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Cod with chorizo crust

This is a lovely earthy dish with vibrant colours. There's a great contrast in the crisp firey chorizo crust and the rich sauce. It makes a great dinner party dish and most of the dish can be prepped in advance so all you need to do is cook the cod just before you serve.


70g chorizo thinly sliced
100g breadcrumbs
2 200g portions of cod fillet
Salt and pepper

Process the chorizo and breadcrumbs in a food processor until smooth
Place on a sheet of baking parchment and roll out flat
Place in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up
Cut the chorizo crust into slices that match the size of your cod fillet
Season the cod with the salt and pepper and place the crust on top of the cod
Place the cod in a pan, chorizo crust up
Transfer the cod to a medium grill and grill for a further 5 minutes until the crust starts to crisp up

1 shallot finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
4 fresh tomatoes peeled and roughly chopped
10ml oil for frying
10g freshly chopped coriander
2g sugar
1g celery salt
30ml red wine
5g tomato puree
Pepper to season

Fry off the shallot and garlic in the oil on a low heat until soft
Stir through the tomato puree and add the wine
Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes
Season to taste with the celery salt, sugar and pepper and garnish with the coriander

Asparagus Tikka

There's been a lot of vegetable recipes on the site recently, not because I've resorted to vegetarianism, just simply because there is some great seasonal veg available this time of year. This recipe came about when I was cooking chicken tikka on the bbq and had some leftover marinade so used it on the accompanying asparagus. The marinade works really well with white asparagus as it has a natural sweetness, green not so well. The marinade will also pair nicely with cauliflower.

10 white asparagus spears peeled

For the tikka marinade
2g coriander seeds
10g cumin seeds
15g tomato puree
5g garam masala
2g chilli flakes
10g sweet paprika powder
Juice 1 lemon
10g grated red onion
10g fresh ginger grated
2 cloves garlic grated
5g salt
100ml yoghurt

Roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat for 5 mins
Once roasted, grind in a mortar and pestle
Mix the rest of the ingredients together to form a thick paste

To cook the asparagus
Coat the asparagus spears well in the marinade and allow to sit for 15 minutes
Set your BBQ up for direct cooking at 220c
Cook the spears for 3-6 minutes (this depends on the thickness of the spears) ensuring you get a nice char
The spears are cooked when a knife pierces the spear easily






Chilli and almond chocolate fudge

Chilli and chocolate, they do work well together. The trick is to add just enough chilli so you get the flavour and the back note of heat, rather than something that knocks out your taste buds. It accentuates the flavour of the chocolate and almonds. It's also good to use dried chillies such as ancho as it has a slight sweet flavour and just enough heat that it doesn't overpower the chocolate. 

220g 54% chocolate beads
200ml condensed milk
10ml vanilla extract
2g/Half teaspoon chilli powder
60g roughly chopped almonds
Pinch of sea salt
Icing sugar for dusting

Place the chocolate and condensed milk in a bowl
Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted through
Take the bowl off the heat
Add the vanilla, salt, chilli and almonds and stir through
Pour into a tin lined with greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for 4 hours until set
Slice into small cubes and dust with icing sugar

If you want to try something different you can try sea salt and pistachio using the same method as above, only omit the chilli
60g chopped pistachios and 10g sea salt crystals, when putting in the sea salt I add it just at the end and then stir though and pour into the tin

Strawberry, balsamic and black pepper sorbet

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a great combination, the hint of black pepper gives a nice heat and edge to the dish. With strawberry season kicking off, this should be a good start. 

When making this I tested out 4 different types of balsamic as I was looking for one that had a good hint of sweetness and not too much acidity. I also reduced the vinegar to take some of the acidic notes out of it but not too much, so that it is there as a tangy hint. The testing continues with the Magimix Gelato Expert and I'm finding it very easy to knock out recipes like this. If you exclude the marinating time, the sorbet was ready in 20 minutes. 

300g strawberries stalks removed
100ml sweet balsamic vinegar
2 grams freshly ground black pepper
100ml sugar syrup

Pour the balsamic into a pan and on a high heat reduce by half, remove to one side to cool
Puree the strawberries in a blender
Push the puree through a sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds
Add the balsamic, the sugar syrup and pepper to the strawberries and stir to combine
Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours to allow the flavours to develop
Get your ice cream maker ready and set to sorbet
Once churned serve immediately, the flavours tend to be better straight out of the machine


Wild garlic cannelloni with a basil and ricotta filling

The first time I had proper cannelloni was at Vasco and Pieros pavilion restaurant in London, an age old Soho stalwart. It was 20 years ago and the memory of the dish still stays with me, the cannelloni I had was a simple spinach and ricotta dish. I wanted to do a seasonal tribute with wild garlic and went a step further and made the pasta with it. 

Pasta
250g tipo 00 flour
50g pureed wild garlic leaves (ensure you squeeze out any excess moisture)
2 eggs

Whizz all the ingredients up in a food processor until they come together in a dough
Roll into a ball and cover with cling film
Place in the fridge to rest for an hour

Ricotta filling
1 egg beaten
300g ricotta
20 basil leaves finely chopped
100g grana padano finely grated
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients bar the salt and pepper together
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Tomato sauce
1 tin chopped tomatoes
50ml red wine
2 shallots finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
50ml olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry off the shallots and garlic in the oil on a low heat until soft and glossy
Add the tomatoes and wine and turn the heat up high for 1-2 minutes
Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Place to one side to cool 

To make the cannelloni
Roll the pasta out relatively thinly
Cut into 6 inch sheets, you want about 10
On the narrow end of each sheet place a dollop of the filling so it goes end to end
Start to roll up the sheet gently so as not to cause the filling to come out
Place in a baking dish
Repeat the process until all cannelloni are finished
Top with the tomato sauce and ensure the canneloni are covered well 
I also like to add some mozzarella to the topping as well, just tear and dot all over

