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Deep Fried Brie with Cranberry Chutney...

I absolutely love cheese! A wedge of mature Irish cheddar on a slice of warm soda bread, a generous portion of Roquefort with a chilled Sauterne or smooth creamy garlic and herb Le Roule spread thickly over oat cakes – I love it all! One of my all time favourites though is deep fried Brie or Camembert with homemade chutney. This is top of my list of things to order when I dine out.

Before I watched Simon Rimmer prepare this dish on Something for the Weekend I thought it was well beyond my capabilities. The idea of deep frying cheese made me nervous – maybe because I am so accident prone – but really this is such a simple dish to make. I don’t have a deep fat fryer but I did use my wok – it worked very well but it is important to be careful (especially if you’re accident prone like me) as hot oil can be dangerous.

The best thing is now I don’t have to wait to go to a restaurant to have it – I can make it at home easily whenever I have a craving – which unfortunately for my waistline is often.

It’s perfect for lunch or elegant starter and will definitely impress your dinner guests. I serve mine with a simple salad of rocket (arugula) with red peppers and a lime vinaigrette.

Here is Simon Rimmer’s recipe from the BBC Food website.

Deep Fried Brie with Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients

For the chutney

1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

200g/7oz demerara sugar

150ml/5½fl oz red wine vinegar

250g/9oz fresh cranberries (the supermarkets have these in abundance in the lead up to Christmas so buy a few packs and freeze them for later)

100g/3½oz dried cranberries

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cloves

For the deep-fried Brie

100g/3½oz plain flour

2 free-range eggs, beaten

125g/4½oz polenta (I have used both regular bread crumbs and gluten free bread crumbs and both work just as well as polenta)

1 lime, zest only

4 x wedges Brie or Vignotte cheese (I have also used Camembert)

Vegetable oil, for frying (I used olive oil)

Directions

For the chutney, heat the oil in large saucepan and fry the onion and chilli for 4-5 minutes, or until softened.

Add the sugar, vinegar, cranberries, seasoning and cloves. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.

Meanwhile, for the deep-fried Brie, sprinkle the flour onto a plate and beat the eggs in a bowl. Mix the polenta and lime zest together on a separate plate.

Dredge the Brie pieces first in the flour, then dip them in the egg, then coat them in the polenta mixture.

Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. Alternatively, use an electric deep-fat fryer heated to 180C/350F. (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

Deep-fry the coated Brie pieces for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the Brie from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

Serve the deep-fried Brie piled onto small plates with the chutney in ramekins alongside.

Enjoy!

Horseradish: Where have you been all my life?...

I do know the answer to this question and shouldn’t really need to ask. Mainly because you are always there, generously dolloped on the side of my dad’s plate (or between slices of bread) every time he eats roast beef. I even remember, many years ago, the tiniest of portions being offered to me on a teaspoon so I could give it a try. Unfortunately, in giving it a cursory sniff, I foolishly stuck the spoon right up to my nose and promptly had my sinuses cleared for a year. That was enough for me to stay as far away as possible from horseradish for the next 30 odd years.

Well here we are in 2010 and for Valentine’s Day I wanted to prepare a really special and romantic starter. I looked through several recipes but kept coming back to the same one; Smoked Salmon with Prawns, Horseradish Cream and Lime Vinaigrette. The idea of covering beautiful salmon and prawns with horseradish cream filled me with dread, but I loved the look of this recipe so much that I decided it was time to confront my fear. I am so glad I did. This recipe from Mary Cadogan has been an absolute revelation to me.

• Firstly the use of smoked salmon that doesn’t rely on bagels laden with cream cheese.
• Secondly because it made me realize that even simple dishes can be stunningly elegant.
• Thirdly and most importantly for me, the use of horseradish, which I have discovered is….DELICIOUS!

The flavours of this dish are wonderful as the lime cuts through the heat of the horseradish cream bringing out the delicate flavours of the smoked salmon and prawns. It is refreshing and light with a subtle kick and it goes extremely well with a chilled white wine. Trust me this recipe is a keeper!

Since making this dish I have already worked my way through 3 jars of horseradish sauce and it is now something that is always in my fridge. This website offers some great tips for using horseradish in a variety of dishes. I have bookmarked quite a few to try. Top of my list for tonight is one of my favourite cocktails – a Bloody Mary! If you have a favourite recipe that uses horseradish I would love to hear about it.

Smoked Salmon with Prawns, Horseradish Cream and Lime Vinaigrette.

Raspberry Rose Pots De Crème: A Valentine Treat!...

As soon as I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this dish I knew it was the perfect dessert for the special Valentine day meal I am making my husband. I have been thinking about this recipe for months and am really excited to try it. I have already bought the pop rocks and today fortunately managed to find some lovely raspberries. Otherwise I would have had to use blackberries, and I really don’t know if they would have worked as well.

I will make the raspberry rose pots de crème today so they have plenty of time to set. The rest of my Valentine day menu includes a starter of Smoked Salmon with Prawns, Horseradish Cream and Lime Vinaigrette courtesy of Mary Cadogen. The main meal I am making is a classic French Canadian recipe for Tourtiere which is a meat pie. I haven’t had this dish in years and my husband has never even heard of it! I lived for many years in Quebec so thought it was about time I tried to make one of my favourite Canadian meals.

I better make my way into the kitchen to start cooking, but first I may open a bottle of wine!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I will let you know how the meal turns out! Please let me know what tasty treats you prepared for your loved ones.