Your savvy simmered recipes reveal the supple side of meat and fish.
Lots of mouthwatering poached egg pictures were submitted this week, but the recipes were rather more ambitious. Far Eastern cooks know that slow simmering gives gorgeously tender results, and finally, thanks to Rachel Kelly, I now know the secret of melt‑in‑the-mouth stir-fried meat.
Anyone with little imaginations to feed should try Mary-Anne Boermans' spaghetti monsters - but they'll love helping out with the magical floating islands in my winning recipe, too. Sweet, easy and the colour of a fiery sunset, it's the perfect summer dessert.
The winning recipe: Islands in the sun
My take on a classic French dessert.
Betty Bee, via guardian.co.uk/witness
For the coulis
400g peaches, peeled and stoned
80g icing sugar
4 passion fruit, pulp and seeds scooped
For the meringues
4 large egg whites
6 tbsp caster sugar
1 Place the peach flesh and icing sugar in a blender and whizz until smooth. Stir in the juice and pulp of the passion fruit. Pour the coulis into a large glass serving bowl and chill.
2 Bring a large pan of water to a simmer. Put the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until it forms stiff peaks.
3 Put spoonfuls of the meringue mix in the pan and simmer until they are slightly puffed up and just set. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and cool.
4 To serve, place the meringues on top of the coulis, place on the table and lap up the praise.
Lavender-poached rhubarb with ginger custard cream
Having an allotment often means I get gluts of certain fruits and veg. Rhubarb is one of them, so I am always thinking of new ways to enjoy it. This recipe combines rhubarb with two of its favourite partners: custard and ginger. But even better, it's poached in a lavender syrup.
Laura Scott, howtocookgoodfood.co.uk
For the poached rhubarb
Peel of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tsp dried lavender
4 large stalks of rhubarb, chopped
80ml Pineau des Charentes, sweet sherry or wine
For the ginger custard cream
1 small tub of double cream, whipped
1 small tub of custard
8 ginger crunch biscuits, crushed
1 Put the sugar, lemon peel and lavender into a saucepan with 280ml water, dissolve the sugar over a low heat then bring up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
2 Transfer the poaching liquid to a wide pan large enough to fit the rhubarb in one layer and poach for 15 to 20 minutes until just cooked through.
3 Remove the rhubarb, strain the liquor into a pan and boil until it reduces to a syrup (5-10 minutes), then add the juice of ½ a lemon, pour over the rhubarb and let it cool.
4 Fold the custard into the whipped cream with the crushed biscuits, reserving a few crumbs for garnish.
5 Divide the rhubarb between four glass bowls, add a little syrup and top with the cream and some biscuit crumbs. Chill until ready to eat.
Velvet chicken and asparagus stir-fry
If you have ever wondered why your Chinese takeaway stir-fried chicken is so much more moist and succulent than yours at home, it's because of "velveting". The chicken is marinated in a dressing of cornflour, egg white and rice wine and then gently poached before stir-frying. This prevents the meat from drying out. It also works well with beef.
Rachel Kelly, London marmadukescarlet.blogspot.co.uk
500g skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 tsp cornflour
75ml cold chicken stock
1 tsp rice wine, mirin or rice wine vinegar
8 spring onions, trimmed and halved lengthways
1 tsp fresh ginger, very finely chopped
8 asparagus spears, lightly blanched and sliced into chunks on the diagonal
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
50g cashew nuts, lightly crushed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
For the marinade
1 tbsp cornflour
1 egg white
1 tsp rice wine, mirin or rice wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 Prepare the marinade by whisking together all the ingredients. Add the chicken strips and make sure they are well coated. Set aside in a cool place for about 30 minutes, but don't refrigerate.
2 Bring about 3cm of water to boil in a saucepan along with 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Add the chicken and wait until the liquid has started to come back to the boil, then immediately reduce to a gentle simmer and poach the chicken for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
3 Whisk together the cornflour, cold stock and rice wine. Season to taste.
4 Pour the remaining oil into a hot wok or large frying pan. Add the spring onions and ginger and stir-fry for around a minute before adding the asparagus and garlic. Stir-fry for a minute longer before adding the poached chicken and frying for a further minute, then adding the stock mixture. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
5 Toss through the crushed cashew nuts and serve with steamed rice.
Whisky-scented soy sauce poached salmon
This dish is flavoursome, light and quick. It calls for a nice whisky, but you only need 1-2 tbsp. Serve with steamed rice and greens.
Natalie Wong, London twinnydip.blogspot.co.uk
2 tsp vegetable oil
60ml dark soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1cm ginger, thinly sliced
2 skin-on salmon fillets (120g-150g each)
1-2 tbsp whisky, to taste
1 Mix the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and ginger with 120ml water in a small, deep frying pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.
2 Place the salmon fillets, skin-side down, in the pan and cover. Simmer for 3 minutes.
3 Stir in the whisky, increase the heat to medium and poach the salmon for a further 3-6 minutes uncovered, spooning the poaching liquid on top as they cook.
4 When the fillets are just flaky, remove, cover and keep warm. Reduce the poaching liquid to your desired thickness. Drizzle the sauce over the salmon fillets to serve.
Chicken poached in miso and soy milk
This recipe is inspired by the Japanese dish tounyuu nabe.
Andrew Chim, Witney, Oxfordshire
1 leek, chopped into 5cm pieces and quartered lengthways
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
4 chicken thighs
250g oyster mushrooms
½ tsp dashi stock powder
1 litre unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp white miso paste
A dash of sake
2 packs of ready-cooked udon noodles or 3 bowls of cooked rice, to serve
1 Put the chopped leeks, sweet potato, chicken and mushrooms into a pan and sprinkle with the stock powder.
2 Cover with the milk and add the miso paste and sake. Simmer for about 20 mins, until the chicken is cooked.
3 The remaining poaching liquid can be used to cook the udon noodles, or add cooked rice to the liquid and reduce it so it resembles risotto - a zosui.
Sausage spaghetti monsters
Here's a quick supper idea, and a bit of fun if you've got young children: frankfurter and pasta monsters. Poached gently in stock, the sausages keep their flavour while the pasta cooks. I like making them look like jellyfish or octopuses - but we've also made beetles and caterpillars.
Mary-Anne Boermans timetocookonline.com
Serves 2 big kids, or 4 small ones
4 thick frankfurters in brine
200g bucatini or spaghetti
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, to cook
Vegetables (eg beans, broccoli, cauliflower)
4 tbsp pesto and grated cheese (optional)
1 Drain the sausages. Cut each one into 3 or 4 pieces. Break some pasta strands in half and push five or six pieces into the cut ends of the sausages.
2 Bring some stock to the boil, turn it down to a simmer and gently drop the sausage shapes into the pan. Cover and let them poach gently until the pasta is cooked to your taste.
3 Meanwhile, steam some green veggies. Drain your pasta monsters and toss in the pesto, if using.
4 Arrange your veggie garden and populate with spaghetti monsters. Sprinkle with cheese and enjoy.
A poached, peach and passionfruit dessert. Photographs: Tricia de Courcy Ling for the Guardian