#FoodyFriday January 18th

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My oh my, don’t Fridays come around quickly? Once again it was our regular Date Night Dinner last night, which this time was without the inbuilt pyrotechnic display as provided by yours truly last week.  Shame, I really liked that tablecloth….

Anyway, back to FoodyFriday.  Once again we were having a fish-fest, quite simply because it is one of our favourite foods.  Not only another fish-fest, but also our second salmon-fest in a row. The starter was the result of using up some left over hot-smoked salmon from the fridge and the main was slightly experimental, and I have to say, a great success.  So here goes.

On the menu tonight:

Smoked salmon tartlets; Spiced salmon with creamy Savoy cabbage and potato croutons;  Cherry-berry roulade.

Smoked salmon tartlets

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Gloriously simple to make, especially if you use ready made pastry cases.  However, my latest discovery is Parmesan pastry – delicate, crisp and the perfect accompaniment to the creamy smoked salmon filling.

Pastry ingredients:

75g butter

175g plain flour

40g Parmesan (finely grated)

Method:

Rub the butter into the flour and stir in the Parmesan, then add just enough water (approx 3 tbspn) to make a fairly firm, but soft, dough.  Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes, then roll out and cut out rounds to fit your tins.  Mine are mini loose bottomed flan tins but you can use what ever you have.  This is also enough pastry to make one large tart.

Line the dough with baking parchment and fill each with baking beans.  Bake blind at 180c, Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.  At this stage, the pastry cases can be cooled and frozen for use at a later date.

Filling ingredients:

200g smoked salmon (in this instance I used hot-smoked salmon because it needed using up, but cold smoked salmon is best)

1 heaped tsp dry or 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill

2 eggs, beaten

284ml single cream ( I used Elmlea whipping, which has perfect results)

freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to fan 160c/ 180c/ gas 4.

Cut the salmon into strips and divide between the tart cases.  Place the tart cases onto a baking tray. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, transfer to a jug and pour into the tart cases.  To prevent spillage, fill half way then place the baking tray onto an oven shelf.  Carefully pour the remaining filling into the cases until they are brimming.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the filling has only just set and the top is pale golden.  Do not overcook or the filling will lose its fluffy consistency.

Serve warm with salad leaves.

Spiced salmon with creamy Savoy Cabbage and potato croutons

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This is utterly divine and extremely simple to make, although there is a bit of chopping and dicing involved in the preparation (but this can be done earlier in the day).

Ingredients:

Salmon:

2 salmon fillets, skinned and boneless

1tsp fennel seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1tbsp light soy sauce

1tbsp sesame oil

Creamy Savoy cabbage and potato croutons:

50g smoked bacon lardons

30g diced carrot

30g diced celeriac

1/2 Savoy cabbage, finely sliced

salt and pepper

200ml single cream (again, I used Elmlea Whipping, which I tend to use as a general purpose cream)

1 medium potato, diced, par-boiled, drained and dried

olive oil for cooking

Method:

Dry-fry the seeds over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until you can smell the aroma from them.  Add them to a pestle and mortar, along with the nutmeg and cinnamon.  Grind until the seeds have broken down.  Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and brush over the salmon fillets.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

In a small frying pan, heat approx 2 tbsp olive oil until it is smoking, then add the diced potatoes.  Fry over a high heat, turning regularly, until golden brown. Lift out of the pan and drain on kitchen roll. Set aside.

Heat a large, lidded frying pan, and add the lardons, carrot and celeriac.  These shouldn’t need oil, as the fat will come out of the bacon, but if you need to, add a drop of olive oil.  Fry over a moderate heat for approx 5 minutes, until the bacon is cooked and the vegetables are just starting to colour.  Add the cabbage, season and cover.  Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the cream (I add a drop of water from the kettle as well, to keep the sauce fairly thin).  Cook for approximately 5 minutes more, until the cabbage is cooked through.

While the cabbage mixture is cooking, heat the small frying pan and when it is really hot, add the salmon.  Cook for 2 minutes each side, and then remove to a baking tray and cook in the oven (200c) for 5 minutes.  Then rest until required. In the same frying pan, add the pre-cooked potatoes and cook over a high heat until heated through and deeper gold in colour.

Spoon the creamy cabbage onto warm plates, top with a salmon fillet and sprinkle with potato croutons.  Drizzle the creamy sauce over/around the fish.

Cherry-berry roulade

cherry berry roulade

This is adapted from that infamous goddess of baking, Mary Berry’s, meringue roulade recipe.  I have downsized hers and added my own filling.  Mine makes a perfectly adequate dessert for 6 reasonable helpings.  This is the original recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/strawberrymeringuero_74824

Ingredients:

2 egg whites

125g caster sugar

40g flaked almonds

icing sugar

200ml whipping cream

frozen black forest fruit mix, defrosted (not sure how much I used, I just guestimated)

Method:

Lightly oil a 23 x 33 cm Swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, but not dry.  Gradually add the sugar, whilst continuing to whisk, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.  Do not tap the tin to level, it will knock all the air out of the meringue!

Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and pop onto the top shelf of a hot oven – 220c, Gas 7, for 5 minutes, until the top is golden.

Reduce the oven to 160 (and I move the tin down to the  middle shelf) and continue to bake for 8 minutes until the meringue feels firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and invert onto a sheet of baking parchment. Carefully peel the lining paper from the meringue and leave to cook for 10 minutes.  To prevent it going soggy, I slide the parchment onto a cooling rack.

Whip the cream and spread evenly over the meringue.  Scatter over the berries, reserving a couple for decoration.  I try to reserve some of the juice from defrosting too.

NOW BE BRAVE!

Lift up a short end of the baking parchment, and start to roll, as tightly and evenly as you can.  Slide the dessert onto a serving dish and decorate with the remaining cherries and berries.  Drizzle any juice around the edge.  Dredge with a little icing sugar and serve.

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