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Gourmet on the Go!

Gourmet on the Go!
When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!

 

April 23, 2010

Local Seasonal Asparagus – Where to Buy and Recipe Ideas

Filed under: Celebrations & Events,Food & Drink Recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 12:02 pm

Local Seasonal Asparagus - Where to Buy & Recipe IdeasToday is a day to herald and celebrate much that is British.  It is of course Saint Georges day, where as a nation we celebrate our patron saints slaying of a mythical dragon, even though it is doubtful  St George ever laid foot on our green and pleasant land.  William Shakespeare was also born on this day in 1564.  The ‘Bard of Avon’ is of course one of the greatest and most acclaimed English writers. 

Still, all of that aside, if you want cause for real celebration, welcome in the new season asparagus!   The British asparagus season is short, only around 8 weeks.  Being as our Asparagus is considered by many to be the very best in the world, it is time to savour the wonderful flavour and buy your asparagus now.

Asparagus is best eaten freshly picked.  As asparagus ages from field to shop, the natural sugars turn to starch, negatively affecting both the flavour and texture.  So, buying from a local farm shop is your best bet to assure you of prime, fresh and delicious asparagus.

Asparagus can be cooked in a multitude of ways; blanched and griddled, steamed, boiled or roasted.  These wonderful, tender spears are excellent just eaten on their own with melted butter, hollandaise sauce, aioli, or a tasty vinaigrette, or cut them up and add to stir fries, pasta dishes, tarts, quiches, risottos, and the list goes on.

Here are some local farm shops that will be stocking the best of local asparagus this weekend and the coming weeks.  I have also included a few recipes to whet your appetite. 

Essex Asparagus – Where to buy the best

Blackwells Farm Shop, Coggeshall   – will be stocking Asaparagus from this weekend, sourced from local farms and growers in the area.

Calcott Hall Farm Shop, Brentwood – will be harvesting their own Asparagus crop which will be available in their farm shop this weekend.

Lathcoats Farm Shop,  Galleywood  – have started to harvest their own Asparagus, now available in their farm shop.

Sarah Green’s Organics Farm Shop,  Tillingham – will harvest their own organic Asparagus available in their farm shop as of today.

Asparagus Recipe Ideas

Classic Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Warm Salad of Samphire, Asparagus and Crab

Chargrilled Asparagus with a Parmesan and Lemon Mint Butter

Crab and Asparagus Linguine with a Parsley and Lemon Butter Sauce 

Eat Well – Eat Local.


April 20, 2010

Chicken Congee – Jook – Chinese Rice Porridge Recipe

Filed under: Food & Drink Recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 4:42 pm

Congee is the ultimate comfort food; warming, silky, filling and satisfying. The secret to a good congee is a flavoursome stock, so it is worth preparing your stock from fresh to truly appreciate this simple dish. It is best to use meat on the bone to pack your stock with flavour, whether it be pork ribs (fabulous served with preserved egg) or as in this case, chicken.

Although traditionally a breakfast dish, Congee makes for a delicious meal anytime of the day. I particularly enjoy it for Sunday brunch, or when feeling ill; especially good when hung-over!

This recipe is as reminiscent of the delicious congee a friend used to cook up for us all when I lived in Hong Kong, with a few minor tweaks along the way. Give it a go.

Chicken Congee Recipe


Prep Time
– 15minutes
Cook Time – 2 hours
Serves – 4 to 6

Chicken Congee
200grams Jasmine Rice
2 chicken legs
2 litres of water
4 spring onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 knob of Ginger
Small bunch of coriander
1 tbsp of groundnut oil

Garnish
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1tbsp Sesame Oil
4 spring onions
1 inch long knob of Ginger
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
A few unsalted peanuts or cashews (about 20grams)
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp sugar

Method:

Congee

  1. First rinse your rice and then add to a pan and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 1 to 2 hours (this will improve the texture of your congee).
  2. Whilst the rice is soaking, joint your chicken legs into drumsticks and thighs by cutting through at the joint with a heavy knife. You can leave them whole if you prefer.
  3. Roughly chop the spring onions. Peel and roughly chop the garlic and ginger.
  4. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large heavy based pan, lightly brown your chicken pieces on both sides, remove and set aside.
  5. Add the chopped garlic, spring onion and garlic to the same pan and stir for just a minute in the oil left over from the chicken. Then, return the chicken to the pan and pour in the 2litres of cold water. Add the coriander. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, place a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour, remove the stock liquid from the heat and transfer the chicken pieces onto a plate to cool. Once cool to the touch, remove the meat from the chicken legs, discarding the skin and bones. Shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.
  7. Strain your stock liquid through a mesh sieve into a bowl and then pour back into the large pan. Drain and rinse the soaked rice and add to the pan with the stock. Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce to a low heat. Gently simmer for 45mins to an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  8. The rice will begin to mash up and disintegrate forming a glossy porridge like texture. When you are happy with the consistency (some people like their congee very thick, others thinner) add the chicken and a good pinch of sea salt to the dish, stir and taste, add more salt as required.Your congee is done.

Garnish

  1. Finely chop the spring onions, peel and finely chop the ginger (grate if you prefer) and place in a serving bowl
  2. Heat up the groundnut and sesame oil in a pan or a heavy duty metal ladle until smoking. Pour the hot oil over the chopped onions & ginger and leave them to sizzle.
  3. Add the rest of the garnish ingredients – soy, sugar, white pepper, nuts – and mix thoroughly.
  4. Serve a small helping on top of a bowl of congee, or separately so that everyone can help themselves.

Chicken Congee – Jook – Chinese Rice Porridge Recipe

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