Russian Salad

I was going to blog the ‘Heaven Sent Hummus’ recipe today but I have been moved to give you this one instead.

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As I have driven through the Suffolk countryside I’ve noticed that the roadside ‘eggs for sale’ have started to reappear. I grew up in a house where we had various animals and we had a lot of hens for eggs. They are so good and that got me thinking about the fact that it is ‘springtime’ and we would be starting to see the hens getting broody. I also noticed a distinct change in the quality of the eggs I use. The yolks are super firm and the whites are too. Of course that is too be expected because the fertility of the hen has kicked in.

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When I was growing up my Mum and Dad just produced as much of the food as they possibly could. Our garden was covered in panes of glass over heeled in pieces of timber or corrugated iron to make cold frames to get as early a crop of garden fresh food as soon as possible. (In 1979 Dad did actually get a real glass green house, he was so happy).

One of the most delicious things that my Dad (yes read it and weep) would make was Russian salad. The first one would be made around about the end of May with the very first tiny, tender and so sweet peas, carrots, new potatoes and beetroot. And of course those lovely eggs – so fresh that once boiled it would be impossible to peel them.

The other thing he always did, and I have such a strong memory of this, is he would make the mayonnaise himself. He would sit himself on a ricky old wooden chair outside but in the shade. He always insisted it had to use a china basin, a wooden spoon, an egg yolk and good olive oil. It would make a thick (really thick) cream of a dusky, rusty, golden colour that he would then season with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of malt vinegar. Once the salad was made it would be left in the cold pantry for all the flavours to develop and marry together.

I have told him I am blogging this recipe, I don’t think he really understand what I am on about he just says ‘Oh yes, very good dear. But when I showed him over Skype just the ingredients I have gathered he really smiled and guessed straight away what I was making. I have told him I want to photograph him making the ‘crema’. I’ll put them up once I have them.

Also the photo of the olive oil is of the olive juice (it is so good) that my cousin sends me over from Italy. If you want you can buy it in England in the food halls of Harrods, but I am including a link to their webpage for you to see if you can get hold of it nearer to you. It is worth the effort.

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http://www.mariaianniciello.com

So I am including how to make the mayonnaise but made in a machine but with the good olive oil, you can use sunflower if you think it will be too expensive or too strong a flavour.

It was amazing.

Russian Salad
Feeds a party of 8 or 3 hungry Italian kids that had spent all day running all over the countryside.

4 lb Charlotte, Saxon (waxy) potatoes,
4 eggs, hard-boiled, finely diced (optional)

1 small red or white onion, finely diced

6 carrots
2 beetroot
240g /8 oz shelled fresh or frozen peas
8 cornichons
2 tsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill

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Boil the potatoes in their skins (about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain and cool in cold running water for a minute, then set them to one side for the skins to dry . Peel them and chop into large chunks (no smaller than 2 cm cubes at all, bigger is fine)

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At the same time repeat the process with the carrots and beetroot.
Put the eggs into a pan of cold water, bring up to the boil and cook for 4 minutes then drain and plunge into cold water. Once cold shell them and cut into 2 cm chunks.

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Cook the peas just as normal and cool in cold water straight away.
Run the knife through the cornichons to about 1/2 cm pieces. And dice the onion as small as you can manage.

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That’s all the that ready. Pop it all into a nice large bowl for mixing.

To make the mayonnaise (in a food processor, so it needs to be a larger quantity, but if you can make it in a smaller amount then just divide it all by 2 or 4)
1 lt/2 pints Olive Oil
4 whole eggs
1 tbsp malt vinegar (or lemon juice or red wine, which you prefer or have to hand)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (low-fat, or a mixture of mayo and sour cream work great here)

a little salt to taste

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Add the eggs into the processor bowl with the blade attachment (I have never used a whisk for this).
Set the machine running at it’s fastest speed and through the top feed tube start to very slowly, in a fine line, pour in the oil.

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Take your time. At first you think it is not working. Keep the machine on the highest setting.

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When you have added about 3/4 of the oil you will notice a distinct change in the sound of the mixture, it will almost be quacking at you. You can stop the machine and have a look, it will have become super thick and mayonnaise-y.

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You can turn it on again and finish adding the oil, then the vinegar and salt.

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Add 3/4 of the mayonnaise into the mixture and use a big metal spoon to mix it carefully. you don’t want to break it into tiny pieces.

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Spoon it into your serving dish.

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And coat the outside with the rest of the ‘crema’ and sprinkle with the dill.

