Seafood burro fuso with gnocchi and wood ears




Seafood buuro

 

This dish has been loosely inspired by my trip to Sicily where beautiful fish and seafood abounds to tantalise the senses. The seafood infuses into the butter so beautifully to give it that silky, rich flavour. It is heavenly. Feel free to use pre-prepared gnocchi. I feel, however the home made ones are truly delicious. Sadly I am unable to easily source seaweed. I have substituted wood ear black jelly fungus which has a similar texture, if not flavour. It is readily available from Chinese supermarkets dry for reconstitution by boiling for about an hour. I felt it worked rather well. The tomato powder looks impressive as a garnish on the plate. This dish serves 6 people as an hors d’oeuvres.

 

18 gnocchi (see recipe below or alternatively use pre-prepared ones)

9 oz (250 gms) unsalted butter

18 raw tiger prawns with shells and heads

24 baby clams

12 scallops, coral removed

6 wood ears, reconstituted and torn into small strips

Tomato powder (see recipe below)

 

In a pan of simmering salt water, add the gnocchi for about a minute or until they rise to the surface. Drain them. Gently melt the butter in a pan. Separate the shells and heads carefully from the prawns. Sauté the shells and heads in the butter until they turn from grey to red. Carefully remove the shells then add the gnocchi, the shelled prawns and the scallops. Sauté them gently until the gnocchi start to turn a golden colour. Add the strips of wood ears then add the clams. Stir and cover the pan heating gently for about 10 minutes. Plate out the dish into bowls and garnish with tomato powder (see below)

 

For the gnocchi

 

2 lbs (0.9 kgs) King Edward or russet potatoes

Approx 1 1/4 cups (300 mls) plain flour

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Bake the potatoes for an hour. Remove the potatoes from the oven then scoop out the flesh and pass it through a potato ricer or passatutto into a mixing bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour and all of the egg yolks, salt and pepper then beat together adding another 1/3 of the flour until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if necessary. Roll the dough into a long sausage shape of 1/2 inch (12mm) diameter and cut into 1/2 inch (12mm) length pieces. Roll each piece into an oval shape and, if desired, indent them with the back of a fork to make fluted oval patterns. Simmer the gnocchi in water. They are ready when they have risen to the surface. Remove them carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and rest them on a kitchen towel to dry. Store them for up to two days in sealed food bags in the refrigerator or for several weeks in the freezer. When ready to cook, defrost if frozen and sauté the gnocchi in olive oil until they are golden brown.

 

For the tomato powder

Carefully place 4 medium tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds. Strain the and plunge them into cold water. This will help you peel off the skin. Divide the skinned tomatoes into quarters, cut out the hard cores and push out the seeds. Cut the remaining pulp into small pieces and place on a silpat on a baking sheet. Warm the pulp in a cool oven at 100C/200F for about 40 – 60 minutes or until they have dried without darkening. Allow the pieces to dry then place them in a coffee grinder/miniature food processor and blend until it forms a fine powder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canelés de Bordeaux

Canelés de Bordeaux




 

 

Smooth, sweet soft custard centre cakes with vanilla, brandy and caramelised crust – this delicacy from Bordeaux is one of my favourite luxuries. I simply can’t eat just one. Absolute heaven with a strong coffee, wine or even champagne, I have also seen it incorporated in mini form into desserts.

The origins of this little beauty remain unclear although some romantic tales date it back to the 18th century from the Convent of Annonciades. However it was created, it has certainly undergone centuries of refinement to make the superlative cake it is today.

Dariole

 

 

You will need special dariole moulds to make this recipe. The best moulds are individual tin lined copper ones which transfer heat to the surface of the canelés efficiently. However, they are hard to find and are very expensive. Instead I use silicon moulds. I hope you will agree the end product looks and tastes amazing.

