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Spring Recipes

Crispy raw and cooked vegetable tart, Tiger prawn & langoustine curry with chick pea roti, Elderflower ice-cream with lemon biscuits

7 April 2011

12:00 AM

7 April 2011

12:00 AM

Crispy Raw And Cooked Vegetable Tart by Alain Ducasse

I spent my childhood days on a farm and so vegetables have always hugely influenced my cooking. I love to use seasonal vegetables and this dish on the menu at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester celebrates the simple pleasures of combining raw and cooked vegetables. It is both delicious and healthy!

My top tip with this dish is to use the freshest produce available.

For each tart: 1 orange carrot 1 yellow carrot 1 courgette 1 fennel 1 celeriac 2 small white onions 1 round radish 8 large white mushrooms 100g rocket + cos lettuce 1 puff pastry

First, make the mushroom duxelles:

Peel, wash and chop the white onions. Fry for 2 minutes in a sauté pan with a little olive oil, then add the mushrooms, washed and cut into 5mm cubes. Cook covered for 3 minutes, then grind in some pepper, and save.
Wash all of the vegetables, then peel the carrots and slice them into thin ribbons. Slice some of the courgette into ribbons.

Peel the celeriac and slice in 5mm discs. Chop half of the fennel in very thin slices lengthwise to keep its shape. Keep them raw. Chop the other half in 5mm slices that you will cook. Chop the radish in very thin round slices. Keep them raw.

Put some olive oil and some vegetable stock in a pan, then in turn, and separately, cook the carrot, the celeriac, the courgette and the fennel with the lid on for 10 minutes at medium heat.
Cut a 10cm diameter disc of pastry for each individual tart, then cut four holes of 2cm diameter each, into each disc. Cook the discs in the oven at 170°C placed between two pastry trays lined with baking paper, so it turns a nice brown colour on both sides (about 20 mins ).

To serve, arrange the diced cooked mushrooms in a circle.

Season the cooked and the raw vegetables and place them attractively on the top of the duxelles, alternating ribbons of yellow and orange carrot, ribbons of courgette, cooked fennel and cooked celeriac. Add some raw slices of fennel.
Layer the circle of puff pastry on the top, then place some rocket salad and arrow-shaped crunchy lettuce into the little holes. Add some slices of raw radish and raw fennel on the top, in a circle.

At the restaurant we also trace some tomato syrup and pesto on the plate around the tart, and serve more pesto on the side.

Alain is losing count of his Michelin stars.


Jonathan Ray’s Wine Match: 2010 Josmeyer ‘Mise du Printemps’ Pinot Blanc, 12%vol, France (£12; Haynes, Hanson & Clark).

I love the wines of Alsace and this is a beauty, with its delicately aromatic nose and soft, creamy, fresh fruit.

Tiger prawn & langoustine curry with chick pea roti by Barrington Douglas

This is a nice Caribbean dish which allows us to be authentic when eating as there is no need for knives and forks. With the chick pea roti you’re able to scoop up some curry and pop it straight into your mouth, which is then filled with an explosion of taste through the spicy ingredients. I love this dish because it’s simple to prepare and one you can easily share with friends.

500g tiger prawns, uncooked (shell on) 100g langoustines 2 tsp finely chopped ginger 1 white onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic ¼ red, yellow and green pepper handful of coriander 1 tsp thyme 1 handful parsley 1 bay leaf 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp garamasala 250g coconut milk 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 spring onion finely chopped ¼ Scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped

Shell the prawns and remove intestines. Combine the ginger, onions, garlic, red pepper, coriander, thyme, turmeric, garamasala and scotch bonnet. Tip everything into a food processor or liquidiser and blend until smooth. Coat the shelled prawns and leave to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan set over a medium heat and fry the rest of the curry paste, stirring all the time, for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and bay leaf. Reduce down by half.

Tip the tiger prawns and langoustines into the pan and simmer for about 3-4 minutes, until they turn a delicate shade of pink around the edges. Pour over enough water to moisten, making a thickish curry sauce. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes until tender.

Stir in the chopped coriander, spring onion and the chopped chilli. Serve with the Caribbean roti.

Chick pea roti:
100g self-raising flour
100g tinned chick peas
Pinch of salt
50ml water
Oil for frying

Add flour, salt, water and chick peas to a mixing bowl. Rub all ingredients together breaking down the boiled chick peas at the same time. Add water and knead to make a nice stiff dough.
Break off 2” diameter pieces and roll out to make a circle 6” diameter and ¼” thick. Heat a small amount of oil in frying pan on a medium heat and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden. Serve with curry.

Barrington is a Caribbean chef, not a pirate.

Jonathan Ray’s Wine Match: 2009 ‘Taste the Difference’ Chilean Pinot Noir, 14%vol, Chile (£7.99; Sainsbury’s).

New World Pinot goes beautifully with prawns and one as soft, smooth, savoury and spicy as this is great with curry too.

Elderflower ice-cream with lemon biscuits by James Ramsden

The problem for a lot of home cooks — including myself — is that most ice-cream recipes are somewhat prohibitive, in that if you don’t have an ice-cream machine then you’re stuffed. Yes, you can mess about taking the mix out every half hour to give it a whisk, but not everyone has the time or the patience for such things.

This ice-cream, happily, requires no churning and no mid-freeze whisking. It will take 10 minutes to prepare, leaving you plenty of time to make the biscuits. And if you’re feeling really lazy, you can always just buy those. Serves six.

600ml double cream 100ml elderflower cordial 100g icing sugar Juice of half a lemon For the biscuits: 150g plain flour 100g soft butter 2 tablespoons sugar Zest of a lemon

To make the ice cream, tip the cream, syrup, icing sugar and lemon juice into a large bowl. Whisk until well thickened and it forms ‘soft peaks’ — the cream should sit up when flicked upwards with a whisk. Tip into an ice cream tub and bung in the freezer for at least four hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Rub the butter into the flour with your hands until uniform, then mix in the sugar and lemon zest with a spoon until it forms a stiff dough. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to about half a centimetre thick. Trim the edges and cut into 12 fingers with a knife and put on a baking tray. Roll the trimmings for cook’s treats. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until pale golden and remove. Ideally you’d put them on a wire rack, but you may not have one — I don’t. Instead remove one of the oven racks, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, and put them on that. The idea is that air gets underneath the biscuits helping them to crisp up.

Store the biscuits in an airtight container until ready to serve, alongside a few scoops of elderflower ice-cream. The ice-cream is at its best eaten within 48 hours. Many variations are possible: you could add a few chunks of stem ginger to the ice cream, or make other ice creams — try swapping the elderflower cordial for 100ml pomegranate juice and a good splash of rosewater.

In June, James is set for some Small Adventures in Cooking (Quadrille, paperback)

Jonathan Ray’s Wine Match:
2009 The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc, 12%vol, NZ (£12.49 per 37.5cl; Majestic).

A perfect match this with its own hints of elderflower and citrus along with gooseberries and lusciously sweet tropical fruit.


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