Thursday, 18 December 2008

Salmon Coulibiac

BY DELIA SMITH: (I make this for boxing day lunch - mine is already in the freezer!)
Salmon Coulibiac
This is one of the best fish pies ever invented. It's perfect for entertaining as it can all be made well in advance. Provided everything is cooled thoroughly first, all you have to do is cover it with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until needed, then pop it into the oven just before you serve the first course. Serve it cut in slices, with a large bowl of mixed-leaf salad tossed in a sharp lemony dressing, and hand round some Foaming Hollandaise sauce. Or you can simply melt some butter with an equal quantity of lemon juice and serve it with that.

Serves 6
1¼ lb (560 g) salmon tail fillet, skinned 1 x 375g pack of ready-rolled fresh puff pastry 3 oz (75 g) butter 3 oz (75 g) white basmati rice 8 fl oz (225 ml) fish stock 1 medium onion, finely chopped 4 oz (110 g) small button mushrooms, finely sliced 1 level tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1 level teaspoon lemon zest 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 large eggs, hard boiled (7 minutes from simmering), roughly chopped 1½ level tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley salt and freshly milled black pepper
To finish:
1 oz (25 g) butter, melted 1 egg, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
You will also need a good solid baking tray 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30 cm) and a lattice cutter.

First melt 1 oz (25 g) of the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice. When the rice is coated with butter, add the stock and a little salt and bring it up to simmering point, then stir well and cover with a lid. Cook the rice for 15 minutes exactly, then take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and allow it to cool.
As soon as the rice is cooking, take a sheet of buttered foil, lay the salmon on it and add some seasoning. Then wrap it up loosely, pleating the foil at the top and folding the edges in. Place it on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for just 10 minutes – the salmon needs to be only half cooked. After that remove it from the oven, open the foil and allow it to cool.
While the salmon and the rice are cooling, melt the other 2 oz (50 g) of butter in a small saucepan and gently sweat the onion in it for about 10 minutes until it softens. After that, add the sliced mushrooms and half the dill, then carry on cooking gently for a further 5 minutes. After that, stir in the lemon zest and juice, some salt and freshly milled black pepper, and allow this mixture to cool.
Next, take a large bowl and combine the salmon, broken up into large flakes, the hard-boiled eggs, the remaining dill and half the parsley. Give all this a good seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper. Next, in another bowl, combine the rice mixture with the onion, mushroom and the rest of the parsley, giving this some seasoning, too.
Now for the pastry. What you need to do here is take it out of its packet, unfold it and place it lengthways on a lightly floured surface, then using a tape measure, roll the pastry into a 14 (35 cm) inch square. Now cut it into 2 lengths, one 6½ inches (16 cm) and one 7½ inches (19 cm). Lightly brush the baking sheet and surface of the pastry with some of the melted butter and lay the narrower strip of pastry on to it. Then, first spoon half the rice mixture along the centre leaving a gap of at least an inch (2.5 cm) all the way round. Next, spoon the salmon mixture on top of the rice, building it up as high as possible and pressing and moulding it with your hands – what you're aiming for is a loaf shape of mixture. Then lightly mould the rest of the rice mixture on top of the salmon and brush the 1 inch (2.5 cm) border all round with beaten egg.
Next, take the lattice cutter and run it along the centre of the other piece of pastry, leaving an even margin of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) all round. Brush the surface of the pastry with melted butter, then very carefully lift this and cover the salmon mixture with it. The idea here is not to let the lattice open too much as you lift it, because it will open naturally as it goes over the filling. Press the edges together all round to seal, then trim the pastry so that you're left with a ¾ inch (2 cm) border. Now using the back edge of a knife, knock up the edges of the pastry, then crimp it all along using your thumb and the back of the knife, pulling the knife towards the filling each time as you go round. Alternatively, just fork it all around.
When you're ready to cook the coulibiac, raise the oven temperature to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C) and brush the surface of the pastry all over with beaten egg and any remaining butter. And, if you feel like it, you can re-roll some of the trimmings and cut out little fish shapes to decorate the top. Now place the coulibiac on to the high shelf of the oven and bake it for 20-25 minutes until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven and leave it to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into slices and serving with the sauce.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection and The Delia Collection: Fish. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Guide to Fish Cookery).

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Butter cut-out biscuits

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe

175g soft unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

300g icing sugar, sieved and food colouring

biscuit cutters

2 baking sheets, greased or lined

pre-heat oven to 180c

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and moving towards mousiness, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough. Halve the dough, form into fat discs, wrap each half in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least half an hour (and you can leave it in there for a couple of days if it helps). Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place a disc of dough on it (not taking out the other half until you've finished with the first) and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about half cm. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the biscuits a little apart on the baking sheets.

