Warm fillet of salmon gravadlax with rosti potato, cucumber noodles, beetroot and a dill mustard dressing

Monday, March 30, 2009
So much wonderful food in the last week, but all I have to show for it is this one dish. So busy with 87 people over 5 parties in 2 days there wasn't much time for photos. So no photo of the pigeon salad ("the pigeons are in the courtyard, they just need feathering and gutting.....") with celariac puree, black pudding, parsnip crisps and mustard vinaigrette, no photo of the pheasant au vin with pearl barley risotto, or the canapes (savoury and dessert), or the rack of lamb dish finished, or the white chocolate and blueberry cheesecake which I rather like. What we have here though is the salmon gravadlax for another new dish.
I've always loved warm smoked salmon - thinly sliced and warmed slightly under the grill it makes a great starter with a beurre blanc and a little salad. When I was looking at new menu ideas around new year I thought of using gravadlax instead.

Gravadlax was always a Saturday night job at Claridges - late after all the banquets had been sent. You had to hide the whole salmon fillets deep inside your fridge so the fish section wouldn't use them during their service, and then do it on Saturday night in case they came in early on Sunday to hunt them out. It takes a minimum of 2 days, preferably 3 to marinade, so if you had to wait till Monday you ran the risk of running out of time.

These were done on Thursday morning for Sunday night. Having done this so many times I never use quantities, but you start with orange and lemon zest and equal amounts of sugar and salt. If you have any caster sugar left from making candied orange or lemon zest this is ideal to use because it has extra flavour. To this you add a few juniper berries pounded in the pestle & mortar (or broken with the back of a knife), milled black pepper and chopped dill. Sprinkle this over the salmon and press it on. If you are slicing it thin, like smoked salmon you use skin on salmon which makes it easy to carve. Make a little nick in the skin so the marinade flavours go through the skin. Here I am using 150g fillets to serve it as a main course. You can also add vodka, cognac or gin which give you an extra flavour. Also beetroot to make the russian style gravadlax.

After this I put another tray on top, wrap it well so it doesn't get exposed to the air which would dry it out, then it is pressed (if you haven't any heavy weights you can use a saucepan full of water) at the bottom of the fridge - that way any juice that drips out doesn't go over anything else in the fridge. The pressing along with the salt helps remove some of the water content in the salmon which cures it.

2 or 3 days later you remove the marinade layer of salt, sugar, zest etc and sprinkle them with a small amount of fresh chopped dill to just coat the top, and you can bake them in the oven. Because it is cured you don't have to cook them all the way through.

Gill took these ones away to Hill House to cook for a hen party, while I was cooking pigeons, pheasants and lemon tart for a stag party at Park Hall near Kidderminster so I will get a photo of the finished dish this coming weekend when I re-create it at The Boathouse near Stratford-on-avon - watch this space.

Edit - Photo added above, taken rather hurriedly as Delia was rushing to take it to the table while it was hot - only right really.

Related posts:

Rack of lamb with aubergine and potato gratin and roast courgettes

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Looking for lamb dishes to move on from the saddle of lamb with pearl barley risotto, I kept coming accross recipes for moussaka. Moussaka we like, but how could you do it differently......

Roast aubergines layered up in the middle of pototo gratin. A thin layer of potato, a layer of aubuergine, another layer of potato, then repeat and top with a little grated cheese and bake - an hour - an hour & a half.

The other flavour you associate with moussaka is tomato and basil. The tomatoes came in the form of oven dried tomatoes and a little chopped basil stirred into the sauce just before serving.

For the lamb I really wanted to go for racks for a change. I always see them as I pick everything else up in the farm shop and roasted lamb cutlets where can you go wrong - everyone loves them.

The butcher at Home Farm saws through the chine bone but leaves it on. This is good as I can use it to make a stock for the sauce.

I just run along the bone to remove it.

Then, for deliveries, as this one was, it is sealed on the outside and placed on a potato trivet and rosemary which infuses the lamb as it roasts, and it just needs 25 - 30 minutes in the oven. After resting for 10 - 15 minutes you flash it back in the oven to give it another burst of heat (or under the grill) and cut between each bone giving 3 per portion.

