Adding spice to haute cuisine: Shaun Hill, Antony Worrall-Thompson and Simon Hopkinson embrace and combine the world's cuisines to create their exciting new dishes.
Shaun Hill is the chef of a very grand country house hotel, Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon. It is buried in woods beneath the eastern spur of Dartmoor, on the swirling, twisting River Teign which froths over the smooth rocks like so much Murphy's stout. It is an unlikely hiding place for one of Britain's most extrovert chefs, with an exuberant style greatly admired by his peers. Hill hascooked on television; he is author of one cookery book, and is writing a second. He is both curious and gregarious, and may be encountered stalking the Restaurant Show in Islington or the Ryton Festival of Organic Food. On 12 November he will be cooking at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham.
A passionate spokesman for good produce, he goes to extraordinary lengths to track it down. He has no truck with intensively reared meat. 'I am influenced by the pressure groups against battery farming. I find a lot of meat production disgusting, and anyway the product is awful. With meat, I find less is best.'
The cheap food lobby, Hill says, has a lot to answer for. 'If you're going to get chicken at 40p a pound you start to have lousy chickens. We pay too much for our houses, too little for our food. VAT on food would be a very good idea, because people would be more demanding about their food if they had to pay more for it.'
The son of a Daily Mail journalist, Shaun Hill had a place lined up reading classics at Queen's University, Belfast; a career as a cook was not part of his plans. 'It was a job entirely without kudos with low wages and disgusting hours.' But a string of jobs, such as crewing on Russian steamships in the Baltic, led to one cooking chips at London Zoo.
He worked his way up in London, first as a cook at Carrier's in Camden Passage, Islington, then at The Gay Hussar in Soho, where Victor Sassie had created a Hungarian canteen for left-wing politicians. He learnt his haute cuisine with Brian Turner at The Capital, and eventually opened his own restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon. Here his pitifully small income went straight into the hands of the bank and the VAT man, and he was only too happy to be rescued by Gidleigh's American owner, Paul Henderson.
Hill's cooking is direct and simple. Although he relies on French-inspired stocks boiled down to a jelly, he improvises with his own favourite flavours, often spicy ones. 'I like to work from the tastebuds outwards. Too much cooking is about an ego trip. At the annual exhibition at Olympia you see chefs with an incredible technique doing fripperies for no good reason. I live in horror of complicated twiddly bits.' RED MULLET, CALF'S SWEETBREADS AND VANILLA ICE-CREAM
OPEN RAVIOLI WITH
LEMON AND GARLIC
When you compress two edges of ravioli pasta together, it makes a thick edge which is chewy. Thinking laterally, don't close up the pasta case. Clever, but how can you call it ravioli?
8oz fresh chicken livers
1/2 oz pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
2 lemons, juice and zest
olive oil for cooking
(make your own as below, or buy fresh pasta squares)
8oz plain flour
4 large eggs, and yolk of 1 egg
2fl oz olive oil
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons chicken stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 oz grated pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
a few drops of lemon juice
freshly milled black pepper
Peel the skins of the lemons and cut into fine strips (or use a zester). Soak in their own juice for one hour. Drain the zests, deep fry quickly and remove with a slotted spoon (or pour through a strainer).
Make a pasta dough. Mix flour, eggs and yolk, oil and seasonings and knead as long as you feel able. Rest the dough for one hour in the fridge. Roll out as thinly as possible, cut into 4in squares and poach briefly in salted boiling water. It cooks in a couple of minutes.
To make the sauce, heat the stock with the garlic. Add the cheese, oil, a few drops of lemon juice and pepper. Blend in a liquidiser to emulsify. Add lemon or pepper to adjust the seasoning.
Heat the pasta squares. Fry the livers quickly in oil till brown but not overcooked. Arrange a square of pasta on each plate, then the livers, then another square of pasta. Pour sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese, the lemon zest and chives.
RED MULLET WITH GINGER, GARLIC AND TOMATO
A saucy way with a fish usually afforded reverential respect. The cerise mullet swims in a scarlet pool of spicy salsa.
