This Month's Recipes...
November - Starter – Squash and Chickpea Soup with Single Gloucester Cheese
From page 126 of The New English Table.
The chickpeas do not feature heavily here but they add substance. The Single Gloucester cheese is distinctively flavoured and responsible for the rich texture of this soup. Look for Smart's Single Gloucester.
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock or water
1 can of chickpeas (drained weight, 225g), drained
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 courgette, cut into small dice
leaves from 2 sprigs of parsley
115g Single Gloucester cheese, grated
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook over a low heat for a minute or two, until they become translucent, then add the squash and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Do not let the onions or the squash brown. Add the stock or water, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender. Transfer to a liquidiser and blend until smooth, adding more stock or water if the soup is too thick. It should have the consistency of single cream.
Roughly mash the chickpeas in a bowl. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan and add the garlic, chickpeas, courgette and parsley. Cook until they are hot through and sizzling.
Pour the soup into 4 bowls. Add a spoonful of the chickpea mixture to each and then scatter over a handful of the cheese. Put the remaining cheese into a bowl and put it on the table with the soup.
Main – Roast Duck Legs stuffed with Apple and Black Pudding
From page 282 of Kitchenella.
A humble roast using cheap-to-buy duck legs, glorious with the addition of a little equally modest stuffing under the skin.
4 duck legs
1 English dessert apple
200g black pudding, cut into chunks
4 heaped tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Make a cavity between the duck skin and thigh flesh, using your finger to separate the two. A small sharp knife will help but do not pierce the skin. Mix the apple, black pudding, breadcrumbs and egg into a course paste and stuff as much as you can under the skin. Smooth the skin back into place. Put in a roasting pan (preferably lined with baking paper) and sprinkle a little salt on top. Roast for one hour, rest the dish in a warm place for 15 minutes and serve.
Dessert – Quince Frangipane Tart
From page 368 of The New English Kitchen.
From Barbara Garnsworthy's kitchen in Chettle, Dorset. Barbara uses a lot of local food. She also runs a terrific store cupboard full of fruit jellies and cheeses, which she uses in her cooking.
240g unsalted butter
240g golden caster sugar
240g ground almonds
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons quince cheese
For the sweet pastry:
60g icing sugar
270g plain flour
a pinch of salt
135g softened unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1-1½ tablespoons double cream
You can make sweet pastry using a light, cool touch with your fingers, but it is quicker and even better made in a food processor. Put the icing sugar, flour and salt in the processor and whiz for a few seconds. Add the butter with the egg yolk and enough double cream to form a paste when the mixture is whizzed briefly. Do not overwork the paste. Remove from the food processor, place on a well-floured board and lightly work into a ball, then roll out to about 5mm thick. The pastry will be very soft. Lift it by wrapping it around the rolling pin, then use to line a 28cm/11 inch tart tin. Don't worry if it tears; just patch it up with square pieces of pastry. Chill for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Prick the base of the pastry randomly with a fork, cover with greaseproof paper and fill with dry rice or beans (this will prevent the pastry bubbling up). Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges are crisp and the base of the pastry dry. You may want to lift away the paper and beans for the last 5 minutes of cooking so the base can dry out.
Remove the pastry case from the oven and leave to cool. Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Melt the butter and sugar together over a low heat, stirring with a spoon or whisk, and then cook for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has a golden fudge consistency. Remove from the heat, add the ground almonds and the beaten eggs and stir until well combined.
Turn the oven down to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Spread the quince cheese over the base of the tart and pour the almond mixture on top. Scatter a few flaked almonds over the surface and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the frangipane is just firm and slightly puffed. Eat hot or cold.