 

Traditionally, beeswax is used to line the moulds to prevent burning of the surface of the canelés. My solution to the impracticalities of this (a suggestion from a kind friend) is to use clarified butter. To clarify butter, simply warm butter in a milk pot and allow the milky sediment to separate and sink to the bottom. Pour out the clear butter from the top into a container while carefully leaving the sediment behind in the pan.

 

3 cups (7500 mls) milk

Beans from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp butter

3 whole eggs

3 egg yolks, beaten

5 tbsp  golden rum

1.5 cups (375 mls) plain flour

1.5 cups (375 mls) light brown sugar

Clarified butter for greasing

 

Prepare the custard 1 day in advance. Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a pan then bring them to the boil. Let the mixture cool for a short while. In the meantime, combine the sugar and flour in a bowl, then whisk in the eggs and egg yolks. Pour this mixture into the hot vanilla-infused milk and gently stir it in until the resultant custard forms a pancake-like batter. Allow it to cool then mix in the rum. Transfer it to a china bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

 

Caneles batter

 

The following day, preheat the oven to 250C/495F. Liberally grease the lining of the moulds  with the clarified butter then coat the greased insides of the moulds liberally with sugar. Gently shake out the excess sugar. Place the moulds on a baking sheet. Pour the batter into each mould, filling them to no more than about 90% to the top. Place the filled moulds with the baking sheet into the oven. After 5 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 175C/350F and continue cooking for 60 to 75 minutes. The canelés are ready when the tops form a brown crust but are still moist inside.

Pulled Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder, Coriander & Mango Tzatziki & Pomegranate Seeds




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One of my favourite hors d’oeuvres, the combination of slow cooked lamb shoulder with tzatziki, cucumber, pomegranate and coriander is very special. This is a similar recipe to the one appearing in my book which is further embellished with mango.

 

For the Pulled Lamb

1 shoulder of lamb

Cloves from a head of garlic peeled and halved

Sea salt

Black pepper

2 sprigs rosemary

Olive oil

 

Place the lamb in a slow cooker and top it with the garlic cloves, rosemary and seasoning then drizzle the lamb with the oil. Cover and slow cook for 6 hours. When ready, the lamb will be soft enough to tease apart with two forks. Alternatively, wrap the lamb in foil and cook in a conventional oven at 230 F (110 Celsius).

 

For the Tzatziki

3/4 cup (200 mls) Greek yogurt

3/4 cup (200 mls) sour cream

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp vinegar

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced

Preparing the dish

Rocket leaves

Coriander sprigs

Pomegranate seeds

 

Tease apart the cooked lamb and place it in a bowl and spoon in the tzatziki until the lamb is coated. Mix in the rocket and coriander and continue adding more tzatziki if necessary. Spoon the mixture onto the centre of plates and decorate with the pomegranate seeds.

Decorated baby gem salad lemon vinaigrette dressing




Baby gem

 

A baby gem lettuce can be enlivened by decorating it with small mandolinned slices of fennel, radish, carrot and asparagus and adorned further with olive pieces and fresh peas. Carefully insert the slices into slots made into the lettuce with a knife.

 

For the lemon Vinaigrette

 

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

a pinch of sea salt

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Combine all the ingredients and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. This can keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Spiced satay lamb with cucumber, celery and mango pickles




Spiced satay lamb

 

Satay, when made fresh and spiced gives a certain exotic feel to those lucky enough to experience it. I love the way the dish layers against the pickles which balance the spiciness beautifully. Serve this dish with rice.

 

For the pickles

 

1 cucumber, peeled , seeded and cut into thin sheets with a mandolin

1 mango, peeled , seeded and cut into thin sheets with a mandolin

20 x 3 inch thin sticks of celery

1 cup (250 mls) water

1 cup (250 mls) white wine vinegar

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tbsp salt

1 small red chilli pepper, sliced

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp crushed white peppercorns

 

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, chilli pepper, mustard seeds and crushed peppercorns into a saucepan and dissolve the sugar by bringing the mixture to a simmer. Place the cucumber, celery and mango slices into a china bowl then cover them in the hot pickling liquid. Allow to cool, cover or seal in a clean jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. This can be made up to a week in advance and kept in a closed container to prevent evaporation.

