Thursday, 24 March 2011

Asparagus - Oxtail - Apple Sorbet

Seeing my previous attempt earned many appreciative smiles from Mister, I decided to challenge another three course meal. (And also because I went overboard with my credit card…)

Asparagus Soup

Since we are catching glimpses of spring, I thought I’d grasp the last chance of making a winter soup. Another great recipe from The British Larder, only I have replaced the crispy asparagus rolls with cheesy seeded toast. I’m just not much of a filo pastry fan.

This was surprisingly simple to make; a bit of chopping, boiling and blending. It wasnt too chunky as a starter, and possesses a light fragrance that works well on our palate. Look at me blowing my own trumpet.

Oxtail Stew

Mum bought me an Intelligent Cooker, which is basically a pressure cooker that calculates its cooking time when you tell it what youre cooking. It makes slow-cooking speedy.

I used to cheat by pouring a can of oxtail soup to get half the job done. But I did it properly this time. The recipe is the result of trial and error from my annual attempts for the past 5 years.

1) Lightly dust 1kg of oxtail with flour and brown with 25g of butter in the pot. Chuck in 350ml red wine with a bundle of herbs (bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and parsley) till it thickens.
2) Peel and slice 2 carrots, 1 small onion, 2 slices of streak bacon, 2 chopped tomatoes – throw into the pot plus salt & black pepper. Add 450ml stock.
3) Lock lid - 30 mins on the Intelligent Cooker (or simmer for 4 hours)
*I used significantly less stock because little steam escapes pressure cookers.

Shortening the steps to 3 really encourages cooking, right?
Truth is I left the oxtail to cool and chilled overnight so the flavours would sink in, and I get to skim off the fat before reheating the pot with fresh carrots for 20 mins. Serves 2.

Mister loved it. The meat on the tail flaked off with a tiny poke and flavours were intense. So little work too!

Apple Sorbet

Recipes for sorbet are more or less the same. Some are unnecessarily complicated while others involve too much manual work, such as shaving ice with a fork. I have tailored mine from a collection:

Peel, core and dice 2 granny smith apples, sauté with 10 tsp of lemon juice and 1 tbs of sugar until soft. Blend. Freeze.
Once frozen, blend again until smooth and slurry. Freeze again. Serves 2.

I genuinely don’t think a dessert could get any simpler than this. So I gave myself more work by scooping out an apple as a container;)

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