Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.

Food and Wine Magazine

Sausages with Celeriac Puree and Braised Shallots

This is a slightly upmarket version of the traditional supper of bangers and mash. Try to source really good sausages for this dish – Hugo Arnold recommends using Toulouse sausages, who’s casing is made from caul fat. A staple part of the Irish diet, there is an almost innumerable amount of different regional variations and specialities of sausages. The greatest variety can be found in Germany, home to over 1,000 different types of sausages!

Peel a head of celeriac and roughly chop into equal sized chunks. Place in a saucepan of boiling, salted water along with an onion studded with 4 cloves. Cook until tender, drain, remove the cloves from the onion and liquidize the onion and the celeriac. Beat in 4 tblsp of olive oil and enough milk to form the desired consistency. Set aside and keep warm.

Fry 8 sausages in a little oil until cooked through and keep warm.

Put 450g peeled shallots in the same pan, coat throughly in oil, cover with tin foil, lower the heat and cook until tender, about five minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Drain any excess oil from the pan, add 300ml cider and reduce, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan until the liquid becomes a syrup.

Serve the sausages with the celeriac and the shallots, and pour over the cider gravy.


Bread of the Week – Irish Soda Bread

A traditional Irish Soda breads is one of the simplest breads to bake. It’s important to measure the bread soda meticulously – use a knife to level off the spoon if you don’t own measuring spoons.The bread soda acts as the raising agent by reacting with the lactic acid in the milk to produce CO2, which raises the bread. Like the Basic White Yeast Bread from last week, this recipe comes from the November 2011 issue of Food & Wine Magazine.

Preheat the oven to 185degC. Sieve 450g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp bread soda and 2 tsp cream of tartar into a large bowl.

Cut 50g chilled butter into small cubes, then rub into the flour for about a minute. Pour in 350ml buttermilk to make a soft dough. If the dough is a little dry, add more buttermilk (or a sprinkle of flour if too wet).

Put the dough on a lightly greased and floured baking tray and shape into a large round. Score the top of the dough with a cross. Dust with a little flour and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. To check if the bread is done, tap it on the base. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready.

Cream of Pumpkin and Chilli Soup with Glazed Pumpkin Seeds, Croutons and Chives

I have two pumpkins to carve this year, so that means loads of tasty pumpkin flesh to make a variety of dishes for this Hallowe’en. First up is a pumpkin soup, from a recipe that appeared in the October 2011 issue of Food and Wine Magazine. Kashmiri Chilli is recommended for this dish, but you can use any mild chilli. This soup is quite hot and spicy, so adjust the amount of chilli as per your preference.

In a large thick-bottomed pot, melt 100g butter over a low-medium heat. Add the flesh from a large pumpkin (or two medium pumpkins) , a peeled and finely chopped clove of garlic, and 4 peeled and finely chopped shallots. Allow to sweat gently in the butter without getting any colour for about 6-7 minutes, or until the edges of the pumpkin pieces are starting to soften nicely.

Add 2 tsp of dried Kashmiri chilli, 2 tsp of ground coriander and 1 tsp turmeric powder and cook for a further minute. Add 1 litre of vegetable stock and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add 200ml cream, 30g grated parmesan and 1 tsp black pepper, then bring just to the boil and remove from the heat. Pour the soup into a food processor or whizz with a hand-blender to a smooth consistency.

Dry roast the seeds in a non-stick pan until just toasted. Cut a handful of stale bread into small cubes and gently fry in about 250ml of rapeseed oil (I used olive oil) until they’re golden brown, then season with fresh pepper and salt.

Pour the soup into bowls then sprinkle the top with croutons, seeds and finely chopped chives.


Bread of the Week – Plain White Loaf

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to attempt a different type of bread each week. I’ve started off with a basic white yeast bread. This simple recipe can be used as the basis for many variations – you could add chopped onions and bacon to the wet ingredients, or try basil pesto with sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. This recipe is part of a series on baking, the first part of which appears in the November issue of Food & Wine Magazine.

Preheat the oven to 200degC.

Sieve 450g strong white flour, 1 level tsp salt and 1 level tsp sugar into a large bowl. Stir 1 sachet of fast acting dried yeast into 300ml warm water and 2 tblsp olive oil. Make a well in the middle of the flour, then pour in the liquid. Mix until a soft dough is formed.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes until it is smooth. Put the dough into a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm area until doubled in size. This will take about an hour.

Turn out the dough onto a very lightly floured surface.

To make loaves: Simply divide the dough in half, and place in two 2lb loaf tins. Mix an egg yolk with a tblsp of water together in a small bowl, then brush over the bread and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with clingfilm, leave in warm place and allow to double in size. Cook in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until the bread is golden brown. Remove the bread from the tin and tap the base to check if it is cooked through (it should sound hollow). If not, just return to the oven for five or ten minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

To make a plait: Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a sausage shape on a lightly floured surface. Make sure they are the same size. Pinch the three pieces together at one end, then plait them and pinch the end together. Transfer onto a baking tray, and glaze as per the loaves. Cover with clingfilm, and all to prove in a warm area for 30 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.