30th March 2009 - My Place
Wishart And Descent
My climbing buddy Becky and her husband Greg came over to watch The Descent to see if it would put them off caving forever. (No).

I made us a couple of recipes from Martin Wishart's Cook Book :
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup and
Chicken Tagine with couscous and a rocket salad.
Becky had thirds of the tagine and had to loosen at least one button - so it must have been good!
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
1 kg Jerusalem artichokes
Juice ½ lemon
100g unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 (or 4) cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
100g piece lightly smoked streaky bacon (or a nice smoked gammon steak)
1½ litres fresh chicken stock - I made this with the carcass left over from the Tagine
150 ml champagne (or Cava!)
Small handful chervil or chives, chopped
Hazelnut oil (optional)
Peel the artichokes and place them in a bowl of cold water with the juice from half a lemon to prevent them from turning brown.
Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onion and garlic and cook without colouring for 3-4 minutes.
Thinly slice the artichokes and add them to the onions.
Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, being careful not to colour them.
Add the chicken stock and the piece of bacon, season with a couple of pinches of salt and boil the soup for 10 or more like 30 minutes until the artichokes become tender.
Remove the bacon and slice it thinly across the grain for garnish, and transfer the soup to a liquidiser.
Add the champagne and blend for 3 minutes until the soup becomes smooth and creamy. You can add a further 100g butter if you want to make the soup richer and creamier oh yes.

To Serve:
Pour the soup into large bowls with some freshly chopped chervil or chives.
You could also chop or slice the bacon into small dice or strips and serve in the soup.
The addition of a few drops or a nice drizzle of hazelnut oil spooned on top also works very well.

A tasty but delicate soup - I used chives and walnut oil since I couldn't find chervil and hazelnut oil.
Truffle oil is excellent also.
Make sure you use a light chicken stock so as not to overwhelm the artichoke flavour.

Tagine Of Chicken With Confit Lemon and Black Olives
main fowl
100g root ginger, peeled
1 small white onion, peeled
3 sticks celery
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 or 3 ripe plum tomatoes
1 medium sized organic or free-range chicken
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 or 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 generous pinch saffron thread
1 teaspoon ground cumin
120g or a bit more pitted kalamata olives
1 green pepper
Sea salt
Ground white pepper
220ml dry white wine or brut Cava from the soup
1 small jar preserved / confit lemons - or lime - (these are "pickled" in salt, sometimes spices and lemon juice)
Finely chop the ginger, onion and celery.
Don't chop the celery, onion and green pepper too finely - maybe as much as 1cm wide - the tagine should be somewhat chunky
Slice the celery sticks whole and section the onions and pepper into approximately quarters to sixths before slicing.
Mince the ginger - there'll be awful lot of this!
Crush the coriander seeds.
break up well until smaller than grains of rice, but don't grind to a powder
Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into iced water and remove the skin.
Cut them into dice. about 1 cm
Joint the chicken into eight pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole pan.
Brown the chicken well on all sides in the pan.
Add the onions to the pan and cook gently for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, saffron, celery, cumin, coriander, olives, tomatoes and green pepper.
I used (half of) a 450g plastic pouch of Sunita black Kalamata olives packed in brine, vinegar and oil. They still had stones in and needed halving and pitting, but I think they have a better flavour than the pitted ones in jars.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well.
I added a dash of Ricard to deglaze the onions before adding the wine. You can prepare the dish ahead of time to this point, then finish off in the oven later.
Add the wine and bring to the boil.
Transfer all into a tagine dish and cook with the lid on, in the oven at 200°C (Gas Mark 6) for 45 minutes. or slightly cooler for 1 1/2 hours
Add the lemons and replace the lid see below.
Turn the oven off and put the tagine back in, with the door open, for 10 minutes.


to Serve with (Quick) Couscous:
Just cover the surface of the tagine with a layer of the thinly sliced preserved lemon (or lime) to get the flavour balance right
Return the tagine to the oven while preparing the couscous.
Pour couscous into a shallow dish, add a knob of salted butter, submerge by around ¼" with boiling water (1 - 1¼ times the volume of water). Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes
Make a salad dressing from shaking 3:1 olive oil and balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve with the tagine and dressed Rocket salad.