Sole (sort of) Veronique

Sole cooked meunière, lightly floured, then fried gently in butter for four and a half minutes a side.  Sauce made from fish stock, butter, lime juice and crème fraiche, simmered with a handful of chopped dill weed, then strained through a chinoise and reduced. A dozen seedless green grapes, halved and added to the sauce and simmered for a minute.  Served with crushed potatoes and chopped parsley. Classic Veronique wasn’t what I fancied, I just liked the idea of cooking the fish on the bone, but the Veronique sauce is just too delicious to miss.  Best of both worlds.

Slow-roasted aromatic pork belly

Piece of belly pork on the bone.  Massaged with a spice mix then hot-roasted for 15 minutes, then covered and cooked at 120C for six hours or so, with 200ml of water in the roasting pan to keep things moist.  Rested for 30 mins then hot-roasted at 230C for 12 minutes to crisp up a bit. Gravy made with the concentrated juices from the pan.

Served with a spoon, it was so tender.  Accompanied by unpeeled mashed potatoes with cream and butter, chopped peppered carrots and steamed spinach and plenty of the gravy.

Spice mix was root ginger, star anise, white peppercorns, sea salt and cinamon bark, crushed in a mortar and pestle, then mixed with soy sauce, cider vinegar, olive oil, ground black pepper, loads of garlic, smoked paprika and ground ginger. I massaged it into the meat and forced it into slits in the skin made with a Stanley knife.

Soupe Bonne Femme with aubergine tempura

Leeks. carrots and potatoes and some sweet red peppers, fried in a little olive oil then pan deglazed with a slosh of white wine.  Chicken stock and seasoning added.  Simmered until the carrots were starting to soften. Added knob of butter and a little cream and whizzed with a stick blender until smooth..

1cm slices of aubergine, quartered, coated in a light seasoned tempura batter that had been beaten and then rested.  Deep fried in oil until crispy and golden.  Drained on kitchen roll then served on a warm plate with the soup.

Fillet steak with mushroom sauce

Beef fillet, oiled and seasoned, then fried 5 minutes per side. Knob of butter added a minute before the end, then put aside to rest in a warm place under cover. Served with creamed potatoes, tourne carrots, wilted spinach and diced butternut squash, tossed in olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, then roasted 35 mins in a hot oven, turning once.

Sauce of button mushrooms browned in butter, mixed with the meat juices from deglazing the pan with a little white wine, seasoned and reduced, then a glug of cream to finish.


Bean soup

Sliced a large onion vertically, cubed some pancetta and cooked them gently in a heavy pan with olive oil, black pepper and butter until the onions started to turn slightly golden.  Added curry paste, cooked for 2 mins then added beef stock, chopped tomatoes, cannellini beans and red lentils.  Cooked for 15 mins or so at a very gentle simmer. Seasoned, added chopped fresh thyme, one tablespoon of honey and one of dark soy sauce and cooked for another 5 minutes.

Served with toasted croutons, finely-sliced yellow peppers and celery and a bit of parsley.

Dried pears with orange sorbet and redcurrants

I just love dehydrated pears.  One day I will get hold of some of those Poires Tapées au feu de bois that we saw near Azay le Rideau in France.  There was even a Musée de la Poire Tapée in Rivarennes, but we gave it a miss.  A person can take only so many local musées proudly showing the spécialités du région….

Anyway, dried pears it is, with a powerful orange sorbet and some redcurrants, served with a little bit of Alpro cream and slivers of crystallised angelica.

Haddock with mango sauce

Undyed smoked haddock, cooked Meuniere in foaming butter, with petit pois, sauteed button mushrooms, leeks, crunchy fried black pudding and dill weed.  Served with a sauce of chopped mango simmered in mango and apple juice, reduced until sticky, then whisked with cream.

Lentil and roast vegetable salad

Leaves, julienne carrots and beetroot, olives, shredded red cabbage, lentils simmered for 30 mins then cooled and rinsed.  Tossed with a dressing of lime juice, walnut oil, crushed thyme and honey.  Served with dice of sweet potato, butternut squash and potato roasted with olive oil, black pepper, sea salt and rosemary