All posts by James Ferguson

alpine1

(Al)pining for Snow

By | Dining, Recipe | No Comments

With winter firmly upon us in the form of driving wind and rain, we’re desperately dreaming of snowy climes. Yes we love to trudge through crisp pure snow, but mostly it gives us an excuse to pretend we’re in the mountains and to exploit the spirit of après ski. While the world goes detox dotty this month, we’re in hibernation mode and are resolutely in favour of cosy comfort food accompanied by a goblet or two of red wine. Sitting by the fire with one fork suppers, we’re indulging in traditional alpine fare to warm us up from the inside out.

A firm favourite is a super-easy potato dish from the Savoie region of France. This recipe serves four people and is perfect to pick at the next day… if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers. Serve with cornichons/baby pickled onions, charcuterie, crusty bread and a healthy big green salad!

What you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg waxy potatoes like Romano. We leave the skins on for ease and a bit of goodness.
  • 250g pancetta or bacon lardons
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • A knob of butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 200ml half fat crème fraiche (you can use cream but this is a lighter version)
  • Sea salt but go easy as the bacon will be salty, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole Reblochon cheese. Slice it round the middle to make two rounds and then half so there are 4 semi circles. If you can’t find Reblochon, Camembert would do but it won’t have the nutty quality that’s the star of the show here.

Here’s how to create this beauty:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 7.
  2. Par-boil the potatoes whole in a pan of boiling water until tender then drain and put aside.
  3. Heat a frying pan, add the knob of butter and fry the bacon, onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add the white wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the crème fraiche. You should now have a quite splendid sauce.
  4. When the potatoes are cool, slice them thinly (about 0.5 cm) and place a layer into an ovenproof gratin dish. Cover with sauce and layer potatoes on top. Continue this process until you finish with a thin layer of sauce. Layer the lovely Reblochon slices on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is oozy and golden.

Now put on your PJs, pour a glass and grab a fork. Et voilà, alpine fare extraordinaire.

Salmon1

The Queen of the Canapés

By | Canapés | No Comments

We don’t mean a soggy vol-au-vent, a devilled egg, or a cheese and pineapple cocktail stick à la 1980. We mean a beautiful, elegant little work of art; a marvellous miniature bite, delicately assembled with love, and a steady hand. At Cooked, we just love the queen of the canapés; enter the magnificent Smoked Salmon Blini.

She’s queen for a reason; let us tell you why. Take the blini, the food of the Tsars and an optimistic little pancake that in Russian heritage is a symbol of the sun. Traditionally prepared to celebrate the end of winter, it’s a cheerful place to put your salmon. A lovely peachy pink piece on top, with a good cream cheese before it completes this simple, but regal bite sized morsel .

Luxury encapsulated, she loves to hang out with the champagne. She can’t help her classic glamour but she can go bling in an instant with a touch of caviar and a crown of gold leaf. She has a variety of outfits; a marinade of dill and mustard and topped with microherbs, puts her on trend in the Scandi spirit. Also in her closet is a twist of lemon, cucumber pearls, a dash of balsamic, a grind of black pepper, a slice of beetroot ceviche, or for a feisty surprise, a drop of hot horseradish.

Whichever way she decides to dress at your party, you’d better catch her quick. She holds court only briefly and leaving her bereft subjects behind, her exit is swift, usually along with the champers.

Xmas-Pud

A Plump and Boozy Pudding

By | Recipe | No Comments

The festive season is upon us with gusto, and we’re all cooking and baking our heads off. The most coveted item in the Ferguson household is our very splendid Christmas pudding, which is ceremoniously (and precariously after a tipple too many), carried aflame to the table to great rounds of applause. Created with ritual, and a marble, Stir-Up Sunday is a cherished day in a dark rainy November. The festive smell alone will have you dancing like the Fezziwigs.

It’s a rare occasion that we share our Cooked secret recipes, but since we’re all friends, here it is.

You will need:

175g currants

175g sultanas

300ml brandy (plus a glass for the chef)

175g white breadcrumbs

140g frozen Guernsey butter, unsalted

40g unrefined dark brown sugar

1 egg

Nutmeg

Butter, for greasing

Greaseproof paper

1.2 litre pudding bowl

A marble

Here’s how to make it:

The day before, give your fruit a good soak in the brandy until they’re delightfully plump and boozy. Make sure you stick your butter in the freezer too.

Now get your apron on, take your rings off and prepare to get stuck in. This is a sleeves-rolled-up kind of time.

First grate the frozen butter. Then tip all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix until it all comes together rather nicely (we use clean hands). Hey presto a pudding.

Grease your pudding bowl with butter, and put a disc of greaseproof paper at the bottom. If you feel like being fancy, place a slice of orange in the bowl before the mixture.

Put a circular double layer of greaseproof paper over the top of the bowl, big enough to allow the pudding to expand. Then cover with foil and make a ‘handle’ with string. Lift your creation into a big pan and pour in boiling water half way up. Enter the marble! Put it in the pan and it’ll rattle until a top up is needed.

Steam for 5 – 6 hours (open a window!) Leave to cool, remove the get-up and cover with cling film. Put it in the fridge, and feel very pleased with yourself.

To serve, re-steam for an hour or quick blast it in the microwave. For your moment of glory, give it a tot of brandy and set alight. Present to the table and await your applause. Ta-dah!

Noodles-&-Ginger

Souper Dooper

By | Charity, Outside Catering | No Comments

Cooked by James Ferguson was proud to support Guernsey Cheshire Home and Bridge2 as The Big Soup Kitchen arrived once again for its annual appearance at Town Church. We’re delighted to learn that our Filipino Chicken Noodle Soup won Bronze! Congratulations to Christophe (Red) and Colin (La Fregate) for Gold and Silver! A great event and always a pleasure to be involved – see you there next year!