Thursday, 21 May 2009

Fresh Trout from Rutland Water

Today we had quite a treat for tea. My father-in-law to be (is that a proper term, or have I just made it up?) went trout fishing at Rutland Water, which is not too far from where we live. This is the spot: http://www.rutlandwaterflyfishing.co.uk/ He called in to see us on the way back home and dropped off a couple of lovely trout, freshly caught and gutted. You don't get fish much fresher than this, less than a day out of the water.



Beautiful! Lets check out his face...


It was already gutted so I filled the insides with herbs - a mixture of parsley, chives and a little bit of fresh rosemary. Couple of cloves of garlic and a nob of butter went in there as well.


Some olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper went on the outside of the fish, then wrapped up tightly in foil. The trout was baked in the oven at 200 C for 20 minutes, turning over half way through.


Here it is cooked. Now, I need to learn how to "carve" a fish and debone it as I made a bit of a bodge job of this one.


I just opened it up down the middle and pulled the spine and bones out.

It seemed to work ok, although there were a few smaller bones remaining afterwards.

Served with some ratatouille, this was a delicious simple meal.

You could tell this was a really fresh fish, it almost melted when eating, and the flavour was a lot more intense than any shop-bought trout that I have eaten. I might have to take up fishing...

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

Chicken Liver and Red Wine Pate

I have started buying a lot more offal these days, mainly because it is cheap and tasty, but also because it is full of goodness (high in iron and protein, low fat and lots of other essential vitamins and minerals).

Admittedly, liver is not the most appetising food to look at. Here is 400 g of chicken livers:

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find that pate is surprisingly easy to make at home. I had never really considered making pate before, but when flicking through Delia's Complete Cookery Course, I was taken by this recipe. A bit of research on the net and I came up with this version:

Ingredients

  • 400 g chicken livers
  • 100 g butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ~10 chives, chopped
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 150 ml red wine
  • Salt and pepper
Rinse the livers under a tap and pat dry with kitchen towel. Chop off any white sinewy looking bits.

Heat a large frying pan and melt half of the butter. Add the garlic.

When the butter starts to foam, add the chicken livers. Keep stirring and turning them over for 4 minutes.
Add the wine and herbs, bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer for a further 4 minutes.


Remove the pan from the heat. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes, then blend in a food processor until smooth.


Now, remove the blade from the food processor and pour the pate into a suitable dish or bowl. (Note - make sure you do take the blade out, unless like me you wish to splash hot pate all over your kitchen and self).

Melt the remaining butter in a microwave or over a low heat. Pour over the pate - this will form a sort of crust to preserve your pate. Of course, if you aren't planning on keeping it for too long, then don't bother with the butter on top!

Leave to set uncovered in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.

The result is a little runnier than shop-bought pate, but it was pretty satisfying. I didn't much fancy eating the butter layer on top so just scraped it away!


Serve on toast, crackers, or with some vegetable sticks to dip!

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Monday, 4 May 2009

Wedding...

I have not had much time for bogging lately, work and wedding planning seem to take up most of our free time and although I have been cooking, there has been no time to write about it. We are due to get married in June so only a few weeks left. Just about everything is organised - the venue is to be Tregenna Castle, St. Ives in Cornwall. It is a fantastic setting and we just hope it will be a sunny day in order to make the most of the amazing sea views.

We have sorted out the menu after going for a tasting at the hotel with both sets of parents, and it is sounding very nice! This is what we have selected:

Smoked Seafood & Citrus Mousse
Enclosed In Woodcured Salmon Served With
A Cornish White Crabmeat & Fresh Dill Aioli

~~~

Slow Braised Shank Of Lamb With
A Rosemary & Redcurrant Sauce Served With Roast Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables

~~~

Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Tart
Served With Chantilly Cream
The vegetarian option doesn't sound too bad either, although I must admit that we haven't tried it ourselves.

Beef Steak Tomato &
Mozzarella Salad With Basil Oil

~~~

Asparagus & Red Onion Risotto With
Cornish Goats Cheese & Parmesan Shavings

And, of course, there is wine as well:

White Wine

Cape Promise Winemakers Selection
Unoaked Chenin Blanc (2008) South Africa
“Refreshing ripe melon & citrus fruit
with a lively clean finish”

~~~

Red Wine

Cape Promise Winemakers Selection
Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (2008) South Africa
“Plum & rich casis flavours – soft & smooth”

~~~

Champagne to toast

Duc de Roucher Brut
“Lively white blossom aromas with
harmonious fruit & soft acidity

The evening buffet is going to be slightly less gourmet and will consist of bacon rolls with brown sauce or ketchup, and traditional Cornish pasties. You just can't have a wedding in Cornwall without having a proper pasty (helps somewhat with soaking up the booze later in the evening!).

We have also booked the honeymoon now; after two days of extreme relaxation in Dubai (at the hottest time of year I might add), we are off to New Zealand to hire a campervan and drive all around both the North and South islands! This is the bit that I am most looking forward to!

But for now, we just have to finalize the all-important wedding disco music (suggestions welcomed in the comments section below - anything that will get people on the dancefloor), print out menus and the order of service, collect suits and turn up on the day (the bride has a fair bit more to do, involving hair, nails, dress, tanning, and various other important bits).

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