Related posts:

Oven dried tomatoes
Top 5 steps for the best dauphinoise
Potato trivet
Other lamb dishes

Spring dinner party menu

Delivery sunday lunch

Monday, March 23, 2009
6 hour pot roast shoulder of lamb

Shoulder of lamb, like shin beef really is one of the most tastiest cuts - if cooked long enough. After cooking in red wine, carrots (no onions for this one as one guest had an onion allergy), rosemary from the garden for 6 hours it was soft and delicious. [Edit] The photo above is from a lunch I cooked and served a couple of weeks later. The one below was a delivery sunday lunch

Signed and sealed 8:30 on Saturday morning. As we were cooking for them later at Rectory Park I was able to finish the sauce (thickening, adding mint and capers) there in between serving the main course and dessert and later left everything in their fridge for them to heat the next day.
The butcher at Home Farm had left me the bones after boning the shoulders which I added the pan - to maximise the flavour. Another party which we delivered on the way to Rectory Park were having racks of lamb, and the chine bone from the racks made a great buffer down the side of the lamb shoulders (see above) to stop them sticking to the side of the tin while they cooked.

Shown above chilled and sliced for a frozen meal

Related Posts

Other sunday lunch posts
Whole roast lamb

Sunday roast in the Cotswolds


Roast and grilled vegetables


Irish potato pancakes for St. Patrick's Day and tapioca pudding with sticky toffee apples

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Faye Hatcher from BBC Radio Gloucestershire tucks in

BBC Radio Gloucesterhire ran a feature recently on frugal cooking and asked listeners to phone in with left over ingredients they had for someone to put them together to make something from them - which is where I came in.

The ingredients I had to work with were rather varied (thanks for that) - mash potato, red cabbage, watercress, apple crumble and tapioca pudding.

With St. Patricks day being today it seemed a good idea to look for something with an Irish theme. Potato pancakes bring together two staple ingredients abundant in Ireland in times gone by, as well as now - potatoes and flour. As mentioned on my Irish soda bread post, Irish flour is slightly different being much softer (a lower gluten content) which makes it ideal for the soda bread, and also potato pancakes.
You could have this as it is - if you want to cook frugally, vegetarian meals are the way forward, but also it's worth remembering not every meal needs to have meat or fish.


To go inside the potato pancakes I stopped off on my travels around the Cotswolds yesterday and picked some nettles. If you want to cook frugally, then one of the best places to start is to see what you can find growing in your garden, or out in the wild. Though in some cases you do need to ask the permission of the land owner.
With the warm spell we have been having for the last week the countryside is suddenly coming to life and the first nettles are just poking through. I picked mine near Stow in the Wold, but then later found some even better ones opposite the trout farm in Bibury when I stopped to pick up some smoked trout at the trout farm. Click here for some nettle tips I posted last year - you need to be careful where you pick them, wear gloves, and wash them well.

Cooking nettles

Tasting a bit like spinach or chard, nettles have a unique flavour - earthy & pungent, and once they are cooked the sting is destroyed. I have found the best way to cook them is to stir fry/ sauté them similar to the way you cook chinese leaf when making a stir-fry. This way they also don't take long to cook - maybe a minute or so - and the less you cook vegetables the more nutrients you save. Also when you sauté them some of the nettle leaves will brown slightly - that caramelisation gives you a wonderful flavour.

You can also steam them by putting them in a saucepan with a lid on. There should be enough water left on the leaves from washing them - but if not add a ladle or so of water just to make a little steam. They will cook this way in about 3 minutes. Then squeeze off excess water, season, maybe add a little butter and you can use as a vegetable in place of spinach or mixed in with spinach.

Potato pancakes

Similar to one version of Italian potato gnocci - these are made with mash potato and flour. 1/4 of the amount of flour to potato.
For these I used 1 lb (450g) mashed potato and 4 oz (110g) flour - which would feed 4 easily, or you could halve it for 2 people, or put the left over pancakes in the freezer, then they can be baked in the oven from frozen - around 20 minutes.
Once the nettles were cool I squeezed out the excess water (this would make the pancakes fall apart) then chopped them rounghly and added it to the potato mix with a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and some seasoning.

Then - a bit like making bread (which reminds me to try making nettle bread) you fold it in, then turn out your potato 'dough' to a floured surface and knead it for just a few turns till it's smooth - that takes no longer than 20 seconds. Then, like you're making scones, roll it out to about 5 - 10mm or 1/4 - 1/2 an inch and cut out potato pancakes with a cutter. I used the 7cm (about 3in) cutter I use for fondant potatoes.
These are fried in a little veg oil for a minute either side till golden.

