Saturday, March 08, 2014
A big massive thank you for the fantastic lunch. It was a wonderful surprise for my Husband who was celebrating his 60th Birthday.
Everyone loved the lunch, the Pulled Pork was amazing as was the Birthday dessert.
Please thank the team, they made it so special for all of us.
Pork shoulder or leg? This time I used leg with my own blend of spicy rub - onion, tomatoes, smoked paprika, chilli, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek, onion seeds, caraway seeds, thyme, rosemary, orange zest, nutmeg etc. Pulse all of this in the processor and smother the pork leg. Some people dry roast it, I added cider - keeps slow cooked meat moister I find - and baked it open first to set the crust on top, then covered it in foil to pot roast it, then removed the foil and let the cider evaporate - about 7 - 8 hours cooking in all - soft and succulent!
Friday, March 07, 2014
|Zwetschgenkuchen - German plum cake from this recipe using South African Flavor King plums - I think flavorking should be a verb - the 2014 equivalent of 'twerking'. When your trying out/ inventing new recipes you're 'flavorking'!|
Flavor King plums taste like a cross between plums and apricots and have a bubble gum type flavour - so nice, so morish!
25 year + investment! Promise of high returns, but also such a risky business - who knows what demand and the market in general is going to be like in 25 years? They are taking a leap!
Also so many other factors involved - exchange rates, seasonality: the South African stone fruit season is in the UK winter so we don't naturally think of buying plums, nectarines, peaches etc because for us they seem out of season at that time, whereas in fact they are peaking and so amazing! Add in that our fruit consumption is actually going down anyway, pest control, other stone fruit markets which could increase their yields (China, Australia, Chile etc) and it's a really tough business!
Pretty sad isn't it - 3 times more money spent on promoting vodka than fresh fruit? But also telling of our times. I have also been aware of this supermarket mark up of fruit and veg for the last few years - compare it with what we pay wholesale in the catering industry and you see why supermarkets are making such high returns. Along with that, however, is the high level of wastage which supermarkets have with fruit and veg - this is all incorporated into the high prices.
I liked the scientists' answer to the fruit fly problem though - isn't technology amazing!?
From all of that.... to these:
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
You're going to be fasting for the next 40 days and 40 night right? So why not go out on a high!
|Lucky I had labelled it - it would have been thrown away last night when someone else was clearing up while I was out doing a wedding tasting session.|
Used this sourdough pancakes recipe - always trust a bloggers recipe!
Previous posts - other pancake ideas
|Blueberry pancakes with banana jam|
|Gingerbread pancakes with grilled mango|
|Original french style crepe and American style pancake recipes|
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
1001 Kitchen Tips #71 - Choux buns/ profiteroles/ eclair fails - how to rescue them if they fall flat! And gluten free vegan profiteroles?
|Some of the croquembouche towers made over the past year|
Choux pastry, however, is something that can go wrong. Quite easily if you're not paying attention. The pastry section of the kitchen is the only one I never trained in formally, so I have taught myself everything.
Here's a few tips I've learned on choux pastry.
|Piping eclairs just before the guests sit down for their starter - pressure for fresher!|
|Spreading chocolate on profiteroles (2009)|
i - Too much egg. The size of your eggs also makes a big difference - small eggs and you might need more, large eggs and you might need less, so in this case add less egg to begin with: you can always add more, but you can't take it out.
ii - You haven't beaten the mix enough. Beat it up! Air is everything with choux pastry. Once you add the flour to the hot water & butter you should let it cook out on a low heat beating it ferociously with a whisk. I used to do this by hand - but on the dairy dinner Ms Marmitelover turned the choux paste into the Kitchen Aid and beat it up fast for a few minutes that way. When I was making the gluten free profiteroles below last week I did both - starting it off by beating by hand on the heat so the gluten free flour could cook out, then transferred to the electric mixing machine to beat it for a few minutes, then added the egg, then kept beating for another couple of minutes for good measure. Maximise the air in there! Produced such a good result!
iii - Too much flour (different brands of flour - even different batches of the same brand can make a difference. They all have different properties - for some you need less, some more to achieve the desired result. Small things like this seem to matter when you're making choux pastry.
