FoodWrite Ltd https://foodwrite.co.uk Understanding the science of consumer goods Sat, 22 Sep 2018 16:14:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://i1.wp.com/foodwrite.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/cropped-Update1-3.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 FoodWrite Ltd https://foodwrite.co.uk 32 32 26454689 Risotto https://foodwrite.co.uk/risotto/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/risotto/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:37:44 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18797 Truly the most famous of all rice dishes must be the risotto and not chow mein or pilaf although these hold great sway in their [...]

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Truly the most famous of all rice dishes must be the risotto and not chow mein or pilaf although these hold great sway in their regions of origin. Italy which developed this dish produces more rice than anywhere else on the European continent. Italy also grows the most varieties and some of the best are Arborio and Carnaroli amongst others. The risotto was invested in Milan sometime in the 1500s. The best risotto are made with superfine rice and all prepared in essentially the same way. Lets face it though all sort of ingredients can be used as part of the recipe and this gives a risotto great versatility. It has also moved into the mid-week feast area of the dinner table having been the preserve of restaurants and weekend diners.

The idea is to coat the rice in oil and butter and to fry it which breaks down the rice sub-structure making it more amenable to soaking up stock. I sometimes add a glass of white wine, usually dry, right at the point when the rice has become translucent from the early frying phase. The alcohol soon disappears leaving just the essence of wine. The risotto already starts to take on a glorious aroma too.

Yes – stock ! The key word and the one which  gives risotto rice its especial flavour. The stock, and it could be vegetable, chicken, fish – you name it, must really be added, one ladle at a time so that the juices soak into the rice swell up the starch contained therein. The sizzle of the frying is really the best bit of all.  Another essential activity is to keep stirring the rice. A wooden spoon is a must here because it literally beats the starch out of the rice making it less ‘al dente’ and more unctious and gooey. All this stirring is over a low heat with the rice laden stock simmering gently away. The ideal method is to allow the stock to completely absorb into the rice and then add another ladle. The whole dish is cooked by degrees in about 20 minutes. 

You know you have reached that glorious end when the rice is tender and creamy. The final touch is called the mantecatura. This is taking it off the heat, adding a knob of butter, a couple of spoons of olive oil and then grating fresh Parmesan over the rice. It is stirred into the risotto making it even more creamy. 

Any leftover risotto can be chilled. It is often rolled into balls enclosing a piece of mozarella. This is coated in fine breadcrumbs and deep-fried ot make a dish called suppli al telefono. The Sicilians prepare a version called arancini.

A classic recipe is risotto bianco or white risotto.

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 400 g risotto rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic , peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 or 5 sticks of celery , trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1.1 litres (2 pints) stock (chicken, fish or vegetable)
  • 70 g butter
  • 115 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat the stock if it is prepared from other sources. Stock cubes do it for me if I haven’t any other source.
  2. Add the olive oil and butter  to a separate pan.
  3. Prepare a soffrito by adding onion, garlic and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring.
  4. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
  5. Lightly fry the rice and make sure to keep stirring it. In a few minutes it will appear slightly translucent.
  6. Add the wine/vermouth and always keep stirring.
  7.  Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt.
  8. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.
  9. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.
  10. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.
  11. Ensure the seasoning is followed through. 
  12. Add boiling water if and when the stock runs out.
  13. Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. 

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Enjoy The Many Flavours Of An Amaro https://foodwrite.co.uk/enjoy-the-many-flavours-of-an-amaro/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/enjoy-the-many-flavours-of-an-amaro/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 11:45:42 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18795 Having been to Italy a few times, Amaro remains as the aperitif of choice. It’s quite surprising really because an intensely bitter, and let’s face [...]

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Having been to Italy a few times, Amaro remains as the aperitif of choice. It’s quite surprising really because an intensely bitter, and let’s face it does mean ‘bitter’ in Italian, drink is incredibly popular as an after dinner digestif. It includes Campari and vermouth in the family and in terms of its flavour which is essentially bitter with sweet and a little bit on the syrupy side. Amaro seems to have few boundaries and there appear to be an infinite array of cocktails which can be prepared from this quintessential herbal liqueur.

The key feature is in the flavourings. Gentian and other flowers, herbs, pieces of bark, orange peel along with iron and quinine make for a heady spirited liqueuer. All these ingredients are macerated with alcohol or a form of neutral spirit. Sugar syrup or straight sugarcane is added to raise the sweetness profile. The alcohol content appears to vary considerably – between 16% rising to 45% in some versions although at the higher limits we are moving out of amaro territory. All of this is stored in bottles or very old-fashioned wooden casks to allow the maturing process to really create those fine bitter flavours.  

