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Lamb cutlets with vegetables

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P1060980Ingredients: 2 peppers in any colour, deseeded and cut into chunky pieces, 1 large peeled and cut into chunky pieces, 2 courgettes, 2 carrots, sliced into chunks, 1 red onion, cut into wedges, 1 tbsp olive oil, 8 lean lamb cutlet, 1 tbsp thyme leaf, chopped, 2 tbsp mints, rosemary twigs

Directions: Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the peppers, carrots, courgettes and onion on a large baking tray and drizzle over the oil. Season with lots of ground black pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the lamb of as much fat as possible. Mix the herbs with a few twists of ground black pepper and pat all over the lamb. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, place lamb and fry on both sides for two-three minutes. Then put it aside.

Take the vegetables out of the oven, turn over and push to one side of the tray. Place the cutlets on the hot tray and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Turn the cutlets and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables and lamb are tender and lightly charred. Mix everything on the tray and serve.

(I served with couscous)

Chestnut cream with mascarpone mousse

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P1060961Sweetened chestnut puree and mascarpone cream piled on top of each other to fantastic effect, absolutely fabulous. And adorned with fresh orange slices makes it irresistible.

Ingredients for the chestnut cream: 100g milk chocolate broken up, 50g unsalted butter diced, 1 x 435g tin unsweetened chestnut purée, 75g caster sugar, 100ml double cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mascarpone mousse: 3 medium organic eggs separated (optional, I leaved out the eggs from my recipe), 50g caster sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 200g mascarpone, 200ml double cream whipped to soft peaks, Amaretto liqueur, Amarettini biscuits, broken

Directions: Arrange the trifle sponges or Amarettinis in the base of a deep 20cm bowl (glass for maximum effect), and sprinkle over the sherry or the Amaretto liqueur. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and gently melt them, stirring now and again until smooth, then remove the bowl from the heat and allow the melted chocolate to cool to room temperature.  Place the chestnut purée, sugar, cream and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until creamy, then add the chocolate and butter mixture and whiz again until you have a silky purée. Smooth this over the sponges.
For the mascarpone mousse, using an electric whisk, in a large bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Gently loosen and fold in the mascarpone and vanilla extract. Fold in the whipped cream. Whip the egg whites until stiff in another large bowl and fold into the mascarpone base. Flavor with Amaretto liqueur. Smooth this over the chestnut cream, cover and chill for several hours. To serve with fresh orange slices and with Amarettini crumbles on top.

Rice flan a la Flamand and a Catalan rice cake

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Rice pudding is a dish made from rice, mixed with water or milk and other ingredients such as cinnamon and raisins. Different variants are used for either desserts or dinners. When used as a dessert, it is commonly combined with a sweetener such as sugar. Such desserts are found on many continents, especially Asia where rice is a staple. This dish can be found all corner of the world. It can be made in two ways: in a saucepan or by baking in the oven.

In a saucepan, it is made by gently simmering the milk and rice until tender, and then the sugar is carefully mixed in. Finally, the cream is mixed in, and it can either be left to cool and be served at room temperature, or it can be heated and served hot. It should have a very creamy consistency.

Rice pudding baked in the oven

When made it in the oven, the pudding rice is placed into a baking dish, and the milk, cream and sugar are mixed in. The dish is then placed in the oven and baked at a low temperature for a few hours, until the rice is tender and the pudding has a creamy consistency. While cooking, the pudding may develop a thick crust, which adds an interesting texture to the pudding.

Taart-met-citrusflan_A2I discovered this old-fashioned Belgian rice pie recipe when I lived in Belgium. I can vividly recall it being served on one Sunday afternoon at my Belgian friend’ s alongside a cup of coffee.

(Don’t let the lengthy recipe scare you off, it’s easy to make).

Ingredients: 3 ounces of white long-grain rice, 5.5 ounces of barley flour, or all-purpose flour, 0.30 ounce of fresh yeast, 1/3 cup of whole milk, tepid, 4 cups of whole milk, cold, 1.4 ounces of butter, unsalted, cold, 1 ounce of vanilla sugar, 4.5 ounces of sugar, caster, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 egg yolk, 1 egg, 1 pinch of table salt

Add the flour, fresh yeast, cold butter, 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of the (caster) sugar to a clean blender.

Pulse into a dry and crumble mixture. Pour in the tepid milk. Pulse again until you get a sticky dough.

Pour the dough onto a well floured surface. Sprinkle with extra flour and start kneading it for 3 to 4 minutes until smooth.Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it up in cling film. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime combine the rice, 2 cups (480 ml) of the cold milk and the vanilla sugar in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat lower and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the milk has been absorbed.

