Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Rhubarb Compote

The cooking school at Kerrouet House has its own garden and we are blessed this year with wonderful Rhubarb. Unlike the past three years, this season has been great for growing and we are about to harvest some of the finest stalks yet. Everyone should taste fresh rhubarb and everyone should be able to know how to to make a rhubarb compote. It is very simple and not at all sinful!

You will need

half kg tender rhubarb
quarter litre water
175 g sugar
1 vanilla pod


Rinse the rhubarb stalk after cutting off the base and leaves. Cut the stalks into pieces 2 cm long. Cook a syrup from the water sugar and split vanilla pod. Add the rhubarb to the syrup and bring slowly to the boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod. Remove the rhubarb pieces carefully and place in a serving bowl. Reduce the syrup slightly and pour it over the rhubarb.

Another way to do this without making syrup is to place the rhubarb pieces in a baking dish and sprinkle with sugar. Cover with foil. The rhubarb will be tender after 15 minutes at 150 degrees or until it begins to get juicy.

Rhubarb compote is great with ice cream, yoghurt, custard, or simply on its own. It can also be combined with porridge for breakfast and with healthy options liked baked oates but that is a dish for another day!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Spinach Salad with Chorizo and Chives

We tasted some wonderful dishes down in Spain over the winter period and I promised you all a few recipes so here is a nice simple one to get you ready for the summer weather. In Spain it is called Ensalada de espinacas al chorizo:

Ingredients for 4 persons:

450g baby spinach rinsed and dried
4 x piquillo peppers cut in strips
2 x hard boiled eggs grated
1 small bunch of fresh chives finely chopped

For the breadcrumbs:

225g bread torn into chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh rosemary

For the chorizo bits:

1 x whole chorizo sausage
240 ml olive oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary

For the salad dressing:

60 ml white wine vinegar
salt & white pepper


For the breadcrumbs: Cut the bread into 1cm pieces using a blender. Toss with a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 175 degrees until lightly brown. Meanwhile saute 1 tsp of rosemary with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix with the toasted breadcrumbs.

Place the chopped chorizo , oil, rosemary in a saucepan and leave to simmer until the chorizo bits are golden. Strain reserving chorizo oil for the dressing.

For the salad dressing simply whisk together the chorizo oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve:

In a bowl combine the spinach leaves, chorizo bits, breadcrumbs and piquillo peppers and toss with about half of the dressing. Pour the rest of the dressing on the plates. Top with the grated egg and finely cut fresh chives.

This is a wonderful dish for that lunch on the patio with a nice cool glass or two of albariƱo.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Grilled Sea Bass with Sorrel, Nettle and Chives

Sea Bass is one of my favourite dishes. My grandmother believed in using hedgerow leaves whenever possible and sea bass when served with sorrel, nettle and chives is absolutely delicious. For four persons you will need:

4 x 140g fillets of sea bass scaled and boned
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
300ml of fish stock
1 tbsp dry vermouth
8 tbsp natural low fat yoghurt
1 bunch sorrel, stalks removed and chopped
1 bunch of fresh new nettle leaves washed and chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped finely
1 tbsp butter
sea salt and freshly milled white pepper


Brush the sea bass fillets with the olive oil and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Season with salt and pepper, cover and place in the fridge.

Add the vermouth to the fish stock and reduce over a high heat until it is of coating consistency. Leave to cool slightly and shake in the yoghurt. Keep warm in a bain maire on top of the stove.

Place the fish over hot charcoal or under the grill, skin side down and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully turn and cook for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate non stick pan, sweat the sorrel and nettle in the butter for 1 minute. To serve, place a quarter of the sorrel and nettle in the centre of each plate and place the sea bass fillet on top. Serve the chives into the sauce, check for seasoning and pour around the fish and leaves.

Serve with a nice cold Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Trout Wrapped in Chinese Leaves with Ginger and Spring Onions

In our quest to get you all eating more fish I include another healthy dish today which is delicious, healthy and simple as well!


