Sunday, May 27, 2012

White Asparagus Soup

We seldom cook white asparagus nowadays which I feel is a pity because it is so delicious, far more subtle than the green asparagus. I think that many of us are a bit afraid because it is something we haven't done before, so one opts for the easy solution, the green asparagus

Believe me, it is as easy to make white asparagus like it is to cook green asparagus. The first step is the peeling. The asparagus has to be flat on the table and has to be peeled carefully in order not to break. Good, fresh white asparagus is hard and crisp to the touch, but still very fragile

The cooking is fast, 8 minutes tops and the asparagus is cooked, so don't walk away and let it boil for too long.

Now the secret..... I mostly make the soup just out of the stock. White asparagus is costly and you don't want to waste anything, so usually I cook the asparagus and then serve it as a starter, either with a bit melted butter, with Hollandaise sauce or Polish style with cooked and chopped eggs sprinkled on top, all delicious ways of eating white asparagus. Then I just use the stock and make a soup, using any bit of asparagus that has not been eaten as a garnish, so I have a light meal for dinner with a slice of farmers bread......I am getting hungry just writing this blog
Asparagus is extremely healthy, it cleanse the body. You can feel it basically immediately when you go to the toilet, asparagus makes your pee smell funny, so don't be surprised, this is the good of the asparagus cleaning your urinary system.

500 G (17.5 oz) White asparagus
100 G (3 oz) butter
100 Ml (3floz) white wine
salt pepper
1000 Ml (1 quart) cream
1000 Ml (1 quart) Water
20 G (0.8 oz) Corn Starch

Peel the white asparagus carefully and cut the end off
Bring water, white wine, butter, salt and pepper to the boil
Add the asparagus and simmer till al dente
Take the asparagus out
Now simmer the peelings for about 10 minutes
Strain the soup
Add the cream, boil up and thicken with corn starch
Season to taste
Cut the asparagus in pieces and use as garnish

I have used some green asparagus just for the looks!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Veal Fillet Zurich Style

Another favorite of mine and I actually thought that I won't have it for a long time. Why? Since I have arrived in Ghana, all the button mushrooms were out of a tin, I hate tinned mushrooms with a passion, so said that I will not do it till I find fresh mushrooms. Then about 2 weeks ago I found fresh Oyster mushrroms, what a great day, so since then I buy them for the breakfast buffet, but for my Veal Zurich Style I cannot take them, it has to be button mushrooms.

So there I was; no mushrooms, no favorite dish of mine.....till out of the blue one of my suppliers said that of course he has, he knows a farmer who does them and is happy to sell them to me. Bingo! Jackpot!!! I am happy and I have received the first batch of mushrooms yesterday. They are so beautifully white, unblemished, hard, just perfect button mushrooms. Ok, the sizes vary from very small to very large, but they are fresh and that is my number one priority.

So, let me give you a recipe for it that you know exactly how it is done. The original recipe is one third veal, one third mushrooms and one third kidneys......let's do a more modern verion of it

The best meat to take is of course the fillet, but with veal topside is perfectly good as well. If you are not so much into Veal, just replace it with Beef, that works well too.

1 Kg Veal Topside
Salt, Pepper
1 kg Button Mushrooms
300 g Onions
50 g Garlic
100 Ml White Wine
100 Ml Demi Glace
250 Ml Cream

Slice the meat in fine slivers
Cut the onion in fine cubes (Brunoise)
Chop the Garlic
Fry the meat in a hot pan, season quickly and just let it get color, then take it out of the pan
Take the butter melt in the same pan, then add the sliced mushrooms, onions and garlic
Sautee quicky in the hot pan, then add the whitewine reduce then add the demi glace and cream, cook till a creamy consistency
Just before serving add the veal to the sauce
Boil up barely, add whipped cream and serve
Serve with Rosti potatoes and vegetables

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Country Gourmet Breakfast

No recipe today and no fancy Blog either. I just wanted to let you know that since a long time I wanted to diversify a little and have a second Blog......just one of these silly ideas, till the moment I started pinning my breakfasts on Pin It. Then I thought I could make a Blog out of it and there we go, I started yesterday the new Blog....Country Gourmet Breakfast. Yes the title gives it away, it is still me, it has to have something to do with the Country Gourmet traveler.

So pop in, leave a comment and wait for more, and there will be more as Breakfast is an endless and wonderful meal to write about. I can't wait to show you how easy it is to prepare the perfect eggs, not just plain, but really with a difference.

I am soooooo excited I just want to write, but wait, it is Brunch time here at the hotel again and I need to set up the buffet, anyway, see you all soon on the Country Gourmet Blogs!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Duckleg with Plum Sauce

Now we go fancy again......NO we not! It just sounds fancy and I know many are a bit afraid of cooking duck, so I thought I give you a very simple recipe that will be amazing when it is finished.

