~ Menu ~
Smoked Haddock & Leek Chowder
Crunchy Bacon Grattons
White Wine Spritzer
Dark Chocolate & Crystallised Chilli Bark
I made too much mashed potato yesterday as, when sorting out the potato box as one does, I found several elderly chaps that had been there a while. Most of it went on Shepherd’s Pie but I still had some over but which, of course, didn’t faze me.
Last night, whilst the men ate their Shepherd’s Pie (which was pretty good actually as it had braised lamb shank juice in it!) I had … Panko Crusted Cod and Chorizo Cakes with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise. No recipe for this, again!, basically I munged together leftover mash, cooked leftover cod, a little diced chorizo, a clove of roasted garlic, a few chilli flakes and then chilled the resultant goo. When almost ready for dinner I formed two cakes, coated them in panko crumbs and shallow fried in olive oil till crispy and hot. With a dollop of (bought in from M & S) Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, which is gorgeous, and some fresh medium hot chilli this more than made up for there not being enough Shepherd’s Pie for three.
I still had leftover mashed potato however so today I made …
Smoked Haddock & Leek Chowder – for 2
1 leek, sliced and washed
1½ tbsp olive oil
Leftover mashed potato – about the amount 1 large baking potato would make!
200g or so of smoked haddock
100ml double cream
~ Cook the leek very gently, covered, in a small saucepan till tender.
~ Stir in the mashed potato till hot.
~ Pplace the fish on top of the potatoes, skin side up if it has skin, remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes or so by which time the fish should have cooked in the residual heat.
~ Peel off the skin and discard it.
~ Use a potato masher (I used my old grumpy one) to mash everything to a chunky purée.
~ Bring to a simmer and stir in the cream.
~ Taste and season (I added a little vegetable Oxo).
~ Serve and eat.
I happened to have a few pieces of crunchy leftover bacon fat left from rendering fat for another use, so I topped the soup with them.
Now then, chilli bark – this is the “interesting thing” I said I was going to tell you about a while ago. Crystallising chillies this way also produces a delicious and useful syrup, great for drizzling on ice cream or stirring into hot chocolate.
Crystallised Chilli & its Syrup
When working with chillies don’t put your fingers near your eyes or any other part of your body or anyone else’s that you particularly value.
150 g medium hot bright red chillies
150 g white sugar
300 ml water
~ Split the chillies lengthways, scrape out the seeds and discard them. Cut the chillies crosswise into thin strips.
~ Bring the sugar and the water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
~ Add the chilli and cook on a low heat, topping up with a little water as necessary, for 30 minutes.
~ After 20 minutes preheat oven to 350˚C/180˚F/Gas 4
~ Strain the chillies into a bowl, keeping both the chillies and the syrup - for me this makes about 300 ml of syrup but it does depends on how assiduously you top up the water when cooking.
~ Spread the chillies out on a baking tray lined with greaseproof or parchment or similar and do in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring and separating as they dry and start to crisp – they will crisp up further as they cool.
~ When completely cold break up any that are clinging together and store in an airtight container.
Label both the chillies and the syrup clearly, use sparingly and maybe, like all good things, keep them out of the way of children.
Dark Chocolate & Crystallised Chilli Bark
100g dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp crystallised chilli
~ Put two thirds of the chocolate into a small bowl and stand the pan in a small pan of hot water over a low heat till the chocolate has melted and is smooth.
~ Off the heat stir in the rest of the chocolate till melted and smooth and then stir in the crystallised chilli.
~ Spread the mixture onto a greaseproof lined baking tray and bung in the fridge for 10 minutes.
~ Cut into pieces.
The reason for adding a third of the chocolate at the end is to temper it which keeps it shiny and snappy.