BBC Good Food Show Spring have treated us to three recipes from James Martin’s new book “More Home Comforts”. Very fitting as the TV chef appeared live at York Barbican just last month.

Have a go at one this weekend and let us know how you get on or why not combine all three for a killer three course meal?

Tomato Tarts with Blowtorched Salad

James Martin Tomato Tart
Credit: More Home Comforts by James Martin (Quadrille £20) photography: Peter Cassidy

Simple flavours are always the best, and fresh tomatoes from the
greenhouse are the epitome of
this. Warming them gently with a
blowtorch is a great way to serve them in a salad, just with a simple dressing. The great thing about these tomato tarts is that you can freeze them, wrapped in greaseproof paper, and cook them straight from frozen.

Serves 4

For the tarts

  • 500g all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 200g Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 400g mixed heritage tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • For the salad
  • 300g mixed heritage tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, cut into thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.
Roll the pastry into a large square, about 3mm thick, then cut out four 17.5cm circles and place on a baking tray. Mark a border with a knife about a little finger’s width in from the edge, then brush with the beaten egg yolk.

Pile the grated cheese in the centre of each disc, leaving the border free of cheese.
Lay the tomatoes in a circle on top of
the cheese. Season the tarts with salt and pepper, then scatter the thyme leaves over the top, drizzle with rapeseed oil and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Place the tomatoes, red onion and lettuce in a roasting tray and drizzle over a little of the vegetable oil. Toss to combine, then char with a blowtorch or under a hot grill until caramelised – about 4–5 minutes.

Put the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk and the rest of the vegetable oil into a jam jar with a lid and shake well until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle just enough of the dressing over the salad to coat.

Pile the salad into a bowl and serve alongside the tarts. The remaining dressing will keep in the sealed jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Beer Can Piri Piri Chicken with Garlic Butter Jacket Potatoes

James Martin Beer Can Chicken
Credit: More Home Comforts by James Martin (Quadrille £20) photography: Peter Cassidy

Cooking on a beer can is nothing new: in Australia they’ve been doing it for years. The secret is that the beer keeps the inside of the chicken nice and moist while it’s cooking on the barbecue. You’ll need a barbecue with a lid, and you can cook the jacket potatoes in foil alongside. With added garlic butter at the end, this makes a truly delicious summertime meal.

 Serves 4

  • 11⁄2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 limes
  • 3 lemons
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 x 2kg whole chicken
  • 4 baking potatoes, scrubbed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • 1 can of beer, half full
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 head of lettuce, root removed and leaves separated
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1⁄4 cucumber, cut in half lengthways, then into slices
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

Put both the paprikas, chilli flakes, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, the juice of
1 lime and of 1 lemon into a bowl and mix to a paste. Pour the paste into a large plastic bag, then add the olive oil and the chicken. Seal at the end and shake around so that the chicken is covered in spices.

Prick the potatoes, then rub with a little oil, salt and black pepper, and wrap each one in foil. Place 1 garlic bulb on another sheet of foil and drizzle with oil, then twist tight.

Cut the second garlic bulb in half and place inside the chicken, then manoeuvre the half- full beer can into the bottom of the chicken too. The beer will bubble up and create steam inside the chicken, keeping it moist as it cooks, but you only need the can to be half full otherwise it will spill over.

Put the potatoes and garlic on a barbecue, then place the chicken upright, standing on the beer can in the centre. Make a silver
foil collar for the base of the chicken to protect it slightly, then cover with a lid and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the garlic bulb and roast for another 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. If you want to cook this in a roasting tray in the oven, you will probably need to place the chicken on a low shelf to fit it in. Cook the garlic for 15 minutes and the chicken and potatoes for 45–60 minutes, at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Take the cooked garlic out of the foil and allow to cool. Cut the top off the bulb and squeeze the cooked garlic out into a bowl. Add the chives and the softened butter, and mix together.

Toss the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber together in a large serving bowl, and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Cut the remaining limes and lemons into chunks.

Place the cooked chicken on the beer can in the centre of a serving platter. Loosen the foil from the potatoes, cut a cross in the top of them, squeeze gently and spoon the garlic butter on top. Place them around the chicken and garnish with the lemons and limes.

Fruit Meringue Gateau

James Martin Fruit Meringue Gateaux
Credit: More Home Comforts by James Martin (Quadrille £20) photography: Peter Cassidy

This is a very simple dish. The key is to keep it in the fridge for 3–4 hours before serving. The fruit, cream and meringue start to stick together and the meringue softens up – in a similar way to an Eton mess.

Serves 6–8

  • 6 egg whites
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 litre double cream
  • 
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 500g strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  • 4 plums, halved, stoned and finely sliced
  • 5 figs, cut into small wedges
  • 2 tablespoons toasted flaked almonds

Method

 

Preheat the oven to 110°C/225°F/gas mark 1⁄2. Draw four 20cm circles, using a cake tin as a template, on four sheets of silicone paper. Turn the sheets of paper over, so that the pencil line is on the underside but can still be seen through the paper, and place on four flat baking sheets (or two large, if your oven is big enough.)

Make sure your bowl and whisk are very clean, free of grease and completely dry, as any water or grease will affect the meringue. Place the egg whites in the bowl and whisk with a food mixer or an electric whisk on high speed, to soft peaks. Add 300g of the sugar, continuing to whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. You should hear the machine dropping down a gear as it gets to the correct consistency.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe a little meringue onto the back of each sheet of silicone paper to secure the paper to the tray. Pipe a disc of meringue onto each template, starting in the centre and working out. Flatten the top of the meringue using a wet palette knife to give a smooth top. Place in the oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and cool fully before using.

Place the cream and vanilla bean paste in a bowl and whisk with a food mixer, or an electric whisk on high speed, to soft peaks.

Place one disc of meringue on a cake stand or a large serving plate and spread with one-third of the cream, then scatter one quarter of the sliced fruit over the top. Cover with another disc of meringue, then repeat with a layer of cream, more fruit, another meringue disc, then the last of the cream and half the remaining fruit. Finish with the last meringue disc and decorate with the last of the fruit.

Heat the last 100g of caster sugar in a pan until golden-brown and liquid all the way through. Add the flaked almonds and stir to combine, then drizzle over the top of the gateau.

Chill for 3–4 hours before serving.

BBC Good Food Show Spring, Harrogate

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