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Friday, 14 February 2014

Salmon en Croute

Fresh salmon fillet and salmon mousse wrapped in home made pastry, roasted and served with a white wine & mushroom cream sauce - delicious!

Here's what  you need for 2 portions;
2 salmon fillets (skinned & pin boned) approx 180g each plus an extra piece if making salmon mousse
1 quantity short crust pastry click here for recipe
For the sauce;
2-3 button mushrooms sliced
50ml white wine
50ml double cream

Start by  making the pastry and leave in the fridge to rest.  This recipe can be made with puff pastry but I prefer short crust.  It is quicker to make and has a lower fat content.

Now for the mousse.  A thin layer of mousse under the salmon helps to absorb some of the juice that the salmon releases when cooking.  Without the mousse there is a danger that your pastry will go soggy!  To make the mousse take about 100g raw salmon, 50ml double cream, pinch of tarragon and salt & pepper to season.  Put the whole lot in  a food processor and blitz to form a smooth  mousse.

Pre heat the oven to 180C.  Cut the pastry in half and roll out both pieces.  Each piece should be big enough to wrap around the salmon with only a small overlap at the top and about 3-4mm thick.  In the centre of each piece spread a little mousse and place the salmon fillet on top, bring the pastry up and join in the middle, seal the ends and trim off any excess.  For a beautiful finish egg wash the pastry before putting in the oven.

Cook for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.  While the salmon is cooking make the sauce.  Fry off the mushrooms in a little butter, add the wine, bring to the boil and allow to cook for 2 minutes, add the cream, a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and then simmer until a rich sauce consistency is achieved.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Steak & Kidney Pie

A great steak and kidney pie for a cold winter's evening.  Tender chunks of meat in a rich gravy and home made shortcrust pastry.

Let's get started.  To make 4 individual pies you will need approx 750g cubed steak, 250g ox kidney cut into pieces (your butcher may well do a steak & kidney mix), 1 onion diced, clove garlic, bay leaves & herbs, a spoon of flour, a glass of wine or beer and water.

You will also need 1 quantity of shortcrust pastry.  Follow the link here for my recipe or, if you prefer, shop bought frozen pastry is ok. Shortcrust Pastry

Start by browning the meat in a saucepan deep enough to hold all the ingredients.  Now add the onion and garlic and continue to cook.  Once the meat is browning and the onion is mixed in add a spoonful of flour and stir in.  At this stage I like to throw in a glass of red wine or beer and allow to cook out a little.  You will notice that the flour will start thickening the sauce, now add enough water to just cover the meat and bring to the boil.  Once boiled turn down the heat, season with the herbs, salt and pepper and leave to simmer covered for about 1 hour.

After an hour remove the lid, the sauce should have thickened a little but will continue to thicken without the lid, check the flavour and that the meat is tender.  At this stage you can allow the mix to cool and keep for another day.  Alternatively, roll out your pastry, line the pie dishes, fill with the steak & kidney and cook the pie in a pre-heated oven at 180C.  Egg wash the top of the pie to add a lovely shine to it.

Shortcrust Pastry

220g plain flour
55g butter straight from the fridge
55g margarine straight from the fridge
1 egg
pinch of salt

Put the flour and salt in a bowl, cube the butter and along with the margarine add to the flour.  Using your fingertips rub the butter & marg into the flour so that the texture resembles bread crumbs.  Make a well in the centre and crack the egg into it.  Again using fingertips mix the flour into the egg until the whole lot comes together as a ball.  Wrap in clingfilm and fridge for 20 minutes before using.

There are many variations on shortcrust depending how rich you like it.  For example, use all butter, replace the margarine with lard, instead of an egg use cold water.  The basic rule is half fat to flour and add enough liquid to bind.