Monday, December 24, 2012

Seared Scallops and Tomato Mousse on Ratatouille Salad

It sounds delicious, but wait, it is actually just half of the recipe. Yes there is more! The tomato mousse and ratatouille salad are served with olive oil fried scallops and a capsicum vinaigrette. A lovely and light starter that is so easy to prepare.

I have done white tomato mousse before, so this time we are doing a red tomato mousse. It is the same way, cooking the tomatoes, then blending and straining, cool down, add gelatine and whipped cream.....finish...sounds easy enough? No worry, it is easy you will see when you follow the recipe.

Then there is the ratatouille salad, cut the vegetables in small cubes....not just anyhow, no, try to have them exact, 5 mm by 5 mm. I know it is a pain, but that is me, it has to be right. Then cook it like a normal ratatouille, cool down and just add a touch of balsamic vinegar.....yes an old one it will be nicer

Then you quickly prepare the capsicum vinaigrette, something you can even do a couple of days ahead of time, it keeps well in the fridge and can be used for all sorts of salads. Just roast the capsicum in the oven, peel, de pip, blend and add the other ingredients of the vinaigrette, voila and that was really easy

Then you plate everything and just before serving and adding the vinaigrette, flash fry the scallops. They have to be fried hot and very quick, you don't want to overcook them. I cut them in half, so it goes very fat with the cooking.

Isn't it amazing how easy this dish is to prepare? Mmmmmmm yes, I have to admit, it is not all that easy, it is a bit time consuming and one needs to have a bit experience in cooking the scallops, but let me tell you one thing.....don't be afraid to try something new, just follow the recipe step by step and you will see that you can make a starter at home you usually would only get in a fine dining establishment! Try, just try it out

10 Each Tomatoes
2 Each Basil
1 Each Thyme
50 Ml Champagne
2 Each Egg white
Salt, Pepper
3.5 Each Gelatine leaves
1 Lemon juice
10 Gin
10 Ml Champagne vinegar
Ml Salt, sugar
120 Ml Whipped cream

100 G Zucchini
100 G Eggplant
100 G Onions
100 G Tomatoes
25 G Tomato paste
25 Ml Olive oil Salt, pepper

600 G Scallops
50 Ml Olive oil Salt, pepper

150 G Red peppers
70 Ml Olive oil
30 Ml Cider vinegar
salt, pepper

Chop tomatoes, put in a pot with basil, thyme champagne and egg white
Blend everything, then bring slowly to boil, season
Strain through a Chinoise
Take 300 ml of the puree
Melt the soaked gelatine in it, add lemon juice gin and champagne vinegar
Cool down and fold in whipped cream
Cool in the fridge

Cut the vegetables in 5 mm cubes
Heat olive oil and fry vegetables
Add tomato paste
Simmer till still al dente
Season to taste
Cool completely

Season the scallops and fry quickly in olive oil
Roast the peppers in the oven, cool and peel
Take just the meat of the peppers and blend
Add olive oil and vinegar, season to taste

For the plating put the cold ratatouille in a round ring
Make a quenelle of the mousse and place it on top
Put 2 scallops around it and drizzle with vinaigrette

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Poached Sole and Salmon Roulade

This is another dish from our new weekly menu, something I haven't done since my training....yes that is a while back. A Sole and Salmon Roulade.

I am not sure why, but sole, Salmon, Spinach. Potatoes and White Wine Sauce just go well together, the flavors bond and the dish is exceptional. It always worked and I never had a bad comment about it. The flavors are subtle but still strong, the go together not against each other. The dish is light, but not really light in Calories as there is a bit of cream and butter in the sauce. The cooking method is healthy so overall it is a timeless dish, one that has worked well in the past...... many years!

Of course there needs to be a bit work to make this dish nice. The salmon has to be blended, strained, mixed up with cream, then the sole is laid out, the salmon goes on top of it, it gets rolled and then wrapped in plastic. I like to make one roll per person and then cut it just before serving

What is really important is that the Salmon and Cream are ice cold when blended together. The speed of the blender tends to heat up the fish mix and the danger comes that the cream splits....not what you want. Make sure you blend the salmon a bit, then add the salt as it will help emulating the fish and the cream. You need to work quite fast as well as it will help keeping the mix cold

So now, lets go to work and make this lovely dish, here is the recipe


900 g Sole fillet
400 g Salmon fillet
250 ml Cream
10 g Salt
5 g Pepper
30 ml Noilly Prat

300 ml Fish Stock
100 ml White wine
250 ml Cream
10 g Corn starch

1 Kg Fresh Spinach
50 g Garlic
70 g Shallots
50 ml Olive oil
10 g Salt, Pepper

1.20 Kg Potatoes
50 g Butter
20 g Parsley

250 g Tomatoes
10 ml Olive oil
10 g Basil
Blend salmon finely in a blender, make sure it stays cold all the time
Mix in seasoning and cream, season to taste
Clean sole fillet and lay them next to each other on a plastic wrap
Spread the salmon mix carefully on the sole fillets
Roll everything like a roulade
Close the ends tight and prick the plastic carefully with a knife. This will help to infuse the roulades with the flavor of the stock

