1st June 2019
Harmony off the Brandystone, Oban

Dinner with Rosy
A big shout-out to those who took up my invitation to catch up in Oban (hi Rosy!).
And a boo-hiss to those who promised to do so but failed - you know who you are, Callum.
I even bumped into old sailing colleagues unexpectedly, which was a bonus.
Rosy's dad John the fashion model has a mooring off the Brandystone (somewhat unmaintained and weighed down with loch life, it must be said) and she was kind enough to loan it to me for a few days on his behalf (thanks Rosy). Mind you, I'm still waiting for his seafood chowder recipe.

Anyway what with the proximity of Ogden's fine seafood stall (no anchovy paste though - what the hell?) and various well-provisioned Local Fucking Supermarkets™ (also no anchovy paste) I was able to roll up a breast of lamb with oysters for a nicely lubricated Dinner with Rosy and concoct a few other bits of surprisingly haute cuisine.
For living on a boat.

I moved across to the marina on Kerrera for a few days after to take advantage of the electricity and the WiFi (they give good WiFi, as long as you pick a berth next to the transmitter) and use up some of my precious anchovy paste that I hadn't been able to replace in Oban.
Mostly, and slightly oddly, in recipes involving cauliflower...

Cauliflower with Anchovy Cream, Epazote and Cashews
fish main side
The original recipe calls for sage and flaked almonds. I quite fancied trying it out, but I didn't have any sage, anchovies, or almonds. So I substituted dried epazote, anchovy paste, and cashews.
A brilliant main course for a couple of those pesky tarians - otherwise it goes beautifully with lamb chops.

Apparently this technique also works well with broccoli.

Serves 2-4

Finely mince the shallots. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and epazote or sage and sweat really slowly on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent and very soft. Add the anchovies and mix well, so that they dissolve into the onions. Then add the crème fraîche and a good twist of black pepper. Heat through and stir to combine well.

Meanwhile, prepare the cauliflower. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the cauliflower florets and simmer for 10 minutes until soft, then strain. This dish is better with the cauliflower nearer collapsing than crisp.
Split the cashews, and dry-roast in a frying pan, shaking frequently, until golden. Set aside.

Pour the sauce over the drained cauliflower, mix together and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with the toasted cashews or flaked almonds and sage, and serve warm.

Liquorice Linguine with Chorizo and Tangerine Cream
meat pasta main
Actually I made this using mandarin orange juice, but I couldn't resist the poetry of the tangerine cream name.

Ideally you might make the pasta fresh using liquorice essence, rather than the somewhat ineffective root-boiling process below.

Serves 2

Bend the liquorice root back and forth a few times to loosen it up then put in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving some of the liquoriced pasta water.

Meanwhile cut the chorizo into thin batons. Halve or third the half-onion and slice, not too thinly. You want some correspondence between the chorizo and the onion.
Peel the garlic cloves, halve lengthwise and slice fatly.
Heat olive oil in a pan and add the chorizo, onion and garlic and fry together over a fairly high heat until on the point of colouring. Deglaze with a glass of white wine, allow to bubble, then pour in cream to cover. Warm through, loosen with some of the reserved pasta water and grate in most of the cheese, reserving a little. Remove from the heat, add the mandarin juice and season. Mix in the cooked pasta.
Ladle into serving plates and sprinkle with the reserved grated cheese and a grating of black pepper.
A fine, delicate flavour.

You might throw in a few mandarin segments for decoration too. Don't overdo it though.
I think some herbs might work too - basil or mint?

Cauliflower and Peas with Anchovies
fish side
I started off with a very different idea for this dish, planning it to be mace and cream flavoured, so I started with the mace in the butter. But then the anchovies caught my eye and I went in a different direction. Probably therefore you could miss out the mace, but the end result was particularly pleasing, so who knows?

Quantities will depend on the size of your pan for a more-or-less single layer of cauliflower. Just avoid over-doing the anchovy.

Slice the cauliflower thickly, as many as will lay in more-or-less a single layer in the pan. Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the mace if using, season with salt & fresh pepper, then lay in the cauliflower.
Fry gently until browned.
Add a small number of anchovy fillets and crush against the bottom of the pan, frying until they begin to dissolve.
Add tomato purée and stir through, then loosen with a little tomato juice, tomato passata or chopped tomatoes. Cook until they thicken, add frozen or fresh peas, cover and simmer until the peas are tender.
Pretty nice.

Twice Baked Arbroath Smokie Soufflés
starter fish
Laphroaig Distillery on Islay has a fairly comprehensive gift shop, in which I spent some time waiting for my whisky tour to begin. Just a short walk from Port Ellen, where I'd sailed my yacht. Single-handed. As part of my circumnavigation of the entire UK.
Just sayin'.

