BEETROOT and BACON SOUP

Makes 2 litres
300g onion peeled, 1cm pieces
4g fresh thyme
500g beetroot, peeled, 1cm pieces
140g Smoked bacon, 1cm pieces
30g vegetable oil
1.25 litre chicken stock
100g crème fraîche
4g sea salt
30g lemon juice
12g caster sugar

METHOD.

Heat a pan on a medium, then add the oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the bacon and thyme carefully (the oil can spit or splash), and cook for five minutes until golden brown, stirring now and again. Add the onion, turn down the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes with a lid on the pan, stirring occasionally, so this will sweat the onion without any colouring. Be careful of the steam. Add the beetroot, and cook with the lid on for another 10 minutes, still on a low heat. Stir the contents now and again so they don’t stick or burn. Add the lemon juice and stock, turn the heat up to full and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a slow simmer and cook for 25 minutes with the lid on. Add the crème fraîche, turn the heat up to a boil and cook for two minutes. Turn the heat off and ladle the soup into the blender jug, until it’s just half full and purée the soup for two to three minutes. Finally, place into a clean gastronome tray or 500ml plastic containers and allow to cool down.

WATERCRESS SALAD WITH SMOKED DUCK

For the pickled pears
250ml white-wine vinegar
600ml water
200g sugar
2tsp salt
1 carrot peeled and sliced
2 banana shallots peeled and sliced
10 crushed black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 all-spice berries
Small sprigs thyme
4 sprigs tarragon
4 Packam pears

Put all the above, except the pears, into a pan and bring to a simmer. Peel and core all the pears, place into the poaching liquor, bring back to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes until tender. Leave them to cool in the liquor and then place in the fridge for a day. To serve, cut the pears in half and then in strips, cutting along the length of the pear.

FOR THE SALAD

3 bunches green watercress
2 red endives, in thin strips
100g chopped toasted walnuts

WALNUT MUSTERD

vinaigrette
100g fine-chopped shallots
30g English mustard
50g grain mustard
150g honey
8g sprigs thyme
200ml cider vinegar
200g fine-chopped walnuts
250ml vegetable oil
400ml walnut oil
150ml olive oil
8g sea salt

Place the olive oil in a shallow pan on a very low heat, then add the shallots, salt and thyme. Cook for five minutes with no colour until tender, then take off the heat to leave to cool. Place into a bowl and whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

to complete the dish
Dress the watercress and endives with the dressing, and then sprinkle on the chopped walnuts. Place this onto the plate and scatter on the sliced pears and smoked duck breast (you can buy this from any supermarket, just allow about five slices per person) and then sprinkle a little more dressing around.

ROAST FILLET OF GLENARM SALMON

For the balsamic red onions
1kg peeled and quartered
red onions
400ml balsamic vinegar
250ml olive oil
80g brown sugar
4g chopped thyme
4g salt
2g herbes de Provence
20g basil leaves
10g cloves garlic, sliced

Sauté the onions in the oil on a medium heat. Cook for five to 10 minutes with the salt, herbes de provence, thyme and garlic, then add the sugar and vinegar. Stir well, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and is syrupy. Add the basil and leave to cool.

Cherry tomato and shallot sauce
1kg cherry tomatoes cut in half
150g onions finely chopped
100g large shallots, finely chopped
200ml white wine
200ml olive oil
7g sea salt
1g milled pepper
2g chopped fresh thyme
12g sugar
10g cloves garlic finely chopped
50g tomato paste

Warm a pan on a medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the onions, shallots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for three to four minutes until a little translucent, then add the white wine and reduce until it has almost all gone. Add the cherry tomatoes and sugar and cook for 20-25 minutes at a simmer, stirring the sauce now and again. Add the tomato paste, and cook for a further five minutes. Check the seasoning.

To cook the fish

110g portion pieces of salmon
100ml olive oil
A little lemon juice
Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat. Season the fish lightly and then pan fry in the olive oil, cooking the fish for about two to three minutes on each side. To serve, sprinkle with the lemon juice and serve with the red onion and tomato shallot mix.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

250g risotto rice
900ml chicken stock
500g chopped butternut squash
30g butter
50g honey
2g salt
50g grated Parmesan
4 banana shallots peeled and diced finely, approx 100g
2 glasses white wine
80g crème fraîche
100ml olive oil
150g toasted pine nuts
12g sliced sage leaves

Place a pan onto a medium heat, then add the butter, and when melted, add the butternut squash. Add salt and cover with a lid. Cook slowly, so it sweats well, for five to eight minutes.

Remove the lid and add the honey before cooking for a couple more minutes, and add the stock. Bring to a slow simmer, then cook for 10 minutes at a steady simmer. Drain off all the stock and keep a third of the butternut squash aside, then place the rest in the blender and purée until fine. Pass through the fine sieve for later and chill.

Put the rest of the butternut squash into the blender and purée with all the liquid until smooth. Pass this through the sieve and into a pan. You’ll use this stock for making the risotto.Meanwhile, sweat off the shallots on a low heat in olive oil with no colour, then add the rice and cook for two minutes, stirring all the time.

Pour in the white wine and cook until absorbed it’ll take a minute or so then slowly add the pumpkin stock to the rice, little by little, stirring every minute or so. This will take about 12-14 minutes until the rice is almost cooked. At the end, add the pumpkin purée, and when it’s almost cooked, add the crème fraîche, Parmesan, sage, pine kernels and re-season.

Leave to rest for a minute. Serve into bowls, and sprinkle on some extra pine kernels and grated Parmesan.

SMOOTHIES

For four
100g each blueberries,
raspberries and strawberries
2 bananas
240g vanilla yoghurt
400ml milk
6 ice cubes

Place all the ingredients into a blender and then purée until smooth.