APPLE MADEIRA CAKE (makes one large, 28 cm round cake)
350g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
grated rind of one lemon
contents of one vanilla pod
pinch of salt
7 medium free-range eggs
400g sifted plain flour
8 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled
cinnamon powder to dust
smooth apricot preserve
For the glaze:
7oz icing sugar
one tablespoon dark rum
two tablespoons hot water
200g of flaked almonds to decorate.
Put the butter, sugar, lemon rind and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Scrape out the vanilla pod and add to the mix. Whisk until almost white in colour. Use a a beater but don't use a food processor - it will beat the mixture too hard.
Ensure the eggs are the same temperature as the butter - or else the mix may curdle - and slowly add the eggs to the mixture, one by one. Gradually add the sifted flour, turning the mixture over with a wooden spoon.
Peel and core the apples and cut into halves or quarters. Score the surface of each slice with a knife to release the juices.
Prepare the baking tin by greasing it well and sprinkling with a very fine covering of plain flour. Pour in the Madeira mix. Make the mix level and place the apples firmly on top - scored side upwards - and dust slightly with a covering of cinnamon powder. Place in a fan oven at 180C or conventional oven at 200C for 20 to 30 minutes until it is baked.
Let the cake cool and remove it from the baking tin, apple side up. The cake can be dusted with icing sugar and served. Alternatively, boil some apricot preserve and brush over the top and sides.
Now make a rum glaze by mixing the sifted icing sugar with the rum and hot water. The mix should be the consistency of runny honey. Spread the glaze over the cake and decorate with the flaked almonds.
VIENNESE "VICTORIA" SPONGE (makes one large, 28cm cake)
8 medium free-range eggs
250g caster sugar
pinch of salt
rind of one lemon
contents of half a vanilla pod
150g sifted plain flour
150g sifted cornflour
90g unsalted butter
For the filling:
contents of half a vanilla pod
icing sugar to dust
Break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar, a pinch of salt, lemon rind and the contents of half of the vanilla pod. Mix well over a warm stove but take special care not to cook the mixture. (The heat enables the egg yolk and white to combine properly).
Whisk vigorously until the mix is cool and risen about three times in volume. The mix will form soft peaks similar to making meringues.
Sieve together the plain flour and cornflour and gently fold into the mixture.
Melt the butter and fold it into the cake mix.
Grease a large round cake tin and pour in the mixture. Place in a fan oven heated to 180C or conventional oven 200C, for 25 to 30 minutes.
Whip the cream with the contents of half a vanilla pod and a little icing sugar to taste - but not too sweet. Allow the cake to cool, halve the cake and fill with whipped cream and good quality strawberry jam. Dust with icing sugar.
Recipes by Falko Burkert
Braised brisket with guiness, onions, carrots and celery
I have been hearing from farmers of the best beef cattle in the past year that no-one ever buys brisket these days. I urge you to make the most of this wonderful cut of meat.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 onions, each skinned and quartered
• 8 carrots, each peeled, ends cut off, and the carrots sliced in chunks on the diagonal (this looks better)
• 2 fat cloves of garlic, skinned and chopped
• 1 head of peeled celery, root end and leaves cut off, sliced diagonally in lengths about 2cm
• approx 4lb/1.8kg piece of brisket - this may sound a lot, but it allows for some shrinkage during cooking
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 pint/570ml Guinness
• 1 level teaspoon salt
• about 20 grinds of black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a deep flameproof casserole and fry the quartered onions over a moderately high heat until they are transparent and just turning brown. Scoop them out into a warmed dish. Add the carrots to the pan and fry them, turning often, until they, too, just begin to turn golden at their edges. Add the garlic and celery to the carrots in the pan, and cook for three to four minutes longer. Then scoop these vegetables into the warmed dish with the onions.
Turn up the heat a bit under the casserole and brown the brisket all over, so that it is really well browned. Turn it fat side up, and pack the vegetables around. Pour in the Guinness, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to simmering point. Add the bay leaves, cover the pan with its lid and cook in the oven at 160C/320F/ Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes. Turn down the heat to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 and cook for a further one and a half hours. Allow to cool then, when cold, skim off any fat. Reheat gently until the liquid simmers, and, keeping the lid on, simmer gently in a moderate oven, 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes.
