Food Glorious Food
CH’s 60th celebrations were a good excuse to rediscover this impressive Geo III Regency dining table which must have seen it all, having belonged originally in Medmenham Abbey, the headquarters of the notorious C18th ‘Hellfire Club’, which enjoyed a reputation for drunkenness and debauchery. We tried to live up to its expectations. Shiomi and Diana spent the morning inflating balloons, rush and rugs galore and James blew us away with his culinary genius.
POACHED SALMON & ASPARAGUS QUICHE
To make the pastry, sift 110g of plain white spelt flour flour and rub in 50g of cold butter using only the tips of your fingers. Add a pinch of salt and slowly add a little cold water – just enough for the mixture to come together and form a ball.
Knead for a few minutes on a cold floured surface, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Lightly dust a clean, flat surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the pastry into a round shape, big enough to line the base and sides of a 26cm fluted tin. Lift the pastry using the rolling pin and lay it over the tin. Gently press the pastry into the tin, then trim off any excess. Place the prepared base in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until your filling is ready. This will stop the pastry shrinking during the blind baking.
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan oven
To make the filling, place two salmon fillets skin side down, season with black pepper and cover in butter and lemon slices, parcel up the foil so and bake in an oven along with some fine asparagus. The salmon will be beautifully cooked in about 20 mins. Once cool, lift the salmon from the skin with a spatula.
Once the pastry has been blind baked lay out the the salmon and roasted asparagus in the case and pour over a mixture of 4 large eggs, milk maybe some cheese if you fancy it.
Bake for 25 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4 and cook for a further 25 minutes, until the tart has a lovely golden colour. Keep an eye on it and don’t allow the egg mixture to boil in the oven as it will make it wet and ruin your pastry.
CANDIED BEETROOT, GOATS CHEESE & WALNUT SALAD
Cut the beetroot into small chunks, throw them in a casserole dish with a handful of demerara sugar and a real good slosh of balsamic vinegar, maybe a little bit of wine if you happen to have something open. Season heavily with salt and pepper and a few sprigs of rosemary, douse liberally with olive oil and mix throughly with your hands. chop three bulbs of garlic in half throw them into the casserole dish. Cover with some foil and let them roast on a medium heat for 1 hour.
Once softened remove the foil and turn the heat up. The juices will caramelise and the beetroot and garlic will become sticky and sweet. Once cool remove the softened garlic cloves from the husks and remove the rosemary. Fill a large salad bowl with lambs leaf salad leaves, sprinkle with walnuts and crumble over the goats cheese (it is important to choose a hard, tart goats cheese for this salad as anything soft will turn to a pinkish mush alongside the beetroot). Add the beetroot and garlic. Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and toss together
BLACKSTICKS BLUE & FIG
Lay out some little oat cakes on your board or platter of choice. Smear with (room temperature) Blacksticks blue cheese, followed by a quarter slice of fig then use a blob of local honey as the glue for your walnut topping. Easy peasy and delicious!