 

For the lamb

 

Wrap a lamb shoulder in foil and cook on a baking sheet in the oven at 180C/350F for 25mins per pound (500 gms). Carefully remove the lamb from the foil and let it settle for about 10 minutes. Carve the lamb into about 20 thin roughly 4 x 4 inch (10 x 10 cms) slices (~ 0.2 inches/ 0.5 cms) thick. Wrap the slices in foils and keep warm.

 

For the spiced satay sauce

 

1/2 cup (120 mls) peanut butter

3 tbsp (45 mls) water

2 1/2 tbsp (40 mls) dark Chinese soy sauce

2 tbsp (30 mls) rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp (30 mls) fresh lime juice

1 tsp (5 mls) Chinese chilli oil

1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mls) grated ginger

1 tsp (5 mls) red chilli flakes

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together. Place the sauce into a flat saucepan that has a close fitting lid and warm it gently to simmering point. Add the lamb slices into the pan and gently incorporate the meat into the sauce. Cover the saucepan again and bring the contents back to a simmer for a further ten minutes.

 

Completing the dish

Plate out the dish in alternating layers of lamb and pickles, piling the construction

Champagne oysters

Oysters in Champage butter sauce




 

 

I have J Sheekey and Marco Pierre White to thank for the inspiration for this fabulously luxurious dish. I hope you like my interpretation. I advise you use the best champagne and caviar you can reasonably buy.

It seems most befitting that the oysters I used for the photograph are from Bigbury Bay, the very bay associated with Burgh Island. Anyone who has ever stayed or simply dined in the famous Burgh Island Hotel will know of the extraordinary Art Deco elegance that formed the backdrop of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun. The approach to the hotel is via a causeway or via the famous sea tractor, the only one of its kind. My experience in the restaurant was outstanding and comes thoroughly recommended.

10 large oysters

100 mls champagne

50 mls double cream

2 eggs, whisked

2 oz (60 gms) unsalted butter

Caviar (the best you can reasonably obtain)

Shuck the oyster shells retaining the juices. Carefully separate the oysters from their shells. Rinse and dry the shells. In a small pan, bring the champagne and oyster juices to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by two thirds. Add 30 mls of the cream and reduce further by a half. Warm half the butter in a separate pan. Add the whisked eggs and remaining cream and stir until the scrambled egg is thickened but still runny. Warm the oysters gently back in the champagne oyster cream. Pour the scrambled egg into the base of an oyster shell, add an oyster then pour a little of the champagne cream over it. Finally place a small amount of caviar on top of the oyster. Serve with a teaspoon. Enjoy.

Sweet Filipino (turon lumpia) banana, bitter chocolate and Tequila ice cream




 

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My first encounter with a Filipino banana in sweet wrap was so exciting I immediately wanted to incorporate it into an exciting dessert. I have combined the flavours of banana, chocolate, mint and tequila. The result was just what I wanted and more. I hope you enjoy preparing this dish as much as enjoyed designing it.

For the turon lumpia

10 saba bananas*

A packet of small oriental pancake roll wraps* (Large ones will have too much excess)

Light brown sugar

A large knob of unsalted butter

*(available in Filipino/oriental food shops)

The first step is to wrap the bananas tightly in the pancake roll wraps. Lay the square wrap on a flat surface in a diamond position. Place the banana lengthways on the corner and carefully wrap the banana as a tight fit. Tuck the outer corners into the roll. Lightly wet the free edge of the roll with water to seal the wrap. Lightly wet the whole wrap then coat the wrapped banana in the sugar. Lightly sauté the bananas in the butter until it turns golden brown then set them aside.

For the Tequila sorbet

1 cup (250 mls) water

1/2 cup (125 mls) sugar

4 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp Tequila

Heat the water in a pan and dissolve sugar. Allow the simple syrup to cool then add the lime juice and Tequila. Refrigerate for at least an hour then churn in an ice cream maker. Store the sorbet in a refrigerator overnight.

