepper

For the Gremolata: 50g Fresh Breadcrumbs, Zest 1/2 Lemon, 2 tbsp Olive Oil, Large Handful of Chopped Mixed Fresh Herbs: Parsley, Tarragon, Mint, Dill

Method:

1) To make the mash: Oven roast the potatoes in their skins for 1 hour at 180C. Allow to cool slightly then remove the skins. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large pan. Over a low heat slowly beat the olive oil into the potato to taste. Season with a little salt, grated nutmeg and black pepper. Set aside and reheat over a low heat when ready to serve.

2) For the gremolata: Toss the breadcrumbs in the olive oil and transfer to an oven at 140C to dry for around 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Once cooled combine with the lemon zest and fresh herbs and season with a little salt to taste.

Serve the olive oil mash and gremolata with the lamb leg and braised peas. Enjoy!

Mini Pancetta Dauphinoise

Mini Pancetta Dauphinoise

This take on the classic dauphinoise is the perfect accompaniment to game meats such as venison and duck. The addition of a little pancetta and caramelised onion makes for a heavenly combination and their smaller form factor means you can’t get too gluttonous!

This recipe can be scaled up to make a large dauphinoise, by following the quantities in my recipe for the perfect potato dauphinoise.

Mini Pancetta Dauphinoise

Mini Pancetta Dauphinoise
Makes 2

Ingredients:

1 Garlic Clove
10g Unsalted Butter
3 Medium Sized Maris Piper Potatoes (Peeled and Thinly Sliced)
1 Medium Onion (Peeled and Thinly Sliced)
50g Pancetta
100ml Double Cream
Black Pepper
Small Handful Chopped Parsley

Method:

1) Pre heat the oven to 180C. Sauté the pancetta and onions in a small saucepan in a little oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the onions begin to caramelise.

2) Meanwhile, rub the insides of two mini casserole pots with the garlic clove – discarding the clove when finished. Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan, once boiled set aside.

3) Layer the sliced potatoes and the onion and pancetta mixture in alternate layers until the dish is almost full – around 4 or 5 layers in total. Place half of the butter on top of each dish. Divide the double cream between the two dishes – pouring carefully over the potatoes.

4) Transfer to the oven and cook for around 30 minutes – until the top is golden and the potatoes are cooked. Finish with a little chopped parsley and cracked black pepper before serving.

Enjoy!

Apple and Potato Gratin

Apple and Potato Gratin
 
This side dish is the ideal accompaniment for roast pork – tart apples and sweet caramelised onions cutting through the fattiness of the meat.

This recipe could easily serve 8 – but will be great the following day with leftovers.

Apple and Potato Gratin
Serves 8

Ingredients:
700g Onions (Finely Sliced)
1kg Maris Piper Potatoes (Peeled and Sliced)
800g Granny Smith Apples (Cored and Sliced)
50g Unsalted Butter
1tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
150ml Water
1 Glass Dry White Wine
Handful Thyme Sprigs
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt
25ml Olive Oil

Method:

1) Pre heat the oven to 200C. In a large casserole dish on the stovetop, sauté the onions in the sugar, butter, thyme and a little salt over a medium heat for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Turn up the heat and add the water and wine. Reduce until 1/4 of the liquid remains.

2) Remove the onions from the dish and mix with the potatoes, apples and a little salt and pepper in a large bowl. Return to the casserole dish and transfer to the oven, covered.

3) Bake the gratin covered for 1 hour. After 1 hour remove the lid and drizzle the top of the gratin with the olive oil. Bake for a further 15 minutes until golden.

Enjoy!

In Search of the Perfect Fries

 

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here – McDonald’s fries are good. So good in fact that I just had to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fries just don’t get much better – crisp and fluffy with a big smack of salt. Not only do they retain their crispness for a commendable time after frying, they are heavenly moreish. For me, they are the perfect fries.

I am making a big distinction here between fries and chips – it is best not to get the two confused. Fries are the skinny ones, chips the fat. Fries are best with a burger and chips (especially triple cooked) best with a steak. Nothing will ever beat the satisfaction of tucking into a large bowl of chips. Sometimes; however, fries are the best option.

First and foremost, the star of the show – the potato. With a myriad of varieties on offer it is sometimes impossible to choose. But, of course, only certain varieties are perfectly suited to ‘chipping’. We need a potato which is widely available and has a fairly high dry matter content – meaning there is less moisture in the potato which may turn the fries limp! Maris Piper fit the bill. For those that are interested, The European Cultivated Potato Database is a fantastic online resource.

Now that we have the potato, it is all down to the cooking. Searching for those elusive McDonalds fries, it struck me, why not do as they do? A quick search and all questions were answered. Firstly this article, in part by a former McDonalds employee, explains the factory procedure the french fries go through before reaching the restaurant freezers. Daunting at first, until I found this little gem – an article by Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. An amazing step by step guide on creating the perfect McDonalds french fries at home – if you haven’t already read, I urge you to.

