Monday, January 30, 2012

Panzotti Pasta

There are so many different shapes and colors of pasta, it is absolutely incredible, and I know that one could write a big book about it, the recipes, the flavors, the shapes and the origins.

I love pasta, always have and always will. I like to make my own homemade pasta and often I just cook it plain and then serve it with a little fresh butter and grated Parmesan, a dream for me. I like good quality pasta, if I don't make it myself, then I only buy the best available.

Today, we made another pasta that is not that well known, it is called Panzotti. Panzotti are actually nothing else than big, triangular Ravioli. We fill them with spinach and ricotta and serve them on a mirror of tomato sauce, then a little more spinach on top (just to make sure they look pretty and then of course Parmesan.

Filled pasta can be made in advance and then frozen. It makes sense as it is a lot of labor going into homemade pasta and it is worth to just make a bit more and freeze them, so next time you can just take them out the freezer and cook. If you freeze pasta, make sure that you put them in lots of boiling water while still frozen, do not defrost your pasta as otherwise the condensation makes the dough all soft and sticky.

But now to the recipe

1kg plain flour
10 eggs
10gm salt
80ml olive oil

Combine flour and salt. On a bench make well with flour. In a bowl add eggs and oil. Slowly incorporate the egg mixture with your hands until you form a dough. Knead the dough for about 10mins till a homogenous consistency. Wrap and place in fridge.

500 g Ricotta
500 g Spinach
100 g Onions
30 g Garlic
Salt, Pepper

Cut the onions and garlic in very fine cubes, saute in butter till glassy.
Add spinach and ricotta. Season to taste. Cool down completely

Roll the pasta dough into thin sheets. Cut squares if the size 10 x 10 cm (3 x 3 Inches). Put a spoonful of the filling in the middle.
Put egg wash around the edges of the dough and fold it triangular like a ravioli. Press the edges gently together.

Cook till al dente.

½ box ripe roma tomatoes
¼ head of celery finely chopped
2 large onions finely chopped
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
½ large leek finely chopped
1 bouquet garni
250ml vermouth
500ml nage

Peel the roasted tomatoes, sweat the mirepoix, Add tomatoes and deglaze with vermouth. Add nage simmer the sauce until mirepoix is cooked then puree the sauce pass through fine chinois return to the stove heat till right consistency season
and cool.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Antarctica, Ice Bergs

The last cruise here in Antarctica and after 4 days of heavy weather, storms and being banged and bashed around, we are back in Antarctica. This time we are in the Ross Sea, a dream come true as I have never been to the Ross Sea. So far the weather is really with us and I was able to do some really cool shots of Ice Bergs. I love them, how they slowly float through the sea, sometime getting stuck in the pack ice, then next year they come free again
The largest Ice Berg ever recorded came off the Ross Sea in 2000 and initially had 11'000 km2, this is just so big, one cannot imagine. Only in 2005 the last remains of this giant have broken apart, so for 5 years the Ice Berg was floating around, breaking up bit by bit
Here I have a photo which I made straight out of the galley, we have wonderful big port holes, so we can see what is happening out there. We are so close to the ice when we go down. There is not much sleep so, as the scratching of the ice keeps us awake the whole night.
Photo from the Galley, who can work with such a view?
We even have some wild life here on the ice, I had to zoom it in a bit, but you can see the penguins nicely and as well the seal, they were all not too far away from the ship. That is why I love going to Antarctica, the nature, the wild, the animals, all is so wonderful and I feel humbled to have the privilege to see it with my own eyes.
We are busy sailing south, so far we are OK with the pack ice, this cruise even the sun is out (at the moment at least) and we are making good headway. If everything goes well we are actually able to set foot on Antarctica and see Shackleton's hut. This would be absolutely amazing.Just imagine that more people have gone on top of Mount Everest than people have actually been in Shackleton's hut, that just shows how remote the hut is. If we really get there, I will make loads of photos and post them here on the Blog!!!
Let's hope we get there!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Peach Soup with Ice Cream Sandwich

