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Fish Pie

Fish Pie

This is an excellent fish pie recipe by Marcus Waring. It makes a generous portion so great for feeding a crowd or you can divide it between two dishes and freeze some for later.

Wine Suggestion: A full-bodied Chardonnay is our choice for rich fish pies. Tonight it was Domaine Labet’s “en Billat” an ancient vine, jurassic soiled classic we are fortunate to have a few bottles of from holidays last year. Think of a majestic white Burgundy with altitude, and a concentration that 100 + year old vines can achieve.

Fish Pie – serves 6, generously

  • 1kg fish fillets (a mix of salmon & cod/haddock), skinned
  • 600-800ml whole milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 75g butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 50g plain flour
  • 100ml white wine or white vermouth if you have it
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 150g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 300g raw tiger prawns, shelled
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into chunky pieces
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1.2kg potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 50g butter
  • splash of milk
  • 100g grated Cheddar cheese

Remove any bones from the fish with tweezers, then put into a large pan and pour in enough milk to cover. Add the bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Gently bring to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer for 5 minutes or until just cooked. Remove from the heat.

Melt a third of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and onion and cook gently until softened. Remove the leeks and onions from the pan and set aside. Melt the rest of the butter in the same pan and when it bubbles stir in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the wine or vermouth and stir to form a thick paste. Tip the leeks and onions back into the pan.

Strain the milk from the fish fillets into a measuring jug. Gradually add about 600ml of the milk to the leek mixture, stirring until the sauce bubbles and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the crème fraîche and season again.

Flake the fish into chunky pieces and gently fold through the sauce along with the peas, prawns and parsley.

Spoon the mixture into a large ovenproof dish. Scatter the eggs and capers evenly over the top.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180fan/gas 6.

To make the topping, put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with water,  add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Drain the potatoes and mash with the butter and enough milk to make a spreadable mash. Season.

Spread the potato over the fish and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

(Original recipe from Marcus At Home by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016.)

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Fusilli with Chestnut Mushrooms, Leeks and Mascarpone Cheese

This pasta sauce can literally be made in the same time as it takes to boil the pasta. The recipe is easily halved for two and therefore good for using up mascarpone.

Wine Suggestion: A tasty supper like this pairs well with unoaked Chardonnay, particularly from slightly cooler areas like the Maçon in Burgundy. Tonight’s choice, the Domaine Manciat-Poncet Maçon-Charnay which has a fresh joy to it with red apples and citrus flavours.

Fusilli with chestnut mushrooms, leeks and mascarpone cheese – serves 4

  • 45g butter
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 4 pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 400g fusilli pasta
  • plenty of freshly grated Parmesan to serve

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the butter and allow to melt. When the butter is foaming add the mushrooms, leeks and garlic and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the mascarpone and cook for another minute or so, stirring continuously. Stir in the chives and cayenne pepper, then season carefully with salt and remove from the heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in lots of salty water according to the timings on the pack, then drain and return to the same pan.

Pour the mushroom sauce into the pasta pan and stir together for 30 seconds before dividing between warm bowls.

Sprinkle over the Parmesan and serve.

(Original recipe Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2010.)

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Leftover Pork Pie

We love a Sunday roast but when it’s just the three of us we often end up with heaps of leftovers. Diana Henry has a book called Food from Plenty which not only contains recipes for roasts but lots of ideas for what to do with the excess. We made this pie with leftover Mallorcan Spiced Pork. Serve with a green salad or buttery cabbage.

Wine Suggestion: as this is a very down to earth dish the wines that work have a grounded earthiness. A well made, terroir driven Chardonnay or Pinot Noir would be our choice. Tonight is was the Deux Montille Rully Chaponniere which was floral, citrus and pear aromas on the nose, but sappy, earthy and textural on the palate. Pure, fresh and engaging; a good combo.