Lamb shanks braised with leeks, apricots and spices
Lamb shanks are the one lesser cut to have become almost a food fashion. In this recipe I cook them with spices - lamb, above all other meats, lends itself to these because it is a slightly sweet meat. One lamb shank feeds two people, provided it really is a shank, and not a cut from the forelegs - it's easy to tell if you look carefully.
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 lamb shanks
• 3 onions, skinned and sliced
• 6 leeks, each washed, trimmed and sliced into diagonal chunks about 2cm in length
• 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, both crushed in a mortar with a pestle, or in a deep bowl using the end of a rolling pin
• a scant 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 6oz/170g dried apricots, sliced in half - dip the scissors into a jug of very hot water as you snip the apricots, to get rid of any excessive stickiness
• finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon - wash it very well and dry it before grating - and 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 pint/570ml stock, either vegetable or chicken
• 1 teaspoon salt
• about 20 grinds of black pepper
• 4oz/110g young spinach
In a large, deep casserole heat the olive oil and brown each lamb shank very well. As they brown, remove them to a large warmed plate.
Fry the sliced onions and leeks over a moderately high heat for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Then stir in the mixed spices, and cook for a further minute before adding the halved apricots to the pan along with the lemon rind, juice and stock. Bring the liquid to simmering point, season with salt and pepper and replace the browned shanks in the pan. Bring the liquid back to simmering point, cover the pan with its lid and cook for one hour at 160C/320F/Gas Mark 3, then lower the heat to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 and cook for a further one to one and a half hours - the meat should be falling from the bones.
Cool the contents of the pan till you can comfortably handle the cooked lamb shanks. Take the meat from the bones, throwing away the bones and gristle. This is so much easier to do while the meat is still warm; once it is cold, the fat congeals and sets the meat and bones more closely.
When you reheat the contents of the pan bring the liquid to simmering point, then add the spinach leaves, plunging them down among the hot meat and vegetables. Replace the lid on the pan and simmer all gently together for ten minutes. This is good with boiled basmati rice mixed with gremolata - that wonderful combination of chopped garlic, chopped parsley, grated lemon rind and olive oil.
Meatballs in sour cream sauce
• 2lb/900g minced belly pork
• 4 banana shallots, skinned and very finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
• grated rind of 1 lemon
• 2 teaspoons salt
• a good grinding of black pepper
• 1 large egg, beaten well
• a plateful of sieved plain flour
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce:
• 2oz/55g butter
• 2 shallots, skinned and very finely chopped
• 1 pint/570ml chicken stock
• juice of 1 lemon
• 3/4 pint/430ml double cream
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• a good grinding of black pepper
• 1 teaspoon best horseradish sauce
First, make the meatballs. Put the minced belly pork into a bowl with the shallots, parsley, lemon rind, salt, pepper and beaten egg. With your hands - sorry, there is no other way to do this - squelch the ingredients together until everything is thoroughly combined. Then divide up the mixture into golf ball-sized shapes, as even in dimensions as possible, and roll each well in flour.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, to a depth of about 1/2 in, and fry the meatballs, turning them over frequently so they brown and cook evenly, for five to seven minutes. You may need to do this in batches. As they are cooked, lift them on to a large dish lined with a couple of thicknesses of kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. When they are all done put them into a wide ovenproof dish.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a wide saucepan or sauté pan and cook the shallots for four to five minutes until they are soft. Pour in the stock, bring it to the boil, then simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, then the cream, salt, pepper and horseradish and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of thick pouring cream. Pour this over the meatballs in the dish. Allow to cool, then store in the fridge until needed.
To reheat the dish, cover it with baking parchment, bring it to room temperature for about 30 minutes then put it into a pre-heated moderate oven, 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 (bottom right oven in a four-door Aga), for about 30 minutes or till the sauce bubbles gently around the meatballs. Let it simmer for another five to ten minutes, then serve.
• 225g butter (slightly salted), softened
• 100g golden caster sugar (plus extra for dusting)
• 225g plain flour
• 100g farola or fine semolina
• 75g shelled pistachios, chopped
Place the butter in a food mixer with the sugar and beat well cream until the mixture turns pale in colour. Sift in the flour, semolina and nuts, then whizz very briefly - until just combined. Tip the mixture into a lightly buttered 23cm x 33cm Swiss-roll tin. Using floured hands, press down to create a level surface and then prick all over with a fork.
