Monday, April 19, 2010
Meat Free Monday #16 - Red rice salad with grilled asparagus (and garlic mushrooms, grilled aubergine and avocado with walnuts)
This was 8 hours ago. Finally found the camera lead. I have a whole load of Meat Free Monday posts to catch up on - the last few weeks have just been so busy.
I had wanted to try a red rice salad for a while (big rice fan). Between emails and lists I fixed a quick lunch utilsing the last of the asparagus stalks (tips were used for a canape) and an avocado left from a chicken and avocado salad.
Garlic mushrooms too - with garlic butter left from making garlic bread and some grilled aubergines and butternut squash with mint and lemon juice.
I tried out the electric health grill. It's sloped so the oil drips out and is caught. No smoke too.
Red rice salad
Cooked red rice
Sliced black olives
Sliced sundried tomato
Diced raw fennel
Lemon juice (lots)
But you could add what you liked really.
Maybe enough for 2 but I had walked up an appetite in the Malvern hills the day before.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I was at Wellacres 5 times in 10 days over the Easter period - as well as everything else going on. This (the fifth) was for a 70th birthday. Staying in is the new going out, as they say, and it's even better when you have your own string quartet. The kitchen and dining room at Wellacres is a combined room (as large as a house in itself), so not only could the guests watch the quartet play while they ate, but they also their meal cooked in front of them - almost like being in a theatre really.....
Smoked trout trio (with fillet of pink peppercorn home cured trout) and Salad of parma ham, poached pears and glazed goats cheese.
Fillet of beef with wild mushrooms, spinach and fondant potato (all time classic & best seller).
Assiette of desserts - Mini Baileys bread and butter pudding, spoon of creme brulee, raspberry shortbread, rum baba and homemade orange sorbet.
Other assiette of desserts we have served
Chef to cook for a birthday evening
Cooking for a stag party
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I get so many recipe requests - normally as we're clearing up after a dinner party. This is definitely one of the most popular requests - everyone loves lemon tart, so I had added the recipe over here.
I've already had another recipe request which I hope to get to tomorrow. Anyone else?
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I had picked up this loose leaf Lady Grey tea a while back and finally found a use for it. As well as black tea leaves it contains bergamot oil, cornflowers, orange and lemon. Ideal for drinking, or smoking chicken.
The kitchen is a no smoking zone, so if you're going to smoke can you do it outside please =)
I stood this on a stool after everyone else had left Basepoint for the weekend. One of the bakers was just starting at the bakery opposite though and seemed interested in what I was up to. It just smells the kitchen out so it is better outside. For a starter you want a lightly smoked flavour, but for a canape you only have a small bite so it wants to be stronger. So I hot smoked it i.e. kept the heat going under the tea leaves so the chicken cooked as it smoked.
You can see the finished result below.
Carrot and cumin bun recipe here. I added ras el hanout as well - extra flavour. The photo has the time 04:31 on it. Preparation the day before did go on a while as everything was made from scratch, but as some guests said it showed in the quality of food.
Chips that pass in the night It only seemed a while since I had been making the larger size fish and chips. I had picked the cones up for a late night snack of fish goujons and chips we were going to serve at another wedding, but cut in half they served the canape size very well.
Spoon of sticky toffee pudding with sticky toffee sauce
Onion Bajhi recipe here, except he used gram flour.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Post wedding buffet near Blockley, Gloucestershire - Beef wellington and salmon poached in wild elderflower
Served with champagne 12:30 – 1:30 in drawing room & cinema room
Smoked trout roulades
Beef, horseradish and rocket on parmesan shortbread
King prawns in filo with pesto mayonnaise
Served from c. 1:30pm in kitchen/ dining area
Homemade walnut, raisin and rosemary bread rolls
Tartlets of Gorsehill Abbey Farm St. Agnes cheese with caramelised red onion
Marinated melon in mulled wine
Niçoise salad with balsamic dressing
Beef Wellington with peppercorn dressing
I tied up the beef fillet in string, sealed and roasted for 10 minutes at 200 oC. This keeps the right shape as it cooks in the pastry. Then allow to cool, place on rolled out puff pastry and top with mixture of chicken liver parfait, blanched spinach and duxelle field mushrooms. The chicken liver parfait really infuses a great flavour - and great meaty smells waft around as you slice it open in front of the guests. Cooked to 52 oC ish. I had started putting these together at 13:00 as the canapes were on the go and I estimated they were due to be served at 14:00 - 14:10. As it turned out the guests took a bit of time getting to the table, then the host made a speech which all added to the time. I was a bit nervous at one point, as the wellington keeps cooking inside the pastry even after you take it out of the oven due to the steam inside the pastry. So I turned down the heat of the oven and took them out a bit early so it would keep cooking ouside the oven. It all worked out well in the end and every single bit went, even the pastry crust ends.
