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Kathy's Menu for September 2002

Starter : Watercress Soup
* * * * * * * *
Main Course : Monkfish with Parma Ham and Sauerkraut
* * * * * * * *
Pudding : Lemon Meringue Pie

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Watercress Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients

4.5 oz (125g) watercress
2oz (50g) butter
2 leeks
2 potatoes
1.5 pints (900ml) vegetable stock
2 tablespoons half fat creme fraiche
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Remove the watercress leaves from the stalks and chop, reserve a few leaves for garnishing. Clean and chop the leeks, peel and chop the potatoes.
  2. Next melt the butter in a pan and then add the watercress, leeks and potatoes and stir to coat with the butter. Sprinkle in some salt and cover the pan with a lid and sweat the vegetables over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the stock to the pan and then bring to simmering point and simmer with the pan lid on for 10 - 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Remove the pan from the heat and when it has cooled, liquidise it and then return it to the saucepan.
  4. Stir in two tablespoons of creme fraiche, season to taste and then heat the soup gently without letting it boil. Serve the soup in individual bowls, add a swirl of creme fraiche and garnish with reserved watercress leaves.

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Monkfish with Parma ham and Sauerkraut
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 pint (600ml) chicken stock
5 floz (150ml) white wine
3floz (85ml) double cream
4 monkfish fillets weighing about 6oz (175g) each
4 thin slices of parma ham
2oz (50g) butter
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauerkraut :
1oz (25g) butter
2oz (50g) carrot, thinly sliced
2oz (50g) celery, thinly sliced
2oz (50g) onion, thinly sliced
8oz (225g) sauerkraut

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200C (400F, gas mark 6).
  2. To make the sauerkraut, melt the butter in a pan, add the carrot, celery and onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the sauerkraut to the pan, cover with a lid and cook gently for 25 - 30 minutes.
  3. To make the sauce, put the chicken stock, white wine and cream into a pan and boil rapidly to reduce the sauce to 6floz (175ml) of liquid.
  4. Wrap each monkfish fillet in a slice of parma ham. Melt 1oz (25g) of butter in an ovenproof pan, add the monkfish and fry for 1 - 1.5 minutes until golden brown. Turnover and transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the fish from the oven and transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add the reduced stock mixture to the fish pan and stir to scrape up any residues from the bottom of the pan. Strain into a small pan, bring back to the boil and whisk in the remaining 1oz (25g) butter. Season with black pepper.
  6. To serve, spoon the sauerkraut into the centre of 4 warmed plates. Cut each piece of monkfish into 4 and put on top of the sauerkraut. Pour the sauce around the fish and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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Lemon Meringue Pie
Serves 4

Ingredients

5oz (150g) plain flour
2.5 oz (75g) margarine
3 eggs
2 lemons
1 oz (25g) cornflour
1oz (25g) granulated sugar
4oz (125g) caster sugar

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200C (400F, gas mark 6). Separate the egg whites and yolks, setting aside one egg yolk for the pastry.
  2. To make the rich shortcrust pastry rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolk plus about a tablespoon of water to bind the pastry.
  3. Line a sandwich tin with the pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
  4. Whilst the pastry is cooking, make the lemon filling. Wash and finely grate the rind of the lemons and place in a small pan with the cornflour. Squeeze out the juice from the lemons and pour into a measuring jug, make up the liquid to half a pint (300ml) with cold water. Pour a little of this liquid into the pan with the cornflour and lemon rind and mix to a smooth paste, then add the rest of the liquid and stir.
  5. Heat the lemon filling mixture, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens and clears. Add granulated sugar to taste. Allow the mixture to cool and then beat in the two remaining egg yolks. Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case.
  6. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until they form peaks, then add half of the caster sugar and whisk it in. Fold in the remaining caster sugar. Pile or pipe the meringue onto the lemon mixture and bake at 200C (400F, gas mark 6) for about 30 minutes until the meringue browns.

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Cookery Book Recommendation of the Month

book cover Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson
Fresh, innovative, versatile and delicious, it's summer all year round and from around the world with Nigella. With all the style and class of her earlier books, and a whole new concept, this is an irresistible and wide-ranging book of summery recipes which can be eaten at any time - from scrumptious Italian antipasti and Greek mezze to Spanish cuisine, from barbecues to beach picnics, from Moroccan roast lamb to Mauritian prawn curry, from the traditional strawberries-and-cream feel of an English summer afternoon to Indian-summer evenings at home, from light lunches to seductive suppers; and with a selection of unusual icecreams and melt-in-the-mouth puddings to die for. Summer cooking is relaxed cooking, for days when we want to conjure up a mood of sunny expansiveness even in the darkest months. Easy cooking, easy eating. No one wants to slave over a hot stove for hours: the keynote is simplicity, freshness, enjoyment. It's a way of celebrating summer not only while it lasts, but extending it through the year. This gorgeous book, written with all Nigella's characteristic flair and passion, ties in with her new Channel 4 TV series and contains 40 or so additional recipes added exclusively for the book. Another groundbreaking design, ravishingly illustrated in full colour throughout.

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