Red cabbage

While you can make red cabbage coleslaw, or just plain boiled red cabbage, my favourite way is to braise it in red wine (a frugal way to use up the ends of bottles, or the wine you're friends brought which you don't know what to do with, or left over mulled wine), orange juice, a sprinkling of brown sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and a little butter. If you start it off with a lid on till it's soft, that creates steam which cooks it, then take the lid off so the liquid inside boils away. You can finish it with a squeeze of balsamic (a store cupboard essential). If you're adding orange juice at the beginning, leave the zest to mix in at the end - this will give you a great fresh orange flavour to your red cabbage.


The lady who phoned in the watercress suggestion has loads growing in the stream in her garden. Once it gets a hold, like mint it can go rampant, and you suddenly have a lot of watercress on your hands. One answer would be to either steam or sauté it as the nettles above and when cool freeze it in portion sizes which you can cook from frozen in the microwave or in a pan. You can also steam whole panfuls of watercress and puree it with a hand blender or food proccessor - add a little cream and you have a watercress puree - similar to this Richard Corrigan recipe for spinach puree. Such a puree goes really well with poultry and fish.

Watercress puree

The watercress puree I am making here is very simple - just what you need after a long day at work and not much time to spend in the kitchen. In the winter you want hearty gravies and cream sauces. As spring and summer arrives you want something lighter - dressings and vinaigrettes are a wonderful way of doing this - and there's so many flavours you can make just from your store cupboard or fridge.

I use my mini proccessor for this - if you don't have one of those you could use a hand blender, a pestle & mortar or just a chopping knife.
Add your watercress to the proccessor, add a ladle of olive oil over, a sprinkling of salt (no pepper needed as the watercress is strong), maybe a little chilli (a jar of ready chopped chilli is an essential fridge standby - it lasts for ages, and ends up much cheaper that always buying fresh ones). Then simply blitz it till it's pureed - 10 - 20 seconds.

Salad money saving tip

Watercress is also one of my top tips on my frugal food buying. Supermarkets must make so much money on those bags of ready prepped salad they sell - have you ever seen one recently for under 99p? You feel so virtuous when you buy salad - it makes a great healthy meal, but then you put it in the fridge for tomorrow, but tomorrow you feel like something different and the bag of half-used salad creeps to the back of the fridge, and a week later you end up throwing out a bag of smelly half composted salad.

Instead of the mixed salad go for watercress, rocket or baby spinach. These have 3 uses - you can have them as salad leaves one day, another day chopped up and added to mash potato or pasta sauce - like a herb, and another day they can be steamed and eaten as a vegetable. With these different uses, you are much more likely to use up the whole bag, so you save the waste.

Plating up

I went a bit restaurant-style with this - the red cabbage in the middle, 2 potato & nettle panakes on top and the watercress puree around.
To keep in with the St. Patrick's theme I also made another plate with a fillet of grilled Irish salmon. If you're being frugal here you could catch your own salmon. My grandmother's neighbour often went salmon fishing, and brought them back for his wife to cook - and it's so much better than farmed - real flavour. In the Cotswolds though, you could try it with trout. You can fish for trout at Donnington and Bibury trout farms - it's far cheaper than buying them, and if you enjoy fishing it's a great way to spend the day. They, along with Cockleford trout farm also sell their trout - either fresh or smoked at the farm or at local farmers markets.

Tapioca pudding with sticky toffee apples

Tapioca I do have to admit is something I have never cooked before, so it was really interesting to try for the first time. When I mentioned tapioca to my parents they both said "eww, frogspawn!". Tapioca was popular in school dinners in times gone by - it's great comfort food, a bit like rice pudding. Anything that's like rice pudding has to be good!

What is tapioca?

Tapioca comes from Cassava - which we know more these days for cassava crisps. It's basically a starch and for tapioca pudding you use pearl tapioca. I really had trouble tracking some down - it's not as popular these days as it was.

How to make tapioca pudding

Rinse the tapioca in a sieve. Soak for an hour in milk. Then bring to boil and simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring frequently to stop it sticking. When cooked add vanilla essence and sugar.

I used 1 pint milk, 100g tapioca, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

I have since also found this recipe which would be good to try with the rest of the tapioca.

Tapioca with apple

It was making the passionfuit panna cotta at the weekend that gave me the idea of doing the tapioca in a similar way.
I took some of the apple puree from the apple crumble and spooned that into the bottom of a few individual pudding tins - the sort you use for steamed puddings.
I was thinking of setting the tapioca with a little gelatine - like you do with the panna cotta, but in fact the tapioca is very starchy, so it really didn't need it. As it was rather too starchy I lightened it with a spoon of crème fraîche and a dash of water, then spooned it in to the tins on top of the apple puree. Then it just neeeded a little setting in the fridge (you could also flash them in the freezer for 10 minutes).
I turned these out on to the plate using the blow torch to release it (you can also put under running warm water) and spooned the toffee apples around.

