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.

Red Mullet with Mint and Saffron

red_mullet_mint
Ingredients:
12 small or 8 larger red mullet
8tbs olive oil
6tbs vermouth
good pinch of saffron strands
handfull of fresh mint

Method:
Gut and descale the mullet leaving the heads on, pack tightly into a dish. Mix together the olive oil, vermouth, roughly chopped mint and saffron strands and then pour over the mullet. Leave to marinate for an hour or so. Put into a hot oven at 220C for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with boiled, waxy, potatoes which can be crushed on the plate to absorb the wonderful juices!

Moussaka

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Moussaka

Ingredients:
1 aubergine
2 medium size potatoes
400g minced lamb
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tin tomatoes
some fresh sage leaves
bay leaf
50g butter
50g flour
600ml milk
50g finely grated parmesan
olive oil, salt & pepper

Slice the aubergine into 5mm thick slices, brush with olive oil and griddle in a ridged pan until browned, set aside. Peel and slice the potatoes thinly, cook in more oil than you would normally use in a frying pan at a very, very low heat. The potaoto must stew in the oil rather than fry. When done set aside. Chop the onion and garlic, fry in a little olive oil until softened then increase the heat and add the minced lamb. Cook until the lamb is well browned and then strain the fat from the pan. Add the tin of tomatoes the chopped sage, bayleaf, seasoning and cook until reduced. Make the sauce by melting the butter, adding the flour to make a roux and then slowly adding the milk while stirring all the time. Keep stirring while heating until thick and bubbling. Here are the ready made components.
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Moussaka Components

To assemble spread one third of the aubergines and potato over the bottom of the dish, on top of this layer spread half of the lamb mixture, then another third of vegetables, the other half of the lamb and finally the last third of vegetables. Pour the white sauce over everything and sprinkle with the grated cheese. If you’ve got a spare tomato to hand you could slice it and put it in top as I did with this one. Bake at 180C for 30-40 mins until the top is browned.