Saturday, October 30, 2010

Marinated Kalamata Olives

Let's do some Tapas and start very, very easy. I love Tapas, it is not just good in summer, but simply every day, something to nibble with a good glass of wine. We are doing Tapas on our ship and it is very popular in the late afternoon in Cova Cafe. There is beautiful life Music, one can of course still have coffees too, but there is a very nice selection of wines too and what could be better then listening to some wonderful music, fresh Tapas and a glass of wine.

So, here is the recipe, really very simple

2 lbs Kalamata Olives
2 Quart Olive Oil
1 Bunch Thyme
4 Lemon zested
4 Orange zested
4 oz. Shallots chopped
4 oz. Garlic chopped

Drain the olives
Add all ingredients
Marinate for 1 day

By the way, just some travel updates. We just finished a beautiful Caribbean Cruise sailing out of Baltimore and going down to Labadee in Haiti for a great beach BBQ, then to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, San Juan and St. Maarten. Yes I am spoilt to be able to go to all these places, great weather and it is nice and warm. Always when we get to Baltimore I get a hint of winter....big hint as it can get feezing here.Life is good here on one of the beautiful Celebrity Ships, especially as a chef as food and wine is one of he high lights here on a Celebrity Cruise.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Tiramisu is one of my all time favourites. You might say now that it is not an In-Dessert but I could not agree on that. A good Tiramisu is still something absolutely beautiful, a delight with a very light Mascarpone Mousse and sponge (or Finger biscuits) soaked in strong Espresso, Kalua Liquor and a hint of Amaretto. Unfortunately there is too much mediocre Tiramisu around out there that we actually don’t know anymore how wonderful Tiramisu can be. I had many Tiramisu in Italian restaurants and often I am very disappointed. This recipe has no gelatine in it, it is very important that the egg yolk and icing sugar are properly beaten, to ensure the Tiramisu will not be too runny.

I researched a bit about the history of this now famous dessert, but there is not too much one can find. The one thing that is clear is that it is not an Italian Classic as in a dessert made since centuries. There are different years of when it apparently has been made the first time; I found dates from 1969, 1972 and 1983. It looks so as it comes from the Italian Town of Treviso. It is very similar to Zuppa Inglese another Italian Dessert, this one is older so. But in general in Italy they made layered desserts since many centuries.

If anybody has more information, please share it with me as I would love to know more about one of my favourite desserts, or write your favourite version in the comments, there is no such thing as the “only” or “perfect” Tiramisu recipes, many ways lead to Rome.....

I like to serve it with a marinated Strawberry salad to give the dessert a bit of a fruity zest to it. If the Tiramisu is done properly on can cut it is squares which makes the plating a bit nicer. I make it as well one day in advance as the flavours are coming out better.

6 Each Egg yolk

150 G Icing sugar
Vanilla essence
600 G Mascarpone
500 Ml Whipped cream

Biscuit bottoms
Coffee reduction

Whip the egg yolks with the icing sugar and vanilla till very foamy and hard
Add the mascarpone and mix quickly
Add the whipped cream carefully
Put one layer of biscuit then pour some coffee reduction and amaretto on it.
Then make a layer of the mascarpone cream
Repeat the same once more
Leave the tiramisu overnight in the fridge.
Sprinkle cocoa over it before serving

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clam Chowder in San Francisco

Yes, the blog got a new outfit. I thought after one year it needs a little face lift and I am actually very happy with it. We were sitting in the office trying out new templates and everybody gave me opinions, so that is the new face of the Country Gourmet Traveler. Let me know what you think. I still want to play a little more with it, but that is the start.

After the last Blog I just have to give you my recipe of the Clam Chowder, because I am still dreaming of this delicious soup I had in San Francisco. Sitting outside and enjoying this soup in the crusty sour dough bread was just a dream, so here it is, my Clam Chowder Recipe.

New England Clam Chowder

4 slices bacon, diced

1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
3 cups half-and-half
 tablespoons butter
2 (10 ounce) cans minced clams

Place diced bacon in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until almost crisp; add onions, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in water and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.

Pour in half-and-half, and add butter. Drain clams, reserving clam liquid; stir clams and 1/2 of the clam liquid into the soup. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Do not allow to boil.

By the way, I have to admit that I am already back in the Caribbean, yes it goes fast. We had a 17 day cruise back to Baltimore and I will tell you a bit more with some photos as well. I love the cruising and especially Panama Canal was amazing, but more about that in the next blog

Friday, October 8, 2010

San Francisco and Sour Dough Bread

After cruising in Alaska for a couple of days seeing Hubbart Glacier, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka we made our way south and have arrived in San Francisco after two rough days at sea. Yes the weather was not great and we had even snow in Alaska, but now here in San Francisco we have beautiful sunshine and it is lovely warm.

We are here for two days, but of course my time is very limited to go out and explore much, on top of that I need to get new plates for our Tapas in the evening, so all I actually could do is to go out to Pier 39 and indulge in a wonderful New England Chowder served in a San Francisco Sour Dough Bread.

Of course there are plenty of sights in town already, never mind the proximity to the Californian Wine Lands, something one must explore while here on the West coast. But like I said, all I did was going out to Pier 39, a lovely place full of restaurants and shops, the Aquarium is there and some museums are close by.

Being hungry I went on in my search of local cuisine and found something really interesting close by, a shop selling a sumptuous Clam Chowder served in traditional San Francisco Sourdough Bread. Wow, was that nice, the soup just had the right amount of spice and the bread was soaked with the soup, I had every bit to the last crumb. After that I had a leisurely walk through Pier 39, relaxed a bit in the sun, before going back to the ship. So of course being here in San Francisco I have a lovely recipe for the Sour Dough Bread. Try it out, it is the artisanal way of doing the bread, you will enjoy every bite
San Francisco Sourdough
Makes 1 loaf


For the starter:
3 tsp dried yeast
450ml (¾pint) water
375g (13oz) strong white flour, sifted

For the dough:
175g (6oz) strong white flour
75g (2½oz) wholemeal flour
2 tsp salt
75g (2½oz) “old” dough (see below)


1. To make the starter Sprinkle the yeast into the water in a large jar. Leave for 5 minutes; stir to dissolve.
2. Stir the flour into the jar of yeasted water using a wooden spoon. Cover with a tea towel and leave to ferment at room temperature for at least 3 days and at most 5 days before refrigeration. Stir the mixture twice a day; it will be bubbly and and pleasantly sour-smelling.
3. To make the dough Mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Spoon 500ml (16floz) of the starter into a liquid measuring jug. Replenish the remaining starter for the next time you make bread. Tear the “old” dough into tiny pieces then add the starter and the “old” dough pieces to the flour well.
4. Mix in the flour to form a firm but moist dough. Add more water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the dough it too dry or crumbly.
5. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
6. Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Knock back, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.
7. Pinch off a 75g (2½oz) piece of the dough for your next bread making. Wrap the piece of dough loosely in greaseproof paper and foil and refrigerate or freeze the dough until the next time you make bread.
8. Shape the remaining dough into a round loaf. Place on a floured baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and prove until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.
9. Cut three parallel slashes, about 5mm (¼in) deep, across the top of the loaf, then three more slashes in the opposite direction to make a criss-cross pattern. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour until golden and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Rising: 2 hours
Proving: 1½ hours
Oven temp: 220C / 425F / Gas 7
Baking: 1 hour
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...