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Seasonal Recipes and What's in Season Guide

Seasonal Recipes

Simple, straight forward seasonal food recipes that are easy to prepare, using fine, fresh and local ingredients, tried, trusted and brought to you by the Essex Gourmet Food and Drink Guide...

Whether you are cooking for yourself, the family or a dinner party the following recipes, gleened from friends, family and some celebrity chefs are sure to please - all Tried, Trusted and Enjoyed.

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What's in Season in JULY?

July
Broad beans Apricots
Broccoli Fennel
Gooseberries Plaice
Rabbit Scallops
A summer’s bounty of sweet ripe fruits and berries; go for plump Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries. And why not put some fish or shellfish on the Bar-B? Salmon, Mackerel, Crab and Lobster hold up well to a grilling.



Simple Seasonal Recipes

Seasonal Recipes at a Glance

Recipe Archive
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Asian Style Broccoli Salad Recipe

Asian Style Broccoli Salad

Broccoli is such a fabulously versatile vegetable; you can bake it with cheese or pasta, stir fry it with some oyster sauce, steam it and smother it in butter and pepper or cut it up fresh in salads or with a dip. Try the recipe below it is a real winner. Asian Style Broccoli Salad
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  5 mins
Cooking Time:  40 mins
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Rice vinegar
1 tbsp Sesame oil
1tbsp Honey
1 large Head of broccoli
1 tbsp Sesame seeds
Pinch of white pepper
1. Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, oil and honey in a large bowl until blended. Add a pinch of white pepper and more soy to taste if required.

2. Steam the broccoli florets for five minutes or until tender. Set to one side to cool.

3. In a heavy pan, add the sesame seeds and stir over a medium heat until golden. Transfer the seeds to a clean dish to cool.

4. Stir in the broccoli and half the sesame seeds to the bowl containing the vinegar and oil mixture. Leave to marinate at room temperature for a minimum of half an hour, stirring occasionally.

5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a serving dish and then pour over the dressing.

6. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds and serve with fish, chicken, noodles or rice.
When buying Broccoli, look for a firm texture and vibrant deep green flowers without any signs of yellowing. Store in an airtight bag in the fridge.
New Zealand Pinot Gris ...
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Baked Rabbit with Green Olives and Lemon Recipe

Baked Rabbit with Green Olives and Lemon

Wild rabbit is a very low fat meat that has a subtle gamey flavour. Many people liken it to chicken, although I remember my Mother trying to kid my brother and I that rabbit was chicken and apart from the obvious shape difference, the flavour is richer and the meat much darker. I am now a great fan of rabbit meat – it took a while. The recipe below is simple one pot dish that is excellent served with some crusty bread. Baked Rabbit with Green Olives and Lemon
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  20 mins
Cooking Time:  1 hour 30 mins
1 rabbit , jointed into 6-8 pieces (ask the butcher to do this)
olive oil
1 onion , finely chopped
2 garlic cloves , crushed
4 tbsp chopped parsley
oregano or marjoram, finely chopped to make 1 tbsp
1 lemon , zested and juiced
a handful of green olives , pitted or whole
3 potatoes , cut into chunks
300ml white wine
1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Brown the rabbit pieces in a little olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole then remove.

2. Tip in a little more oil, add the onion and fry over a low heat for a couple of minutes.

3. Add the garlic, 2 tbsp parsley and the oregano or marjoram. Cook until an aromatic paste, then return the rabbit to the casserole.

4. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, the olives, potatoes and wine. Bring to the boil and season well.

5. Cover with a lid and bake for 1 hour, remove the lid and bake for a further 30 minutes to reduce the sauce a little. Stir in the remaining parsley.
When buying wild rabbit go for those under the 1kg, as although you may have less meat it will be more tender and succulent. For larger beast, make sure you cook them slowly as their meat may be a little tough.
Barbaresco ...
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Mackerel with Gooseberry Puree Recipe

Mackerel with Gooseberry Puree

Gooseberries are small fruits that look like large veiny grapes. If you pick a under ripe one you may wince at their tartness, although the ripe fruits are a sweet, tangy burst in the mouth. They are popularly used in crumbles, fools and pies, although make great jam, chutney or a sauce, which can be served with rich meats such as pork, duck or goose, or oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, as with recipe below which is surprisingly good. Mackerel with Gooseberry Puree
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  10 mins
Cooking Time:  30 mins
15 Gram Butter ( 1/2 oz)
225 Gram Gooseberries, topped and tailed (8 oz)
4 x 350 Gram Mackerel (12 oz), cleaned and heads removed
Lemon juice to taste
1 Egg, beaten
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the gooseberries. Cover tightly and cook over a low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the gooseberries are tender.

