Tartiflette

I made this on a day when we had heavy snow and ate it imagining being in a mountain restaurant in the French Alps! It provided more than 4 generous portions.

1kg waxy potatoes, I used Charlottes
1 Reblachon cheese quartered
250g smoked bacon lardons
1 onion
100ml white wine
150ml double cream

Keep the skin on the potatoes, leave whole, and boil. Finely slice the onion and fry in a little oil until just beginning to brown them remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve. In the same pan fry the lardons until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the reserved onions mixing them both together. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and virtually boil away and then add the double cream. Give it a good stir.

Thickly slice, or just halve, half of the potatoes and make a layer in the bottom of a buttered dish. Add half of the onion and lardon mix and 2 quarters of the Reblachon. Slice the remaining potatoes and add to make another layer together with the last of the onion and lardon mix. Pour over the cream from the pan and finally add the last 2 quarters of Reblachon making sure that they’re not above the first 2. Put into a hot oven at 200C and cook until the cheese has melted and bubbles a bit, 20 – 25 minutes should do it.

Three Fruit Marmalade

1 grapefruit
2-3 oranges
1 lemon
(total weight of fruit approx. 1.2 kg)
2.2 litres water
1.5 kg white sugar

Quarter the fruits and boil for about 1 hour until the peel is soft. Remove the fruit and allow to cool so that the flesh can be scrapped off. Shred the peel and return to the water in the pan. Run the flesh from the fruits through the finest plate in a Mouli Legume and add the resulting puree to the pan. Add the sugar and gently bring the pan to the boil making sure that all the sugar dissolves. Boil until setting point reached at 104C, allow to cool for 10 minutes then bottle into hot sterilised jam jars.

Parmesan Biscuits

This recipe is from Simon Hopkinson one of my favourite chefs. If you have an inclination to addictiveness, or are weak willed, then better not to make them!

Ingredients
100g/3½ oz cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
100g/3½ oz plain flour, plus extra for flouring
pinch salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1 heaped tsp mustard powder
50g/1¾ oz finely grated mature cheddar
50g/1¾ oz finely grated parmesan, or similar vegetarian hard cheese, plus a little extra
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Place the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor with the salt, cayenne, mustard powder and cheeses. Process together to begin with, and then finely pulse the mixture in short spurts as you notice the mixture coming together – it will eventually bind without the need for egg or water. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Lightly flour a work surface and gently roll out the pastry to about the thickness of two pound coins. Cut out the biscuits to the size and shape you wish. Lay them out on a greased baking tray about 2cm/¾in apart – it may take two lots of baking to use up the entire mixture.

Carefully brush the surface of each biscuit with the egg and sprinkle over a little finely grated parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until they are a gorgeous golden-brown colour; the superb smell will also inform you that they are ready.

Carefully lift the biscuits off the tray using a palette knife and place on a rack to cool.

The Best Ever Fish Batter

The difference between this and other recipes is putting ALL the ingredients into the freezer before making the batter.

200g plain flour
1.5tsp baking powder
275ml beer
a good pinch of salt

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and then place the bowl in the freezer for at least 45 minutes. Put the can/bottle of beer into the freezer as well but don’t leave it long enough to freeze solid. When the batter is needed whisk the beer into the dry ingredients and use immediately.