Monday, 25 April 2011

Cherry clafoutis

For me there is only one thing to do when cherries are first in season and that is to make a clafoutis.
I think if I was honest I would have to say that cherries are my favourite fruit, there is something 'knacky' about them.  It is when you bite into them, they sort of 'knack' as they break open in the mouth, just like those german sausages, called knackwurst, whose skin cracks open when bitten.

Unfortunately they are also the favourite fruit of the birds, so it is a constant race to see who can be the first to get to the ripe fruit.

But my biggest culprit though  is my 40 kg labrador, Toby.  Never to miss out on an opportunity, he soon found out that if he climbed onto the walls by the tree, he could eat them straight off the tree!

First pick cherries and collect the eggs

Clafoutis aux cerises


100g flour
80g caster sugar
1/2 liter milk
5 eggs
few drops of vanilla essence
700g of cherries
pinch of salt
butter for greasing dish

How to go about it

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and mix in the eggs.  Then slowly mix in the milk, add vanilla.  Butter a dish and put in the cherries, I leave mine unstoned but that is a matter of choice, and then pour the batter over them.  Cook in a preheated oven at 210° for 35 - 40 minutes.  Sprinkle with caster sugar.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Broad bean, pea and artichoke orzo

When I look at this selection of vegetables I automatically think of 'Risi e Bisi' but I have no risotto rice or even bomba (Spanish paella rice).  I could make a 'Vignole' but I had that last night with black pudding.  I have a couple of artichokes in the fridge, a courgette and half a tin of anchovies.  I search through the cupboard and come across a packet of orzo.  A pasta that resembles barley, which is what its name means in Italian.  I ponder for a moment on how to go about it, I don't want a glutenous mush at the end , yes it is possible to cook it in the same way as a risotto.  So in the selection of vegetables I have the following

handful each of rocket, spinach, broad beans and peas 
sprig each of fresh parsley, rosemary and mint. 
2-3 fresh, green garlic,chopped
wild asaparagus, chopped
2-3 artichokes, prepared and cut into small pieces
1 courgette, finely sliced
olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
2 dried cayenne peppers
1 onion, finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
300 g orzo

Firstly, make a vegetable stock from all of the vegetable trimmings, strain and have at a simmer at the side of frying pan for cooking the pasta.  Gentle fry onions in olive oil, when they are soft add artichokes and courgettes and continue cooking for 5 minutes, pour in lemon juice.  Add garlic, anchovies and dried chillies, fry for 2 minutes then add pasta.  Gentle fry pasta for a few minutes until it is coated in oil and starts to take colour, add laddlefuls of stock little by little with a pinch of salt.  Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the broad beans, peas, rocket, spinach and aparagus, add another laddle or two of stock, stir in parmasan, turn of  heat and cover with a tea towel for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Cauliflower glut, only one thing to do - is make Piccalilli!

 This is the best recipe I have seen for piccalilli, I can't wait to try it.  The colour and scent of the mixture is intoxicating and could not resist trying a bit of the sauce, delicious.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Green almond salad

I think after the winter everyone is longing for a bit of sun and fresh food.  Long gone are the heavy dishes of winter.

Whole green almonds, before their hard shells are formed, sometime between the third week of April to the second week of May are just right for this citrus salad.  You have to time it right or you can be too early or too late.  It is crunchy, the interior is still soft and has a slightly sharp taste.  Perfect for this salad

I made it with rocket but that is what I had in the garden but it could go with other types of lettuces

fresh peas
1 orange
1 lemon
4 whole green almonds

wash rocket, shell peas, remove peel and pith from orange and lemon and thinly slice them along with the almonds and arrange all on a plate

make a dressing with the juice of a lemon, teaspoon of honey, sprig of mint, chopped and olive oil

drizzle over the salad and season with fleur de sel