Pickling, salting, fermenting and curing are just some of the numerous methods humankind has realized to increase a meals’s shelf life. I’m not one for goodbyes at the most effective of occasions, so fortunately this implies I by no means actually should half with my favorite fruit and greens; as a substitute, I get to take pleasure in them in a special guise. Whereas contemporary produce wants little or no doing to it, the artwork of preserving lends itself to greater, louder, funkier flavours. The elements get to know one another in no matter managed setting we’ve put them and, someway, they remodel into splendidly intense spoonfuls of deliciousness. And that, I’d say, is a particular win.
Peppered hen and pickled watermelon salad (pictured prime)
This dish delivers on a number of fronts: salt and spice from the peppered hen and candy and sharp from the pickled watermelon. Retailer any extra pickle in a sterilised jar within the fridge for as much as two weeks, and use to spoon on salads or grilled meat.
Prep 25 min
Pickle 12 hr
Cook dinner 15 min
Serves 2 as a lightweight meal
For the watermelon
1.3kg watermelon, rind eliminated, flesh minimize into 2cm cubes (850g)
1 jalapeño chilli (10g), minimize into 3mm-thick rounds (should you choose much less warmth, take away and discard the pith and seeds)
170g caster sugar
125ml red-wine vinegar
2 camomile tea baggage
2 tbsp mint leaves
Positive sea salt and black pepper
For the hen
2 tsp blended peppercorns – inexperienced, white, pink and black, ideally, coarsely crushed in a mortar
⅛ tsp Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely crushed in a mortar (non-compulsory)
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 boneless and skinless hen thighs
1 banana shallot, peeled and minimize into skinny rounds (40g)
1 lime, halved
Put the diced watermelon, jalapeño and sugar in a big, sterilised jar, give it a delicate shake to coat, then go away to macerate for 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, tea baggage, mint, a teaspoon of salt and 175ml water and canopy with a chunk of greaseproof paper. Seal the jar and refrigerate in a single day.
Now for the hen. Mix all the bottom peppercorns in a medium bowl, and put aside a quarter-teaspoon of the combo. Add the flour and a half-teaspoon of salt to the remaining floor peppercorns.
Put the oil in a medium frying pan on a excessive warmth. Sandwich every hen thigh between two sheets of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin to bash it out to ½cm thick. Coat the hen within the pepper-flour combination, then lay them one after the other within the sizzling pan and fry for 3 minutes on both sides. Switch the hen to a board, sprinkle an eighth of a teaspoon of salt over all of them, and go away to relaxation.
Return the frying pan to a medium-high warmth and add 200ml of the watermelon pickling liquid; drain 175g of the pickle solids and put aside. Cook dinner down the pickling liquid for 5 minutes, till it turns orange and syrupy and has lowered by four-fifths, then take off the warmth.
In the meantime, combine the shallot, watercress and the drained watermelon pickle, then switch to a big plate with a lip. Minimize every hen thigh at an angle into 4 slices and prepare on prime. Spoon over the lowered syrup, sprinkle on the reserved quarter-teaspoon of floor peppercorns and serve with the lime halves for squeezing over.
Confit fenugreek aubergines
Confit is a good way to retailer child aubergines to allow them to be loved into autumn and winter. I like them with some smooth cheese or yoghurt. The flavoursome spiced oil, by the way, makes a terrific completion for all types of roast greens and salads.
Prep 15 min
Cook dinner 1 hr 40 min
750g child aubergines – I used the spherical selection, however the lengthy, skinny form can even work
400ml olive oil, plus 2 tsp further
Positive sea salt
11 garlic cloves, pores and skin on
3 pink chillies, minimize in half lengthways
1½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp floor kashmiri chilli, or paprika
5 sprigs contemporary oregano
5 sprigs contemporary thyme
¼ tsp caster sugar
Minimize a cross within the base of every aubergine, taking place all over to the stem however not chopping proper by means of (you need it nonetheless connected). Rub the aubergines throughout with the 2 further teaspoons of oil, then sprinkle over three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, ensuring some will get contained in the cuts.
Set a griddle pan on a excessive warmth and, as soon as it’s sizzling, grill the aubergines in two batches for 2 to 3 minutes, turning usually, till the skins are properly charred throughout. You don’t need the pores and skin to be burnt or to cook dinner the flesh an excessive amount of; the aubergines must be barely softened however nonetheless uncooked. Switch the charred aubergines to a deep, 15cm x 20cm baking dish.
Warmth the oven to 160C (140C fan)/315F/gasoline 2½. Pour the remaining 400ml oil into the aubergine dish, add the garlic, chillies, fenugreek seeds, kashmiri chilli, oregano, thyme, sugar and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, cowl tightly with foil and bake for 90 minutes, gently turning the aubergines with tongs each half-hour. By the tip, they need to be smooth however nonetheless retain their form.
Take away from the oven, uncover and go away to chill utterly. As soon as cool, gently spoon the aubergines, aromatics and oil right into a sterilised glass jar and seal with an hermetic lid.
Serve heat or at room temperature as a part of a meze platter. As soon as jarred, they may preserve within the fridge for as much as a month.
Dutch child with fig protect and soured cream
When figs are at their finest, it’s very laborious to not eat all of them instantly. Preserving them, nonetheless, will prolong the enjoyment they bring about, particularly when spooned on to an enormous, yorkshire pudding-like pancake, AKA a dutch child. Any leftover protect will preserve within the fridge for as much as a month.
Prep 20 min
Cook dinner 1 hr 30 min
Cool 2 hr
For the protect
10 contemporary black figs (430g), stems eliminated and minimize in half lengthways
175g caster sugar
2 contemporary bay leaves
1 lemon – zest pared off in 6 superb strips, then juiced, to get 2½ tbsp
For the batter
20g unsalted butter, melted, plus 15g further butter at room temperature
120ml complete milk, at room temperature
100g plain flour
20g coarse polenta
3 massive eggs, at room temperature
1½ tbsp caster sugar
¼ tsp salt, plus 1 pinch further for the cream
For the cream
100ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
3 tbsp soured cream
15g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
First make the protect. Put the primary 4 elements in a medium saucepan, add 150ml water and the lemon zest, and convey to a boil. Flip down the warmth to medium-low and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring sometimes, taking care to not crush the fruit. As soon as the liquid has lowered to a unfastened syrup, take off the warmth, stir within the lemon juice, then spoon right into a sterilised jar and go away to chill. As soon as cool, seal and refrigerate.
Put all of the batter elements bar the additional 15g room temperature butter in a blender, blitz for 30 seconds, till clean, then go away to relaxation for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, put the double cream, a tablespoon of icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a stand mixer and whisk to smooth peaks on excessive velocity for 60 seconds. Stir within the soured cream and refrigerate.
Warmth the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gasoline 9 and put in a 22cm, high-sided, ovenproof frying pan to warmth up for about 10 minutes. Rigorously take out the recent pan, drop within the further 15g butter and swirl it round so it melts and covers the bottom. Working shortly, pour within the batter, then return the pan to the oven and bake for 18 minutes, till overrated and golden.
Take away, then spoon 175g fig protect into the properly within the centre. Spoon the cream combine alongside, mud with the ultimate tablespoon of icing sugar, sprinkle over the nuts and serve whereas it’s nonetheless sizzling.