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Fennel And Cheese Mousse

ingredients

serves 4
1 lb (450 g) fennel bulbs, trimmed and roughly chopped, with feathery tops reserved
2 oz (50 g) Roquefort or Blue Stilton cheese, any rind removed
1 lb (450 g) curd cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh herb fennel or 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) dried
pepper, to taste
10 carrots, scrubbed
juice of 2-3 oranges, to taste
orange segments, to garnish (optional)

method

1. Grease and line the base of a 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin and set aside.

2. Bring 1.7 litres (3 pints) water to the boil in a large saucepan, add the fennel and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.

3. Remove the fennel with a slotted spoon, reserving the water in the pan. Drain the fennel well, then pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.

4. Puree the fennel in a blender or food processor. Crumble in the blue cheese, then add the curd cheese, eggs, half of the herb fennel and seasoning. Puree until smooth.

5. Cut 4 of the carrots into thin strips. Return the fennel water to the boil, add the carrot strips and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the strips with a slotted spoon, reserving the water, drain and pat dry.

6. Pour half of the pureed mixture into the loaf tin. Arrange the blanched carrot strips on top, then cover with the remaining mixture.

7. Cover with greased foil, place in a roasting tin and add enough boiling water to the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the loaf tin.

8. Bake at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for 1 3/4 hours, or until the mousse feels firm when pierced with a skewer.

9. Meanwhile, make the carrot sauce. Roughly chop the remaining carrots and add to the reserved vegetable water.

10. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, until the carrots are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.

11. Puree the carrots and liquid in a blender or food processor with the remaining herb fennel, the orange juice and seasoning. Cover and chill.

12. Drain off any surface liquid from the mousse. Leave to cool, then chill for at least 1 hour.

13. To serve, run a knife carefully around the edge of the mousse to loosen it, then turn out and peel off the paper. Garnish, Serve with the sauce.

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