|Gluten free profiteroles|
i - Re-beat the choux pastry in the electric mixing machine. If your choux pastry tester comes out of the oven risen, but falls flat as soon as it cools this is down to the mix not being beaten up enough. The day after the dairy meal I was baking more profiteroles for another croquembouche and this happened. Probably not enough beating by hand - tired. There was just under 1 hour to go before I had to leave for the party - really no time to give up and start again so I transferred that choux pastry to the Kenwood mixer and beat it on high power for a few minutes to get more air in it. They came out perfect that time!
|Banoffee eclair (back) for an assiette of mini desserts and mini cheese courses - couldn't find a banoffee eclair recipe so made my own - was very popular!|
ii - Add in another water-butter-flour mix to your choux pastry. If your choux pastry tester comes out flat and heavy this may, quite possibly be due to too much egg. This happened to me the other day - I had overestimated on how much smaller the eggs I had were and consequently added too much egg. Again I was on a strict time limit - almost time to go out and cook for a hen party, so no time to completely throw it away and start again, and, with butter at £1.25+ a pack it's all money too! This was a triple mix (3 times recipe) so I made a single water/butter/ flour mix, beat it in the Kenwood machine and incorporated it into the too-much-egg mix to thicken it up. Did the trick!
|Assiette of dessert 2009 with chocolate eclair at the back|
Gluten free profiteroles? Yes you can! They turn out really well with this recipe - you can always rely on Doves Farm recipes.
Gluten free vegan profiteroles? Yes you can also do these! I did them for a couple of guests last year - one was vegan the other gluten free so I combined the 2 using this recipe but changing the flour for Doves Farm gluten free self raising flour. Then used this recipe for 'whipped cream' from coconut milk - so nice I almost prefer it over normal cream! Then a chocolate sauce made from vegan chocolate and coconut milk. Gluten and vegan people you're worth it!
Other 1001 kitchen tips
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Using clementines, passionfruit, oranges and pineapple shells as serving 'bowls' for a buffet lunch delivery
Lunch buffets in the middle of your one day training course - same old same old right? Or maybe not. I like to try out new things on the lunch buffets we do (another one tomorrow). After baking the chocolate cake in an orange (you get a great orange flavour from the skin) I tried a few other things in the following weeks back in June last year (only just catching up with the backlog of pics).
|Chocolate cake baked in an orange|
|Fruit salad in a clementine shell.|
|Coconut and passionfruit panna cotta served in the emptied passionfruit shells - best use of ingredients?|
|Fruit salad in pineapple. Also want to try out a coconut cake baked in pineapple shell.... AND meringue baked in the pineapple shell.|
|Lemon drizzle cake cooked in a pineapple shell|
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Nutella (philadelphia style) ice cream
[Philadelphia style means egg-less by the way rather than containing Philadelphia cheese]
75ml condensed milk
250ml double cream
Nutella to taste (add as much as you can handle!)
Warm all ingredients together in a pan to incporporate the Nutella. Cool. Churn in the ice cream machine or still freeze - there's a link on a previous ice cream recipe to do that along with a tip for how to serve lots of portions of ice cream in one go & suggestions for ice cream machines.
You can also add in toasted hazelnuts to the ice cream towards the end to make it extra nutty. I put some on top. Then piped nutella on to the plate as well - you can never have too much!
For the tuile biscuits to sit the ice cream on (saves it melting & sliding across the plate on the way to the table) see link here.
Where did my love of Nutella come from? I once worked with a chef from Alba where Nutella originated. Naturally he spread the Nutella love wherever he went. Thus marmite toast was alternated with Nutella toast to keep the chefs going through the night service. We also dipped digestive biscuits in Nutella - instant comfort rush!
World Nutella Day is hosted by Ms Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso - well done you!
Nutella brioche crown
Saturday, February 01, 2014
Made these for a special request a few weeks ago for a 40th birthday meal near Shipston-on-Stour. Finally taught myself how to temper chocolate - there's several ways here. Funny - you put these things off because they sound hard, but really they're so easy - and produce such a great result (chocolate that is crispy and doesn't bloom).
From the old Nigella recipe. The original UK one seems to have disappeared into the ether.
