Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Squash soup with sage and honey

This recipe comes from a restaurant in Dartmouth which I have been over last weekend. I will talk about it when I return and have a few pictures to show as well, as it's really worth a try. In the meantime, this is one of the dish I ate. The recipe I am giving it's not the original, I have been inspired of course and although Paul had been very friendly to me, I didn't dare to ask for the recipe! The original recipe is called butternut sqash soup with sage and honey but I have used a big mama squash for mine and done a bit of improvisation on the quantities. The result is delicious, very much similar to the original.

Ingredients: 800gr big mama squash flash or butternut squash flash, 1lt vegetable stock, 10 leaf fresh sage, 4 Tbsp honey, dry sage, extra virgin olive oil

Cut the squash flash in big pieces, add them in a big saucepan with the vegetable stock. Cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. In a small saucepan, heat a bit of olive oil, add the sage and fry until crisp. Put both the sage and the squash in a mixer and blend well until smooth. Add more or less stock accordingly to your taste. Pour the soup back into the saucepan, add honey and simmer until dissolved. Serve hot sprinkled with dry sage if you have it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Nettles tart

Springtime is the best moment to go out and enjoy the first wild food available for free. Nettles are one of those things you see all over the places but only few people dare to pick them and eat. It's one of the best greens available in nature, and contain lots of mineral and vitamins. You just need a pair of thick gloves and that's it. Pick the best leaves on top, which are tender and younger. Avoid paths where dogs walk or choose nettles that grow higher. They are most delicious cooked in many ways, this is just one of those.

Ingredients for the brisée: 500gr flour, 125gr butter, 2 eggs, 1 pinch salt
Ingredients for the filling: 300gr nettles, 1 small leek, 2 eggs, 240ml single cream, 4 Tbsp grated cheese, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, salt, pepper

Prepare the brisée adding all the ingredients in your mixer and mix until they stick all together. Add a bit of cold water if necessary. Pour the brisée in a round cake 25cm tart pan or other of your choice. Work with your fingers to smooth the dough in the pan. Let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling by beating the two eggs in a big bowl. Add the lee finely cut, grated cheese, nutmeg and cream. Wash the nettles carefully and boil them in salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain them well, pour them on a plate and cut them roughly with a knife. Add the nettles to the rest of the filling and mix all the ingredients together. Finally add salt and pepper to taste.
Take the tart pan from the fridge and pour the filling over it, helping yourself with a spoon. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 190 C for about 40/45 minutes or until the borders of the dough become golden. If the tart starts burning too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil. As usual times vary accordingly to your oven. Mine is a gas oven. Let it cool well before cutting.