2 14oz red mullet
5fl oz fish stock (or half each water and wine)
8 plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon groundnut oil
2oz shallots, peeled and chopped
2oz knob ginger, peeled and very finely diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 small chilli, chopped
1 sprig fresh coriander, chopped
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
Cut four fillets from the two fish. Remove pin bones with pliers. Score the skin with four or five shallow knife-strokes and season with salt.
To make a simple fish stock, first wash the fish trimmings and bones under cold water, then put them in a saucepan with 10fl oz of cold water and a dash of white wine. Bring to the boil and leave to cool, then strain to produce a liquor.
You need well-flavoured, firm tomatoes such as Italian plum or beefsteak varieties.
Skin them by dropping into boiling water for a few seconds and then peeling. Cut them into quarters, scoop out and discard the seeds and then cut into 1/4 in squares.
Warm the groundnut oil in a saucepan and add the shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook them for 2 minutes without colouring, then add the diced tomato and fish stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter, chopped coriander and spring onion. Don't forget a pinch of salt.
Turn the fish fillets over on a lightly oiled plate, then grill under a high heat with the skin side towards the flame until just cooked. Mullet cooks quite quickly, so this should only take 5 minutes under a hot grill.
Pour the sauce on to warmed plates. Then squeeze the juice of the lemon on to the fish, place the fish on top of the sauce and serve immediately.
CALF'S SWEETBREADS WITH POTATO AND OLIVE CAKES
Potato cakes bring a bit of old Ireland to this essentially French dish; the olives, a taste of the Mediterranean.
1lb calf's sweetbreads
a dash of wine vinegar
salt and pepper
The potato and olive cakes
1lb maincrop potatoes
30 green olives, preferably stuffed with anchovies,
but in any case pitted
2 tablespoons olive oil
ground black pepper and salt
1 egg, beaten
1oz fresh breadcrumbs
oil for frying
2 tablespoons veal stock or water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 peeled shallot
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
20 small capers
2 sprigs flat parsley
Prepare the sweetbreads by carefully trimming away any membranes from the outside then placing in a saucepan along with the dash of vinegar, some salt and pepper, and enough cold water to just cover them.
Top with a butter wrapper or a circle of greaseproof paper, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave the sweetbreads to cool in the cooking liquor.
Make the potato and olive cakes by washing, peeling, boiling and then pureeing the
potatoes. Then roughly chop the olives and add these, the olive oil and seasoning to the resulting mash. Form into small hamburger- shaped patties about 1/2 in thick and then dip into the egg and crumbs.
Make sauce by heating the stock with chopped shallot, adding the other ingredients and blending in a liquidiser.
When you are ready to eat, cut the sweetbreads into thick slices and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then heat a dry frying pan. When it's hot, seal the sweetbreads until brown on each side. Lift them out of the pan, then add a little cooking oil and fry the potato and olive cakes until they too are brown. Put both into the oven to carry on heating while you heat the sauce.
Serve the dish however you want. Easiest is to spoon the sauce on to warmed plates and then place the sweetbreads and cakes on top.
VANILLA ICE-CREAM WITH FRESH FRUIT SALAD
8 egg yolks
3oz caster sugar
10fl oz double cream
10fl oz milk
1 whole vanilla pod
The fruit salad
8oz fresh plums, stoned
1 punnet ripe strawberries
1 punnet ripe raspberries
1 punnet blackberries
3oz caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cognac
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until they are creamy and thick. Boil the cream and milk with the vanilla pod, then pour into a blender and process. Pour on to the egg and sugar, whisking all the time. Stir over a low heat until the mixture first loosens, then thickens slightly, showing it has cooked.
Leave the custard mixture to cool down completely, then churn in an ice-cream maker. If you have no such machine, place the custard in the deep-freeze and stir it at half-hourly intervals until set.
Clean all the fruit. Bring the plums, the sugar and the lemon juice to the boil, then allow to cool. Add the cognac and all the other fruit. Leave to macerate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
The salad will have produced its own syrup. Spoon it into soup bowls and place a scoop of ice-cream on top. Don't be worried by black flecks in the ice-cream; these are particles of vanilla pod and taste delicious.
