Raspberry and Whisky Cranachan

Happy New Year – My Recipe for Cranachan

I thought my last post of the year should be something suitably festive and suitable for New Year’s Eve, so my mind turned to Hogmanay, in Scotland, they really know how to bring in the New Year in true party fashion. And what could be more Scottish than Cranachan a delicious blend of cream, oats, raspberries, and whisky. I first learned about Cranachan from Donald, the Scottish born pastry chef at the Island Hotel, Tresco. Now I know this isn’t the raspberry season, but it is well worth the expense and you can then make the recipe again during the abundant summer growing season.

Raspberry and Whisky Cranachan
Fresh Raspberry Cranachan with Granola

My Cranachan recipe is entirely my own twist which I first used in a restaurant in Jersey with fresh raspberries folded into cream flavoured with honey, whisky and the crunch of delicious homemade Granola*. As it ticks the alcohol and cream boxes how could I resist Cranachan and well oats lower your cholesterol don’t they?

*You can use the remaining Granola for breakfast.

Cranachan                         serves 4

300 gr fresh Raspberries

350ml double cream ( I use thick Jersey double cream)

6 tablespoons homemade Granola

30 gr Caster Sugar

2 tablespoons Scottish Heather Honey

2 to 3 tablespoons good quality Whisky

Mint and Icing Sugar to garnish

First purée half the raspberries and caster sugar in a blender and sieve. Whisk the double cream until just set, thick Jersey cream really only takes a few turns of the whisk, then gently stir in the honey and whisky. Do not over whip or the mix will separate.

Fold in the raspberry purée in light ripples then serve in bowls alternating layers of the cream, the granola, and the remaining whole raspberries. Chill before serving and top with raspberries, mint, and dust with icing sugar.

Allergens in this recipe are;


Please see the Allergens Page

Baked Portobello Mushroom and Chorizo

Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg

After the excesses of Christmas, I quite often want something with plenty of flavour but that is perhaps not too substantial and relatively simple to create. It can be very easy with lunches out with family and friends between Christmas and the New Year celebrations to easily be over faced with just too much food. In my case that is quite difficult but never the less still possible, so here is a recipe for Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg that is very tasty and quite light and very easy to make.

Baked Portobello Mushroom and Chorizo
Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo

In this recipe for Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg, I use braised Chorizo, which is a staple in our kitchen at home great for flavouring stews, soups and casseroles. If you cannot get Portobello mushrooms, open-cap field mushrooms area perfect substitute.     

Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg             serves 4

4 Portobello Mushrooms, peeled and stems removed

150 gr braised Chorizo, drained, plus reserved oil

2 large handfuls of Baby Spinach, washed and dried ( optional )

4 fresh free-range Eggs

A sprig or two of fresh Thyme

Fine Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with foil. Place the mushrooms, gills side up, on the baking sheet, drizzle with a little braised Chorizo oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for ten minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat a little more Chorizo oil in a frying pan, over medium heat, and quickly toss in the baby spinach, season and remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven and divide the spinach between them. Top with the braised Chorizo and sprinkle with fresh Thyme leaves. Place back in the oven for ten more minutes before removing once more and cracking an egg into each. Place back in the oven and bake for a final ten minutes. Remove and serve with a little lightly dressed herb salad.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour     Eggs

Please see the Allergens Page

Spaghetti with Parma Ham and Roasted Garlic

I love garlic, I adore garlic, I cook with absolutely loads of garlic like today’s recipe for Spaghetti with Parma Ham and Roasted Garlic. I could actually employ a full-time garlic peeler, knee deep in discarded garlic husks. A manager I worked with regularly joked I could not cook a dish without garlic, cream, and alcohol, including the desserts.*

But here is a but – I LOATH BURNT GARLIC. I jump up, gesticulate, shout and scream at the number of cookery programs where poor, innocent, sweet, comely garlic is tossed into woks and pans of smoking hot oil.** I am pretty certain every single person who utters the frankly unbelievable phrase ‘ it doesn’t have garlic in it does it, I really don’t like garlic ‘ is the result of a traumatic exposure to such cooking travesties. Burnt garlic is a cheek sucking, eye-watering experience, an awful culinary disgrace.

