#32 FOOD NEWS: ‘Apple’ apple pies!

Every monday

Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Bueno and nutella…. the hazelnut is somewhat of a hero in Italy, so I’ve decided to take a piece of inspiration from Mr Ferrero and hidden a fruity hazelnut filling in the centre of these pies. With honey from Pollino National Park dotted throughout, I’ve hopefully given this British fave a little kiss from Italy. AND they’re shaped like an APPLE!

apple group

300g plain flour, sifted
Pinch salt
180g butter
3tbsp caster sugar
3tbsp runny honey
6 Granny Smith apples
100g Pre-soaked mixed fruit
40g roasted chopped hazelnuts
milk, for brushing
softly whipped cream, to serve (optional)

ingreds

1 Place the flour, salt and butter in a bowl, rub between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through 1 tbsp of the honey, the sugar and 4-5 tbsp cold water. Turn out onto a work surface and knead quickly to form a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.

pastry strip

2 Meanwhile peel the apples.

Peeled apples

3 Slice off the bottom to create a flat surface, then remove the core using an apple corer.

stuffing apples strip
4 Heat the remaining honey in the microwave for 10 seconds to loosen. Mix the dried fruit with the nuts and 1 tbsp of the honey. Set aside.

5 Divide the dough into 6 x approx 90g pieces. Roll out the first piece on a lightly floured work surface, large enough to wrap around an apple.

Stuffing apples

6 Place the apple in the centre with the top of the apple facing down. Fill with the dried fruit mix. Brush the outside of the apple with the remaining honey.

7 Pull up the sides of the pastry, folding to follow the shape of the apple. The folds will mean there will be excess pastry at the bottom of the apple, slice off the excess and reserve.

Trimming pastry
8 Turn over, so the apple is the right way up and shape in your hands, smoothing out the folds as best you can. Repeat with the remaining apples, place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.

leaf trimmings

9 Roll out the reserved trimmings and use to cut out leaf shapes, brush the undersides with a little water and stick to the tops of the apples. Pierce the top with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Chill for 10 mins.

Ready for oven
10 Preheat the oven to 200ºC, 180ºC fan, gas 6. Brush the apples with the milk and bake for 30 mins (checking after 20 mins – if they are already a nice golden colour cover with a layer of foil for the final 10 mins). Serve with softly whipped cream, if liked.

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#31 Food news: The best Italian deli in London

Forget gold rings – the real diamond of Hatton Gardens sits proudly at the top of Leather Lane like the crown jewels.

parma ham

Step out of the rain and into the sunshine! I used to work around the corner from Terroni & Son’s deli. In the heart of London’s Italian community – it was always a great place to have a browse, sometimes I’d even go in and get a coffee just for an excuse to stare at the Italian products and produce!

Shop

The perfect way to transport your mind to sunny, relaxing, Italian-Mamma-food-filled holidays in Italy: the rows of lemoncello, the hanging Parma ham (even if they are plastic – British health and safety at work I presume – rest assured the real McCoy are under the counter), the regional wine, steaming vats of pasta and the bowls of olives all help to give you that holiday feeling!

Open since 1878, London’s oldest delicatessen has just won the status as UK Parma Ham Specialist 2013, with Aldo Zilli presenting the award.

Aldo zilli

Of course this was celebrated in Italian style with more Parma ham canapés than you can imagine and some top-notch Prosecco!

Canapes

Go ‘ave a butchers! Terroni and Sons, 138-140 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1R 5DL  (great for those on engagement ring hunts, when it’s all too much drop in for a coffee or a bottle of Lemoncello – depending on how much you’ve spent!)

TOP 6 EASY PARMA HAM CANAPES 

1 Fig, Parmigiano and Parma ham wraps

Cut 12 slices of Parma ham in half lengthways. Wrap 12 fig halves in a strip of Parma ham. Top each with 1tbsp of grated Parmigiano cheese. Then wrap with the remaining Parma ham. Grill for 3-4 mins.

2 Parma prawns with mango salsa

Mix 1 ripe chopped mango, a small handful of finely chopped cucumber and 3 tbsp coriander. Fill 6 dessert spoons or ceramic soup spoons with the mixture. Top with prawns wrapped in Parma ham.