Leftover Pork Pie – serves 6

  • 2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 streaky bacon rashers, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 medium eating apple such as Cox, halved, cored & sliced
  • 450g leftover cooked pork, cut into chunks
  • 200ml cider or apple juice
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 25g brown or white breadcrumbs
  • 350g puff pastry
  • plain flour, to dust
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Melt the butter in a sauté pan and cook the leeks, onions and bacon over a medium heat until starting to brown. Add the apple slices and cook until they too have coloured slightly.

Add the pork to the pan with the cider or juice, stock and mustard. Season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the parsley and breadcrumbs and stir.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Put the pork mixture into a pie dish and leave to cool a bit. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut strips off the pastry to stick round the edge of the pie dish. Lightly wet one side of the pastry strips and press down on the rim of the dish. Lay the remaining pastry on top and press down. Trim off the excess pastry and crimp the edges. Use any leftovers to decorate the top. Make a few slits in the centre with a sharp knife. Use a blunt knife to knock up the sides of the pastry all the way round to help it rise. Brush with egg and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed up.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Chicken & apple pieChicken pie is an autumnal dish in our house and we usually try a different version every year. We particularly liked this one flavoured with cider and apples.

Wine Suggestion: A natural suggestion is to drink the cider you used to make the pie, and we finished the remainder of the bottle likewise. Our choice this evening was from Normandy, courtesy of our last trip to France. When matching a wine, we think the appley character of Chenin Blanc is what to go with. If your prefernces are French wine, then a Vouvray is a good choice; tonight we chose the Secateurs Chenin Blanc from Swartland in South Africa; a country that really excels with this grape.

Chicken, Leek & Cider Pie – serves 4

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 3 medium leeks, sliced into rings
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 500g cooked chicken, torn into pieces
  • 50g extra mature cheddar, grated
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten with 2tsp milk

Melt 40g of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Continue to stir over a medium-low heat for a minute to make a roux. Remove from the heat and gradually add the cider, mixing carefully with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until all the cider has been added, then gradually add the milk. Season and return the pan to the heat and, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice and crème fraîche and taste for seasoning.

Melt the other 20g of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the leeks and apples for 5 minutes. Add 2tbsp of water, season, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender. If there is a lot of juice you can increase the heat to reduce it.

Add the chicken and half the cheese to the sauce, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and heat the chicken through. Gently stir in the leeks and apples. Taste and add more mustard or lemon juice if needed.

Spoon the chicken mixture into a 25 x 20cm pie dish or a round dish 25cm across. The dish should have a capacity of 1.3 litres. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and leave to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a euro coin. Cut off a strip the same width as the lip of your dish. Wet the lip and press the strip onto it. Brush the strip with water and place the rest of the pastry on top. Press the edges to seal, then cut off the excess. Crimp the edges and decorate the top with the trimmings.

Make 3 small slits in the pastry close to the middle, then brush the top with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed up. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food)

 

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Fish pie with leek mash

No sooner had we given up all hope and planned a hearty fish pie for dinner, than the sun finally came out. The leek mash brightens it up a bit and if served with some green peas it works not too bad for a fine weather dish – just pity the poor cook stuck in the kitchen! We fear you might be horrified when you read the list of ingredients but if the rogue ingredient turns you right off you can always leave it out. It’s also our secret weapon for a prawn cocktail so there’s usually some in our fridge, and it turns out that it tastes surprisingly good in a fish pie too.

Wine Suggestion: this works with a crisp version of Chardonnay; we chose an organic Chablis made by the Gueguen family.

Fish pie with leek mash – serves 6

  • 900g white fish fillets, in large chunks (we used cod)
  • 425ml full-fat milk
  • 100g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • juice of ½ a small lemon
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tbsp Heinz salad cream (optional)
  • 125ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped dill or parsley
  • 200g cooked, peeled prawns
  • 500g leeks, sliced
  • 800g floury potatoes, in chunks

Put the fish and milk into a sauté pan. Bring to a simmer and poach for about 3 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the milk.

