Turkey Escalopes in breadcrumbs:

‘Breading’ is eeeeezeeeee!

…..Turkey escalopes in breadcrumbs:

There are several methods of breading, but I’ll only mention two, and do one.

An ‘escalope’ is a flattened out bit of meat.  Turkey, veal, chicken and pork  are the common ones, but you could do pheasant, ……whatever.

Prep:          20 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins……plus the rest of the bits’n’bobs….

Course:        Lunch/Main/Dinner party

Serves:        As many as the number of pieces….

Rating:         2.  Easy. You can do it…… YEAH!

Find:

  • Breadcrumbs
  • A lump o’meat
  • Cling film
  • An egg
  • Flour, seasoned nicely, if you’re gonna use it.  If not, forget the flour.

Method:

Take a flattish lump of meat, place it on a good strong cling film and spread it outs as far as it will go.  Then fold the film over the top.  Make sure there’s plenty of spare cling film all around because…….

You’re gonna bash it!  Bash it, roll it, bash it, roll it and carry on un til it has been spread out to whatever thickness (or thinness) you wish.

 

1

GO ON!   BASH IT!

2

Bash it, roll it.  Bash it, ro……

…..and when it’s nice’n’thin, you can apply the breadcrumbs.

You can cover it in seasoned flour first, should you wish.  I like the use of seasoned flour as it ensures that the seasoning gets to the meat itself.

Then dip into the egg.  It is simply one egg, beaten in a bowl with a fork.  Nuthin’ fancy; just egg.

3….then into the breadcrumbs (See Tricks’n’Tips for both fresh and dried breadcrumbs; it doesn’t matter which you use for this.)

 

4Ensure it is well covered.  Use a spoon to push more crumbs onto the escalope.  Then fry it so that it browns.  Don’t over cook it, whatever it is.  Serve it with whatever you wish…..

5….as long as it includes wine and pride!

Oh yes….. and don’t waste the unused egg and breadcrumbs.  Mix ’em together with a dried herb or sumfin’ and make a pattie.  Fry that too, and enjoy it as a garnish.

Told y’it were eeezeeeee!

Sea Trout parcels (or salmon, or trout, or….)

Sea Trout Parcels:

You can use quite a number of different fish here.  It is easy, quite quick, safe, doesn’t stink out the kitchen/house/flat and won’t break the bank.

Prep:           15 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins.

Course:        Lunch/Main/Supper/Dinner party

Serves:        As many as the number of fish pieces….

Rating:         2.  Easy.  Just have confidence and it’ll be great.

This method – en papillotte/en poche – is a favourite way to cook most types of fish.  See the ‘salmon in a dishwasher’ recipe for the ultimate fish parcel.

Find:

  • One portion of trout/salmon/sea trout/sea bream/sea bass/marckerel/whatever fish per person.  With or without skin but definitely without bones.
  • White wine – a splash, or perhaps a little vermouth instead, especially if you have the vermouth and don’t have fennel seeds…….
  • Lemon – or lemon juice from a bottle if pushed
  • A few fennel seeds….. perhaps up to 10 per parcel – be careful with them
  • Seasonings
  • A tiny splash of olive oil
  • Foil to make the parcels
  • Baking tray
  • Oven
  • Kitchen
  • Gas or electricity…..or wood….peat?

Method:

