Chef Ben cooks…Baked Camembert with Red Onion Marmalade

At the moment, I am feeling rather chumly. Perhaps it is something to do with the 7 legged bar crawl last month, the literal and metaphorical bonds that ties friendships together with flailing limbs and excessive profanities, the moments when some poor individual in vain tries to navigate you and your ridiculous fellow crawlers through a nightclub entrance, or possibly the ubiquitous presence of alcohol flowing free and gay through my bloodstream encourages me to get all ‘buddy buddy’ with my nearest and dearest.

Either way, in the spirit of comradely kinship, the meal prepared this week is made for sharing, so get your mates round and prepare to feast on some simple to prepare but sophisticated delights. First up is the Baked Camembert with Red Onion Marmalade on a bed of crispy lettuce. All ingredients are readily available in most supermarkets, so you won’t have to be hunting much further than your local Sainsburys or Tescos.


30g Unsalted butter                                    Puff Pastry
2 red Onions (finely sliced)                          2 Camembert
2 tbsp demerera sugar                                Lettuce leaves
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar                              1 egg for glazing
200ml red wine


Preheat the Oven to 180C / 350F

1) Divide the pastry into two. Roll out the pastry into a square shape, making sure that it is big enough to cover each piece of Camembert  Place the Camembert in the centre of each piece and prick the top of it with a fork making sure you don’t damage the pastry at the bottom.

2) Wrap each Camembert up making sure that there are no gaps in the pastry. You should still have a little excess pastry which you can then cut into decorative pieces (always one for sculpting some leaves). Brush the pastry with the beaten egg glaze making sure that all the pastry sticks together.

3) Place on a baking tray, throw it in the oven and leave for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Feel free to check on it and add a bit more egg glaze to give it that extra bit of colour.

4) Once in the oven, melt the butter in a pan on the hob adding the red onions. Cook until they have softened (about 5 mins).

5) Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer to reduce to a marmalade consistency. It will all reduce eventually. Once at a consistency you like, leave on the side to cool a bit.

Dress 2 large plates with green salad leaves before placing the straight from the oven Camembert in the centre surrounded by the warm red onion marmalade. Marvel at your cooking prowess and serve with a convenient glass of leftover red wine. Bon appétit.

Benjamin Palmer


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