River Cottage Australia Cookbook: Paul West shares three of the best

Pan-fried trout with braised peas from the <i>River Cottage Australia Cookbook</i>.
Pan-fried trout with braised peas from the River Cottage Australia CookbookPhoto: supplied

Tomato galette

Serves 6

4 red onions, skin on, halved from roots to stalk
Olive oil, for roasting
Salt and pepper
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
A mixture of half a dozen or so ripe tomatoes, cut into different shapes
Small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 200C. Line a large, flat oven tray with baking paper. Place the onions skin-side down on a baking tray. Splash a little olive oil over them, season liberally with salt and pepper, then slide the tray into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tender.

Tomato galette from the <i>River Cottage Australia Cookbook</i>
Tomato galette from the River Cottage Australia Cookbook Photo: supplied

Put the sheets of pastry on the lined oven tray so they snugly fit within its rectangular shape, trimming as needed. Lay another sheet of baking paper on top of the pastry and then place another oven tray the same size as the first one on top of that. Weigh both trays down with a couple of ovenproof pots and pop it in the oven along with the onions. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked all over.

Remove the cooked pastry and onions from the oven and take the top oven tray off the pastry.

Scoop out the soft onion flesh and scatter it evenly over the pastry, all the way to the edge. Lay the tomatoes on top of the onion. Season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the thyme leaves.

Hugh's spiced plum fumble from the <i>River Cottage Australia Cookbook</i>.
Hugh's spiced plum fumble from the River Cottage Australia CookbookPhoto: Supplied

Turn the oven up to 220C and place the galette back in the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and coloured a little around the edges. Remove from the oven, drizzle over a little extra-virgin olive oil, cut up into slices and serve straight away with a fresh green salad.

Pan-fried trout with braised peas

Serves 4

200g piece of speck, cut into batons
Oil, for frying
1 small brown onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
310g (2 cups) podded green peas
4 trout fillets, skin on
Salt and pepper
Knob of butter
Small bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 lemon
60g (½ cup) slivered almonds, toasted

Heat a deep-sided frypan over a medium-high heat. Fry the speck in a little oil, stirring until it is nicely coloured all over.

Next, add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions begin to soften and the garlic becomes aromatic. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then as soon as it's bubbling away add the peas.

While the peas are cooking you can cook your trout fillets. Heat a second pan over a medium heat and season the fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the fillets skin-side down until the skin is brown and crispy and then turn and cook for only a few seconds on the other side.

<i>The River Cottage Australia Cookbook</i>.
The River Cottage Australia CookbookPhoto: supplied

At the same time, simmer the peas until the stock is reduced and they are just cooked. Toss in the knob of butter and swirl the pan until the butter has emulsified with the chicken stock to make a creamy sauce. Add the chopped mint to the pan, give it one more swirl and then check the seasoning, finishing with a big squeeze of lemon juice.

Transfer the trout fillets to serving plates and top with the buttery, braised peas and toasted almonds.

Hugh's spiced plum fumble

Serves 4

Independent crumble: 

225g (1½ cups) plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
200g cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
150g granulated or demerara sugar
100g ground almonds, medium oatmeal or porridge oats

Spiced plum compote:

500g plums
50g (¼ cup) castor sugar, possibly a little more
1 star anise
A scrap of water
Natural yoghurt, to serve

To make the independent crumble, first preheat the oven to 180C. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until you have a crumbly dough. Squeeze the crumble mix in your hands to form clumps, then crumble these onto a large baking tray that has an edge. Spread out the lumpy crumble evenly.

Bake for about 25 minutes, giving the whole thing a good stir halfway through, until golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. You'll have more than you need for this recipe, but it stores well for a couple of weeks and can be used to top all sorts of fruity and/or creamy puds.

To make the plum compote, halve the plums and remove the stones. Put the fruit into a heavy-based pan with 50g sugar, the star anise and a little scrap of water – just enough to stop them catching. Heat them gently until the juices run, then simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the fruit is soft and pulpy (the skins will probably stay intact). Let the compote start to cool, but taste while it is still warm enough to dissolve more sugar in it, should you need to. Add as much as you need to get the sweetness you like but leave it reasonably tart – remember that the crumble topping is pretty sweet.

Leave the compote to cool completely. (If you have a glut of plums, make up a double or triple quantity of the compote. Keep it chilled in the fridge and eat it for breakfast with yoghurt and honey, or dish it up as a simple pud with a slice of plain sponge cake, or a brownie, and/or a scoop of ice-cream.)

To serve, divide the plum compote between four serving plates. Add a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt to one side of each plate, then sprinkle a handful of the crumble on the other side, or down the middle, and serve.