Amaro is claimed by many hardened Italians to have excellent digestive and tonic properties, to cure all sorts of hangovers and even to have aphrodisiac properties. My earlier pun was intended because that latter reason may be why it is so popular throughout Italy. Most of the recipes originate in the 1800s and appear to have come out of the chemists and pharmacies. There are a few which were thought up in a monastery but these may well have marketing connotations rather than consider the religious aspect of the drink.

The idea of using herbs in spirits goes back to Roman and Ancient Greek times when they infused wine with plants. The medicinal benefits stuck.  

Amaro is the singular of amari by the way – just in case you see articles which comment on the many types. Although Campari is a rival it is a member of the amaro family. Then there is Aperol and Amaro Nonino. If you examine the branded products then Amaro Nonino might be one to look for. The web-site details explicitly how it came about.

Other famous types include Fernet which is one of the sharpest and pungent to come across. Look out for Luxardo Fernet, Fernet Branca or Fernet Stock. If you like Vermouths because they are wine-based rather than grain-based then try Amero and Amaro Diesus del Frate.

Negroni is a  wonderful cocktail which has become a favourite of the US. It relies on Campari and is named after a Florentine count. Apparently, Camillo negroni in 1919 requestedthe bartender called Fosco Sarselli at the Hotel Baglioni which he was visiting, to replace the soda in his Americano for a gin.

 

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Is there any difference between sashimi, nigiri and sushi ? https://foodwrite.co.uk/is-there-any-difference-between-sashimi-and-sushi/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/is-there-any-difference-between-sashimi-and-sushi/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:28:25 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18709 The difference between sashimi and sushi actually comes down to one ingredient and that is rice. When you visit Japanese restaurants you often see sashimi [...]

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The difference between sashimi and sushi actually comes down to one ingredient and that is rice.

When you visit Japanese restaurants you often see sashimi and sushi on the menu together but clearly they are different dishes. You often see nigiri too but a bit more about that later. Both types of food come from Japan. Whatever your taste it is the way the fish is prepared that intrigues the customer. Quite often the chef prepares the dishes in front of your very eyes. We can only marvel at the almost infinite variety of fish that appears on a seasonal basis.

Sushi

Sushi has rice and that is definite. However, sushi soaked in vinegar is defines this particular dish. In Japanese, sushi means ‘sour tasting’ because the flavour of vinegar permeates the raw fish. Raw fish incidentally is a key feature of any sushi dish but not an essential ingredient. More modern forms now include vegetables, other forms of seafood and even meat. Extra ingredients are often used like avocado and cucumber.

Sashimi

Sashimi refers to raw and fresh seafood. Tuna and salmon are common fish found in sashimi. The rawness of the fish implies that salt water species are used because freshwater types contain more parasites including roundworm. Sashimi is served as a thinly sliced dish which is eaten with soy sauce and served on beds of daikon rather than rice. The other additions include pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.

The word sashimi means ‘pierced body’. The word construction is as follows:-  “刺身” = sashimi, where 刺し = sashi (pierced, stuck) and 身 = mi (body, meat).

For many Japanese chefs, the fish is sliced into different widths to emphasise the quality of the fish and enhance the appearance. The most famous cut is the hira-zukuri cut. This is the ‘rectangular slice’ which is the standard sashimi cut.

Nigiri

Nigiri is usually on a Japanese menu. It is raw seafood and is related to sashimi but served on a type of vinegar infused rice as with sushi. For some it is a variant of sushi but it doesn’t dressed up with other ingredients.

Not to put you off but some seafood such as salmon can be infected with tapeworms. Wild salmon caught in the Pacific North-West is occasionally infected with the Japanese tapeworm Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense. Don’t be put off however !

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Making Pastry Or Paste: A Chef’s Essential Skill https://foodwrite.co.uk/making-pastry-a-chefs-essential-skill/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/making-pastry-a-chefs-essential-skill/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 15:40:10 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18702 Cold hands, warm heart, great at pastry. All pastry is a mix of flour, many with fat and water which are all put together to [...]

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Cold hands, warm heart, great at pastry. All pastry is a mix of flour, many with fat and water which are all put together to form a dough or paste. Having said that there are so many variants it is hard to know where to start. Yet, a chef needs to master this basic recipe if there is anything to be gained in baking.