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the cavity of each fish with the lemon juice. Make two or three slashes in the skin on each side of the fish, and then grill for 15-20 minutes, depending on size, turning once, until tender.

3. Purée the gooseberries and sieve to remove the pips. Pour the purée into a clean pan, beat in the egg, then reheat gently, stirring. Place the mackerel on warmed serving plates and spoon the sauce beside the fish.
When buying, go for plump juicy gooseberries that give a little to the touch. If you have an under ripe batch, leave them at room temperature and they will ripen in a day or two.
Entre-Deux-Mers ...
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Pan-fried Scallops with Lime and Coriander Recipe

Pan-fried Scallops with Lime and Coriander

The sweet subtle flavour of scallops is delicious. You can buy the large King Scallops or the smaller Queen variety. Which ever you choose, you are in for a tasty treat. I love them as a starter and this simple recipe from Jo Pratt is sure to impress. Pan-fried Scallops with Lime and Coriander
Serves:  2
Preparation Time:  10 mins
Cooking Time:  3 mins
6-8 Scallops
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 Large chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp Chopped fresh red chilli
Juice of half a lime
Roughly chopped coriander
Salt and pepper
1. Fry the scallops in the olive oil for about 1 min until golden, then flip them over and sprinkle over the garlic cloves and chopped fresh red chilli into the pan. Cook for about 1 min more, then squeeze over the juice of the lime.

2. Finish off with roughly chopped coriander and salt and pepper. Serve straight away.
When buying Scallops stear clear of those that look bright white as they have probably been soaked in brine to make them look plumper. For the best flavour choose ‘diver caught’ scallops, they are more expensive, although worth it.
Unoaked Australian Chardonnay ...
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Pork with Spiced Apricots Recipe

Pork with Spiced Apricots

A delicious, fragrant, subtlely flavoured fruit that is related to the peach and nectarine, apricots are popular dried, although the fresh fruits add a delicious twist to pork or lamb and are fabulous cooked in a crumble or poached and served with cream. Pork with Spiced Apricots
Serves:  2
Preparation Time:  5 mins
Cooking Time:  15 mins
2 Large (approx 175g) pork steaks
Oil for grilling
4 Ripe apricots , halved and stoned
Knob of butter
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 tsp Muscovado sugar
1. Heat the grill to medium and put the pork steaks on to a large baking tray lined with foil to catch the juices. Brush with a little oil and season to taste.

2. Arrange the apricots around the pork, cut side up. Dot the apricots with the butter, then sprinkle with the chilli and sugar.

3. Grill for 15 mins, turning the pork over half way through, until cooked and golden and the apricots are soft and sticky, but still holding their shape.

4. Serve the apricots alongside the pork, drizzled with any sticky juices - great with fresh vegetables and creamy mash.
When buying apricots, choose those that are plump with firm flesh, that has some give in it. To ripen, leave at room temperature in a bowl for a day or two.
...
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Roasted Sea Bass with Lemon and Fennel Recipe

Roasted Sea Bass with Lemon and Fennel

I used to loathe Fennel and have no idea why, I now love the subtle aniseed flavour and crunchy texture. It’s not only a fabulous accompaniment to fish; it is great chopped up in a salad or even added to a stir-fry. The following recipe is simple and very, very tasty. Roasted Sea Bass with Lemon and Fennel
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  5 mins
Cooking Time:  30 - 35 mins
1 Whole sea bass weighing 1kg (2lb 3oz) or individual fish weighing 340g-500g (12oz-18oz) each
3 Bulbs of fennel, trimmed//2-3 x 15ml _2-3 tbsp) olive oil
3 Lemons halved
Handful of fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas mark 7.