Melt 50g of the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the milk, a ladleful at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition. When the milk has all been added, return the pan to the heat and keep stirring as you bring it the boil. It should be very thick. Season, then add the lemon juice, mustard and salad cream. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream and herbs and continue to simmer for another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning – you want this well-flavoured.

Put the fish and prawns into a 2.4 litre pie dish. Stir any liquid under the fish into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the fish and mix gently, then leave to cool before refrigerating to make it easier to spoon on the mash.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Melt the remaining 50g of butter in a heavy saucepan and add the leeks. Turn to coat in the butter and season, then add 2 tbsp of water, cover and sweat over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until very soft. Check occasionally and add another spoon of water if needed.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. Return to the warm pan, cover with a clean tea towel and a lid, then place over a very low heat for a couple of minutes to dry.

Mash the potatoes until smooth, then add the leeks and their juices and season well. Spread the mash over the fish and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Serve with peas – as with all pies.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchel Beazley, 2010.)

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Cauliflower risotto

Using one of our favourite vegetables, that strangely we haven’t cooked for a while. Perfect comfort food for chilly evenings.

Wine Suggestion:  not as easy to suggest a wine as we thought given the conflicting flavours but we found that the Quinta Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva a surprisingly good match. This combined a vibrant freshness with a layer of subtle oak, mineral nuttiness from the fine lees and a textured persistence that both balanced the food and didn’t overwhelm it. This wine continues to surprise with it’s quality and brilliance.

Cauliflower, leek & blue cheese risotto – serves 4

  • ½ a head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 25g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into rings and washed thoroughly
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 100g creamy blue cheese, e.g. Cashel blue or dolcelatte, broken into small chunks

Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain well and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the risotto rice and stir around until glistening with the butter. Now add the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until each has been absorbed before adding another. It should take about 25 minutes to add all of the liquid and by this time the rice should be cooked. A few minutes before the end, carefully stir in the cooked cauliflower and stir gently so you don’t break it up to much, then add the Parmesan and blue cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011.)

 

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Braised chicken with mustard & leeks

Another suggestion for using up a leek. Chicken, mustard and leeks are natural friends and make for a delicious mid-week dinner.

Wine suggestion: choose a classic pairing with this and go for a Chardonnay. Your choice of which one but both simple and unoaked or sophisticated and expensive white burgundy will work.

Braised chicken with mustard & leeks – serves 2

  • olive oil
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 100ml white wine/chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon

Heat a splash of oil in a wide, deep frying pan and cook the chicken thigh fillets until golden on both sides.

Add the leek to the pan and cook until softened.

Add the wine or stock, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the Dijon mustard and double cream and continue to simmer with the lid off until slightly thickened.

Stir through the chopped tarragon, season to taste and serve with either some steamed rice or mashed potatoes.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, January 2015.)

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Cheesy leek baked potatoes

We’re regularly left with a rogue leek in the bottom of the fridge and it usually finds its way into a dish like this, particularly if there is some cream lurking as well. Quantities don’t matter too much here so use what you’ve got.

  • Baking potatoes
  • Butter
  • Leeks, sliced finely
  • Cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 220°C.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on a tray in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200ºC and continue to cook for about another hour.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the leeks until they are meltingly tender. Add the cream and bubble together until you have a thick sauce.

When the potatoes are soft, cut them in half and scoop out the centres, leaving a thin layer of potato on the skins. Mash the removed potato, mix with the creamy leeks and season with salt and lots of pepper. Pile this mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Serve this on its own for a midweek supper or as a side dish with chargrilled chops or sausages.

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Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie

We love a chicken pie, particularly with sweet leeks and a rich creamy sauce.

Wine Suggestion: the classic suggestion, and our first thought, was to drink a lighter chardonnay with this, but we found a great alternative in the Salwey Weissburgunder “RS” which is a Pinot Blanc from Baden in Germany. An amazing wine with lovely fruit and a texture that holds it all together giving it a long finish and makes a good match with the creamy sauce and pastry. Every time we taste this wine we are impressed and think it is one to put Pinot Blanc back on the wine drinkers lists.

Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie – serves 4

For the filling: 

  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 3 chicken breasts fillets
  • 75g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 2-3 tbsp white wine
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g piece thickly carved ham, cut into 2cm chunks

For the pastry: 

  • 350g plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp cold water, plus an additional egg, beaten, to glaze

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and bring a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and set aside, then pour the stock into a jug.

Melt 25g of the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the chopped leeks and fry gently for a couple of minutes, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute, then set aside. Add the rest of the butter and stir in the flour as soon as it has melted. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk to the pan, stirring well between each addition. Then gradually add 250ml of the reserved stock and the wine until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Season the sauce, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Pour into a large bowl and cover with cling film to stop a skin forming on the top. Set aside until cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and put a baking tray into heat.

To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Keep the motor running while you add the beaten egg with water and blend until the mixture comes together in a ball. Carefully remove from the processor and set aside about 250g of the pastry to make your lid.

Roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly floured surface, turning frequently until about 5mm thick and larger than your pie dish. Lift the pastry over your rolling pin and gently place into the pie dish. Press firmly up the sides of the dish and make sure no air bubbles remain. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the sides.

Cut the cooked chicken into 3cm pieces. Stir the chicken, ham & leeks into the cooled sauce, then pour into the pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg and roll out the reserved pastry to make a lid.

Cover the pie with the pastry lid and press the edges together firmly to seal. Trim off any excess pastry.

Make a small hole in the centre of the pie with the tip of a knife. Glaze the top with beaten egg. Bake on the hot baking tray in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and piping hot.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Best of British).

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Pot-roast Chicken with Chorizo, Leek and Cider

A great array of flavours and super-moist roast chicken. Chorizo cooked in cider is often served as a tapa in Spain and it’s delicious!

Wine Suggestion: A Spanish cider would be of course be great with this or failing that a good quality dry cider from somewhere else. If you feel like wine we’d recommend a really smooth Rioja.

Pot-roasted Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks & Cider – serves 4

  • 1 x 1.75kg chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 700g leeks, washed and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 300g baby carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • Leaves from 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200ml dry cider

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3.

Season the cavity and outside of the chicken with salt and black pepper.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the chicken on all sides until golden, then set aside.

Lower the heat and add the chorizo, butter, leeks, garlic, carrots, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and cook gently until the leeks have softened.

Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish, pour over the cider, then cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid from the casserole dish and turn the oven up to 200C/Gas 6. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken skin is browned.

Remove the chicken from the casserole and onto a carving board, cover with foil. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the vegetable juices, then place over a medium heat and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes to reduce. Season to taste with more salt if needed.

To carve the chicken, remove the legs and cut each one in half at the joint. Carve the breast in slices. Use a slotted spoon to put the chorizo and vegetables onto the centre of the plates and place the chicken on top. Spoon the cooking juices over to serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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Leek Gratin

 

A true comfort food if there ever was one, and a versatile side for simply barbecued meats, roast chicken and a whole host of mains. It’s fairly rich so a little goes a long way.

Baked Creamy Leeks – serves 6 as a side dish

  • 800g leeks, roughly chopped and rinsed well in a sieve
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • olive oil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 200ml single cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas 6.

Warm a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter with a splash of olive oil and the garlic.

As soon as the garlic starts to colour, add the leeks and thyme leaves and stir. Turn up the heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and half the cheese. Mix well in a suitably sized baking dish (you want a layer about 2.5cm thick). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Ministry of Food, Penguin, 2008.)

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Delicious chicken pie. Prepare the filling ahead, then add the pastry and bake to feed a crowd.