4 Chinese Leaves
4 x 225g fillets of trout (skinned)
Half clove garlic crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 bunches of spring onions cut into short lengths
1 shoot of lemon grass cut into 4 lengthways
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the sauce

2 shallots chopped finely
2 tbsp dry sherry
3 tsp light soy sauce
150ml home made fish stock
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch of five spice powder


Blanch the Chinese leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh under cold water. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add the garlic and ginger. Fold the fillets into 3 and wrap in the blanched Chinese leaves.

Put the spring onions, lemon grass and wrapped fish into a bamboo steamer and steam covered for 12 minutes.

To make the sauce, place the shallots, sherry and soy sauce into a non stick pan and reduce over a high heat until all the liquid has been absorbed by the shallots. Add the fish stock, lemon juice and the five spice powder and stir well.

To serve, arrange the onions and strips of lemon grass around the fish and spoon over the sauce.

Why not enjoy with a nice cool bone dry Loire white Sauvignon Blanc (eg Cheverny, Domaine du Salvard, 2008 (Emmanuel Delaille).

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Turbot Steamed with Baby Spinach, Red Wine and Thyme

Turbot is one of my favourite fish dishes it being so healthy and tasty. One can fish for it so easily around the coast of Brittany, Ireland and the UK. Here is a wonderful way to prepare it which is quick and easy too!

Ingredients for 4 persons:

4 x turbot fillets skinned
450g baby spinach, washed
1 pinch nutmeg
sea salt and freshly milled white pepper


8 shallots finely chopped
250m red wine
1 sprig thyme
300 ml home made fish stock


Preheat the oven to 205 degrees. Placed the shallots, red wine and half the thyme in a pan and cook over a high heat until the shallots have absorbed all the wine. Add the fish stock and reduce by two-thirds.

Place the turbot on a steaming tray and steam over a pan of boiling water for 45 minutes. Just before the turbot is done, sweat the spinach over a high heat for 3 minutes. Drain and season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Season the wine sauce, remove the thyme and reserve for garnish.

To serve put a quarter of the spinach in the centre of the plate, place the turbot fillet on top and pour over the sauce. Bon Appetit!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Poached Salmon in Champagne with Watercress Salad

Here is a simple and refreshing dish for a summer evening on the patio.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 tbsp dry champagne
4 x 110 g fillets of salmon skinned

For the salad

4 tbsp of natural low fat yoghurt
1 tsp of parsley chopped
1 tsp fresh mint chopped
1 tsp clear honey
1 red apple grated
1 small cucumber cut into 4 cm batons
1 bunch fresh watercress stalks removed
sea salt and black pepper (freshly milled)

4 wedges of lime to garnish


Bring the champagne to boil in a shallow pan. Add the salmon fillets and cook on a high heat for four minutes. remove from heat and leave to cool in champagne. Chill in the fridge. For the salad, mix the yoghurt, parsley, mint and honey together and season with salt and pepper.Pour over the grated apple, cucumber and watercress leaves and toss well just before serving.
To serve, place a quarter of the salad on each plate, and place the cold salmon fillet on top. Add the wedge of lime.

We serve new potatoes direct from our garden with this dish and it is a great success every time with our students!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Chicken Korma - Delhi

We may be a French cooking school but we love international cuisine as can be seen from this dish which is light and creamy and one of the delights of India. Serve with rice.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

50g butter
1 clove garlic
225g onions thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
sprinkle of cumin
1 lime leaf
1 tiny red chili (carefully washed, seeded and very thinly sliced
4 cloves
8 peppercorns

4 cardomom pods
1 teaspoon salt
275g plain yoghurt
4 chicken breasts
50g ground almonds
milk (small cup)


Fry the onions and garlic in butter until golden brown. Mix in all the other ingredients except the almonds, chicken and milk to make a rich sauce marinade. Cut the chicken breasts in half and marinate for 15 minutes. Add the chicken and
yoghurt mixture to the onion, cover and cook gently for 50 minutes stirring occasionally. Mix the almonds with the milk and stir slowly into the sauce. Prepare the rice. Bring to boil and serve immediately.

We serve this with jasmine or nettle tea.