  • Set the oven to 200 dges C and switch it on (it helps….)
  • Rinse and pat dry the fish portions.
  • If cooking a whole fish on the bone, ensure that it has been gutted, washed and de-scaled fully and completely first.  Sea bream/sea trout especially.
  • Take a length of foil, longer than it is wide so that there is plenty of room for air inside the parcel, and lightly oil it in the middle.  Crimp up the corners to make a sort of tray – you don’t want the liquid contents to escape.
  • Place the fish portion into it, skin side down (whether it has skin or not).
  • Cut the lemon into slices and place a slice on each fish portion.  If it’s a whole fish, pop a bit into the cavity as well.  If you don’t have a lemon, you can use bottled lemon (or lime) juice instead.
  • Splash some white wine or vermouth over the fish.  Don’t drown it. (HA!  How can you drown a fish when it’s dead, eh…..don’t be silly, Colin!)
  • Sprinkle the fennel seeds evenly.
  • Season with a little salt (milled sea salt is best, but…..) and an amount  of freshly milled black pepper or 5 bais (See Tricks’n’Tips….)
  • Wish it a bonne voyage, and carefully fold in the ends and the top of the package.  It should be fairly securely sealed, but don’t get paranoid about it.  It’ll be in the oven, on a baking tray and won’t be jumping around a great deal, so it shouldn’t leak.
  • Put all packages onto the baking tray and pop into the middle of the oven and leave it for half an hour or so.  Not long enough to nip down t’pub, but long enough to crack a tinnie or pop a cork…….  But you have the rest of the meal to get ready, so have your tipple as you get a wiggle on…..
  • After 30 mins or so, take the baking tray out of the oven and put each parcel onto its own plate and let everyone oopen their own parcel.
  • This is lovely served with a nice, light Basmati/jasmine  rice, together with posh veg.  The sauce will be lovely, the fish gorgeous and the faces of the diners a picture….especially as their glasses will steam up when opening their parcels.
  • Oh yes, and have a bowl of cold water ready for them to plunge their scalded fingertips into as the resultant steam takes their skin off!

Christmas Vodka cake:

Christmas Vodka cake:

As people have heard that I’ve been assembling this book, I have received endless requests for me to include my Russian uncle’s Vodka Christmas Cake recipe, so here goes.  Just read it – it’s a Russian classic!

You MUST read through carefully before you start to make it though, otherwise you will become SOOOOOO confooosed!

Prep:           Varies.

Cooking:      As long as it takes.

Course:        Well, as it’s called a cake, there might be a hint in the title….

Serves:         Never managed to find out.

Rating:         I really can’t remember

Find:

  • 1…bottle Vodka
  • Flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups dried fruit.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • Nuts or something

Method

  • Sample a cup of Vodka to check quality.
  • Take a large bowl, check the Vodka again to be really sure it is of the highest quality then repeat.
  • Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
  • At this point, it is best to make sure the Vodka is still OK. Try another cup just in case.
  • Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eeggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the dry of cupped fruit.
  • Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it.
  • Mix on the turner. If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
  • Sample the Vodka to test for tonsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.
  • Check the Vodka.
  • Now shit….. shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table.
  • Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven.
  • Turn the cake tin 380 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
  • Finish the Vodka and wipe the counter with the cat.
  • Merry Christmas!

Water Melon Cake

Water Melon Cake

Prep:           40 mins.

Cooking:      Zero.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         Lots

Rating:         3:  Fiddly

 

Find:

  • One large water melon; whole
  • Fondant icing
  • Icing sugar
  • Sharp shallow-bladed knife – filleting knife or similar

Method:

  • Cut top & bottom from large water melon.
  • Cut side away in a circular fashion to leave a cake shape.
  • Dry with kitchen roll, dust with icing sugar and apply fondant icing to sides and top.
  • Apply fruit for decoration. Copious amounts of fruit.
  • Cut slices…..and see the faces of those who had no idea!

Caramelised fresh oranges:

Caramelised fresh oranges:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         Depends on how many oranges you can eat.  1 each?

Rating:         3:  Moderate – Segmenting the oranges can be fiddly, but a skill that can be quite quickly learnt……..

Find:

  • 6-8 large oranges
  • 250g/9oz white/golden caster sugar
  • 200ml/7fl oz hot water

Method:

