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Mark Hix and recipes from his new book

PUBLISHED: 10:11 04 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:11 04 December 2013

Pot-roast pork loin

Pot-roast pork loin

Archant

Award-winning chef and food writer, Mark Hix, draws on his Dorset roots for many of the recipes featured in his fabulous new book. We’ve picked out some of his seasonal favourites to share with you

Pot-Roast Gloucestershire Old Spot Pork Loin with Scrumpy (Serves 4)

A well-sourced piece of pork really needs very little doing to it, and a good layer of fat should not put you off, because that’s where a lot of the flavour lies. The fat melts away during slow cooking, so you can drain off excess as the cooking progresses and use it another time.

1 piece of Gloucestershire Old Spot pork loin, boned, about 1-5-2kg

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

a few sprigs of thyme

300ml scrumpy or dry cider

For the Celeriac and Apple Mash:

1 celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped

60g butter

3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.

Remove the pork rind with a razor-sharp knife. Score the fat in a criss-cross with the knife, season and cook the pork in a roasting tray for 30 minutes, turning halfway.

Lower the oven to 160C/gas mark 3, add the vegetables and thyme and return to the oven. Spoon some cider over the meat every so often until it’s all used, and drain away any excess fat into a container during cooking. Cook fat side up for the last 45 minutes.

Towards the end of that time, melt the butter in a pan, add the apples and sugar, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are falling apart. If the mixture is wet, remove the lid and cook for a few minutes more over a low heat until it dries a little. Mix with the celeriac mash and season to taste.

Cut the pork into thick slices and serve with the mash.

***

Cauliflower Cheese (Serves 4)

This is one of my all-time favourite dishes. It’s great comfort food – perfect for family meals and TV suppers. I prefer to keep and use the leaves in a dish like this – they taste great and give a bit of colour, so there’s no point in wasting them.

1 medium cauliflower

1 litre milk

1 bay leaf

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

60g butter

60g plain flour

100ml double cream

120g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1-2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cut the cauliflower into florets, reserving the leaves and stalk. Place the milk and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Season well. Add the florets and leaves, and simmer for about 7-8 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl to reserve the milk.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and stir in the flour. Stir over a low heat for about 30 seconds, then gradually stir in the reserved hot milk, using a whisk. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat down very low (use a heat diffuser if you have one). Continue to simmer very gently for 20 minutes, stirring every so often to ensure that the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom.

Add the cream and simmer for a couple of minutes. The saue should be of a thick coating consistency by now; if not simmer for a little longer. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, whisk in three-quarters of the cheese, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7 (or the grill to medium-high). Make sure the cauliflower is dry – you can use kitchen paper to pat it dry if necessary. Mix the cauliflower with half of the cheese sauce and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Spoon the rest of the sauce over and scatter the parsley and the rest of the cheese on top. Either bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden, or reheat and brown under the grill.

***

Treacle-Cured Salmon (Serves 8-10)

This dish comes from chef and restaurateur Nigel Haworth. He served it up at one of his annual food festivals, where he invites chefs from around Britain and further afield to cook for the evening. It can also be made with sea trout.

1 salmon fillet (with skin on), about 750g-1kg trimmed

80g black treacle

1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed

grated zest of 1 lemon

50g sea salt

1 tbsp English mustard

2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Lay the salmon fillet skin side down on a sheet of cling film. Warm the treacle in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until it is just runny. Mix the fennel seeds, lemon zest, salt, mustard, pepper and treacle together. Spread evenly over the salmon and wrap well in more cling film. Place on a tray, still skin side down, and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 48 hours.

When ready to serve, remove the cling film and scrape away any excess liquid and marinade from the salmon. Pat dry with kitchen paper.

Cut the salmon at a 90o angle to the skin into even slices, about 3mm thick. Serve with pickled cucumber or pickled samphire, or just some good bread and a leafy salad.

***

Boozy Baked Worcester Apples (Serves 4)

These are a rather grown-up version of baked apples. The booze and filling is cleverly contained in the pastry, which also makes them easier to transport. The ideal apple for this would be Worcester Pearmain, but they are not always available so I would go for a dessert apple, like Cox’s, Pink Lady or Braeburn.

