Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Home-smoked sardines with clams, leeks, crispy cavolo nero and saffron and lemon mayonnaise

So Katie goes away for a few days with work, and in that time the kitchen somehow sprouted a makeshift smoker. And I don’t know why I haven’t done it before! 

This was a very spontaneously thought out and prepared lunch. All I knew that day was that I wanted to make something with sardines, but for the life of me I couldn’t decide on what to do with them. I had thought of curing them in blackcurrant juice, which might have looked beautiful but tasted frankly disgusting, or simply grilling them, which wouldn’t have been very original for me. It got to the point where I was cycling back from the fishmongers with a bag of fish and still didn’t know their fate. And then the idea of smoking them came into my head. 

Although I like to stretch myself and try as many different cooking techniques as I can, I have always thought that smoking was a step too far for the amateur cook. Only spending vast amounts of money on a purposely built, outdoor smoker would make this possible, and I had one scribbled down next to a sous-vide machine and double oven on my unrealistic wish list. But although cold-smokers might be a little more difficult to recreate, a makeshift hot-smoker turned out to be a doddle to make. Just make sure you open the windows and turn the extraction fan on! Anyone really interested in homemade methods such as this should check out the writing of Tim Haywood. Not only is it funny, but the things that he makes with often household items are brilliant and inspiring. 

I thought that I would be able to make a smoker out of a very deep oven tray with a cooling rack suspended above, all sealed up with trusty foil. And I was kind of amazed that it worked, and that I didn’t burn down the flat in the process! The fish really was delicious, lovely and moist in the middle and smokey on the outside. As for the flavour of the smoke, I just experimented with a mixture of thyme, pink peppercorns, rice and sugar. This might not be the right thing to use for seasoned smokers, but it worked just fine for this dish. I only wanted to lightly smoke the fish, but you could leave them in for longer to achieve a crispier, stronger result. Instead I finished the cooking with a blowtorch to crisp up the skin.  It was a treat, and could well be the start of a whole lot of experimentation. 

The rest of the dish was formed by things I was lucky enough to have at home. I had clams in the fridge for a meal the next night, and the mayonnaise was made out of store cupboard ingredients. All in all it took me about half an hour, although the kitchen was a proper mess by the end!

Serves 2 for lunch


For the sardines: 

3 whole sardines, scaled and gutted
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For the smoker:

3 large handfuls of rice
1 large bunch of thyme
2 tbsp pink peppercorns
2 tbsp caster sugar

For the clams:

30 clams, cleaned of grit
1 glass dry white wine

For the steamed leeks:

2 young leeks, washed and cut into long rounds
1 tsp butter
Salt and pepper

For the crispy cavolo nero:

3 leaves cavolo nero, shredded finely
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 nutmeg
1 lemon, zest only
Salt and pepper

For the saffron and lemon mayonnaise:

2 egg yolks
1/2 level tsp english mustard
1 garlic clove
Splash white wine vinegar
Small pinch saffron
300ml rapeseed oil
1-2 lemons, juice only
Salt and pepper

First get the smoker ready. Line the bottom of a deep oven tray with foil and scatter over the rice, thyme, pepper and sugar. Put a shallow bowl with a little water in at each end, and use these to support a cooling rack a couple of inches above the base. Create a lid out of a few sheets of tin foil, making sure that it will seal properly and sit a couple of inches above the cooling rack. Set aside for lighting later.

Now make the mayonnaise. Add the garlic clove, salt and pepper to a food processor with a small bowl and blitz well. Top up with the mustard, vinegar, saffron and egg yolks and mix again until well combined and very frothy. Leaving the mixer on, pour in the oil in a very slow trickle, getting steadier as you reach the end. The mayonnaise should be very thick and emulsified. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, mix again and taste. Add more lemon and seasoning as required, then transfer to a squeezy bottle. 

Prepare the sardines by removing the head, cutting open the belly cavity and removing any innards. The next step is to butterfly the fish by carefully running the tip of a sharp knife between the fine ribcage and the flesh on each side, then slowly easing the backbone free with your fingers. Cut them at the tale end so you are left with both fillets connected and bone free. Cut into separate fillets and put onto a plate. The key with handling the sardines is to be very gentle as the skin and flesh tears really easily. 

