Quite a challenge with produce at the moment, as we are in that transition period. Coming to the end of the winter crops and patiently waiting for the fresh new crops to appear. However there is still a million and one things we can cook and enjoy and this week at the market we played around a bit with Rabbit, Cauliflower, Tea, and Living Sprouts. All very delicious and very different!
CONEJO AGRIDULCE - SWEET AND SOUR RABBIT
80ml olive oil
500g baby onions, peeled and left whole
500g French shallots, peeled and left whole
350ml white wine
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
Rind of 2 lemons, into large strips no pith
30g pine nuts
70g golden raisins
3 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
It is time to practise your knife skills here as you are needing to portion the rabbit. Firstly you will need a heavy knife or cleaver, cut off the hind and fore legs of each rabbit. Cut the back legs into three pieces (the lower leg, the thigh with the bone, and the thigh without the bone). The part of the body nearest the head makes very bony eating, so trim off the lest few centimetres, including the neck, and discard or reserve for stock. Cut the saddle (middle piece) into 4-5 equal pieces across the spine.
Heat the olive oil in a very large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Brown the rabbit in batches for 3-5 minutes on each side, seasoning to taste as you go. Remove from the pan and set aside, then reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and shallots and cook, shaking the pan frequently, or 10 minutes or until deep golden.
Stir in the wine using a wooden spoon, scraping up any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the herbs, carrot, potatoes, lemon rind and enough water to nearly cover the rabbit. Cover with a cartouche (piece of baking paper cut into round the same circumference as the pan), then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour.
Remove the cartouche, then sprinkle the pine nuts, sultanas, vinegar, sugar and paprika over the rabbit and shake them into the juices. Put the cartouche back on and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve the rabbit with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the juices.
SPANISH CRISP CAULIFLOWER
serves 4 as a starter or a side dish
1 medium size cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 Tablespoon gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 teaspoon paprika
sunflower oil for deep-frying
1 dessertspoon good quality red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon capers, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, then squeezed dry and chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water for a few minutes, until just tender. Drain the cauliflower well and, while it is still hot, put in a bowl with the flour, paprika and some salt and pepper. Mix it all together until the cauliflower is coated with flour.
Heat the sunflower oil to 190`C in a deep-fat fryer or a deep, heavy-based saucepan. Fry the cauliflower florets in batches until crisp and golden, then remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with the vinegar, chopped capers and parsley and serve.
ORIENTAL LIME TEA INFUSED POACHED PEARS
1 litre water
4 tablespoons Oriental lime tea leaves (The T Shop)
1 cup white wine
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 fresh lime, zest and squeeze of lime juice
Infuse the tea leaves in 2 cups boiled water, which has sat for a couple of minutes to cool. Let infuse for 10 minutes and strain, reserving the liquid. Discard the leaves.
In a deep pot which will hold 4 - 6 pears. Add the remaining water, tea, white wine, sugar and lime zest. Boil gently to dissolve sugar and for the flavours to mingle.
Peel the pears leaving the stems on, slice a thin piece of each pear so it will sit upright. And remove core (from bottom of the pear, upwards).
Place the pears in the poaching liquor and cover with a slightly smaller lid, which will help to keep the pears submerged, resulting in them cooking evenly. Poach gently for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the cooking liquor and set aside. Reduce the liquid until it gets to a syrup stage. Taste, add the squeeze of lime if necessary.
Spoon the syrup over the pears, serve with yogurt panna cotta’s or good quality vanilla ice cream.
YOGURT PANNA COTTAServes 4
70 ml milk
1 vanilla pod, scored and seeds removed
190 ml cream
180 ml Greek yogurt
1 ½ leaves gelatin, soaked in water until soft
70g icing sugar
Put the milk, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds and cream into a small pot and slowly simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and stir in the soaked gelatin leaves until dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then place in the fridge, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.
Remove the vanilla pod.
Mix the Greek yogurt with the icing sugar and add to the cream mixture. Mix gently to combine, divide into four serving moulds (small glasses, espresso cups etc). Cover and chill for at least an hour.
To serve dip the mould into a bowl with boiling water so it comes nearly to the rim of the panna cotta. Count to 5 and remove, loosen it gently with the blade of a knife and tip directly onto your serving plate. Serve with one of the Tea Infused Pears, a drizzle of syrup. Also divine with summer berries or roasted plums.
KOAU LIVING SPROUTS - have the most diverse array of sprouts I have ever come across. The varieties available range from the commonly known ones like Alfalfa, Broccoli to the more adventurous like Fenugreek, Red Clover, and Dinkle
- as a snack
- in a sandwich
- fabulous in stir fries
- added to salads
- great in juices
- savoury muffins & quiches
Be adventurous with the sprouts as they are a vegetable. And they are thought of as the True Super Food !