Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Bitter Chocolate and Orange Tart

I've made this tart using a lemon and lime combination. But chocolate and orange wins hands down. The key to getting the flavours right is to ensure you extract the oils from the skin of the fruit. So a gentle heat on the cream and milk with the grated zest of one orange and the rind of another will do just nicely. Just make sure you pull the rind out before baking otherwise it will make for an unpleasant surprise for somebody. I also put cocoa powder in the pastry to provide a double chocolate hit.

Bitter Chocolate and Orange Tart

For the pastry
150g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
75g butter
Pinch of salt
A little water

For the filling
300ml double cream
150ml milk
300g 70% chocolate
Zest of two oranges, one finely grated and the other cut into slivers
100g sugar
3 egg yolks

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 160C, GM3
2 - Make your pastry by combining the dry ingredients in a food processor or by hand. Drizzle in water and combine until it forms a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3 - Grease and line a tart tin with a removable base, I used a 12" tin. Roll out your pastry and line the tart tin leaving the edges overlapped. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans, any old dried beans or peas will do. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little then trim the case with a sharp knife.
4 - In a deep pan, bring the cream, milk, zest and rind of the orange and the chocolate to boiling point then remove from the heat. Ensure the chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined. Remove the large slithers of zest.
5 - Beat the egg yolks and sugar together. Pour in the chocolate mixture beating all of the time. The pour into the pastry case and gently place onto the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mixture is almost firm. Cool before serving.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Scallops and Asparagus on Potato Cake with Vermouth Sauce

Scallops and Asparagus on Potato Cake with Vermouth Sauce
Serves 2

6 scallops
12 Asparagus stalks, washed and trimmed
2 large floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King George, peeled and chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs Vermouth
Olive Oil
Parsley and chives finely chopped
Salt and Pepper

1 - Put the potatoes into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until soft, then drain thoroughly and mash in the pan until dry and smooth. Season and add a knob of butter. Shape into circles using a biscuit cutter or chef's ring then fry with a little olive oil and butter until crispy.
2 - While the potato cakes are cooking, cook the asparagus in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
3 - Heat a frying pan and a little olive oil. Season the scallops then sear on both sides for 1 minute each side. Remove and keep warm.
4 - Pour the Vermouth, lemon juice and zest into the scallop pan and reduce, it won't take a minute. Add the herbs and a knob of butter then taste for seasoning.
5 - Arrange the potato cake on a plate with the asparagus and scallops on top, then drizzle the sauce over and around.

Meatball Marinara

An unnamed high street food provider has a version of this on their menu. Meatball marinara: hot meatballs, tomato sauce and cheese stuffed ...