Put the oil for the cavolo nero into a medium frying pan and set to a medium-high heat. When hot, add the shredded leaves with the lemon zest and seasoning. Cook for a minute or two, of until very crispy, then remove to a plate lined with kitchen roll. Grate over the nutmeg, mix well and check the seasoning. Set aside. 

Heat a medium saucepan to a medium-high temperature. When hot, add the clams and cook in the dry pan for a couple of seconds before adding the white wine. Cover the bubbling pan tightly and gently shake a couple of times. Cook until the clam shells open, about 2-3 minutes, then transer to a bowl. Remove the clams from the shells with a spoon, keeping about ten of the shell halves for plating up. Set aside. 

Half-fill a saucepan with a steaming attachment with salted water and bring to the boil. 

When the water is nearly boiling, start up the smoker. Run a blowtorch over thyme and rice mixture in the bottom of the oven tray until charred and smoking, then put the tray on the hob over a medium heat and seal with the foil. While the smoker is heating up, dry the outside of the sardines with kitchen paper, season well and rub with a small amount of oil. When the smoker is hot and the cooling rack is up to temperature, carefully lay each fillet skin down on the rack and quickly reseal the edges. Check after 3-4 minutes; the fish should be cooked and the skin starting to turn a golden colour. Carefully remove the fillets from the rack using a palette knife and place skin up on a plate. Using the blowtorch, run the flame over the fillets until the skin starts to crisp up. 

While the fish is smoking, steam the leeks for 3-4 minutes or until jest tender. When cooked, brush with a little butter and season. 

To plate up, position 5-6 pieces of leek onto each plate. Lay three sardine fillets per portion, and scatter some of the crispy cavolo nero around the plate. Arrange the clams over the top, leaving some of them in their shells, then dot the mayonnaise in the gaps.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Restaurant review: Patty and Bun, Marylebone

After the downright success that was our visit to Honest Burgers last October, Katie and I have been eager to try another of the new burger joints that have been clogging the arteries of my Twitter feed recently. The burger revolution of London just keeps on rolling on, being taken to more and more extravagant levels. The trend of elevating simple fast food into something posh has fallen on the humble patty, and now you can pop out and indulge in lobster, Iberico ham or even a lump of foie gras as part of the experience. But for now I’m not bothered about all that gloss; it’s all about how a patty, bun and condiments alone can be elevated into something special. I must have forgotten the names of half of the new eateries that have opened, but the place that kept cropping up was Patty and Bun in Marylebone. 

There seems to be a formula with the modern trendy burger joint: find a small pipe of a shop in a busy area of town, cram it elbow-to-elbow with tables, turn the lights right down and hire someone to play music that was considered cheesy and awful at the time and is somehow now seen as edgy. Slap a long queuing time with that you’re there. Service will be fast and there will visibly be people eyeballing you for your table. But that said, when has eating a burger every been long and comfortable experience? They are the very essence of fast food (apart from those bloggers who might still be waiting for their burger to arrive at Meat Liquor, although I haven’t had the experience myself). 

And although to a certain extent Patty and Bun fits into this rhythm, I would urge you to overcome these factors for the sheer pleasure of the food that you are about to eat. It is almost torture having to queue outside for half an hour staring at the words ‘confit chicken wings’. The menu at Patty and Bun is minimal, but you want to eat every last word of it in one glutinous sitting. Once you have finished firing laser beams from your eyes at slow diners and a table becomes available, you just cannot order quickly enough.

One mouthful of burger and all the waiting and hanging around is forgotten. It was not a pretty burger to look at, it was the dirty variety that makes your stomach want to jump out of your mouth and grab it before your hands get the chance. Below the golden shiny bun gushed cheese and burger juices, and the perfectly seasoned patty cooked a perfect pink. All of this hype certainly stands, it is right up there with the best. 

But you have no time to grab for that extra napkin, as it’s time for those wings. They sounded amazing on the menu, but I was curious having never tried chicken cooked in that manner. My word. Beneath the crunchy spiced crust they just fell apart, and all I could do was fight Katie for who got that last one. They were good to the point that a shop selling them and only them would do very well indeed. They were truly memorable, and the taste that I now want every wing I ever eat in my life to match.