Bake the shortbread at 150¼C/300¼F/gas 2 for 45-50 minutes, or until uniformly pale golden in colour.
Shake some sugar over the top of the shortbread, cut into bars and set aside for ten minutes. Then carefully remove bars to wire rack to cool.
Pork chops with a pistachio-and-coriander sauce
• 100g shelled unsalted pistachio nuts
• 40g coriander
• zest of half lemon
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 thick pork chops
Begin by making the sauce. Place the nuts, coriander, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in a food processor and blend together. Then add enough olive oil - about six tablespoons - to produce a thick paste.
Brush the chops with oil and then cook them on a heated griddle pan until just done. Season and then serve with the sauce.
Chicken with pistachios and berries
The chicken recipe is based on the delicious morgh ba zereshk va pesteh I ate in Rafsanjan. Because it is difficult to obtain barberries here, I suggest using dried cranberries.
• 150g dried cranberries
• 1 large pinch of saffron threads
• 1 level tbsp golden caster sugar
• 150g natural pistachios, shelled
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
• 4 large or 6 small boneless chicken breasts, skinned and cut into chunks
Place the berries in a bowl, cover with boiling water, leave for an hour.
Drain the berries and place them in a saucepan with the saffron. Add the sugar and two tablespoons of boiling water, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer, covered, for about five minutes. Afterwards, remove the pan from the heat.
Place the pistachios in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiled, drain the nuts, then pat them dry and roughly chop in half.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, gently fry the onions for about ten minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon. Increase the heat, add the chicken and fry briskly until it turns golden brown. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and cook for a further five to eight minutes, until just cooked.
Return the onions, berries, all the saffron juices and pistachios to the pan, then season well, stir, cover and reheat until everything is piping hot. Check the seasoning and serve with boiled rice.
Braised lamb shank, basil mousse, green beans and aubergine caviar
For the braised lamb
• 3 Lamb shanks
• 1 chicken breast
• 6 sheet of crepinette or “pig’s caul”
• 3 carrots
• 1 onion
• 1 leek
• Bay leaf
• Sprig thyme
• 1 glass of red wine
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow pepper
• ½ red onion
• 20 g parsley
• Olive oil
For the potato
• 6 baked potatoes
• 50 g butter
• ½ l Chicken stock or 1 cube
For the beans
• 400 g Fine green beans
• 6 fine slices of Pancetta
For the caviar
• 1 Aubergine
• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow pepper
• 50 g black olives
• 1 red onion
Chop 1 onion, 1 carrot, the leek and 2 cloves of garlic. Marinate the lamb shanks overnight with the chopped vegetables, the thyme, bay leaves, the glass of red wine and 1 glass of water. Season.
In the morning, drain the lamb, (keep the juice) and put the vegetables aside. Colour the lamb shanks in hot olive oil, add the vegetables, colour and add the juice. Put everything in an oven dish, cover with tin foil and cook in oven at 160 for 2 ½ hours
While the lamb is braising, peel and cut the potato in a cylinder or rectangular shape. Colour them in a non-stick pan with olive oil, add the butter and the chicken stock and cook till the potato is tender. Set aside and let cool down.
Cook the fine beans in salty boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes and cool down quickly in icy water. Drain and dry them on a clean cloth.
Build 6 bundles with the pancetta and set aside in a roasting tray.
Dice the red pepper, yellow pepper, aubergine and red onion. Cook them gently at low heat with olive oil till soft. Cool down and blitz in a robot with the pitted black olives till smooth. Season.
When the shanks are cooked, remove them from the liquid and take the meat out of the bone. Pass the liquid thru a fine sieve and reduce till syrup consistency. Season.
Blitz the chicken with the basil for 3 mn with the egg white. Season. Add the cream and blitz another 1 mn. Set aside.
Dice finely 1 carrot, ½ red onions, 1 red and 1 yellow pepper. Cook them in boiling water and add them to the shanks. Season. Mix with 2 dl of the sauce and put the mix in a square tray. Put the tray in the fridge. When the meat is cold and set, unmould on a clean chopping board and cut 6 rectangular portions out of it.
Pipe or spread the chicken mousse on top of the rectangles and wrap the whole with crepinette.
Roast the lamb pave 10 minutes in a hot oven with the beans and potatoes. Heat up the aubergine caviar and the sauce in 2 separate pots.
Dress in a plate and serve hot.