Ahem, anyway I was browsing this whisky cookbook as I was waiting and this recipe caught my eye, so I used my phone to photograph the recipe page. It's not theft - it's just admiration! Unfortunately it wasn't until later that I discovered I had only recorded half the recipe.
Indeed the book blurb claims These soufflés are brilliant because you can make them up to 2 days in advance and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to serve them. I suggest that you double the quantities and freeze a few away for a treat later. None of which made sense until I realised my half-baked copy of the twice-baked recipe was missing all of those second baking instructions.
So I gave friend Flora the mission of tracking down a copy in Edinburgh and sending me a photo of the missing page, which she fulfilled by the simpler expedient of ordering a copy on eBay.
I'd planned to try out the complete recipe as a starter for my Dinner with Rosy in Oban. Unfortunately the drinking, and the laborious stuffing of the lamb with oysters intervened. So I cooked them for myself a few days later on the boat.
And very nice they were too.

A single Smokie fillet (they usually come in pairs) will probably weigh 150g and yield perhaps 80g of meat.
If you can't get proper hot-smoked Arbroath Smokies you could use a cold-smoked haddock, but use a pale traditional version, not a bright yellow dyed one.
This will fill 4-6 ramekins, depending on their size.

Serves 4-6

Lightly grease 4 (or 6) ramekins.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Place the milk, shallots, bay leaves, blade of mace and peppercorns in a pan and slowly bring to the boil, this will take about 5 minutes. Set aside for a few minutes for the milk to absorb the flavours then strain into a bowl and discard the flavourings.

Since the Smokies are hot smoked, they can be eaten without any further cooking, so all you need to do to remove the flesh from the fish is to warm it slightly either in the microwave, a steamer, or wrap it in tinfoil and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Split the fish open and remove the backbone, it comes away very easily from the tail end, and the flesh can be flaked, taking care to avoid the bones. Set this aside.

Now, gently melt the butter in a pan, do not allow it to brown or you will spoil the taste of the sauce, and then stir in the flour, stir quickly with a wooden spoon, making a paste (a roux). Cook the roux gently for a minute or so then gradually add the warm milk stirring all the time until the mixture is smooth and thick. Now turn the heat right down and allow the sauce to simmer for 3 minutes to cook out the flour, stirring or whisking occasionally. Next stir in the grated cheese and cook for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

Now transfer the sauce to a large bowl and leave it to cool slightly. Whisk the egg whites until the form stiff peaks and set aside while you whisk the egg yolks lightly and add them to the sauce, mix until well blended and season with salt and black pepper. Add the flaked fish, taking care not to break the fish up too much; you want the flakes to stay as intact as possible.

Gradually fold the egg whites into the cheesy fish mixture, do not stir or you will lose the air from the egg whites. Check the seasoning and then divide between the ramekins and place in a roasting tin with enough hot water to come half way up the ramekins. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until well risen, firm and becoming golden brown.

Recipe Continued. On the next page!
You can now serve these soufflés immediately or you can place them in the fridge and re-bake them any time within 2 days. Allow them to cool slightly but not completely or you will have trouble getting them cleanly out of the ramekins (they will sink a bit but don't worry) and then loosen from the ramekins by running the blade of a knife around the sides, pat the bottom and give them a shake, they should come out quite cleanly. If they don't, and they are still warm leave them for another few minutes. Now turn them out upside down not sure why - I refrigerated mine right-side-up on to a cling filmed tray, easiest if you shake the soufflé out onto your hand first then gently lay on the tray. At this stage they can be covered with cling film and refrigerated. They also freeze very well and once defrosted just follow the instructions below.

When you want to serve them.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
Lightly grease a baking tray and place the souffleés on it, the right way up again. Bake for 10 minutes or until they have risen again and have become light and fluffy. They will not rise as much as originally but they will be very light. Now, you need to serve them immediately, so you need to make the Anchovy and Talisker Cream while the soufflés are in the oven.

Talisker and Anchovy Cream
Combine all the ingredients and whisk until just beginning to thicken. Taste and add more anchovy paste or whisky to your preference.
I found the anchovy flavour a little intense using the proportions given, so I'd recommend starting with less, perhaps half.

To Serve
Trickle some Talisker and Anchovy Cream across the plates and set some baby salad leaves to one side, dress the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and at the last moment place a soufflé on each plate. Serve immediately and wait for the complaints compliments... sorry :)
Quite tasty - if a little on the heavy side. If you're only once-baking them I presume you have to serve them in their ramekins.
A similar Hairy Biker recipe I've read suggests re-heating (assuming you are twice-baking) the de-potted soufflés drizzled with double cream. It might be worth trying that with the anchovy whisky cream here?

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