Celeriac Remoulade

Celeriac remoulade is ideal with cooked ham. Make about 30 minutes in advance. It can’t be made too much longer in advance or the texture changes and it becomes a bit gluey.
This is a slightly sharp mustardy flavour that contrasts nicely with sweet-salty ham. The celeriac retains a slight crunch providing a good texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 average celeriac (about 450g)
  • Lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp double cream or creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

  1. Prepare a working bowl and juice half the lemon into the bowl
  2. Cut the celeriac into matchstick-thin pieces. I use a mandolin for this. Immediately put the cut pieces into the lemon juice to prevent them browning, and the acid in the lemon will start “cooking” the celeriac.
  3. Simply mix the remaining ingredients (mayonnaise etc) into another serving bowl to create a thinking liquid a bit like unwhipped double cream.
  4. Now gently fold the celeriac with some seasoning into the creamy liquid.
  5. Leave it for 30 minutes to become ready.

Serve the celeriac remoulade as an accompaniment to cold cooked ham or other cold meats.

Mayonnaise

A simple mayonnaise recipe that can be flexed in many ways. It needs proper seasoning or it will be a bit bland. You may want bland if you intend to use it as part of another recipe. Everybody should become competent at making this, it’s incredibly simple. Once you’ve learned how to make this you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
A homemade mayonnaise is a delight and a very different thing from the shop bought jars. You can use it as a base for dressings like Coronation Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, mustard is essential to the flavour too
  • 250ml Groundnut oil, or Sunflower Oil, or a nameless vegetable oil. I like Sunflower Oil. Olive oil is a much stronger flavour and I think it’s too much for a mayonnaise. You could put a proportion in if you prefer, e.g. 10% olive oil, but I often find the flavour is too strong.
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and ground pepper

Method

  1. Combine the egg yolks, mustard and salt/pepper
  2. Pour in the oil while whisking continuously. Slow and steady works best. It’s critical that you go very slow at the start to begin the emulsion.
  3. Once all incorporated whisk vigorously and add the wine or lemon juice
  4. Check the seasoning and serve
I use this table to vary quantities:
Ingredient/Qty
120ml
240ml
Egg yolks
1
2
Dijon mustard
1 dsp
1 tbsp
Oil
125ml
250ml
Lemon juice/wine vinegar
1 dsp
1tbsp
If using unpasteurised eggs it’s not wise to let this mayonnaise sit around at room temperature for more than a few hours. I find it keeps well for a few days in the fridge. I usually put it in a Kilner jar, and it’s always a joy to remember some pre-made mayonnaise when a sandwich is required.
A flavoured oil could be used, eg. a proportion of Tarragon oil, and whisking some of the finely chopped herbs in at the end.
Make it into an Aioli by adding half a crushed garlic clove to the mix at the end and letting it sit for half an hour. Add more or less garlic as preferred. Delicious for dipping with chips (french fries.)

Coronation Chicken – Worth the Effort

Coronation Chicken was indeed created for a coronation, that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, by Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry. The yellowish ready made concoction you find in your local sandwich shop is a pale shadow of the real thing. Indeed, the dressing actually has a pale pinkish colour when made properly because of the red wine and tomato puree involved (depending on how much turmeric is in your curry powder.)

Make no mistake, this is no sandwich filler. A very British picnic or lunch should have succulent poached chicken dressed with the Coronation Chicken sauce and served with a crisp salad. You will be amazed how much better and different this is to the normal gloop.

I have to be honest it is a bit of effort, but you can freeze the liquid essence that flavours the mix, to use it multiple times. If you have some leftover wine (that can happen, right?) then make the essence and freeze it in a couple of portions.

The quantities here will dress enough salad for about 6 servings, or more depending on size, and generosity with the precious sauce.