4 medium-sized dessert aples

1 small egg, beaten

Thick custard or double cream, to serve

For the pastry

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

a pinch of salt

½ tbsp caster sugar

60g lard

25g unsalted butter

For the filling

30g walnuts, chopped

30g nibbed almonds

1 tbsp ground almonds

6 dates, chopped

1 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp cider brandy

a good pinch of mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. First make the pastry: mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and make a well. In a pan, heat 100ml water with the lard and butter until they come to the boil, then pour on to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough. Leave the dough covered for about 15 minutes or so, until it can be handled.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Roll each on a lightly floured table to about 14-16cm in diameter and cut into circles large enough to cover the apples.

Cut the stalk end off each apple and remove the core, making a hole about 1.5cm wide – enough to pour filling into. Mix the ingredients for the filling together and stuff into the apples. If any if left over, just spoon it on top.

Put an apple in the centre of each piece of pastry and bring the pastry up the sides of the apple, gathering it up and pinching it together, leaving the top of the apple and filling exposed. Place on a baking tray, brush with the egg and bake for 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden. If the pastry starts browning too much, cover with foil. Serve hot with custard or cream.

An appropriate alcohol for these includes cider brandy, a drop of homemade sloe gin, or even a mixture of the two. If you have neither, then Cognac, Calvados, sherry or rum work well, and will give you a good aroma when you break through the crust.

***

Spiced Parsnip and Apple Soup (Serves 4-6)

Parsnips make a hearty, sweet soup – ideal when the weather begins to get a bit chilly. Teamed with apples like Russets or Cox’s and mild background spices, they are amazingly good. This is a mildly curried soup; increase the quantities of spices if you want it to be more fiery.

2-3 large Russet or Cox’s apples, about 400-500g in total

500g parsnips

60g butter

1 tsp chopped fresh root ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

½ tsp ground turmeric

100ml cider

about 1.5 litres vegetable stock

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

90ml double cream

2 tsp toasted cumin seeds

Peel, core and roughly dice the apples and parsnips. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, tip in the diced parsnips and apples, then add the fresh ginger and spices. Cover the cook gently for about 5 minutes, giving it an occasional stir; don’t let it colour.

Remove the lid, add the cider and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the parsnip is soft.

Purée the soup in a blender until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve back into the cleaned pan. Bring back to a low simmer, then stir in the cream. If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with a little water or additional stock.

Divide between warm soup bowls, sprinkle with a pinch of cumin seeds and serve.

***

Quince Prince (Makes 2)

I named this cocktail after the Princes – as in the food writer Rose and her husband Dominic – who regularly bring me quinces from their Dorset home. This infusion makes a litre of quince gin, which lasts well and can be used for all sorts of drinks.

150ml quince gin (see below)

150ml sugar syrup

juice of 1 lemon

1 egg white

For the Quince Gin

500g quinces, coarsely grated

1 litre gin

50g sugar

To make the quince gin, mix the quince, gin and sugar together and store in a sterilised airtight container such as a kilner jar for 3-4 weeks. Strain through a fine sieve and store in airtight bottles until required.

To make the cocktail, half fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the quince gin, sugar syrup, lemon juice and egg white and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into serving glasses such as tumblers or large stemmed glasses.

***

About Mark

Mark Hix has been at the forefront of the revival in interest of seasonal British ingredients and cooking for over 20 years. He has six acclaimed restaurants in London as well as the Hix Oyster & Fish House overlooking the harbour in Lyme Regis, close to where he grew up in West Bay. The Hix Oyster & Fish House reguarly hosts foodie events. To discover more visit hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk.

Hix Oyster & Fish House, Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, DT7 3JP, Tel: 01297 446 910

Hix’s Kitchen Table - Join Mark at his Dorset home

Mark regularly hosts open cooking demonstrations in the kitchen of his Charmouth home where he cooks a stunning array of seasonally-inspired dishes which are then served as part of a delicious four course lunch with wines to match each course.

Classes run from 11.30am till 2.30pm and cost £175 per person which includes a signed copy of Mark’s new cookbook. Places are limited to 8 people and bookings must be made in advance.

Dates for 2014, which are on Mondays, are listed below. For more details email alice@hixfoodetc.co.uk.

3 March; 7 April; 12 May; 9 June; 7July

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