Combine ingredients except cream and starch for the fish stock
Poach the roulades in the stock for about 10 minutes, take out and let rest
Then boil up fish stock, add cream
Mix corn starch with a little white wine and thicken the sauce
Turn the potatoes and boil till soft
Just before serving heat them up, saute in a bit butter and chopped parsley
Saute the cleaned spinach, season to taste
Semi dry the tomato with olive oil and seasoning

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Springbok with Spinach Spatzle

Today I make a traditional game dish from Europe but with a different game, one from South Africa. Springbok is a small antelope with incredibly tender meat, especially the loin and fillet. But even the legs don't require to long cooking times.
The recipe below looks like this huge amount of work, but to be honest, it is not. Of course there are short cuts you can take, often one can buy the braised red cabbage already, one can use something else than spatzle....of course it is not the same anymore, but it is possible
Then on the other side, nothing in this recipe really takes long. The cabbage is cut quickly, and the marination doesn't take time, OK, then you leave it over night in the fridge, but you are not really cooking during that time. The apples are really quickly made and the butternut is the same. Just make sure that you don't add any water when you cook the butternut, it has to be low heat and covered. There is enough liquid int he vegetable to make a perfect puree
This is a dish we serve on our second weekly menu, OK, the first one took nearly 3 week, but we wanted to sell out first all the New Zealand beef before we made a new one.
The whole menu is lovely, here it is

Tomato mousse on ratatouille salad
Olive oil seared scallops and capsicum vinaigrette
Tender Springbok loin with Spinach Spatzle and red cabbage
Caramelized butternut puree
Sole and Salmon roulade
Spinach, Chateaux potatoes and chardonnay cream
Caramel Foam with Saffron poached Mango

2.00 Kg Springbok loin

500 G Flour
40 G Butter
4 Each Eggs
200 Ml Milk
5 G Salt
2 G Nutmeg

0.50 Kg Red cabbage
0.10 L Red wine
0.10 L Orange juice
0.05 Kg Oranges
0.05 L Red wine vinegar
0.05 Kg Sugar
0.05 Kg Honey
0.20 Kg Apples
0.20 Kg Onions
0.01 Kg Bayleaves
0.00 Kg Gloves
0.01 Kg Peppercorns
0.05 Kg Potatoes

0.50 Kg Butternut
0.03 Sugar
0.00 Salt
0.5 Kg Apples
0.1 Kg White wine
0.1 Kg Water
0.05 Kg Sugar

Cut the loin in 200 g pieces, season and fry in oil

Sieve the flour
Mix all the other ingredients except the butter
Mix the liquid quickly with the flour
Beat the dough with your hand until the dough has blisters
The dough must be smooth and slightly runny
One can add Rocket, Spinach, Wild Mushroom flour or Tomato Paste to flavor the Spätzle

Slice the red cabbage very fine, preferably on a slicer
Cut the onions and apples in fine slivers
Mix all ingredients well, except the potatoes
Marinate over night
Simmer slowly in the oven till the cabbage is tender
Peel and grate the potatoes
Use them at the end to thicken the red cabbage

Peel the butternut, saute with sugar in a bit butter add salt simmer covered till soft
Puree and season to taste

Peel the apples and cut in wedges
Poach in white wine, water and sugar till al dente

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Exploring Accra: The Deli @ the Moevenpick

No, it is not a restaurant revue, not at all. It would be silly to write a restaurant revue about the restaurant we just opened, no, no. We leave that to others
So yes, I am here now since good eight month and had a fabulous time at the Moevenpick. We changed a lot, implemented a lot, are doing new things all the time, but the one major task I had this year was the opening of our Deli Shop.
We had many meetings, brain storming sessions. then had trials and we had an opening date.....which of course passed, then a new date.....which passed and then, one beautiful morning in the GM briefing we got the news. The plans had arrived and the containers with all the furniture and everything else was on the way....together with a new opening date.

Never less, that opening date still passed, but the building was already so far that we know quite exactly when to open......which was today!

It feels strange, after 8 month knowing what we wanted to do, we are actually doing it.....not exactly the way we planned, but we are pretty proud that it is working. I am proud, it is working well from day one and will get better every day.
Since one week I actually stay in the hotel as I start just before 6AM to make sure everything is going over to the Deli and is good, I help with preparation, with the set up, change a bit here and there, write new recipes as we see the original ones are not working as we want it and then of course still run the kitchen. Then at night around 10 PM I make sure everything is getting packed away, transfers are written and nothing is wasted.

The past nearly 3 weeks were really intensive. We employed new staff and started the training, most of the staff we employed because of their personality, not knowledge of sering. We wanted the right Vibe.....we got it and the knowledge is so much better than at the beginning, it is great to see the team in The Deli

So what is on offer?

There are of course the sandwiches, especially the Panini. Of course I am byist, but I have to tell you that there are no nice Panini in Accra except here. And that does not come from me, but from several guests I have chatted to today. You can have about anything on it, Parma Ham, Smoked Salmon, Ham and Cheese, Curried Chicken Salad, Tuna Mayonnaise, anything goes. So either you have a panini or a freshly baked baguette.
The we serve sushi, we got 6 individual flavors and then they go as well as a combo, very nice to have them on a Friday night before going out.

