As head chef in the household I love cooking for my family and friends so before the symptoms of dysphagia get the better of me I have been trying out a few of my favourite recipes (there might be a soft and mushy tendency to some but these are equally as delicious as the chunkier concoctions):

Cep (Porcini) Lasagne*
Serves 6 (or 4 if you have an appetite like mine!)

For the béchamel Sauce -
500ml whole milk
1/2 onion peeled
1 bay leaf
50g butter
50g plain flour
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lasagne -
4-6 large firm Ceps**
50g butter
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
250g fresh lasagne sheets
75g Parmesan, grated
75g hard goats cheese grated
4-6 slices of air-dried ham

Begin with the béchamel sauce. Put the milk in a saucepan with the onion and bay leaf and bring to just below simmering. Set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over a medium heat, stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for a few minutes.Now gradually add in the hot milk, stirring after each addition to prevent lumps. When all is added, bring the sauce to the simmer and cook for 1 minute. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. The finished sauce should be a thick pouring consistency; add a little more hot milk if necessary.

Clean the Ceps and cut into fine slices of about 3-4mm thickness (Since they aren't cooked before being added to the lasagne, they need to be thin enough to cook through easily, but not so thin that they disintegrate)
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a small saucepan. Stir in the garlic and then take it off the heat. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. You are now ready to assemble your lasagne.

Brush the bottom of a large square or rectangular oven dish with some of the warm garlic and oil mixture. Put a layer of lasagne on the bottom and brush with more of the garlic oil. Pour a thin layer of béchamel, just a couple of tablespoons, over the pasta (you don't want to drown the subtle mushroom flavour), then add a layer of sliced mushrooms. Brush with more of the oil mixture, then season with a twist of pepper and a sprinkling of the two cheeses. The cheese is simply a seasoning, it's not meant to form a thick layer, so keep it light.

Add another trickle of béchamel, then repeat the layering (lasagne, oil, béchamel, mushrooms, oil, pepper and cheese). Now add a layer of air-dried ham, top with béchamel, then repeat lasagne, oil, béchamel, mushrooms, oil pepper and cheese. Finish off with a final layer of pasta, a final, thick layer of béchamel and a good  sprinkling of the cheeses.

Bake for about 25 minutes until nicely browned  on top. Serve with a green salad (Garlic bread, to mop up the delicious sauce, optional)

* River Cottage Handbook No1 - Mushrooms

** I pick my own from the woods and fields but you can used shop bought Ceps and other varieties of large firm white flesh mushrooms if you are not 100% sure of identifying the edible species in the wild.

Chanterelles Dijonnaise.
Serves 2 (my own recipe)

Two (large, David size) handfuls of freshly gathered Chanaterelles
balsamic vinegar
4 slices of brioche 

for the Dijonnaise sauce
40g/1½oz flour
40g/1½oz butter
290ml/½ pint milk
50g/2oz hard goats cheese, grated

1 tbsp of Dijon mustard

Dissolve the butter in a pan and add the flour.
Stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste which leaves the sides and base of pan cleanly.
Cook for a minimum of 2 minutes to cook out the taste of the flour.
Pour in approximately one-fifth of the quantity of milk and allow to boil without stirring.
Stir until the mixture blends smoothly, beat vigorously and add the remaining quantity of milk beating well after each addition.
Stir in the grated cheese and mustard until smooth.

Sauté the mushrooms in butter and oil and a splash of balsamic and place on lightly toasted slices of brioche adding the sauce over and serve.

