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Phil Vickery's griddled British asparagus and smoked salmon with pea and tarragon crème fraîche

It’s prime picking season for asparagus and Phil Vickery has harvested the cream of the crop to cook the ultimate seasonal dish: asparagus and smoked salmon with pea and tarragon crème fraîche.

Griddled British asparagus and smoked salmon with pea and tarragon crème fraîche

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the griddled asparagus:

4 x 230g bundles British asparagus, trimmed

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 x 100g packs smoked salmon

For the pea and tarragon crème fraîche:

2 x 200ml tubs crème fraîche

4 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped

2-3 tbsp cider vinegar

2-3 tsp caster sugar

250g petit pois frozen peas, cooked and refreshed then drained

Spicy smoked paprika (optional)

To serve: crusty sourdough or French bread

Method

  1. Trim the ends of the asparagus to remove the woody stems.

  2. Place onto a tray and drizzle over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well

  3. Heat a large griddle or frying pan over a medium heat and add the asparagus in small batches to take on a nice griddled colour. This will take approximately 3-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the stems. Remove then repeat until all the spears are cooked and put to one side.

  4. Meanwhile mix the crème fraîche, tarragon, cider vinegar, sugar and petit pois, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well

  5. To serve, wrap the smoked salmon around the griddled asparagus spears

  6. Divide the wrapped spears evenly onto 4 plates then spoon over the pea crème fraîche. Dust with a little paprika and serve with crusty bread, a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of black pepper.

Shop all of the ingredients from Waitrose & Partners now

Juliet Sear's pistachio, mint and yoghurt cake

Serves: 10 - 12

Prep time: 50 minutes

Chill time: Minimum 1 hour

Bake time: 40 - 50 minutes

Ingredients

Syrup

100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water

100g (3 ½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

50g (1 ¾ oz) honey

Handful of chopped mint

Cake

240g (8 ½ oz) self-raising (-raising) flour

Pinch of salt

300g (10 ½ oz) blitzed pistachios

200g (7oz) butter

350g (12oz) caster (superfine) sugar

50g (1 ¾ oz) honey

2 tbsp fresh mint

8 eggs

Yoghurt topping

250g (9oz) full-fat Greek yoghurt

2 tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar

2 tbsp honey

Fresh fruits (Juliet uses green, gold and baby kiwi slices, and slices of orange, strawberries and blueberries)

Flowering mint leaves and edible flowers to decorate (Juliet uses mixed colour zinnias and flowering mint)

Equipment

Stand mixer, electric whisk or bowl and wooden spoon

Cake leveller or sharp knife

Palette knife

23cm (9in) round cake tin, lined with baking parchment

Method

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time until combined

  2. Add the mint and honey, and fold in the flour, pistachios and salt

  3. Bake at 160℃ (325℉) for 40 - 50 minutes until cooked through

  4. Now make the syrup. Heat the sugar, water and honey until the sugar is dissolved, then take off the heat and add the mint.

  5. Make the yoghurt topping in a bowl. Add the honey and sugar to the yoghurt and stir through.

  6. Trim off the hump from the top of the cake and drizzle over the syrup mixture so it soaks in

  7. Spoon the yoghurt topping onto the cake and using a palette knife, level and make it smooth

  8. Go around the edge of the cake with the palette knife to make it neat and round and so that the toppings sit around the edge of the sponge

  9. Dress with fruit and fresh flowers, trimming the fruit and choosing various sizes of the flowers so they fit neatly together and around the top edge of the cake. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Juliet Sear's lavender biscuits

Makes: 25-30 biscuits

Prep time: 30 minutes

Chill time: approx 2 hours

Bake time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

250g (8 ¾ oz) white caster (superfine) sugar

15g (½ oz) dried lavender

250g (9oz) unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

360g (12 ¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

Purple food colouring dust

1 egg white

Edible violas in a variety of colours (Juliet uses purples)

Equipment

Cling film

Sharp knife

Small paintbrush

Method

  1. To make the lavender sugar, blitz the caster sugar and lavender in a food processor until the lavender has been dispersed into a fine dust

  2. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the lavender sugar and put to one side

  3. Cream together the butter and lavender sugar with the vanilla bean paste until it is pale and fluffy

  4. Add the flour and combine into a soft dough

  5. Split the dough in half and roll each amount into a thick sausage shape with a diameter of around 5cm (2in). Wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for a couple of hours.

  6. Unwrap the chilled dough and cut into 1cm (3/4inch) thick slices

  7. Add purple food colouring dust to the remaining lavender sugar until you have a lilac-coloured sugar

  8. Roll the edge of each slice of dough in the coloured lavender sugar

  9. Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray and bake at 180C (350F) for 15 minutes

  10. Remove the biscuits from the oven, brush the tops with a little egg white and add the violas by pushing them gently into the centre of each warm biscuit. Brush over the top with another layer of egg white to seal the flowers in place.

  11. Continue baking the biscuits for another 5-10 minutes until the edges turn golden brown

  12. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack

John Torode's bloody Mary

Ingredients

2 shakes of celery salt

couple of grinds of black pepper

4-6 drops of Tabasco sauce

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon grated fresh horseradish or 2 tsp horseradish sauce

200ml vodka

600ml tomato juice

Method

  1. Fill a jug with lots of ice and season with a pinch of salt, celery salt and pepper

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the vodkas and tomato juice and stir it all

  3. Pour in the vodka, stir again and top with the tomato juice. Float a little extra vodka on top. Cheeky!

John Torode's flavoured popcorn with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce

John says: Popcorn is good, vanilla Ice cream with chocolate sauce is good, so if you put them all together you get something that is brilliant. You can cheat by buying flavoured popcorn but I like making my own.