Sticky toffee apples

This accompaniment was another couple of left overs - sticky toffee sauce from sticky toffee pudding at the weekend, and an excess apple (I'd ended up with one more than I needed) from the cider sauce to go with the pork tenderloin.
Last year on one of the rare times I visit my mum she made the main course, but hadn't thought of a dessert, so I looked around for what there was. There was a bunch of bananas going very overripe, so I made a quick toffee sauce - brown sugar, margarine (didn't have butter) and a little left over sherry (which she had won as a Christmas raffle prize), sliced the bananas and dropped them in till they were soft - a little like those foil parcels of baked bananas you put on the barbecue.

I cooked this apple in the same way, peeling it, coring it and cutting into slices, then dropping the slices into the warm toffee sauce till it was softened (cooked) - about 2 minutes on a low heat.
The rest of the apple crumble could made into granola - apple puree is one of the key items in granola as it binds all the dry ingredients together. Mix up the apple crumble with other store items - oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, spices - what ever you have really, and some rice syrup or golden syrup. There's a cranberry (crasin) version I cooked last month linked below.

Related posts:

What can I cook for St. Patrick's Day? - some Irish dishes I have cooked recently.

1001 Kitchen Tips #48 - Say 'NO!' to woody asparagus

Monday, March 16, 2009
Everyone loves Woody ("You're my favourite deputy"), not woody asparagus though.
The answer to this is to peel the ends, then chop the very base (where it turns from green/purple to white).

And the way to keep all the peelings together instead of covering your table, floor, shoes, and anything that happens to be on the work bench is a method we developed in the Claridges larder where we counted asparagus by the thousand (the most I remember preparing in one day was around 4,000 - but we had everyone on it that day).

Meanwhile, back in the asparagus factory yesterday, firstly the 'leaves' were removed on the middle 2/3 of the stem (cosmetic appearances - it looks better when cooked). Then you rest the base of the stem on a box/ bowl in the middle of a deep baking tray and peel the bottom 1/3 of the asparagus stem - this removes the fibrous/ woody part. The peelings are collected in the tray as you go along, keeping things neat, tidy and fast, and then added to your compost bin.
Related posts

Grilled asparagus with tiger prawns and oyster sauce dressing
Asparagus with salmon provencal
Grilled Evesham asparagus with scallop and tiger prawn fricasse
Grilled asparagus with parmesan
Asparagus canapé
Asparagus and hommous on baked new potato

Passionfruit panna cotta with pistachio tuile

Sunday, March 15, 2009
As served at Wellacres last night (Though this isn't the same one - didn't have the camera.....)

Cooked cream, or Panna Cotta (the Italian sounds better) has to be on the top 10 of everyone's favourite desserts. Previous incarnations have featured caramelised figs and vanilla poached plums. When I was looking at new spring menu ideas, I noted from Eat The Seasons website, passionfruit would still be in season - ideal for a passionfruit panna cotta.

While I rarely use recipes for savoury cooking, for anything pastry/ baking/ dessertwise I mostly do - they're more scientific, and if you get the measurements slightly wrong things can collapse, not rise, or come out in odd shapes. Panna cotta is the exception though.

How much gelatine do I use for panna cotta?

A sachet of gelatine sets a pint (c. 570 ml), and it's a mix of milk, cream, caster sugar and vanilla bean. If it's a warm summer's day (you can wish) and the fridge isn't keeping very cool one sachet for a pint is a good idea so it sets. The rest of the time, if you like your panna cotta softer - more like crème brûlée - use less. This time I used 2 sachets for 3 pints (1.7 litres) and it worked ideally. That made 15. If you use leaf gelatine this will be even easier to measure - 6 leaves of gelatine sets one pint firm, so in this case it would be 4 leaves to a pint for a 'creamy panna cotta' set.

Waiter, there's something in my..... panna cotta

As I was browsing various presentations on google images I came accross this passionfruit panna cotta posted by Johanna at The Passionate Cook.

