Stuffed Stilton Mushrooms!

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A perfect wintery lunch! This is one of Nigel Slater’s favourites.

For 2

2 large portobello mushrooms, peeled and the stalk removed

3 knifefuls of unsalted butter – about 75 gm

A little water

A pinch of dried thyme

Some crumbled blue stilton – or any blue crumbly cheese really

A handful of chopped walnuts

All you do – pop a casserole dish on a medium heat, add the butter and when it melts add enough water to cover bottom of the dish. 

Add the mushrooms, gill side up – obviously! Sprinkle a little thyme onto each.

Pop on a lid and tuen the heat low. Let it bubble away for ten minutes – remove lid and spoon a little of the juice onto each mushroom. Lid goes back on for ten more minutes.

Then remove lid. Take pot off the leat and crumble stilton cheese onto top of each mushroom til the surface is covered. Then add several pieces of chopped walnuts onto each.

Pop back on the heat and whack it up high – after about 5 minutes the stilton will start to melt and the sauce will be bubbling and thickening.

When it has just melted, use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms onto a plate and spoon over the juices and any walnuts that have escaped!

See with crusty breadA winter lunch to impress. Can also be used as a side dish to a nice juicy steak!img_8120-jpg

Lamb escalopes with mushrooms and white wine – divine!

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Scallopine d’agnello al funghi e vino blanco

I came across this slice of heaven in an Italian cook book and it quite rightly states that, although it only takes around 20 minutes from start to finish, guests will think it took ages. It is a really fine supper dish and needs little accompaniment other than a good dark green salad and hunks of crusty bread. My son was still talking about this dish 24 hours later – a very good sign – he loved it… and I have no doubt that you will too. It is a wonderful dish. And the mushrooms are central to this fabulous rich stock – we need to eat more of them! So good for you too! They are low in fat and calories with typically less than 0.5g fat and 15 calories (kcal) per 100g. They are a source of folic acid and niacin – great for a healthy nervous system. They are also a source of pantothenic acid for healthy mental performance. So if you want to keep your brain ticking over – eat more funghi!

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For 4

500 gm lamb fillet steaks

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves peeled & lightly crushed

A handful of fresh rosemary leaves chopped

300 gm of your mushroom of choice – wild would be good – I used forestiere – a new variety with a gorgeously nutty, buttery flavour.

Rock salt and black pepper

50 gm plain flour 

4 tbsp of white wine

200 ml of beef stock

15 gm of butter

Method

Pop the lamb steaks between layers of cling film and bash until they are flattened to about 2mm. Remove them gently, season both sides with the salt and pepper, then dust with the flour on both sides. Leave them to one side.

Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and rosemary on it is hot. Fry for 30 seconds then add the mushrooms. Fry, stirring now and then, for a further 3 minutes.

Have a warm bowl handy and slide the mushroom mix into it and keep to one side. Wipe the frying pan and add 4 more tbsp of olive oil.

Once the oil has heated add the lamb steaks and fry over a medium heat for one minute per side. Pour in the wine and let it bubble for a minute, then add the mushroom mixture plus the stock. Stir gently around the steaks for 3 minutes. 

Now add the butter. Stir for about 30 seconds – the sauce will thicken and take on a wonderfully rich hue.

Pop each steak on a warmed plate  – then add a serving of the mushrooms and sauce to each. Stunning!

Pork, mushrooms and coriander on a gentle bed of rösti…

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Wow! This is such a fabulous supper dish, perfect for a snowy night in January. It has it all. Texture, aroma, flavours diverse and pretty to boot.

Rösti is great fun to make. You could make an easy one pan version and cut into slices, or as here, make individual portions.

You can also play about with it, adding bacon or onions etc. But true rösti is all Swiss and all potato!