The next station is Pasta and Asian soups. You choose from Penne and Spaghetti and then have a choice of 5 Sauces. The portion is nice and big, so even the big eaters are catered for. Asian soups are prepared a la minute and you say what you want inside. Egg noodles, rice noodles, vegetables, beef or chicken

What we see is a total runner is the little lunch buffet we have with the local food. Jolof Rice, Plain Rice, and daily changing specialities like goat light soup, tilapia light soup, Agushi Stew and of course for Sunday we have Ebunuebunu with Fufu......want some recipes???? OK, they will come soon
We have as well salads, freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice, all sorts of drinks from juices, beer, wine and even bubbly. Yes, why not indulging in some sushi and smoked salmon sandwiches and having a glass of bubbly, it comes in half bottles, so perfect for a little tete a tete.... you can even sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the evening breeze

Of course we have a wide range of pastries, but what I want to mention is the Macaroons.......homemade and lovely, I have some of them every you will not see a photo of me enjoying them and see what happens to my belly, hehehehe
Last but not least our Ice Cream. We import our own Moevenpick Ice Cream, 7 flavors and yes, they are lovely, again, there is nothing that comes close to this flavor not just Accra, but the whole of West Africa. OK, I am exaggerating, but I just love Moevenpick Ice Cream. I grew up with it, love it and eat it whenever I can

I hope you like the photos and when you are in Accra, pop in and say hello. It is a great place to chill. Maybe even hop in the pool, have a great afternoon, chill out and relax.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oilve oil seared grouper with octopus

This is the fish dish of my weekly menu, grouper and octopus. It is a lovely combination served on fondant potato and a tomato fondue.

Fondant potato is a classic, it is actually cooked in chicken stock and then at the end glazed with the reduction. For this dish I leave the glazing away, but I still cook the potatoes in a light chicken stock.

The octopus gets braised in red wine, nice and slow, so it takes the color and the flavor of the wine. Don't take just wine, but add some water, fish stock, root vegetables, mmmm I get hungry just from writing it.
It is such a simple dish, but each flavor is coming out nicely

2 Kg (4lb) Grouper
1.3 Kg (2.6 lb) Potatoes
1 L (1qt) Chicken stock
0.25 Kg (10oz) Spinach
0.05 Kg Butter
0.01 Kg Salt
0.005 Kg Pepper

0.5 Kg Octopus tentacles
0.5 L Red wine
0.01 Kg Salt
0.005 Kg Pepper
0.5 L Court Bouillon
1 Ea Bay leaf

0.75 Kg Tomatoes
0.25 Kg Onions
0.01 Kg Salt
0.005 Kg Pepper
0.05 Kg Basil
0.1 L Olive oil

Season the grouper with salt and pepper

Clean the octopus and braise with red wine and court bouillon till tender
Cool down and let it marinate over night
Cut the potatoes into the typical fondant size
Simmer carefully in the chicken stock till soft

Saute the spinach just before serving

Cut the tomatoes in quarters, add the onions
Saute in a bit olive oil, add salt and simmer at low temperature till everything is properly cooked Blend and strain
Mix up with Olive oil, season to taste

Pour the tomato fondue on the bottom in the deep plate
Add a fondant potato on top
Then put a layer of spinach
The fish on top of the spinach
Drizzle the braised octopus legs on top of it

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lobster Terrine

Today we are attempting a different terrine, a lobster terrine. As usual it looks a lot more difficult than it actually is, the only thing you need a lot, is time. It takes a lot of time to prepare everything as you need all your ingredients ready when you start doing it.

I like to take whole lobster tails in the terrine, they have to be poached separately. I usually take a kebab skewer, stick it lengthwise through the peeled tail, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then poach them in court bouillon till they are just cooked. I then put them in the fridge immediately to stop the cooking process. Like this the tails will stay the same in the terrine, if they are put in raw they will curl up and the entire terrine will be messed up.
Then I like to put herbs in the terrine, just some parsley and dill, not too much, just for color. I have added some mushrooms as well, some wild ones and then some salmon that I cut in small cubes.

0.5 Lobster meat
0.6 White, firm fish fillet
0.01 Salt
0.005 Pepper
0.05 White wine
0.5 Cream
0.4 Lobster meat
0.4 Oyster mushrooms
0.4 Salmon fillet

Frisee lettuce
Radiccio lettuce

Cider Vinegar
Saffron powder
Olive oil
Pepper, white ground

Season and wrap the lobster tails in plastic like a sausage
Poach in court bouillon till glassy inside
Cool down in the blast chiller
Take the white fish meat, preferably grouper
Make sure it is half frozen, then add to a blender
Blend till fine, then add salt and pepper
Put the mix in a new bowl on ice
Cut the lobster and salmon meat in cubes
Fry the mushrooms in olive oil, season and cool
Carefully mix the ingredients under the mix
At the end add roughly chopped parsley
Put cling film in a terrine form, then add half of the fish mix
Add the poached lobster tail in the middle, press gently
Finish off with the rest of the fish mix
Poach in the oven in a bain marie for about 45 min at 80 C

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Zealand Beef Fillet in Ghana

I actually just wanted to write about our latest addition in the restaurant, the new 3 course menu. We have created a 3 course menu where the guest can as well eat the individual courses "a la carte" but basically if you order the whole menu you get the dessert for free. We will change this menu every week, so there are so many more recipes just waiting to be posted.

