Archive for the 'sauces' Category

cod with romesco crust

…for joy (creator of snow) and for tomorrows dinner

dinner proper never looked like this. it was where cooking met chefing met eating and where fish met spain met summertime. and although, as i recently discovered, fish isnt exactly my area of expertise (this moment of clarity came in the market on a fine saturday morning when a stench, a dozen bellowing fishmongers, one boisterous fish man, and a lovely but disgruntled boy, nearly brought this whole operation to its knees), anything topped with this sublime culinary embodiment of the mediterranean will generally be ok. just make sure to cook the fish through. because no, that is correct, we are not japanese.

romesco ingredients

3 red peppers roasted, skins removed

1tbsp rosemary

2 cloves garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

50g blanched almonds roasted

50g dry white breadcrumbs (feel free to toast these off in some olive oil flavoured with rosemary and garlic)

2 portions cod/hake…whatever you can get

to make the romesco crust its best to have a food processor. if you only have your pounding implement then by all means but you are aiming for sandy consistency to make a crust for the fish…with the mortar and pestle i was able to achieve a wet sand but having done this before in a processor dry sand is preferable. first roast your peppers under very hot grill until the skins are black. put them into a plastic bag for a few minutes and then take them out to remove the skins…which should peel away very easily. put them in a bowl with some garlic, rosemary and olive oil and stir to combine. then in processor, or whichever way you choose to go, mix up the peppers, 1 clove of garlic, almonds, bread crumbs and salt and pepper. set this aside while you cook your fish.

put some olive oil in a pan over a high heat. add the fish, skin-side down and cook for 2-3 minutes

then transfer to a baking sheet, skin side up and crumble over the romesco topping. bake this in the oven for 7 minutes or until cooked through.


creme anglaise and/or vanilla ice cream

before i begin the custard/ice cream discourse i feel i should briefly reflect on a recent criticism i received from an ambling older fellow. it was put to me thusly: “could you perhaps not be so unremittingly cool and be slightly less cool for the sake of grammatical comprehension.” hardly. my initial response however was tempered somewhat when i took into account the scope and scale of my audience – you know who you are. and the fact that i can count them on one hand, granted one which was blessed with a few extra digits. make that two. and it occurred to me that in order to maintain the interest of this small, wonderful and dysfunctional collective of individuals, much less attract the interest of a broader cross-section of society, i should perhaps respond more openly and, if nothing else, feign interest in constructive criticisms which might come my way. so henceforth and herewith i shall endeavour. to. be, more; liberal# in my use’ of punctuation! and so it is, i declare the death of cool in favour of grammatical and structural accuracy. now, onto the question of custard, if i may. >?@*()


6 egg yolks

2/3 cup of sugar

1 cup milk

2 cups double cream

1 vanilla pod – split and scraped

in a saucepan pour the milk, cream and the vanilla pod and heat on a low heat until just before boiling point. remove from heat and set aside.

in a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy and doubled in volume.

then carefully, gently, and calmly slowly pour a little bit of the hot milk/cream over the egg/sugar mix and whisk like a mentalist. this is the crucial moment. if your attention is diverted, or even if your whisking arm is weary, you run the dreaded risk of scrambling your eggs. once you have whisked in the first bit of milk, you can take a step back from the psychological and culinary edge and proceed to pour in the rest in a more relaxed fashion…though it is important to continue whisking.

then return the mix to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over a gentle heat. it will slowly start to thicken and you will know you are good to go (not that theres ever anywhere to go) when you can draw a line through the custard on the spoon. if you are using this for custard then place the cooled mix in the fridge to set. if you are marching inexorably on to make a vanilla ice cream sent from heaven then pour this cooled mix into an ice cream machine and churn for 20-ish minutes. whichever way you go, you will find yourself at the end, in a full fat sea of vanilla-y goodness in which i encourage you to wade, bask and finally sink to the bottom.