  • Pare the zest from two oranges and cut into very fine shreds (or do it the easy way if you have a zester).
  • Heat a small pan of water until boiling, drop the orange zest into the water and simmer for two minutes. Drain through a sieve into a small bowl. You want to retain the blanched zest, not the water.
  • Peel all the oranges by cutting the skin, white pith and inner skin away, to reveal the flesh of the orange.
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the first segment out of the orange, sliding the knife down between the skin and its flesh on either side then easing it out. Carry on working your way around the orange, cutting out the segments. (You may prefer to use a small knife for this, or a large 10” chef’s knife – your choice).
  • Put the segments and juice into a shallow serving bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining oranges until all are segmented.
  • Heat a wide, heavy-based pan over a moderate heat. Add the sugar and leave for a few minutes, keeping a careful eye over it, until the sugar begins to melt. Don’t stir. Restrain yourself and do no more than tip and tilt the pan to get the sugar to melt evenly.
  • Once the sugar is liquid, let it bubble gently, then more strongly, until it begins to brown (this may take as little as 2-3 minutes), still tilting and swirling the pan occasionally.
  • Once the sugar has caramelised to a hazelnut brown, pour the measured hot water into the pan. Do this at arm’s length, wearing an oven glove (hard hat, overalls & goggles…..oh yes, and wellies!). But seriously, take care with hot sugar syrup. Be very careful, as the caramel will ‘hit and spiss’ when you first add the water.
  • Swirl and stir the caramel syrup and turn the heat to low. Drop in the blanched shreds of orange zest and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the zest is translucent. You may need to add a bit more water if the caramel thickens too much.
  • Pour the hot syrup and shreds over the orange segments and leave to cool.

Fruit-filled meringue roulade:

Fruit-filled meringue roulade:

PICTURE 30

Oooh lovely!  One of my all-time favourites!

This Super-Scrummy and totally impressive pud resembles a Pavlova, but it’s all rolled up!  You can use any fruit that you like but it lends itself to soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries (especially the free ones that you can get out of the hedgerow – see Tricks’n’Tips).

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      1 hour.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6  (It’s supposed to be 8, but that would be super-mean!)

Rating:         3:  Moderate – The difficult-ish bit is rolling it up.

Find:

  • 5 large egg whites (to separate eggs, see Tricks’n’Tips)
  • 1 pint pot of double cream
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2tsp cornflour, ready sieved
  • A little white/red wine vinegar
  • Icing sugar, to facilitate rolling and for decoration
  • 250g raspberries and / or other soft-ish fruits

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 160°C, gas mark 3 at least ten minutes before you need to use it, because it is very important to have it to temperature before the meringue goes in.
  • Line a low-sided oven tin (the sort you need for doing a Swiss roll….hey, that’s a point, why is a Swiss roll called a Swiss roll? Must look into it!) with baking or silicone paper, leaving a 5cm (2”) hanging over the edge to get hold of after it’s cooked.
  • Put the egg whites and just a tiny splash of vinegar into a mixing bowl. Use a balloon whisk and lots of energy, or an electric whisk to do the hard work for you.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then carefully and slowly whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, until the meringue mixture is quite stiff and glossy. Now you can whisk in the cornflour.
  • Plop the resulting white stuff into the lined tin with a spatula (or, if you have one, a palette knife…. Ok, if you don’t know what a palette knife is, you probably haven’t got one….just carry on with the spatula) and spread it evenly to the edges, as flat as you can, but don’t overwork it as you need to keep the air in the mixture. When it’s flat, just make a few peaks for decoration.
  • Pop it in the oven and cook for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes (use your eyes!), then take it out, stand it on something that will allow air above and below the tin (a ventilated heat mat or a cooling rack of some sort – the top of a gas cooker will do fine) and allow it to cool.
  • Turn the meringue out (so that the moist, paper-clad underside is facing upwards) onto another sheet of baking paper (or greaseproof) that has been sprinkled with sieved icing sugar.
  • Carefully peel off the baking paper from the underside. You’ll soon discover the best way of peeling it off without tearing the meringue.
  • Whip up the double cream to soft peaks and spread evenly over the meringue, leaving about 2cm (2”) on the long side away from you.
  • Artistically chuck the fruit evenly over the cream then carefully roll it up using the paper to persuade it to roll – it will be DISASTROUS if you try to roll it with your fingers.
  • Pop it on a serving platter with a twee doily below it. The join should be underneath.  Scatter the rest of the fruit (with equal flair and panache) all around the platter.
  • Slice it with a knife that has been in a jug of boiling water, to aid cutting this fragile delight. Then savour every delicious mouthful!

