Saturday, November 03, 2007

Deliciously Different

We start with a luxury version of eggs mayonnaise, use all the ingredients if you wish, or leave some out according to taste:
Spicy Eggs with a Cream Dressing: serves 6 - 8
8 hard-boiled eggs, cut in halves
2 tsp coriander seeds
4 cardamon pods
2 oz (50g) butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small fresh green chilli, seeds and membrane removed
2 pints (300ml) double cream
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 tblsp desiccated coconut
salt and paprika pepper
Place the eggs, cut side down, in a shallow serving dish. Put the coriander and cardamon in a mortar and grind down until fine (discard the outer pods). Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the chilli and the garlic and cook for a couple or so minutes then stir in the spices. Fry for 1 minute then pour in the cream, the tomato puree and the coconut. Stir to combine and simmer for a few minutes until it has thickened. Add salt to taste. Pour into a bowl, cover and leave to get cold. When ready to serve, stir the mixture and spoon over the eggs. Sprinkle the top of each coated egg with a pinch of paprika. Serve cold, but not chilled.

Not always easy to find a different soup recipe, but this one - glorious in its own right - can be made using seasonal and storecupboard ingredients, so of which might be needing to be used up in the first place:
Blushing Maiden's Soup: serves 6
2 oz (50g) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cooking apples, peeled and chopped
1 oz (25g) plain flour
2 pints (1.2ltrs) chicken stock
1 x 325g sweetcorn, drained
half a pint (300ml) whipping cream
4 oz (100g) cooked beetroot, chopped
salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and saute until softened. Stir in the apple, cook for one minute then remove from the heat and stir in the flour. When this has taken up the butter, stir in the stock, a little at a time, then return to the heat and bring to the simmer, stir now and then so that the flour thickens the stock.
Once boiling, add the sweetcorn and season to taste. Simmer for ten minutes, then remove from heat, then stir in the beetroot. When cool enough, blitz in a blender or food processor until as smooth as you can get. Then pour through a sieve, rubbing through (this leaves the corn skins behind). Add the cream to the soup, check again re seasoning, and reheat to serve.

Instead of smoked salmon, use canned drained salmon or tuna.
Smoked Salmon Pancake Rolls: serves 4 - 6
8 ready-made pancakes
8 oz (225g) cream cheese
2 tblsp lemon juice
2 - 3 tblsp cream
4 oz (100g) smoked salmon pieces, chopped
pinch white pepper
Beat together the cream cheese and the lemon juice with enough of the cream to give a spreading consistency. Season with pepper and fold in the finely chopped salmon. Divide the mixture between the pancakes and roll them up, placing fold side down in a greased baking dish. Heat through in the oven 200C, 400F, gas 6 for about 5 minutes then serve.

Spread this cheese onto savoury biscuits or use to stuff celery sticks. Vary the cheeses according to what you have or your taste. Stilton and walnuts go very well together. Always worth freezing a few cubes of port next time a bottle is opened ready for a dish such as this.
Cheese, Walnuts and Port spread:
8 oz (225g) grated Cheddar or other cheese
2 shallots, finely chopped
few walnut pieces, crushed
2 tblsp cream
4 tblsp port
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika pepper
Put the cheese, shallots, walnuts and cream into a dish and mix together. Beat in the port and season with the peppers and the salt to taste. Cover and leave at room temperature for an hour or so before serving. Serves 8 -10 as an appetiser.

Remember sago? The school-dinner pud that we all hated? Here is a very upmarket version served on the tiffin table at the famous Raffles hotel in Singapore and a favourite dessert to follow a curry. In cup measurements: 1 cup = 8 fl.oz.
Gula Malacca: serves 5 - 6
1 cup sago
2 cups water
1" piece of cinnamon stick
1 tblsp golden syrup
1 cup coconut milk
pinch of salt
Wash the sago and put into a pan with the water and the cinnamon stick. Simmer until thick and clear. Stir in the coconut milk, the syrup and the salt. Continue cooking until the mixture is very thick. Pour into a mould which has been rinsed with cold water, cool and chill.
To serve, unmould and serve with cream.