Sunday, 23 January 2011

Chicory dickery dock

I had six girlfriends round for lunch today, I'd been looking forward to it for ages, and due to the volume of wine that I knew would be consumed, I decided to keep things simple. I was grateful for this decision when up I woke up later than planned, realised the house was a hell hole and Boyfriend planned to spend the morning finishing the plumbing for our dishwasher. There is nothing negative I have to say about the latter, the sooner that magical machine was installed, the better. As I write this, the dishwasher is swishing away, draining into the driveway, filtering through a very exciting make-shift contraption involving old guttering, a few bricks and an old door mat.

I went for a Spanish theme, grilled chicory with sherry vinegar and jamon to start, the main was chicken with bay and garlic (I cook it all the time and will post the recipe next time) and for pud, Seville orange tart. I had a disaster with the pastry, the tart case fell apart in my hands as I tried not to get burnt when taking it out of the tin, hence a panicked call to one of the girls who picked up a beautiful sweet pastry case from Waitrose. I will never make pastry again. What's the bloody point??

Endibias con vinagre de Jerez y jamon is a beautiful starter completely inspired by my Moro cookbook, I am yet to eat in their restaurant but the book is keeping me satisfied for now, I highly recommend it. The following recipe serves 4.

Prepare the heavenly and brilliantly simple dressing by pounding a clove of garlic with a good pinch of salt and approx. one teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves in a pestle and mortar. They must be fresh. No point otherwise. In a small pan reduce 6 tbsp of sherry vinegar (about a fiver a bottle but sooooo worth it) to about 2 tbsp. Add this to the garlic and thyme with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and pepper. Slice the very ends off two or three heads of chicory, cut each one in half, then into three. Griddle them in a dry pan so slightly scorched and arrange on one half of a serving dish. I finally posess a decent le Creuset griddle pan and its all about stripey food, food with lines on it. Awesome. Splash on the dressing and sprinkle on some chopped parsley. Add as much or as little jamon as you like/can afford. It's well pricey. I actually used Serano ham but don't tell the girls.