IS THIS the shape of food to come? In Antony Worrall-Thompson's dell' Ugo, in Soho, the assertive style of the food is as direct as the jazzy murals. It is as loud as the crescendo of music which competes with the superbabble in the restaurant. The food on the plate is bright and colourful, with the reds of peppers, the yellow of saffron and the blue-black of aubergines and olives. With primary colours come
primary flavours - salt, sweet, sour and bitter. His range of crostini in Mediterranean flavours runs the gamut of the modern palette, crowding the canvas with anchovies, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, slivers of Parmesan, green chillis, coriander, lemon grass.
One of the most ambitious modern chefs, Worrall-Thompson is a fashion-setter rather than a fashion-follower. In the 1980s he was among the first in Britain to see the significance of French nouvelle cuisine. At his fashionable Menage a Trois restaurant he introduced light meals, boasting 'two starters and a pudding, and no intercourse'.
He is yet another unexpected recruit to the pageant of modern British food. Family influences included the Raj and the stage: grandfather was military adviser to the Maharajah of Jaipur, but later turned to acting. Grandmother's best friend was Margaret Rutherford. His mother was an actress.
His fascination with cooking began when he was seven; he caught a duck on the river at Putney, wrung its neck and roasted it. With the feathers on. 'I cooked it with orange squash and orange slices, my first duck a l'orange. It tasted quite good.' At King's School, Canterbury, he gained a reputation cooking crocques monsieur for the prefects.
Worrall-Thompson never had a cookery lesson. On his first day as manager of a hotel, the chef didn't turn up, so he took over and he's been cooking ever since. 'From that day I was always a head chef. I'd tell my sous-chef to make a dish, and then stand over him to find out how it was done.'
For a while he nursed the ambition to become a three-star Michelin chef, and on one extravagant holiday, armed with Quentin Crewe's Great Chefs of France, he visited 21 French three-star restaurants in 18 days. Five years ago the French Academie Culinaire awarded him the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne, putting him on a level with France's most respected chef, Paul Bocuse, who won the French order in 1961.
He has now moved away from a reverential attitude towards food. He believes it's inappropriate in a recession. 'For most people who eat out, value for money, atmosphere, company and service are higher priorities than the food,' he says. 'I'm not a purist. I'm no longer interested in the opinions of the Michelin Guide. I want people to enjoy themselves. London badly needs a cafe society.'
CROSTINI OF MEDITERRANEAN FLAVOURS
You know you've arrived at a New-Wave restaurant when the menu offers bruschetta and crostini as a first course. In Italy both are served with savoury morsels or spreads, the bruschetta being toasted country bread, the crostino a crouton of fried bread.
Antony Worrall-Thompson's crostini are not fried but baked, quarter-inch slices of French baguette. They are cut on a diagonal and cooked in a very slow oven for 15-20 minutes, then rubbed with garlic before being spread with one of the toppings given here. He serves four or more different flavours as a first course. If you use only one of these spreads, the quantities are sufficient for about eight people. Scale down the ingredients if you want to offer all five. If you make too much it doesn't matter, as they keep well in the fridge. The crostini are perfect party food.
8oz puy lentils
1/2 pt chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red onion, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons coriander
3fl oz extra virgin olive oil
2 red chillis, seeds removed and finely diced
salt and ground black pepper
Cook lentils in chicken stock and garlic, covering the lentils by about 1in. Bring to the boil and cover, then simmer until cooked (about 40 minutes). Add more boiling stock if the lentils are too dry. The lentils should remain separate; they should not be squashy. Add all other ingredients while the lentils are still warm. Season to taste and cool.
1 large aubergine, about 1lb, peeled and sliced lengthways (each strip cut in 2)
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
2oz onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
2oz black olives, stoned
1 tablespoon small capers
1lb red peppers, roasted till skins blacken,
peeled and sliced lengthways
3fl oz red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar,
dissolved over low heat in 2fl oz water
1 bunch basil leaves
In the frying pan, cook the aubergines in 3 tablespoons oil for 10 minutes; salt generously, then transfer to a colander and leave to drain. In 3 tablespoons oil, cook onion and celery for 5 minutes; add tomatoes, olives and capers and cook for 10 minutes. Raise heat and cook the mixture to reduce for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, including the rest of the oil; allow to cool.