Lime & Ginger Posset with a warm blueberry topping:

Photo:  Chris Wiles Photgraphy

Lime & Ginger Posset with a warm blueberry topping:

Another incredible dessert.   Again, not too difficult to make, certainly very impressive to see and absolutely gorgeous to consume.

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6

Rating:         3:  Moderate – but so much worth doing – and a bit more!

NOTE:  This is rich pud, so don’t make the servings too large.  If they want more, they can just have another one!

Find:

  • 1 pt double cream
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • 2-3 balls of stem ginger – grated
  • Zest and juice of 4 limes (you need 4 fl oz of juice)
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Drizzle of juice from stem ginger jar
  • A non-stick saucepan & wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand balloon whisk
  • Lemon juicer (I know that they are limes – but you still use a lemon juicer….. even for oranges!)
  • Grate the zest of the limes into a bowl.
  • Juice the limes using a normal juicer – see Tricks’n’Tips – and pour the juice into a mug or a bowl ready for use. No pips please; we’re British.
  • Mix the cream, lime zest, stem ginger & sugar in the non-stick saucepan. SLOWLY heat over a low to medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to avoid the cream ‘catching’ on the side of the pan – we don’t want any brown bits floating around in this beautifully pastel-coloured pud.
  • Gently boil for 3 mins. Take off heat and pour into a warmed mixing bowl that has been carefully placed on a dampened cloth or piece of kitchen roll to stop it skating about on the kitchen surface.  You are not whisking in the pan as it is a non-stick pan and it’s a metal whisk….. you want the pan to stay non-stick!
  • Whisk in the lime juice, slowly pouring the juice in as the cream is whisked.
  • When all the lime juice is in, pick up the bowl and give the whisking some effort – remember that what you are doing is introducing air to make the pud light and airy.
  • Serve in glasses or ramekins. Set overnight in fridge (minimum 3-5 hrs).
  • Just before serving, put blueberries & ginger juice in a pan & simmer for a couple of mins until berries have softened.
  • Spoon over the cold posset and serve.

YUM & YO!

Lemon Posset:

Lemon Posset:

An incredible dessert.   Not too difficult to make, impressive to see, gorgeous to consume.

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      20 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6

Rating:         3:  Moderate – but so much worth doing

Find:

  • 1 pt double cream
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • A few fresh raspberries/redcurrants/other soft fruits
  • A fancy desert biscuit roll/stick
  • A non-stick saucepan & wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand balloon whisk
  • Lemon juicer

METHOD:

  • Juice the lemons using a normal juicer – see Tricks’n’Tips – and pour the juice into a mug or a bowl ready for use. No pips please; we’re British, but you can include the lemon flesh.
  • Mix the cream & sugar in the non-stick saucepan. SLOWLY heat over a low to medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to avoid the cream ‘catching’ on the side of the pan – we don’t want any brown bits floating around in this beautifully pastel-coloured pud.
  • Gently boil for 3 mins. Time it.  Take off heat and either keep it in the saucepan or pour into a warmed mixing bowl that has been carefully placed on a dampened cloth or piece of kitchen roll to stop it skating about on the kitchen surface.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, slowly pouring the juice in as the cream is whisked.
  • When all the lemon juice is in, if you are using a balloon whisk, pick up the bowl and give the whisking some effort – remember that what you are doing is introducing air to make the pud light and airy. If you are using an electric whisk, turn up the speed.
  • Serve in glasses or ramekins. Set overnight in fridge (3-5 hrs).
  • Serve with raspberries/soft fruit and a desert biscuit of some kind, or pour a very thin layer of raspberry coulis over the surface – or all of them. Don’t make the layer too thick as it will detract from the lemon flavour.

Tarte Tatin:

Tarte Tatin:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      probably about 40 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         6-8

Rating:         4:  Tricky (but worth it)

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down French apple tart, attributed to a couple of daft old sisters in rural France who we’re told got it wrong.  Whether that’s true or not who cares, it tastes great.