Likewise, the coleslaw was the finest I have eaten in a burger joint. Often they are a sad afterthought, badly dressed and seasoned. But like everything else at Patty and Bun, the attention to detail was evident. 

We finished with peanut choc ices, as you do. And they were exactly the right thing to eat after a dense main. Not too big, just enough to refresh you and leave you tasting something sweet. I hadn’t eaten a choc ice since I was about 12, but these ones conjured all of those memories back in a second. Mostly of those ones that had been carried in a bag on a warm day for far too long, and were a glorious dissolving mess when opened.

This was madness. I am a grown man, and the thought of sitting in a crammed room with disposable paper covering the table and the woman at your elbow swaying genuinely to Craig David would not be up there on my dining experiences wish list. But I cannot wait to go back. Unlike many places before, I still have the taste of that burger and those wings in my mouth, and not even the surroundings can deter my want. I would thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it. 

It is difficult to compare to Honest, as they both make really excellent burgers. I would happily take friends to either. But for overall experience, I still think that the former edges it. As fun as the Big Mac greaseproof wrap is on the surface, I still like to eat my burger on a plate, and the ambience is not quite so intense at Honest. Patty and Bun nailed the food though. It is only the difference of a few small deeply-rooted faults at either. Reviews of this nature do have a habit of making the writer an unnecessary pedant... 

But the search still goes on, and as the London burger wheel keeps on churning I am excited as to where my next burger will be.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Pan-fried duck breast with Pommes Anna, broccoli, braised radicchio and a pink peppercorn sauce

It feels so good to be blogging again after a couple of weeks! Sorry about the lack of recent posts, it’s been one of those months when I’ve been rushing around and just haven’t managed to make time for writing anything. Luckily I’ve still cooked a few things, and have also been to the excellent Patty and Bun for dinner, so I have a backlog of things to post about that will hopefully be completed over the next week or so. If I don’t get distracted by yet another bbq in the park again...

I’ve also been a bit undecided in my cooking, and a bit uninspired with what to cook. The worst thing about blogging is trying to think of new recipes to cook, getting enthusiastic about an idea, going out and spending lots of money on good ingredients and then when you cook it things just don’t click, or you find out the hard way that your idea wasn’t quite good enough. Luckily this doesn’t happen too often, and I’m generally happyish with the finished result. But a couple of weeks ago I had a disaster with a langoustine and john dory recipe. Everything seemed like it would be amazing in my head, but although the finished dish was tasty it just wasn’t a complete dish, and still needed a lot of work before it   could grace these pages. To make things worse, the photos of the finished ‘dish’ were pretty awful too, so a failure all round. Still, I will learn from it, but hopefully next time my mistakes won’t be so damn expensive! 

Thankfully everything came together fine on this occasion, and I actually have a finished recipe to share. This one is very safe, using tried and tested combinations that just taste good together. Duck with something sweet tasting, an irony vegetable and some garlicky potatoes is always a winner. The only things to be concerned about when cooking this are the timings. You want the duck to be a little bit pink (which in this instance mine was, just), the potatoes to the soft in the middle and the radicchio and broccoli to just have some bite. Most things can be prepared hours in advance too, so this is ideal if hosting for a number of people. 

A quick word on the Pommes Anna. To be honest I didn’t really know what these were up until a couple of months ago when I saw them on a Michel Roux Jr programme. They’re a bit like a gratin or other vegetable stack, but pretty and individual. The layers of duck fat, leek, garlic and thyme give the cooked potatoes a beautiful richness that goes perfectly with the rest of the dish. 

Serves 2


1 free range duck crown, trimmings reserved for the sauce
Salt and pepper
20g butter

For the Pommes Anna:

2 large floury potatoes such as maris piper
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
30g butter
6 tbsp duck fat
Salt and pepper

For the braised radicchio:

1 medium radicchio, heart removed and leaves sliced finely
5 slices smoked pancetta, finely chopped
8 dates, stones removed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp caster sugar
50g butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

Trimmings and bones from the duck, as many as you can get. Excess fat removed.
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 large glass white wine
500ml chicken stock
20g butter
1 tsp pink peppercorns
Salt and pepper

For the broccoli:

4 pieces of tender-stem broccoli, trimmed
20g butter
Salt and pepper

To finish:

Baby red sorrel leaves

Turn the oven to 190ºC Fan.