To cook
My preference is to cook this on the BBQ
Set the BBQ up for indirect cooking at 190c and cook for 40 minutes

For oven cooking cook at 180c (fan) 190c (normal) for 40 minutes

Chargrilled chicken Caesar salad

Chicken Caesar salad is a household favourite. I would normally make this with leftover roast chicken but sometimes I like to do things a little differently and grill it all on the BBQ, bread, chicken and the lettuce! The best lettuces to use are either romaine, baby gem or cos lettuce as they have a good solid texture and the flavour improves with grilling. For the bread, I go with a focaccia or sourdough, sliced thinly enough so it can be toasted through without burning. In the dressing I like to use rapeseed oil, it gives it a wonderful flavour and colour.



This recipe serves 2

2 chicken thighs 
1 head baby gem, cos or romaine lettuce halved
Salt and pepper to season
1 tin anchovies in oil
10g parmesam shavings to garnish

Croutons

2 slices of sour dough or focaccia bread
10ml olive oil to drizzle

Drizzle the bread with oil and place on the bbq on indirect heat about 200c and cook each side quickly for 1 minute until crisp
Allow to cool and then slice into croutons

To cook the chicken and lettuce
Set your BBQ for cooking on direct heat at 200c
Flatten the thighs with a rolling pin so that they are evenly sized, it makes it easier and quicker to cook
Season the chicken with salt and pepper
Place the thighs on the BBQ and cook for 4 minutes each side
Place the lettuce on the griddle and cook for 1 minute each side until you have a light char

Dressing
1 anchovy finely chopped
1 small clove garlic grated
1 egg yolk
10ml cider vinegar
150ml rapeseed oil 
5g dried mixed herbs
30g freshly grated parmesan 
5ml lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a mortar and pestle or with the flat blade of a knife crush the garlic and anchovy together until they resemble a paste
Place the garlic and anchovy paste in a bowl with the egg yolk and cider vinegar and stir together well with a whisk
Start to add the oil slowly whilst whisking until the mixture starts to thicken like a mayonnaise
Add the herbs, grated parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir through
Leave to one side to allow the herbs to infuse

To assemble the salad

Slice the chicken thighs into thin strips
Similarly slice the lettuce into strips
Arrange on a plate with the anchovy fillets and decorate with the parmesan shavings and croutons
Garnish with the dressing




Butter popcorn Ice cream

This is one of the first ice cream recipes I decided to try out in the Magimix Gelato Expert. I wanted to start with a traditional custard base to see how it fared in the machine. There are 4 different bases for ice cream custard, mousse, meringue and all in one. This is a lengthy article, I've tried to give as much information on getting the best out of your ice cream. If you're just looking for the recipe you can skip to the end. 

Custard is a traditional cream base good for flavours such as vanilla and chocolate. 
Mousse bases are more commonly known as parfait and is a combination of hot sugar poured into egg yolks and whisked and then folded into cream, this is great for fruits and strong flavours. 
Meringue base is hot sugar syrup added to egg whites and then folded into whipped cream, again this base is good for fruits. Both the mousse and meringue bases do not need to be churned and can simply be poured into a container and frozen,
All in one is used for ice creams with coconut milk, yoghurt or mascarpone you can simply add the fruit puree or flavour and then churn.

When making ice creams do take the following into consideration. When flavouring, always over flavour, add a little extra of the base flavour or sugar as the freezing process will dull the flavour a little. Adding alcohol will lower the freezing point, so the ice cream may not freeze as well when making it, aim for 10% of the overall volume when using it. Sugar also lowers the freezing point so take care when using it in a recipe, too much sugar will result in the ice cream freezing into a solid block. I tend to use a 1:1 mixture of milk and cream for the custard bases, all cream and it is very heavy and dense, so the milk and cream base gives you a lighter ice cream with a smooth texture.  

If using fruit purees, try and use the freshest, ripest fruits (if using bananas, let them go black as they will be at their sweetest) as they will have a good strong sweet flavour and not require any extra enhancements. Also note that some ice creams will double in volume when being churned so always use half the volume of the bowl in your ice cream maker. Make your ice cream base at least 24 hours before you need it to allow the flavours to intensify and ensure they are cold before adding to the machine.  
Salt and lemon juice can both be used in small quantities as flavour enhancers in your base recipe.

4 egg yolks
90g sugar
300ml cream
300ml full fat milk
50g popcorn kernels
10ml oil
30g salted butter

Start by making the custard base
Heat the cream and milk until just before boiling point and turn off the heat
Whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy
Pour the cream and milk slowly into the sugar and egg yolk mix whisking as you do
Pour the mix back into the pan and continue to whisk slowly on a low heat until it reaches 70c, keep it at 70c for at least 5 minutes which will pasteurise the custard

Next make the popcorn
Place the oil and butter in a sauce pan on a low heat until the butter starts to melt
Add the popcorn kernels and turn up the heat to high put a lid on the pan
Continue to heat until the corn starts popping
Turn the heat down low and shake the pan to allow for even popping
Once the kernels have stopped popping allow to cool before adding to the custard base
Place the custard and popcorn mix in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to infuse

To finish the ice cream
Turn the ice cream maker on for at least 5 minutes before using
Pour 35ml of the saline solution or neutral alcohol solution into the main bowl before placing the removable bowl in, fix in the paddle
Next strain the custard into a jug using a fine mesh sieve
Turn on the ice cream function and pour in the infused custard
The mixture will take about 35 minutes to churn