This month Easter chocolates and the arrival of Spring …
- Easter is coming and we celebrate one of our great local suppliers – Davenport’s Chocolates.
- Sunday, 20 March marked the Persian New Year, ‘Norooz’, celebrating the first day of spring. To mark this event we share with you a recipe for Persian Kisir salad (adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s book ‘Persiana’).
- The arrival of spring means the first signs of new produce and one of the tastiest and most fleeting is wild garlic.
- We also want to share a lovely recipe for wild garlic and potato soup.
Hand crafted in Tyneside by Jane Williams and her team of chocolate artisans.
Jane trained as a classical chocolatier under Master chocolatier, Philippe Burger and preserves the traditional Swiss method of ‘enrobing’, whereby tasty handmade centres are delicately coated in smooth, rich chocolate couveture.
Jane’s team are multi-skilled with a passion for chocolate and at Davenport’s there is no mechanised production line, every task is completed by hand with care.
Davenport’s chocolates are available all-year round at mmm… and at Easter we are stocking these Davenport’s hand-crafted chocolate eggs:
- Vintage Collection dark chocolate eggs
- Vintage Collection milk chocolate eggs
- Signature Collection milk chocolate eggs
- Floral Collection dark chocolate eggs
- Fudge Mallow Milk chocolate eggs.
Persian New Year – Kisir
Kisir is a bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses and fresh herbs.
Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s book ‘Persiana’, this dish is great for sharing as part of a feast.
You can also add feta cheese or similar and scoop up in gem lettuce cups for a nice pre-dinner snack.
You will need:
- 250g Suma bulgur wheat (or try Zaytoun Palestinian Maftoul as an alternative)
- 160ml boiling water
- 1 tbsp Asharun Spices harissa paste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp Mutti tomato puree
- 2 tbsp Arabica Spices pomegranate molasses
- 5 tbsp Zaytoun extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 5 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 x 20g bag mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 1 x 20g bag flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 100g fresh pomegranate seeds.
Tip the bulgur wheat or Maftoul into a shallow bowl and pour over the hot water.
Allow to absorb (this should take 15 mins) and then transfer to a large bowl for mixing.
Add the harissa, lemon juice, tomato puree, pomegranate molasses, oil, salt and pepper to the bulgur wheat and work into the grains using your hands.
This will allow the grains to absorb all the lovely flavours.
Once you have mixed well, and the grains are well coated, add the tomatoes, spring onions, herbs and pomegranate seeds, and stir well until combined.
Check the seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and lemon juice as required.
Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving at room temperature.
In season – wild garlic
Wild garlic is now in season and thrives in woodlands and around deciduous trees, especially where there is a marshy area or pond.
These leaves are delicious raw in salads, or in dressings such as Trotters Wild Garlic Pesto (a must have at mmm… and due very soon).
The taste is quite mild, similar to chives but with a hint of garlic.
Be sure to wash the leaves well before using.
A great way to use them is sliced very finely and tossed in olive oil, then simply tossed through a salad.
Moz’s favourite use for them is with mashed potato – simply slice finely, and stir through buttery mash.
To make delicious croquettes, you need to chill the mash, and form into small balls or sausage shapes.
Then dip them into beaten egg and coat with panko breadcrumbs. Shallow fry in rapeseed oil until brown and crisp – a great alternative to roast potatoes.
Once the plants have flowers, you can also deep fry the flowers as a garnish, or dip in a light batter for tempura – delicious.
Wild garlic and potato soup
You will need:
- 2 tbps Baste and Bray Extra Virgin Northumbrian rapeseed oil
- 2 shallots, chopped finely
- 200g white potatoes, peeled and diced
- 400g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 litre vegetable stock (we love Marigold Vegetable Bouillon)
- 60g wild garlic leaves, washed, dried and finely shredded
- Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
- Creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Gently fry the shallots until softened without colouring.
Add the diced potatoes and sweet potatoes and the stock.
Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Add the wild garlic leaves, reserving a few shreds for garnish.
Transfer the soup to a blender, or blend in the saucepan using a stick blender, until smooth.
Check your seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining shreds of wild garlic, and a swirl of crème fraiche or sour cream.
Upcoming events at mmm… and glug…
- Poetic Licence (distilled in Durham) free in-store gin and vodka tasting – Saturday, 2 April from 1pm
- Hepple Gin (distilled in Hepple, Northumberland) free in-store tasting – Saturday, 23 April (tbc) from 1pm.