Chicken & Leek Pie – serves 6-8

  • 1.2kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
  • 2 large leeks, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • large handful of chopped parsley
  • 170ml milk
  • 250ml cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • puff pastry or mashed potato

Chop each chicken thigh into about 12 pieces and toss with the flour. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan and sauté the leeks for about 10 minutes or until softened. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Melt half the remaining butter in the same pan and sauté half the chicken pieces until golden and barely cooked. Add to the bowl with the leeks. Repeat with the rest of the butter and chicken.

Mix the chicken and leeks together along with the parsley. Return half of the mixture to the pan, add half the milk and half the cream and bubble for 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with the rest of the chicken, cream and milk. Combine the batches, check the seasoning and cool.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Put the chicken filling into a 1.5 litre pie dish and cover with the puff pastry or mashed potato. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Wine Suggestion: We are big fans of good Bordeaux white wine and this dish works well with the balance of flavours of oaked Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The toasty buttery character complements the flavours and the clean and fresh texture balances any richness of the dish. Look out for some of the smaller Chateau that are up and coming like Chateau Bouscaut; the 2010 worked a treat here.

(Original recipe from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, Lantern, 1996.)

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Leek & Pancetta Quiche – serves 4-6

  • 200g pancetta lardons
  • olive oil
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 100g Gruyère cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

FOR THE PASTRY:

  • 200g plain flour, plus a bit extra
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g butter, at room temperature, cubed

First make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a large bowl. Then using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour, lifting the mixture up and dropping it back into the bowl. Keep doing this until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, then mix in 2-3 tbsp of cold water. Bring the mixture together and knead lightly on a floured surface until you have a smooth ball of pastry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.

Oil a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

Roll the pastry out onto a floured work surface until about 3mm thick. Line the oiled tin with the pastry and leave some hanging over the edges, then prick the base with a fork. Chill for another 10 minutes.

Line the chilled pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 5-8 minutes or until golden. Trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a large frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until coloured and almost crispy. Add the leek and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft and cooked through. Drain to remove any excess oil.

Mix the eggs and cream together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, stir in the leek mixture and add the parsley. Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case, sprinkle the top with the leftover cheese and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden and set.

Allow the quiche to cool for a bit before serving.

Wine Suggestion: We tried a lovely Bott-Geyl Pinot d’Alsace which worked superbly. A great combination of Pinot Blanc 35%, Pinot Auxerrois 35%, Pinot Gris 15% and Pinot Noir 15% (vinified as white wine). Rich and complex but with the freshness  and texture to balance the quiche perfectly.

(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course, Hodder & Stoughton, 2012.)

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We love turnips (or swedes as the rest of the world calls them) and think that they deserve a bigger part of the limelight. This puts them centre stage and celebrates their earthiness and sweet character. This recipe comes from Denis Cotter, of Café Paradiso in Cork, and like many of his dishes it is pretty sweet for a savoury dish and has the potential to divide your dinner guests. Our guest is not usually a fan of turnip but she loved this dish.

Swede & Leek Gratin in Maple Cream with Sage & Walnut Crust – serves 4-6

  • 1 large swede
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthways and well washed
  • 30g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 250ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup

For the crust: 

  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 50g white bread
  • 50g walnuts
  • 30g butter

Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas mark 2.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Peel and quarter the swede, then chop into slices about 5mm thick. Simmer in the water for 10 minutes, then remove and partly cool them in a bowl of cold water. Drain and set aside.

Chop the leeks into 2cm pieces. Melt the butter in a large pot, over a high heat, add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes. Add the thyme and white wine, and boil for 1 minute, then pour in the cream and maple syrup. Bring back to the boil and then take off the heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Grease an oven dish with butter and arrange a layer of swede slices on the bottom. Spoon a third of the leeks on top and cover with another layer of swede. Repeat to get 3 layers of each, finishing with the leeks. Press firmly on the top and put the dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

To make the crust: put the sage, chives and bread in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. Add the walnuts and butter and pulse briefly to chop the walnuts coarsely.

Increase the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.