Find:

  • 8 eating apples (not cooking apples)
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 pack of puff pastry (around 300grams or more – you can freeze what’s left over for next time.) Ready rolled is most convenient.
  • A vanilla pod or Ground Cinnamon – not both. You can have it flavoured with one or the other.
  • A large round, deep-sided tart tin (borrow one from that lively little miss you’ve spotted around the corner…)
  • A metal oven (baking) tray
  • Crème Fraiche to serve with it.

Method:

  • You’ll need super-clean mitts fer this – wash ‘em again now.
  • The butter should be a room temperature; leave it out to soften.
  • Peel and core the apples: Peel the skin away, cut into 4 vertically, then each one again.  Only remove the pippy area, not much more at all.  Cut each one again (I know that they are getting thin – we need them thin.) to give 16 slices per apple.  We need about 100 slices for this.

Waddaya mean you’ve changed your mind?  It’s too late to back out now; just do it and stop moaning. 

I know you’d rather be down the pub, but you said you’d do it and do it you will…… nag, nag, nag…..

  • Ok, now for the messy bit. Slice the butter into thin slices and spread them around the tin, all over the base and up the sides.  Use your fingers and just mould them into place.  Don’t lick your fingers.  Wipe them with kitchen roll.
  • If you are using the vanilla pod: Take the vanilla pod, slit it down the centre with the tip of a sharp knife and, turning the knife sideways on to the pod, scrape all of the seeds out in one motion.  Spread these seeds all over the butter, evenly.  Don’t throw the pod away – see Tricks’n’Tips….
  • If you are using cinnamon: Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the butter layer. You won’t know how much, and I can’t really tell you – it is experience that will let you know.  You are just about to gain experience.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the butter and vanilla seeds/ground cinnamon. Now lay the apple slices, one overlapping the other in the form of a circular wedge, all the way around the edge, then the middle, then all over to make it level.  You’ll need to pack ’em in tightly.
  • Put the tart tin on the baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven, gas mk 3, for 20 minutes. This will start to cook the apples.
  • Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to the size of the tart tin (you will, of course, know the size already…..) – see Tricks’n’Tips for rolling out pastry.
  • Take out the tart tin and lay the pastry on top, trimming the edge with a knife. Press the pastry onto the apples.  Brush (or spread with a clean finger) milk onto the surface of the pastry.  When it comes out, that will be the bottom so it doesn’t need anything fancy.
  • Put the tin and baking tray back in, turn up to gas mk 6/200C and go have a beer for 15 minutes.
  • Take the tart tin out, press the pastry down with the fingers so that the pastry gets as saturated as possible with the free liquid and then leave to rest for 20-30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.
  • Cut to portions and serve with Crème Fraiche.

Almost free autumn meringue pile:

Almost free autumn meringue pile:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:          As many as….

Rating:         2:  Easy

Find:-

  • Ready-made meringue nests
  • Apples – fallers from local trees will do nicely
  • Blackberries picked from local bramble bushes will do nicely (See Tricks’n’Tips for important gen on picking above the Diesel line….)
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Butter
  • Tub of crème Fraiche

Method:

  • You can use as much or as little apple and blackberry as you like in this recipe – there is no exact quantity.
  • Peel, core and slice the apples.
  • Put into the saucepan with the butter, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Heat gently, stirring as necessary. The apple will start to cook together with the cinnamon, butter and sugar to give a lovely soft, sweet aroma.
  • When the apples have softened but before they have disintegrated to mush, pour in a load of washed blackberries that have just been picked from the hedgerow, from above Diesel’s dog-leg-line (see Tricks’n’Tips for the meaning of that technical term – it is important to know about it). Make sure that they don’t have any stalks still attached.
  • Stir in the blackberries with the apple and cook for about three minutes.
  • Break up a meringue nest into the bottom of each pudding bowl, pop a big dollop of crème Fraiche on top and then pour the warm mixture on top of that.

Wonderful.  It’s easy, cheap and uses the locally available free fruit. 

What more could you want…. to shoot your own wild meringue nests?

(Shoot me a brace of nice haggis at the same time, please!)