Posts Tagged ‘butter’

My first freebie

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Saffron risotto with pan fried queenie scallops and orange and toasted pine nut butter

When Nick Pledger from Island Seafare Ltd said he would like to send me some Queenie scallops to try I was very excited. It was all in aid of the up and coming Isle of Man queenie scallop festival and marine day which is taking place for the first time to celebrate the well loved local seafood. There is also a competition to enter your best queenie scallop recipe, with the prize being that the Hairy Bikers will cook your recipe on marine day and you will receive a personalised trophy and £100 worth of seafood. 

While waiting for my exciting delivery I wracked my brains as how best to capture their subtle soft flavour and came up with a few ideas but since he very kindly sent me 1 Kilo of the little beauties I could try them all.  The first one I wanted to try was a saffron risotto but I didn’t want to mix the scallops into it, I wanted to showcase them round the edge of a risotto-y mound and have some sort of butter melting over them. The presentation is a little pretentious but I think it looks good and it shows off the most important part of the dish. The taste was really good too, even if I do say so myself.


12 Queenie scallops

200g risotto rice

750ml of fish, vegetable or chicken stock

half a wine glass of white wine or vermouth

a very large pinch of saffron

a tblsp of olive oil

a stick of celery, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

zest of an orange

40g butter

a handful of pine nuts, toasted

salt and freshly ground black pepper

smoked Maldon sea salt (optional)

extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Begin by making the butter. Coarsely chop the toasted pine nuts, place them in a bowl with the orange zest, a little seasoning and the butter and mash together with a fork. Leave to one side. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the onion and celery and cook for about five minutes to soften. Stir in the rice to coat it with the oil and cook for a minute then add the vermouth or white wine and stir until it is all absorbed. Bring the stock up to simmering point and add the saffron. Start adding ladles of the stock into the rice and stir continuously until it is absorbed. Repeat the process until the rice become soft, but still retains a very slight bite. Once cooked, take the risotto off the heat, dollop half the butter on top and cover with a lid for about 10 minutes.

Take your scallops, remove the coral and toss them both separately in olive oil. Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the corals. Cook for a couple minutes until nicely coloured then stir into the risotto. Season the risotto to taste then place a mound of the risotto in the middle of a warmed plate. Take the scallops, add them to the pan and cook for about a minute on each side. Dot the rest of the butter on the top of each scallop and allow to melt. Remove from the pan and arrange around the plate, drizzling with the buttery juices from the pan and a little extra virgin olive oil. Finally crumble a few crystals of the smoked sea salt on top of each scallop and serve immediately.

Sewing box cake

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Sewing box cake

This is another cake that I made for someone in work. It was for their Grandmother’s 90th birthday and she apparently was very keen on knitting, sewing and cross stitch so I decided on a sewing box cake. The name is done in brush embroidery, which is a really nice effect where you pipe the required design and then take a very slightly damp paintbrush and drag the icing in. I am definitely getting better at the icing and having less mishaps which is good really as I’m doing my Cousin’s wedding cake in October!

Crab continued

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Crab ravioli

I was wondering what to do with the rest of the fabulous crab I got in Devon so I browsed through the selection of cookery books I brought with me and found a crab ravioli recipe from Rick Stein’s Seafood book. I have never been terribly successful at at making ravioli as they are so fiddly and always seem to fall apart on me and I haven’t made fresh pasta in a while so it took me time to get to grips with the pasta machine again. I really need to invest in one of those ravioli tray things as they are supposed to be quite useful.

Apart from the fact that it took me the best part of two hours to make and some of them burst they turned out very nicely. The sauce in particular was simple yet very flavoursome and well worth the wait.

Fresh Pasta

225g Plain flour (type 00)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

2 medium eggs

2 medium egg yolks

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend. Once it has come together, tip out onto a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes.


175g fresh white crab meat

1 tblsp melted butter

a small sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Parsley and lemon butter

100g butter

2 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

2 tsps lemon juice

2 garlic cloves very finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients for the ravioli together. Divide the pasta into three or four pieces and roll out in your machine or with a rolling in until quite thin. Keep dusting the pasta with flour to stop it sticking to the rollers. On one half of a sheet of pasta dot a teaspoon of mixture at 3inch intervals. Wet around each mound of crab with a little water, then fold over the other half of the pasta and starting from the inside out press down around the little mounds pushing out all the air so you have no bubbles in the ravioli. This is the complicated bit and would be so much more simple with a ravioli tray if you have one. Make sure that you flour each one well so that they don’t stick together as they will tear easily. Once your have used up all the mixture get some salted boiling water ready and add the ravioli. Cook for about three minutes, then drain.

While they are cooking make the butter dressing. Simply melt the butter with all the other ingredients, seasoning to taste and once the ravioli is drained and plated up, spoon over the top and serve. Then sit down for a well deserved rest.