Scatter the sage and walnut topping over the gratin and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Wine Suggestion: You’ll have some wine left in the bottle you used for this dish. A dry chenin would be good as it will carry the earthy and sweet characters of this dish but also has enough acidity and texture to cut through the richness.

(Original recipe form Denis Cotter’s For the Love of Food, Harper Collins, 2011.)

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It’s another Irish Food Bloggers Association Cookalong and this time the theme is Irish. We were tempted to do an Irish stew but thought that was a bit obvious, we thought about beef and Guinness but that’s not all that original either and then to make things more difficult we invited a vegetarian for dinner.  It was then that we thought about using some Irish cheese as the base for a dish and after eating many variations of cheese and pastry all week we came up with this. Irish potatoes, leeks and a west Cork Cheddar all baked up in a pie. Delicious!!

Serves 4-6

  • 650g waxy potatoes
  • 750g leeks
  • 50g butter
  • 200ml creme fraiche
  • 180g Bandon Vale Vintage Cheddar, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 500g puff pastry
  • beaten egg for glazing

Heat the oven to 200C.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices. Boil in plenty of salted water until tender (it’s ok if they go a bit mushy).

Meanwhile, throw away the very green bit of the leeks and slice the rest into rings. Wash really well in cold water to get rid of any grit.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the leeks. Cover and cook over low-medium heat until tender – about 20 minutes.

Mix the  leeks, potatoes, creme fraiche and cheddar and season well with salt, pepper and a little bit of nutmeg.

Roll the pastry into two rectangles (about the size of your baking sheet).

Pile the potato mixture into the middle  of one sheet and leave a good rim around the edge. Brush the edges with beaten egg and lay second piece of pastry over the top and press the edges down, pinching firmly to seal. Trim off any excess.

Brush all over with the egg and cut 3 or 4 slits along the width of the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater Tender Vol 1 – A tart of leeks and cheese)

Wine suggestion: A full-bodied white was nice with this. We had a Santenay Blanc followed by an oaked Semillon from the Clare Valley.

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Inspired by Nigel Slater … and because leeks are in season and we love leeks!

We made this last night for Julie’s parents, and after a weekend up in Belfast; a success as it was creamy and flavoursome and had a great freshness from the peppercorns.

So if you’d like to try for yourself:

  • Turn on oven to 150°C
  • Trim 650g leeks, wash and slice into 2cm slices. Warm 40g butter in a large, heavy based casserole dish. Add leeks and cook, covered for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Lift out leeks and set aside.
  • Heat up pan again until hot and then add 500g cubed pork. Colour lightly on all sides and then remove and add to leeks.
  • Halve or quarter 500g mushrooms and add to the same casserole dish and fry until golden – add a little extra butter if you need as we did.
  • Return leeks and pork to the casserole and scatter 1 tablespoon plain flour and cook for a minute or two.
  • Slowly add 500ml hot stock (we used chicken) and then stir in 2 bay leaves and season generously with salt & pepper.
  • Bring slowly to the boil, cover and transfer to oven. Cook until tender for about 60 minutes.
  • Chop a small bunch of parsley and stir into casserole with 4 teaspoons of green peppercorns in brine (rinsed) and 140ml double cream.
  • return to oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • Serve with unbuttered potatoes and a little veg and enjoy 🙂

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Dublin’s now officially cold and Wintery, so we thought we’d cook some soup for the week ahead 🙂

Winter cannellini bean soup

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a big saucepan and tip in 4 finely chopped shallots, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, a finely chopped carrot, 2 finely chopped celery sticks, 2 finely chopped leeks and 140g finely chopped streaky bacon.
  • Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.
  • Pour in 1.4 litres of vegetable or chicken stock (we use Marigold), then add 2 bay leaves and 1/2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram.
  • Season and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add 2 tins of drained and rinsed cannellini beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Credit to BBC Good Food:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1148/winter-cannellini-bean-soup

Jono

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