Salmon Mousse with quick Mayonnaise

You know how it is, your mate rings up from the market to tell you that they've got big bunches of dill for sale for a quid, so you ask the wife to get the two tail ends of salmon out of the freezer with the intention of making Gravadlax only to realise, when it's defrosted, that one, there's three pieces of fish not two, and two, it's too thin to be worth the effort of curing it. Little things like this are the stuff my life's made of! The dill got stuffed into a bottle of vinegar; I'll use it later in the year for pickling: that left three pieces of salmon so hence this recipe for a salmon mousse!

Salmon Mousse

So what to use for a mousse? Salmon? Check. Eggs? Check. Double cream? Check - oops, un-check, we need it for the strawberries. Something similar? Yoghurt? Check - oops, un-check, it's grown a fir coat. Herbs? Check, there's fennel and parsley in the garden, either will be suitable. Cream cheese? No, we've scoffed it! Mayonnaise? That's it, I'll make some Mayonnaise:

Quick Mayo

I used a 'stick' blender for this, you could also use a liquidizer or food processor but add the oil gradually whilst whisking - likewise if you make it by hand.

Put a whole egg into the goblet that came with the stick blender, or suitable alternative, and add about ¼ tsp Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt & pepper, and a few splashes of vinegar or lemon juice. Add ½ pint of oil (I used a light rape seed oil for this; olive would have overpowered the salmon), then mix it on full power. If it's too thick add a drop or two of water. Adjust seasoning, vinegar, or lemon to taste.

The Mousse

8 - 10 oz Cooked salmon
4 oz Mayonnaise
3 Egg whites
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp (1 sachet) Gelatine dissolved in warm water
Lemon or vinegar to taste
A couple of tablespoons of chopped dill or other green herb

Purée the salmon with a stick blender or food processor keeping an ounce or two of the salmon aside if you don't want a completely smooth mousse. Mix with the Mayonnaise. Whisk the egg whites until almost at the 'stiff peak' stage and fold into the salmon mixture along with the gelatine and herbs and any salmon put aside previously (strain the gelatine to remove any bits). Season to taste. Pour into a lightly oiled mould and leave in the fridge to set.

This recipe is fairly versatile, as well as just eating it with a salad you could present it in the style of a cold souffléé or using a salmon mould. You could also line ramekins with smoked salmon and make salmon parcels for a starter or fill rolls of smoked salmon with it and present salmon cigars as a canapé - the possibilities are endless. I'm also fairly sure that it will be fine made with whipped cream or yoghurt; I fancy trying it with yoghurt, I think that it's tangy flavour would offset the 'earthiness' of the salmon very well.


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Elderflower Cordial

A recent post on a forum about self-sufficiency reminded me that it's elderflower season. It always seems to pass me by, even though there's a big bush 10 yards from my window!

I've tried drying elder-flowers before, when I used to make a lot of wine, it wasn't the greatest success; this time I decided to make an elderflower cordial. It's simplicity itself using this recipe that's an amalgamation of various ones from books and the internet.

To every 10 heads of elder-flowers (big green stalks removed) you need 600ml boiling water, ½ Lemon, 1 teaspoon Citric Acid and 750gm White Sugar. Put everything except the elder-flowers into a large bowl and stir until dissolved, then leave to cool. Add the elder-flowers and mix well. Skim off any bits that don't look as if they belong! Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 4 or 5 days, stirring twice a day.

I made a double the recipe amount, seen here before I got all the naughty bits off the top...

Elder-flowers steeping

...to be continued


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Mortadella with Pistachios

It's great to get back to doing some real sausage making. We're fast running out of ham, bacon and sausage from my last mammoth session, so it's time to clear all the frozen meat out of the freezer to make way for the next lot.

Given that the meat's been frozen, it shouldn't then be refrozen unless it's been cooked - making fresh sausage is therefore a no, no. I was going to make hot dogs, but the weather looked a bit iffy and I'm very much a fair weather smoker, so that left a choice of the many and various other cooked sausages/luncheon meats.

I enjoy making Luncheon Meats, not least because they taste good, but also because no-one expects you to. Big headed, I know: I don't care, it makes me feels good!

Mortadella is a traditional Italian cooked pork sausage that varies in size from quite small to massive. It's major characteristic is the small pieces of fat dispersed throughout it. To be 'traditional' these should make up at least 15% of the total sausage - this version has less. The addition of pistachios or pine nuts is optional.

I take no credit for the recipe, it came to me via Jason Molinari who I understand got it from a book by Paul Bertolli: no doubt it's had a few tweaks on the way! Salt seemed to have been omitted along the way - the amount I added was too little, I will increase it next time - I have altered the recipe to reflect this.

I won't say that the recipe is easy, it isn't. However, there's nothing difficult about it if you're careful. The cardinal rule is that everything must be kept very cold.

Here's a very 'snatched' photo of the finished product perched on the edge of the fridge. Trust me to find a bit with badly dispersed nuts and fat, and air-holes to boot!

Mortadella

Ingredients

Pork Shoulder 630 gm
Pork Fat (1) 420 gm (Hard fat from the back or throat)
Crushed Ice 310 gm
Garlic Powder 1.7 gm
Dextrose 15 gm
Mace 2 gm
Coriander 1 gm
Cinnamon 1 gm
Cayenne 1 gm
Cubed fat (2) 75 gm
Pistachio nuts (optional) 25 gm (weighed after shelling and peeling)
Black Pepper lightly Crushed 2 gm
Salt 23 gm
Cure #1 1.7 gm

To make the calculations easy, you can use this online calculator:

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