But then I thought about the menu, one of my suppliers came and said that he has beef fillet from New Zealand. Now I have to be honest, I have no idea how it got here. I know this supplier well....and you do too! It is my fish supplier with whom we went fishing in Krokobite. Yes he deals in many other things, Parma Ham, Parmesan, flour, cheese bacon....anything that sells.

He got the fillet through some dark corners and thought he would send me one to, this was nice. The color is really dark, not like the usual beef I have from South Africa. It is super tender, tasty and just simply great.

That is how my new menu should start. so I looked what else I have and found some lovely Salsifys....a root vegetable that is best eaten in a creamy sauce....just if you ask my humble opinion. Then we made some nice turned potatoes and some green beans on top of the fillet, yes, and believe me, it goes well.

So with no further ado and mumbling and long story, here is the recipe.....and I still wonder how he got it!!!!!!


2 Kg New Zealand Beef Fillet
0.05 Kg Salt
0.01 Kg Pepper

1 Kg Salsify
0.1 L Chicken stock
0.2 L Cream
0.05 L White wine
0.01 Kg Maizena

1.5 Kg Potatoes
0.05 Kg Parsley
0.05 Kg Oregano
0.05 Kg Butter

0.3 Kg Fine green beans
0.03 Kg Butter
0.005 Kg Garlic

0.1 L Demi Glace

Season the fillet with salt and pepper
Fry in oil to the desired temperature
Saute the salsify, then add chicken stock and cream
Boil up, season and thicken with Maizena
Turn the potatoes and boil them in salt water till soft
Chop the herbs very finely, then toss potatoes with herbs and butter
Blanch the green beans, cool down in ice water
Saute in butter with a bit garlic, season to taste
Put the salsifys on the bottom of a deep plate
Place the meat on top, potatoes around, a little jus
Put one bundle of beans on top of the meat

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Duck Breast, Sweetcorn Puree, Wild Mushrooms

I haven't cooked with duck breast for a while and have to say that I missed it. Duck is such a beautiful product, the flavor is amazing. It has some gaminess to it, but is not overpowering. It is a strong meat, dark red in color and therefore is best eaten medium to medium rare.

Of course the cooking point is always something one can debate. For me personally a good cut of red meat should be eaten medium rare, except a rib eye which is best consumed medium. Why?? Because there is a lot of fat in it and if the temperature is too low, the flavor won't develop and it is not nice to eat. But then of course on the other side, if a guest, friend or fiance would like to have their meat more cooked (or less), it is no problem. From a chef point I feel that it is my duty (and to a certain extend pleasure) to cook the meat to exactly the cooking point wanted. If somebody doesn't like blood in the meat, this person doesn't like blood in the meat and it is not up to me telling that person that this is not good......because it is good, it is the way that person enjoys the meat best.

So, after all this long story, cook the duck the way you like it, not the way I like it, because I want you to enjoy your meal.

Today I made my duck breast with a sweet corn puree, marinated red cabbage, rosemary potatoes and a berry jus. Duck pairs well with sweet items like sweet corn or the red cabbage which is marinated with red wine, sugar, honey, cinnamon, onions, apples and more. I have added some berries to the jus (gravy) to give it a bit of a different flavor.

Lastly a tip when you cook the duck breast. You won't need any fat to cook it. I usually take a non stick pan, heat it up and then fry the breast skin down. You will see, within no time there is a lot of fat in the pan. Be careful with the heat, as it takes a bit time for the heat to penetrate through the fat and cook the meat, if the breast is not long enough on the skin side, it will still be undercooked under the skin. I like the skin crispy, so it takes good 5 to 7 minutes on the skin side, then I turn the breast around and finish it off under a salamander or the oven with more top heat.

When the meat is cooked I let it rest. You should do that with every red meat, the resting will help that the juices stay in the meat and don't just run out as soon as you cut it. As a rule of thumb, you let the meat rest in a warm place for the same amount of time you cooked it....ok, with a big piece of meat you don't have to wait that long, but 10 to 15 minutes is the best time.

2 Kg Duck breast
1 Kg Sweet corn
0.5 L Cream
1.3 Kg Potatoes
0.1 l Olive oil
0.05 Kg Rosemary

1 Kg Red Cabbage
0.5 L Red wine
0.25 Kg Onions
0.25 Kg Apples
0.1 L Cider Vinegar
0.05 Kg Honey
0.05 Kg Sugar
0.5 L Orange juice
0.1 Kg Cepes
0.1 Kg Chanterelles
0.1 Kg Oyster mushrooms
0.1 Kg Shimeji mushrooms
0.1 Kg Trumpet mushrooms
0.05 Kg Garlic
0.1 Kg Shallots
0.15 Kg Butter
0.05 Kg Parsley
Demi Glace

Marinate the red cabbage with all ingredients and let it covered in the fridge for 24 hours
Braise slowly till most liquid is gone

Boil the sweet corn till soft and most liquid gone
Add cream, boil for another 10 minutes
Blend to a smooth puree

Cut the skin of the duck breast in criss cross
Fry on the skin side till golden brown and crispy
Turn around and leave the pan on the side.

