Ice cream maker

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I was given a Zoku ice cream maker this weekend. It is an ingenious device which lives in the freezer and makes ice cream in minutes.

This evening my daughter made a lemonade ‘slushie’. She squeezed the juice of two lemons and a lime and added icing sugar, water and a little fresh mint. The lemonade was then poured into the freezing Zoku machine and after a few minutes of stirring and scraping her frozen lemonade was ready.

We have had a Zoku ice lolly maker for a while and it works overtime in summer turning various juices into ice lollies. I am thrilled with this new device which makes a very different product – an individual bowl of ice cream or sorbet which is fun to make and delicious.

A couple of soups

When there’s a chill in the air I always feel like soup so this weekend we have had two.

Jane Grigson’s simple Mushroom soup from her ‘Vegetable Book’ is a creamy, earthy, warming soup made with simple ingredients. Butter, onion, garlic, mushrooms, lemon juice, nutmeg, water and cream. Sweat a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in about 60 grams of butter. Add just under a kilo of chopped mushrooms and squeeze the juice of a lemon or two over the mushrooms. Grate some nutmeg over the mushrooms and then cover with a litre of water. When cooked, liquidise the soup and add 150ml of cream. Quick, easy and delicious.

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Nigel Slater’s Cauliflower Cheese and Mustard soup was another simple and utterly delicious soup that was quick to prepare. A lighter version of cauliflower cheese and just as tasty, if not more so.

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50g butter
An onion peeled and chopped
Two small cauliflowers broken into florets
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons of creme fraiche
A heaped tablespoon of grain mustard

Grated Red Fox cheese to finish

Fry onion and garlic in the butter until soft but not coloured. Add the cauliflower florets and the bay leaves, cover with water and boil until the cauliflower is tender – about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and liquidise the soup. Stir in the creme fraiche and mustard and serve in a deep bowl with a liberal grating of cheese. Scrumptious !

Sharing starters at Savoy Cabbage

The menu at Savoy Cabbage has so many exciting options that it is hard to stick to the traditional three course meal. Multiple starters shared was one way to avoid menu envy.

Chicken liver parfait with figs in port must have been on the menu for at least ten years and I think I order it every time. The sweet figs are the perfect partner for the parfait.

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Beetroot carpaccio with labneh, orange and fennel shavings is sweet, light and colourful. The labneh smooth and creamy, delicious with the earthy sweetness of the beetroot, the crunch of the fennel and citrus notes from the orange slices.

As I write this I see a common theme developing, another fruity, savoury combination was the deep fried crottin with gooseberries

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A substantial butternut, feta and caramelised onion tart in buttery, perfectly cooked pastry added substance and warmth to the feast.

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The final indulgence was a smoked salmon blini with zingy, wobbly grapefruit jelly, sour cream and caviar. The grapefruit is an inspired addition to a traditional blini.

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All this accompanied a long overdue catch up with an old friend and was washed down with a shared glass of surprisingly good Sauvignon blanc.

Indian Feast

I have been a Madhur Jaffrey fan for years and have had many delicious Indian meals from within the pages of her books. I’ve spent hours mulling over the choices and combinations – which curry, which relish, which raita, which dal ?

Paging through Tamasin Day-Lewis’ ‘Food you can’t say no to’ I found her Indian Feast which was the perfect solution for dinner for 10. Butter chicken, fragrant basmati rice, spicy dal, raita, fried banana and mango chutney. 20140628-134028-49228775.jpg

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With so many people banting these days I replaced the basmati rice with cauliflower rice – a perfectly bland foil for the butter chicken and dal.

I didn’t do the mango chutney but included Madhur Jaffrey’s Red Pepper Relish which I can never resist.

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The cucumber raita has cumin in it which is a delicious addition.

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Roast chicken with Saffron, hazelnuts and honey, grilled leeks and green beans, red sauce

The sweet buttery flavour of hazelnuts is intensified when roasted and complements the meaty, richness of chicken legs and thighs. Ottolenghi’s hazelnut chicken recipe is based on an almond chicken in Claudia Roden’s book Tamarind and Saffron so this recipe can be made with almonds too. I so love the hazelnut version that I have yet to try Claudia’s original dish.

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Roast Chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs, 4 chicken legs
2 onions, roughly chopped,
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large pinch of saffron strands
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp cold water
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
100g unskinned hazelnuts
75g honey
2 tbsp rosewater
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
1. Mix chicken pieces with the chopped onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, pepper and salt. Leave to marinate in the fridge for over an hour – or overnight in the fridge.
2. Roast the hazelnuts on an oven tray for 10 minutes at 180C – chop roughly.
3. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, in a roasting tray and roast for 35 minutes.
4. Mix the honey, rosewater and nuts to create a rough paste. Spread the paste over the partially roasted chicken and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes, until the chicken thoroughly cooked and nuts are golden brown.

Ottolenghi suggests garnishing with spring onions but going for a larger, subtler member of the onion family is more exciting. The grilled roasted leeks from ‘The real meal revolution’ are a find! Sweetly buttery they were a brilliant accompaniment for the chicken. The triple cooking method, first blanching then grilling and finally roasting ensures that the leeks are perfectly cooked. Soft in the middle, slightly caramelised on the outside with a perfect butteriness!

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The chicken and leeks are rather too indulgent on their own so the green beans with red sauce offset the sweet richness and made the meal feel delightful fresh and healthy.

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Recipe for Green Beans, Red Sauce from Nigel Slater’s ‘Tender’ Volume 1 …

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Grilled Leeks from ‘Real Meal Revolution’ Tim Noakes, Sally-Ann Creed, Jonno Proudfoot, David Grier

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