4oz capers, drained
4 fillets tinned anchovies
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 dessertspoon Dijon mustard
2 basil leaves, shredded
2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lb black olives
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon aged red wine vinegar
Blend the capers, anchovies, thyme, mustard, basil leaves and olive oil in a food processor; add stoned olives, blend to a coarse mixture. Season with pepper and vinegar.
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
1 stick lemon grass, tough outer husk removed, thinly sliced
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 bunch continental parsley leaves
2 green chillis, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 tinned anchovy fillets, finely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons aged red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
8fl oz extra virgin olive oil
Combine first 8 ingredients and pound in a mortar. Then add the capers and the remaining ingredients, beating in the oil slowly as for mayonnaise; add a few breadcrumbs to stiffen the texture as preferred.
2 avocados, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 chilli, finely diced
1 teaspoon pesto
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tomatoes, not peeled, finely diced
salt, ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together, season to taste.
A STEW OF FISHES WITH RED WINE, ONIONS, GARLIC AND BACON
A dense, strong-flavoured version of a 'Matelot', the Burgundian fish dish.
8 baby squid (loosely stuffed with a mixture
of breadcrumbs, butter, grated orange, wine and herbs,
held closed with a toothpick)
4oz bone marrow
16 baby onions
4oz streaky bacon, cut into thin strips
8 cloves garlic
gremolata (1 bunch parsley, finely chopped; 1/3 clove garlic, finely chopped; grated peel of 1/2 lemon)
duck fat, or a mixture of butter and oil
1pt red wine
2pt fish stock (bones of white fish, glass of white wine,
and herbs simmered for 30 minutes and strained)
1pt veal or chicken stock
2 pieces star anise
5 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 1/2 oz unsalted butter
Sweat the shallots and garlic in butter until soft but not brown. Add the remaining sauce ingredients in the order listed and reduce by fast boiling until the mixture has a tacky consistency; strain and set aside.
For the garnish: in a small pan fry the baby onions and whole garlic very slowly in duck fat till soft. Drain most of the fat off. Fry the bacon pieces till crisp. Keep warm. Poach the eel in the sauce until tender. The eel should be cooked ahead of serving, unlike the other fish.
When you come to serve: cook the salmon and monkfish in hot duck fat and allow to warm through. Pan fry squid (when cooked, remove cocktail stick). Fold the fish into the red wine and eel. Scatter the fried garlic, onion and bacon over the top.
Serve the stew with a generous blob of mashed potato. Sprinkle gremolata on top.
LAMB SHANK WITH FLAGEOLET BEANS AND OLIVE OIL MASH
The shank is the shin of the lamb, a knuckle of bone with a tasty half-pound morsel of meat on each knob which used to be unregarded but now aspires to cult status.
4 lamb shanks (you can also make this dish using
half a leg of lamb weighing about 4lb)
24 small rosemary sprigs
6 cloves garlic, cut into 24 slivers
12 tinned anchovies
salt and pepper
2oz duck fat, or a mixture of butter and oil
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, washed and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic head, broken up but not peeled
1 thyme sprig
2 rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 pieces dried orange peel
1/2 pt chicken or lamb stock
1/2 bottle red wine
8oz streaky bacon, thinly sliced, blanched in boiling water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
12 garlic cloves, peeled
4 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped
2 x 13oz tin flageolet beans
gremolata (see previous recipe)
4 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
Remove most of the fat from shanks; make 3 deep incisions in each joint and insert in each half an anchovy wrapped around a skewer of rosemary and garlic. Season the meat.
Using an oven-proof pan, brown the joints all over in a little duck fat, remove from the pan and add carrots, celery, leek, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf. Cook quickly on a high heat until vegetables are brown. Deglaze the pan with red wine, scraping the residue, and add the stock and orange peel.
Transfer to a casserole, placing the joints on top of the vegetables, cover and cook in a slow oven 250F/130C/Gas 1-2 for 2 1/2 hours.
Sauce: Brown bacon in oil. Reduce heat and add carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for 8 mins until the vegetables have softened. Add thyme, rosemary, tomatoes and beans.