Peach Soup with Ice Cream Sandwich
Oh yes, another easy summer dessert which is so tasty, yummy and moreish. I love Ice Cream in all forms and especially as a sandwich it is really great. The peach soup gives the lovely sweetness to the dessert, another one that can easily be made in advance. I can't say it enough, when I have a party with friends, I want to be part of the party and not slaving away in the kitchen. OK, most of the time we end up in the kitchen anyway, so then there is nothing wrong, especially when everybody just lends a hand. (which happens often when my chef friends come over)

Now what do we need? Peaches, sugar, white wine, Ice cream and tennis biscuits. That's it, OK, I make the sandwiches round, bake my own sugar dough rounds, but to be honest, tennis biscuits are perfectly fine, just turn them inside out.

12 ea Fresh peaches
500 ml (0.5 quart) White wine
150 g (5 oz) Sugar

1 tub Vanilla ice cream
1 packet Tennis biscuits

Cut the ice cream the same size like the biscuits, then press one biscuit on each side of the ice cream. With a spatula make sure that edges are all nice and even. Make a couple of ice cream sandwiches extra as I know you will indulge in some of them while making them.

Keep one peach as garnish, cut in slices only

While the ice cream freezes, de-pip the peaches, cut them small and cook with wine and sugar. When totally soft process them in a food processor, cool down completely.

To serve, pour a bit soup in a bowl, garnish with peach wedges and mint, add the ice cream sandwich at the end

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Burns Dinner

What on earth is a Cock-a-leeky soup? Now, for that you need to be Scottish because today is Burns day. Burns was a Scottish poet and in his honor there is a very special dinner served on January 25. I am not going more into the man himself, because I am no great fan of poetry and have to admit, I never read one of his poems.

I can tell you more about the dinner, that is no problem, being a chef, that is the interesting part for me. It is actually a very simple 3 course menu, so we just incorporated it in our evening menu especially for the main course, it is a that is really not every-bodies favorite. It is a filled sheep stomach and the filling has all the intestines of the I said, not everybody would go for it. So we actually changed the main course a bit and de-boned a leg of lamb and filled it with a liver stuffing, much nicer and everybody who chose it enjoyed it very much.

Dessert is then a traditional Sherry Trifle, something everybody likes very much.

But now to the soup, as I have the recipe for it, it is really a lovely soup, not too refined, chunky pieces of chicken and cut leeks, these are the main ingredients. So here we go

1 ea Chicken whole
2 ea Leeks
3 ea Onions
3 ea Tomatoes
1 clove Garlic
2 ea Bay leaves
1 ea Cloves
50 g Butter

Make a chicken stock with the whole chicken, the leek off cuts, onions, tomatoes, garlic and spices. Simmer for about 2 hours very slow.

Take the chicken out and strain the stock. Pull the meat off the chicken, that will be going back into the soup at the end.

Cut the leeks in fine slices, wash well as often there is still plenty of sand between the leaves

Fry the leeks in a little butter, without color, then add the chicken stock. Simmer till the leeks is tender, season to taste and add the pulled chicken just before serving

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Salmon Confit on Parsnip Puree

Another nice starter we did here on Orion. Cooking with the guys is really fun here. It is a dedicated team of 11 chefs and Utilities and I can honestly say that it is a pleasure to be with these guys. Everybody works hard and the food that comes out of the galley every day is really good. I would love to be a guest and enjoy the daily treats

Salmon Confit

500 g (17 oz) Salmon Fillet
Coarse salt
Bay Leaves
Lemon Zest
Olive oil

Make sure the salmon fillet is trimmed off all the fat (dark pieces), then rub it with coarse salt and pepper.
Put the salmon in an oven proof container, just big enough to hold it. Add the other spices and then submerge completely with olive oil. Heat the dish on the stove till the is about 55 C hot. Transfer the dish to the oven and poach at around 90 C till the salmon is still translucent, but flaky (about 30 minutes). Cool down and leave in the oil till you use it.

Pull the flakes carefully apart.