Clean the mushrooms, then saute with garlic, shallots and butter, season to taste

Monday, November 5, 2012

Exploring Accra: Cavaliere Pazzo Restaurant

Finally I went to a new restaurant, it doesn't happen too often as after a hard weeks work I like to relax at home and just cook something simple like a little BBQ or have the pleasure that my fiancee cooks for me.
This time we went to an Italian restaurant called Cavaliere Pazzo, situated at the Polo Club in Accra. Just hearing Polo you can imagine that the food is not cheap....really not, is actually more on the pricey side, very pricey.....ok, at the end of the meal I was happy that the hotel paid for.
I could unfortunately not go with my Fiancee to this restaurant as it was actually a business dinner. I am showing the new Chef de Cuisine around town that he can see our closest competition. He will have the pleasure to see 7 of the top restaurants here in Accra in the next 10 days, I will go with him to eat at three of them, yummy, so expect more revues.
The food overall was actually very good, there is no complaint. The atmosphere is nice, even so I thought a little on the cold side, but overall very nice. As soon as we sat we got some lovely fresh bread, toast, fresh tomato salsa, olive oil and balsamic, as it should be in a good Italian restaurant. So the evening started well.
The menu is not too big but has a nice choice of everything. The Ravioli and Gnocchi we had were all home made and the sauces very flavorful. It was a bit on the rich side, but the flavor was excellent. I had the gnocchi with smoked salmon and my opposite had the ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta in a lovely tomato sauce
The mains we went for beef, he had a beef fillet with mushroom sauce and fried rice (which wasn't fried rice) and I had a sliced filled with rocket lettuce and Parmesan. Both meats cooked to perfection, the sauce rich and mine a little too strong with the balsamic, but that is now really looking for faults which really weren't, I am just a picky chef I guess.
We gave the desserts a skip as we were full with the 2 courses, pasta and gnocchi are main courses and are not served in half portions. Pity as the food is lovely and we wanted to taste more different dishes.
Then came the bill and I realized that it says on the menu that the tax is not there was another 15% on top of the bill which was a bit of a shock to me....yes, yes, I should have read the menu more careful. So the bill came to 260 GHC (130 USD) for the meal, a nice meal but over priced as we had no wine, just some beer
Would I go again? It is more a place for special occasions and if the Hotel thinks I have to go and pays, yes I would.......

Friday, October 26, 2012

Beef Fillet with Wild Mushrooms

I have to admit, the title of this blog is giving very little away and is even a bit boring. There is so much more to this dish than a piece of beef with a couple of wild mushrooms.....I mean wild mushrooms on its own is already a treat, but you will see in this combination, wow

Some the hidden items are foie gras, yes, the famous and infamous foie gras is featuring again. I love it and some people hate it, but because I love it, I will feature it again and again, sorry, but we all have our weaknesses and this is one of many, and I mean many.

For the foie gras I take the small off cuts, let them melt and then mix them with the wild mushrooms and some bread crumbs in order to make a nice crust. Then I give a small slice of fried foie gras on top as well, just to make it a bit more decadent. Of course I give a generous helping of sauteed wild mushrooms, mmmmmm I am getting hungry just writing the blog.

2 hours have passed between the last paragraph and this one. I was doing the pass in the restaurant and yes, we were serving some of these special beef fillets and I got hungry just looking at them. It was a busy evening and the new dishes were sold successful with great feedback, so I am sure that you will be enjoying this dish when you cook it

Here is the recipe

1.6 Kg Beef fillet
0.5 Kg Foie Gras
0.1 Kg Chanterelle mushrooms
0.1 Kg Cepes mushrooms
0.1 Kg Oyster mushrooms
1.6 Kg Potatoes
0.25 L Cream
0.25 Kg Butter
0.05 Kg Shallots
0.1 Kg Shimeji mushrooms
0.1 Kg Enoki Mushrooms
0.1 Kg Eryngi Mushrooms
0.1 Kg Butter
0.03 Kg Garlic
0.05 Kg Parsley, Italian
0.3 L Demi Glace
0.1 L Merlot

Cut the beef fillet in 150 g portions Cut the foie gras in 50 g portions
Cut the mushrooms finely
Fry the mushrooms in a bit butter, season
Mix with bread crumbs, egg white and foie gras
Fry the beef to the desired temperature
Let it rest for a couple of minutes
Top with the mushroom mix
Flash under the salamander
Make a creamy mash with the potatoes
Clean the mushrooms and saute in a bit butter, garlic and shallots

Pipe the mash on the plate, use some demi glace for garnish, plate the fillet and sauteed mushrooms around, add some glaceed onions

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chicken Galantine with wild Mushrooms

This is the second time I am writing a blog about Chicken Galantines. Last time I showed step by step how to make one....and yes, it is still a lot of work till it is done but it is so worth the while.