Hence a recipe for roasted garlic, I swear all the disbelievers could be converted with this delicious way of cooking garlic. The slow roasting with just a little oil highlights the natural sweetness and tempers any harsh raw flavours. I first encountered roasted garlic when I worked as a manager at the Bel and the Dragon, Cookham served with rustic, crusty bread and olives and olive oil, the garlic squeezed out and spread on the bread as a kind of pungent pate. Wow!

I keep some roasted garlic cloves covered in oil in the refrigerator now handy for lots of cooking especially this simple full flavoured lunch or supper dish recipe Spaghetti with Parma Ham and Roasted Garlic. Post the Christmas and Boxing Day excesses I think it is nice to have something really tasty and easy to cook. The Parma ham and roasted garlic can be cooked in the last few minutes of your pasta cooking. The chilli provides a little bite but is not there to overpower this wonderful dish, however, if you want to add a little extra go for it, one of the joys of cooking is experimenting. Enjoy.

*The garlic cream rum babas were perhaps a little ahead of their time.
** Just add the garlic later during the cooking process when the heat is lowered or with more ingredients that dissipate the heat.

Spaghetti with Parma Ham.JPG

Spaghetti with Parma Ham and Roasted Garlic serves 4

50 to 65 gr Spaghetti per person ( I grab a generous handful but I’m greedy )

2 large heads of roasted garlic ( see below )

16 slices Parma Ham

1 small to medium Chilli, de-seeded and very thinly sliced

6 to 8 tablespoons quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A small handful of curly Parsley, thoroughly washed, dried and chopped

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

½ a Lemon

for the roasted garlic

Garlic Bulbs

Olive oil

A few sprigs of Rosemary and Thyme

Sea Salt and roughly ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C/ Gas mark 6. Remove the tops of the garlic bulbs, place on to a baking tray. Sprinkle liberally with olive oil, the herbs and plenty of salt and pepper. Roast for twenty-five to thirty minutes until the bulbs are soft. Cool and squeeze out as required.

For the Spagehetti

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for eight to ten minutes until ‘ al dente ‘ or with just a little bite left in the pasta. The old student technique of seeing if sticks to the wall is not necessary, just remove a little of the spaghetti and bite between your front teeth. While the pasta is cooking gently heat the olive oil in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the chilli and garlic, sauté for two minutes. Add the ham and season, cook for a minute. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and stir in the parsley. Drain the spaghetti and stir thoroughly into the frying pan, ensuring all the spaghetti is coated with the oil, chilli and parsley mix. Plate and serve with a little extra chopped parsley.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour     Eggs

Please see the Allergens Page

Scallops - Coquillies St. Jaques

Coquilles St. Jacques

Coquilles St. Jacques is a classic of French cuisine, gently poached scallops and mushrooms in a rich, cream sauce, garnished with enriched mashed potato and gratinated. It is a real dinner party staple from the 1970’s but definitely none the worse for that, done right Coquilles St. Jacques is a real pleasure to eat. I love scallops and my style of cooking when I first trained definitely used lots of cream and butter so this soon became a favourite dish of mine. Coquilles St. Jacques is still a very popular dish now and always sells out when we put it on the specials boards in any of the restaurants I work in.

Scallops - Coquillies St. Jaques
Coquillies St. Jaques

Coquilles St. Jacques                        serves 6 

The great thing for the home cook is Coquilles St. Jacques can be prepared early, left on the shells and chilled then baked later for five or ten minutes longer than indicated in the recipe below. Be careful when poaching the scallops to not overcook as they can soon go rubbery.

For Mashed Potatoes

800 gr King Edward potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons salted Butter

2 tablespoons Double Cream

1 Egg Yolk

A pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

For Scallop filling

12 Scallops, trimmed and patted dry on kitchen paper

150 gr Button Mushrooms, wiped and quartered

2 Shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 large knobs of Butter ( 2 tablespoons )

3 heaped tablespoons Plain Flour

125 ml good White Wine

125 ml Water

60 ml Double Cream

A generous splash of Vermouth

Juice of half a freshly squeezed Lemon

1 small Bouquet Garni

2 tablespoons of Chives, finely chopped

Fine Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

150 gr grated Gruyère cheese

50 gr Breadcrumbs

 6 Scallop shells

For the mashed potatoes

Place the potatoes into a large pan and cover with water and add a half teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes for twenty minutes until tender. Remove from the heat and drain, return to the pan and put back on the heat to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat again and the pass through a moulis. Add the butter, cream, egg yolk, and nutmeg and beat in to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

