TThe oven has always been at the heart of this kitchen. The glow from its glass door fills the space with a sense of warmth and hospitality. There are opportunities an oven can provide that is different from cooking over an open flame, the delicious crusty items that make baking and roasting a welcome thing on the table and unlike anything you can produce with a skillet on the stove. Having said that, we have to think carefully about how often we turn on the oven and how long we use it.
Energy consumption in our cooking is now more than ever. I find myself baking several things at once, just like my grandmother did. The days of baking potatoes or pizza for dinner are long gone. I make cakes that will last for several days, popping up a tray of baked apples at the same time as gingerbread. I bake a piece of jamun that will be served hot, and then, like cold meats. I bake the fish to eat with mashed potatoes and cream, but make sure you cook enough to use it tomorrow in a different recipe. Well-styled home economics, updated for today’s dining conditions.
Instead of a deep-dish apple pie that takes the best part of an hour to cook, I’ve taken to making thin wafer pies that can pop out in 20 minutes and probably also use that time to bake a tray of cookies. And while I’m not fond of sharing the oven with the savory flavors, I did find less transition of flavors than you might expect between the main course and dessert. Just remember not to bake garlic bread at the same time as the Victoria sponge.
A pleasure to fry, steam and fry, taking something out of the hot oven is somewhat of the essence of hospitality. Bringing the dish to the table, oven mitts in hand, will always be the best welcome gesture.
Smoked haddock, mashed parsley
I find it helpful and heat efficient to cook enough smoked haddock for two meals at once. First, dinner for two, smoked and mashed haddock with parsley, then the next day, smoked haddock risotto. The fish will keep in good condition, transfer to a bowl in the cooking milk and keep in the refrigerator. Of course, you can make smoked and mashed haddock for four if that suits you.
smoked haddock slices 1 kg
milk 500 ml
Water 500 ml
Black pepper 8
parsley stalks 6
an onion ½ small peeled
To prepare the potatoes
Potato 500 g – 1 kg, white meat
parsley small handful, chopped
haddock milk 100 ml
butter little to serve
Heat the oven to a temperature of 180 ° C. Fan/gas sign 6. Carefully examine the haddock fillets for bones, removing them as necessary. Place the slices in a roasting tray. Combine milk with water and season with pepper (without salt), parsley stalks, halved onions and cloves.
Pour over fish and bake for 30 minutes, until fillets are firm. Test this by removing a large piece of fish from a fillet. It should be pearly on the inside and can be separated easily. Take it out of the oven and set it aside.
Scrub the potatoes (you will need 500 grams if you are serving 2 or 1 kg for 4), then cut them in halves or quarters and cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and crush the potatoes with a spoon or potato masher, breaking up the peel as you go. Add the parsley and 100 ml of warm milk from the haddock, and let the milk soak in the mashed potatoes.
Serve the fish, about 250 grams per person, in shallow bowls, with 1 teaspoon of the cooking liquid as you go, then add a dollop of butter. Divide the potatoes among the bowls and serve.
Smoked haddock risotto with broccoli
If you have kept cooked smoked haddock in the refrigerator, take it out for about an hour before adding it to the rice. Cooking liquid makes a delicious addition to risotto. You will need about 400 ml.
broccoli flowers 250 grams
butter 50 g
Onions 2, small, finely chopped
Risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli) 250 grams
white wine small glass
Hot fish or vegetable broth 450 ml
Cooked smoked haddock 500 g of the previous recipe plus 400 ml of cooking liquid
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the broccoli florets and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green and knife-edge tender. Drain immediately and set aside.
In a saucepan over moderate heat, melt the butter, stir in the onions and leave for 7-10 minutes. It should be soft and transparent. Add rice until lightly coated with butter and then pour in the white juice. will yellow. Stir for a minute or so and let the wine almost evaporate, then add the hot broth, a little at a time, stirring almost constantly. Let each addition evaporate roughly, then add more stock. Continue until all the broth is used up, then continue with some of the cooking liquid from the drained haddock. The total cooking time will be somewhere around 20 minutes, depending on your rice.
When the rice is creamy (I like it with a little bit left but keep cooking until it’s as you like), check the seasoning and then add the smoked broccoli and haddock, cut into pieces.
Baked Jamun with Maple and Miso
A piece of buffalo, baked in a glaze of miso and maple syrup, is a great thing to bring to the table and worthy of any occasion. Best, in my opinion at least, is to bake a piece large enough to cut out and come back again in the following days. I can think of few things I’d rather take home than those leftovers in the fridge, firm meat and easy to cut into thin strips, to be eaten with sparkling pickles and a whip of potato salad. I buy a large piece – over a kilo – enough for several meals. Thinly sliced and eaten with mustard and arugula sprigs, it makes for top-notch sandwiches, but also leaves you with delicious scraps to add to your pasta sauce (with cream, mustard, and spinach) or fried rice.