This time I just want to show you a different variation of the Galantine, with dried fruit and wild mushroom salad. It goes with our wild mushroom promotion which has just started and I am sure it will be a great success.

Terrines are great starters of a menu, they are delicate and often involve a lot of work, labour of love I call it.

This time I had about 6 of my chefs with me, so we made a whole training about the Galantine and now they made their first ones themselves....I am very happy because slowly the standard is getting better and better here.

But now I got the recipe for all my readers

1.3 Kg Chicken whole
0.3 Kg Chicken breast
0.015 Kg Salt
0.005 Kg Pepper
0.05 Kg Pistachios
0.1 Kg Cepes
0.1 Kg Chanterelles
0.01 L Cognac
0.3 L Cream

0.1 Kg Cepes
0.1 Kg Chanterelles
0.2 Kg Oyster mushrooms
0.1 Kg Trumpet mushrooms
0.05 Kg Shallots

0.05 L Olive oil
0.05 Kg Walnuts
0.1 L Cider Vinegar
0.2 L Olive oil

De bone the chicken carefully, leave skin intact
Blend the chicken breast with salt and pepper
Add ice cold cream continuously till it is a smooth mix
Take it out of the blender, it has to stay cold at all times
Cut cepes and chanterelles, saute quickly in olive oil
Add mushrooms, pistachios and parsley to the mix
Season and add Cognac at the end
Roll the galantine in plastic and tinfoil to form a sausage
Poach in the oven for about 45 minutes till cooked

Clean the mushrooms, saute quickly with shallots and olive oil
Chop walnuts, add vinegar and oil
Let rest over night

Serves 10 portions

Friday, October 12, 2012

Roast Vegetable Terrine

I love making terrines and will do more in the near future, but today I made one that was really fun to do. It is a roast vegetable terrine. It was a bit more work as I really wanted to get the right flavor out of each vegetable, so I did several different cooking methods. The pepers were roast int he oven with olive oil, salt, ppper and fresh thyme, the egg plant was dep fried,, as it makes it beautifully soft and the zucchini were grilled. I grill only one of the vegetables as I don't want the char grilled flavors to take over

Then after layering all the vegetables in the terrine form and pressing it gently, I cut the slices and see the different layers.....that moment is really one of the best, to see that a terrine came out exactly the way one wanted it.
I serve it with a balsamic emulsion and a little crisp salad. The balsamic gives it the acidity needed for a balanced dish

0.25 Kg Leeks
0.75 Kg Red peppers
0.75 Kg Yellow pepper
0.75 Kg Zucchini
0.75 Kg Eggplant
0.15 Kg Parmesan grated
4 Leaf Gelatine leaves
0.01 Kg Salt
0.005 Kg Pepper
0.01 Kg Thyme
0.05 Kg Balsamic Vinegar
0.1 Kg Olive oil
0.005 Kg Salt
0.002 Kg Pepper
0.05 Kg Frisee
0.05 Kg Rocket
0.05 Kg Lollo Rosso

Marinate the peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper roast in the oven at 190 C for 10 minutes
Put in a container and cover with plactic
Cool down a bit, then peel and de pip
Use the juice to do the gelatine mix
Blanch the leeks and put in ice water
Cut the eggplant and zucchini about 5 mm thick deep fry the eggplant, grill the zucchini

Cover a terrine form with plastic wrap put in a layer of leeks coverin all the sides
Then start putting in layers of the vegetables
Always put a bit parmesan and gelatine mix between the layers
Makes 1 terrine or 20 portions

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making waves in Nigeria....a news paper article from the Nigerian Tribune

Movenpick Ambassador hotel, Accra, Ghana. Inset, executive chef, Mr Walter Butti.
Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra, Ghana, is one of the Swiss hospitality brands attracting patronage from Nigeria ’Wale Olapade during a recent visit interviewed the executive chef, Mr Walter Butti, on the hotel’s culinary treat.