Yes it is usually not that easy to do duck as if you roast a whole duck you need to roast it twice if you want the breast pink that is. You need to debone the breast and then leave the duck a lot longer in the oven in order to get the legs tender......nah, not fun (except if you are mad like me who enjoys doing things like this)
So what we do here is that we braise the legs, like this we get them beautifully tender and it is not as rich as a Confit. What is a Confit....these chefs like to yuse funny French words. A confit is a meat, most of the time duck, goose or pork that is very slowly cooked in its own fat, very rich, very tasty!!!
To give the duck leg a bit of a twist I add some Asian spices and then at the end glaze the leg in the hot oven with a bit plum sauce. It gives a lovely sweetness to the meat and tastes delicious

I serve in on stir fry vegetables, so it stays with an Asian touch. The other nice thing is that this recipe is gluten free because if I have to thicken the sauce a bit I will take corn starch.


2 Kg Duck legs
100 Ml Soy Sauce
50 G Garlic
50 G Ginger
500 G Oranges in Zestes
500 G Onions
250 G Carrots
150 G Celeriac
250 Ml Red Wine
100 Ml Plum Sauce
20 Ml Sesame Oil
10 G Chili
50 G Coriander leaves

200 G Carrots
200 G Onions
100 G Celery
200 G Green Beans
25 G Honey
45 G Soy Sauce
25 G Ginger


Marinated the duck legs over night in soy sauce, ginger garlic and orange zestes
Rub them clean and fry them all round till browned
Careful the soy burns easily
Take the vegetables and roast them till browned
Add tomato paste, roast some more
Deglacer with red wine, repeat twice, add some water
Put duck legs in vacum bags
Add the vegetables and stock, seal
Poach at 90 C for 5 hours, cool in the fridge
Mix plum sauce with sesame oil and chili
Heat the duck legs in the bag, then baste the plum sauce on top and glaze in the oven

Heat oil in wok, add garlic and onions, saute briefly
Add vegetable julienne, saute briefly
Add soy, honey and ginger, season to taste and serve
Use the stock for Duck Consomme or soup

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Buffet

Happy Mothers day to all the mothers, it is a special day for you all and I hope all mothers are treated like princesses today.
We have a big mothers day Brunch here at the Moevenpick and it is fully booked since days, the waiting list is very long and I know many families will come without booking so the day will be long and busy.
Brunch here starts at 12 Noon and is an affair that goes all the way till about 5 PM, then we have just a bit time to reset the restaurant and dinner will start.

Sunday is always a special day, but today is extra special. We are in the fortunate situation that we do not have to make any advertising for a Sunday Brunch, especially a Brunch like today, the bookings are just flying in, so knowing that it will be full house, we can go wild in our creations

Some of the delicacies we serve are

Home Cured Salmon, fresh steamed Lobster, Prawns and Cigalle (a local lobster) we have different cheese, an omelet station, a Piglet that is carved, all the hot foods and of course a huge dessert buffet. As a surprise present, every mother gets a little mothers day cake when they leave, just to make them feel special

I have made a whole lot photos just to make your mouth water and I am actually uploading this blog just after the start of the Brunch, enjoy the pics and wish you were here

Friday, May 11, 2012

Swordfish on Asparagus Ragout

I got yesterday some fresh sword fish, but not just fresh, I mean really fresh. My supplier called me in the morning to tell me that he just got a swordfish that has been caught last night, a huge fish that is around 85 kg. For me it was a no brainer, I want some and told him to bring me a nice chunk of the fish which he did later that afternoon. It was a 30 kg piece of the fish, just wonderfully fresh.
I filleted the fish and gave the belly to my Asian Chef to make some lovely Sushi and Sashimi, he was very happy about the nice fresh fish and then I portioned the rest to sell in the restaurant
Being a fish that overcooks easily I decided o cut it on thick squares of around 220 g (about 9 oz) then just season it with salt and ground black pepper, roast it in olive oil and put it for 4 minutes in the oven, finish. In the meantime I made some asparagus and a bit sauce vierge with black olives in it, deep fried some potatoes and the dish was finished
I give you now the recipe that you can cook it at home, you will love the taste of the fish with the olive oil and the olives. The tomatoes in the sauce give a nice balance to the richness of the fish

1 kg Sword Fish fillet
Salt, Pepper
Olive Oil

60 g (2 oz) Shallots
15 g (0.5 oz) Garlic
90 g (3 oz) Parsley
30 g (1 oz) Black Olives
90 g (3 oz) Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper

450 g (16 oz) White asparagus
450 g 916 oz) Green asparagus

Chop the garlic and shallots finely
Do the same with the parsley
Cut the depipped olives in half, then slice finely
Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, then put in ice water and peel the skin
Take the pips out and cut in small squares
Mix all the ingredients carefully and season to taste

Season the fish with salt and pepper
Fry in olive oil on both sides till golden brown
Finish off int eh oven at 160 C for 5 minutes

Toss the asparagus in butter with a little water till it is hot and glazed

Plate the asparagus on the bottom, then dress the fish on top

Drizzle the sauce Vierge around an garnish with the deep fried potatoes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gnocchi Piemontese