Parsnip Cream

500 g (17 oz) Parsnip, peeled and grated
250 ml (8fl.oz) cream
250 ml (8fl.oz) milk
3 leaves of gelatin, soaked
100 ml (3½fl.oz) cream, semi whipped
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil, a light variety
100 g (3 oz) Shallots
½ cup baby leaves– basil, celery, parsley, cress  

Tomato Jelly
1 kg tomatoes, eyes removed
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
35 ml (¼fl.oz) Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
20 ml (¾fl.oz) verjuice
35 ml (¼fl.oz) Vodka
4 leaves of gelatin, soaked

For the Parsnip Cream
heat a large bottomed pot to high heat, sweat the eschalot until translucent, add the grated parsnip, cream and milk and continue to simmer on a high heat until tender, stirring occasionally.
Using a food processor, purée the parsnip until smooth and pass through a fine strainer and cool.
In a small saucepan, heat a quarter of the parsnip purée, adding the squeezed gelatin leaves to it and stir until melted and completely incorporated. Fold this warm mixture very quickly back into the cool parsnip puree and 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Buko Pie

I was thinking since a long time to write about the Buko Pie. Simply because were we live there is plenty of shops selling Buko Pie. As usual one always drives past them (which in one way is a good thing because if you stop and taste you will get addicted to them) but I wanted to stop and try one.

We don't live in the traditional area for Buko pie, but a very good friend of my Fiancee has a little shop in Tagaytay, selling among many other things a home made Buko Pie. So off we went, driving quick to Tagaytay to buy some Buko Pie. For me this is one of the best Buko Pies you can get, you just need to try one.
But what is Buko Pie? Buko is Tagalog for a young coconut and to make the pie is actually very easy. I will give you the recipe below. But while in Philippines, Buko Pie is available basically everywhere, but it is only really nice when it is freshly baked, so when you get it is the shop, the box is still warm, then you know you have a really freshly baked pie and it is so delicious

Now I first have to tell you how to find the shop with the delicious Buko Pie, and believe me, I have had since then many Buko Pies but none of them is as delicious as this one (OK, little bit byist, but trust me, it is delicious). The shop is called El Mare and is at the entrance of Tagaytay when you take the Santa Rosa Road. It is basically opposite the flower market.
But here is the recipe (if you really can't get to El Mare shop in Tagaytay)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 piece eggyolk
1 tsp. vinegar
1/4 cup ice water

4 cups coconut meat
1 cup coconut water
1 300 ml can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup cornstarch

Blend flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening using two knives or a pastry cutter.
Combine yolk, vinegar and water, slowly add the liquid to the flour mixing until dough can be handled.
Divide dough into 2 parts with one part slightly bigger than the other. Roll bigger dough to about 2 inches larger than a 16-inch pie form
Fit dough into a pie plate, letting sides hang.
Roll out remaining dough for the crust.
Set aside.
Combine filling ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan.
Cook stirring constantly until thickened. Cool then pour into prepared crust.
Cover with top crust; flute or fold edges together to seal.
Bake for 1 hr. at 180 C.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Antarctica, rough seas

Time can drag along when one is on a small ship and outside the weather conditions are not perfect. We are going through another storm here in the Southern Ocean. I have to admit, it is nothing like you see on TV with "the deadliest catch" but it is bad enough for us.

The ship is safe and the swell is maybe good 4 meters with 45 knot winds, so one can still walk around the ship, has to hold hand rails, but it is still all good and the guest are enjoying the lectures given by our knowledgeable expedition staff, just work is not so fun. Sometimes during service everything stops and we hold ourselves.......then everything continues like nothing happened. Of course everything is secured very tightly and we have nearly nothing that falls on the floor.
Most of the guest are still looking really good, I can see that the crowd booking for an Antarctic cruise is more hardened, only at the beginning of the cruise we had a dinner with less guests, now everybody comes to the dining room and sea sickness seems to be not an issue

I made some snap shots of the sea outside, it doesn't give you the 3 D feel but it loos bad enough. We are now on the direct way to Bluff, we had to cancel Snares Island as it would be totally impossible to get anybody safe in the zodiac. Pity as Snares is an amazing Island, I will write more about it if we go there on our next trip. The endemic Snares Penguin lives there, and he is such a quite Penguin.
We are docking in Bluff, the southern most town in main land New Zealand. It will be so nice to have one night sleep without the constant up and down, left and right movement

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gruyere Custard

A Swiss dish? No, it is not, but we use Swiss Gruyere for it, it is just simply the best, but of course you can use any other cheese, being it Cheddar, Blue Cheese, Parmesan or rather a mild Edam, it really doesn't matter because this dish is just beautiful in itself.

