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Best of British!

I’ve had a fantastic week of British cooking so I thought I’d share the results. As a Pom Down Under I’m always trying to persuade my friends that British cooking isn’t as bad as they think. And I genuinely think I’m winning them round!

I’ve made a game terrine, with a duo of homemade chutney. I haven’t really made much chutney in the past so I thought I would test a selection of recipes from the BBC food website. The verdict:

Nigella’s Beetroot and Ginger Chutney had way too much vinegar for me. This one should have been the best. The colour was amazing, and I have a new found love of beetroot since moving the Oz, but the flavour was overwhelmed with vinegar. The ingredients were still swimming in vinegar at the end of the allotted cooking time, so even after draining a significant amount out it was still on the tart side.  I will make this one again but halve the vinegar content.

Pear Chutney Nice but not outstanding. A better proportion of vinegar to other ingredients, which made a nice, squidgy consistency. I didn’t use any saffron in it, but I don’t think that would have made a vast improvement! I always think saffron is more for colour than flavour, and a very expensive way of adding colour if you ask me!

A chutney for rabbit terrine was a last minute addition as I also made a rabbit terrine. In terms of evaluating the flavour, it may be unfair critique as I tried it the following day, but the recipe didn’t say it had to mature for weeks on end. The disappointment for me with this one was the ketchup. I could actually taste it in the final product, which was a bit disappointing for someone who usually likes to make things from scratch.

Christmas Chutney was by far the best. I will definitely be making this one again. The only slight variation I made was using dried figs instead of dates, but it was utterly delicious!

Scotch Egg

I also made some scotch eggs and minted pea soup, which would make quite good accompaniments to the dish above. I can’t believe I have gone all these years without sampling the delights of home made scotch eggs. I used to love taking them to school as part of my packed lunch, but those ones weren’t a patch on the home made ones (served with a bit of chutney!), and it is the perfect way to use up some of the left over sausage meat I am always left with after making my home made sausages.

Here is the recipe for the soup, if you would like to give it a go.  I found the recipe in Gordon Ramsay’s British Pub food, but you know me, I just can’t stick to a recipe if I try.  So I swapped the shallots for onions as I don’t have the time or patience to peel shallots, and I know this is probably scandalous, but in something like soup, I can’t taste a significant difference! Graham also suggested if I did it again I should put crispy bacon on top, to make it a posh pea and ham soup, and he was absolutely right, second time round it tasted even better!


Chilled Pea Soup

Chilled Pea soup
Serves 6 as an amuse bouche or two for a tasty summer lunch

Olive oil for frying
½  onion finely chopped
300g frozen peas
350ml chicken stock
1 slice of pancetta/speck/bacon
2 prigs mint, leaves only, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a small saucepan and slowly fry the onion on a medium heat until cooked but not brown (about 5 minutes).

Heat the stock in a second pan.

Once the onions are cooked add the frozen peas and the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins until the peas are cooked then add the mint leaves. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for a couple of minutes then blend until smooth.  Season generously with salt and pepper, as you need more seasoning for cold soup.

Pour into a bowl set over iced water to cool quickly (this is not absolutely necessary but keeps the nice green colour). Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Just before you’re ready to serve, cut the pancetta into 5mm cubes and fry until crisp. Drain onto kitchen paper and allow to cool.

Serve the chilled soup in small coffee cups, with a sprinkle of black pepper and the pancetta cubes on top.


Comment from Dave
Time November 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Nigella’s chutney was a bit ‘tart’……no surprise there then!

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