Scribble

Found a scribbled note today, that said "black pudding with pear and blue cheese salad". Sounds intriguing, but could be over salty if not careful.

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Stilton and Pecan biscuits

From the ASDA freebie Christmas magazine, December 2006. Says 66 cals per biscuit, this amount makes 44 biscuits, should cost 6p each.

  • 225 gms plain flour
  • 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.25 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 125 gms butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 50 gms stilton, crumbled
  • 75 gms mature cheddar, grated
  • 75 gms pecans (or 44 whole or pieces of broken nuts)
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten – ed: – separately, you need them at different stages
  • coarse salt
  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4. Line 2 baking trays with paper.
  2. Sift flour, cayenne and mustard together.
  3. Add butter and rub in until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add cheeses, and 1 egg. Mix until it forms a dough. Knead lightly. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out between 2 sheets of clingfilm to a thickness of 5 mm. Cut into rounds. Put on baking trays.
  5. Brush with egg and put a pecan on each. Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire tray.

What a pants recipe. It probably works, but they could have told you to keep the eggs separate, if I see "2 medium eggs, lightly beaten", I beat together 2 eggs. Idiots. And I'm thinking that rolling out a cheese dough between 2 sheets of clingfilm, as thin as 5 mm, would not be as straightforward as they make it sound. It tells you 44 biscuits @ 5 mm thick, but not how big the rounds should be. They'd have to be pretty small to get 44 on to 2 baking trays, but then, do they tell you what size baking trays? No. If you're supposed to put a whole pecan on each of 44 biscuits, I think you might need more than 75 gms.

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The Most Pretentious Menu I’ve Seen Yet

Menu from a conference dinner (the venue has a maritime / naval warfare historical connection, which may explain some of the more florid bits)
 
Warm Mousseline of Sussex Chicken stuffed with Cave Matured Roquefort and Fresh Harvested Walnuts with a Sauce of Sorrel Hollandaise and Julienne of Russet Apples
 
A Ravioli in the Colours of the Kingdom of Naples filled with Scottish Lobster, Salmon and Ginger from the Windward Islands and topped with Deep Fried Leeks
 
Cannon of English Lamb stuffed with Wild Woodland Mushrooms and Truffles, imprisoned in a pastry cage with a Sauce of Wild Rowan Berries and a Plume of French Bar-le-Duc
Black Potatoes from the Ardennes
Bundles of Vegetables gathered fresh from the garden
 
A Miniature Gateau flavoured with Liquorice from the Spanish Maine concealing a heart of liquid fire glazed with Quince Jelly and served on Lapsang Creme Anglaise with Baby Pear finished with an arabesque of purest gold.
 
Glazed Normandy Brie with Wild Mulberries and Bath Oliver Biscuits
 
Coffee and Homemade Truffles
 
I had to look up Bar-Le-Duc, it's a French preserve named after a town in Lorraine, traditionally made with whole redcurrants which have had the seeds extracted by little old ladies using a goose quill. I would normally spell Spanish Main without the "e", but otherwise there were no spelling mistakes – too many capitals but consistently used. On the whole though – YUCK – over complicated, and generally a right mess. Apparently the dessert was a sponge with something like a malteser in the middle, which in turn had a brandy liqueur centre. It wasn't popular. And the Brie was glazed with a sugar topping, so two desserts.
 
One idea worth playing with might be the Lapsang custard with a poached pear, that could be an interesting combo. 

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Blue Cheese and Parsnip Puffs (Souffles)

I have to admit I still have never cooked a souffle. It always seemed too much faff, there's that whole "last moment" thing, and nowadays they're not on the approved list. But these looked very yummy, and, dammit, it's about time. From Good Housekeeping December 1999, serves 8 at 189 cals per serving.

 

  • 225 gms parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 50 gms butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 50 gms flour
  • 284 ml carton milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 50 gms Gruyere, grated
  • 75 gms blue cheese, crumbled – suggests Stilton or Dolcelatte

Boil parsnips til tender. Drain, dry well over low heat, and mash.

Lightly butter 8 150 ml ramekins and put on a baking sheet.

Melt the butter, stir in flour and mix til smooth. Take off heat and blend in milk, reheat to boil, stirring continuously. Cool a little, beat in the egg yolks, Gruyere and parsnip puree, season.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peak, fold into parsnip mixture with the blue cheese. Don't overdo it.

Fill the ramekins almost to the top, cook at Gas Mark 6 for 15 – 20 minutes until puffed up and brown. Serve immediately.

I'd pop them on a bigger plate with some bitter salad – chicory, rocket, watercress, or they'd be a bit rich by themselves. While they'd make a great starter, you couldn't have a cheeseboard really after, and they might be better as a main course for a smaller meal – lunch or supper, maybe with some crusty bread. Be careful with the salt because of the cheese.

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Special Sausage Rolls

If you're home-making sausage rolls for Christmas, why not use good quality sausagemeat, mixed up with lots of fresh parsley, toasted chopped walnuts and crumbled Stilton? 

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