We serve it here with green Asparagus and a burnt Anchovy butter, it really compliments the dish.

Again, like most of my dishes, you can nicely do them in advance and then just heat up again for a little while, that makes the dinner party so much more enjoyable. This dish is strictly speaking vegetarian, but then I add the Anchovy Butter, that can just be replaced with a caper butter and we are all perfect. I like to do vegetarian dishes that are as similar to the other dishes at the table, I want that everybody feel just happy and comfortable

But now to the recipe

300 ml cream
300 ml milk
1 cup / 250 grams grated Gruyere cheese
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter to grease the ramekins
50 grams Spanish anchovies, oil drained
White pepper
1 garlic clove
125 grams butter, softened
1 tablespoon of picked thyme leaves
1 lemon, juice only
3 bunches asparagus, wooden stems cut

Set a bain-marie over gently boiling water.  In the bowl the cream, milk and parmesan and mix cooking until the parmesan has dissolved.  Pour into a bowl and refrigerate to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 120°C.

Have 12 small ramekins that will each fit 100ml of liquid ready and greased with the soft butter or an oil spray.  Set them in a deep roasting tray.

Heat up milk and cream, add cheese and let it melt, stir constantly.

Mix the egg yolks with the Gruyere cream.  Add a touch of white pepper and mix well.  Ladle into the ramekins mixing at all times to ensure the Gruyere is balanced in every ramekin.

Boil a full kettle of water.  Set the roasting tray in the oven shelf and pour enough water to half way up the side of the ramekins, cover the whole dish with aluminum paper and cook for 45 minutes or until the custard has set.  Remove form the oven and cool them in their dishes.

Melt the butter in a large clean frying pan until it foams.  Keep mixing the pan to avoid the butter burning in the warm spot.  When the butter stops foaming keep a good eye for it to reach a golden color and then add the chopped anchovy and Garlic and mix with a whisk to incorporate.  Quickly add the thyme and lemon juice and pour the butter in a small casserole to avoid it burning as the butter will continue cooking in the hot pan.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and plunge the asparagus in it.  In the meantime keep the custard warm in the oven with twelve plates.

When the asparagus are cooked but still slightly crunchy drain them.  Set the warm plates on a bench; turn the Gruyere custard on each of them by carefully inserting a small knife on the side of each custard to liberate them. Garnish with the warm asparagus

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nectarine and Blueberry Salad

If one thinks, half the world has summer at any given time, so I think it is perfect to give you a summer dessert recipe while I am in freezing Antarctica. After all it is summer here right now, otherwise we would not be able to come here. We got some amazing products in Hobart, even after 12 days at sea everything is still fairly fresh and we will be fine for our 18 day voyage. We had 3 boxes of beautiful nectarines and some really nice blue berries, so I made this Nectarine and Blueberry Salad with Mango Sorbet. The salad is nice and fresh, the nectarines are marinated, so there is this extra flavor. The beauty of this dish is really that it is so simple to make and looks so good.

10 ea Nectarines
2 punnets Blueberries

150 ml (5 oz) White wine
150 ml (5 oz) Water
90 g (3 oz) Sugar
1 Lemon (rind and juice)
2 ea Star Anise
1 ea Cloves
5 ea Cardamom
Half Vanilla Bean, scraped

Firstly make the sugar syrup, that is where the fruit get marinated. Simply boil up white wine, water, sugar and all the spices. Cool down to room temperature.

Cut the nectarines into wedges, put them immediately into the syrup.

Add the blueberries

Marinated for a couple of hours in the fridge

Serve with Mango sorbet, or any sorbet you like.

