I don't know why but yesterday I was feeling energetic enough to produce a good dinner including pudding. This after helping out on a "wild Wednesday" walk up the hill with nursery and reception class children. 40 children and a few adults encountering two frisky donkeys, eight sleepy but enormous Highland cattle and a lot of idiot sheep. I think the children are what makes this a "wild Wednesday" but we survived and so did they.
Anyway after that I headed into town to pick up something for supper and spotted the most beautiful forced rhubarb. The colour is incredible, beautiful enough for a vase on the table. The main course was a chicken dish, the pudding was rhubarb cobbler. Recipes are slightly adapted from Sarah Raven (yes, her again) and my newest purchase, Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly. This is the sequel to Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson of St John in London, and offal cookery fame. They are beautifully produced books with surprisingly simple recipes though quite intimidating ingredients lists (pig's head, trotters, tripe etc.). I ought to cook more from them though I'm not sure the kids are ready for this style of cookery. Having said that, there's plenty they will eat, cobbler included. [Note: Ryan over at Nose to Tail at Home is cooking his way recipe by recipe through the first book (a la Julie Powell). I think watching him cook from the book is even more intimidating!]
Rosemary, Olive and Lemon Chicken (serves 4 adults) adapted very slightly from Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook
4 chicken legs
Juice of 3 lemons
Leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary coarsely chopped plus two extra sprigs (I think I used a bit more and maybe over rosemaryed it)
Salt and black pepper
1kg waxy potatoes
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
15 Kalamata black olives (I missed these out but only because I didn't have any and was remembering the recipe from my head when shopping)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas mark 4.
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Lay them out in a baking tray. Pour half the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle with some of the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes like segments of an orange and arrange around the chicken. In the original recipe they are peeled but as these were washed new potatoes I couldn't be bothered and I don't think it mattered a bit. Add the olives if you have any, pour on the rest of the lemon juice and then sprinkle more rosemary over the potatoes. Using your hands, turn the potatoes to make sure they're coated well in herbs and lemon juice.
Pour over the olive oil and add the sprigs of rosemary, plus a cup of water, and cook for 11/2 hours in the preheated oven.
When the chicken is cooked, you may need to remove it, so you can turn up the heat and crisp up the potatoes. I didn't.
Moving on to pudding
Rhubarb cobbler based on the Apple and Blackberry Cobbler in Fergus Henderson's Beyond Nose to Tail
For the filling:
Rhubarb - several stalks - I think I had 8 or so
Juice of one orange
c. 4 tablespoons of caster sugar - to taste
For the dough:
225g self-raising flour
100g unsalted butter, diced
50g caster sugar
juice and grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
about 50ml full-fat milk
To make the dough, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and zest, then mix in the beaten egg. Add enough milk to make a soft pliable dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
While the dough rests, make the filling. Slice up the rhubarb into 2 cm pieces and put it into the dish you will use for the cobbler. Then mix in caster sugar to taste (yes I know you won't know till it's cooked but you can always add more so be careful not to over sweeten) and mix in the juice of an orange. Cover the dish with foil and bake it for c. 25 minutes in a 180 degree C oven, until tender.
Roll out the dough to 1cm thick and use a pastry cutter to cut out rounds 2 cm in diameter (I think mine were bigger!). Place on top of the fruit, they should cover it completely. Brush the top with cobbler with beaten egg (whoops, forgot to do that) and sprinkle with sugar. Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C or Gas Mar 4 and bake for about 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Serve with custard or cream.