NEWSLETTER - OCTOBER 2011
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There is always something happening in supermarkets
- new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised
so you can't find anything. Not always interesting,
quite often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally
something catches your eye, something is interesting
. . .
The night Pierre Koffmann cooked for me
wish . . . but as you probably guessed he did not really
cook for me.
Morrisons supermarkets launched a new range of ready
meals this month and as part of the hype and publicity
they got some of the big names in the food world to
create a dish each. And they don't come much bigger
than Pierre Koffmann of La Tante Claire fame. Obviously
most of the dishes are created by the in-house chefs
but it does add something of an endorsement to have
big names involved.
The Pierre Koffmann dish is part of what Morrisons
are calling the M Kitchen range no prizes for
originality although the quality of the food is more
important than the name.
This is how Morrisons describes the range:
Five of todays greatest chefs have developed
a restaurant quality dish, especially for our M Kitchen
range. From Pierre Koffmann's French classic, Beef
Bourguignon, to Atul Kochhar's tasty Korma with rose
petals, there's a delicious dish for everyone.
In fact there are five chef dishes as well as a whole
host of others to choose from. These are the five chef
Calabrese - Aldo Zilli
"This pizza is named after a region of Italy
that I love, called Calabria. Its one of the
most underrated areas in Italy and is famous for its
pigs, onions and fantastic types of sausage. Two Italian
specialities are Nduja and salsiccia, which
are types of sausage that Ive used on this pizza."
Bourguignon - Pierre Koffman
"I created this dish in the same way that
I would in my restaurant, with no expense spared when
it came to the quality of the ingredients. Weve
used beef ox cheek as its so succulent and a
good dark wine that will give a good colour to the
Beef Bourguignon (beans not included)
Pie - Bryn Williams
"Weve used a slightly larger mince to
give the dish more texture, then added a bit of Madeira
to the sauce. You could say its the chef in
me Im just taking my mums recipe
and giving it a twist. Madeira helps to cut through
the fattiness of the lamb and actually helps to bring
out the flavour."
Hotpot - Nigel Haworth
"Weve used a mixture of diced lamb leg
and neck cuts as each has a different flavour and
texture. Weve also used King Edward potatoes
for the perfect crispy top. This is the exact recipe
I use for all my hotpots, whether Im making
them at home for my family or at the restaurant."
Korma - Atul Kochhar
"To give the dish lots of flavour, the fresh
chicken pieces are marinated and then chargrilled
before cooking through in the sauce. And to make the
sauce really authentic, Ive added garam masala,
cashew nut purée and green cardamom powder."
The best part of it all is the
Freddie Flintoff video promoting the new range.
Morrisons have obviously invested a lot of effort into
the range (and there is a lot more than the famous chef
dishes) so what are they like?
My wife and I tried two of them. The first, which strangely
is not listed on the Morrisons web site, was from the
Bistro section and called Duck Cassoulet with tomatoes,
cannellini beans, sausage, pancetta and vegetables cooked
gently in a 'sous vide' bag to seal in the flavours.
We also had the Bistro Potato Dauphinoise to go with
it. I am all for cooking your own meals but there are
times when you just do not have the time or just feel
too tired. I have to say this was very good and would
certainly be something we will have again when we do
not feel like cooking. Definitely a recommendation.
Having enjoyed the duck it made sense to try another
one (giving me two nights of very little cooking) and
the choice was Pierre Koffman's Beef Bourguignon. This
came with mashed potato and was served with some garlic
ciabatta on the side. This was something of a disappointment.
The taste of the dish was excellent but unfortunately
one of the bags leaked whilst being heated in a pan
of boiling water and half the sauce was lost. Fortunately
no water got in but when you are looking forward to
a full plate . . .
The range is currently promotionally priced but even
when it starts selling at normal price it still represents
good value both in terms of how much it would cost to
cook for yourself and also compared to the cost of buying
I think we will try Atul Kochhar's Chicken Korma next.
Editorial note: This site is not
paid to promote any of the products or places featured
in this newsletter.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
Paella Stock a bone of contention
is probably the most controversial recipe in Spain,
die hard purists will insist that the authentic
Valencian recipe is the real paella whereas others
will say that paella is one of those versatile dishes
which will accommodate any number of ingredients.
In short (unless you are a purist) there are
no hard and fast rules, indeed just like Mama used
to make does not necessarily result in the most
authentic Spanish paella nor does it mean that it
is a bad one either consider Fideua
a paella made with pasta which also originates from
Valencia . . . pity the poor soul who many decades
ago forgot the rice for the family paella yet in the
end redeemed himself by creating a paella with pasta.
Paella is and will continue to be one of those dishes
which over time will adapt depending on the chef or
budding cook who wants to test his or her culinary
skills recreating the most famous dish from Spain.
To create a good paella we need to go back to the
building blocks of any rice based dish and that is
liquid, or in this case good stock. Most paella kits
on the market these days will contain stock cubes
which are fine, they do the job but for a really good
paella home made stock will make all the difference
so pop those chicken carcasses into a bag and freeze
for later or boil up and make the stock first and
pop that in the freezer too.
