Autumn News

After a second wonderful summer in a row, although as is so often the case August wasn’t very nice, we had an Indian summer with record lack of rainfall and high temperatures in September and early October; and now it’s really cool and Autumnal. Some have forecast really cold weather ahead this winter. After last year’s exceptionally mild one, we could do with a slightly crisper one.

Sloes are in very good supply in our hedgerows and the blackberries were as good as I can remember them. Our walnut trees had plenty of nuts on them and the squirrels had a wonderful time plundering most of them! The leaves are only just starting to show their autumn colours, and the beech trees in particular are very pretty with real displays of autumn gold. Our Virginia creeper was spectacularly red for a while, but the heavy rain knocked its soft leaves off rather earlier than normal. For once our farmers have had a good year and a good harvest. There has been plenty of forage for livestock farmers too.

autumnAs usual at this time of year, we are exceptionally busy at Trencherman’s.  We had a very good trip to North-West Spain and then drove back up through France. For the first time we took the ferry from Plymouth to Santander. This proved a very worthwhile experience as we were in Spain 24 hours after leaving home. Fortunately the infamous Bay of Biscay was very calm. More of our trip later elsewhere but we are ready to offer you yet another fine selection of foods, drink and other ideas for Christmas and the New Year.

We have combined with The Present Finder to send everybody a hard copy of the Newsletter and Christmas Order Forms. Our thanks to them for sponsoring the postage. Do have a look at their catalogue where you will find lots of unusual presents for Christmas.

Lentil Salad with peppers and anchovies

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300 g green lentils, cooked
  • 6 Piquillo peppers, sliced (or yellow peppers)
  • ½ a red onion finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of mixed garden herbs (mint, chives, parsley, chervil)
  • 16 to 20 anchovy fillets

Method

  1. Mix lentils, peppers, onion and capers in a bowl.
  2. Add the oil and vinegar.
  3. Season, bearing in mind the anchovies are salty.
  4. Mix in the fresh herbs
  5. Decorate with anchovy fillets.

Herby Mini Roast Potatoes

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

  • 4 or 5 good sized potatoes
  • 8 sunblushed tomatoes
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • fresh herbs from the garden (parsley, thyme, oregano etc..)
  • good olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly 2 inch pieces.
  2. Boil in salted water for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain through a sieve and shake them about in order to roughen the outside of the potatoes.
  4. Spread out and allow to cool for a good hour.
  5. This helps them go nice and crispy when roasted.
  6. Meanwhile, peel and finely dice your shallots.
  7. Gently fry in a little olive oil until soft.
  8. Cover the bottom of an oven dish with olive oil and heat in the oven at 400°F /200°C / Gas 6 for a few minutes until the oil is hot.
  9. Add the potatoes, shallots, garlic.
  10. Stir everything around to coat with the hot oil.
  11. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, turning them 2 or 3 times.
  12. After half an hour is up, add the sun-blushed tomatoes and a generous sprinkling of fresh herbs and return to the oven for a final 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are wonderfully crispy and golden!.
  13. Add salt & freshly ground black pepper and serve with whatever you fancy!

Fettucine with Norwegian Prawns

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

  • 250g peeled Norwegian Prawns
  • 8 King Prawns
  • 8 sticks celery
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Purée
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Schwarz Thai Curry spices
  • 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 glasses dry white wine
  • ½ glass Pastis
  • 200g Fettucine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Thaw the peeled prawns and drain well.
  2. Thaw the King Prawns, remove the tails and add to the peeled prawns, but retain the shells.
  3. Finely chop half the celery and the leek, crush the garlic.
  4. Take a small heavy casserole and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Put all of the prawn shells in and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly; then add the celery, leek and garlic and gently sweat for 3 or 4 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato purée and the white wine and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been reduced to about ¼ of its original quantity.
  6. While this is happening, take another casserole, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently fry the remaining sticks of celery, cut into two lengthways and into approximately 1” pieces. This only takes a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the curry spices, the juice of ½ a lemon and the Pastis.
  8. Sieve the contents of the other pan into the second pan, extracting all the liquid possible, using the back of a wooden spoon.
  9. Throw away the solids remaining in the sieve.
  10. Pour the peeled prawns into the mixture, season with freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Put a saucepan of water on to boil for your Fettucine and cook as soon as the water comes to a rolling boil, adding salt to taste.
  12. When the pasta is nearly ready, put the saucepan of prawns on the stove and reheat thoroughly for no more than 2 to 3 minutes, or the prawns will toughen.
  13. Drain the pasta, put it back into the dish in which it was cooked, adding the butter at this stage.
  14. Pour the prawn mixture over the pasta, mix well and sprinkle the parsley on top.
  15. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and a nice glass of chilled Quincy!

