Flora's Last Supper
Flora had to move out, and I volunteered to help her in exchange for a place to stay that wasn't on my boat
lived near the marina).
We both had food to use up - so I cooked a nice dinner
with duck livers from my freezer,
and whipped up a corn chowder
As one of the (many) rewards for helping her out she kindly donated the extra venison from her freezer (how the other half lives eh?).
From which I made a very nice casserole
and a curry
Also from her freezer.
Her Dad also fed us on one of the many, many trips to her folks' house with car-loads of boxes.
I was impressed by his Cranberry, Stilton, Fennel and Cucumber salad
particularly as I find fennel challenging to do nice things with.
Unfortunately I didn't take photos, so you'll just have to imagine it.
Duck Livers in Whisky Sauce
Serves 4. Or one Flora and one Karl
I allowed Dominic Chapman
to guide me,
but really it's not exactly difficult.
- 400g duck livers, cleaned
- 4 shallots or one onion, finely sliced
- large glass whisky
- chicken stock
- double cream
- 2 panninis, sliced in half lengthways
- ½ tsp honey
- chives, chopped
Sweat the shallots until they begin to caramelise.
Deglaze with the whisky and flame off.
Add the chicken stock and bubble to thicken.
Season to taste .
Add cream, and bubble until slightly thickened.
Clean the duck livers, removing any sinews and anything green or black.
Fry in olive oil over a high heat turning to to nicely colour all over, and leaving the centre just pink.
Season with a little salt, wrap in foil and keep in a warm place for 10 minutes while you prepare the plates.
Generously re-oil the frying pan and fry the cut halves of the panninis until they crisp up.
Deglaze the frying pan with white wine, or more whisky or water and add to sauce. Avoid adding any burnt bitterness.
To plate, put the fried pannini slices on a plate, pour over half the sauce, arrange the duck livers on top then finish with a drizzle of the sauce.
Decorate with the chopped chives and serve.
I thought thickening this soup, rather non-traditionally, with bread rather than potatoes would be nice, particularly as that's what I had to hand.
And it was. Though it can get a bit gloopy if you overdo the bread.
I didn't really measure anything - so you're on your own.
- sweet corn kernels
- bacon, cut into pieces the size of corn kernels
- onion, cut into slices the size of corn kernels
- bay leaves
- double cream
- sweet pepper, cut into pieces the size of corn kernels
Remove the crusts from the bread and put to soak in milk.
Simmer the sweet corn in the stock and bay leaves until tender.
Slice away the kernels and reserve. Return the cores to the stock for a while then strain the stock.
Add the soaked bread to the stock with ½/⅓ of the kernels and blend until smooth.
Fry the bacon in butter until it sweats, then add the onion until it softens, then add the peppers.
Add the thickened stock and the whole corn kernels.
Serve with a swirl of double cream.
Cranberry, Stilton, Fennel and Cucumber Salad
As made by Flora's Dad for a reward dinner for helping her move all her heavy shit back home.
What a loser eh?
Her Dad told me he'd copied it from someone else, but I forget who. It might have been that Yotam Ottolenghi.
I'd use Dunsyre Blue, but good look finding that now the bansturbators have heard there might have been a batch with a bug in it.
- fennel, cut into thick matchsticks
- cranberries, whole
- Stilton , crumbled
- mixed lettuce leaves
- cucumber, sliced
- olive oil
- generous grind of black pepper
- pinch of salt
I worked from
's recipe because I had stock, red wine and redcurrant jelly to use up,
but I added the dumplings (to be honest, I'm not sure the mustard in them really works), and skipped her decorative actual redcurrants.
And her bacon.
- 300g venison, diced
- seasoned flour
- 2 small onions, quartered
- 3 mushrooms, quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, quartered
- large glass red wine
- 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 2 oz/8 tbsps suet
- 4 oz/16 tbsps wholewheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- salt & pepper
- 1 tsp mustard powder
Preheat the oven to Gas Mar 2/150°C/300°F.
Put a few tablespoons of well-seasoned flour in a plastic bag and shake up with the venison pieces.
Fry the quartered onions in olive oil or butter until they begin to caramelise nicely.
Add the garlic, cut into reasonably thin pieces. Fry until they begin to colour.
Add the mushrooms and fry for a minute until they begin to sweat.
Add the frying pan contents to a casserole.
In batches, as necessary, fry the floured venison pieces until they brown, but stop if they begin to leak liquid.
Add to the casserole dish.
Deglaze the frying pan with red wine, bubble up with the stock and the redcurrant jelly.
