Fresh goats' milk coupled with asparagus, gives a resonant taste of British summer to this Great British Menu contender.
300ml/10fl oz goats’ milk
3g agar agar
20g/¾oz firm, dry goats’ cheese
10 broad bean flowers
10 pea shoots
50g/2oz firm, dry goats’ cheese, grated
For the beetroots, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Rub the beetroots with the grapeseed oil, sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, wrap all eight in an aluminium foil pouch and bake for 1¼ hours.
Remove the beetroot from the oven, set aside to cool. Open the pouch and once cool enough to handle, peel the beetroot by popping them out of their skins. Set aside at room temperature and once cool, cut into 1cm/½in thick discs.
For the watercress mousse, blanch the watercress leaves in salted boiling water for 15 seconds. Drain, and immediately refresh watercress in iced water, drain again, squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
Heat the whipping cream in a pan, and bring it up to the boil. Add the watercress and a pinch of salt, cook for one minute, then transfer to a blender. Blend the watercress mixture to a smooth purée and push through a fine sieve into a bowl. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, add to the watercress mixture and whisk to dissolve.
Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, carefully fold it into the watercress mix, adjust the seasoning as required and set aside covered in the fridge.
For the goat’s milk purée, place the goats’ milk, agar agar and salt in a pan, bring to the boil, whisk briefly and simmer for one minute. Pour into a bowl, grate in the goats’ cheese, season to taste and whisk for 30 seconds and set aside in a cool place to set.
Once set, blend the goats’ milk mixture to a smooth purée in a blender and push through a fine sieve. Check the seasoning, then set aside until needed.
For the vegetables, slice the celeriac into 5mm/¼in thick slices and cut little discs out using a 3cm/1¼in diameter cutter. Place the celeriac into boiling salted water and cook for five minutes, until tender.
For the carrots, cook in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes, until tender.
For the celery, cook in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes, until tender
For the peas, place them into boiling, salted water and blanch for 1-2 minutes and then refresh in a bowl of iced water.
For the broad beans place them into a pan of boiling salted water for two minutes, then drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Remove the skin and set aside at room temperature.
For the asparagus, cut the tips off two spears of asparagus and blanch them in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, then refresh them in a bowl of iced water.
Using a peeler, peel each of the two stems of asparagus into 8-10 long thin strips. Drizzle the strips with a squeeze of lemon juice, the grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Peel (just the outside) of the four remaining asparagus spears, and blanch in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, ensuring that you keep the asparagus al dente.
For the hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place the hazelnuts onto a roasting tray, making sure that they all sit on one level, and bake for 5-10 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then lightly crush.
For the feuille de brick cones, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Trim the four feuille de brick sheets to circles 18cm/7in in diameter. Cut each circle in half, brush lightly with grapeseed oil and carefully wrap around the exterior of a cream horn mould to form a cone.
Slip another mould over the top to keep the feuille de brick in place. Repeat four times (to allow for breakages!) and bake the pastry in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden-brown. Remove the feuille de brick from the oven, gently lift off the outside mould and tease off the crisp, golden-brown feuille de brick cone. Set aside until needed.
Cook the quails’ eggs in simmering water for six minutes, drain, and carefully peel. Crush the peeled eggs with a fork and mix in the mustard, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fill two of the cones with the crushed egg and top with an asparagus tip (from above).
For the deep fried quails’ eggs, preheat the vegetable oil in a deep-sided, heavy based pan to 180C/350F, or alternatively use a deep fat fryer. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Cook the quails’ eggs in a pan of simmering water for four minutes, drain, and carefully peel. Place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls and dredge the quails’ eggs first in the flour, then egg, and finally breadcrumbs. Deep fry the breadcrumbed quails’ eggs until just turning golden-brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper. Cut the eggs in half before serving.
To serve, place a large swirling spoonful of goats’ milk purée on each serving plate. Place the thin slices of asparagus in the middle and top with the other vegetables. Place the deep fried quails’ egg on top and garnish with the pea shoots, broad bean flowers and hazelnuts. Finish the salad with a spoon of watercress mousse and a small quantity of grated goats’ cheese. Serve with the egg filled cones.
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