Posts Tagged ‘Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’

Oh Amazon, thou art a wicked temptress!

“Free shipping!” said the email and I, unable to resist a bargain, went cookbook shopping.  It wasn’t really an impulse purchase – I’d had my eye on the latest River Cottage book for quite a while.

I’m a big fan of the series, but when my dear friend Joanna raved about the book, I knew it had to be a winner.

It has a very approachable feel to it, reminiscent of some of the early Jamie Oliver cookbooks – simple, wholesome food which we really could eat every day.

The book arrived less than a week ago and I’ve already made several recipes from it – a good indication that this will be a well-used resource in our kitchen.  Here are a couple of dishes that have gone down particularly well with the tribe!

. . . . .

Tupperware Mexican Chorizo

This is a genius recipe.

The basic idea is to make a seasoned mince, which is left to mature in the fridge, and dipped into periodically to create various meals.  Definitely the sort of thing that appeals to me, although I didn’t have the nerve to store it in the fridge for two weeks as HFW suggests!  My variation is listed below, with the original ingredients in brackets:

  • 750g coarsely minced pork shoulder, preferably free-range
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika (1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder (¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 10g /2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 50ml red wine
  • freshly ground black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and squelch everything together with your hands until evenly combined.  Hugh suggests frying a little of the mix in oil to taste for seasoning – we did this by microwaving a tiny patty for just a few seconds until it was cooked.

The mix starts off quite salty to begin with, but as it matures, the flavours mellow out and integrate.  Remember though that the salt is necessary to preserve the meat, and Hugh suggests covering the mixture and storing it in the fridge for at least 24 hours to begin with, and for up to two weeks in total.

Edit: I asked Lee, who is a food chemist, whether or not he would be happy with keeping the raw chorizo mince for two weeks, and this was his reply:

No, I wouldn’t be happy with it. The only protection is temperature. The salt will not be enough, the spices may have some protective effect but I wouldn’t rely on them. The meat is diced/chopped so plenty of opportunity to get ‘seeded’ with bacteria. The saving grace is that all recipes cook the meat well.

Please use your discretion – I know that on Lee’s advice, I now won’t be keeping the mixture for more than a few days, and I might start making half batches from now on.

Over the course of the next four days, we turned this 750g mixture into…

…mini meatballs, and served them in our roasted tomato passata, tapas-style…

…five plates of Migas, each topped with a freshly laid egg and Picasso sheeps’ cheese…

…and the ultimate meatlover’s pizza!

There was something fabulous about having a container of raw savoury mince in the fridge, waiting to be turned into an instant meal. This is a recipe we’ll be making regularly!

. . . . .

Easy Rich Chocolate Cake

This was the recipe that convinced me to buy the book, after Joanna posted about it on her blog!

  • 250g (8.8oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa – I used Callebaut callets)
  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 medium free-range eggs, separated
  • 150g (5.3oz) caster (superfine) sugar and 50g (1.75oz) light brown sugar (or use 200g/7oz ordinary caster sugar)
  • 50g (1.75oz) plain (AP) flour
  • 50g (1.75oz) ground almonds

1. Grease a 20cm/8″ springform cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 170C/340F or 160C/320F with fan.

2. In a large pyrex bowl, melt together the chocolate and butter in the microwave using short bursts, being careful not to scorch the chocolate.  Stir until smooth and combined.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar to form a paste, then stir in the melted chocolate and butter.  Carefully fold in the flour and almonds.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Stir a large spoonful into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold the remaining egg white in with a large spatula or metal spoon, trying to keep as much of the air in the mixture as possible.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes, until  just set.  The original recipe specified a 23cm/9″ tin and 30 minutes baking time, but I found my smaller tin (and therefore taller cake) needed a few more minutes to set.   The cake will still be a little wibbly in the middle – resist the urge to bake it until solid.  Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes on a wire rack before opening the springform.

I’ve made this recipe twice in the last week, and both times it’s been demolished within 24 hours by family and visiting friends.

River Cottage Everyday – definitely a cookbook that suits how we  like to eat, every day!

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I’d never tasted young broad beans before!

These were the first pods off our backyard plants, and the beans were so fresh and tender that they didn’t need double peeling…

I had beans on toast for lunch, made to this fabulously simple Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.

The baby broad beans were blanched briefly (oh, how I love alliteration), then panfried with pancetta, slices of spanish onion, lemon juice and a little olive oil.  It was simply sublime on sourdough.

(If inspired, feel free to cleverly comment with a-little alliteration!)

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I watched the gorgeous Annabel Langbein making marshmallows on her new show, The Free Range Cook, and couldn’t resist trying them out!  We adapted her recipe and this one by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall to come up with our own version.