Elderflower poached salmon with cucumber salad
In the summer when elderflowers come out I pick loads, soak them in water with a bit of lemon stops it going black) for 2 days, strain it and then freeze this liquid for use throughout the year. I used it to poach the salmon for this dish, along with some vegetable stock. It went in the oven as soon as I had finished the beef wellington. Once cooked I drained off the poaching liquid and turned this into an elderflower sauce to go with the salmon.
Salad of free-range chicken with tarragon mayonnaise
Sweet potato cakes with wild mushroom stroganof
The sweet potato for these went in the oven along with the chicken as soon as we got there, and I was mixing it up as the host was making his speech as the guests sat down. As I was frying them up, I flipped one over and accidentally my elbow hit one of the guests lightly as they took their starters. Not exactly the conditions you're used to in a normal wedding venue, but that is the point - it's a more relaxed venue, and all the better for it. Some people I think expect a sweary loud chef (certain TV programmes have a lot to answer for) but in reality, as the bride's mother said afterwards, we're cool, calm and collected, and they often forget we're actually there in the corner.
5 children x chicken goujons and homemade chips
All served with:
French beans and celery
Glazed Chantenay carrots
Mustard and honey dressed new potatoes
Glazed lemon tart with rapsberries
There was also a chocolate cake which they had supplied themselves. While I do so many things, cakes are not something I specialise in.
Coffee, tea and handmade chocolate, pistachio and almond fudge
I had also made english muffins the day before which and we left these with bacon from Home Farm and homemade tomato relish for them to serve themselves later in the evening. We also left any left over food in the fridge so they could graze through the evening or have for lunch the next day.
Other buffets we have served in the past
Homemade fish and chips which I delivered to them on Wednesday
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Before Marmite XO had even gone on sale it was being tweeted by one particular marmite lover as it was being served at the first Underground Midnight Feast - note: pays to be one of the marmarati. The Marmarati? Well they also seem to have converted Donal to the 'dark' side (i.e. the marmite side). So it was time to try it out. I had read the underground midnight feast post while I was letting some pasta dough rest in the fridge. I went back to rolling out the dough thinking of marmite. Marmite. Pasta. Marmite pasta? Now there was an idea. But google marmite pasta and all you come up with is pasta with marmite sauce (a student classic by the sound of it) but what about mixing it in the pasta dough - after all you can do it with everything else - beetroot, nettles, blue curacao, squid ink, spinach, saffron, chocolate to name a few (though not at the same time).
Well last Monday I picked up a jar of XO and had a go.
200g OO flour
1 heaped tsp Marmite XO (I saw you licking that spoon!)
It comes out the colour of gjetost and you get marmite flavour hands as you knead the pasta dough - yum!
Marmite as we all know is rich in umami so what about a umami fest - a real pick-me-up? That is what I ended up with - miso, shitake mushrooms and kale also being rich in umami.
I had been wanting to try farfalle for a while. Unfortunately no sign of the fluted pasta wheel (so many venues, so many kitchens - it gets confusing), so after rolling out the pasta to thin lasagne-like strips I just cut them into rectangles and pinched them in the middle. If you cook them in the miso they soak a bit of the flavour too hopefully, and any marmite flavour they release is kept - best of both worlds. Oh and and its saves time and washing up - not that these things matter ;)
Other Meat Free Monday dishes
Friday, April 02, 2010
Fish and chips? Well it had been a while. 3 years in fact since I filled in a few times at The Bluebell gastro pub in Henley in Arden (near Stratford on Avon) when they were between head chefs.
Cod in Cotswold Way Ale batter
675g self raising flour
1 litre Cotswold Way ale
(Makes enough for c. 20 fillets - maybe you could reduce it to the original recipe for smaller numbers).
I'm a maris piper convert (contrary to what I said last year). Blanched at 140 oC then crisped at 180 oC. As it was a delivery meal they just needed re-heating in the oven. If you crank the oven up high (220 oC +) they crisp up really well if you use maris pipers.
Well minted pea puree Heston style.
When you make your own you wonder why you brought it all those years - this just tastes too good. Recipe from Gary Rhodes' New British Classics.
And I whizzed up some tartare sauce too.
What you need after this gluttony is some fruit. They had asked for fruit salad. I looked for some more interesting ideas for it and suggested this (no idea where I found it from now sorry).
Mandarin segments (was segmenting against the clock - where did the time go?)
Toasted blanched whole almonds
Fresh diced coconut
As I was really pushing it for time I took the coconut and finished it at Wellacres - which the hostess was happy with actually as she picked up the coconut opening tip? What? You want it as well? OK - you wrap it a few times around in clingfilm so it is well sealed. Then you need a solid floor this one was stone or paving slabs outside your kitchen door work really well too. Then throw it hard at the floor (great anger management technique) and it shatters inside, but the milk is kept inside the clingfilm. Open into a sieve over a bowl so you collect the milk (can use this for risotto or coconut and mango lassi), then you can de-shell coconut with a spoon. I also peeled it for this.
I made some coconut crisps for them to sprinkle on top too.
Fish and chips on the barbecue