Cooking in a tent in a field, even when that field is virtually on royal turf, or at least within view of Windsor Castle, always presents extra challenges, but last weekend was a stunningly cold one for mid-April. Despite this, we managed to turn out some pretty decent delights between all of us. There were two ex-Masterchef and one ex-Bake-Off contestent : Ondine Hartgroves knocked out her famous Korean chicken, Saira Hamilton cooked from her new book My Bangladesh Kitchen, and Ian Cumming swung a startling hand-made icing gizmo over a chocolate tart turning at a stately pace on an old microwave motor.
And me…I just cooked (recipes below) and sampled, and generally worked on quality control.
Poached Chicken with Sumac and Pomegranate, with Preserved Lemon Aioli; Persepolis Marinated Aubergine ; Bean, Rosemary and Pancetta Soup; Torta Caprese with Raspberry Ripple Mascarpone, honey comb
1 whole free range chicken
whichever of the following you have to hand (none of them is fine, too):
1 carrot, quartered
1 onion, quartered
1 stem celery, quartered
1 bay leaf
a small handful of parsley
several sprigs thyme
Put the whole chicken into a deep saucepan. Add the lemon and any other items from the list that you happen to have handy. Pour in enough cold water to more or less cover. Bring gently up to the boil, then lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for around 45-60 minutes. Take off the heat and leave the chicken to cool in its stock,
Persepolis Marinated Aubergine Salad
2 aubergines, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon runny honey
2 bay leaves
2 cloves and 1 stick cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50g sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Parsley, roughly chopped
Toss the aubergines with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Griddle or sear until browned and tender.
Warm the honey gently and drizzle over the prunes, turning so that it is evenly distributed.
Mix the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, chilli, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil toss with the aubergine, prunes and most of the sesame seeds. Set aside the remainder to garnish. Cover and leave overnight if possible.
Just before serving, stir and taste. Adjust the seasoning, fold in some parsley, then pile into your serving dish. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds and parsley.
Poached Chicken with Sumac,Pomegranate & Preserved Lemon Mayo
Preserved lemon Mayonnaise
Prepare a bed of shredded lettuce leaves, and cucumber. Pile the chicken on top. Drizzle very lightly with the pomegranate molasses,, then scatter generously with pomegranate seeds, coriander leaves and kalonji. Serve with the mayo.
Preserved Lemon Aioli
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon very hot water or stock
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
300 ml sunflower or rapeseed oil
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 small, or 1 large preserved lemon(s), prepped, thinly sliced
Drop the garlic into the bowl of the food processor, with the blades running. Add the egg yolk and egg, whir around to mix, then, with the motor still running, add the hot water. Now add the lemon juice. Process until smooth.
With the machine running, pour the oils in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube to make a thick mayonnaise. Stir in the preserved lemon, then taste and adjust seasonings.
Serves 8-10 (at a pinch)
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate
250g (9 oz) ground almonds
170g (6 oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g (7 oz) butter, melted and cooled until tepid
To serve: raspberries, icing sugar, raspberry ripple mascarpone (see below)
Line the base of a 24 cm (9 1/2 inch) cake tin with non-stick baking parchment and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Process the chocolate until finely chopped, but still retaining a little texture. If you don’t have a processor, chop the chocolate finely with a large knife. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla essence until the mixture is pale and thickened a little. Fold in the chocolate and almonds and the butter. Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about 50-60 minutes, until just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the mould, then turn out. Dust the surface with icing sugar before serving.
Serve wedges of the cake with raspberries and a spoonful of raspberry ripple mascarpone
RASPBERRY RIPPLE MASCARPONE, HONEYCOMB
3 tablespoons Double cream
Icing sugar to taste
A few drops of kewra water or vanilla extract
A squeeze of Lemon
Honey comb (optional)
Beat the mascarpone with the double cream. Crush the raspberries roughly with icing sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and the kewra water or vanilla. Ripple the raspberry crush through the mascarpone. Serve with the cake.
BEAN, ROSEMARY & PANCETTA SOUP
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 stem celery, diced small
1 tin butterbeans or cannellini beans or borlotti beans or chickpeas
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 strips pancetta, snipped into thin short strips
Fry the onion, carrot and celery gently in the olive oil until beginning to colour. Add the garlic and the rosemary and cook for a minute or so more. Now add the parsley, beans, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Blend about 2/3 of the beans and the stock until smooth, either with a hand held blender, or in a liquidiser, in which case return the blended mixture to the saucepan. Stir in the squeeze of lemon juice and the lemon zest, then taste and adjust seasonings, adding more chicken stock if the soup is too thick. Set aside until needed.
Just before serving, heat up the soup. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan, add the garlic and pancetta and fry until the garlic begins to colour. Whip off the stove quickly before it burns.
Spoon the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the brown garlic and pancetta and a few shavings of Parmesan.