Ingredients

Essence

  • 50g of chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 dsp to tbsp of a decent traditional British Madras curry powder (if you are in the UK I can recommend the M&S roasted curry powder, it’s perfect)
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 150ml red wine
  • 120ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • a twist of pepper
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • And a small squeeze of the lemon juice

Dressing

  • about 400ml of bland homemade mayonnaise (made with sunflower oil and be modest with the mustard and lemon)
  • 2 tbsp apricot puree (the non-whole fruit part of apricot jam is just fine)
  • 3 tbsp softly whipped cream

Method

Essence

  1. Soften the onions in the oil very slowly until they are fully soft and not browned, this can easily take 20 plus minutes
  2. Add the curry powder and cook off for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the tomato puree, wine, water, bay leaf, salt, sugar, pepper, lemon slice and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Now strain the liquid into a container through a sieve, pushing the onions through the sieve and stirring the small amount of onion paste into the essence. It seems a bit unpromising and not quite the right flavour at this stage but stick with it. You can freeze this essence.

Dressing

  1. Put the mayonnaise into a bowl
  2. Add the apricot puree (this provides sweetness and balances with the acidic essence)
  3. Spoon in the softly whipped cream
  4. Add as much of the essence you feel you need and gently hand whisk it to amalgamate.
  5. Taste and season, and adjust, if required.

Serve the Coronation Chicken sauce as a dressing with some poached chicken and salad.

Rum and Raisin Ice Cream

Delicious rum and raisin ice cream which is best served “affogato” style with a shot of Pedro Ximez sherry on the side, which can be poured over, around, or drunk along with the ice cream.
Rum and raisin ice cream, with PX sherry, makes a great alternative Christmas dessert.
Two to three days in advance of making take as many raisins as you fancy and put them in a bowl. Cover them with as much nice dark rum (I try and use Dark Matter) as it takes. Allow them to soak at room temperature for about 48 hours. They should plump up and absorb the rum, an extra day soaking will do no harm.
Once the raisins are ready to use make a classic vanilla ice cream. Right at the end pour in the strained raisins and as much of the rummy liquid as you think it can stand. Put it in the freezer.
Fabulous. You can make this a week or two in advance.

Tomato and Chorizo Pasta

A good winter warmer. Tomato and Chorizo Pasta is simple and quick to make. Use any pasta shape you like. I think penne or a shell type pasta works best.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1-2 fresh chillies to taste, or some chilli flakes
  • 2-4 fresh medium tomatoes, chopped (I don’t skin them but you can)
  • 100ml double cream (more or less to taste)
  • 1 chorizo (cooked), chopped or sliced
  • Some of the pasta cooking water to loosen
  • Basil leaves
  • Parmesan for sprinkling

Method

  1. Put on a big pot of salted boiling water for the pasta.
  2. Put the chopped onions and chilli in some olive oil and soften them gently till the onions are translucent and soft. This can take up to 20 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic once the onions are soft. (Garlic cooks much quicker than the onions and easily burns to the bottom of the pan if put in too early.)
  4. Put the pasta in the boiling water. I use dried pasta and it takes about 10 minutes to cook.
  5. While the pasta cooks add the tomatoes and salt to the onions, chilli and garlic. Let this simmer gently till the tomatoes are soft.
  6. Just before serving add the chorizo and the cream to taste. Warm through but don’t cook (if the chorizos need to be cooked add them alone and a bit earlier).
  7. Stir in some fresh basil and/or parsley.
  8. Drain the penne (keeping the cooking water) when cooked and serve with the sauce. Garnish with pepper and parmesan as your fancy takes you.
Tips
I like good smoky Spanish chorizo for the tomato and chorizo pasta. I find six inches of chorizo good for two to three people. I strip any skin or membrane before I cut them up by cutting along one side of the sausage. I find the membrane usually peels off easily.
Using raw chorizo should be equally nice, in which case I might put some fennel seeds in too because it feels right.
Omit the cream if you don’t like or are watching fat.