Bake for 8 - 12 Min's, by which time they will be lightly golden around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and continue with the rest of the dough. When they're all fully cooled, you can get on with the icing. Put a couple of tablespoons of just-not boiling water into a large bowl, add the sieved icing sugar and mix together, adding more water as you need to form a thick paste. Colour as desired. (I actually make a slightly thinner mix and use a paint brush to paint the icing onto the biscuits)

Mincemeat Blondies

From Anthea Turner - The Perfect Christmas

Like a brownie without chocolate - delicious with a glass of mulled wine.

Makes 9 - 12

175g self raising flour

175g light soft brown sugar

50g margarine

1 large egg

4 tbsp sweet mincemeat

(I also think this needs a drop or two of milk to loosen the consistency!)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Grease the sides and line the base of a 20cm baking tin.

2. Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat together for 3 minutes until well combined. Spoon mixture into the prepared tins and level the top.

3. bake for 40 minutes until the Blondie is firm in the middle (check after 30Min's)

4. cool slightly and cut into 9 or 12 pieces. Remove from tin and place on a wire cooling rack. When completely cold store in an airtight container.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Parmesan Stars

Now the party season is upon us, I thought these simple little cheesy bites might come in handy, found the recipe in the Daily Mail magazine.
Makes 30 -40 depending on the size of the cutter you use.
375g ready-rolled puff pastry
Flour for dusting
1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp milk, mixed
50g finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
Preheat the oven to 220 c
Cut out as many stars from the pastry as possible with a small cutter, and place onto greased baking sheets.
Lightly brush surface with the egg and milk mix.
Mix together the Parmesan and chili powder, then scatter over the stars.
Bake in the oven for about 5 -8 minutes or until lightly golden and puffed up.
They are best served straight away but can be made a few days in advance and warmed in the oven when needed.
Enjoy x

Friday, 5 December 2008

Sausage Rolls

This recipe is from Delia Smiths Christmas Cookbook, a book I love!
Makes 24
For the flaky pastry:
8oz (225g) plain flour
6oz (175g) butter (hard from fridge)
a pinch salt
cold water to mix
For the filling:
1lb good quaility pork sausage meat
1 tsp sage
1 onion, grated
1 beaten egg to glaze

pre-heat oven to gas mark 7, 220 c
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Get the butter out of the fridge and dip it into the flour and then grate it on a course grater placed in the bowl over the flour. Keep dipping the butter down into the flour to make it easier to grate.
At the end you'll be left with a pile of grated butter in the middle of the flour, so take a palette knife and start to distribute it into the flour (don't use your hands), try to coat all the pieces of butter with flour until the mixture is crumbly. Next add enough water to form a dough that leaves the bowl clean, using your hands bring it all gently together. Put the dough into a polythene bag and chill it for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
When you're ready to make the sausage rolls mix the sausage meat, onion and sage together in a mixing bowl. Then roll out the pastry onto a floured surface to form an oblong (as thin as you can). Cut this oblong into three strips and divide the sausage meat also into three, making three long rolls the same length as the strips of pastry (if it's sticky sprinkle on some flour).
Place one roll of sausage meat on to one strip of pastry. Brush the beaten egg along one edge, then fold the pastry over and seal it as carefully as possible. Lift the whole thing up and turn it so the sealed edge is underneath. Please lightly and cut into individual rolls each about 2" long. Snip three v-shapes in the top of each roll with scissors and brush with beaten egg. Repeat all this with the other portions of meat and pastry.
If you are going to cook straightaway, place the rolls on baking sheets and bake high in the oven for 20-25 minutes. If you want to cook them later, store them uncooked in a freezer box and freeze until needed. Although you can store the cooked and cooled sausage rolls in an airtight tin, they do loose their crunchiness. For this reason I think it's preferable to remove a few at a time from the freezer and cook them as required.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Almond Paste

Ready to marzipan that Christmas cake? Well here is the recipe I always use. It is from my old faithful 'Dairy book of Home Cookery'. This book has everything in it, it's like a little cooks bible!

Sufficient to cover top and sides of a 20.5-23cm (8-9inch) fruit cake fairly thickly.

275g (10oz) ground almonds

225g (8oz) icing sugar, sifted

225g (8oz) caster sugar

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks (remember you can freeze the whites and use them in meringues another time!)

5ml (1tsp) lemon juice

2.5ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla essence

1. Combine almonds with both sugars.

2. Mix to a fairly stiff paste with remaining ingredients.

3. Turn out onto a board or table covered with sifted icing sugar. Knead lightly with fingertips until smooth, crack-free and pliable.

I then heat a little apricot jam and brush it over the cake before rolling out the almond paste and covering the cake with it.