A member of the mustard family, watercress is a great salad leaf. As well as adding a peppery taste and vibrant colour to this main course salad, watercress it is highly nutritious. Gram for gram, it contains more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than oranges! When my last batch of marmalade turned out delicious but runny, I decided to try adding it to some of my favourite desserts. The results were delicious and will work any type of marmalade - not just runny! Both these desserts are perfect for spring and summer. Happy Cooking. EL
HOT CHICKEN SALAD WITH WATERCRESS, ORANGE AND WHOLEGRAIN MUSTARD DRESSING (Serves 4)
30g / 1½ oz blanched almonds
½ butternut or kabotcha squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tblsp thick soy sauce
200g / 8oz watercress and other mixed salad leaves
8 baby plum tomatoes, halved
8 chicken thighs
salt and black pepper
For the dressing:
4 tblsps olive oil
2 tblsps wine vinegar
½ tsp sea salt
2 generous tsps wholegrain mustard
1 small clove garlic, peeled and crushed
a pinch chilli flakes (optional)
Heat the oven to 200° C / Gas 6. Place the almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until they are beginning to turn pale brown and look toasted. Watch them carefully!
Cut the squash into cubes roughly the size of a walnut and place in a roasting tin. Coat with the soy sauce, then drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, turning them after about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
Trim the excess fat from the chicken thighs and discard. Place the chicken thighs in a roasting pan and cook in the hot oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until well done and the skin is crisp.
Prepare the dressing and set aside. Using a sharp knife, remove all peel and pith from both oranges. Carefully cut out segments of orange, or slice thinly. Add any juice to the dressing.
When the chicken is cooked allow it to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, put the salad leaves on a large platter and sprinkle over the cooked squash, cherry tomatoes, orange segments and toasted almonds. Lay the chicken pieces on top and drizzle over the prepared dressing.
DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP & MARMALADE ICE CREAM (Makes 1 litre)
4 eggs separated
150g / 5oz caster sugar
300ml / ½ pint whipping cream
300ml / ½ pint semi-skimmed milk
50g / 2oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped into chips
100g / 4oz marmalade
Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a mixing bowl with the sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved then stir in the cream and milk. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened and is a glossy custard. Set aside to cool.
Using an ice cream maker: churn the custard for approx. 20 minutes, then add the chocolate chips and marmalade and continue churning for a further 5 – 10 minutes. Transfer to a freezer box. By hand: Pour the cooled custard into a large shallow freezer box. Freeze for several hours, until firm, then beat well with a fork, electric whisk or food processor. Stir in the chocolate chips & marmalade and transfer to a suitable freezer box.
PANNA COTTA WITH MARMALADE (Serves 6)
300ml / ½ pint double cream
150ml milk / ¼ pint
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
10g / ⅓ oz gelatine, soaked in cold water
3-4 tablespoons icing sugar
150ml / ¼ pint full fat natural, or Greek, yogurt
6 plus tablespoons runny marmalade, to serve
Lightly oil 6 ramekins or individual steamed pudding basins. Put the cream, milk, split vanilla pod and seeds into a saucepan and simmer gently for a few minutes., taking care not to let it overheat.
Remove the vanilla pod from the cream mixture and discard. Stir in the icing sugar. Drain the gelatine and squeeze out any excess water. Stir the gelatine into the warm cream together with the yogurt. Whisk gently. Pour into the prepared moulds and refrigerate until set.
To serve, run the tip of knife around the rim of each mould and tip the panna cottas onto individual serving plates. Top with a tablespoon of marmalade, warmed slightly if not runny.