Heat up the rest of the cold milk. In another saucepan add 1 egg yolk and the (caster) sugar. Whisk into a creamy mixture for a couple of minutes and then gradually pour in the hot milk while stirring constantly. Add the cornstarch. Whisk the sauce over medium heat for 4 minutes until you get a runny custard consistency.

Add this to the cooked rice and stir well. Put the rice filling aside for now. Roll out the dough on a well flour surface and coat a tart tin with it. I used a tin of 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.

Scoop the creamy rice filling in it and spread it evenly. Beat the remaining egg and brush the top with the egg wash.

Bake the rice pie in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 40 minutes until the top and the crust is golden brown. Remove the freshly baked pie from the oven and let it cool in its tin. Cut it into wedges and serve, preferably lukewarm.

When I was in Spain (In San Sebastian) I ate this Catalan rice cake and I loved it as well, so here is the recipe:

mazamorra-moradaCatalan rice cake 

Ingredients: cup Arborio rice, 4 ¾ cups milk, cinnamon sticks, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom, grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons cardamom pods, cracked with the side of a knife, ¾ cup heavy cream, 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ⅓ cups sugar

Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly butter, or use cooking spray, on a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish (preferably nonstick). In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in rice and cook for 15 minutes. Drain, then add rice to a medium saucepan with 4 cups of the milk, the cinnamon sticks and the ground cardamom. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the rice is very tender. Drain away any milk that has not been absorbed, then put rice into a medium bowl and stir in the lemon zest.
  2. To make the custard, in a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine the remaining 3/4 cup milk, the cardamom pods and the cream. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar. When the milk mixture comes to a simmer, slowly ladle it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the pan (discarding cardamom), then stir in the rice.
  3. To make the caramel, in a heavy small saucepan stir together the remaining cup of sugar and 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture turns a honey-amber shade. Immediately pour into the soufflé dish, swirling to make sure the caramel coats about 3/4 of the height of the dish.
  4. Without waiting for the caramel to harden, immediately pour the rice mixture into the caramel-coated soufflé dish. Fill a large roasting pan halfway with very hot tap water, and place the soufflé dish in the roasting pan. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and punch several holes in the foil in the corners of the roasting pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for about 2 hours (start checking after 1 hour and 45 minutes) or until the custard is set around the edges but the center still jiggles slightly. Remove dish from the water bath, cool on a rack, then refrigerate until set and cold, at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
  5. To serve, place the soufflé dish in a large bowl filled with enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the soufflé dish. Let stand for 20 minutes, dry the bottom of the soufflé dish, then run a knife around the edge of the custard and turn it out onto a platter. (It will stick and not look picture perfect.) Serve with a spoon.

 

Vegan pancake with eggplant caviar

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Ingredients: 3 eggplants (medium), 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 4 cloves of garlic, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, 2 pomegranates, 200 g Greek joghurt, 225 gr flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 eggs, 3 dl carne milk or butter milk, butter, chervil sprig

Methods: First I made the pancake with aubergineeggplant caviar.

Mash the garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle with some salt. Then add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and crush into a paste. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Spread the mashed garlic on both of the cut sides and then press together. Wrap the eggplant in foil and place in a 200ºC oven for an hour, after take out and let to cool.

When the eggplant had cooled, scrape the flesh out with a spoon and place in a saucepan with a little olive oil. Simmer for about 5 minutes then let to cool. Stir a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses, a tablespoon of yoghurt and salt and pepper in. The caviar is ready.

Prepare the pancakes by beating together 225 g self-raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder with 2 beaten eggs, 250 ml buttermilk and a tablespoon of chopped chervil. When the mixture is smooth cook on a griddle about a heaped teaspoon at a time. Flipp the pancakes over as soon as bubbles appeared to cook the other side.

To serve spoon a teaspoon of the caviar on each pancake with another teaspoon of pomegranate seed mixed with a little yoghurt. Add some more pomegranate seeds on top with a sprig of chervil.

Sweet biscuit from Milan

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P1060628P1060626The Milanese (milanesini) biscuits (in German: Mailänderli ; in French: milanais ) were the typical sweets of the Christmas and Easter period in the late eighteenth century and they were based on flour, sugar and butter (1-2-3). By the end of eighteenth century they became particularly common in Switzerland and in southern Germany (although similar desserts are also known in other countries.) The origin of the name is unknown, which suggests that the biscuit is a native of Milan/Italy.

