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Gather by Gill Meller

Everyday recipes, simple and seasonal. As homage to this season of resourcefulness, creativity and sustainable eating, we've taken two tasty recipes from Gill Meller's book Gather

“We all have to eat,” says food writer Gill Meller, head chef at River Cottage, winner of the Fortnum & Mason Debut Food Book Award 2017 and author of Gather, a true celebration of British seasonal cooking at its best. “My book is very much about that moment of pleasure when we first taste a dish. That fraction of time given over to the appreciation of all that makes a mouthful of food a joy. It should be this way; joy is, after all, the single most wonderful thing about eating.”

 

"My respect for and appreciation of good fresh, seasonal ingredients and where they come from have shaped and honed the way I cook. They have taught me to rely more and more on the natural qualities they possess, and helped me to define a style of cooking that is both simple and, for the most part, quick. Mine is an approach that doesn’t call for complex processes or tricky techniques. More often than not, my recipes contain just three or four main ingredients combined in such a way as to complement each other without compromise.”

 

“Over the last two decades, I’ve discovered that cooking with the seasons is not only the best way to enjoy great ingredients in their prime, but also the most creative way to embrace them. In a sense, then, Gather has become a philosophy for a more mindful way to cook and to eat.”

Fried mutton loin with shaved cauliflower, preserved lemon & smoked paprika

"I remember being told the best thing to do with an old mutton carcass was to ‘slow-cook the whole thing’. I was younger and less experienced, but we had hung that thing for four weeks. The meat was dark and dry and carried a good-looking, firm, white fat. I kind of hoped the loins would be tender enough to serve pink. So, ignoring the slow-cooking advice and without really knowing how things would turn out, I cooked the loins hot and fast, with coarse salt, olive oil and the verve of youth. The meat was sensational – as tender as you could wish for." - Gill

INGREDIENTS

Serves four

1 small, firm cauliflower

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted

2 or 3 mint sprigs, leaves picked and shredded

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

2-3 teaspoons sunflower seeds

1 large or 2 small white onions, thinly sliced

250g (9oz) mutton loin, trimmed

1 garlic clove, bashed

skin of 1 small preserved lemon, very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon runny honey

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

6-8 sprigs fennel tops, torn

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

RECIPE

Cut away the outer leaves from the cauliflower, then trim back and remove the central stem, dividing the cauliflower into large florets as you do so. Thinly slice the florets about 2–3mm (1⁄16–1⁄8in) thick and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, pour over the lemon juice and scatter over the cumin seeds and mint leaves, then season well with salt and pepper. Use your hands to tumble everything together gently and set aside.

 

Set a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil, followed by the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and a scattering of salt. Toast the seeds for 3–4 minutes, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Return the pan to the heat, add a further 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when the oil is hot, add the sliced onion. Season, then cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is soft and beginning to crisp around the edges (about 10–12 minutes). Remove the onions to a plate and keep warm. Return the pan to a high heat. Add the mutton loin and garlic to the pan. Season all over with salt and pepper. Cook for 5–7 minutes, turning regularly, until they’ve taken on some golden colour, then remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5–10 minutes in a warm place.

 

Scatter the cauliflower over four large plates or a serving platter. Slice the mutton into 1–2cm (1⁄2–3⁄4in) slices and lay it over the top of the cauli. Scatter over the onions and the toasted seeds along with the preserved lemon skin. Drizzle with the honey, and dust with smoked paprika. Finish with a tangle of torn fennel tops, a lick more olive oil and some salt and ground black pepper.

Lemon & gooseberry tart with elderflower fritters

"Lemon, gooseberry and elderflower – even the words taste good. I can almost smell the dusty elderflower pollen, feel the bur of the gooseberries, and taste the lively citrus of lemon oil. I’ve made loads of different lemon tarts over the years, but none quite as simple as this one." - Gill

INGREDIENTS

1 quantity pastry, rolled out to 3-4mm (1/8-1/16in) thick

100g (3 1/2oz) ripe gooseberries, halved

100g (3 1/2oz) fragrant runny honey

juice of 1 large lemon (about 100ml/3 1/2fl oz)

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

8 large egg yolks

50g (1 1/4oz) golden caster sugar

225g (8oz) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, plus extra for greasing

 

FOR THE FRITTERS

20g (3/4oz) cornflour

30g/30oz plain flour

sunflower oil, for deep frying

8 small elderflower heads

2-3 teaspoons golden caster sugar, for dusting the fritters

icing sugar, for dusting the tart (optional)

 

RECIPE

Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease and flour an 18–20cm/7–8in tart tin. Lay the rolled pastry over the tart case, tucking it down into the corners (you’ll have a little overhang). Refrigerate for 15–20 minutes, then remove from the fridge and line the case with baking parchment and baking beans. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, then take out the beans and parchment and blind bake the case for a further 10–15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and trim around the edge to neaten.

 

To make the curd, place the gooseberries in a pan with 2–3 tablespoons water, over a medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 6–7 minutes, stirring regularly until the gooseberries are tender. Remove from the heat and pass the gooseberries through a sieve into a large heatproof bowl. Add the honey,
lemon juice and zest, egg yolks and sugar. Whisk to combine.

 

Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir continuously and when the mixture has thickened and is hot, drop in the butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring to encourage it to melt. When you’ve incorporated all the butter, cook for 2–3 minutes, stir, then remove the bowl from the pan. Turn off the heat. Strain the curd through a sieve into a large bowl, then pour it into the tart case. Refrigerate for 6–8 hours, until set.

 

To make the fritters, combine the flour and cornflour with 3 tablespoons of water, and whisk until smooth. Fill a medium saucepan 5cm (2in) deep with sunflower oil. Place the oil over a high heat, then drip in a few drops of batter – if they fizz the oil is frying-hot. Dip the elderflower heads into the batter, shake them, then lower them one at a time into the oil. Fry each for 1 minute, or until crisp. Dust the fritters with caster sugar and serve on top of the tart, with a final dusting of icing sugar, if you wish.

Gill's Fortnum's Favourites

British Honeycomb

 

Having started my own journey into beekeeping, I have a new found love for anything and everything honey. It’s incredible how much time and energy the bees put into making this wonderful ingredient. Slicing into honey while it is still in the comb is such a treat, but until my own bees are producing a little more, I’ll be falling back on this lovely stuff.

 

Glenarm Salt-Aged Rib of Beef

 

Peter Hannan, whom I know personally, produces some of the best tasting meat I’ve ever had and this rib of beef is no exception. The salt aged grass fed beef has the most incredible flavour and texture, and makes a perfect centre piece for any celebration.

 

 

It’s hard to resist a good chocolate biscuit, particularly the renowned chocolossus. They were first recommended to me by my friend Val Warner, 'You have to try these!'  he said  -  so I did, but sometimes I wish I hadn’t, at least my waistline does.

 

 

If I had to choose one British cheese for the table it may well be a good aged stilton. It’s such a complex cheese with so many wonderful qualities. What’s more, this particular cheese is made from organic milk. It’s nice to see such a well known cheese being made in the most ethical way possible.

 

 

I have a penchant for good English produce. Cheese, shellfish, soft fruits, seasonal game, and of course English wine. There are wonderful vineyards throughout the English countryside producing some excellent wine, but Nyetimber has to be up there with the very best!