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Scones for tea

1½ cups (8oz; 250g) self-raising flour
½ stick (2oz; 60g) butter
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp (1oz; 30g) sugar or grated cheese
approx. 3/4 cup (6oz; 180ml) milk

Preheat the oven. You want it hot: 425°F (220°C).

Rub the butter into the flour. Mix in the salt, and sugar or cheese. Add milk folding gently to get a soft, light dough.

On a floured worktop, shape the dough ¾in (2cm) thick. Brush the top with a little milk. Cut with a sharp knife into squares or diamonds — or use a cookie cutter to stamp out rounds, then reshape the remaining dough.

Bake on a greased tray or silicon paper for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with plenty of butter, and a good stew, or with jam and clotted cream, as appropriate.


Pascal lamb

For details see eclectic recipes.

2 medium and eight small onions
1kg lamb shoulder, bone-in; cut in fist-sized chunks
1 generous pinch of saffron
a walnut sized lump of fresh ginger, bruised
a handful of raisins

Dice and fry the medium onions; keep the small ones whole—but peeled.

In a large shallow casserole, fry the onions and lamb gently until nicely browned.

Add saffron, ginger, and water to half-cover the meat. Simmer, covered, in a gentle oven for an hour, or until the lamb is tender.

Add the raisins. Fry the almonds in a little oil until golden brown. Chop or smash them coarsely, add them to the lamb and serve.

Szechuan Chocolate Truffles

See eclectic recipes for details.

400g Noir de Noir (or other quality dark chocolate)
200ml heavy (40%) cream
40g unsalted butter
2 dried pasilla chile peppers
2 teaspoons szechuan pepper
cocoa powder

Chocolate and butter should be warm but not melting. Break the chocolate into a warmed mixing bowl.

Toast chiles and pepper briefly in a hot oven. Crumble the now crisp chiles, and put them, with the szechuan pepper into the cream. Bring the cream slowly to the boil.

Strain the hot cream through a sieve, onto the chocolate. Let it stand a few minutes, so the chocolate melts, then stir to mix chocolate and cream. Add the butter a bit at a time, stirring to incorporate. Let the mixture cool until it begins to set.

Warm gently over hot water until you can beat the mixture to a smooth paste. Let it cool.

Once it is set enough to work, form into bite-size truffles, using two teaspoons (or otherwise). Roll the truffles in cocoa and keep in a cool place.

Confit again

2 ducks
salt, pepper
duck fat or fine lard

Bone the ducks (leave the leg and wing bones in). Season liberally with salt and pepper and leave to cure for 48 hours.

Poach the ducks slowly for a couple of hours, submerged in the protective fat. Keep them, refrigerated, safely buried in the solidified fat, for a week or two.

Warm the pot gently until the fat is liquid. Tenderly remove the ducks to a baking tray letting the fat drain off. Bake 20-30 minutes in a hot oven, until the skin is crisp and brown. The trick is to do this quickly so the duck is (relatively) fat-free, while still moist and succulent.

Serve with peas and artichokes.