Chef in Venice #9 - Baked figs with gorgonzola and honey

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Simple things are often the best!

After a full day walking round various biennale mind = blown. Time to chill out in the garden. This garden (below) happens to be in the beautiful Palazzo Zenobio who were hosting I think 4 country's pavilions. Another quirky contempory opera video from Iceland - great. Out in the garden though we found a pommegranate growing (see it middle right?) - food is never far away........

They were waiting to close the doors behind us in the end - you have to make the most of these things. On the way back we picked up some figs - it would be rude not to after all......

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1001 Kitchen Tips #66 - How to glaze lemon tarts without a blow torch

Sunday, November 27, 2011
That's what I love about aga's - so versatile!
 Yes - that's right - fill the lemon tart, sprinkle with demerara sugar and flip it upside down direct on the aga plate for around 5 seconds. Not a job for the faint-hearted. Lift it off carefully with a palette knife and flip it right side up again on to a tray.
 It does make rather a lot of smoke though - not something you want to do in a house where the smoke alarms are super sensative - we did this at Wyelands earlier.

Afterwards just scrape the sugar remains from the aga plate, scrub it down and it's like back to normal - aren't aga's great!.

I have the feeling this would also work for creme brulee - as long as it reached to the top of the dish so it made contact with the aga plate.
Lemon tart with raspberry coulis and raspberry sorbet. 

N.B. - Only sprinkle the demerara sugar on top one layer of sugar crystals thick - shake off any excess before turning upside down on the aga top. What I found was that it is the top layer of sugar which caramelises - if there is too much sugar on top the top layer stays stuck to the aga plate when you lift it off, rather than on your lemon tart.



Chelsea buns and chelsea bun bread and butter pudding

Thursday, November 24, 2011
Chelsea buns - it's what Sundays were invented for!

This was for a Sunday brunch delivery all the way back in January this year - I'd been meaning to make them for years. So easy too! Used this recipe.
Ready to prove

In the unlikely event you have some left over.... what about turning them into bread and butter pudding?
In the pot in the middle of this assiette of desserts - chelsea bun bread and butter pudding 22 January 2011, Hill House

See more bread pics on our facebook album

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Quail egg benedict canape & assiette dessert

Sunday, November 20, 2011
When the kids are away the parents will play! "Wwwwoooooooo!" "Wwwwwwooooooooooooooo!" "Oh food?! Is there any need for that tonight?" 
Well that's the record broken for the loudest party we've ever done - beats even the rowdiest hen party. Way to go!

The 2 waiters had to go either end of the drawing room at the same time by the end - the husbands were camped at one end and the wives at the other. The men seemed most offended when we took this plate of quail egg benedict to the wives' side. While I was getting the starter together guests kept coming up asking how it was done - how could you get so many poached quails eggs ready at the same time?

As with everything else with dinner parties it's all down to the 3 P's - Preparation, preparation, preparation. I had poached them just before leaving. There's a great article here on how it's done which I found via someone's tweet (can't remember who now) - same way I've been doing them since my first breakfast shifts at the Lygon Arms. Drop them into iced water, then re-heat them just before serving for a couple of minutes in just off the boil water.

The muffins were cut out & topped with ham, cut with same size cutter. As we had an aga at our disposal at Wyelands House in Chepstow I just dropped them in the simmering oven for a few minutes. Meanwhile the hollandaise was warming in a bain marie - if it's thick let it down with a little warm water so it's easy to spoon on top of the eggs, but not too much so it runs off and onto your guests' evening dress. Then warmed quail egg goes on top of the muffin & ham and hollandaise on top.

Make sure you do plenty of spares - one is never enough.......


Their assiette of dessert - they had it all - canapes, 2 courses, then an assiette dessert. This one was chocolate tart, glazed lemon tart, spoon of creme brulee, raspberry lavender shortbread (heart shape) and lemon meringue pie.


Chef in Venice #8 - Roast guineau fowl with sauteed apples, gremolata and a honey and lemon dressing

Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Just what you need after a day pounding the Venetian streets in search of the more obscure Biennale exhibits dotted around various houses, palazzos & churches. If truth be known these are often the most exciting. Found a great youtube vid below of someone who seems to have done a 4 day tour of the Biennale - great holiday memories.
Cooked on a potato trivet - the secret being all the roasting juices are absorbed by the potatoes, while at the same time the bird isn't sticking to the roasting tray. Keep the potatoes and re-use them another day, or serve them with it - so flavoursome.

I went for the light touch with this - no heavy red wine sauces/ gravies need apply. Instead, a gremolata (lemon zest, grated garlic, chopped rocket) sprinkled over the top and honey, lemon, mustard, prosecco, olive oil warm dressing bathing it. Light and refreshing! Underneath sauteed raddichio treviso (keep it local) and soft polenta. Thinking it could be adapted for a wedding dish some time in the future.


Salad of smoked salmon, beetroot and beluga lentils with dill mustard dressing

Sunday, November 06, 2011
As served earlier at Park Hall in Kidderminster. Going for the scattered approach. Fennel and radishes continue to be my favourite salad garnishes it seems.......