Monday, June 25, 2012

Strawberry and Champagne Soup

Good, we have covered the normal strawberries and I hope you enjoyed the combination of vanilla sauce, cream and strawberries. So now we can start with some different recipes. The strawberry and Champagne soup is an amazing dessert becasue I serve the soup with a Rhubarb Crumble. It gives extra texture and the rhubarbe goes perfectly well with the strawberries

The recipe looks a little long, but if you want to leave the rhubarb crumble away, you can just take some top quality vanilla ice cream with it.....or what I did last time have the soup, then the crumble and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the crumble....that is really decadent but delicious

So here is the recipe

1 Kg Strawberries frozen or fresh
125 G Sugar
100 Ml White wine
0.5 Ea Strawberries, fresh
0.25 Ea Blueberries

Boil frozen Strawberries up with sugar
Blend and cool as quick as possible
Add white wine to season

Rhubarb Crumble
500 G Rhubarb, frozen
100 G Sugar

Boil rhubarbe up together with sugar, then cool quickly

Sugar dough
125 G Butter
1 G Vanilla Essence
250 G Flour
125 G Sugar
1 Ea Eggs

Mix everything together.
Rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
Roll dough out, pre bake a bit

Almond mix
200 G Marzipan
100 G Butter
2 Ea Eggs
10 G Flour
1 Ea Lemon zestes

Mix all the ingredients well

Baste the almond mix on the sugar dough
Top with rhubarb
Top the crumbles on it
Bake in the oven till golden brown

Saturday, June 23, 2012


It is Strawberry time, not with us but in Europe. So I decided to have a strawberry promotion, something that reminds us here of Europe. So of course that means that we will hav a whole lot of strawberry recipes.

I love strawberries, I love them in any form, pure straight from the fiels, or marinated with balsamic, as ice cream or as a soup, it really doesn't matter, I always loved strawberries and I am so glad that I don't have an allergy to them, that would be really terrible for me.

So the first blog in this mini series about strawberries is the berries just simply served plain with a bit whipped cream and vanilla sauce. It is so simple but always effective. of course there is a bit sugar as well because there is nothing nicer than dipping the strawberry in sugar and then in the lightly whipped cream and then eat them.....I am already getting hungry again

So what do you need? Strawberries, whipped cream and vanilla sauce. So I give you here my favorite recipe for Vanilla sauce, I have made it so many times int he past 20 years that I can do it nearly blind folded.

Vanilla sauce

500 ml Milk
500 ml Cream
8 Egg yolks
2 whole eggs
150 g Sugar
1 Vanilla bean

Bring the milk and cream to simmer, add sraped vanilla bean and let it marinate for 10 minutes.
Take the vanilla bean out, squeeze all the flavor into the milk.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar till creamy
Add carefully the hot milk
Cook over a low fire till the vanilla sauce starts to thicken
make sure it does not get too hot otherwise it wil be curdling
Cool down

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Braised Lamb Shank with Olive Polenta

Now we are talking seriously good food that belongs more in the comort food zone. Something that takes a long time to prepare, mainly because of the cooking tim, but then when it is finished it is something absolutely beautiful that is best shared with a bunch of good friends with a bottle of seriously good red wine. Yes the lamb shank needs a powerful wine that goes all the way, a great Montepulciano , a Super Tuscan or a aged Barbaresco and you will have a meal that is remembered for a long time

The cooking of the shank is important, you want it soft and tender, but it needs to be juicy, something that is not that easy to achieve as to make meat tender it needs heat, to keep meat juicy it needs no heat.......mmmmm so basically all you need is time.

Often lamb shanks are nowadays cooked sous vide, meaning seared in vacuum bags, already with seasoning and then cooked gently at low temperature up to 24 hours.....something we can do at hoem? Most probably not. But we need to be prepared to incerst 3 to 4 hours at least to really give it a slow simmer.

