Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter (Nick Nairn: Cook School)

(Extracted from: Nick Nairn: Cook School)
butternut squash ravioli
Ingredients (for 4)

1 x recipe pasta dough
1 medium butternut squash
1 whole red chilli, halved and deseeded
3 whole garlic cloves, skin on
3 tablesp. olive oil
1 teasp. chopped fresh thyme
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
Semolina flour for dusting
For the Sage Butter:
150g unsalted butter
Approx. 20 fresh sage leaves
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper

  1.  Preheat the oven to 200 deg.C or Gas Mk 6.  Using a large cook’s knife, cut the butternut squash in half lengthways.  Scoop out and discard the seeds, then peel the squash and cut the flesh into 2cm dice.  Place in a roasting tin, add the halved chilli and whole garlic cloves, pour over the oil and season well.  Toss to coat, then roast in the oven for about 30 mins, or until soft and starting to caramelise.  Take out of the oven, pop the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash the whole lot together with a fork or potato masher.  Beat in the thyme and Parmesan and allow to cool.
  2. Now unwrap the pasta dough and cut into two pieces. Work with one piece, rewrapping the other half.  Using a pasta machine, put the pasta through the machine at least twice on each setting, stopping at 2 (but including 2).
  3. Lay the length of pasta on a work surface dusted with semolina.  Using a round cutter (around 10cm) cut circles along the length of the pasta, put scant teaspoons of butternut squash filling in the middle of each round.  Dampen the edges with a little water on a pastry brush and fold over to create a semi-circle, pressing in and around the mound to exclude air as you do so.  Lay in a single layer on a clean tea towel until ready to cook – no longer than 2 hours or they turn soggy.  Repeat the process with the second ball of dough.
  4. At this point, you can freeze the ravioli in rigid plastic boxe(s) trying not to overlap the ravioli and placing parchment paper in between the layers and keep in the freezer until needed.  Otherwise, place a pan of salted water on to boil ready to cook the pasta.  Drop the ravioli into the boiling water to cook until they rise to the surface. (The ravioli can be cooked this way from frozen).
  5. For the sage butter, melt the butter in a small pan and heat gently.  Add the sage, turn up the heat and cook the butter until it turns palest brown and the sage leaves start to crisp.  Do not over brown or burn the butter or sage.  Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the sage butter over the cooked ravioli and serve with either grated Parmesan or shavings of Parmesan on the top.

Venison Casserole

venison casseroleIngredients (for 4)

900g stewing venison cut into 3-4cm pieces
S&P
2 tablesp. olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, or crushed
3-4 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves; 1/2 tablesp. juniper berries, crushed
1 tablesp. plain flour
Juice of 1 orange, grated zest of 1/2 orange
250ml port
150ml beef stock
100g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size) or oyster mushrooms, torn, or mixture of two
200g cooked and peeled chestnuts

  1.  Preheat the oven to 160 deg.C (Fan 150 deg.C) or Gas Mk 3.  Season the venison with black pepper.  Heat the oil in a deep, flameproof casserole dish that has a lid and brown the venison for 3-4 mins in batches.  Add a little more oil after the first couple of batches if you need to.  Once the meat is browned, set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and soften on a gentle heat for 5 – 10 mins, scraping any bits that may have got stuck to the bottom on the pan.  (These bits really do add flavour to stews, so you want to scrape them off rather than give them the opportunity to burn on the base of the pan.)  If the pan feels a little dry, add a drizzle more oil and a splash of water.
  3. Once the onions have softened, add the carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and crushed juniper berries.  Continue to cook gently for a further 10 mins.
  4. Add the flour, stirring to combine.  After a couple of minutes, add the orange juice and zest, port, stock, mushrooms and some salt and pepper.  Now return the browned venison along with any juices that may have collected in the pan.  Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and pop in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Stir in the chestnuts and return the dish to the oven.  Depending on the venison, the stew will need a further 30 mins – 1 hr to cook through and it is ready when the venison has completely tenderised.

Vodka & Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Seasonal Berries

For 4 people:

IngredientsPanna Cotta

300ml/11fl oz double cream
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out
110g/4oz caster sugar
4-5 leaves gelatine, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, squeezed out
350ml/12fl oz buttermilk, at room temperature
25ml/1fl oz vodka
2 punnets summer fruit, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries
1 – 2 teasp. caster sugar
2 – 3 tablesp. creme de cassis

1. Heat the double cream, vanilla pod and seeds and 100g/3½oz of the sugar in a saucepan until just boiling. Remove the pan from heat, add the soaked gelatine and buttermilk and whisk until well combined, then stir in the vodka.

2. Pour the mixture into dariole moulds, leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

5. Mix the summer berries with caster sugar and the creme de cassis.

6. To serve, put the dariole moulds into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds to loosen the panna cottas, then turn out onto serving plates and garnish with the berries.

