Monday, April 26, 2010

Flower Power

- not every savoury dish has to have a vegetable included, and even though some cakes and desserts are leaning in that direction(carrot cake, beetroot cake, courgette bread, beetroot ice-cream... today am offering two recipes without a veggie in the ingredient list.

The first recipe is a savoury, and although it can be made without vegetables, the inclusion of a little finely diced onion and celery fried before adding the rice, and a few peas towards the end of the cooking would add extra flavour and colour, and turn this breakfast dish into an enjoyable supper.
A reminder that eggs can be poached hours ahead of being needed - drained and put into iced water, then into the fridge. When wishing to use, remove with a slotted spoon, and place each egg into very hot water, leave for one minute to heat through, then serve. This pre-cooking of poached eggs is common practice in the hotel and catering trade.

Breakfast Risotto: serves 4
2 tsp olive oil
1 oz (25g) butter
7 oz (200g) Arborio (risotto) rice
5 fl oz (150ml) white wine
1.75 pints (1 ltr) hot chicken stock
5 oz (150g) fillet smoked haddock, skinned and chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 oz (50g) grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
4 eggs, poached
Put the oil and butter into a large frying pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, stir in the rice. Cook for a couple of minutes then pour in the wine. Once this has been absorbed, stir in a ladle of stock, allow the rice to absorb this before adding another ladle, and continue adding stock in this way.
Once the rice is nearly cooked add the smoked haddock pieces, and lemon zest. Cover and cook for a few minutes. When the rice is ready, stir in the lemon juice, the Parmesan and - if you wish - a knob of butter. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes while poached (or re-heating - see above) the eggs.
To serve, spoon the risotto onto four shallow plates and top each with a poached egg.

This next recipe is a very easy pudding to make, and made in much the same way as ganache
(used to make truffles) only the proportions of chocolate to cream are different. Truly a store-cupboard dessert (if you count cream in the fridge as 'stores'). This I will definitely be making for Beloved's 'after dinner' dessert tonight.
Mocha Cups: serves 4
4 oz (100g) quality dark chocolate, chopped or grated
10 fl oz (half pint/300ml) double cream
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp icing sugar
2 - 3 drops vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa powder (for decoration)
Put 2/3rds of the cream (200ml) into a saucepan with the caster sugar and the instant coffee. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally, then bring it to the boil. Remove from heat and add the prepared chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
Pour into four small coffee cups or ramekin dishes, leave to cool, then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (can even leave overnight) until set.
To serve, beat the remaining cream with the icing sugar and vanilla to the soft peak stage, then spoon this on top of the filled cups and dust with cocoa powder. Place the cups on their saucers, not forgetting a teaspoon (to eat with), and serve with crisp tuiles or thin shortbread biscuits.

If you remember - some time back made some dough to make some pitta bread, and froze the surplus dough in balls ready to use later. This made very good pizza bases, and have decided tonight to make Beloved a mushroom, ham and onion pizza using the last two balls of dough, some of the home-grown mushrooms, some chunks of home-cooked ham, a couple of small red onions that need using up, and also some of the mozzarella cheese that I 'preserved' in oil some weeks ago. Truly a supper dish made from 'these have to be used up items'. The only other item needed is tomato sauce which will be half a can of chopped toms, mixed with a few dried herbs, and cooked down to a puree.
Using a pre-heated baking sheet ensure the pizza base is cooked from below as well as above. But if getting the pizza onto the hot baking sheet is a problem, then use a cold baking sheet, place the unfilled pizza base on this, then add the topping. Just allow a little longer cooking time.

Mushroom and Ham Pizza: serves 1 - 2
1 oz (25g) butter
1 tbslp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 oz (100g) mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 batch pizza dough
tomato (pizza) sauce topping
2oz (50g) ham, chopped
salt and pepper
2 oz (50g) mozzarella cheese, sliced or crumbled
Put the butter and oil into a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the onions until tender. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan, raise the heat and cook until soft and golden.
Put the oven on to heat at 200C, 400F, gas 6 and place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up at the same time.
Roll out the pizza dough on a floured board, spoon over the tomato sauce, spreading it nearly to the edges of the dough. Then arrange the mushrooms, onions and ham over the top, add seasoning to taste, then finish with slices or crumbs of cheese. Fold up the sides of the pizza if you wish for a thicker base.
Remove the heated baking sheet from the oven, and - using a fish slice - carefully slide the pizza onto the sheet, then immediately replace the sheet in the oven and bake the pizza for 15 -20 minutes or until risen and golden and the cheese melted.