Pastries range in shape, texture and taste and their distinctiveness is mainly influenced by the amount of fat and kneeding that is needed to create the dough. Shortcrust pastry for example is the easiest to make.  The degree of shortness or ‘crisp crumbliness’ as read somewhere is dependent on the fat content, the type and way the dough is molded and shaped. Add more fat and the pastry gets shorter. This pastry is also very versatile as it goes well with a range of food flavours. Use it for tarts and pastries, parcels, pies and pasties.

What basic ingredients are needed ?

Flour is always plain, all-purpose, as soft as reasonable and low in gluten.  Harder flours are used for pastas, choux pastry and puff pastry to be honest. If lard is used as the fat, then a crisp, rich shortcrust pastry is prepared and gives the pastry a fine flavor. Butter produces a crisp, rich shortcrust pastry which has the most refined flavor.

Short pastry is sometime times called short paste. It is unsweetened and used for savoury dishes. When baked, a short paste is tender, slightly crumbly and certainly tender, brittle but melts readily in the mouth. It’s great for savoury flans such as quiches, pasties and meat pies.

Sweet pastry or sweet paste is sugar based variant used for dessert casings like tarts and tartlets.

Choux pastry or choux paste. A cooked mixture of flour with fat and water, some sugar and salt and beaten eggs. Always used for profiteroles and eclairs.

Suet pastry or suet paste. An unsweetened paste that is usually steamed and is used for both sweet and savoury dishes.The types of dishes served up include jam rol-poly, dumplings, steamed fruit puddings, syrup puddings and meat puddings like steak and kidney.

Puff pastry or puff pastry. A great example of a laminated paste where fat is sandwiched between layers of dough through folding. It is highly complicated and usually time consuming but the results are worth it. Often used to make savoury paste for sausage rolls, vol-au-vents, bouches, Beef or Salmon Wellington , pie toppings cheese straws etc.  The sweet types are found for apple turnovers and Eccles cakes.

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Gazpacho https://foodwrite.co.uk/gazpacho/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/gazpacho/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:42:13 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18697 Ingredients 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped 1kg ripe plum tomatoes, cored and chopped [...]

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Ingredients
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1kg ripe plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed depending on how hot and pungent
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 275ml vegetable stock
  • 575ml tomato juice (not usually on everybody’s list but worth trying)
  • 15ml basil or parsley chopped
  • 75g stale crusty white bread, chopped
  • 2–2½ tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or to taste

Seasoning to taste

Preparation

  1. Puree all the vegetables together in a blender
  2. Stir in the tomato juice
  3. Cover and chill
  4. Serve garnished with ice cubes, basil leaves or a selection of chopped vegetables and croutons.

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Preparing A Fish Stock https://foodwrite.co.uk/preparing-a-fish-stock/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/preparing-a-fish-stock/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:29:53 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18693 Ingredients For A Typical Fish Stock For 5 litres 5 litres cold water 2kg white fish pieces and bones (haddock, sole, turbot, cod, whiting) 275g [...]

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Ingredients For A Typical Fish Stock

For 5 litres

  • 5 litres cold water
  • 2kg white fish pieces and bones (haddock, sole, turbot, cod, whiting)
  • 275g onions, finely sliced
  • 50ml lemon juice from 1 large lemon
  • peppercorns (if required)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • parsley and their stalks

Preparation

  1. Place all the ingredients in a stockpot or large saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil and skim off any impurities.
  3. Simmer for about 20 minutes and keep skimming off any floating material
  4. Strain into a clean container
  5. Freeze in portions or use straightaway for further cooking.

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One Pasta Dish Sorts Chefs Out – Cacio e Pepe https://foodwrite.co.uk/one-pasta-dish-sorts-chefs-out-cacio-e-pepe/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/one-pasta-dish-sorts-chefs-out-cacio-e-pepe/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 12:55:04 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18654 Trawling through the recipes for pasta dishes often reveals a few that have made their mark with chefs, not for complexity but for their sheer [...]

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Trawling through the recipes for pasta dishes often reveals a few that have made their mark with chefs, not for complexity but for their sheer simplicity. One in particular, cacio e pepe really sorts out great Italian chefs and I guess others too from various parts of the world. The dish is all about precision and yet it only employs a few simple ingredients. 

