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27 April 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Chorizo & Poached Egg

The season is finally upon us for British asparagus, but what to do with it? We wanted something a little different to the standard steamed method and had heard that roasting really locks in the flavour. Looking around the British Asparagus website we found this easy but delicious recipe using chorizo. Luckily we still had some venison chorizo left in the sample pack that Great Glen Game sent us, so how could we resist giving it a try in this recipe.

We had to adapt the recipe slightly as venison chorizo is considerably leaner than its porky counterpart, so doesn't let out as much 'oil' on cooking, but with the addition of extra virgin olive oil and some extra paprika, there was enough to drizzle over at the end.

The trick is to not fry the venison chorizo, but merely warm it in the oil so that it releases its flavour but does not become too chewy or frazzled.
We loved the flavour, not overpoweringly gamey, just rich, sweet and smokey.

Serves 2


  • A bundle (approx 250g) British asparagus 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 110g venison chorizo, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • handful chives, chopped

Preheat the oven to 210°C

Place the asparagus into a roasting dish, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

In a warm frying pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the slices of chorizo. Warm them through for about 2 minutes then stir in the paprika.

Meanwhile place a pan of boiling water on the hob and bring to a fast rolling boil. When you have 3 minutes to go before serving crack your two eggs into the boiling water and immediately lower the heat to low-medium for 2 minutes. Then turn the heat off completely.

Remove the asparagus from the oven and place on a serving dish, sprinkle over the hot chorizo slices, and with a slotted spoon add the two poached eggs.

Finally drizzle over the paprika oil and finish with the chives.

Photos: ©childsdesign 2011

23 April 2011

Country Cooking

Sarah Pettegree of Bray's Cottage Pork Pies is featured in the current issue of Country Living magazine (May 2011), pictured next to one of her monumental wedding pies which contains a whopping twenty kilograms of pork. We think it would be very fitting for a certain royal wedding taking place next week!

21 April 2011

Smoked Mushroom Risotto with Smoked Parmesan Crisps

Tim Matthews from The Artisan Smokehouse is constantly experimenting with different foods, often smoking some quite unusual ingredients at the request of chefs and foodies, for them to try. We've never had smoked mushrooms before, so we were excited when Tim gave us a pack to test. He also gave us a slim wedge of smoked Parmesan too and making a risotto immediately sprang to mind.
Usually wine is used when making a risotto, but in honour of The Artisan Smokehouse's location, we chose a dry Suffolk cider which worked perfectly with the subtle smokiness in the creamy rice.

Serves 2


  • 15g dried smoked mushrooms
  • 85g smoked parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 170g arborio rice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • half a glass dry cider
  • 500ml hot chicken stock, it's fine to use a stock cube
  • knob of butter

Place the dried smoked mushrooms into a bowl and pour over boiled water to just cover and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, taking care to leave any grit behind. Pat the mushrooms dry.

Now make the smoked parmesan crisps.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Spoon the grated cheese into eight neat mounds and grind over some fresh black pepper. Bake the cheese in the oven for five minutes or until melted and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and harden.

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan and add the onion, garlic and celery, cook until the raw smell disappears from the onions. Be careful not to let them burn – you just want them to be pale and translucent.

Stir in the thyme and tip in the rice, fry gently, whilst stirring, so that the rice becomes completely coated. Then add the cider, keep stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed. Season generously with black pepper.

Now add a little of the stock and on a gentle heat keep stirring the rice as it cooks to release its starch and give a creamy texture. When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, add more stock. Continue to stir. You will need to repeat this process until all the stock is used up. The risotto is done when the rice has increased in volume. It should have a lightly nutty bite to it and also be moist with a liquid creamy sauce.

Keep the risotto on a low heat while you melt the knob of butter in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté them until they are slightly golden, tip them into the risotto (saving some of the best looking ones for garnish) along with the butter and mix in well.

Serve in bowls topped with the smoked parmesan crisps and the rest of the mushrooms.
Photo: ©childsdesign 2011

7 April 2011

Chocolate Orange Fudge Torte

We were sent this extremely naughty recipe from Fudge Kitchen using one of their fudge sauces. It is gooey, rich and totally indulgent. We dare you to try it!
There's a really nifty way of lining the cake tin to give nice smooth sides to the torte but you could just line with cling film.

No cooking required – just a cake tin and a plastic pocket folder


  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Fudge Kitchen Chocolate Orange Fudge Sauce
  • 568ml carton double cream
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • cocoa powder, for dusting
  • zest of 1 orange

Use the plastic folder to line your tin. Cut it open then cut out a disc for the bottom and some strips to line the sides.

Put the chocolate, the Fudge Kitchen Chocolate Orange Fudge Sauce and about 150ml of the cream into a large heatproof bowl. Stand the bowl over a pan of hot water on very low heat until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir to combine the ingredients then leave until the mix is only just warm.

Whip together the rest of the cream, two-thirds of the orange zest and cinnamon with a whisk until the mix is thick but just less than stiff.

Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the cream and gently fold it all together until it is smooth and thick.

Then pour the whole mixture into your tin and leave it in the fridge to set for up to an hour.
To serve, unclip the tin, gently remove the sides of the plastic folder, invert the torte on to a plate and remove the tin and plastic disc on the base. Dust all over with cocoa and sprinkle the remaining orange zest on the top for decoration. Heat more Fudge Kitchen Chocolate Orange Fudge Sauce in the microwave (follow instructions on the jar) and serve in thin slices.

You can also use this basic recipe with our Rich Chocolate Fudge Sauce (remove orange zest and try adding 4 tsp of instant coffee) or the Chocolate & Ginger Fudge Sauce (dust with ground ginger and remove coffee and/or orange zest)

Thanks to Fudge Kitchen who sent us three of their 
sauces to try (Photo: ©childsdesign 2011)