What is Movenpick selling point?
Movenpick started with food that is extremely important to the hotel. It is one of our selling points, but not our most selling point. Being passionately Swiss, we insist on quality, we import a lot here and I get a plane load every week with fresh lotuses, edible vegetables all organically grown in Europe. At the same time, I am having some farmers here (Ghana) growing for us. If possible, we do not buy from local markets. Nevertheless, for Movenpick, food is one of the main selling points.
How has it helped in selling relatively this new property of Movenpick? We had a major change over a couple of months ago. Under four months, we have rebranded the entire food outlets, reorganised the kitchen and the purchasing team because we want to be where our clients wants to be. It has helped before because the quality has always been good, the meat comes from South Africa, fish is cooked locally, and anglers normally bring it to us. Moreover, people appreciate quality so this is why they come here.
How do you intend satisfying the local customers’ vis-à-vis the international as a world brand?The local is extremely important because it covers the majority of our business, locally, our branded branches are usually fully booked, and what we do is that we have a mix between continental and local.
We have a couple of chefs in the kitchen who are fantastic chefs for the Ghana foods and that is what they do all day and the idea is that we are the best in what we do and then of course this include local food. I am not the one cooking the traditional local recipes because I am not locally grown. Nevertheless, as the chief chef, they all come to me, we go through the recipes, and whatever they need we get for them. We have our ebuno soup, which is a delicious local one, where you have snails and other garnishing and spicy rich local condiments; we go out to get all these ingredients. Sometimes, the European taste is sometimes strange for the local clients.
Do you experiment in terms of cooking?We have started experimenting quite soon to have a fusion of the local and international.
How many home grown chefs do you have and how well are they disposed to servicing the needs of the indigenous customers? Many of the chefs we have employed had already worked in different hotels here in Accra and others in hotels abroad. Out of the 48 chefs, I have three experts while the ones left are local and two of the executive chefs in charge are local who have spent 20 years in different hotels abroad before coming back to Ghana. To get them to international standard is all about training and training is an ongoing exercise and I am very fortunate with one of my chefs, who work mainly in the morning on all the European dishes.
He grew up in Germany, while his mother is from Ghana. He came back some couple of years ago, he knows virtually all the flavours of what the European and intercontinental customers like. I try to get the best in each region. Our Asian chef, from the Philippine, is in charge of the sushi and all the Asian foods we serve in Movenpick. In addition, when it comes to training, it is just simple, I am in the kitchen, I cook with the chef and we taste together.
Considering your wealth of experience in world brand hotels signature food, what should customers expect from you in Movenpick Ghana? I think it is something that is for me; it is not reinventing the deal, but is really going down to basics. It is all about flavour, taste and looks. Everything we do has to be authentic and I think this is the difference. It is not new although, but it is something that you have not heard or seen here. I have years of international experience, I left Swiss over 20 years ago, I worked for 10 years in South Africa, seven years on ships travelling all over the world. I want to say that the new taste we now have here is not chef Butti but it is the Movenpick and chef Butti, we have reorganised to have the authentic Vietnamese foods.
What is the patronage and feedback like? The feedback is very good, especially over the last three months, we have changed the flavour pattern a little bit and the response is extremely positive and the next thing we will attempt is our function venue to opt for more variety and interesting local flavours.
You said that you have just changed the flavour pattern, what do you mean? It is quite difficult to explain this. When you taste the food, it is different now. Food is not complete without the chicken cube, so we have this in stock. This little thing has changed our jollof rice from being very good to one that is loved by our local clientele.
Are you rigid in terms of flavour? No. But I think as a chef one needs to be open-minded and I am definitely not one of the diva chefs. It is cooked based on clients’ taste. I do not know your taste, but it know it. We ensure that our clientele’s satisfaction is guarantteed.
You spoke about looks in your food pattern, aside your buffet service, will you able to serve local food continental style? Yes, we will be able to do this. Recently, we started a bit, but not much yet and some certain items are difficult to change. if you have a Tilapia for an instance, it has to be whole. It has to be done the way the local people like it. So, I cannot now go out to do it the continental way and put all fancy sauce spices that are alien to them it will just not be Tilapia for local people. I used to make in the Philippine, there, the Tilapia use to get a deep fry, in Europe it is pan-fried and here, I keep it local. We have yam on the menu but it takes 25 minutes to cook. You cannot pre-cook it because it will not be nice and since we got complains that it takes more time for the yam to be served and for now I took it off the menu. If you want yam, you are welcome and they also known that you have to wait for 25 minutes for it to cook. Therefore, to satisfy the needs of customers we are now playing around with yam chips, yam fries and making yam coming out in different ways to have it local but doing it the continental way.
Does Movenpick run an apprenticeship programme? We do not run an apprenticeship programme but internship. We have people coming to be in the kitchen for two months as well as a stint in other departments of the hotel.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hamburger Galore, the spicy Accra Burger

There I am again, this time with a spicy version of our hamburgers. I call it the spicy Accra Burger as a little homage of the town I live in at the moment.

Here food is spicy, sometimes very spicy so I thought it would be good to have a spicy hamburger on the menu. The response I got so far from our guests is great, the hamburger is flying out, nearly as popular as the Ambassador Burger (which by the way is named after out hotel here)

I am trying to use local produce, and as there is usually plenty of Mango (except they are out of season for a couple of month every year) I made a spicy mango chutney. The the grilled pineapple slice, the bacon and often I pour a little chili dressing on it as well

So one has this sweet and spicy sensation which goes very well with the meat. The meat as mentioned before is always a mix of meats. I like to have flavor, so what we do is a blend of local beef which is very tasty, but often a bit tough and Karan Beef from South Africa which gives the patty a lovely richness

2 Kg Local Beef
100 G Lettuce
150 G Tomato
75 Ml BBQ Sauce
50 Ml Oil

1 Kg Pineapple

150 G Bacon

350 G Mangoes
10 G Chili
50 G Sugar
75 Ml Vinegar

Grind the beef and form 200 g patties
Season and grill to the desired cooking temperature
Cut the mangoes in cubes and simmer with chili, sugar and vinegar till thickened
Cut the pineapple in slices and grill, finish off with a bit brown sugar under the grill
Cut the burger bun in half, butter it and toast golden brown
Layer the lettuce and tomatoes on it
Generously pour BBQ sauce on the tomatoes
Place the patty on top
Then top with Pine apple, bacon and chutney
Put the bun top leaning on the hamburger

Serve with French fries and side salad

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exploring Ghana: Makola Market

We had a really interesting outing, we went to Makola. Makola is a part of Accra one cannot miss because it is basically the city centre and it is one huge market. It is so big one easily can loose direction, especially when going into the small alleys.

