At Summerdown, we’ve been cooking with our pure essential English peppermint oil for years. Even chefs such as Paul Hollywood have discovered the difference between ordinary ‘peppermint extract’ and our extraordinary Summerdown Mint peppermint oil.
Below, Hampshire chef Gee Cartwright shares two summer entertaining recipes that she has created exclusively for us and which we hope you’ll agree are truly scrumptious!
Chocolate, Peppermint and Raspberry Tart
For the Pastry
100g butter, slightly softened
175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
50g icing sugar
200g good dark chocolate, chopped (60-70% cocoa solids)
250ml whipping cream
3-4 drops Summerdown peppermint oil
25g liquid glucose
50g butter, cut into small pieces
• Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4
• Put all the pastry ingredients (except the raspberries) into food processor and blend briefly until it just forms a ball. Rest for a minimum of 30 mins or overnight in the fridge. Grate the pastry into a 25cm (10 inch) loose bottomed tart shell, press around making sure the pastry is a nice, thin, even layer all the way round. Rest the pastry in the fridge for 30 mins or for 15 mins in the freezer if time is short.
• Bake blind in a pre-heated oven so that the pastry is just lightly cooked approx. 10-15 minutes. Take out the beans and cook for another 5 or so minutes to go a little golden. (If the pastry has not been over handled, then you can cook it without the use of beans and foil/paper). Leave to cool for a few minutes, then place on a wire rack, lift off the ring and leave the tart case until cold.
• Reserve 20 or so of the best raspberries and spread the rest evenly over the bottom of the cooled pastry case.
• For the chocolate peppermint ganache, bring the cream to the boil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Take off the heat, add the chocolate, peppermint oil and glucose, and mix with a whisk to a very smooth cream. Still whisking, incorporate the butter, one piece at a time. Taste and add a little more peppermint oil if needed.
• Pour the ganache over the halved raspberries to fill the pastry case. Set aside until cold, and then chill the tart for at least 2 hours before serving.
• Use a very sharp knife dipped in very hot water and wiped dry to cut each slice. Place the tart slices on individual plates with the reserved raspberries. Serve cold, but not straight from the fridge.
• Don’t be intimated by the sweet pastry as it is simple to make. Grating it into the tart shell is an easy and effective way of creating a thin, even, crisp case. If, however, you can’t face making a pastry case (it is worth it) just buy a prepared one – most of the supermarkets do them just check they aren’t cracked when you buy them.
• You can make the pastry case well in advance and keep in an airtight container or even freeze them. You can also make individual ones.
• Liquid Glucose is a thick, clear, sweet syrup used in a desserts, cakes, confectionery and jam making. It controls the formation of sugar crystals which is particularly important when you are making frozen puddings and confectionery.
One Pot Chicken with Lemon & Peppermint Couscous
For the Chicken Marinade For the Couscous
2 large bulbs fennel 450ml hot chicken stock
2 small onions, finely chopped Zest and juice 2 lemons
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 200g couscous
Zest and juice 2 lemons 2-3 drops Summerdown peppermint oil
1 tsp. sea salt Large handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 drops Summerdown peppermint oil
4 large chicken thighs, with skin and bone
- Remove the fronds from the fennel and cut out the core and roughly chop. Mix with the finely chopped onion, set aside.
- To make the marinade, place a large freezer bag inside a wide-necked measuring jug or similar, pour in the oil, add the lemon zest, juice and spoon in the salt, fennel seeds and garlic. Add the peppermint oil and stir briefly to mix.
- Add 2 chicken pieces, followed by half the fennel and onion mix and repeat. Seal the bag tightly at the top and lie the bag in a big dish. Squelch it about so that you make the small amount of marinade cover everything. Leave in the fridge overnight or up to one day.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan or cast-iron pot. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade then place in the hot pan and brown the meat all over on a high heat for around 6-8 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add all the marinade in with the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to soften.
- Pour in the hot stock and bring to the boil. Place a lid or some foil on the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Take the lid off and check the chicken to see that it is no longer pink. If it is still pink then cook for a further 5 minutes and check again. Once cooked through lift out the chicken and place on a plate somewhere warm. Pour in half the lemon juice and add the couscous into the stock stirring to evenly distribute it. Add the peppermint oil and stir to combine. Place the chicken back, skin side up into the pan, place the lid or foil back on and turn the heat down to very low and cook for five minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Take off the lid, fluff up the couscous and add the chopped parsley. Mix the parsley through and pour the remaining lemon juice over. Serve immediately.
- This is a great ‘feed a crowd one pot dish’, double the quantities and tweak the cooking time for the chicken – probably 15 minutes or so when in the stock.