Food Chestnuts and bayleaves

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by GuyD'nis, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. I love the idea of harvesting natural foods myself and have a load of chestnuts. Some already in a chestnut and pumpkin suit that Mrs D made. What to do with the others?

    I'm minded to boil, peel and then cook with guineafowl.

    Also have a very large branch of fresh bayleaves - dozens of leaves. Think I recall in a Carluccio cookbook that you can wrap around kidneys (using a toothpick to hold in place) and the fry, but again welcome any thoughts.

    I quite like reverse cooking like this. Starting point being a surplus ingredient, rather than choosing a dish then buying ingredients.
  2. Guy - bay leaves are strongly flavoured and need to used like cloves - sparingly - despite the cornucopia of branches you have. They can of course be dried and used over the next several months. Bay leaves go well with juniper berries and sanglier/wild boar stews, or indeed venison. They also feature nicely in ragu bolognese. If you have any left over you could also fashion yourself an athlete's crown, should you have cycled up Mont Ventoux or suchlike :) .
    GuyD'nis likes this.
  3. One recipe I haven't tried, but liked the sound of is bay leaf pannacotta (from Ottolenghi?). I imagine you'd need to be really careful not to overdose with bayleaves though.
  4. A fine match for his chestnut and pumpkin suit ;)
  5. Laughing! Good one, isn't it Simon!!
    Simon Grant likes this.
  6. How long do they keep I wonder?

    A bag of hot roasted chestnuts in winter is a joy.
  7. Ah chestnuts. I picked some over the weekend whilst at Tish's parents and came down from having a Sunday snooze to find her mother unhappy that the ones she'd baked had exploded on coming out of the oven. I had forgotten to tell her to prick them!
    GuyD'nis likes this.
  8. I'd strongly recommend the marron glacé treatment.

    Last time I made them roughly as follows:

    Simmer the chestnuts in their shells for 10 mins. Remove from water and leave to cool.

    Make the cooking syrup- scrape a vanilla pod into a large saucepan with two parts sugar and one part water . Bring slowly to a simmer and stir as it all melts together.

    Remove the chestnuts from their shells and peel. If you can be arsed then it is a good idea to plop them one-by-one into acidulated water as you go.

    Once peeled, chuck them into the simmering cooking syrup and cook til tender, which takes approx half an hour.

    Make the final glaze which can be as simple as three parts sugar and one part water. You can tweak by adding candied fruit, dried chilli, a little brandy....anything that takes your fancy. I've even been known to use perry instead of water, but then again I am a bit of a maverick who plays fast and loose with the chestnut rules. Put your choice of ingredients into a pan and heat slowly until dissolved, approx 5-10 mins.

    Remove the chestnuts from syrup and leave to cool.

    Add the final glaze to the cooking syrup and bring to the boil before removing from the heat.

    Set up a Bain-Marie (or Mary's Bath since we are leaving the EU) and pour in enough glaze to cover two or three chestnuts.

    Pour some boiling water into another bowl

    Take a chestnut and dunk into the boiling water before quickly throwing it into the glaze above the B-M, making sure it's covered liberally with the glaze.

    Remove to a cooling rack.

    Repeat with all chestnuts, topping up the glaze in the B-M as and when required.

    Put them all on a baking tray and transfer to oven at lowest setting, ideally around 50degC for about 12 hours. A warm airing/boiler cupboard will also be fine.

    A nice amontillado goes very well with these.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    GuyD'nis likes this.
  9. By that I am seriously impressed, my efforts have failed miserably in spite of the method being infinitely more laborious. I can't wait to try it.
  10. His Christmas onesie was bad enough... :eek:
  11. Superb, Will!
  12. I often baulk at recipes that are this involved but this one really is worth it. I'd be interested to know how they turn out, Thom.
  13. Am even more impressed by Will's recipe now. My first batch have just been impossible to peel. I roasted them and think I undercooked them. A new batch will be roasted tomorrow. A cheap mistake when they're free... But as I clawed at them, burning my fingers, I imagined will delicately anointing his with glaze!
  14. I can assure you there's nothing delicate about it, what with my clumsy fat thumbs!

    Have you tried criss-crossing the top with a sharp knife before cooking? This really helps the skin to lift away from the golden kernel of joy which awaits inside.
  15. I meant that the methods I've used have been more involved over several days. They always collapse. But does the syrup get to the centre in your method?

    To peel, pierce with a knife then cook a few at a time in the microwave. The skins slip off with barely any effort while they are still hot.
  16. Thom, I see what you mean.
    Honestly, I can't remember how far the syrup penetrates as I was travelling a fair bit last autumn and, regrettably, haven't made a batch in 24 months. I think a little R&D is called for this weekend!
  17. Will,

    Have you suddenly become a Wiltshire cricket fan?
  18. I once made some marrons glacés.

    I now understand why they're so expensive to buy (even at Lidl).

    I also now buy them (particularly at Lidl).
  19. Yes and am also planning on changing my first name to Swindon.
  20. In true numberplate fashion you could change your first name to Norman and your job to become an end of life nurse and your name tag would read.....

    N. Devize - Carer

    I'll get me coat....
  21. No microwave (broken). I shall also try steaming and boiling.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  22. Ouch. I have nothing further to add.

    You've left yourself in Nomansland with that one, Mark.
  23. Bay leaf custard. Go easy on the bay leaf, but it is a glorious flavour. Also makes a good ice-cream.
    GuyD'nis likes this.
  24. Indeed. I supply a local restaurant with bay leaves from the annual or semestrial prune of my bay tree (bought for 50p in the nearly-dead section of a garden centre, and now reduced to 10 feet tall, after a particularly savage pruning of the top 6 feet a couple of years ago), and got some bay leaf ice cream in return, which was utterly delicious. I made some bay leaf flavoured bhapa doi once, which tasted well, except I overcooked them so the texture was awful and most went in the bin.
  25. I have a Roger Verge recipe for bay-scented roast potatoes - haven't made it for a while, but it is good - involved part-slicing the spuds like hasselback potatoes and inserting slivers of bay between. IIRC they're then cooked in the oven with a bit of oil & stock. Bay removed before serving.

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