The perfect fries, much like the perfect chips, is a three-step process. First the cut potato must be poached in water for 15 minutes at 76.5C – the perfect temperature to par-cook without breaking down the starches. After being dried, the chips are then fried at 182C for 50 seconds. I then froze the chips at this stage before the final frying. Before serving, fry at 190C for 3 ½ minutes, then drain and salt.

Stage One Complete

I am fortunate to have a Sous Vide Supreme in the cupboard to poach the chips at exactly 76.5C. However, I revert you to the Serious Eats article for a more conventional first step! Don’t scrimp with the salt (I doused mine in Himalayan pink salt) and you will have the perfect batch of french fries to savor.

Why not make a big batch to stage 2, freeze, then pull out the freezer for their final fry when required!

French Fries
Serves 4
Ingredients:
750g Maris Piper Potatoes, Peeled and Chipped
Vegetable Oil
Sea Salt

Method:
1) Store the fries in cold water between peeling and chipping. Poach fries in a water bath (loose) at 76.5C for 15 minutes. Remove and drain.
2) Pat the fries dry with kitchen towel before frying in vegetable oil at 182C for 50 seconds. Probably best to complete this stage in batches. Drain the fries.
3) Freeze the fries at this stage for use later. Alternatively, continue to the next step.
4) Fry in 190C oil for 3 ½ minutes, or until very lightly browned. Drain and season liberally with salt.

Enjoy!

Perfect Potato Dauphinoise

 

Potato dauphinoise has to be the ultimate comfort food. Mouthwateringly delicious as a side or on its own with a big spoon! But there is no place to hide, the dish is so well know and allegedly simple that much can go wrong. My search for the perfect dauphinoise has been a long mission, seeing many catastrophes and near misses. I think I’ve finally cracked it.

Keep it simple. No messing about, no sneaky ingredients – stick to potatoes, cream, butter, a little garlic and seasoning and you won’t go wrong. For years I was obsessed with over complicating the dauphinoise, adding anything I could lay my hands on. Truffle was an unmitigated disaster and mustard wasn’t far behind.

This is my recipe for the perfect dauphinoise. Don’t be tempted to use more garlic, you need only a whiff. Using waxy potatoes ensures they don’t fall to bits, as Be does keeping them a little thicker. sure to use a heavy baking or casserole dish – having a crisp top and bottom is magical!

Potato Dauphinoise
Serves 4/6
Ingredients:
1kg Large Waxy Potatoes, Peeled and Sliced
1 Garlic Clove
Large Knob Unsalted Butter
1 Pint/600ml Double Cream
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Method:
1) Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Rub the baking dish all over with the garlic clove and the butter. Discard the garlic clove.
2) Arrange the potatoes in the dish in layers. Season every second layer with sea salt and pepper – be careful with the salt.
3) Bring the double cream to the boil and pour over the potatoes.
4) Bake, uncovered, for around 2 hours or until cooked to your liking.

This should last a few days, but it rarely does!

Triple Cooked Chips

 

You’ve all heard of them by now, Heston Blumenthal’s triple cooked chips have taken the world by storm. It seems every restaurant is serving up a rendition of this modern classic. To mess with the mighty chip was a brave move, but it paid off. This recipe is truly worth the hype.

I was fortunate to try these delights at Heston’s ‘pub’ in Bray – the Hinds Head. They were delicious, but perhaps a little undercooked for my liking – I thought I would try them at home.

It may seem like a lot of effort for a measly chip, but please make the effort, you will be truly rewarded.

Triple Cooked Chips

1kg Maris Piper Potatoes, cut into chips of equal size.

3 Liters Groundnut or Vegetable Oil

Sea Salt

Method:

1) Soak the chips in running water for 20 minutes to remove some of the starch.

2) Simmer the chips in salted water until just cooked, they shouldn’t be completely falling apart but should break with ease.

3) Lay the chips on a baking tray and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

4) Fry the chips in batches at 130C for 5-7 minutes until they are slightly ‘crunchy’ on the outside – they should not colour.

5) Lay the chips on kitchen roll on a baking tray and transfer to the fridge. They can be kept here for up to 3 days before serving.

6) Fry the chips at 180-190C until golden brown, approximately 7-8 minutes. Drain and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Eat them quick – they won’t last long!

 

Christmas Potatoes

A week without internet has been gruelingly difficult – I feel for all the nomads out there.  Thankfully all is fixed now and I will post what has been happening over the past week this weekend!

 

 

I received my shipment of Christmas seed potatoes last week and have been itching to get them planted. Traditionally, potatoes are harvested in spring/summer, this leaves a cavernous gap where home-grown potatoes are unavailable and alternatives must be sought from further afield. However, an increasing number of suppliers are offering select varieties which have been bred to be harvested November/December – just in time for christmas. Most of these varieties produce smaller, waxy potatoes.

If, like me, you do not have any spare space in your planting beds at this time of the year, try growing your potatoes in planting bags. They are cheap, moveable and can be used over and over. Apparently they also help to produce a higher yield – we will wait and see! I have planted fifteen seed potatoes across three planters and they barely take up any space.

Christmas potatoes should be planted early to mid August, with harvest around mid November. They can be left in the ground until Christmas or if dug up earlier can be stored under sand in a covered wooden box.