I have added some micro herbs as a garnish, this one is Micro Basil, just looks pretty and give some additional flavor which goes great with this dish

Friday, January 13, 2012

Antarctica in the pack ice

I am travelling again, this time down to Antarctica, the white continent. This is the third time that I am sailing down and like the first time, I am very excited. This is a place that it absolutely tremendous. One cannot imagine the vastness if one hasn’t been there.

Most of the Antarctic cruises sail from Ushuaia, Argentina. It is just a short trip of a god day or two at sea and one is there. I am going down from the Australia/New Zealand side. We are talking of a 6 day trip to get to the ice, with one stop at Macquarie Island. I have already written about Macquarie in an older post when I did some Sub Antarctic Cruises

I am on my favourite Cruise Line, Orion Expedition Cruises. We have 99 guests on board and 79 crew and will be on the way for 18 days. We have just reached half way and are in the middle of the pack ice, a short way from the continent. We have spent the past nearly 2 days trying to find a way through it and finally, I think, we have found a way. It won’t leave us much time at the continent, but we are happy to get through. The ice this year is extremely difficult. There is just too much ice.
We had some really rough sea after leaving Hobart, on the beautiful Island of Tasmania. After getting a bit of sunburn during loading, already the following day it was really cold and windy. But now, there is very little wind and the sea is completely flat while we work our way through the ice.

We see the occasional penguins, even Emperor Penguins and seals, but otherwise it is just ice. It is amazing to be outside, nicely wrapped in warm clothes and see the ice floating past; it has a serenity and is very humbling.

Just some useless info about Antarctica:
It is the Earth southernmost continent, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle.
98% of the continent is covered with the Antarctic ice sheet, a sheet that is on average at least 1600 Meters thick (more than one mile)
The continent has 90 % of the world’s ice which means 70 % of the world’s fresh water.
If all the ice would melt, the sea level would rice by 60 meters.
Antarctica is considered a desert, it is the coldest, driest and windiest continent.
There is no permanent human population, but there are anywhere from 1000 to 5000 people living on the different research stations
So what are we doing here the whole day? Cooking!!!!!! I have a great team here and we cook some really amazing food. Check out my other Blogs with the recipes, that is the food we serve here on board.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raspberry and Brandysnap Mille Feuille

It sounds lie a lot of hard work, but it actually is very easy to do, a little time consuming, but when all the preparation is done, it is very quickly put together and it will make such a great impact at any dinner party. The dessert is light and tasty, just what one wants from a modern dessert. The Brandy Snaps give a great texture and sweetness to the dish while the raspberries give a acidity......yes and the vanilla cream gives it a luscious richness

Here are the ingredients

Brandy Snap

125 g (5 oz ) Butter
125 g (5 oz ) Flour
125 g (5 oz )Golden Syrup
250 g (10 oz ) Castor sugar
1 g Ginger, ground
3 ml Vanilla Essence

Melt the butter
Add Castor sugar and make sure everything is dissolved
Then add the other ingredients.

This mix can easily be kept for one week in a closed container in the fridge

Take a melon ball sized bit of the mix, press gently on a non stick baking sheet and bake at 160 C for about 5 to 8 minutes or till golden brown. Take them out and cool completely, they will get nice and hard.

Vanilla Mousse

30 g (1 oz) Sugar
10 g (0.3 oz) Starch
1 ea Egg yolks
125 ml (5 oz )Milk
half Vanilla Pod

Boil up milk with scratched out vanilla pod
Mix sugar, starch and egg yolk with a little milk.
Add to the milk and bring to the boil, then cool till room temperature

Whip the cream till soft peak and mix carefully with the Pastry Cream, cool in the fridge till totally cold


Pipe a little vanilla mousse in the middle of the plate, this will prevent the sliding of the Mille Feuille.
Lay one sheet of Brandy Snap on the mousse, then pipe a walnut sized bit of mousse in the middle of the Brandy Snap
Dress the Raspberries around, touching the mousse
Lay another Brandy Snap round on top, repeat the mousse and Raspberry part
Top with a last disc of Brandy Snap