When lamb is done, remove the joints and keep warm. Liquidise the remaining ingredients from the casserole dish. Pass the resulting sauce through a strainer on to the bean mixture and simmer for one hour. Season to taste and add gremolata. Pour over the lamb and heat through in the oven for 10 mins.
POACHED RED WINE PEARS WITH CREAMY GORGONZOLA
The juicy, sweet, spicy pears contrast with the salty creaminess of the Gorgonzola to produce an overwhelming taste sensation. You can drink a fruity Beaujolais with it.
6 pears, peeled but not cored
1pt red wine
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
pinch grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
2 bay leaves
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 orange
1 orange in 1 in chunks
1 lemon in 1 in chunks
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
1 orange peel, finely grated
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 lb Gorgonzola cheese (or enough for six generous slices)
Combine all ingredients (except the Gorgonzola) in a pan and cook for 30 mins until the pears are soft; remove pears. Cook liquid until syrupy; pour over the pears and cool. Serve with a creamy slice of Gorgonzola.
SIMON HOPKINSON: SIMPLICITY WITH A TINGLE FACTOR
Simon Hopkinson is committed to strong flavours. His cooking is larger than life, like the Michelin tyre man which is the symbol of his restaurant, Bibendum, in London's Fulham Road. The building used to be the British HQ of Michelin, but Michelin is either not amused or not impressed, for the restaurant Simon owns with design impresario Sir Terence Conran and
publisher Paul Hamlyn wins nothing in its restaurant guide. Yet two weeks ago it was voted Restaurant of the Year by its peers at The Restaurant Show.
The Ronay Guide describes Bibendum as 'an addition to the elite list of great restaurants of the last 30 years'. And the newly published 1993 Good Food Guide (Hodder, pounds 14.99), while agonising over the high cost of eating there, praises Hopkinson's strong flavours, direct methods, good materials and simplicity: 'Bibendum is almost a museum of a certain style of life. This is how it should be done.' Cooking English oxtail, Baltic herrings in cream, Piedmontese peppers with anchovy and garlic, French peppered steaks, he moves between cultures with a crunching sense of purpose.
Simon Hopkinson is the most unassuming of modern chefs. He comes from Bolton, Lancashire. His father, a dentist, liked to cook Chinese and Indian food; his mother, a teacher, was a good meat-and-potato pie cook (who followed Elizabeth David). At the age of 13 Simon was cooking Oeufs Mollets a l'Indienne from issue 28 of the Cordon Bleu Magazine. Isn't it tricky to shell lightly boiled eggs? 'Mine were hardboiled.'
He lived three miles from The Normandie at Birtle, which was singled out as one of Britain's best 18 restaurants by Raymond Postgate in the 1967 edition of The Good Food Guide. Simon's parents persuaded the chef, Yves Champeau, to take him on. 'I will make 'eem or break 'eem,' said Champeau. 'Champeau was a bully who used to push me out of the way with his huge tummy,' says Hopkinson. 'But I loved it.'
At 20 he was running his own restaurant in Fishguard. 'You couldn't buy tomato puree or even watercress there. Or leeks, although it was Wales.' He moved to London, worked for the Ronay Guide but left when he got to 14 1/2 stone. He then made a stirring success of Hilaire in South Kensington and met his future business partner, Conran.
At Bibendum, his style gelled. Food critic Lindsey Bareham, who is working with him on a recipe book, says: 'He has the tingle factor . . . he does the simple things well. He has an intuitive sense of what goes with what; you know you can trust him.'
SPICED AUBERGINE SALAD
ingredients. It was Elizabeth David's favourite in the restaurant. Best served cold.
2 large aubergines
2 teaspoons salt
4fl oz olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
8 ripe tomatoes, skinned and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons currants
2 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
carton of natural yoghurt
It does make a difference to salt the aubergines before cooking. Cut them into 1/2 in cubes, put into a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Mix with your hands and leave to drain for 30-40 mins. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a pan and fry the onions slowly until golden. Add the tomatoes and the spices. Stew gently for 5-10 mins, stir in the garlic and take off the heat. Stir in the currants.
Tip the aubergines into a clean tea towel and gently squeeze them dry. In your largest frying pan heat the remaining oil until smoking. Add the aubergines and stir-fry briskly until quite golden and cooked through. Stir in the onion and tomato mixture, adding the herbs. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Serve with yoghurt, more chopped mint and a little Tabasco.