Serves 4 plus leftovers
Jamun non-smoker 1½ kg boneless, rolled and tied
bay leaves 3
an onion ½
Black pepper 8
Maple syrup 125 ml
white miso 4 tablespoons
Dijon Mustard 3 teaspoons
Grain mustard 3 tablespoons
Crushed chili ½ teaspoon
Place the buffalo, wrapped and tied, in a very large deep saucepan. Add bay leaves, onions, peppers and cloves. Add enough water to just cover the top of the meat – you can expect a 2 liter serving to be fine. Bring the water to a boil, then peel and discard any scum that rises to the surface. Leave to simmer, partially covered with a lid, for an hour. Check from time to time that the water doesn’t go down too much – it should always just cover the meat. Flip the meat after half an hour.
Set oven to 160°C, fan/gas mark 4. Carefully transfer the jamon from the cooking liquid to a roasting pan (the cooking water has done its job, you can do without it too). Remove the thread and skin from the buffalo but leave all the fat in place. Scoop the fat into a grid with a large kitchen knife and place the pork in a roasting pan.
Make a paste for the glaze by mixing together the maple syrup, miso, mustard, and pepper. Most of them are spooned over the meat.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, brushing again with the reserved marinade, and any of the tin. It will thicken as the meat cooks. Served in thin slices.
Long Lasting Ginger Cake With Lemon Cream
Sticky gingerbread that keeps for several days in an airtight container. They’re good because they come on, cut into thick slices, but I like to ice them with clouds of sharp lemon frosting. It’s one of those cakes where texture and flavor improve after a day or two, although I’ve known I eat them straight off the cooling rack on many occasions.
self-raising flour 250 grams
ground ginger 2 teaspoons
mixed spices ½ teaspoon
ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon
Bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon
salt a pinch
golden liquid 200 ml
butter 125 grams
Dark Muscovado 125 grams
ginger in syrup 60 g (3 blocks)
egg 2, big
milk 240 ml
butter 100 grams
icing sugar 400 grams
cream cheese 320 grams
lemon peel 2 teaspoons, finely grated
Lemon small juice
orange peel liqueur 40 grams
You will need a square cake pan measuring approximately 22 cm.
Line the base and sides of the cake pan with baking paper. Set oven to 160°C fan/gas mark 4.
Sift the flour, ground ginger, mixed spices, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. In a small, deep skillet over moderate heat, heat the golden syrup, butter, and muscovado sugar until dissolved. Cut the ginger into small cubes, add it to the mixture, let it simmer for a minute, then remove it from the heat.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, then whisk the milk lightly. Pour the melted butter and syrup into the flour and spices, stirring gently but quickly until the flour is gone. Add milk and eggs. Transfer the mixture to a tin and put it in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until slightly puffed and spongy to the touch. Leave it to cool in the can.
Once the cake has cooled, you can either finish it with fluffy icing or wrap it in baking sheets and foil and leave it to set for a few days and become a little sticky.
To make the buttercream, cream the butter with a wooden spoon (or a flat paddle in your kitchen mixer) until soft—this is essential, since you can’t really mix icing sugar into rock-hard butter. Sift the powdered sugar into the butter, mix the two together until soft and light, now whisk in the cream cheese and lemon peel. Add lemon juice, a little at a time, stopping when you have a pale, lemon-flavored frosting thick enough to distribute on the cake. (If there is any sign of refusing to stay put, mix in more powdered sugar.)
Cut the sweetened orange peel into small cubes and spread them on the surface of the cake. Cut into 16 pieces. Iced, the cake will keep for several days in a tin in a cool place.
Apple, almond and cheese pies
Crispy pancakes with a load of apple and creamy almond cheese, require the oven for just a few minutes. Great eaten when freshly baked, but it works well and served cold too. For the record, I used one sheet of whole buttercream dough, rolled up a bit more.
Makes 6 tart
puff pastry paper 320 grams
An apple 4 medium
butter 40 grams
fine sugar 2 tablespoons plus a little for dusting
an egg 1, minor hit
peeled almond 3 tablespoons
cream cheese 280 grams
fine sugar 2 tablespoons
ground almonds 75g
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
You will need 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper.
On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a rectangle from which you can cut into 6 x 12 cm discs (the rectangle will be about 40 cm x 25 cm). Use a small plate or dough cutter 12 cm in diameter to cut out 6 discs of dough. Put it on baking paper and put it in the fridge.
Cut the apple in half and core it. Cut each half into 6 slices. Over moderate heat, melt butter in a shallow skillet and add apples. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden, then flip each piece and let the other side color as well (you may need to do this in two batches). Sprinkle the sugar and let it caramelize gently, then remove from the heat.
Set oven to 200°C, fan/gas mark 7. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, caster sugar, ground almonds, and vanilla extract. Remove pastry from refrigerator and divide almond mixture between pastry disks, spreading densely with the back of a teaspoon, leaving a 1-cm-thick edge of the pastry bare around the edges. Brush the edge of each tart with a little beaten egg.
Divide the apples and any sticky juices from the pan between each tart, then sprinkle with the blanched almonds. Sprinkle the surface with a little icing sugar, then bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the cream cheese is slightly set.
Leave to rest for a few minutes, then place on small plates and eat while the pancakes are still warm.
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