For the bitter chocolate sheets

7 oz (200 gms) 90% cocoa chocolate

Very gently melt the chocolate in a bowl held over a steam bath. Place a sheet of cling film over a silpat and smooth out any creases. Place the covered silpat onto a baking sheet. Pour the melted chocolate onto the cling film base and smooth it into a thin layer with a palate knife. As the chocolate begins to cool and solidify use a knife to cut the chocolate sheet into large squares. Place a rolling pin lengthways under the silpat on the baking sheet. This gives the chocolate sheets a curve. Place the baking sheet and its contents into a refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, carefully peel the cling film off the chocolate squares. The square sheets will fragment into interesting curved shapes.

Presenting the dish

Using a sharp knife, cut the base of a banana so that it can stand up on one end. For a decorative effect, cut the top at an angle. stand the banana upright on the dish next to a small arrangement of the bitter chocolate and a quenelle of Tequila sorbet. Garnish with a sprig of mint. For an extra twist, I have used a sugar spiral.

 

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Side Car




 

20140510_171257The origin of the sidecar is disputed but it appears to have been developed in Paris during the Great War. David Embury in ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’ attributes it to the invention of a an American army captain who rode to an unnamed Parisian bistro in a motorcycle sidecar. Another (disputed) theory links the invention to Frank Meier who worked at the Ritz Hotel, Paris. However it came into being, the side car is a very special treat.

 

 

3 parts Cognac/Armagnac

2 parts Cointreau/Triple sec

1 part lemon juice

Crushed ice

Lemon twist garnish

 

Combine the spirits, lemon juice and crushed ice in a cocktail shaker and shake rigorously. Strain out the cocktail into a cocktail glass. Sugar-rim the glass for extra effect if desired. This can be achieved by wiping the rim with a wedge of lemon and dipping the juice-coated rim of the upturned glass into sugar momentarily.

Slow cooked confit hen’s egg yolk with truffle cheese vinaigrette




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While the hen’s egg remains a staple food product throught the world, its amazing combination with a sweet truffle vinaigrette has been a culinary secret for far to long. The panko crumbs and sautéed filo pastry fragments provide a texture to the flavours. I have slow cooked the egg yolks giving them stability and a rich texture. I have used a sous vide bath which provides an entirely controllable, adjustable and reliable heat source for the yolks. This functions as an excellent hors d’oeuvre dish.

For the truffle cheese vinaigrette

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 cup (250 mls) water

1 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp truffle oil

3 tbsp cream cheese

1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper

First place the onions, water and honey in a covered pan and simmer for about thirty minutes or until the onions are very tender. Transfer the contents to a food processor, add the vinegar, truffle oil and seasoning and blend until very smooth. Transfer the contents to a bowl, add the cream cheese and combine them together until uniform and smooth. Add more vinegar and seasoning to taste if preferred. The truffle cheese vinaigrette can be stored in a container for a few days in the refrigerator.

For the confit egg yolks

Set the sous vide water bath to 63C

Sous vide

 

 

 

 

Half fill a small bread tin with vegetable oil and place it in the water bath. Cover with a lid using a small weight if necessary to keep the lid held down. When the bath has reached the required temperature, carefully add the egg yolks to the warmed oil making sure they are teased apart carefully with a spatula. Cook the egg yolks for 1 hour.

 

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The cooked yolk confit looked as silky smooth as if it were freshly cracked from the egg.

 

 

 

For the filo crumbs

Finely dice a small square of filo pastry and sauté the fragments in butter until they turn golden brown. Transfer them to a kitchen roll to cool and dry.

To complete the dish

Using a slotted spoon, carefully drain and transfer an egg yolk to the centre of a serving dish. Heap a spoonfool of the truffle cheese vinaigrette next to the yolk. Garnish the dish with a sprinkling of the prepared filo crumbs. For further texture and colour contrast add finely crushed panko crumbs.