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Friday, 13 June 2014

Cod "Scotch" Eggs

Normally we expect a Scotch egg to have a boiled egg in the centre wrapped in pork sausage meat and fried with golden breadcrumbs on the outside - well these are a little different whilst still following the same principle.

At the heart of these is a boiled quail egg and the casing is beautiful fresh cod and then they are breadcrumbed and fried.  I like to serve them as a tapa with a home made relish of beetroot, radish and wholegrain mustard.

Here's how;

To make 8 -10 you will need;
350g fresh cod fillet skinned and pin-boned
200ml fresh milk
2-3 potatoes mashed
8-10 quail eggs
20g butter
salt, pepper, chopped parsley

Start by poaching your cod fillet gently in milk until the cod is just cooked and starting to flake.

At the same time boil your potatoes until soft and ready for mashing.

Remove the cod from the milk and flake it into a separate bowl.

Once the potatoes are cooked mash them with the butter and enough of the milk to make a nice creamy consistency mash.

Add some seasoning to the cod and spoon in some mash a little at a time.  The aim is to bind the cod not make mash potato with cod.

Bring a pan of water to the boil.  Once boiling add your quail eggs.  Boil for 3 minutes NO MORE! Ideally 2 minutes 45 seconds.
As soon as the time has passed put the eggs in a new bowl of cold water with some ice and a few drops of wine vinegar and peel the shells.  I normally ask my wife to peel the eggs as her hands are smaller and more nimble than mine!!

In one hand scoop a little of the cod mixture, with the other roll an egg in some flour and place in the middle of the cod mixture.  Now wrap the cod mixture round the egg and roll between your hands to make a ball ensuring that you have an even covering all the way round the egg.  Repeat the process for the remaining eggs.

To breadcrumb the scotch eggs - first roll in flour then in some eggwash and finally breadcrumbs. Deep fry for about 4 minutes at 180C until golden brown.

For the relish - grate 1 cooked beetroot, grate 5-6 salad radishes and stir in 1 teaspoonful of wholegrain mustard.  Add a little salt & pepper, stir well and serve.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Chicken Tournedos

A chicken tournedos served on a bed of home made pate with fondant potatoes and a mushroom and pistachio sauce.

We call it a tournedos purely because of its shape and resemblance to the more famous beef tournedos.

To make 4 portions here's what you're going to need;
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
25g butter
double cream
seasoning (salt, pepper, herbs such as sage, tarragon or thyme)

Lay each chicken breast flat on a board one at a time.  Slicing horizontally trim off the excess meat so that you are left with a breast of even thickness all the way along.  Now place the 4 breasts next to each other "top to toe" ideally on a large piece of clingfilm (this will help make the rolling process a lot easier). Any obvious gaps can be filled in with a little of the meat that you have trimmed off.

In a processor with a metal blade put the trimmed off chicken with the butter, some seasoning and a good splash of the cream.  There are several herbs that go very well with chicken - I like to use some fresh sage or thyme straight from the garden.  The idea is to blitz this to form a mousse-like chicken filling, so don't be afraid to add more cream to achieve the required consistency.

Once your chicken mousse is made you can spread it over the inside of the chicken breasts.  A nice even layer 3-5 mm thick.
Here comes the slightly tricky part - you now need to roll the whole lot together to make a cylinder.  If you laid your chicken out on cling film this will be a lot easier as you can hold both ends of the cling film and gradually roll the chicken together.
Once you have a nice cylinder shape tighten the cling film pushing out any air and leave in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

To Cook
Carefully using a sharp knife cut your chicken cylinder into 4 even steaks.
Before cooking remove the cling film - obviously!
I like to start cooking mine in a hot skillet pan (steak pan) to seal the ends of the tournedos.  It also adds a nice criss cross pattern to the ends.  Don't leave in the skillet for too long as you will end up burning the ends.  With your oven heated to 200C place the chicken on a roasting tray and stick in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes.  The cooking time will vary depending on the size and density of the mousse inside.  Ideally use a temperature probe to check your chicken is cooked - once you hit 72C in the middle you're cooked.

To Serve
The choices are endless.  Try serving it like a tournedos rossini with a crouton, pate and red wine sauce. Pepper sauce works well.  A simple white wine and cream sauce with a few mushrooms is perfect.
I have served it here with a sweet white wine, mushrooms, chicken stock, pistachio butter and cream as a sauce - once i have added that sauce to the blog I will put a link here.