We went on the busiest day of the week, Saturday, and the roads were packed. There are people everywhere and goods are so far into the road that it is difficult for cars to pass. Sometimes everything comes to a complete stand and nothing is moving. Then one hears people shouting at each other....of course I have no idea what they say, but for sure it is not just positive encouragement.....and then it starts moving again.

Being a chef my eyes are always open to see new foods....not necessarily that I would try them as I am not hosting some fancy TV show eating all sorts of strange foods, but I love to make photos and then ask how everything is eaten.

The guy with his Kebab stand was not impressed that I photographed him, but did not buy a kebab....the whole stand just did not invite me to eat and I just had a lovely breakfast. Later talking to the staff in the hotel they all know the guy as the kebab man.....he seems to have his stand there since ages.
Then something really strange came. A lady carrying cow feet on her head. These were huge cow feet and of course I had to find out what is done with them. They are actually dried and then are used to make soups or stews......lovely, kids tonight mommy cooked your favorite, cow feet soup.....just imagine. But Stephen, my friend at the hotel, his eyes lit up when he talked about cow feet, he loves them.
Then there was a lady selling pies, not cooked the traditional way in the oven, no, just simply deep fried. Heavy food, so here as well I gave it a skip.

The normal transportation mode is carrying everything on the head. Sometimes this must get very heavy, but there is no other way to be able to transport so many nappies all at once. It is amazing to see the ladies here in Ghana how everything is carried on the head. When one stops at a red light there are many sellers going from car to car and everything is carried on the head. Try doing that for a full day!

We must have spent close to 2 hours on the market, there is everything for sale, from tooth paste to shoes, perfume, food, sweets.....and of course cow feet. The prices are a lot cheaper than in the normal shops, the tooth paste we bought was a third of the normal price, so was about everything else.
Is it safe?
Generally I think so, but of course it is like everywhere else, one has to be careful and don't flash your money and jewellery. I made the photos with my phone so I don't have to carry my big camera. Sometimes when one goes into the small alley it can get a bit scary, but after all the time we spent there, I had absolutely no hassles. Of course everybody calls you and tries to get you to their shop, being a white man I heard Obruni all the time, the word for us pale faces here in Ghana. The people do this Gssssss, Gssssss! This is only to draw your attention. It is done everywhere, even in restaurants if you need something, so don't be offended by it.
It was a great outing and surely not the last time that we go to Makola. It is a hustling and bustling place, just simply amazing to see.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Champagne Dinner

Yesterday was a fun day, I was an extremely long day at work but most of the time I was actually cooking and this was just fun. Usually I spend a lot of time in the office doing the paperwork I "love" so much, but yesterday I was out in the kitchen the entire day. I must say that I am very fortunate that I have an extremely understanding partner. I told my Fiancee that I should be back home between 10 and 1030 PM but arrived after 11 PM. We usually eat together when I come home after service and she wanted to treat me with a Tilapia cooked in Coconut Broth. I love it but because I was so late we did not eat and went straight to bed.....we will have it today
The special part of this day was that we had a dinner with Moet & Chandon Champagne and we cooked something that was different to what we normally cook so of course I take this opportunity to go a little wild.
Here is the menu we cooked

Diver Scallop in chilled Sweetcorn Broth
Sauteed Foie Gras  on Apple and Pear Tart Tatin
Champagne and Caramel Reduction
Pave of Salmon and Lobster tail
Saffron Parsnip Mash, Herb Beurre Blanc
Hear of Karan Beef Fillet slow roast in the Oven
Napoleon of creamed Potatoes, Spinach and Mushrooms
Delice of Chocolate and Raspberries
Croustillant and macerated Berries

Sounds good? Ah yes it is good. It was a lot of work, especially the Tarte Tatin as first I made a thin, crips layer of puff pastry, baked it and cut it out. Then the Apples and Pears have been sliced on a slicing machine, then cut out and cooked in Caramel and at the end they have been layered on top of the puff pastry. That took quite some time, but at the end it was all worth it.
The guests loved the dinner, of course they had Moet & Chandon Champagne, starting with the Nectar for the Foie Gras. The comments of the organisers was that we were daring to start with this champagne, but the combination absolutely worked out to be perfect, so off to a good start.
Then they had the Brut with the fish and the Rose with the meat, everything went well. To finish off the meal Dom Perignon was served with the dessert, wow, we really ended up on a high note and all 25 guest were raving about food and wine. So yes it was a good evening.
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