Scallop filling

In a medium saucepan bring the water, wine, bouquet garni, and lemon juice to a low boil. Carefully add the scallops, and simmer for three minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper. Drop the mushrooms into the simmering cooking liquid and cook for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and strain out the mushrooms keeping the cooking liquid.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the shallots, cook over a moderate heat until very soft, but not coloured, stir in the flour to make a roux. Cookout for a couple of minutes until golden then whisk in the hot scallop poaching liquid. Add the cream and vermouth and cookout covered with a cartouche on the lowest possible simmer. After half an hour taste to see if the floury texture is cooked out and season as required. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Slice the scallops in half lengthwise and add to the sauce with the mushrooms and chives.

Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4. Spoon the filling into six scallop shells or small gratin dishes and pipe around the edge with the mashed potatoes. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the cheese and top with the breadcrumbs then bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes, until the cheese and potatoes are golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven and serve.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery  Flour   Milk Oyster

Please see the Allergens Page


Sear Scallops and Braised Chorizo

Sauté Scallops, Sweet Potato and Coriander Purée with braised Chorizo

It really is time for me to celebrate a little more of this wonderful island’s amazing produce and what better than diver-caught scallops. Scallops are probably my favourite seafood and very versatile from the classic Coquilles St. Jacques to Asian influenced recipes such as my own Sesame crusted Scallops. This recipe is a marriage made in heaven, sweet pan-seared scallops, a lightly spiced, well-seasoned sweet potato purée and pungent rich braised Chorizo sausage. This is warming indulgent dish ideal on a crisp cold winters day.

Sear Scallops and Braised Chorizo
Pan-seared Scallops with Braised Chorizo

Chorizo is one of my favourite ingredients and would certainly be a candidate for my Desert Island list of ingredients along with anchovies and Sherry vinegar. In this recipe, it is almost cooked confit style in slowly simmering oil. You do not need to use a full flavoured oil to braise the Chorizo in, as the cooking process releases the wonderful flavours of garlic and sweet paprika from the sausage. Any extra Chorizo can be stored in the refrigerator covered in the oil. It is a wonderful base for Paella, a stuffing for chicken breasts and as a garnish for winter soups such as Butternut Squash.

Sauté Scallops, Sweet Potato and Coriander Purée with braised Chorizo     serves 4

16 diver caught Scallops ( ask your fishmonger to prepare them )

A good slug of Olive oil

2 large knobs of Jersey Butter

1½ large Sweet Potatoes, washed, peeled and diced

1 piece of preserved Stem Ginger

6 – 8 crushed Coriander seeds

4 tablespoons of Jersey Double Cream

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

4 oz raw mild Spanish Chorizo sausage ( Chorizo Dulce )

Olive oil

Herb salad to garnish

For the braised Chorizo

Dice the Chorizo sausage into pieces around the size of your little fingernail. Place in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with olive oil. Place over the lowest possible heat and cook for at least an hour and a half until soft. Periodically skim the surface to remove any impurities. Keep the heat as low as possible to prevent burning. If you have gas a pilot light is ideal or the corner of an Aga, you just want the gentlest of simmers. Once cooked allow to cool thoroughly, the Chorizo can be made prior to cooking, stored in the refrigerator and gently warmed through just before plating up.

For the Scallops and Sweet Potato

In a medium heavy-bottomed pan place the sweet potato dice, ginger, coriander and half a teaspoon of salt. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for twenty minutes and strain, place back on the heat for two minutes and steam dry. Pass through a Ricer, Moulis or fine sieve to produce a smooth purée. Return again to the pan add one generous knob of butter and the cream, stir and correct seasoning by adding salt and pepper to your taste. Keep warm over a low heat.

In a heavy-bottomed frying pan melt the butter and olive oil over a high heat. Season the prepared scallops immediately before cooking not before as they can discolour. Place carefully in the pan and sauté for one to two minutes until the scallops are golden brown and the edges caramelising. Turnover and cook for one more minute.

Place a spoonful of the sweet potato purée in the centre of the plate and top with a tiny handful of salad leaves. Arrange scallops and spoon over braised Chorizo and serve.