Basque Style Crab Gratin (Shangurro) (From Rick Stein’s ‘Fruits of the Sea’)

For 4 people:

Ingredients

Approx. 450g white crab meat & 100g brown crab meat (I used a higher proportion of dark meat – 1:3)
3 tablesp. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
8 small garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
225 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded & chopped (I used cherry plums and did not skin them, but chopped them fairly small)
50 ml dry white wine
1 teasp. caster sugar
1/4 teasp. dried chilli flakes
3 tablesp. chopped fresh parsley
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
15g butter, melted
1 garlic clove finely chopped (or crushed)
Salt & Pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C / Gas 6.

2.  Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan, then add the onions and all except 1 chopped garlic clove.  Fry over a gentle heat for 2 minutes, until softened.

3.  Increase the heat, add the tomatoes, wine, sugar, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper and simmer for about 4 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce.

4.  Stir in 2 tablesp. parlsey and the flaked crab meat, and spoon the mixture into individual ramekins.  Mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and the rest of the parsley and garlic and sprinkle this over the crab.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden.

 

Sabayon (From Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets)

This Sabayon is the basis for the Iced Coffee Parfait.  It can also be used to make mousses and fruit gratins – taken from Raymond Blanc’s “Kitchen Secrets“.  I have a Thermomix and used this to create the sabayon.  I have included both methods below.

Ingredients

4 medium egg yolks
50g caster sugar
125ml Muscat or other sweet dessert wine
1 tablesp lemon juice or to taste
150ml whipping cream

Thermomix Method:
Grind the sugar for up to 20 secs, speed 9.  Insert the butterfly whisk and add the egg yolks.  Cook at 50 degrees C for 4 minutes on speed 4.  Add the wine and continue to cook at 80 degrees C for 5 minutes, speed 3.  Remove the jug and plunge into a bowl of iced water for a minute or two.  Dry off the jug and replace.  Continue to whisk at speed 2 with no heat for another 5 minutes or until the sabayon has gone cold.

Traditional Method
In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar, wine and lemon juice together for 1 minute.  Stand the bowl over a bain-marie of barely simmering water, making sure it is not touching the water and whisk for 7 – 8 minutes (I recommend using an electric whisk) until it reaches 78 degrees C, resulting in a light, fluffy sabayon.  Remove the bowl from the heat and place over a larger bowl of crushed ice.  Continue to whisk until the sabayon is cold.

In another bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and then fold into the cold sabayon.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use or freeze.

Iced Coffee Parfait (from Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets)

This was the dessert presented at the Supper Club Night – A Taste of France, taken from Raymond Blanc’s “Kitchen Secrets” from which I have already tried a number of recipes successfully.  A lovely dessert, but unfortunately, although the rIced Coffee Parfaitecipe states 10 – 12 servings, I found them to be rather meagre portions and would suggest that this dessert would better serve 8.  I attach a photo* from the book which shows a decent thickness to the slice – those that I served my guests were rather thinner!

Ingredients:

450ml prepared sabayon
75ml strong espresso coffee (ristretto)

For the Garnish:
50g shelled pistachio nuts
30g flaked almonds
30g icing sugar
2 tablesp. kirsch or Cognac (I had neither and used Almagnac)

For the caramel sauce:
70ml water
150g caster sugar
1/2 teasp arrowroot

To make the iced coffee Parfait: In a large bowl, gently fold the sabayon and coffee together.  Fill a terrine with the sabayon, smooth the top and freeze overnight.

To prepare the garnish: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Mix the nuts with the icing sugar and alcohol of choice.  Scatter on a baking tray and bake for about 7 minutes until lightly golden and crunchy.  Allow to cool.

To make the caramel sauce:  Put 20ml of water in a small saucepan and add the sugar.  Leave for a few minutes, then dissolve over a medium heat and cook to a dark golden brown caramel.  Add the remaining 50ml water to stop the cooking.  Mix in the diluted arrowroot to thicken the sauce and leave to cool.

I must say, I struggled with this method of making caramel sauce, as the sugar kept crystallising, even though I had left it a few minutes before cooking (this is key).  In the end I did it the only way I knew how, which was to dissolve equal parts of sugar and water together over heat (I used 150g of each) and then boil until the required caramelisation occurred.

To serve:  Dip the terrine into hot water for 4 – 5 seconds to loosen the parfait, then run a warmed knife around it and turn it out onto a board.  Cut into slices with the warm knife.  Drizzle the caramel sauce onto individual plates and place a slice of parfait in the middle.  Scatter the caramelised nuts around the parfait and serve.

Tapenade

This starter was included in the Supper Club event – A Taste of France.  Easy to make and perfect for a supper party, as you can make it ahead of time.  My only tip would be to bring it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving (improves the flavour) and serve on some toasted roasted tomato & thyme bread.

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
100g anchovy fillets
100g salted capers, rinsed and drained
100g black olives (the crinkly ones) pitted and weighed AFTER pitting
3 tablesp extra virgin olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
Salt & Pepper

1.  Put all the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor and blitz until the mixture forms a coarse paste.

2.  Add the olive oil and blitz again.

3.  Add lemon juice to taste and scrape out into a jar, smooth down the surface and cover with a thin layer of olive oil.

This will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.