Let’s jazz it up this July and try some of my seasonal dishes, these are for the more experienced or food loving cook, but lets give them a whack.
Salmon Gravadlax with homemade champagne mustard
During the Middle Ages, gravlax was made by fishermen, who salted the salmon and lightly fermented it by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line. The word gravlax comes from the Scandinavian word gräva/grave (“to dig”; modern sense “to cure (fish)”) which goes back to the Proto-Germanic *grabą, *grabō (“hole in the ground; ditch, trench; grave”) and the Indo-European root *ghrebh- “to dig, to scratch, to scrape”, and lax/laks, “salmon”.
• 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
• 75g/2½oz salt
• 1 tbsp pink peppercorns
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• 2 large bunches fresh dill, leaves chopped
• 1 large salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp juniper berries
• 10g brown mustard seeds
• 75g/2½oz yellow mustard seeds
• pinch dark soft brown sugar
• 50ml/2fl oz red wine vinegar
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 75ml/2½fl oz champagne/prosecco
• Place the sugar and salt into a bowl, then lightly crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar (or a zip lock bag and beat with a wooden spoon) and add them to the bowl. Stir in half of the dill.
• Scatter one-third of the mixture into a large, deep-sided roasting tray. Lay the salmon fillet on top and cover it with the remaining sugar-salt mixture, pressing it gently into the fish.
• Cover the roasting tray with cling film. Place the tray in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the salmon to cure.
• Rinse the cured salmon under cold running water. Pat dry and place onto a chopping board.
• Brush the top of the salmon with the Dijon mustard, then cover with the remaining chopped dill. Set aside.
• Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar, then place them in a frying pan with both types of mustard seeds, the sugar, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Heat the mixture until bubbling, then simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until the seeds have absorbed some of the vinegar.
• Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 50ml/2fl oz of the Champagne.
• Transfer the mustard mixture to a food processor and blend for 3-4 minutes to a fine purée, adding the remaining Champagne halfway through blending. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
• To serve, carve the gravadlax into very thin slices using a sharp knife. Serve with the Champagne mustard alongside and pumpernickel bread, if desired.
Raspberry & Homemade Marshmallow
Now this is a dessert that I absolutely love, not the easiest to do but my god well worth the bit of a mess you will make.
• 455g/1lb granulated sugar
• 1 tbsp liquid glucose (available from some chemists and specialist cook shops)
• 200ml/7fl oz water
• 2 large free-range egg whites
• 9 sheets gelatine (about 16g/½oz), soaked in 140ml/5fl oz water
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• icing sugar, for dusting and coating
• cornflour, for dusting and coating
• 125g/4½oz fresh raspberries
• 200g/7¼oz white chocolate, melted, to serve (optional)
• Place the sugar, glucose and water in a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil and continue cooking over a high heat until it reaches 127C/260F on a sugar thermometer – take care as the mixture is very hot.
• Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
• When the syrup is up to temperature, remove from the heat and carefully slide in the softened gelatine sheets and their soaking water. The syrup will bubble up so take care not to burn yourself. Pour the syrup into a metal jug.
• Continue to beat the egg whites while slowly pouring in the hot syrup from the jug. The mixture will become shiny and start to thicken. Add the vanilla extract and continue whisking for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is stiff and thick enough to hold its shape on the whisk.
• Lightly oil a 30cm/12in x 20cm/8in shallow baking tray. Dust the tray with sieved icing sugar and cornflour and then spoon half the marshmallow mixture over and smooth it with a wet palette knife.
• Coat the raspberries with a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour, and lay over the top of the marshmallow mixture. Cover the raspberries with the remaining marshmallow mixture and leave for at least an hour to set.
• Dust a work surface with more icing sugar and cornflour. Loosen the marshmallow around the sides of the tray with a palette knife and turn it out on to the dusted surface. Cut into squares and roll in the sugar and cornflour. Leave to dry a little on a wire rack before packing into an airtight box.
• Serve the marshmallows as they are or accompanied by melted white chocolate for dipping.