Firstly, it is not your mac’n’ cheese. No, it literally means cheese and pepper but nobody really claims to have the definitive answer. It relies purely taste using the best ingredients. For many purists there is no such thing as adding butter although it does allow some of the flavour to pass into the fat.

Firstly, make sure you have exceptionally high quality pasta, then freshly cracked pepper for that spicy heat and finally great cheese. The cheese might be the secret here. I’ve tried Parmesan, Grana Padano and Pecorino. To be honest its the pecorino that wins but just, over the Grana Padano. The Romans only use pecorino incidentally or so reading the various comments on web-pages about it. Oh by the way, it needs to be Pecorino from Sardinia ! I know some folks grate the cheese on a Microplace rather than shredding it too as this really makes for a fine cheese mix.

Chefs use a skillet rather than pots for the salted water because  the starch from the pasta is concentrated and helps make the sauce smoother.  

Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes 

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serving number: 2

Ingredients 

  • salt ( a small amount)
  • (optional) 3 tablespoons of cubed unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces of great tasting pasta such as spaghetti, bucatini and egg tagliolini
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper or better still, toast whole peppercorns in a small cast iron skillet over a medium to high heat, shaking it from time to time so that become aromatic. Crush in a pestle and mortar and then add instead.
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grano Padano (preferred) or Parmesan (if needs be – not wishing to be sniffy here)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino 

Preparation Of Cacio e Pepe

  1. Put a skillet of salted water on to boil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses and black pepper; mash with just enough cold water to make a thick slurry. Spread the mixture evenly in the bowl.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta.
  4. The second before it is still slightly undercooked (by the way it needs tasting frequently once it begins to soften), use tongs to quickly transfer it to the bowl, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water.
  5. Add  cheese mixture to the pasta in small portions, adding a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary. Flip the pasta and by degrees the sauce clings to the pasta becoming creamier but not more watery.
  6. Plate and dust each dish with additional pecorino cheese and pepper. Serve immediately.

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Ciabatta https://foodwrite.co.uk/ciabatta/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/ciabatta/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 11:08:48 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18676 Ciabatta bread, for all its ubiquity has retained its quality even though it is produced a massive scale. It is one of the great breads [...]

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Ciabatta bread, for all its ubiquity has retained its quality even though it is produced a massive scale. It is one of the great breads of the world. I should think every retailer and supermarket must have it at least in their bakery. In Italy, it is still the mainstay of the bakery and rivals only foccacia or focacette. It is an oval, slightly squat and fat loaf which looks like a squashed slipper to some hence its name. Olive oil is used in great quantities which gives the loaf a thin, friable crust. the crumb has holes, but lightness with a slightly chewy texture.

Ciabatta is a great accompaniment to tomato salads and soups because it mops the juices really well. The bread is made using the sponge dough method. The flour, yeast and water are fermented together for 24 hours before being incorporated into the dough. It is not easy to make at home but there are recipes using bread makers which work perfectly well. Obtaining the soft consistency is the tricky part to it. It has a minimum of 75 per cent water and oil which is highly unusual. No other bread contains this type of mix. A very long kneading process contributes to the unique flavour of the bread. It should be sweet and slightly sour  with an open crumb texture but crisp crust.

A variety of flavouring are added such as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese and walnuts. 

Many loaves are parbaked meaning they must be finished off in the oven at home. The final baking lends flavour and texture. Serve it toasted as it makes a great platter for chicken liver parfait and some onion marmalade.

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Snails https://foodwrite.co.uk/snails/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/snails/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 10:42:49 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18671 Snails are probably not at the top of everybody’s fine dining experience. They have however been revered as a delicacy for centuries. In Italy they [...]

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Snails are probably not at the top of everybody’s fine dining experience. They have however been revered as a delicacy for centuries. In Italy they are known as lumache and were eaten by the Romans in great numbers at their feasts. A number of species were consumed. There are many stories in Roman literature which define the delicacy of their flesh, how they should be kept and where the best ones came from.

Pliny certainly wrote about snails. the best ones came from the island of Sicily, from the Balearics such as Majorca and more locally to Rome, from the island of Capri and the coast of Liguria. Illyria produced the largest but possibly not the best flavoured.  So many were eaten they were farmed as if being fattened like dormice for the dinner table.

Elizabeth David in her 1954 book ‘Italian Food‘, quotes a phrase from Figueir in his book ‘The Ocean World‘ (1868). He discusses a snail soup.

