Signature Dishes - Delicious Food and Drink

The Borlotti Bean Wedding Brunch

The Borlotti Bean
 Wedding Brunch

When it comes to Royal Weddings, I find it best to enjoy with family.  As my sister, heavily pregnant at the time had an inexplicable urge to re-decorate, we headed to Caroline and Ben's.  Ben is a fantastic cook and inspired by a picture he once saw he decided to create his own version and provide us with a great brunch munch.  Not knowing how it would turn out, but rather fancying our chances that it would be good I followed my brother in law around faithfully recording progress with photos, while Caroline and Judy painted.  It seems rather apt that this should be a photo-based recipe as my brother in law was initially inspired by a picture.  Although this is called a Wedding Brunch, this can be enjoyed with family and friends on any weekend.

Soak a pack of borlotti beans overnight and simmer for an hour in the morning, then drain

Soften onions slowly, add garlic and bell pepper


Roughly chop tomatoes and add along with borlotti beans
fresh thyme
smoked chilli flakes

crack eggs on the top
Serve with bolly and lollies
Add crispy bacon and toast to finish

The Ultimate Fish Pie Recipe

Serves 6 – 8,

Use a 2.5 litre capacity ovenproof dish,
Pre-heat oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6

Smoked haddock 500g fillet with skin
Fresh haddock 500g fillet with skin
Milk 300ml
Bay leaf 1
Sea salt and black pepper
Eggs 4 medium

Unsalted butter 60g
Plain flour 50g
Dry vermouth 150ml
Double cream 150ml
Dijon mustard 2 heaped tsp
Chives nipped to make 6 tbsp
Nutmeg freshly grated

Maris Piper, King Edward or McCurdy’s potatoes 1kg
Parsnips or butternut squash 500g
Unsalted butter 50g
Double cream 100ml
Egg yolks 2 medium

Place the fish in a large pan cutting to fit. Pour over the milk and tuck in the bay leaf, season with sea salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. Cover, leaving a gap for the steam to escape, and cook on a low heat for 5-7 minutes until just done.

Strain the cooked milk into a bowl and retain for making the sauce. When cool enough to handle, flake the fish coarsely, discarding the skin (if more liquid is shed at this point, throw it away).

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and hard boil the 4 eggs for 8 minutes, then drain, return to the pan, pour in cold water and leave to cool.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a medium-size non-stick pan over a medium heat, then stir in the flour and allow to seethe for a minute. Gradually add the vermouth, the strained milk, the cream and finally the mustard.

Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then set to simmer over a very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (if any butter separates, stir vigorously until reincorporated). Fold in the chives, then the haddock, then season with nutmeg and taste, adding a little more salt and pepper if necessary.

Transfer the haddock mixture to your ovenproof dish. Shell and slice the eggs and lay the slices over. Cover and leave to cool completely – this prevents the mash topping from sinking in.

For the mash, peel the potatoes and halve or quarter if large. Trim, peel and halve the parsnips or butternut squash. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes, then add the parsnips/butternut squash and cook for another 15 minutes or until tender. Drain into colander, leave for a minute, then mash. Add 50g of the butter in pieces and stir until it dissolves, then mix in the cream, the egg yolks and some seasoning. Smooth over the top of the fish, cover and chill the pie.

Bake for 40 minutes until crusty and golden.

Carboot Marshmallow Brownies

Owing a huge debt to Nigella Lawson, Domestic Goddess and Culinary Sage in my eyes, this recipe is taken from her How to be a Domestic Goddess book and incorporates a welcome addition.

The first brownies I ever tasted were made using this recipe and it was as a direct result of eating too many of these that a friend of mine stayed up into the wee hours buzzing and brain-storming entrepreneurial visions.

Moreish and delicious they are a hit every time. So much so that I took a few batches to sell when mother and I went on a carbooting expedition yesterday.

The brownies were a success and so here I now offer you the recipe so you too may garner fulsome praise.

Makes 20 slices,
Use a shallow tin, about an inch and a half deep
Pre-heat oven to 180c/ gas mark 4

Ingredients -
188g dark chocolate
188g soft unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
250g caster sugar
112g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
A handful of marshmallows

Melt the butter and chocolate together, don’t try using milk chocolate, with one batch I used Cadbury’s milk chocolate and it looked like a layer of water separated and rose to the top of the mixture when I melted the butter and chocolate. The flavour is richer with dark chocolate as well.

Let this mixture cool for a bit.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. When buying the vanilla extract, make sure it says extract and not flavouring, because they are not the same, the latter being a sorry sub.

Beat in the chocolate mixture and then add the flour and salt.

Pour half the mixture into the tin, lined with greaseproof paper.

Drop in pieces of marshmallow and cover with the rest of the mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes when the top should have gone a slightly lighter colour. Take out and leave to cool (the mixture will continue to cook as it cools).

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