Home made stock is by far the best for flavour however
there is an alternative method to making a paella
stock, particularly if you are using meats such as
chicken or pork. The majority of paella recipes include
meat and the best way to serve meat in your paella
is on the bone. Using meat on the bone such as chicken
pieces, pork rib, rabbit, etc will add much more flavour,
help prevent the meat from drying out and offer a
good stock whilst being cooked in the pan prior to
the addition of the rice. Making a quick stock this
way may go against the grain for many paella enthusiasts/makers
but in Spain this is the way stock is made for meat
paella. It does however pay to keep some extra stock
aside in case more is required but in the main all
of that lovely flavour comes from both the meat and
the bones with the simple addition of water.
Easy as paella! The technique for creating perfect
- Fry your chosen meat in garlic until browned all
- Add vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
- When the ingredients begin to stick add warm water.
By adding the warm water to all of the ingredients
you achieve much more flavour both through the meat
on the bone and also the fried vegetables which results
in a hearty meat stock with all the goodness from
peppers, tomatoes, garlic, beans or whatever you may
be adding. This is a simple technique for what is
essentially a very simple dish just remember to ladle
in your hot water counting as you go as the general
rule for standard paella rice is 2 parts water to
1 part rice. The difference in making stock this way
will certainly impact on the flavour of your Spanish
paella. Give it a go next time and you will not be
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
have made a dish like this many times over the years
but as so often happens I am too busy to bother writing
it down at the time. The next time I want to make it
I have to reinvent it. I know it is never the same,
although not why, but it always makes a great starter
. . . and it is easy to do. This time I did write it
1 medium size dressed crab
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 red chilli finely chopped
1 small glass of sherry
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 heaped tsp English mustard
150ml crème fraiche
Freshly ground pepper
A squeeze of lemon juice
Parmesan cheese, grated
50g breadcrumbs or crunchy topping*
*such as Jamie Oliver's Herb Crust
How to make:
the oven to 190°C / Gas mark 5.
your white crab meat into smaller pieces and mix
with brown meat.
a suitable pan for sautéing add the butter.
the shallot and sauté until it softens but
do not allow it to brown.
the sherry and boil for a few seconds, then add
the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and bring back
to the boil.
in the mustard and then add the crème fraiche.
the mixture for about three or four minutes.
the crab meat to the sauce and mix thoroughly together.
as required with freshly ground black pepper and
a squeeze of lemon juice.
Divide the mixture between two suitable oven proof
with breadcrumbs or the crunchy topping and then
with a light covering of Parmesan cheese.
the dishes on a baking tray and bake for about 20
AND STILTON SOUP
1 onion, chopped
5 sticks celery, roughly chopped
300ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp cornflour
75g Stilton cheese, crumbled
50ml single cream
the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and
celery, sauté until soft.
most of the milk and all of the stock, simmer for
cooked, liquidise the soup until smooth.
to the saucepan and bring back to the boil.
the cornflour with the remaining milk, stir into
the soup and simmer for 5 minutes.
the heat and stir in the Stilton.
into soup bowls and garnish with a swirl of cream.
November 2011 - Annual Christmas Wine Tasting
On Tuesday 22nd November from 6:30pm, online wine
retailer www.fromvineyardsdirect.com will be hosting
their annual Christmas wine tasting at The Chelsea
Gardener at 125 Sydney Street, Kings Road, London,
FromVineyardsDirect invite guests to get into the
festive spirit with canapés and wine in the
attractive setting of The Chelsea Gardener. It is
the perfect opportunity to find some great wine for
www.fromvineyardsdirect.com stands out from other
similar sized wine merchants due to its small, but
perfectly formed list of wines. The founders have
expert knowledge about what constitutes a great wine,
thus they personally source their wines from all over
the world, selecting wines that they themselves enjoy.
Due to small overheads, being an online company, they
can offer their customers great value for money. Brainchild
of Esme Johnstone, co-founder of Majestic Wines, and
David Campbell, publisher of Everymans Library,
the company was launched in 2006 and last year saw
sales up 88% on 2009.
Tickets cost £10 (redeemable on any purchase)
- to book visit www.fromvineyardsdirect.com
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
1oz mixed peel (optional)
a little milk
the flour and sugar and rub in the mragarine.
a little milk to mix a stiff dough.
in rough heaps on a greased baking sheet.
in preheated oven at 200°C / Gas mark 6 for
approximately 20 minuites.
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
Food tip on preserving and pickling jars
sterilise jars for preserves and pickles etc place
them carefully in a pot of cold water and slowly bring
to a gentle simmer, turn off the heat and allow to
sit for 10 minutes.
Moist heat is far more effective than dry for destroying
bacteria, so this method is far safer than popping
them in a hot oven.
a tea-towel on the base of the pot and others separating
the jars will avoid undue movement and possible breakage,
this should also be done when sterilising the final
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