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Have a spoon to taste yourself now but leave it in a cool spot (a fridge is probably what most people will do) and let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours.

So simple to make and so really delicious, this is nothing like the stuff they sell you in the shops.

😀

email me scarletrositafood@btinternet.com
phone or text 0792 310 9170
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ScarletRosita
or follow me on Twitter
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Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)

Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.

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Peas In The French Style/ Petit Pois A La Francaise

Gotta say … I love this dish 🙂 Okay, so, I made a pan of this for my self, to do for my dinner and as a stand by for the next day’s lunch. For the real evening meal for everyone I made a fantastic old Medieval Stew recipe (I shall get it sorted on here in a few weeks) and it turned out great, all the things you want on a chilly evening, really tasty, with a quirky fruity tone that is very typical of those Medieval cooks. Dished it up, no problems, everyone loved it, had second helpings, just a little left over that looked perfect for Geoff to take in as his packed lunch. But no! Foolish me! Little did I know that whilst he was washing the pots he had a cheeky taste of my pea stew. Next morning, not a word to me, he took the massive pot load in for his lunch. Geoff is a meat pie/sausage/steak man, that proves how big on flavour this little dish of vegetables is.

The stew ready for eating

Anyway, at the market yesterday, so many people asked if I would have something after the holiday that would help with their excess eating and I was thinking it would be an idea to add a recipe here so you would have something in mind that is lighter on the digestive tract and, although still really delicious, is perhaps *not so over indulgent (* not so is the caveat).

Honestly, try it, it’ll change your world (well, maybe just one of your Christmas time meals 🙂 )

This is based on the classic recipe, but it has a few additions that I think are a lovely improvement.

Okay, danger of waffling here, so ….

Peas In The French Style/ Petit Pois A La Francaise

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Enough for 4 as a main course with some bread

60 g/2 ozcocnut oil/vegetable fat 1floz oil

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large white onion, diced (pieces about the size of the peas, so not too small)

4 spring onions/scallions, medium slices

2 cloves of garlic, in thin slices is fine

4 Little Gem lettuce, shredded (just repeatedly run a knife through the intact head and you’ll have it cut just right)

75ml/ 3 floz White Vermouth (or wine/cider whatever you like, I think the Vermouth is perfect)

500g/1lb Frozen Petit Pois (or peas if that’s what you have)

1 tsp dried Parsley (2 of fresh chopped if you have it)-optional

1 tsp dried Dill (2 of fresh snipped) -optional

2-4 tsp nutritional yeast

500ml/ 1 pt Hot Vegetable stock – from a cube is great

250ml/ 1/2pt Soya Cream  mixed with a heaped teaspoon of cornflour

Have everything ready on the side, this won’t take long.

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Heat the fats in a nice large pan (minimum of 2Lt/4pt, the one you use to cook the pasta in) over a medium heat.

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Add in the onions, stir and cook for a couple of minutes until they start to look translucent. Add in the scallions and cook for another minute until soft.

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Add the garlic and stir until they are sizzling.

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Tip in the lettuce and turn the heat up to full. Pour in the vermouth (or whatever it is you like the taste of).

 

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Cheese rinds in the stew

In goes the petit pois (or peas, doesn’t matter if they are frozen), the herbs  and the hot stock. I put the lid on now so as to get it back to the boil as quickly as possible.

Pouring in the cream

Once it is boiling take the lid off and allow it to cook for 5 minutes.

Reducing the liquor

Get the serving dish (or if you’re like me – the Pyrex mixing bowl) and use a draining spoon to fish out all the peas and lettuce until you just have the herby liquid in the pan.

The thickened liquor

This you now fast boil to reduce the liquid, it needs to be reduced to about 250ml/1/2 pt.

Now add your soya cream with the cornflour mix, it should be a nice creamy consistency, if it’s too thick add a little more water.

Delicious Peas a la Francaise

Add the pea mixture back to the pan and stir while keeping the pan on the heat until everything has a good coat of the sauce and the liquid has come back to a simmer just at the edges.

Perfect amount of sauce to peas ratio :)

I like it served in a bowl with a nice crispy roll to mop up the tasty sauce .. spoons an absolute necessity.

The stew ready for eating

This is also a very nice side dish with all just about anything –  even Pizza 😀

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)

Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.

email me scarletrositafood@btinternet.com
phone or text 0792 310 9170
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ScarletRosita
or follow me on Twitter
https://twitter.com/ScarletRosita
Follow Me on Pinterest