3 Tomato and Parma ham bruschetta

Drizzle 6 slices of lightly toasted ciabatta or French bread with olive oil. Top with sliced tomatoes. Grill for 1-2 mins. Serve topped with Parma ham

4 Parma ham, avocado and goats cheese

Drizzle 8 slices of lightly toasted ciabatta or French bread with olive oil. Top with a slice of avocado, crumbled goats cheese, basil and a slice of Parma ham

5 Melon and Parma ham sticks

Cut 1/2 honeydew melon into 2cm cubes, wrap the cubes in thin strips of Parma ham. Secure with a cocktail stick.

6 Ricotta, pesto and Parma ham blinis (pictured above)

Top 12 blinis with a little ricotta and pesto. Finish with basil leaves and Parma ham.

Visit prosciuttodiparma.com for lots of delicious Parma ham recipes (not just canapés!)

#30 Food News: Britalian Kitchen opens its doors to Hersham’s answer to Posh & Becks!

Every monday

I like to go for a menu that I know means I can enjoy the party (well a good old catch-up with our mates Nic & Dave – who happen to look a bit like posh and Becks). Who wants to be running out to attend to a flaming souffle or cracked Macarons? Definitely not me.

nic and dave - crop

 

Britalian Kitchen’s crispy mushrooms with Italian flag dip

This is what is what I’m talking about. Prepare the pea dip ahead. Everything else takes minutes to prepare and cook when you need them

Jamie’s Hunter’s chicken stew

As the man himself says, ‘It looks after itself in the oven.’ Always a winning attribute for me when having guests.

Ingredients - strip1

2 kg chicken jointed, or use the equivalent amount of chicken pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, peeled (1 crushed, 2 sliced)
1/2 a bottle Chianti
flour, for dusting
extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
a handful of green or black olives stoned
2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes

1 Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed garlic clove of garlic cover with the wine and leave to marinade for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.

Chicken legs

2 Preheat your oven to 180’C/ 350’F/ gas 4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off the excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over [I didn’t have a large enough flameproof oven pan, so I transferred the meat into saucepans for this stage] and put to one side.

chicken hob crop

3 Place the pan [or the largest saucepan you have] back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, the add the achovies, olives and tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness of foil [or bring to the boil, then transfer to an ovenproof dish and cover with the foil] and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

chicken cooked

4 Skim off any oil that’s collected on top of the sauce, then stir to taste and add a little salt and pepper if neccessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with a salad [and bread for mopping up all those lovely juices!], or some cannellini beans, and plenty of Chianti.

Recipe: Pollo alla cacciatora from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver

Britalian kitchen’s cheat’s panacotta with couture chocolate curls

And for dessert, another one to prepare ahead. Just whip them out when you’re ready [the desserts!].

#29 FOOD NEWS: Move over Montalbano!

Every monday


arlesford sign

There’s no announcements for severe delays or instructions to stand clear of the closing doors. No need even to mind the gap. Set in the 1920s, after witnessing ‘murder at The Ultimate DeMise Hotel’ in the waiting room of Arlesford train station, we board a Thomas the Tank Engine style steam train to solve the murder whilst enjoying a 3 course meal.

car detective actors watercress

Good old honest food; tomato soup followed by lamb chops and mint sauce, topped off with a slice of cherry pie.

lamb n cherry pie

With a detective pack of clues, the actors and actresses pass through the train for you to grill them. The most difficult bit for me was trying to think of clever questions when my cherry pie arrived. I just wanted to shout, ‘OMG! Nom nom nom!’ Hhhuumm not very 1920s.

actress train lamp

Points are given for guessing the correct killer and motives. Lucky my very intelligent sister-in-law was on our team; The Montalbanana’s (I helped with the name). We came joint 3rd with 26/28 points! Whoop! Whoop! Oh… I mean jolly-good show.

end result crop

Great for a night out with a difference, there’s 4 murder mystery evenings a year. Understandably popular. Book early! Watercress line murder mystery

Make a weekend of it

The Angel is a comfortable Citylodge hotel with free parking and wifi (and a 24 hour bar! I’m not sure if you’ll get a Bombay Sapphire but it’s perfect for a little night cap). A fifteen minute drive to Arlesford station. It costs around £49 per night for a double room, plus an extra £7.50 per person for a delicious full-English breakfast.