First make the Pommes Anna. Heat up a medium frying pan to a moderate temperature. Melt the butter, then add the chopped leeks, garlic and thyme. Season and cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until very tender. Take off the heat. Wash and peel the potatoes, then slice them vertically very thinly, so that they are almost translucent. Using a small round cutter, cut identical circles in these slices, discarding the edges or saving for bubble and squeak. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking tray. Put one cylinder of potato on first, then spread a little duck fat on top. Spoon a little of the leek mixture on top of this and season well. Repeat this process until the stack is about 10 potato pieces high, then top with more duck fat, seasoning and a sprinkle of thyme. Repeat so that you have two stacks of potato. Spoon the rest of the duck fat around the potatoes on the baking sheet. Put in the oven for about 40 minutes, turning to temperature down to 160ºC half way through the cooking.

While the potatoes are in the oven make the sauce. Heat a large skillet to a high heat and add the olive oil. When hot, season the duck trimmings and bones and sear on all sides until very well browned. Add the leek, shallot, garlic and thyme and caramelise well. Pour in the white wine and allow to reduce by half, then add the bay leaf, stock and a little more seasoning and mix well. Reduce the liquid again until only about 175ml remains, about 25 minutes, then strain into a small saucepan. Set aside for finishing later. 

As the sauce is reducing, make the braised radicchio. Heat a large frying pan to a medium heat and add half of the butter and a splash of oil. When hot add the chopped pancetta and cook for 7-8 minutes until starting to crisp. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme and seasoning and cook for another 3-4 minutes until tender. Now add the dates and sugar and stir the mixture well. Cook for another couple of minutes then remove from the heat for finishing later. 

Cook the duck when the potatoes have about ten minutes left to cook (although the Pommes Anna can be left in a warm oven for a few minutes until ready). Dry the duck breasts well with kitchen paper then season all over. Place skin side down in a dry, cold, non-stick pan and set the heat to medium-high. Cook for 4-5 minutes on the skin side, until the fat is well rendered and crisp. At this point put the butter in the pan and turn the duck over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, touching with your finger occasionally to judge the cooking like you would a steak. Baste the top of the duck with the fat as you go. When cooked, remove to a board to rest for 5-6 minutes. 

While the duck is resting finish the other elements off at the same time. 

Drain most of the fat from the duck pan, but don’t clean, then put straight back onto a medium heat with the butter and a splash of water for the broccoli. When melted add the trimmed broccoli and seasoning and cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. 

To finish off the radicchio, heat up the bacon and date mixture with the other half of the butter. When hot add the sliced radicchio and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust the seasonings so that the right balance of sweet and salty is achieved. 

Reheat the sauce gently and add the pink peppercorns and the butter. Stir well to combine and be careful not to boil, you just want it to come to heat.

Carve your duck into 3 diagonal slices and you are ready to plate up. 

First position the potato stack to the plate, then add three tablespoons of the radicchio mixture. Place one slice of duck on each mound. Top with the broccoli and spoon over the sauce. Finally scatter over some of the baby sorrel leaves. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Guinea fowl and smoked mozzarella ravioli with stuffed morels, crispy skin and pecorino

There’s nothing I enjoy more than having a few good friends over for some food and a few glasses of wine. I guess it’s a sign of growing old, and although I still love going out for the odd rager, I much prefer playing host. The thing I get the most out of cooking is the way that it makes people happy, and it’s so satisfying to give people you know a plate of food and watch the enjoyment that (hopefully) follows. Throwing dinner parties always brings about moments of stress and pressure, and I’m always running around getting ready at the last minute, but with a bit of planning you can minimise this as much as possible. All of this will be forgotten the second you finally sit down with everyone at the table and have a much needed drink. 

On this occasion we were hosting a lunch with Katie’s sister and her boyfriend. We had suggested a casual meal, with the possibility of making an easy quiche and some salads, keeping prep time to a minimum. At this we were quickly told that their expectations were a touch higher, and that something a little more impressive was required. This was all very tongue in cheek of course but the hint was taken, and I set about trying to think of a new menu. 