For 4

1 pork tenderloin cut into half cm slices

100 gm mushrooms of choice – sliced – I used chestnut this time round

Bunch of fresh coriander chopped

150 gm sour cream

Tbsp cumin

Tsp of chopped chilli flakes

Olive oil

Slice of butter

Sea salt and black pepper

6 potatoes peeled

Method

Grate the potatoes – either with a box grater or, as I did, being lazy, in a mixer using the grater attachment. Pour the grated potatoes onto a clean cloth, wrap and squeeze water out over the sink. Then add to a bowl with a good sprinkle of sea salt and a grind or two go black pepper. I used a pastry cutter to fill the potato with – slide it carefully onto a board and repeat until you have 2 rösti per person, or, depending on the size of your pastry cutter, one decent sized rösti per person. Leave to one side.

Add oil to a frying pan and when hot, add the pork slices with the cumin seeds and chilli flakes and some sea salt and black pepper. Pan fry for about 5 minutes stirring. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir and fry on a highish heat for 2 minutes, then turn  the heat down to a medium flame. 

Add a splash of oil and the slice of butter to antihero frying pan and when hot, add carefully the rösti. Flatten each slightly and fry without turning for 5 minutes, check that the underside is golden then using two spatulas turn each one over. Fry for another 5 minutes.

The pork should be cooked by now, so add the cream and warm though. Add a rösti to each plate, top with the pork and mushroom mixture, then sprinkle over some fresh coriander.

A marvellous meal perfect in every respect. The rösti is so delicious and all will want more!

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Chicken and Chestnut Mushroom Casserole…

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A wonderfully warming winter casserole courtesy of Italy and the mighty Gino D’acampo.. This is a dish to lift the spirits – simply and satisfyingly. No cogitation needed – just get on with it! I had some of the sauce left at that end which made the base of a fabulous soup the next evening.

Serves 6

Olive oil

6 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peelt and finely chopped

2 celery sticks finely chopped

200 gm chestnut mushrooms chopped roughly

150 ml Italian white wine

400gm tin of chopped tomatoes

100 ml passata

200 ml hot chicken stock

Tsp of sugar

1 tbsp of oregano

So, preheat the oven to 180c. Heat the several good splashes of olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and fry the chicken breasts for 8 minutes until they are brown all over. Do not move them around. Remove with a slotted spoon and set to none side.

Add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms to the casserole and fry for 10 minutes over a gentle heat stirring now and then.

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Add the wine, stock, tinned toms and passata plus the sugar and oregano. Return the chicken to the dish along with any juices. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and pop in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. It look good if you can transfer it all at the end onto a large serving platter and bring to the table.

Serve with lots of crusty bread  and bonhomie!

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Rack and roll…!

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Rack and roll...!

A fizzingly wet Les Miserables of an evening.only one thing to do – whack in a juicy rack of spring lamb from my good friends at Parsonage Farm. Ah, but as always, what to diddle with it? To my joy, there in the corner of the veg rack is a paper bag of gorgeous Jersey royals. I slice them all in half, parboil them for ten minutes then pan fry them in my wok in aromatic olive oil.

The rack of lamb – I made a few slices in it, rubbed it with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. 25 minutes sunning itself in the oven would do the trick. Feeling greedy, I took a bag of alluring chestnut mushrooms, pan fried them in chiili salt and oil. I had already put a pan of tomato sauce on – a green chilli – pierced – a clove of garlic – olive oil and a good 400gm of tinned toms. Cooked it for the time the lamb was in til it was mesmerisingly unctuous. Served it all in a dish – pink fragrant spring lamb, so tasty my family were almost purring.

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A little Oasis in the background added a little more rock and roll and warmth to the evening. And of course a delicious bottle of creamy Cab Sauv.

Oh..and I forgot to mention – whilst I was cooking, I fancied a tapas – there was a bowl loitering in the fridge of the leftovers from my wife’s excellent chicken risotto from last night. So – it called to me. I rolled it into 12 little balls and pan fried it for a mock arancini starter – stunning with a crisp glass of white.

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It may have been raining outside – but in here – it was all sunshine, rock and roll, spring lamb and wine!