These moreish morsels only have four ingredients – sugar, gelatine, vanilla extract and egg white. The texture is reminiscent of a firm meringue pie topping – quite different from the commercial versions which are bouncy and rubbery (and made in a very different way).  These have a lovely old world charm to them.

Make sure you allow plenty of time for the mix to set before cutting – the marshmallows will continue to firm up over the next day or so.  Instead of greasing and dusting the pan, we lined it with a sheet of parchment, which was then lightly sprayed with oil.  The  finished sweets then only needed a light dusting of cornflour (cornstarch) and icing sugar to keep them from sticking together.

  • 2 large free range egg whites (as fresh as possible)
  • 500g (2¼ cups) white sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 25g (0.88 oz) leaf gelatine (see Hugh’s recipe if you’re using powdered gelatine)
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract (we used homemade)
  • mixture of cornflour (cornstarch) and icing sugar, for dusting

1.Line a rectangular baking tray with parchment paper, and lightly spray the top of the paper.  I used a 33cm x 22cm (13″ x 9″) roasting tray.

2. In a medium saucepan with a long handle, stir the sugar and water over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat and bring to a rapid boil.  Clip on a candy thermometer and boil the syrup until it reaches hard ball stage (122C/252F).  This will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes.

3. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes.

4. Before the syrup reaches temperature, place the egg whites in the bowl of a sturdy stand mixer and beat until stiff peaks form.  Timing is quite important, and the sugar syrup, egg whites and gelatine need to be ready at the same time.  It helps, but isn’t essential, to have two people on the job – one to watch the syrup thermometer and the other to prepare the other ingredients.

5. Once the syrup is at the right temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat.  Turn the mixer on to low, and gently trickle the hot syrup into the stiff egg whites, beating constantly as the mixture turns creamy. Please be very careful – the sugar syrup is blindingly hot!

6. As soon as all the syrup is added, quickly remove the gelatine from the water and squeeze out the excess water from the softened leaves, then add the gelatine to the mixing bowl while the mixture is still hot, and beat until combined.  Add the vanilla extract and continue beating.

7. Turn the speed up and beat the mixture until it thickens – Annabel suggests beating until the mixing bowl feels just warm – this can take up to 10 minutes.  The finished mix will be very thick but still pourable (even thicker than photo below).

8. Scrape the marshmallow into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.  Leave to set for at least four hours or overnight.  When firm, lift the slab out using the parchment paper, cut with a warm, dry, sharp knife into squares, and dust each with a fine coating of cornflour (cornstarch) and icing sugar mixture.

Of course, once we had homemade marshmallows, we had to make dark chocolate rocky road!  We used 500g  of tempered dark Belgian chocolate, 125g slivered almonds and 200g of homemade marshmallows, chopped into cubes.  It’s wickedly good!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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Who would have thought that rotting fruit could make such a beautiful jelly?

Pete made four jars from the medlars Diana bought us recently.  We let them blet for a couple of weeks, during which time they went from this…

to this…

We followed this recipe of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s, but also added a jar of homemade pectin, as the jelly was struggling to set up.  It was the perfect opportunity to use our baby crabapples, although we only had four, so we added some Pink Lady apples as well.  The crabapples had the most gorgeous rosy centres…

The jelly is a deep orangey-red, crystal clear and well set. We’re looking forward to trying it with roast lamb!

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These spiced nuts are very moreish. I made them in large quantities last Christmas, and they were incredibly popular – we actually had friends  ringing to ask for more!

They’re based on a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and are very easy to make, with the advantage of not requiring any added fat.  A lonely egg white leftover from last night’s dinner inspired me to make a fresh batch.

  • 500g (about 4 cups) mixed nuts – I used Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 25g (about 2 US tablespoons) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maldon or kosher salt flakes or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne pepper – I used chipotle powder

Note: I’ve added approximate imperial measures for my friends in the US.  This isn’t an overly precise recipe and you could use what you have on hand, although I have found the above combination of spices particularly appealing.

1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F with fan. Line a large baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy, then whisk in all the other ingredients except the nuts.  Add the nuts, and stir well to coat completely in the spice mix.

3. Tip the nuts onto the lined tray and spread them out into a single layer.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven and stir the nuts to unstick them from the paper and break up any clumps.  Don’t burn yourself!

4. Return the tray to the oven for another 5 – 7 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow the nuts to cool on the tray, during which time they’ll harden up and go crunchy.  If you like, you could sprinkle over extra salt at this point.  Once the nuts are completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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