I wanted to make something that could be mostly prepared in advance, with only quick cooking needed at the end. Pasta is perfect for this, so I decided on a ravioli as the main dish for lunch. I had been inspired reading about Thomasina Mier’s Masterchef winning dish of chicken ravioli with foie gras, which looked and sounded terrific, and wanted to do something along those lines. I have also heard about guinea fowl being used in ravioli fillings recently, paired with burrata. So for my pasta I wanted to combine guinea fowl with a different cheese, smoked mozzarella. I have used this before a couple of times and love the smokey and creamy combination, and thought it would go really well with the chickeny taste of the meat. I have been messaging my excellent local cheese shop La Fromagerie a few times recently for a couple of other recipes, and I was thrilled to find that they could also source this ingredient for me. 

Mushrooms and poultry are a winning combination, but instead of having these merely as a garnish, I wanted to do something interesting here as well. I stumbled across some dried, ‘jumbo’ morels in the supermarket recently, and thought that they would be perfect for stuffing. I have heard that the dried variety aren’t a touch on fresh, but there is nowhere I could get them locally, and I would still be adding loads of flavour with the stuffing mixture. I like to try and use as much of a piece of meat as possible, and the braised legs of the guinea fowl provided the base for this along with some mushroom duxelle. The finished, stuffed mushrooms add a different taste and texture to the dish, whilst combining perfectly with the other flavours. 

The other parts of the dish such as making fresh chicken stock might seem like a massive faff but really are worth it to maximise the flavour. Aside from a few finishing touches, everything can be made in advance. The stock, morels, pasta dough and base for the sauce can be made the day before, and the mousse filling a good few hours, so when it comes to cooking it will only take a matter of minutes. Everyone was overjoyed with it on the day, and those hours of prep dissolved away.  

Serves 4


For the pasta:

300g strong ’00’ pasta flour
3 medium eggs
1tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

1 egg for brushing
A scattering of cous cous

For the ravioli filling:

200g guinea fowl breast, skinned and trimmed of any sinew 
4 egg yolks
300ml double cream
2tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
100g Scamorze affumicate smoked mozzarella

For the stuffed morels:

12 large dried morel mushrooms
250ml girolle mushrooms, brushed clean and finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
3tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
60g butter
Salt and pepper
2 guinea fowl legs

For the chicken stock:

12 chicken wings
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
3 medium onions, sliced
1 leek, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
10 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 glasses dry white wine
3.5 litres of water
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

The carcass from the guinea fowl
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
50ml good brandy
1.5 litres of the chicken stock
30g butter
Salt and pepper

For the crispy skin:

The skin from the guinea fowl, kept in one large piece

To finish:

50g pecorino cheese, finely grated
2tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Portion the guinea fowl by removing the legs and wings. Before taking the breasts off, remove the skin from the crown in one large piece. Keep the carcass, and cut it into a few smaller pieces. 

Make the stock by heating a little oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. When the pan is hot season the chicken wings, then cook in batches, letting then colour really well. Remove to a plate. At this point also brown tall sides of the guinea fowl legs and again set aside. Add the carrots, onions, leek, celery, garlic and thyme to the empty pan and saute until caramelised, scraping up all of the crust from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the white wine and allow to bubble and reduce by half, then add the chicken wings back to the pan with the bay leaves. Add the water, season well and bring to the boil before turning down to a simmer. 

At this point put the browned guinea fowl legs back into the stock and poach for an hour and a half, or until the meat falls away from the bone. Carefully remove to a bowl and cover with some of the stock and allow to cool. Once cool, strip all of the meat from the bones and break into very small pieces. Put into a bowl and set aside. Return the liquid and used bones back to the stock. 

Keep reducing the stock for a good few hours until about 1.5 litres remain, then strain well into a large bowl. Taste and season if needed, it should have a good chicken flavour and brown colour. Allow the stock to cool then refrigerate if not using straight away. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

While the stock is reducing soak the morel mushrooms. Rinse a couple of times under the tap to remove any grit, then place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for about 30 minutes then strain, keeping the liquid. Although it isn’t needed for this recipe, it is great added to risottos or soups.