They're caramelised apricots on there as well should you ask......
|I was ably assisted by Brucie all night. So nice not to have to sweep the floor at the end of the night - he had it all under control!|
|Loved the shabby chic look of the kitchen dresser - very Cotswold farmhouse.|
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
|Beef and caramelised onion roulade with horseradish on parmesan shortbread|
Smoked salmon blinis - classic!
Blue cheese cheesecakes - new improved recipe much better!
Spinach, cream cheese and smoked trout roulade
|..and pastrami, gruyere and gherkin on rye bread.|
Staff party for a well known fashion designer based nearby.
|Mohito's by The Bartender|
All made fresh on the day from 5am.
|Boom boom shake the room!|
|Three generations of the family got together near Stratford on Avon and as it was 4 days before Christmas we cooked up a traditional Christmas dinner - so they could all enjoy the occasion together.|
Loved this house near Malvern!
|It's called Brook House for a reason. So peaceful - great place to spend Christmas|
|Saffron poached sea bream with cauliflower.|
|Poached salmon fillet with coriander puree, beetroot and quail eggs. One of the guests didn't like fish. Or so she thought before that day - she loved this.... simple is often best.|
|Crab and mango salad|
Prawns in cocktail sauce
There were also rollmops as another dish
|Then just as I was plating this up the heaviest hail ever fell outside. Nice.|
Clever people at this event! We had cooked at this house on Christmas Day 2010. This time the family we had cooked for then had swapped houses for the Christmas holidays with a family in Australia! Christmas down under. This birthday was for the incoming family which brought together family from 3 different countries. I was cooking and serving that one on my own - no time for food pics.....
|The owners have a great sense of humour.|
|Love the aga there. Looks like we might be back there in a few weeks.|
Among all the Christmas lunch deliveries to Burford, Stow on the Wold and Chipping Campden areas was this.....
|Gluten free Christmas pudding.|
The gluten free Christmas pudding request had come in quite late - so it went on when I got back from the Sunday lunch party. Used this recipe with a few variations. 8 hours steaming - so it was done by 4am.......
Christmas Day Wednesday 25th December
4:15 am and it's go go go in the kitchen! Events to organise and some step by step instructions to email to the host of one of the Christmas lunch deliveries the night before. Then it was off to Southrop Manor.
|Had the entire run of the cookery school kitchen to myself. Only problem - the more space you have the more space you have to clean! Fell in love with their Wolf oven ranges - the best I've used in years..... maybe ever!|
|Such a stunning venue! Airy and spacious.|
|Kitchen with a view! You look out on to the courtyard knot garden full of fresh herbs which I cut to use in the Christmas lunch for 32 guests.|
"I thought we'd got for something completely different after a traditional Christmas Day" said the the hosts son. The host himself was en route to hospital in Banbury when we arrived after slipping on the wet decking outside. What a way to spend a birthday. Gave us a bit more time to get ready, and everyone was sure ready to eat once they got back.
Served family style on large platters for guests to share. These pan asian events are my favourite to cook - it's the flavours!
Homemade Asian Milk Bread Rolls
Crispy Spring Rolls
Selection of Satay;
chicken, pork and duck
Salt and pepper stir fried squid - simple and tasty; it all disappeared
Asian Crab Cakes
Roast duck with Pomegranate and Chilli Sauce
|Marinaded overnight and roasted on the bone, then carved into portions|
Malaysian Lamb Rendang
Tom Yum Fried Rice
Yaki Soba Vegetable Stir Fried Noodles
Mixed Bean Salad
Lychee and Pomegranate Panna Cotta
Phew - after all that it was time for a morning off. Then back to the kitchen for the clear up operation and to get ready for the next event the following day.
The Sunday it was time to get moving on New Year's Eve preparations.
Monday - a wedding meeting and a delivery dinner party to someone testing out our food before booking our services for his birthday party which we did a couple of weeks afterwards.
New Year's Eve Tuesday 31st December
After a couple of delivery menus and setting up another event near Tetbury it was off to Winchester.
|Complete with ski hats/ ear muffs|
'Gone skiing' plaque in the background
|Skis on the table - the finishing touch......|
That was the sound of Christmas and New Year rushing past.....