When reduced a little, return the casserole ingredients to the pan to reheat. Taste and season. Add more jelly if required.
Return to the casserole dish (the sauce should be thickened and only half-submerge the chunky ingredients), cover and cook in the oven for 60 minutes.
Mix the suet, flour, seasoning and mustard powder. Using a knife cut in enough water to cohere the dumplings.
Shape and place in the casserole dish.
Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
South Indian Venison Curry
The mustardy vinegar sourness of the curry work very well with the gamey venison.
- 500g boneless venison fillet, diced
- or 500g boneless venison haunch, diced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 green chillies, slit
- 12 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- coriander leaves, to garnish
Place the meat, vinegar, salt to taste and half the ginger and turmeric in a covered pan or pressure cooker with 250 ml water for 25-30 minutes
if using a pan or 10-12 minutes if using a pressure cooker.
Strain the meat, reserving the stock, and set both aside until required.
Heat half the oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves and remaining ginger and sauté for 5-7 minutes,
until the onion becomes translucent. Set aside until required.
Heat the remaining oil in another pan and sauté the mustard seeds until they pop.
Stir in the flour, ground coriander, peppercorns and remaining turmeric and sauté for a minute, then add the cooked venison.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add to the onion mixture.
Deglaze the pan with the reserved cooking stock ,
add the tomatoes and reduce. Return the meat mixture and simmer until the sauce thickens.
Garnish with coriander and serve with rice or bread.
I've seen a few variations on this theme - with the nuts ground with the yoghurt instead of with the tomatoes and the addition of butter,
but this version worked well for me.
Personally I was tempted to fry the spice paste mixed with water before adding the cashew-tomato paste, but the method below worked fine too.
Actually I didn't have any cashews, so used ground almonds instead and it was still very good.
- 1 cup matar/250ml/140g peas
- 1 to 1.5 tbsps ginger+green chili paste or ½ inch ginger + 1 to 2 green chilies, crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
- 2 tbsp fresh curd/dahi/yogurt, beaten
- 2 tbsp milk powder or dairy whitener
- a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing
- ½ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
- ½ to ¾ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder/jeera
- 1 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- ½ tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
- 1 cup water
- 3 tbsp oil
- salt as required
- 3 medium to large tomatoes, 250 grams or 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
- 10 to 12 cashews/kaju
- 1 bay leaf/tej patta
- 2 cloves/lavang
- 2 cardamoms/chotti elachi
- 1 inch cinnamon/dal chini
- 1 or 2 single strands of mace/javitri (optional)
First soak 10 to 12 cashews in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes.
When the cashews are soaking, steam the fresh peas till they are cooked completely .
You can steam them in a steamer or pressure cooker. if cooking in a pressure cooker,
then cook for 2 whistles .
Later drain the cashews and add them along with 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes in a blender without adding any water, grind to a fine and smooth paste.
Set the ground tomato-cashew paste aside.
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan. then add the whole garam masala - 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 or 2 single strands of mace (optional).
Saute till the spice become fragrant.
Then add 1 to 1.5 tbsps ginger+green chili paste. Stir and sauté till the raw aroma of ginger and green chilies go away.
Add a generous pinch of asafoetida.
Now add the tomato-cashew paste. stir the paste well.
The mixture splutters a lot while sauteing, so cover the pan with a lid and cook this masala mixture, till it stops spluttering.
Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk 2 tbsp of fresh full fat curd till smooth.
Stir and saute the masala paste, till it thickens and you see oil specks on top and oil releasing from the sides.
Then add the ground spices - ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ to ¾ tsp red chili powder (add as per taste),
1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and ½ tsp garam masala powder.
Stir and saute for a minute.
Now lower the flame. then add beaten curd.
As soon as you add the curd, stir quickly with a ladle or spatula so that the curd does not curdle.
Stir the curd very well with the whole mixture. remember to add beaten curd on a low flame and keep on
Stirring quickly and continuously till the entire curd is mixed incorporated in the masala paste.
Add 1 cup water.
Then add the cooked green peas. season with salt. stir everything very well.
Add 2 tbsp milk powder.
(Instead of milk powder, khoya can be added. but add khoya and saute it once the tomato-cashew paste is done. Stir again.)
Bring the peas masala curry to a simmer on a low to medium flame.
Lastly add ½ tsp kasuri methi, which has been crushed. Stir and switch off the flame.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve matar masala with chapatis, tandoori rotis, naan. you can also serve green peas curry with jeera rice or saffron rice.
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