A useful way to prepare smaller pieces of fish fillets is en papillotte, where the food is enclosed in a parcel of parchment or tinfoil then cooked in a hot oven. The thin casing steams the ingredients in their sauce or stock, filling the package with an aromatic, moist heat.

There are a few rules of thumb for cooking en papillotte ("in parchment"). Firstly, make sure you have enough tinfoil or parchment to work with and avoid tearing the material, since this will slow down the steaming process and allow the juices to escape. Seal the parcel securely, folding the material over and over to lock it tightly. Lastly, place a tray in the oven ahead of cooking, as this will speed up the process, just as you'd heat a pan before using it.


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Serves 4


200g white button mushrooms, sliced

500ml chicken stock

1 clove of garlic

Three-quarter tbsp cepe (porcini) powder

100ml madeira

1tbsp soy sauce

A pinch of salt

Creme fraiche


Truffle oil

Place the ingredients in a pan and boil for 20-30 minutes or until the stock has reduced by half. Leave the stock to cool then pass it through a fine sieve into a clean pan. To finish, bring the bouillon to the boil and whisk in 1tbsp of creme fraiche, a knob of butter and a couple of drops of truffle oil for every 100ml of stock in the pan.


80g leek (the light-green part)

125ml chicken stock

1 clove of garlic, halved

1tsp butter

200g turbot

4 whole scallops

Heat a heavy cast-iron tray in the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Cut the leek into 1sq cm pieces then place them in a medium pan and add the stock, garlic and butter. Bring the pan to the boil and cook quickly until the stock and butter have emulsified together and thickened. Remove and discard the garlic from the pan and place the leeks aside.

Cut the turbot into eight finger-shaped pieces. Cut eight 50sq cm pieces of tinfoil and lay four of the sheets on a clean, dry work surface.

Cut each scallop in half and place two halves in the centre of each tinfoil sheet, placing two turbot slices next to the scallops. Spoon a little of the leeks and 4-5tbsp of the bouillon over the top.

Take a sheet of foil and place it over the fish, folding over the four sides carefully to create a neat, airtight seal. The finished packet should be similar to an A4 sheet of paper.

Place the packet in the oven on the preheated tray, cook for 4 minutes then remove from the oven and serve immediately.

The Honours, 58a North Castle Street, Edinburgh. Visit www.thehonours.co.uk or call 0131 220 2513.