Allergens in this recipe are;

     Milk Oyster

Please see the Allergens Page

Crispy oven roast Potatoes

Christmas Dinner -Potatoes

Whatever roast Turkey, Ham or Beef you have chosen for your Christmas Dinner you will need some potatoes to help mop up the delicious gravy and I am going to give you three recipes. The first is guaranteed to give you a plate full of Perfect Roasties to serve up on the table. The second is for luxurious butter and stock braised Fondant Potatoes, packed full of flavour, and the final recipe is for my new favourite that doesn’t even need peeling and are really, really, crisp. You need a fluffy, floury potato such as a King Edward or Desiree for the first two recipes and Charlottes are perfect for the third.

Crispy oven roast Potatoes
Classic roast potatoes

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Some people will consider it a tragedy to put anything on a roast potato to make it crispier, but I have tried both flour and cornmeal and you do get an extra crunchy texture. The greatest heresy is however what you cook the potatoes in. I am from the North of England and only Beef Dripping will suffice, the chef’s choice is Duck or Goose fat. There is a sensible reason for both of these choices, the high temperature both of these fats can reach without burning helps achieve an excellent crisp potato. You can, however, achieve perfectly satisfactory results with a quality vegetable oil.

1 kg Potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered if very large

2 tablespoons Flour or fine Cornmeal ( entirely optional )

6 -8 tablespoons Beef Dripping or Duck Fat

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Heat your oven to 220 C / 425 F / Gas Mark 6-7. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and to the boil. Cook for five minutes, then remove from the heat. Drain the potatoes well, then return to the pan and shake in order to rough up the edges a little. Sprinkle with some salt and freshly ground pepper and the flour or cornmeal if you or adding it. Place the dripping or duck fat in a large roasting tray and heat in the oven until it is hot ( about five minutes ).

Remove the tray from the oven and very carefully add the potatoes, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure they are totally covered with the fat. Roast the potatoes for fifty to sixty minutes then give them a stir and cook for around another fifty to twenty minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and serve.

Allergens in this recipe are;


Please see the Allergens Page

Butter and Stock Fondant Potatoes
Delicious braised potatoes flavoured with butter, thyme in garlic

Fabulous Fondants

Fondants are often cooked totally in butter and are very indulgent, this recipe uses a mixture of butter and stock to give the finished potatoes a lot of flavour. This recipe is flavoured with garlic and thyme but you can use fresh rosemary, sage and bay leaves.

4 medium sized Potatoes, peeled and cut into barrel shapes

150 gr Salted Butter

100 ml quality Chicken or Vegetable Stock

2 Garlic cloves, peeled, slightly crushed

2-3 sprigs fresh Thyme

A grate of fresh Nutmeg

Sea Salt flakes and freshly ground Black Pepper

Heat your oven to 220 C / 425 F / Gas Mark 6-7. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter is starting to foam, add the potatoes and fry on one side until deep golden-brown, then turn and cook on the next side. Continue until the potato is golden-brown on each side, do not be tempted to move the potato whilst it is browning as it may stick.

Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the stock, then add the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. The fat will spit, and splutter so make sure your arms are covered when you do this. Generously season and place in the oven. Cook for around thirty-five to forty minutes or until the potato is soft when pierced with a skewer or small sharp knife. Carefully transfer to serving bowl or plate.

Allergens in this recipe are;


Please see the Allergens Page

Crushed crispy baby potatoes
Crispy crushed baby potatoes flavoured with garlic.

Crunchy Crushed Spuds

This recipe is flavoured with garlic and thyme, but you can use fresh rosemary, sage and bay leaves.

2kg New Potatoes

A good Slug of Olive Oil ( around 4 tablespoons )

A large knob of Butter

6 Garlic cloves, unpeeled and bruised

A small sprig of Thyme

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F / Gas Mark 6. Place the potatoes in a pan of salted water, and bring to the boil then simmer for ten minutes until just tender. Remove from the heat and drain. Heat the oil and butter in a roasting tin in the oven until the butter has melted and it is starting to bubble in the meantime lightly crush the potatoes with the back of a wooden spoon or a fork. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and add the potatoes, garlic, and thyme and turn in the hot oil and butter. Sprinkle with sea salt and plenty of black pepper and roast for twenty minutes until golden and crusty, then turn the potatoes and roast for a further twenty minutes. When the potatoes are crisp remove with a slotted spoon, drain and serve.

Allergens in this recipe are;


Please see the Allergens Page

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