2. Lightly oil a large roasting tin.

3. Cut the fennel into wedges. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lemons, cut side down, and the fennel, fry until golden and caramelised. The lemon probably will not take as long as the fennel.

4. Stuff the sea bass with the dill and season well inside. Put the fish in the roasting dish and brush lightly with olive oil.

5. Arrange the caramelised lemons and fennel around the fish. Sprinkle the fish with salt and black pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is opaque and comes away easily from the bones.

6. Serve immediately with the lemon and fennel. Lovely with some simple boiled new potatoes.
When buying Fennel look for firm fresh white bulbs with vibrant green feathery tops. The younger smaller examples are usually more tender.
Verdicchio ...
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Salad of New Potatoes with Pancetta, Peas, Broad Beans and Mint Dressing Recipe

Salad of New Potatoes with Pancetta, Peas, Broad Beans and Mint Dressing

Very young Broad beans are deliciously sweet and velvety, you can eat them pod and all. As the beans mature they become larger and yield lovely fat, creamy broad beans that need to be podded and their protective skin removed after blanching. They are great in salads; cooked with herbs and lemon; in stews, soups and sauces, or steamed and served with garlic, chilli and soy. Salad of New Potatoes with Pancetta, Peas, Broad Beans and Mint Dressing
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  15 mins`
Cooking Time:  25 mins
450g New Potatoes
140g Broad beans
140g Peas
1 tbsp light Olive oil
100g Pancetta
4 tbsp Mint leaves
25g Flat-leaf parsley
1 Lemon, juice only
4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1. Cook the potatoes in their skins in a pan of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. They should be tender to the point of a knife. Then drain the potatoes and allow to cool.

2. Place the broad beans in a large pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 3-4 minutes, and then tip in the peas. Boil for another 2-3 minutes until both the peas and broad beans are tender but still have some texture. Drain and refresh in ice-cold water.

3. Remove the tough outer skins of the broad beans and discard.

4. Heat the light olive oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the pancetta until really crisp.

5. Tip the pancetta with the oil from the pan into a large bowl.

6. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle cut them in half and add to the bowl. Mix well so that the warm potatoes absorb some of the delicious pancetta flavours.

7. Pour boiling water over the mint and parsley leaves and allow to stand for 2 minutes. Then drain and run under cold water until completely cooled.

8. In a small mixer or with a hand blender, blend the blanched leaves with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the lemon juice and whisk in the remaining oil to form an emulsion. Season well with salt and black pepper.

9. Put the peas and the peeled broad beans, into the bowl, pour over the dressing and mix thoroughly.

10. Check the seasoning and serve immediately.
Broad beans are best purchased as fresh as possible, so make your way to your local farm shop or farmers market. The pod should feel firm and crisp without any air pockets.
Rueda, N. Spain ...
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Summer Pepper and Fish Stew Recipe

Summer Pepper and Fish Stew

Fresh Plaice is a sweet and delicate flat fish with easily identifiable orange spotted skin. I think plaice may have fallen from favour as I remember seeing it in many restaurants years back, although it scarcely makes menus outside of chip shops now, which is a shame. Try this great recipe below to rekindle your love for plaice, you won’t regret it. Summer Pepper and  Fish Stew
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  15 - 20 mins
Cooking Time:  25 mins
2 Cloves garlic , crushed
1 Onion , halved and sliced
2 Peppers , 1 red and 1 yellow , sliced into strips
Olive oil
2 tbsp Small capers , rinsed
1 Small glass white wine
500ml Light chicken stock , fresh, cube or concentrate
400g Baby new potatoes , halved
300g Raw prawns
400g skinless plaice fillet, cut into strips, or other white fish
a small bunch basil , shredded
A pinch of crushed dried chilli
1. Fry the garlic, onion and peppers in a little oil until completely softened. Stir in the capers then add the wine, stock, chilli and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

2. Add the prawns and plaice and cook for 3 minutes. Stir through the basil and serve in bowls with crusty bread.
When buying whole plaice look for red, alive-looking gills and bright, unblemished skin. Fillets should glisten and be free of browning and signs of drying. Make sure to smell for freshness.
Rioja Rosado ...
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