While waiting for the mushrooms to soak, make the mushroom duxelle that will form the other part of the morel stuffing. Heat up a large frying pan to a medium heat and add half of the butter (about 30g). When melted sweat off the shallot, garlic and thyme for a couple of minutes until tender. Now add the finely chopped girolle mushrooms and season. Cook until all of the moisture has evaporated and you are left with a mixture that resembles a coarse pate. Stir the parsley through and season if needed. Mix the duxelle with the shredded guinea fowl until well combined. 

Carefully squeeze the water out of the morels and pat dry with kitchen paper. Stuff the mushrooms with the guinea fowl leg and mushroom mixture, compacting gently with the end of a teaspoon. Be careful not to tear or make any holes that will cause leakages later. Fill all 12 mushrooms, then put on a plate and set aside. 

To make the pasta dough, add the flour, eggs, oil and salt to a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Tip out onto a clean surface and knead well with your hands for around 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has an elastic texture. Wrap with cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour, or overnight if making in advance. 

As the pasta dough is resting make the guinea fowl mousse filling. Put the skinned guinea fowl breasts into a food processor and blitz to a fine paste. Scrape the mixture through a sieve and into a bowl, then add the egg yolks and beat together well. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for 15 minutes. When rested, tip into a large bowl with the cream, thyme, a few gratings of nutmeg and a good amount of seasoning. Beat together until thick and combined. Bring some water to a simmer in a small saucepan and when hot, add a teaspoon of the mousse mixture. Poach for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove and taste. Adjust the salt, pepper, nutmeg or thyme to the main bowl as needed. Cover and refrigerate the rest of the mixture until needed to fill the pasta. 

Remove the skin from the smoked mozzarella and cut into small, half-centimetre pieces. 

Scatter flour over a large, clean surface. Using a pasta machine, roll the pasta dough through each thickness setting until it is the thinnest it can be, then cut in half. On one sheet, carefully place 1 teaspoon of the mousse mixture every 3-4 inches along. Put a few pieces of the smoked mozzarella on top of each, then brush around the filling with the beaten egg. Quickly cut the other sheet of pasta into squares big enough to cover each filling and with an inch or so around the edges. Carefully cover the filling, gently pushing around it with your fingers to seal and remove any air bubbles. Trim each ravioli parcel with a sharp knife to form a neat square. Line a plate with greaseproof paper and scatter a good amount of cous cous on top. Carefully place the finished ravioli on top. If not using straight away, loosely cover with more paper and clingfilm and put in the fridge. The cous cous is used instead of flour as it will not stick to the ravioli whilst cooking, and will simply fall to the bottom of the pan instead. 

Turn the oven to 180ºC. 

To make the sauce, heat up a large frying pan or skillet to a medium-hot heat. Add a little olive oil. When hot, season the wings and carcass from the guinea fowl and cook until all sides are well coloured. Lower the heat slightly and add the garlic, shallot and thyme and continue to cook until caramelised. Pour in the brandy and deglaze, allowing to bubble and reduce a little. Add the bay leaf and the reserved chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce down until the consistency changes and the sauce is much thicker; about 300-400ml should remain. This reduction process should take about 20-30 minutes. Taste and season if needed, then strain into a smaller saucepan and cover for finishing later. 

While the sauce is reducing, make the crispy guinea fowl skin. Line a shallow baking tray with greaseproof paper and stretch out the reserved skin on top. Salt well and cover with another layer of paper and another baking tray. Put in the heated oven and cook for about 15 minutes, or until very crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Allow to cool, then cut into small shards. Set aside. 

Fill a large saucepan with well salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Put 4 plates in the oven to heat up. Take the stuffed mushrooms out of the fridge to get to room temperature. 

When the water is nearly boiled, heat up a medium frying pan and add 30g of butter. When  at a medium heat, add the stuffed morels and 2 tbsp of the sauce to the pan and cook gently for 5-8 minutes, turning occasionally. 

Carefully lower the pasta into the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the pasta is soft but still a little al-dente. 

While the pasta is cooking, gently reheat the rest of the sauce, adding the 30g of butter and stirring well to emulsify. 

To plate up, place three pieces of the cooked ravioli onto each heated plate. Position three of the stuffed morels in between, then spoon over a couple of tablespoons of sauce. Sprinkle over the thyme, pepper, pecorino and guinea fowl skin and serve.