Mega Salmon en croute for Christmas Day

I’m sitting here in my happy little bubble because I just found out that Christmas is cancelled. Apparently baby Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th December. It’s been discovered by scientists that the real date was the 25th November so we all missed it and can now look forward to…another day and I don’t really now what that is; I’ll get back to you. Bah humbug.

But not wanting to be a spoilsport I thought I’d share a nice dinnertime solution that you could, should you so wish, prepare for the family on the completely benign, no-different-to-any-other-day 25th December.

I have, like so many things, created Salmon en croute before, but this time I used two whole sides of salmon. A lot of salmon.

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Shallot Tarte Tatin

Another week, another business trip. Coming to be a habit. This time it was Amsterdam. I’ve come to form the opinion that the Netherlands and England are very similar – wet, windy, bad traffic and super-expensive cabs.

But two major differences; firstly drivers actually try to avoid cyclists (in the UK it would seem they are deliberately targeted) and secondly Holland is very flat (which is obviously why there are so many cyclists).

If people drove in Amsterdam the way they drive in London (or even worse Italy) there would be cyclist carnage.

Anyway my Easyjet plane arrived (flying is becoming increasingly similar to getting the train – it arrives, people get off, you get on and off you go). However as we all piled on people began noticing a strange rattling noise coming from the plane. Given the engines were running it was one hell of a rattle to even be able to hear it.

Everyone tried to appear nonchalant but in the end the chap in front of me turned and said

‘I hope that isn’t the engine.’ To which I replied

‘No way, it’s that tractor thing they are using to re-fuel the plane.’ At this point the man in front of my compatriot turned to us and stated (somewhat gleefully)

‘Oh no, that is the engine! It always does that. I get this flight every week and I asked the stewardess months ago about it. She said it’s something to do with one of the jet’s fins. Totally safe she said.’

So with that we got on the plane. Seriously. Dodgy jet fins spinning at thousands of revs at 22,000 ft? Think about that.

Anyway I wanted home, risk of death or no. I was thinking about this: Shallot Tarte Tatin.

Now this thing looked to me like it could be fraught with difficulties and peppered with potential pitfalls. And of course that just made me want to make it.

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This is a tarte tatin. Seriously. It all works out though…

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Adventures in Barbequing – Baked Sweet Potatoes With Chipotle Chilli Butter

A couple of weeks ago we rescued our gas-fired barbecue from my parents house where it had been settling nicely into a moss covered wall. It had been there, unused, for 2 years; the insides and gone beyond putrefied (fossilised would be a better description) and the grate was fairly rusty.

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WWII BBQ found in the Ukraine….honest

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Salmon Quiche and Why I Don’t Give a Monkey’s Arse About Soggy Bottoms

For those intimately acquainted with the Great British Bake-Off, the term ‘soggy bottom’ will be familiar. For those who aren’t, let me explain. It doesn’t refer to an unpleasant incident following a night of drunken debauchery. It, in fact, refers to the status of the crust of your pastry-related creation.

A ‘good bake’ has a nicely cooked golden crust on the bottom, no translucency or greyness; it should be tap-able and a bit flakey (just like me). At this point I must digress.

On TV the ‘Great British Bake-Off’ is, apparently, going State-side. Soon you Americans will too enjoy the delights of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry critiquing Mississippi Mud Pie, Apple Pie and who knows what. And from recent comments made by Mr Hollywood (a Liverpudlian, and they don’t pull their punches) it isn’t going well.

Because, he says, when he provides some honest feedback (e.g. this tastes like something my dog threw up) the contestants start blubbing! They can’t take the negative feedback. But it’s something we are well used to in this Sceptred Isle – we’ve spent the last 100 years being told we’re crap.

As I said, I digress. Time for Salmon Quiche.

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Deconstructed Fish Pie

I was watching ‘Masterchef, The Professionals, The Best Bits’ (they really do love dragging the maximum televisual delight out of food programmes don’t they) and there was a discussion about ‘food smears’.

Chef Michel Roux Jr (the skeletal Michelin star chef who obviously has eating issues and mad staring eyes) made an unsavoury (sic) comparison between one poor cook’s chocolate-smeared plate and something else which I won’t mention because I’m British.

However he was making a serious point about presentation. And all this about 10 mins before I was going to hit the pots and pans and make a fish pie. Fish pies are nice enough to eat but from a visual perspective can be a bit bland I think – the contents often end up looking like the insides of the android ‘Ash’ played by Ian Holm in Alien.

With that pleasant analogy in mind I decided to create a fish pie which didn’t deteriorate into a homgeneous gloop once cooked.

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Bowie is everywhere these days…

And that required the construction of a Deconstructed Fish Pie! The ingredients are the same as for a a standard fish pie – the difference is in the…well there isn’t any really but anyway…

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