This gave me the ideal base

I didn't follow her (or effing Gordon's) recipe for the top though. Instead of the normal vanilla panna cotta, I made a passionfuit flavoured version - a mixture of milk, cream, caster sugar and passionfruit coulis till it tasted right. At a guess it was 1/2 milk, 1/4 cream and 1/4 passionfruit coulis and sugar to taste. It totalled 3 pints to which, as I mentioned above, when warm I added 2 sachets of gelatine. Then - as I found out - you have to wait for the mix to cool down before you ladle it on top of the passionfuit jelly - if it's still warm it melts the jelly and the seeds float into the panna cotta mix and you've lost your two tone effect.

Set in the fridge. To de-mould either use your blow torch or them run them under hot water - just remember to catch them....

Pistachio tuile

The pistachio tuiles I made in between serving the children and the adults was the same tuile mix as for the tuile basket, but using a different shaped stencil and with chopped pistachio sprinkled on top. As you take each one out of the oven fold them over the side of the table and use a mug or other weight to hold them in position while they cool. Remember though - if folding over your worktop, just don't open the drawer while they are still there (it all happened yesterday I can tell you!).
You can also make the tuiles a couple of days in advance and keep them in a airtight container.

This has been bookmarked for anyone else who wants to try it on the virtual recipe drawer that is Bookmarked Recipes - your one-stop shop for tried and tested recipes from the food blogger community updated every Monday.

Related posts

Previous bookmarked recipes

What can I cook for St. Patrick's Day?

Thursday, March 12, 2009
As Joelen reminded me on Bookmarked Recipes, next Tuesday (17th March) is St. Patrick's Day. Ireland's patron saint. The day the world turns black. With a creamy head.

Here's some Irish recipes I've cooked recently:

Irish soda bread
Irish stew with dumplings
Baileys ice cream and Baileys bread and butter pudding

You'll have to wait for the irish potato pancakes - they're coming on Tuesday when I cook them for BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

Baileys Ice cream

Saturday, March 07, 2009
Baileys on ice** is one thing, Iced Baileys is another.
Looking through some new menus ideas at the begining of January I came accross this recipe for Baileys cream pots. It reminded me I had been asked to make Baileys ice cream once by a friend as a birthday present, and how well it went down. That was just too long a time ago - a revival was well overdue.

As with all the ice cream I ever seem to make, it doesn't last long - the next time you go back to it the pot's always empty. I advise a padlock on your freezer if you ever want to get a look in.

Baileys bread and butter pudding as served at the Boathouse near Stratford on Avon
This recipe has been bookmarked for anyone else who wants to try it on the virtual recipe drawer that is Bookmarked Recipes - your one-stop shop for tried and tested recipes from the food blogger community updated every Monday.

If it's an ice cream recipe you want the first place to turn to is 'Ices - The Definitive Guide' by Caroline Liddell & Robin Weir. It's the book I got at the same time as my first ice cream machine when I was 15, and it still holds so many things I want to get round to making.

Like the crème fraîche ice cream recipe I use it's not anglaise based, though you could also try doing that if you want to use less sugar.


500ml Whipping or double dream
500ml Milk
200g Caster sugar
125ml Baileys (But I doubled that to get a decent flavour - and it still freezes)

Heat these ingredients in a pan, stirring occasionally till the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool, then cover and chill in fridge till it's fridge cold. Then churn in your ice cream machine for 20 minutes, or still freeze. Transfer to a container and freeze.

Because of the alcohol content it does need freezing for at least 4 hours or overnight before it's firm enough to eat - it won't be firm enough straight from the ice cream machine. They also advise not adding more Baileys than they put, or it won't freeze, but I haven't found this to be the case - my hand always seem to 'slip'. If it comes out very solid allow 5 - 10 minutes out of the freezer for it to soften.

How do you serve ice cream for a large number of guests at the same time? - See an earlier tip here.

Serve on it's own (as above), for Baileys lovers with a extra helping drizzled on top. Or you could accompany it with Baileys bread and butter pudding (or is that the other way round?)

You can also make your own cream based liquor. You won't achieve the same flavour, but it's worth a try every so often......
How do I make ice cream if I don't have an ice cream machine?
Still freezing. There's directions about 2/3 of the way down here.

Buying an ice cream machine

These are the two I have:

This smaller one I was given as a Christmas present when I was 14 - a great starter model. I still remember the first ice cream I made in it - orange. The difference in flavour was so amazing - just tasted like fresh oranges - not exactly what you can say about supermarket varieties. Rhubarb crumble and custard ice cream was another good one, and pea and mint sorbet was also memorable, as was the cherry and cherry wine ice cream when the local cherry trees were in fruit. Lasted a good 20 years as well (and that's with some serious amount of use!) Great for small scale domestic use.