Garnish with a Raspberry, mint leaf and a bit raspberry sauce

Monday, January 9, 2012

Salmon Carpaccio

Another beautiful cold starter which is so easy to prepare, but looks absolutely stunning. It is important that one plays with color a bit, the eye eats as well and needs to be satisfied, so try it out and see what success you will have with it

Salmon carpaccio
250 grams salmon steak, skin removed
a little olive oil
12 Prawns, peeled and cooked

Squid ink noodles
½ fennel bulb, diced small
1 stick of celery, diced small
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
160 grams fresh squid ink noodles, blanched
1 quantity of pickled cucumbers (see recipe)
fennel tips and celery leaves, to garnish

To make salmon carpaccio, trim the salmon of any darker, oily parts and cut widthways into 4 pieces. Slice each piece of salmon from the top, nearly in two, like a butterfly. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a heavy cutting board, brush with a touch of olive oil. Place salmon on board, brush with a little oil, cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and, using a wooden mallet or heavy pan, gently pound each piece of salmon until you have a large circular piece.  Put the salmon aside on a plate.  Repeat with the remainder of the salmon pieces.

To make squid ink noodles, marinate the noodles, diced fennel and celery in the lemon juice and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Allow to marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.  Reserve.

To serve lay the salmon on a serving plate.  Dress the noodles nicely in the centre.  Place some yabbies around the noodle stack.
Garnish with the fennel tips, baby celery leaves, cracked pepper and salt. Drizzle with the leftover marinade from the noodles.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Philippines, Taal Volcano

Philippines Taal Volcano
Tagaytay is a favorite weekend spot for everybody not just from Manila, but the whole region. With its altitude of just over 600 meters above sea level it s always a bit cooler and the wind from the South China Sea gives it a constant breeze which makes breathing so much nicer than the stickiness of Manila.

We live only 20 minutes drive away from Tagaytay, so it is easy to get there even for an afternoon. This time we decided to walk up the Taal Volcano, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Philippines. It is a bit of an adventure to go up there but you will see it is done by so many people.
Best is that you drive straight down to the lake, there are two roads leading down, both very steep and curvy, but no problem to drive, just be aware, the one from the city center is in repair at the moment (and will be for a long time to come) so best to take the road on the left side of town down to the Taal Yacht Club.
Once down we rented a boat, enough space for 6 people and the cost was 1500 Pesos. Negotiate a bit, but this is about as low as they will go (we rented the boat from friends) Take enough water with for the way up, but otherwise you will be able to purchase water and cool drinks on the island.

Now, the big hike: Take either the option of walking (this is what I did) or rent a horse. The rental is around 400 Pesos each. You don’t really need a guide, especially as often one of the boat guys will come up as well. The entrance fee is 50 Pesos per person.  I have to admit, even so the walk is not as long as advertized (4 km) it is still strenuous and it is hot. I guess it was good 2 km to the top, but it is very steep in some stages, so the horse is actually a good option.
When you reach the top it is beautiful. While we were there the volcano was very quiet, just some smoke came out on the side and then of course if one walks along the edge the till the end, there the stone is hot and some steam is coming out, smelling a bit foul, so this volcano is very much active still. On top one can buy as well more water, cool drinks and even beer, there are fresh water melons and other snacks and of course some souvenirs. It is really worth going up there.
The downhill was a lot easier and went very quick. To my surprise my muscles were ok the next day, I did expect them to be very sore, but this time I guess I was lucky.

To walk up the Taal Vulcano is a great day trip and if one goes with a fun group like we did, one is guaranteed a good time here.                                          

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beetroot Carpaccio

Today we are making a simple but effective starter. Not just that it is healthy, but looks really good and tastes delicious.Beetroot is very healthy and should be part of every diet. It is so easy to prepare and one can do a lot in advance, so for a dinner party everything is ready and just before serving you add the hazelnut dressing

4 medium size beetroot, washed and tailed

2 bunches asparagus, wooden part cut off
4 red shallot, peeled and sliced
½ cup hazelnuts
4 cups rocket, washed
1 cup / 250 grams semi aged goats cheese, crumbled
 ¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil or hazelnut oil Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oregano leaves, picked