Chanterelles - Cantharellus cibarius

Easy Pureed Seasonal Vegetable Soup

Serves 4

2 to 2 1/2 pounds seasonal vegetables, prepped and cut into even pieces
4 to 5 cups broth or water
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 large leek, sliced and rinsed well or 1/2 of an onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Dairy finish (if desired and to desired thickness)
Desired garnishes

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the broth to a simmer. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, warm the oil or butter. Add the leek or onion, celery, and garlic and cook gently until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown. Add the flour and stir for 2 minutes, without letting it brown. Slowly whisk in the warm broth and bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables to the pot along with a little salt and pepper. Return to a simmer, lower the heat, and cover partially. Let the soup cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Let the soup cool slightly and then transfer it to a blender or food processor to purée (or use an immersion blender). Process in batches to avoid splattering. Return the pureed soup to the pot, warm it up, thin with more liquid or a dairy addition, if desired, and taste for salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls with desired garnishes.

Chowder Belle-merè (Gordon Ramsay as refined by Chef (3 Michelin Tyres) 'Big Red' David)

Serves 4-6

1 tbsp olive oil
70gm cooking pancetta
25g butter
1 onion thinly sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1.5+ ltr Chicken stock
200g undyed smoked haddock fillet, skinned and chopped
200g Cod loin, chopped
100g yellow haddock fillet, chopped
100g salmon fillet, skinned and chopped
250g sweetcorn
120g cooked peeled king prawns
2tbsp (at least) double cream (not optional)
Dash or two Tabasco (optional, but delicious for a spicy flavour)
1 (large) tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (I sparingly use freshly ground chili and garlic too)

1. In your large Le Creuset Casserole, heat the oil and gently sauté the chopped pancetta for about 5 mins until crispy but not brown. Drain off the oil and set aside the pancetta on clean kitchen roll.
2. Melt butter in the same pan. Add the onion and potato and heat until they start to sizzle. Cook gently for about 5 mins until softened.
3. return pancetta to the pan, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer uncovered for 12 minutes or until the potato is softened. stir in all of the chopped fish and simmer for about 5 mins.
4. Add the sweetcorn and prawns and cook for a further 3 minutes. By now the fish should be flaky and the soup slightly thickened. Stir in the cream and season to taste. If you want a hot, spicy flavour add a dash or two of  Tabasco at this point. Mix in the parsley and serve ladled from the pot at the table with copious amounts of freshly baked wholemeal & seed bread and butter accompanied by a bottle or two of very lightly sparkling Portuguese Vinho Verde ('Green Wine' drunk young from the northerly Minho region)

If you have any room left after then I suggest a cheese board and an LBV Port.


Pork Stroganoff with Three Mustards
(One of Delia's tweaked by David for extra flavour and cholesterol)

Serves 4

This is a real favourite of mine and Geraldine's and with addition of the full fat content it really comes into it's own when served with saffron rice. Just remember we and our guests have big appetites!!!

Recommended wine: Vegelegen, Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (South Africa)

700g pork tender loin
200g of small white button mushrooms
2 level teaspoon mustard powder
2 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
Half a teaspoon zesty ginger blend (Tesco)
400ml creme fraiche
200gm double cream
2 x 10g butter
2 x  a dessertspoon groundnut oil
2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
150ml of dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

First of all, apart from pouring yourself a glass of wine, prepare the pork by trimming it and cutting it into little strips 3 inches long and 1/4" wide. Now prepare the the mushrooms by slicing them through the stalks into thin slices (Any piddly little ones can go in whole). Then in a small bowl mix together the mustards, ginger and crème frâiche

 When you are ready to cook the pork, take a large Le Creuset casserole then heat the butter and oil over medium heat, add onion slices and fry gently until softened and still white. Then, using a draining spoon, remove the onion to a plate, turn the heat up to its highest setting and when it's smoking hot add the strips of pork and fry them quickly, keeping them on the move so that they cook evenly without burning. After that add the mushrooms and toss around to cook briefly until their juices start to run (by this time the chef should be feeling quite orgasmic too at the thought of the eating the finished delicious dish). Next return the onions and stir in to mix well. Season well with salt and then add the wine and let it bubble and reduce slightly before adding the mustard crème. Now stir the whole  lot together and let the sauce reduce to half its original volume before finally mixing in the double cream. When heated through serve the stroganoff immediately spooned over the saffron rice.