Crab ravioli

Grilled Polenta with roasted vegetables

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Grilled polenta and roasted vegetables

I have only cooked polenta a handful of times so I thought I’d give it another whirl. It is relatively simple to make as you just add four times the amount of boiling water to polenta and cook over a high heat until firm, about five minutes. You will need to add a good amount of flavouring like olive oil, butter, salt and pepper and Parmesan as polenta is quite bland. Once the polenta is very thick spoon out onto an oiled tray and leave to set. Once it has set, cut into long pieces and fry in a dry grill pan until it has dark grill lines on it. Then serve with whatever you like, but roasted vegetables is what you see it with most often. A healthy meal, made in minutes.

Pass the Sprouts

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Brussel sprout soup

Unlike the vast majority, or so it seems to me, I love Brussel Spouts. It’s like declaring that you enjoy wading knee deep in manure, when you get that sour-faced, nose turned up look of disgust when they are mentioned. Infact I don’t know why I don’t have them more often. I think I just tend to forget about them, or maybe I don’t want to own up to my distasteful 20 a day sprout habit and simply pretend that you only have them on Christmas day when your mother tries to force them down your throat and the only thing you can do to stop the ever rising tide of bile is to hold you nose.

Instead of having just sprouts for Christmas day, which don’t get me wrong would make me just as happy, we tend to boil them and then fry them in butter with white breadcrumbs and chopped brazil nuts or we slice them raw and fry them with pine nuts and pancetta.

Just before Christmas I thought it would be nice to try sprout soup. I thought it turned out very nicely. If you don’t like sprouts, I’m not gonna lie to you, you may heave at the very sight of it.

I simply boiled the sprouts in a saucepan filled with weakish vegatable stock, a clove of garlic and a bay leaf. When the sprouts were tender I reserved the cooking liquor, refreshed them in cold water and blended them to a smooth soup with the cooking liquor, a little grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and a little butter. The soup ended up a little thick so I just thinned it out with a little water, but the consistency is, of course, entirely up to you. I then swirled a little creme fraiche into the soup and topped with ciabatta croutons that I cooked in the oven with olive oil, salt, a clove of garlic (which I removed before serving) and a handful of pine nuts.

Brussel sprout soup

Butternut squash and pine nut risotto

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Butternut squash and pine nut risotto

I really like risotto but you have to keep trying different recipes to make it more interesting. This is one I made up myself although it is by no means ground breaking. I love Gruyere cheese and I thought it would go well with the nutty squash and pine nuts. The basic risotto recipe is from Jamie’s Italy.

Serves 6


1.1 ltrs chicken stock

3 tblsp olive oil

knob of butter

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped

400g risotto rice

2 wineglasses dry white vermouth or white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

70g butter

1 small butternut squash

1 tsp ground cumin

100g pine nuts

115g Gruyere finely grated

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch size pieces. Toss them in a tbslp of olive oil, the cumin and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven until soft.

Heat the stock. Add the onion, garlic and celery into a frying pan with the olive oil and butter and gently cook for 15 minutes. Add the rice and turn up the heat and fry for a minute or so. Add the vermouth and stir until absorbed, then start adding the stock a ladle at a time, letting the rice absorb it after each addition. The heat should be turned down to medium so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding the stock until the rice is cooked, which should take about 15 minutes.

Just before the rice is cooked dry fry the pine nuts until golden. Keep an eye on them as they colour very quickly once up to temperature. Remove the rice from the heat and add the squash, Gruyere, pine nuts and a knob of butter. Stir together, put a lid on and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Steamed pudding, hmmmm!

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Steamed ginger and orange marmalade pudding

I love winter, it’s my favourite time of year. I really enjoy snuggling up when it’s really cold outside and the wonderful colours in the garden, but it’s also an excuse to get cracking with some warming winter puddings. I spotted this steamed orange and stem ginger pudding whilst rummaging through and cataloging my vast collection of food magazines.

Serves 6

100g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

100g caster sugar

3 medium eggs, room temperature

60g stem ginger, finely chopped

1 heaped tblsp plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 tblsp freshly squeezed orange juice

125g fine cut marmalade

150g fresh breadcrumbs

1 heaped tsp freshly ground cinnamon (I just used powdered)

For the dark ginger sauce

210g caster sugar

4cm piece of fresh root ginger, finely grated

juice of 1/2 lemon

Grease the pudding basin, which should be about 1 to 1.3 ltr capacity. Mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy and then add them one at a time beating after each addition. Mix the stem ginger with the flour and in a separate bowl mix together the baking powder and the orange juice. Add these both to the butter sugar and egg mixture with a pinch of salt and the remaining ingredients. After mixing well, spoon into the pudding basin and level the surface. Grease a piece of foil and fold a pleat into the middle. Place greased side down over the top of the basin and tie tightly with a piece of string. Put the basin into a deep pan of boiling water that comes two thirds up the side of the bowl. Cover and simmer for 1 and 1/4 hours until the pudding is firm to the touch.

To make the sauce put the sugar and 135ml of water in a wide saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer without stirring until it turns a dark caramel colour. Add 135ml of water slowly and stir to get rid of any lumps, simmer for five minutes, then add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Once the pudding is turned out onto a plate pour the sauce over to soak in before serving with some thick cream, with a dash of alcohol if you like.