So, here is the recipe, you will love it when you try it out and don't be afraid, it looks very long, but is actually really easy to prepare

5 KG Lamb shanks
100 Ml Oil
20 G Salt
10 G Pepper
500 G Onions
250 G Carrots
150 G Celeriac root
150 G Leeks
100 G Tomato paste
750 Ml Red wine
10 G Thyme
2 G Bayleave
1 G Cloves
10 G Rosemary

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper heat oil and roast shanks till browned all round
Add Mirepoix Roast some longer, then add tomato puree
Roast till it browns, deglacer with red wine
Let completely reduce, then repeat decglacer with water
Add leeks and water and spices
Simmer till lamb is tender
Take lamb out and finish the sauce

70 G Shallots
50 Ml Red wine
25 Ml Balsamic vinegar
10 G Sugar

Peel shallots, add sugar, wine and balsamic
Simmer slowly till all liquid is gone

50 G Garlic
50 Ml Olive oil

Simmer the garlic in olive oil till soft and slightly translucent

25 Ml Olive Oil
70 G Onions
2 Each Garlic Gloves
500 Ml Water
500 Ml Milk
15 G Salt
200 G Polenta rough
50 G Parmesan
50 G Olives, black

Cut the onions and garlic in a very fine brunoise
Shallow-fry in the olive oil without color
Add water and milk, boil up
Add the polenta while stirring all the time
Season with salt
Boil up, then put on the smallest flame
Add the black, sliced olives
Mix in the parmesan just before serving

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cajun Chicken Salad

Mmmmmm Cajun Chicken is a lovely dish, so I thought to spice the normal chicken salad up a bit I will marinate my chicken breast in Cajun spices, then roast it in the oven. Then I deep fried some plantain which go wonderfully with the spicyness of the chicken. The dressing then is vhili infused, and a bit of sugar in it as well, so the combination is really tantalizing

It is actually one of our new salads we will serve on the new a la carte menu and all the readers of this blog are lucky as I am busy with doing all the recipes and photos, I can share them with you here on the blog

50 G Lollo Rosso
50 G Endive
50 G Radicchio
50 G lettuce local
20 G Italian parsley
1 Kg Chicken breast
50 G Cajun spice
1 Kg Plantain
75 Ml Plain oil
25 Ml Cider vinegar
10 G Chili, red salt pepper
10 G sugar


Wash all the lettuce leaves
Rub the chicken breast with Cajun spice
Heat the oil and fry in the pan till colored
Finish off in the oven, make sure the breast stay juicy
Cool the chicken down
Slice, one breast per person
Deep fry the plantain

Dress Chicken and plantain on top of the lettuce

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pancit Vegetarian

Last night we cooked again a pancit, a great pasta especially if you are gluten intolerant. I made it even nearly vegetarian, nearly because I still like a bit meat in my pancit and have added just a bit pork at the end, but it would taste delicious without.

There are so many Pancit recipes, I think one could dedicate an entire Blog just about Pancit, it depends very much in which region of the Philippines the Pancit is made, so it actually might differ a lot.

The main ingredient is the noodles, usually one uses the rice noodles, but many versions use the egg noodles. I say, take whatever you like best as Pancit means pasta, so it doesn't matter that much.

The rice noodles are so flavorful because they are actually cooked in the stock and then suck themselves full of the flavorful juice

Recipe for 4 friends

60 g (2 oz) Garlic
100 g (3 oz ) onions
150 g (5 oz) Mange tout
300 g (10 oz) Oyster mushrooms
150 g ( 5oz) Green beans
Soy sauce
Half a packet Rice noodles

Fry the onions and garlic in oil on low heat till they start to brown on the edges, then add all the vegetables.
Saute for a while before adding the soy sauce and the water.
Boil it all up and add the rice noodles and a bit chili
Simmer till the noodles are soft and all the liquid is gone. If the noodles are not cooked, just add some more water

If you want to take meat, use pork (best belly) and fry it at the beginning with the onions and garlic, then add the liquid and simmer till tender

Friday, June 8, 2012

Goose Liver Terrine

If you are against goose liver, do not read any further as I will do a delicious goose liver terrine and addiction to it is a very likely possibility!
Yes there is a lot of controversy about goose liver or as it is called in French: Foie Gras. Unfortunately a lot of goose liver produced is done under terrible circumstances, the geese are force fed to ensure the liver gets as fatty as fast as possible. This is terrible, I agree and I don't want to make any excuses for it. But at the same time, there are many producers that have a different approach, they feed when the goose wants and this product is then very seasonal. Yes Goose liver is a seasonal product as the geese naturally eat as much as they can during summer in order to have the fat reserve for the long flight south. Already the Romans over 2000 years ago loved the goose liver, not as fatty as it is nowadays, but still a lot fatter than any other liver. So they hunted the geese for their delicate liver......
I guess most of the readers, at least the ones who have continued, will never attempt to make a goose liver terrine at home and there are a couple of very simple reasons. Firstly, it is an immensely expensive product ( I just paid 100 $ per kg, that makes nearly 50$ per lb). then it is an extremely delicate product, if it is cooked too long or on a too high temperature all the fat will come out of the liver and it will be a very expensive disaster. And then the quantity, to make a terrine one should make an entire form which takes easily 1.5 kg (3 lb) of liver.....
Of course one can fry the foie gras as well, then one can just buy a couple of slivers, but more about that in another blog