Flavoured popcorn with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce

Ingredients

For the popcorn

1 tbsp vegetable oil

120g popcorn kernels

Salt

For the popcorn coating

40g butter

90g honey

50g soft brown sugar

80g castor sugar

1 tsp bicarb

For the chocolate sauce

200g chocolate

50ml single cream

30ml maple syrup

Method

  1. First make the popcorn, simply heat a saucepan with a lid over a high heat, add the oil, when it’s warm, add the popcorn and put the lid on

  2. Leave it until it starts to pop and then shake the pan, don’t open it, it will take about 5 minutes for it all to pop but do keep shaking the pan. Take it off the stove and sprinkle with the salt.

  3. For the popcorn coating: Put all the ingredients except the bicarbonate of soda into a saucepan and bring to the boil, after 3 minutes it will be thick and golden.

  4. Turn off the heat and now you have to work quickly, add the bicarb and stir it, it will puff up like honeycomb

  5. Immediately pour over the hot popcorn and mix it through

For the chocolate sauce

On the stove, warm the cream in a pot with the maple syrup, add the chocolate in chunks, bring to the boil and whip it off.

To Serve

Serve 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream in a large cup or mug, scatter with the popcorn and pour over hot chocolate sauce

John Torode's hot bacon and gruyere bread

John says: This bread, this delicious bread, can be made the night before and baked first thing in the morning or you can make the day before and spray it with a little water and heat it up.

Hot bacon and gruyere bread

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

For the dough

7g sachet dried yeast

1 tablespoon milk

1 tsp. olive oil

350mls water (not cold please )

Sprinkle of sugar

500g strong white flour

10g salt

80g butter

300g thick cut bacon cooked with black pepper

200g gruyere roughly chopped

100g block mozzarella grated

2 handfuls fresh soft herbs such as basil, chives, sage or oregano and parsley

Method

For the bread

  1. Mix the yeast with the milk, olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of the water and a sprinkle of sugar then leave somewhere warm for 10 minutes. It will start to bubble, the bubbles mean the yeast is working.

  2. In a mixing bowl put the flour and the salt. Mix it well.

  3. Mix the bubbling yeast mix, with the rest of the water and add to the flour

  4. Start slow with the mixer, then speed it up, beat for a good 8-10 minutes. The mix is done when it is slapping the sides of the bowl, you will see/hear what I mean.

  5. Add the butter and beat again, just for a minute. Here you have to be a little patient, leave to rise for 30 minutes, it will double in size.

  6. Grease a round cake ring 28cm in diameter

  7. Once the dough has risen, beat it again to knock out the air and take it from the mixer

  8. Flour the bench and roll the dough into a log and foot long (30cm) and slice into 12

  9. Roll each one into a ball and then flatten, stick a good amount of bacon and cheese in the middle and fold over

  10. Lay them all really close to each other in the tin to make a pretty pattern and sprinkle over the rest of the bacon and the cheese

  11. Drape over some oiled cling film and put the whole lot on the fridge over night

  12. In the morning, preheat the oven to 200c , then turn the oven to 180c once it goes in

  13. Brush the top with some milk, top with more cheese if you like and cook for about 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool a little before serving but not long, and whatever you do, don’t turn your back or it will all be gone!

John Torode's tomato and pesto tarts

John says: I have always been a sucker for anything cooked in, or with, puff pastry. These deep tarts are topped with the concentrated flavour of sweet tomatoes and the kick of a punchy pesto. Serve with peppery watercress. If you like, just make smaller individual ones as snacks for your hungry hordes.

Tomato and pesto tarts

Serves: 4

Ingredients

500g block puff pastry (all-butter, if possible)

Plain flour, for dusting

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons pesto

8 plum tomatoes, sliced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

100g watercress

10ml peppery olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

  2. On a lightly floured worktop, roll the puff pastry out until it is about 2cm thick. You will need to cut four circular discs from the pastry so you need to find a small plate or saucer that’s about 16cm in diameter to use as a template. Place the plate over the pastry and run a sharp knife around the edge to cut out the first disc. Repeat until you have four.

  3. Now you need to lightly score a margin about 1.5–2cm in from the edge of the pastry discs, so find a smaller plate or bowl that you can use as a template. Place the smaller plate in the centre of each pastry disc and lightly run a sharp knife around the edge, being careful not to cut all the way through.

  4. Lift the disks onto the baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg. With a fork, prick the inner circle but not the outer edge – this will stop the pastry from rising in the middle but will allow the outer edge of the tart to rise up.

  5. Build the tarts: Take a good amount of the pesto and spread it over the inner circle of each tart. Place the tops and bottoms of the tomatoes in the centre of the tarts, then start to lay the slices on top of the pesto so they overlap and create a swirl effect – it should look a bit like a Catherine wheel. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. Place the tarts in the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and coloured. Mix the watercress with the olive oil and serve with the tarts.

TIP

Cut out pastry discs, stack them between layers of cling film and keep them in the freezer – ready in case of an emergency! Just take them out of the freezer 10 minutes before you want to cook them, then make the tarts and bake as above.

John Torode's lemon and thyme chicken with spiced mayo sandwich

Ingredients

Bunch fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

1 lemon

2 cloves of garlic

50ml of oil

4 boned chicken leg and thighs attached

1 fresh large loaf of white bread, unsliced

For the mayonnaise

1 whole egg

300ml veg oil

50ml olive oil

1 dessert spoon Dijon mustard

1 dessert spoon of vinegar

Salt and pepper

1 whole chilli

Method

For the chicken

  1. Crush the thyme, salt and pepper with the lemon and garlic and oil

  2. Score the skin if the chicken and cover with the oil mix, rub well

  3. Grill and serve with some salad with Spiced mayo in thick white bread

For the mayonnaise

  1. Use a stick blender to blend all the ingredients together