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Easter Treats

Issue: TW Mag April '14

APRIL IS THE MONTH when Twickenham Green really comes to life. The stunning horse chestnut and lime trees begin to flower, the sun shines down on Arthurs, customers are happy and all is well.

As we are only too aware the weather in April can range from snow to a heat wave – and everything in between. Generally though, whatever the weather, everyone loves a pie and what better dish to serve for your Easter lunch than a traditional Rabbit Pie.

Rabbit meat is full of flavour and is well known for its high protein content and low calories. Rabbit is also a concentrated source of iron and provides a wide range of minerals. At Arthurs we tend to cook with the athlete in mind and so our pies just have a crust on top – leaving more room for lovely fresh vegetables on the side.

You can use either wild rabbit or farmed although the wild are smaller and will require more cooking. Rabbit pie cooked with cider, mustard and chicken stock, topped with a puff pastry lid is rustic cooking at its best.

Of course, if you’re like Edward Lear’s ‘Old Person’ you can just as easily substitute the rabbit for another meat of your choice.
There was an Old Person whose habits,
Induced him to feed upon Rabbits;
When he’d eaten eighteen,
he turned perfectly green,
Upon which he relinquished those habits

Rabbit Pie – Serves 4–6
Pie Filling
1 farmed rabbit or 2 wild ones, cut into pieces and tossed in seasoned flour
A small ham hock
Slice 5 shallots, 2 carrots & 2 celery sticks
300ml chicken stock
300ml dry cider
60g butter
40g plain flour
2 tbs cream
Handful of chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Zest of half a Lemon

Pie Crust
Ready made puff pastry

Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan, then lightly fry the rabbit pieces, shallots, carrots and celery for 3-4 minutes, or until the rabbit is beginning to brown. Add stock, cider, rosemary, bay leaf and mustard.

Simmer for an hour or so. Once the meat is tender, strip all the rabbit meat off the bones, tearing into bite sized pieces. Chop up the ham hock and add to the rabbit meat.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the plain flour, mix well and cook for a minute or two before adding the strained cooking liquid a bit at a time stirring well until nicely thickened. Stir in the cream and lemon zest. Season to taste.

Put the cooked meat in a 2 pint pie dish and cover with the sauce. Brush the edges of the dish with water.

Preheat the oven to 220C/430F/Gas 7.

For the crust, roll out some puff pastry on a floured work surface and cut off a strip long enough to go around the edges of the pie dish then moisten with water.
Roll out the rest of the pastry into a circle large enough to fit over the pie dish. Place the pastry circle on top of the dish and press the overhanging edges down into the pastry strip, sealing well. Make a few slits in the top of the pastry to let out the steam and prevent the crust from going soggy.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and crisp. Slice and serve with plenty of fresh vegetables, crusty bread and a nice cool glass of English cider.

So now after all that cooking it’s time for you to have a well-deserved treat. As Dorothy Parker said, ’Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.’

What could be easier to make and more delicious to eat than Chocolate Mint Truffle Eggs.

Mint Chocolate Truffle Eggs
450g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
285ml double cream
A handful of fresh mint
Cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Snap the chocolate into pieces in a small heatproof glass bowl. Place the bowl over a small pan of simmering water, with the base of the bowl not quite touching the water. Allow the chocolate to melt. Don’t be tempted to stir it, other than to occasionally push any unmelted chocolate down into the liquid chocolate to encourage it to melt. Turn off the heat as soon as the chocolate has melted.

Bring the double cream to the boil then turn down to a simmer, add mint and leave to infuse for 20 minutes to pick up the flavour. Remove the mint leaves.

Whisk in the chocolate and pour into a cling film lined tray. Place in the fridge until chilled.

Next sprinkle a baking tray with cocoa powder, take walnut sized pieces of chocolate mixture, roll into an egg shape in palms of hands then roll in the cocoa powder.

For a present for family and friends it’s nice to arrange a few Chocolate eggs on a vintage plate and wrap in cellophane.

Happy cooking and happy Easter.

Tony Rowe is Owner of
Arthur’s on the Green.
Tel. 020 8893 3995