Cod and Chorizo Stew

A lovely cod and chorizo stew with a Spanish element. It makes a great bowl dinner and is great served with pieces of nice bread and butter. Based on a Tom Kerridge recipe but changed a little.
Fish wise this works fine with Cod or any other similar white fish. Just watch the cooking time. Less is more. Fish overcooks very easily and becomes unpleasant.
This a good freezer dish because you can make the tomato chorizo stew part in advance and freeze it. Then the fish can be done after defrosting and reheating, with the spinach added at the end.
If you are not keeping the stew for later do the fish part first as it needs at least an hour in the saffron.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cooking chorizos (we find the raw chorizo style sausages that are a bit like a British banger work quite well, or you can go for the more Spanish style but they may be a bit more intense)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 4 pieces of cod loin (skinned), nice thick pieces about 5-6cm square and 2-3cm thick if you can find them
  • 200g spinach leaves
Bowl showing the cod and chorizo stew with cod loin on top
Cod and chorizo stew

Method

  1. Lay out a piece of cling film for each cod fillet on the counter. Lightly break up the saffron with a mortar and pestle and sprinkle half of it over the cling film. Put each cod fillet on top of the saffron cling film then sprinkle the remaining saffron over the tops. Wrap tightly in the cling film and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours. (If you are making the stew and then freezing it then skip preparing the fish until you defrost and want to heat the dish.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  3. Place a casserole on the heat with the olive oil then add the onions, grated garlic and red chillies and cook over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
  4. Skin the chorizo sausages then slice into bite-sized chunks and add it to the casserole. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the red paprika oil comes out of the sausage. Add the cumin, paprika, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil then cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the drained can of beans.
  7. Take the cod from the fridge then remove the cling film, and place on top of the cooking stew, replacing the lid. Don’t submerge it. The cod will sit on top of the sauce and cook in the steam from the casserole.
  8. Transfer to the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. (Thin fillets may only need 5-6 minutes, beware of overcooking.)
  9. Take the casserole from the oven then gently lift the fish from the pot and place on a warmed plate.
  10. Stir the spinach and stir into the stew until it is just wilted.
Serve the cod and chorizo in bowls. Spoon some stew into the bowl then place the cooked fish on top. Serve with good fresh bread and butter on the side.

Lamb Scottadito

These are little barbequed lamb chops designed to be eaten with your hands. Known as lamb scottadito in Italian cookery, this is a brilliant way to speed up the cooking of lamb cutlets. Kids love them prepared like this because you can pick them up with your fingers (scottadito refers to burning your fingers in your rush to eat.) Best cooked on a barbecue.
Salsa verde is a lovely sauce to go with the cutlets, this quantity probably does 8-9 cutlets.  You probably want 3 cutlets per person. Increase the salsa verde quantities for more servings.

Ingredients

  • A rack of lamb (or more then one if you need), French trimmed – which just means with the bones stripped and cleanly showing
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
For the salsa verde
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp small capers in vinegar, or salted – rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 anchovy fillet (packed in oil), drained and finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Make the salsa verde, mix together all the chopped ingredients in a bowl, then add the mustard and olive oil, stir well to amalgamate. Check and adjust the seasoning. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the lamb.
  2. Cut the rack of lamb into individual cutlets.
  3. Now beat them out slightly before cooking. Put each one on a chopping board and lay a sheet of clingfilm on top. Using a rolling pin, or the flat part of a heavy knife or cleaver, gently hit the meaty part so it flattens to half the original thickness and spreads to twice the width.
  4. Cook on a barbecue or a ridged griddle pan. Brush both sides of the flattened cutlets with olive oil, then sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Place the cutlets carefully on the hot pan or grill and cook for a maximum of 1 minute on each side, less if this seems too long.
  5. I use my blowtorch to finish the cutlets. Sometimes the bones (which cook slower) can be a bit bloody and this isn’t very appetising. So I take the blowtorch very quickly around the edge of the bones and cutlets to finish them off before serving.
Serve the lamb scottadito on warmed plates and drizzle over the salsa verde. Serve warm.