Rub the beetroot with Olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little sugar. Put them on a tray and roast them at 160 C till they are nice and soft, cool down and peel. This way the flavor of the beetroot will be intensified and that makes this dish marvelous 

When they are cool peel them using disposable gloves and cut them in four and reserve. When the beetroot are cooking bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and plunge the asparagus in it. Cook until just tender, making sure you do not overcook them. Scoop them out with a kitchen spider and cool them under cold running water, reserve. Blanch the rocket for one minute in the same water. Drain and cool under cold running water and shake dry. In a frying pan heated to medium heat, add the hazelnuts and toast for 5 minutes. Put into a mortar and crush slightly with the pestle. Set aside. Put the beetroot on a small platter, scatter the asparagus on top, followed by the rocket, crumbled goats cheese, sliced shallot and the crushed hazelnut. In a small bowl mix the red wine vinegar and the oil and season, drizzle all over the salad and serve at the table.

This recipe is originally from Serge Dansereau of the Bather's Pavilion in Sydney. For me one of the best spots to go and have a great meal either lunch or dinner. I will have some more of his recipes, most of them will be slightly altered to my taste. Nowadays there is nothing new anymore, everybody just re invents and that is what I do with most of my recipes. I like something and I do something very similar.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crispy Pata

I got yesterday a request for the recipe of the crispy Pata and am of course all too happy to share the recipe. It is really such an easy recipe to do that everybody will enjoy it. It is of course very rich as there is a fair amount of fat on the pork trotter

2 whole Pigs Trotters
Salt, Pepper
Oil for deep frying

Mang Tomas All Purpose Sauce

It is best to order the pigs trotters with the butcher, as you need the fore shank all the way to the knee. Ask the butcher as well to cut the "toe nails" off, it just looks a little nicer.

Then you need to cook the pigs trotters till they are soft. This is easiest done in a pressure cooker, as it will go a lot faster. Wash the trotter under cold water, then put them in the pressure cooker and cover them with water. Season with salt and pepper. In Philippines the dish is fairly plain, but your are welcome to use some bay leaf, little garlic, onions and a glove to give the meat more flavor.

The cooking take about 45 minutes, keep the trotter in the liquid till totally cooled down

Heat oil in a deep fryer and then deep fry the whole trotter till crispy, that is were the name comes from crispy pata (trotter)

This dish is traditionally served with Mang Thomas All Purpose Sauce. It might be difficult to get it, but try to find it on the net, it is a sauce that is used very often in Philippines. The ingredients are bread, onions, sugar ad then plenty of other spices.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Eve in Philippines

New Years Eve is most probably the most celebrated day in Philippines; it is an incredible experience to be here during the time when the New Year is coming.
Like most families we were with friends but just to get there was a mission, not because they live so far away, but we didn’t know that the route we wanted to take is actually going through a street maket, just before our destination, so what should have been a 1 and a half hour ride turned out to be over three hours……. On the way home we did the same in one hour, taking in consideration that we drove very slow, too dangerous to speed at night, especially a night like this.
As usual, we were getting this wonderful hospitality the Philippines is well known for. There is plenty of food, and of course we brought some too (the crispy pata). We all had a wonderful dinner and even so still hours away, it started getting noisier outside. More and more fire cracker were exploding and at about 20 to midnight we went outside and it was just amazing to see all the rockets going up in the air, the sparkles everywhere and of course the noise of these huge fire crackers, it is really all about the noise.
Of course there are some other rituals one does for the New Years Eve. One is to have coins in your pocket, if you have coins in your pocket they will multiply during the year. Then one needs to have 12 round fruit in the house, one for every month of the year….not so easy to find 12 different types of round fruit and of course everything is getting more expensive in the last day or two of the old year. And last but not least, one has to make sure the doors are open when it is midnight, so to invite the good luck into the house….yes, the house has to be nice and clean.

So we had a great time, the roads were full of smoke and everybody seemed to be very happy (except the two guys who had too much to drink and seemed to prefer to talk with their fists….Happy New Year to everybody. Thank you for reading my blog and no worries, loads more is to come

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