However, it is likely that in Milan there was a similar cake in puff pastry and perhaps for this reason even at these sweets was given the name ” milanesini”. A recipe of milanesini was already mentioned in a cookbook published in 1780 by Andreas Morel. 60 years later in a book which title was the Bernese kitchen from 1840 the biscuit was called Gateau de Milan. Anyway the great advantage of that biscuit is it can be kept in a paper or metal box for months in similar way to the Danish or Scottish butter biscuits.marguerite

Ingredients: 500 g flour, 250 g sugar, 250 g butter, 6 egg yolks, lemon zest or dried lemon peels

and for the top: 2-3 tablespoons of cream and 1 egg yolk mixture or for icing: powder sugar, whisked egg white and water

Methods: Heat up the oven to 170 grades and butter two baking trays.

Mix well the flour and the sugar, add the egg yolks, water, lemon zest and butter until you have an homogenous dough.

Roll out the dough on the floured work surface in a sheet of 5mm thick, cut out cookies with various forms.

Place the biscuits in the trays at 2,5 cm distance between them and bake for about 15 minutes, until they are golden.You can decorate them as you like it! Show your talent, make an icing or cover with chocolate fondant! 2045_gr

 

Pheasant with wild mushroom gnocchi

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P1060955

Ingredients: 3 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) farm-raised pheasants, innards removed, wing tips and necks trimmed, salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped,1 orange, halved, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in half, 1/4 cup Madeira, 1 cup rich chicken stock, 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

For the wild mushroom bread pudding: 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, 1 cup sliced yellow onions, 10 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, such as oyster, shitake, chanterelles, wood ear, or porcini, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 cup lager beer, 5 large eggs, 3 cups heavy cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, 3/4 pound stale white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon plain bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.

Season the cavities and the outside of each pheasant liberally with salt and pepper. Divide the chopped onion and carrot equally among the cavities of the pheasants. Squeeze the juice from both halves of the orange and set aside. Cut 1 of the squeezed halves into 3 pieces, and tuck inside of the cavities along with the veggies. Insert 1sprig of thyme into the cavity of each pheasant.

Arrange the pheasants in a large roasting pan, breast sides up. Lay 2 strips of bacon over the top of each pheasant, cutting the bacon into pieces if necessary to cover as much of the pheasant as possible. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the bacon strips and continue roasting for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear. (It is important to not overcook the pheasants, as they are very lean birds.) Remove the pheasants from the oven and transfer to a serving platter, loosely tented, while you make the sauce.

Using a spoon, carefully remove as much extra fat from the pan as possible. Place the roasting pan over high heat and, when hot, deglaze with the reserved orange juice and Madeira, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the orange juice and Madeira have reduced by half, add the chicken stock and continue to cook until sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl in the butter and remove from the heat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Remove the back bone from each pheasant, then cut along the breast bone to divide the birds into two halves. Serve 1/2 pheasant per person, napped with some of the sauce and with some of the wild mushroom bread pudding.

Prepare the wild mushroom bread pudding: Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and until the mixture is almost dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and whisk well to combine. Add the mushroom mixture and stir well. Add the bread cubes and let sit until the bread has absorbed the liquid, 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with the butter. Add the bread crumbs, shaking to cover the bottom evenly. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and uncover. Continue baking until risen and firm in the center, and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

Or make gnocchi and let them to boil in hot water. Garnish pheasant with grapes (cooked in Madeira wine) and gnocchi and decorate with orange slices.

 

Grilled salmon with potato in lemon butter sauce

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P1060571

Ingredients: 4 large salmon fillets, 2 lemons, 2 large bunches of fresh green asparagus, 1tsp flaked dried red chillies (optional), 30g butter or oil melted, salt, ½tsp fresh ground black peppercorns

for the butter lemon sauce: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon), 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (to taste), pepper, parsley, chopped

Methods:

  1. 1. Mix the sesame oil with crashed garlic and grated ginger, add some soy sauce and honey and the crushed black peppercorns.

 

Roll the salmon in this mixture and ensure that its well coated.

Slice the lemon into wedges removing any pips.

Preheat a griddle pan and transfer the remainder of the sesame oil and herbs to the pan. When its spitting, add the salmon fillets and grill for 6-8 minutes turning once to ensure even browning. Cook the lemon wedges in the griddle pan until they start to brown.

2. Meanwhile bring a large flat pan of water about 3-4 cm deep to the boil, add a little salt.

Place the asparagus into the pan, turn the heat down and simmer very gently for 8-10 minutes until tender but not overcooked. Drain.

3. Cook potatoes in their skins. When they are cooked peel them and place them to a serving plate. Prepare butter lemon sauce: Melt butter in warm (not hot!) pan. Add lemon juice to the butter and warm briefly. Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste. Serve the salmon on a bed of asparagus, and garnish with lemon wedges. Pour the remaining butter and herbs over the asparagus and potatoes.