Friday, April 29, 2011

Sautéed scallops, chunky leeks with sorrel cream


Step 1: Chunky leeks
  • For 6 servings, trim 3 large leeks.  
  • Slice small cylinders a touch larger than your scallops, and rinse out grit under cold water.  Drain well.  
  • Melt 1 T butter in a medium pot (with a thick base) and add leeks, standing on end.  Crowd together in a single layer. 
  • Cover and soften over low heat about 20 minutes with a bay leaf and 4 sprigs fresh thyme, with no stirring (breaks up the shape of the leeks.)  
  • Add a couple spoons of water or dry white wine if necessary to keep from burning on pot bottom.  
  • Once leeks are tender and cooked, add 2 T. chopped fresh dill, chives or tarragon. (We used chives.)  
  • Optionally add 1/4 C cream.  Bring to simmer just before serving, thinning with a little water if necessary.  Season with sea salt

Step 2:  Sorrel cream
  • Finely mince 1 shallot and place in small pot with 1 T. melted butter.  
  • Soften over low heat, covered, 5 minutes with no browning.  
  • Add 1 C. heavy cream, 1 bay leaf, and bring to simmer.  
  • Meanwhile, slice finely about 20 fresh sorrel leaves and add to cream, simmering 5 minutes.  
  • Season and add a sprinkle of water if sauce is too thick.

Step 3:  Sautéed scallops
  • Clean and trim the scallops, 3 per person. 
  • Heat 1 T. butter in a non-stick pan until foaming stops, but before smoking, and place scallops in pan.  (Be careful to leave space between each scallop to allow for better browning)
  • Optionally, toss in the zest from one lemon during last minute of frying.   
  • Depending on size, sauté about 3 minutes first side to brown nicely, then 1/2 minute on the other side.  
  • Season with coarse sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon, and serve. 

Step 4 : Ready to eat
  • Arrange 3 leeks standing up on plate, faced by 3 scallops, and between the two rows, some sorrel cream. 
  • We dressed up some lamb's lettuce with olive oil to add some freshness to the plate.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Dinner / Seven-hour Lamb

Slow and steady, soft and succulent

This traditional French way of dealing with mutton or tough lamb is increasingly finding its way into the urban bistros and homes of today, cheered on by a generation reared on fast grills and snappy salads. After two hours, the most wonderful smell starts to waft out of the kitchen. After seven hours, the meat will be so soft that the bone will literally fall out as you gently lift it from the pot. Just make sure that the leg of lamb you buy will fit into your heaviest lidded casserole.

Serve the lamb with its carrots, onions and garlic alongside a dish of white beans, puréed potatoes or Potato Gratin.


Serves 6

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 5 to 7 hours  (5 hours if you have a younger lamb)

1 leg of mature lamb, about 2.5kg
2 whole heads of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
3 medium onions, quartered
8 smallish carrots, peeled
Few sprigs thyme
250ml dry white wine
250ml water
Handful of flatleaf parsley


Heat the oven to 120C. Coat the lamb with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Place in a large, lidded, ovenproof casserole, and scatter with thyme. Add the wine and water, cover tightly, and bake for 4 hours, then remove the casserole carefully from the oven and skim the fat from the broth.

Cut the heads of garlic in half across the cloves. Place the garlic, onions and carrots in with the lamb, and bake for another 3 hours (for younger lamb, cook first for 2 hours, skim and add the vegetables, then cook for a further 3 hours). Gently remove the lamb, and transfer the vegetables to a warm platter.

Strain the juices and bring to the boil in a small pan, skimming. Carve the lamb thickly and serve on warm dinner plates with the vegetables, garlic, parsley and some of the broth.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Very Berry Verinnes

Serves 4

250 grams of fresh Raspberries
250 grams of fresh Strawberries
150 grams of fresh or frozen raspberries
100 grams of sugar
500 grams of Natural yoghurt (or Vanilla Icecream)
Honey to taste
          You will need 4 large clear glasses or clear plastic cups

.   For the coulis, place frozen raspberries and sugar into a blender and mixer together until you have a smooth thick red juice.
2.    Mix half of the coulis with with 250 grams of the natural yoghurt and keep the rest of the coulis for later.
3.    Place some fresh raspberries and strawberries in the bottom of your glass
4.    Cover the berries with 2 or 3 tablespoons of yoghurt that has been mixed with the coulis.
5.    Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of Natural yoghurt to your glass.
         At each stage you are building up the layers in the glass
6.    Cover the Natural Yogurt with 2 tablespoons of Coulis
7.    Add more berries to fill the glass
8.    And drizzle with Honey to taste.

                                  DID YOU KNOW ?
An individual raspberry weighs about 4 g, on average and is made up of around 100 drupelets , each of which consists of a juicy pulp and a single central seed. Raspberry bushes can yield several hundred berries a year.