A feast for the season
Enjoy the best produce of the season in dishes designed for a family feast
Crab and asparagus salad
3 prepared crabs 750g asparagus spears, finely sliced lengthways 2 lemons 50g fresh mint sea salt and black pepper 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp honey 240g radishes, sliced Zest and juice the lemons into a large bowl. With a small knife, cut away any segments left inside the skins and add to the juice. Reserve some mint for garnish, then chop the rest very finely. Add it to the bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Mix in the olive oil and honey, and chill. Arrange the sliced asparagus and radishes between six plates, then add the crab. Pour over the lemon and mint dressing, garnish, and serve.
PORK SHOULDER JOINT
Sweet, succulent and deliciously fatty, pork is one of the tastiest roasting joints, and a good crackling on top can turn it into something special. The best joint for a good amount of skin is a pork shoulder, cooked on the bone for even more flavour. The joint does not require a lot of attention because pork has so much fat underneath the crackling. Once in the oven, it is best to leave it alone, with no basting or extra fat needed. Crackling tips: • Skin must be dry and uncovered for at least 2 hrs before cooking • Score the skin before cooking, or ask the butcher to. This also makes the crackling easier to carve • Liberally rub sea salt into the skin and scoring • Set the oven at a high temperature for 20 mins at the start of cooking to crisp the skin
Roast pork shoulder with perfect crackling
Serves 8 2kg pork shoulder, on the bone, with skin 1 heaped tbsp sea salt 4 onions, quartered To achieve perfectly crisp and juicy crackling, remove the pork shoulder from its packaging the night before it is cooked. If the skin is not already scored, do so by cutting halfway into it in long slashes, then place in the roasting tin to be used and chill overnight. Approximately 20 mins before cooking starts, take the joint out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9. Pat the skin dry of any moisture that may have collected, then sprinkle liberally with sea salt, making sure it gets right in the scoring. Add the onions to the tin and roast for 20 mins. Turn the oven down to 180°C/gas mark 4 and cook for 2 hrs. If the crackling isn’t as crisp as desired, remove from the joint and cook on a high heat on the top shelf while the meat is resting. To carve, remove the crackling by slicing it away horizontally through the layer of fat underneath, then cutting it along the scoring into pieces. Holding the joint still with a carving fork, slice against the grain and away from the bone. Serve with apple sauce.
Serves 6 1 Bramley apple, cored and finely chopped 3 Braeburn apples, cored and finely chopped juice of 1 lemon 20g sugar white pepper Place the chopped apples in a saucepan and pour in the lemon juice. Sprinkle over the sugar, and add 50ml of cold water. Simmer on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 mins, until thick and glossy. Season with pepper, then allow to cool. Transfer to a dish to serve.
Lemon roasted new potatoes with sorrel
800g new potatoes 2 lemons 20g sorrel 80ml rapeseed oil sea salt and black pepper Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. In a large saucepan, cover the new potatoes with cold water and add two sorrel leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. In the meantime, pour the rapeseed oil into a shallow roasting pan and place in the oven. Halve 1 of the lemons and cut one of the halves into quarters. Drain the potatoes and remove the sorrel. Carefully take the roasting tin out of the oven and add the new potatoes, along with the lemon quarters and the lemon half. Roast for 15 mins, turn the potatoes, then roast for 10-15 mins until golden. Zest and juice the other lemon into a bowl and add the remaining sorrel. Liquidise with a hand blender for 1 min until a smooth paste. Season with the salt and pepper. Remove the potatoes and lemon quarters from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Squeeze the half lemon over the food. Oven gloves may need to be worn to do this. Drizzle over the sorrel mixture and serve.
Spinach and spring onions
900g spinach 200g spring onions, sliced lengthways sea salt 1 tbsp butter 1 tsp honey 1 tbsp grated nutmeg black pepper Season the onions with salt. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onions and honey, sautéing for 5 mins, until golden and soft. Place the spinach in a large steamer over a pan of boiling water for 5-10 mins, until wilted. Add the spinach to the onions and stir in the nutmeg. Season with black pepper and serve.
Pan-fried broccoli and nuts
600g broccoli 50g flaked almonds 2 tbsp butter 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 tbsp sherry vinegar sea salt and black pepper Place the broccoli in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins until just tender. Drain and refresh with cold water. In a large, non-stick frying pan, melt the butter and add the garlic cloves. Fry, stirring constantly, for 2 mins, then add the broccoli and almonds. Cook for 5 mins, tossing the ingredients regularly to brown. Add the sherry vinegar and stir, then transfer to a serving plate. This may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Rhubarb and orange trifle
Serves 8 800g rhubarb 5 oranges 270g caster sugar 100g butter, plus extra for greasing 3 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks 200g self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder 250ml milk 1.1 litre double cream 1 tbsp cornflour Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream 150g of the sugar and the butter together, then beat in 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing each in thoroughly. Zest 2 of the oranges into the mixture, then add the juice of one. Cut the other zested orange in half, scoop out the flesh, and add it to the batter. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then fold in until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins, until the cake springs up when pressed lightly. Allow to cool. In the meantime, trim and then chop the rhubarb, retaining one stalk for decoration later, and transfer to a saucepan. Sprinkle with 70g sugar and cover with water to the top of the fruit. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins if using forced rhubarb, or 30 mins if using outdoor-grown rhubarb. Cool, then chill. While the rhubarb is simmering, heat the milk in a jug in the microwave for 1 min, until warmed. In a saucepan off the heat, beat the three egg yolks with the remaining sugar using a hand whisk, then gradually beat the warm milk into the eggs. Place on the hob and add 200ml of the cream. Simmer, whisking, for 2 mins. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp cold water with the cornflour, then stir into the custard mixture for approximately 5 mins, until thick. Cool, then chill. Zest the remaining 3 oranges, then peel and divide into segments and set aside. Remove the cake from the paper and cut into cubes. In a large bowl, whip the remaining double cream until it forms firm peaks. Drain the cooled rhubarb of its juice, and set the juice aside with 2 tbsp of the rhubarb. Mix half of the double cream into the rhubarb pulp, along with the cooled custard mixture. Stir the orange zest into the remaining cream. Take a large trifle bowl and line the bottom and the sides with half of the sponge pieces. Drizzle with 100ml of the rhubarb juice and cover with a third of the orange segments. Cover with half of the rhubarb and custard mixture and half of the orange cream, then repeat the layers. Top with the remaining orange segments, reserved rhubarb pulp and thin slices of the retained fresh rhubarb. Chill for 1 hr before serving.
Forced rhubarb can be enjoyed earlier than naturally grown stems, which are harvested from mid-spring to summer. Sections of the crowns or roots are either lifted in winter and moved to a darkened greenhouse, or covered with a layer of straw and a rhubarb pot. The lack of light prevents the rhubarb from photosynthesising, resulting in bright pink stems and a sweeter, more delicate taste.