Monday, 15 July 2013

Marinated aubergines

Thinly slice an aubergine and brush both sides with elderflower oil. Brown in a frying pan (in batches if necessary). Season with pepper and salt and place into a baking try. Bake at 200 °C for about 15 minutes or until the aubergine slices are soft. Remove from the tray, leave to cool. Then place into a shallow bowl folding the aubergine slices in half. Dress with a mixture of the juice of 1/2 lime, pepper, salt and 1/2 tsp manuka honey. Scatter a handful of mixed herbs (mint, lemon balm, basil, parsley, coriander, thyme) over the top. Gorgeous with any barbecued food.

It keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just remove what you need, let it come to room temperature and enjoy.

Elderflower Infused Vinegar

This, too, is a recipe based on Éva's ideas: elderflower vinegar. I used sherry vinegar and white balsamic and placed a disk of greaseproof paper on top of the jar to make sure none of the flowers were poking out and potentially going mouldy. Strain after 3-4 weeks of marinating.

Elderflower Infused Oil

I made this for the first time this year after reading about this oil in Éva's blog and I'm afraid you may have to wait till next year to pick elderflowers but it'll be so worth it!

Cram as many elderflower tufts into a mason jar and fill with a cold pressed oil of you choice. I decided on extra-virgin olive oil, which has quite a strong flavour by itself. Leave for about three weeks, then drain and put into sterilsed bottles. Even the strong olive oil ended up with a delicate flowery flavour. Next year I'm going to try cold pressed sunflower and rape seed oil, too.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Leek and Pear Filo Tart

When I read about a quiche/tart recipe with leek and pear in Fee's blog, I knew I had to try this combo. But you know me I always have to put my own twist on things. And since I've wanted to try a tarte/quice using filo pastry for ages, I was going to try it with this recipe.

(serves 4-6)

250 g filo pastry
250 g semi-skimmed organic milk
2 whole organic eggs
3 organic egg yolks
2 heaped tbsp soured cream
100 g pancetta
1 leek
1/2 abate pear or 1 conference pear
1/2 roll of goats cheese (75 g)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
50 - 60 g butter

Do all the prep work first: Finely slice the leek and pear, chop the pancetta. Mix milk, eggs, egg yolks and soured cream and season with pepper, a little salt and nutmeg. Thinly slice the goats cheese, then cut the slices in half. Melt the butter without browing it. This is for brushing the filo pastry.

Heat a tiny amount of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the leek and pancetta until the pancetta starts to brown and the leek starts to soften. Add the sliced pear and cook till lightly brown. Take of the heat and set aside.

Lightly brush the first two sheets of filo with melted butter and place side by side on a rectangular baking sheet, so they overlap but also extend over the sides. At the end, we'll crunch up the overhang to form wonderful crust. Carry on brushing and layering the filo pastry two sheets at the time.

Spread the leek, pear and pancetta mix evenly onto the pastry. Season with a touch of pepper. Add the goats cheese and pour on the egg mix. Scrunch up the overhanging pastry and give it one last brush with melted butter.

In a preheated oven, bake at 200 °C/gas mark 5 for 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold with a crunchy green salad.

I dressed my cut and come again salad from the garden with my favourite vinaigrette and added the other half of the pear.

Pea and Lime Risotto

It's so great to find fresh peas in the shops again and this is one of the first dishes of the season I used them for.

2 handfuls of fresh peas
750 ml vegetable or chicken stock
150 ml dry white wine
200 g arborio rice
1/2 red onion
2 garlic cloves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
20 g herb and garlic butter
50 g freshly grated parmesan
juice of 1 lime
extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the peas for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, then drain and set aside. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

For the risotto, heat some olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes at a low heat until tender but not browned.

Add the rice and keep stirring until the rice starts to become translucent. Then add the wine. Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed. Now start adding the hot stock a ladle at the time. Over a medium heat keep stirring the whole time. After about 15-20 minutes check if the rice is done. If you like make it al dente. Now turn off the heat and add the peas.

Next, add the lime juice, parmesan and garlic and herb butter. Mix carefully, cover and leave for a couple of minutes. This is how it becomes so wonderfully creamy. Serve immediately sprinkled with parmesan.