About Great Food


Rosemary Shrager

Langoustine Ravioli with a Red Pepper Sauce
Roast Lobster Sauterne
Lemon Tart

Langoustine Ravioli with a Red Pepper Sauce

This is one of my very favorite dishes. it really isn't too difficult to make and the wonderful thing about it is that you can prepare it well in advance and leave it sitting in your fridge until you're ready to use it.

Ingredients: (serves 8 as a starter, 4 as a main course):

1 recipe pasta
24 langoustines (or prawns), heads and shells removed
2 egg-yolks, lightly beaten

For the marinade:

1 sliced bacon, finely diced
2 small shallots, finely diced
1 small clove garlic, finely diced
1 tsp. fresh ginger root, finely diced
1 tbsp. unsalted butter

For the sauce:

4 red peppers
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. olive oil

Oven: 425ºF / 220ºC

Combine the marinade ingredients in a small frying pan and allow them to cook very gently, until all the flavors have intermingled. Transfer it to a large bowl and turn the prepared langoustines in it. Allow it to cool.

Put two langoustines together at 3 inches (8 cm) intervals along each ribbon of pasta, and then brush outside the fish and along the edges with egg-yolk. Cover the whole thing with a second ribbon and press down to make ravioli squares, before cutting them apart into individual parcels. Pinch the edged together, using floured fingers. Put the parcels, uncovered, into the fridge while you make the sauce.

Roll the peppers in the olive oil then roast them for 25-30 minutes until they are blackened. Remove them from the oven, plunge them into cold water and slip them out of their skins. Chop them on a board, discarding the seeds and then core and puree them in a blender. Then bring them to simmering point in a small pan, with the cream. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and keep it warm. Cook the ravioli for four minutes in plenty of boiling salted water, drain it thoroughly until all the water has run out and finish the sauce, just before serving by whisking in the butter.


Pasta recipe (serves 6)


2 ¼ cups white pasta/strong bread flour
2 egg-yolks
2 large eggs
2 tsp. olive oil
Pinch salt

Combine the ingredients in a food-processor. Turn the mixture out onto a floured board and knead it lightly before cutting it into eight pieces. Roll each piece through the broadest mangle of a pasta-machine five times to make sure the texture is smooth. Then narrow the aperture until you have made long, broad ribbons, and use it immediately.

The mixture dries out quickly, so if you don't intend to use is at once, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.

Sieve everything
Sieving is something that makes everything taste that little bit more special. Sieve sauces, mousses, even things like mashed potato - to make them extra smooth.

Roast Lobster Sauterne

This is one of the favorites at Amhuinnsuidhe: everybody seems to love it. It's simple to make, once you understand how the anatomy of the fish works. You can make a whole dish in advance too.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

4 live lobsters, each weighing 1¼ lbs. (600g)
8 tbsp. melted, unsalted butter
1 tbsp. chives, chopped
1 tbsp. dill, chopped

For the sauce:

1 shallot, finely chopped
¾ cup dry white wine
1¼ cups heavy cream
¾ cup Sauterne

Oven: 425ºF / 220ºC

Put the lobsters into boiling water and cook for 5 minutes per pound. (NB: make sure the water is really boiling).

Remove the two large claws, then the legs. Cut them in half lengthwise, firmly, with a large knife - you want to keep the shell intact. Identify, remove and discard the stomach sack from around the meat in the tail. Do the same with the tiny, black thread-like intestine and then find the greenish meat (the tomalley) near the head and reserve it for future use in pasta or sauces. Take all the meat out of the claws and pack it into the head.

Now make the sauce. Simmer the shallot with the white wine and reduce it to one third. Add the cream and reduce it again by half, then stir in the Sauterne and some salt. Brush the surface of the lobsters with the melted butter and sprinkle them with salt. Roast them for ten minutes. Reheat the sauce and serve with the fish, sprinkled with fresh herbs.


Buying Lobsters
If you are lucky enough to get your lobsters live, the livelier they are, the better. If you're buying them already boiled, smell them - they'll be fresh and sweet - and look at their tails. These should curl up under their chests and spring back into place when uncurled.

Like humans, lobsters are left or right handed. One claw will be large for gripping, the other small for cutting.

Push the boat out
If you want to make this dish even more special, you can add Champagne to the sauce instead of Sauterne.

Lemon Tart


1 quantity of short crust pastry
4 lemons
7 whole eggs
2 yolks
1½ cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Oven: 400ºF / 200ºC

Butter a 10" (25 cm) loose-bottomed flan pan. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to an 1/8th (3 mm) inch thick and 12" (30 cm) circle. Carefully put into the pan. Prick the base all over with a fork. Put some tin foil onto the pastry and fill it to the top with ceramic baking beans or rice.

Put into the oven for about 15 minutes or until just cooked. Remove the foil and beans/rice and put back into the oven for a further 5 minutes until it is of a pale golden color. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn. Cool it down before you put the mixture in.

Oven: 300ºF / 140ºC

Grate the zest of 4 lemons, squeeze the juice of them and put through a fine sieve. Whisk the eggs and yolks and sugar together until pale. Add the zest and strained lemon. Mix well. Now add the heavy cream and pour into the prepared pastry. Cook for 25 minutes or until just set. Check after 20 minutes - if you overcook this it can crack, so watch it. Take out and eat at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.


Short Crust Pastry

It really is worth giving yourself enough time for this pastry to settle in the fridge before using it. It helps, considerably, to prevent it from shrinking during cooking. Though the quantities are unusual for shortcrust, they produce a marvelously versatile pastry to use with any fruit - or, if you omit the sugar, for savory flans, pies, tarts, etc.


2 cups all-purpose flour
12 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. cold water (if using method 1) OR
1 tbsp. cold water (if using method 2)
Pinch of salt

Method (1):
Chop the cold butter roughly and put it into a food processor with the flour. Zap it briefly until it looks like breadcrumbs then add the powdered sugar and salt and give it another second of whizzing. Finally add the yolk and water, mixed, and continue just until it forms a ball. Take it out of the machine and put it onto a lightly floured surface, taking care not to handle it too much.

Method (2):
Allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Sift the flour with the powdered sugar and salt onto a flat surface and make a well in the center. Pour in the mixed yolk and water and draw the flour in slowly with your fingertips until it is well incorporated.
Wrap the ball of pastry in plastic wrap and put it into the fridge for 1 hour to settle.

Keep pastry in the fridge, and work with it quickly so it doesn't warm up. Once you've rolled it out, and it's in the pan, put it back in the fridge for at least an hour. This helps the pastry settle, and stops it shrinking during cooking.

Blind Baking
When blind baking (cooking the pastry before the filling is added), cover the pastry with aluminum foil and fill it all the way up to the top with beans or weights or whatever you use to keep the pastry down (I use rice).

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