Let's do something vegetarian, something Italian, something with Potatoes.....Gnocchi. I will not say that I love Gnocchi because I say that with every food but.....yes I do love Gnocchi, hehehe!
They are pretty easy to make, one just needs a little patience and good products. The potatoes of course are paramount as if the potatoes are not good, then the Gnocchi won't turn out right. I always use potatoes that cook "floury" so they are usually grown towards the end of the season and are rather big. So the starch in them is perfect. If they are too young then the starch turns out like glue after mashing the potatoes
Then of course there is the big discussion of the mixing the other ingredients with the potatoes. Some chefs swear by the hot method, everything is mixed as hot as possible and some others cool the potatoes down. In this recipe we cool the potatoes down before pressing them through the masher, it is a safer method but usually uses a bit more flour, so taste a little more "industrial" If one does the hot method one can use less flour, but needs to be more experienced in cooking as the mix easily turns soft (this is a disaster for me, hehehe)

So, let's have a look at the recipe, I am sure you will love it as the outcome is great

1500 g Potatoes
550 g Flour
4 ea Eggs Salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes a day ahead in the skin
Peel the potatoes and make sure you have 1 kg left
Press the potatoes through a sieve
Rub the potatoes together with the flour
Season and add the eggs at the end
Mix quickly together to have a dry dough
Form the Gnocchi with rolling a long sausage, then cut it with the knife in small pieces.
Roll the pieces over a fork or a Gnocchi board into boiling salt water
As soon as they swim on top they have to be taken out and put in ice water

500 g Tomatoes
100 g Onions
25 g Garlic
Salt, Pepper

Blanch the tomatoes and put in ice water, peel the skin then chop in cubes
Saute the chopped onion in a little olive oil without color till glossy, then add the garlic, fry some more
Add the tomatoes, season and add the basil
Simmer for 25 minutes, season to taste

Toss the Gnocchi in the tomato and basil sauce, then serve immediately
Generously add Parmesan on top

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Beef Curry

Let's continue with doing some very easy Indian food, something that is maybe not the real thing but comes pretty close. Not all of us live in urban areas where one can find all the ingredients needed to do a proper curry or anything the traditional way, so sometimes one has no choice than to take a short cut and do something the fast way.

Still it is a lot better than just buying something frozen from the shopping center in the frozen section.....that is actually no comparison. Anyway, we did this beef curry and it came out really beautiful, it has been cooked for many hours, just nice and slow and all the spices had time to develop and give some flavor. I like to take a "lesser" cut for my curry, the main reason for it being flavor.

With the meat it is really very simple, the tougher the cut the more flavorful it is. Toughness comes from how much it has been used by the animal, so for example the beef cheeks and the Oxtail is extremely tough and has to be cooked for hours so the flavor is absolutely amazing whereas the fillet has basically never been used, so it is super tender but looses out in flavor. Not to say that a good beef fillet has no flavor, no not at all, but it is just a lot more subtle.

But now to the recipe

2 Kg Beef Topside, Cubes
50 G Tumeric
1 Kg Onions
50 G Garlic Paste
50 G Ginger Paste
50 G Green Chili
100 G Coriander
100 G Cashew Nuts, chopped
50 G Tomato Paste
2 Ea Bay Leaf
Cardamom whole
Cardamom powder
Coriander Powder
100 Ml Cream
50 Ml Oil Salt

Pre boil Beef cubes with whole spices
Strain and keep the stock
Slice onions and cook them gently with oil till they are soft and pasty, add in powdered spices
Saute beef cubes with garlic, ginger, tomato paste and chili.
Add some beef stock and finely chopped cashew nuts
Add the onion paste
Simmer till the meat is tender and the sauce has a thick consistency
Garnish with toasted almonds, chili and chopped coriander

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Philippine Street Food: Qwek Qwek

Now I finally have time to write a bit about some past experiences when I was in Philippines before I came to Ghana. I love the street food available and we eat a lot of it. It looks like in Philippines everything is around eating. One doesn't just have 3 meals a day, no the day starts with a cooked breakfast, either noodles or Tocino with Garlic Rice or anything else and then it just continues during the day till one goes to sleep again.
Every time when we are in MOA (Mall of Asia for the ones who have not been in Philippines) we go to the street food stands at the taxi station and eat something. Then sometimes we actually go to the other stands and either eat some more or buy something to take home....but more about that in another Blog.

This time I would like to tell you a bit more about Qwek Qwek. Which is quail eggs. They are usually boiled, peeled and then put in a batter and deep fried. They are then served in a take away cup and some sweet chili vinegar is poured on it. It is just delicious and there is not one time I can walk past this shop without buying a portion.
But of course the shop would not be complete without selling quails as well. The quails are actually one day old chicks which have been marinated and deep fried. They are usually eaten whole and are delicious too......just not for everybody as they are truly the whole chicks....... so if you are not so adventurous, just stick with the eggs, they are crispy on the outside, smooth on the inside and the vinegar mix just gives this extra pep that makes them so unique and delicious.
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