by Simone Conti
Deep Fried eggs with chilli sauce – Serves 4
This recipe is from my days working with Peter Gordon in his restaurant in Marylebone High Street, in London. It can be served as an appetizer or as a lunch dish. The ‘WOW’ factor guaranteed.
200g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 red chillies, finely sliced into rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
125ml cider or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, soft boiled, cooked in water then peeled and patted dry
Chopped coriander to garnish (optional)
1. This sauce is easy to prepare and can be used for many different dishes. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir well until it starts to boil, add the chillies and garlic. Simmer until sugar is slightly caramelised (golden) then add vinegar and salt and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and it’s now ready.
2. Put 2 ins of frying oil into a pan and bring to the boil. Then using a slotted spoon, carefully add the eggs. Fry for around 1½ mins until golden, then remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
3. To serve, place the eggs on a plate and spoon the warm chilli sauce on top and around the eggs. Sprinkle with coriander(optional)!
If you want to use this as a starter, just add 4 more eggs.
Suggest Wine – Verdejo (Spain)
Chicken a l’Orange – Serves 4
500g of chicken breast
40ml Grand Marnier or any orange liquor/Triple sec
120ml orange Juice
25g olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
400g cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
2 sprigs of thyme
25g olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish:To prepare the garnish, wash and dry the cherry tomatoes. Pour some olive oil into a medium frying pan and add garlic clove until it starts to fry. Then add cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6mins on a medium heat. Turn the heat off, add 2 sprigs of thyme and cover with a lid.
Main Dish:The main dish is a variation on the famous French dish ‘Duck a l’orange’. Sometimes I prefer this version because it is much lighter than the original and duck can have a very strong flavour.
1. Start by flouring the chicken breasts, place the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan and place on a low heat. Once the butter and oil are hot, place chicken breasts into the pan and cook until both sides are golden brown.
2. BEWARE! This is a very tricky stage – Add the orange liqueur and with the help of a kitchen lighter or a long match, set it on fire (that’s what French call the ‘Flambé’!). Just be VERY careful to keep the pan away from your face. The flame will last less than a minute as the alcohol will evaporate very quickly. Add the orange juice and cook on a medium heat for 15mins, turning the chicken every 5mins to keep both sides moist. Add salt and black pepper.
3. It is now ready to serve. Place the cherry tomatoes on the base of the dish, cut the chicken breasts into slices and place on top of the tomatoes. Then finish off by pouring the orange sauce on top. Enjoy!
Suggested Wine – Carignan (France)
Apple, Amaretti and Cardamom crumble – Serves 4
This variation of the classic apple crumble is truly delicious by adding the lovely flavour of amaretti biscuits and a hint of cardamom spice. I suggest presenting this dish in individual ramekins and serve with a drizzle of Disaronno liquor for adults and vanilla ice cream for little ones.
8 slightly sour apples peeled and cored (Granny Smith are my favourites)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
18 amaretti biscuits
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
180g unsalted butter
200g self raising flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC or mark 4. Cut the apples into eighths and place in a pan with cardamom and half the sugar. Bring slowly to a simmer and cook with lid on until apples are almost cooked and slightly mushy.
2. Crumble the amaretti biscuits by hand and add a third of them to the apples with the vanilla essence and mix well. Divide between six ramekins.
3. Melt a walnut-sized piece of butter and set aside. Place the remaining butter in a food processor with flour and the remaining sugar and blitz into crumbs.
4. Then tip the crumbs into a bowl and mix with the remaining crumbled amaretti biscuits.
5. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the stewed apple and gently press down. Then drizzle with the melted butter. Place the ramekins onto a baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake until the topping is golden and crunchy. Serve straight from the oven. Enjoy!!!!
Suggested Wine – Sauterne (France)