This larger ice cream machine is the one I have now. Because of the amounts of ice cream I have to make now I needed something bigger and faster. This machine has a built in freezer unit so it freezes the ice cream while it churns. I've found you get a much better result than the old one (smoother and lighter) - it's all to do with the science of ice crystals. You can also do much larger quantities - you just have to wait for a few minutes for it to cool down and then you can go again, whereas the smaller version you have to freeze the bowl overnight before you can use it.
The first thing I made in it was orange sorbet which got great reviews that night we served it!

Related posts

Ice cream tip
Vegan ice cream
Crème fraîche ice cream
Orange sorbet
Pina colada ice cream

** That's Baileys on ice - not to be confused with Dancing on Ice.

Nicoise vegetable tart

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
An old family ratatouille recipe bound with liason (1 pint cream & 3 - 4 eggs - or scaled down for small amounts) and a sprinkling of fresh thyme.

Underneath - since you ask - are oven dried tomatoes - see link below. And it's olive oil and balsamic.


How do you stop your pastry from shrinking when you blind bake the case?

I cut the pastry much larger that I need so there's a large overhang as shown here. You put your weight inside (baking beans or flour), then take it out when it's half done, brush the inside with beaten egg to cover any holes (see link below) and make the base firmer, then finish baking.

When it is cooked, take it out of the oven and trim the edges to the top of the case. You have to be careful when doing this or the side can crack - use a small sharp (not serrated) knife, almost flat against the rim of the pastry case tin. I start at the heel of the knife, and run it through to the tip turning the tart tin as I go - one long knife stroke. Do it while the pastry is still hot (use a t-towel) so it's pliable.

Related posts

1001 Kitchen tips #39 - Oven dried tomatoes


1001 Kitchen tips #47 - How do I reduce the fat content of a meat dish or gravy?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Everyone knows that along with red meat comes a certain amount of fat. Some fat is good for you - it contains fat soluble vitamins, but we also know the effects of too much saturated fat.

  • You can use a fat seperator jug - as the fat settles to the top this enables you to pour the gravy from the bottom, thus leaving the fat in the jug.
  • You can use a piece of kitchen paper - if you drop this on the surface on the sauce it will soak up the fat. You can keep doing this till the fat is removed. More ideal for small scale home use. You can also use a slice of stale bread for this.
  • You can skim the sauce/ stock with a small ladle while it's boiling. Swirl the base of the ladle in the top of the sauce and the fat moves to the side of the pan where you can remove it more easily.
  • You can remove the fat from your sauce by chilling it and - as shown below - the fat will rise to the top and solidify. This makes it easy to remove - either with a skimmer (a wonderful tool) or by pouring through a sieve.

Fat removed from lamb and apricot casserole

Don't throw the fat away though, you can use it to make fat balls - the birds in your garden will love you for ever.

Related posts:

1001 Kitchen tips
Lamb and apricot casserole
Make you own mince

Vegan chocolate tart with vegan ice cream

Monday, March 02, 2009
Vegetarians and vegans I feel always get the short end of the stick in restaurants. What I like about the way I work is I know dietary requirements in advance, so I can plan things so everyone can have the same meal - if that is what they want of course.

When it came to the chocolate tart dessert I served at Littleton Manor on Saturday, it was just a matter of altering the recipes a little. For the pastry base I swapped butter and lard combination I normally use for pure soya margarine. I made 2, just in case of breakages, in round tins, rather than the fluted tins I normally used so they wouldn't get mixed up in transit.

For the chocolate filling I found this recipe (I liked it because unlike the other vegan recipes I looked at it didn't contain tofu). For the ice cream, I looked at so many recipes, until I realised I could adapt my normal crème fraîche ice cream recipe - swapping crème fraîche for soy yogurt, and the normal milk for soy milk. And
the result was pretty impressive.

Related posts:

1001 Kitchen tips #4 - A hole in none - How to get rid of the holes in your pastry cases
1001 Kitchen tips #46 - Which one is no dairy/ vegan/ no nuts etc

1001 Kitchen tips #46 - Which one is non-dairy/ vegan/ no nuts etc.

With such a busy Saturday with food going to so many different places I knew mixing up the normal chocolate tarts and the one no dairy version would be easy to do. Mistakes like this after you have worked so hard to make everything perfect are the worst.
So to make sure it didn't happen, I made the one no dairy choclate tart in a round tin, and the others in my normal fluted tins - that way, there was no mistaking it.