“At Naples a soup made from Helix memoralis is sold publicly to this strange population with which the streets of that city swarms, for the King’s pavement is their bed-chamber, dining-saloon, and workroom”. 

I’ve seen the large land snails which were once on the menu in old Roman villas. Chedworth in Gloucestershire appears to have a few which still live locally.

Preparing the Snails

Snails are best fed on various plants including herbs before being used. The snails are starved for a fortnight before being eaten which seems extreme but unfortunately a necessity. The slime and ooze as it is described must come out otherwise the snail tastes muddy. They are usually wrapped in a cloth and kept in a basket. I imagine they move about and can easily escape.  The cloth must be changed regularly as their excrement is apparently quite revolting. The snails are soaked in salted water with some added vinegar to drop the pH for 3 hours. Use running water to wash away the scum and dirt.

All snails are cooked in a broth of salt and herbs for up to 1.5 hours. White wine and some bay leaves are added to the broth to produce extra flavour. The broth is strained off. The snails are removed from their shells with a pin. A hard little black piece at the end of their body must be removed. The snails are now ready ! 

Elizabeth David has a recipe for Lumache In Zimino (Stewed Snails) in that book mentioned earlier.

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 tbsp. good quality olive oil for frying
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary and parsley
  • 1 or 2 heaped tablespoons of fresh mushrooms or dried reconstituted mushrooms.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat the olive in a casserole dish.
  2. Add all the ingredients in no particular order. Caramelise the onion slightly.
  3. Cook the snails (which are shelled) for 10 minutes.

 

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The Chicken Liver Parfait https://foodwrite.co.uk/the-chicken-liver-parfait/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/the-chicken-liver-parfait/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 09:27:53 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=18665 The chicken liver parfait is to all intents and purposes a very smooth pate with the possibly the best flavour you can imagine from such [...]

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The chicken liver parfait is to all intents and purposes a very smooth pate with the possibly the best flavour you can imagine from such a dish. the parfait is a gourmet’s challenge but it certainly adds something a bit special to a party or special occasion. I have it on occasion as a starter at The Ostrich Inn in Newland, in the Forest of Dean. They usually serve it with a couple of small slices of toast which is all that is needed as anything else detracts from the sublime flavour. If you want something which cuts through the fat then some small pickles such as cornichons are ideal.

The parfait is served in a ramekin or a small pot as in the photo. This one doesn’t have the peppercorns on it but they do add a little bit of extra colour. A clarified butter topping is usually added to preserve the parfait and stop it drying out in the chiller.

The chicken livers are becoming more readily available in retailers. A good butcher will have these available too. If brandy is not to your liking then replace it with oloroso sherry which also adds a potent warning kick.

A typical recipe is as follows:-

Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes 

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Chilling time: 6 hr chilling

Ready in: 7 hours

Serving number: 2

Ingredients

  • 60g unsalted butter, cut into 15g pieces
  • 1 small shallot or onion, finely chopped
  • 250g chicken livers free of gristle and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 60ml brandy or 50ml oloroso sherry (good quality is ideal although at a push I’ve used cooking brandy)
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper although a slightly posher version uses 1 tsp of crushed pink peppercorns
  • Optional: 4 -5 sage leaves which are finely chopped
  • Optional: pinch of ground allspice

Method

  1. Place a medium sized frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  2. Dry the chicken livers by patting on a towel and season.
  3. Add 15g butter to the pan. Sear the livers for 3 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other. Toss occasionally for another 3 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside on a plate.
  4. Over a medium-low heat, add 15g butter, the chopped shallot and sage to the pan. Season and fry gently for 5 minutes, until it all starts to brown and caramelise.
  5. Add the peppercorns and allspice; sauté for 1 minute. Tip in the sherry and simmer until reduced by half, then stir in the cream, lemon juice and sugar.
  6. Return the livers and any resting juices to the pan, stirring everything together, then take off the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Blend all together to a smooth paste in a blender with 30g butter. Continue to add more pepper and salt, lemon juice and sugar to taste. Pass through a fine sieve; spoon into ramekins and smooth the tops.

Clarified Butter Topping

  1. For the clarified butter topping, warm the butter gently in a pan. Once melted, the milk solids should sink to the bottom. Skim off any scum. Pour a spoonful of the clear butter over each of the parfaits, sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns, then top each with another spoonful of butter.
  2. Cool to room temperature and chill.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

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