Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mark Hix on Baking

Mark Hix (right) was formerly Chef Director of Caprice Holdings, overseeing The Ivy, Scott's, J. Sheekey and Le Caprice, four of London's most fashionable restaurants. 
In 2008 he opened Hix Oyster and Chop House in London and Hix Oyster and Fish House in Dorset. His latest restaurant, Hix, opened in London's Soho in 2009 to rave reviews.

Mark's commendations include GQ Chef of the Year, Tatler Restaurateur of the Year 2009 and 2011 winner of the Evelyn Rose Award for Cookery Journalist of the Year at The Guild of Food Writers. He writes for the Independent on Saturday Magazine and Country Life. Previous books include British Regional Food, winner of both a Guild of Food Writers' Award and the Andre Simon Book Award, and British Seasonal Food, The Guild of Food Writers' Cookery Book of the Year 2009.

Mark has made numerous television appearances, most notably BBC 2's Great British Menu.

In this new and appealing book Mark uses the broadly interprets baking as anything that can be cooked in the dry heat of an oven.
Split into chapters covering snacks, bread, neat and fish, vegetables, tarts, puddings and cakes his recipes are based on those he has been using for years or that he has collceted in his worldwide travels.
The publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce two recipes from the book here. I have chosen two dishes that I intend to make over the holidays.

Chicken baked in the pot with garlic
Preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 8.
Season the chicken inside and out, halve the garlic horizontally and place in a clay pot or casserole dish with the bird. Rub the breasts with the butter.
Place the chicken in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 190°C/gas mark 5. Scatter the rosemary over the chicken, baste it with some of the juices, cover with the lid and cook for a further 40–50 minutes.
To serve, simply place the pot on the table and let guests carve and help themselves, or remove the chicken from the pot and cut and joint it in the kitchen, before returning to the pot to serve.
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Clay pots are great for cooking
meat. Traditionally this method
of cooking is referred to as a
pot roast, with the tight-fitting
lid retaining all the juices in
the pot – creating a steam which
helps keep your meat nice and
moist. A good-quality chicken
here is crucial to the end
result, and generally the more
you pay for your bird, the better
it will be. Here I’ve used a bulb
of the sweet, large jumbo or
elephant garlic, though normal
garlic bulbs work just fine.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Serves 4
1 x 1.5–2kg good-quality
salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1 bulb of jumbo garlic, or
2–3 normal sized bulbs
a couple of good knobs of
a few sprigs of rosemary

Tomato freekeh
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Cut the tomatoes into roughly
1 centimetre dice. Set aside. Rinse and drain the freekeh.
Melt 60g of the butter in an oven-proof dish, add the onion and garlic and
cook gently for 2–3 minutes, until soft. Stir in the drained freekeh, add the
stock mixture and season to taste. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the
freekeh is tender, adding a little more stock if it looks as though it is drying
out. Stir in the tomatoes and the remaining butter and cook for a few more
minutes, until the freekeh is risotto-like in consistency – you may need to add
a little more stock. Check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve.
Serves 4
4 tomatoes
150g freekeh, soaked in
water for 2 hours
100g butter
1 medium onion, peeled,
halved and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and
600–700ml hot vegetable
stock, mixed with 3 tbsp
tomato purée
salt and freshly ground
black pepper
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This is rather like a rice pilaf but made with
freekeh, a lightly roasted green wheat that is
often used in Arabic and Egyptian cooking. It is
delicious served either hot or warm as a
colourful garnish for fish or meat, while topped
with pieces of fried haloumi it makes a great
vegetarian alternative.

Quadrille - NZ$49.99
Distributed in NZ by Book Reps.

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