Dark Chocolate Mousse

This was Winston Churchill’s favourite recipe. It is actually a French recipe and is called Crème Marie-Louise.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6oz dark chocolate
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 small coffee cup of very strong sweet black coffee
  • 1oz Caster Sugar
  • 5 fl oz double or whipping cream

Method

  1. Take a pyrex (or similar) dish and a saucepan in which the dish can sit without its bottom touching the water.
  2. Fill the saucepan with enough water so that you can boil the water to melt the chocolate in the dish.
  3. Pour the cup of strong coffee (good instant will do) into the bowl, add the chocolate and heat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Remove from the saucepan.
  5. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and beat them.
  6. Whisk the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites and sugar until firm.
  8. Whisk a third of this into the chocolate, gently folding in the rest.
  9. Whisk the cream until light and airy and also fold this in to your mixture (you can omit the cream if you’re watching the calories).
  10. For individual mousses, pour into ramekins or tall stemmed glasses. For a single mousse pour into a suitable dish.
  11. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or so until well set.
  12. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes or so before serving, to give the chocolate a chance to soften a little.
  13. Decorate with chocolate leaves or curls (see separate recipes) if required, and serve with a light biscuit such as an Amaretti.

Crab-stuffed Tomatoes

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

  • Either 4 ripe beef tomatoes or 12 smaller tomatoes
  • 250g fresh white crabmeat
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons good mustardy mayonnaise
  • 24 capers
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cut of the tops of the tomatoes, and a thin slice off the bottom so that the tomato stands on a plate.
  2. Empty the tomatoes of seeds with a teaspoon.
  3. Mix the crabmeat, mayonnaise, capers, parsley and seasoning.
  4. Fill each tomato with the mixture.
  5. Chill briefly and serve with crusty bread and butter.

Chocolate Pots

What can we say – just delicious!

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 fl oz milk
  • 5 fl oz double cream
  • ½ a vanilla pod
  • 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks
  • 3 oz caster sugar

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 °C, 325 °F, Gas 3.
  2. Put the chocolate, milk, vanilla pod (split lengthways) and cream into a heavy based saucepan.
  3. Bring to the boil.
  4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, cream the egg, egg yolks and sugar together, using a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and blend.
  6. Strain into a jug removing the vanilla pod. Pour the mixture into oven-proof ramekins.
  7. Place them in an oven dish and pour in hot water to within ½ inch of the tops of the dishes.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes until the mixture is set like a custard.
  9. Remove the ramekins from the dish and allow to cool.
  10. Decorate with white chocolate curls or serve with some cream.

Chocolate Leaves

Serves as many as you can make!

 

Ingredients

  • Leaves
  • Chocolate

Method

  1. Go into the garden and find some pretty leaves. Rose leaves are good, as they have nice veins and are shiny.
  2. Wipe clean and allow to dry.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, or in a dish over (but not in) some boiling water.
  4. Remove from the heat.
  5. Using the underside of the leaf, because they are better veined, paint the chocolate on to the leaf with a small paintbrush.
  6. Allow to set, then peel the leaf away from the chocolate.

Chocolate Curls

For adding that professional touch to your dessert. Serves as many as you like!

 

Ingredients

  • A bar of good quality chocolate. Make sure it is cool or this gets very messy!

Method

  1. Simply run a vegetable peeler down the side of the chocolate as if you were trying to peel it, and you have your chocolate curls!