Alfresco, picnics, BBQ

Well that didn’t exactly go to plan: Disaster to Delicious! Herb Cured Smoked Haddock Brandad

Puree of Herb Cured Smoked Haddock

Brandade of cured smoked haddock, Quails egg mayonnaise and sourdough croutons

Cookery bloggers don’t usually tell you about the dishes and the ideas that don’t work out, we have a horrible habit of writing up the successful recipes, giving readers the impression that we never make mistakes, that those delicious ideas we have in our heads always work out as planned. But as any cook will know disasters, and things that don’t quite go to plan happen, perhaps especially for those creatives amongst us who have a tendency to get carried away, inspired by ingredients, flavours and aromas; those of us who dream about how to deconstruct recipes and add our own twist to a dish.

Preparing for the Easter weekend I had one such (luckily not ‘binworthy’) moment with a new recipe idea. It didn’t work out as planed and as I was pondering how to remedy the situation it occurred to me that the thinking process that this time turned a near disaster into something delicious might be worth sharing with you – it might come in handy next time you get caught out with a dish that hasn’t gone quite as expected, encourage you to ask questions about the flavour and texture in order to work out if you could create something that might work, rather bin your efforts too quickly in a fit of pique. Continue reading

Artichoke Pithivier

Artichoke, olive and preserved lemon ragout

Artichoke halves cooked gently in a tasty wine and cream reduction with olives and preserved lemons.

Traditionally a Pithivier is a French celebration cake for Twelfth Night.  An elaborately decorated  buttery  puff pastry encases a rich almond frangipani. Served warm with glacé fruits and sweet wine it is my idea of heaven. I have a number of recipes including one for a chocolate almond crème filling which I will share  with you in time for Christmas.

More recently the idea of encasing savoury and vegetable fillings has been  adopted  by restaurant chefs and it is quite commonplace to find such dishes as oxtail or game Pithivier on a menu. Some chefs add delicious insult to injury by encasing creamy gratin dauphinoise in rich butter puff paste!   Continue reading