For the ones who really want to try it, here is the recipe

1000 G Foie gras
12 G salt
3 G Pepper
50 Ml Armagnac
50 Ml Port
De nerve the fresh foie gras carefully
Add the salt, pepper, armagnac and port to the foie gras, mix carefully
Put the foie gras in a terrine form and keep in the fridge for 18 hours
Preheat the oven to 90 o C, then cook the terrine in a bain marie , with a lid for about 40 min to reach a centre temperature of 50 o C.
Take the fat of the terrine and keep it separate, then press the terrine slightly for 6 hours, then again strongly for another 12 hours.
Boil up the fat of the terrine, take the terrine out of the form, add a bit of the liquid fat, put the terrine back and pour the rest of the fat on it.
Make sure everything is sealed by the fat to have no oxidation, keep the terrine for a couple more days in the fridge before serving
By the way, on the one photo with the liver in the bag, there is a recipe on not try it out as there is guearanteed failure, I looked at the way they cook it and I know the the result will not be good, the oven is far too hot and everything will melt

Another appendix for the readers who speak French, I actually did not use goose liver, but duck liver. It is basically the same, but cheaper and just so slightly different in taste

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Prawn Tempura

I just want to tell you about my latest recipe, a Prawn Tempura. It is most probably the easiest recipe you can imagine and I have to be honest, not really a proper tempura. All I take is beer, flour, salt and pepper, that is all. The dough gets beautifully crispy and is so tasty. It is not a beer batter inthe traditional sense as there is no eggs and egg white in it, it is quick to make and keeps for a couple of days in the fridge

The good thing is that one can take anything to make a tempura, scallops, fish or vegetables, there are no limits

350 ml Beer (any lager will do)
160 g Wheat flour


Mix all the ingredients for the tempura dough and let it rest for half an hour

Take the prawns and marinate them very slightly with a mix of Soy, Lime juice and Fish sauce
Marinate them for half an hour

Make sure the prawns are not wet with the marinade, then roll them in a bit flour, shake the excess flour off, then dip it in the tempura batter and then deep fry it immediately

You will have a thin and crispy crust on your tempura

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pea Brulee

Pea Brulee? You mean like a Creme Brulee but made with peas? Yes that is exactly it. So it is actually a savory dish but with a sweet hint from the peas and the caramelized sugar on top.

There is nothing new about savory custards, the japanese made it since hundreds of years and we do it too, for example with the Consomme with egg custard, which is lovely.

I love the pea brulee because it is so versatile, it can be combined with smoked or cured salmon, with seafood or as a vegetarian dish, so it really works with so many things and on top of that, it is really easy to be done

Today I serve with with marinated green and white asparagus and a little salad with tomato vinaigrette. The cinaigrette has a lovely acidity that balances the brulee so well, one really has to have them together to get the full flavor.

Here is the recipe

Pea Brulee
1500 G Peas
1000 Ml Cream
400 G Eggs
80 G Eggyolk
Salt, Pepper

50 G Brown Sugar

Boil up cream and peas
Blend till very fine and strain
Add the eggs and eggyolk, season to taste
Poach in the oven at 110 o C for 20 min
When finished put immediately in the fridge
Pour sugar on the brulees and flambe

Tomato Vinaigrette
15 Each Tomatoes
50 G Tomato Paste
25 Ml Olive oil
10 G Garlic
1 Bunch Basil
Salt, pepper, sugar
150 Ml White Balsamic vinegar
250 Ml Olive oil

Cut the tomatoes in concasse
Blend off cuts and pips
Chop garlic and saute in olive oil without colour
Add tomato paste and fry some more
Blend off cuts and pips
Blend garlic , tomato paste and offcuts in a soup blender.
Add the white balsamico
Monter with olive oil
Strain in a dish, add concasse and basil julienne
Season to taste
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