ROAST COD WITH SAFF MASH (AND FISH SOUP)
Saffron-scented potatoes flavoured with fish stock are adapted from Fredy Girardet's potatoes mashed with garlic, olive oil and cream.
4 cod steaks
oil for frying
The saff mash
2lb floury potatoes
3pt fish stock (bones of white fish, onion, carrot, celery,
parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, simmered 25 mins, strained)
pinch of saffron threads
1 clove garlic, peeled, left whole
1/2 pt best extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pt thin cream (or gold-top milk)
salt and pepper
wedge of lemon
bunch of watercress
Peel potatoes, cut into equal-sized pieces and cook in the fish stock with the saffron and garlic over a slow heat, to intensify their colour and flavour. When soft, strain, retaining the saffron strands and garlic, and mash them (or pass through a Mouli-legumes) using several spoonfuls of the cooking liquid. (Reserve the liquid, now slightly thickened by the potato, either for another meal, or serve first as a fish soup, with seasoning and perhaps some chopped coriander for an Oriental flavour.)
While the potato is hot, beat in the cream and olive oil gradually with a wooden spoon.
Pre-heat oven to 425F/220C/Gas 7. Dust cod with flour. Fry in oil for one min each side. Roast in oven for five mins. Serve cod and mash with a lemon wedge and watercress.
BONED LEG OF RABBIT AND BACON WITH MUSTARD SAUCE
A deeply satisfying dish with a deceptive simplicity of flavour, presented in great style.
1 farm-bred rabbit
10 rashers streaky bacon
2oz unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
(keep some leaves for garnish)
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
salt and pepper
The mustard sauce
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 pt white wine
1 tablespoon concentrated chicken stock
1/4 pt double cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas 7. Cut legs from rabbit. (Use the rest for another dish.) Leaving the bone in the second joint (the drumstick) intact, remove the bone from each thigh without cutting through the flesh. Trim the gristle and skin from the drumstick.
Soften the butter and mix with the tarragon and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper, and rub into the cavities in the thighs. Wrap each leg with five rashers of bacon.
Roast legs in oven for 10-15 mins. Leave to rest in a warm place (the oven with the door ajar) for 10 mins more.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan cook shallot, wine and chicken stock over a high heat and reduce in volume until syrupy. Add the cream and cook until it thickens. Whisk in the mustard, check for seasoning and strain into a warmed pan or bowl.
Slice the wide part of the thighs into three and arrange on plates, with the drumstick on its flat base, pointing upwards. Pour sauce around it, garnished with tarragon leaves.
Simon Hopkinson tasted this at Michel Guerard's three-star restaurant in Eugenie-les- Bains in South-west France. 'How do you make it?' he asked the master. 'Puff pastry, almonds, chocolate,' came the laconic reply. This is Simon's interpretation.
3/4 lb puff pastry
1/2 lb unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lb caster sugar
1/2 lb ground almonds
4oz cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 lb best dark chocolate, chopped small
beaten egg, to glaze
The creme patissiere
18fl oz milk
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 oz plain flour
1 vanilla pod
To make the creme patissiere: heat milk and vanilla in a pan. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and flour. Pour on the boiling milk; whisk lightly. Return to the saucepan and cook gently (or eggs will harden) till mixture will coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and chill.
To make the Pithiviers mixture, beat softened butter and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs; then, lightly, the almonds, cocoa powder, rum and creme patissiere and finally fold in the chocolate chips. Chill.
Preheat oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6. Roll out puff pastry to 1/8 in thick, and cut out eight squares 4in by 4in, and eight larger squares 6in by 6in. Place the smaller squares on a floured board, and using an ice-cream scoop, put a round of chocolate mixture on each one. Wet the edges with egg glaze and press the second layer of pastry on top, expelling the air. Cut round the edges with a pastry cutter to make a neat circle. Press edges into place with a fork and brush with egg glaze.
Dust with icing sugar and bake in the oven on a baking tray for 15-20 mins, till pastry is well risen and golden. Dust with more icing sugar; serve hot with thick cream.-Reuse content