Monday, August 27, 2012

Osso Buco Ticinese

Another lovely dish from my home country, this time from the Italian part of Switzerland. The cuisines in Switzerland have of course been influenced heavily by our neighboring countries like Italy, France, Germany and Austria. Yes of course we have our own identity, but in a place like the centre of Europe it is normal that the influences from the surrounding countries are visible.

Osso Buco means in English the hole in the bone, so basically a slice of the shank. Usually veal is taken, but to be perfectly honest, beef is as good if not better as it has more flavor. The only difference is that one has to cook it for longer.

Typically Osso Buco is served with a coarse polenta, a polenta that has to be cooked for hours as worry even I usually do the polenta the new way, buying "instant) and it is cooked within 5 minutes
It is a dish that you have to be a bit patient, it takes several hours to cook, but the wait is worth while
500 G Osso Bucco 5 cm thick
15 G Salt, pepper
100 Ml Oil
200 G Onion
10 G Garlic
200 G Carrots
150 G Celeriac
150 G Leeks
50 G Tomato paste
20 G Sage, Origano
200 Ml White wine
1000 Ml Brown veal stock
500 Ml Demi glace
300 G Tomatoes


Cut the skin of the osso bucco to prevent shrinking
Cut the vegetables in matignon
Cut tomatoes in concasse
Chop garlic, lemon peel and parsley finely for cremolata
Season osso bucco
Roast in rotissoire till brown on both sides, take out
Pour away oil, then add matignon
Add tomato paste, roast some more, then deglacer with white wine, repeat twice
Add meat, herbs, stock and demi glace
Braise covered in the oven till tender.
Take the meat out carefully
Reduce sauce till nice and thick, add meat and tomatoes
Plate and garnish with cremolata

Serves 10 people

Monday, August 20, 2012

Emmental Style Lamb Stew

As you can gather from the name of the dish, we are starting Swiss Weeks here at the Moevenpick and of course I share all the recipes with you. We have Swiss weeks because on the 1st of August is the Swiss National day.
I want to start this series with a rather unusual dish, the Emmental Style Lamb Stew. Unusual because the Emmental in the Bernese Mountains is not well known of having a lot of lamb, it is cow country as everybody can believe with the lovely Emmental cheese coming from here. I mean the real Emmental Cheese, the one with the big holes but still lovely taste, don't get mixed up with other Emmental cheeses, not the same

The other strange part of this dish is the saffron, there is no saffron in the Emmental, but still, this dish is a very well know classic in Swiss cuisine, you make sense of it, I can't, but still love the dish and that is why I give you now the recipe
Even with all these odds, this this is as traditional as the Roesti or the sliced veal Zurich style, it is well known in Switzerland and simply delicious, so try it out, here is the recipe

2.2 Kg Lamb shoulder
250 G Onions
2 Ea Bayleaves
2 Ea Gloves
1.6 L Beef stock
2 Ea Sage
5 G Saffron
15 G Salt
100 G Shallots
200 G Carrots
50 G Butter
50 G Flour
400 Ml Cream

Cut the lamb in 2 cm cubes
Add the beef to the stock, then add onion bayleaves, saffron and gloves
Simmer for 45 minutes
Add shallots and carrots, simmer till meat is soft
Mix butter with flour, add to the lamb
Then add the cream and season

Serves 10 portions

Friday, August 10, 2012

Penne with Lobster

Now, after I showed you all the fun time we had with the fishing, I thought I will share the recipe for the Penne with Lobster. This is really a typical Italian dish, totally simple, but the flavors are just exploding on your palate.

The base is a really good tomato sauce, chunky, not a fine one, a sauce where you are generous with everything, garlic, onions, basil and the ripest plum tomatoes you can find on the market

Then the lobster, it has to be fresh, really fresh. We just boiled it quickly to kill it, then took the tail out, cut it in pieces and added it at the end to the tomato sauce. Like this you got all the lovely lobster flavor, but it won't be overpowering

Then you cook the Penne, OK, again, don't go for your cheap brand on the shelve of the super market, but spend this extra couple of cents and buy a really good brands like De Cecco, you will see it is worth it.

Make sure you cook the pasta really al dente, you want to finish the cooking process in the sauce, that the pasta soaks up all the flavours of the lobster and the sauce, again, you top quality pasta will do that

There are many top restaurants that actually cook the pasta in the sauce, like this you will have the ultimate flavor, I tried it and yes, it really works

OK, now here is the recipe

100 g (3 oz) Onions
50 G (1.5 oz) Garlic
100 ml (3 oz) Olive oil
500 G (1 lb) Tomatoes
50 g (1.5 oz) Basil

2 kg (4 lb) Lobster

1 kg Penne Pasta

Cook the penne pasta al dente and keep on the side

Cut the onions and garlic in fine cubes
Saute in the olive oil without color
Add the quartered tomatoes
Add salt, pepper and basil
Simmer for about half an hour

In the mean time blanch lobster, get the tail meat out and cut in cubes
Add to the tomato soup and simmer for another 5 minuts, season to taste

Add the penne and heat them up in the sauce, serve immediately

The dish tastes best with a generous helping of freshly grated Parmesan

Monday, August 6, 2012

Exploring Ghana, Fishing in Krokobite

Morning at Crocobite Beach
Finally after nearly 5 month here in Ghana we went out a bit to explore a little more than the restaurant scene here in town. We went with our friend Bruno to Krokobite, about an hours drive from Accra to go fishing. But it is not just normal fishing, no, we actually went with the locals on a big Canoe into the open sea.
Bruno with his Espresso
Bruno is one of my suppliers and as you can guess his main business is fish. I buy most of my fish from him, not just because the price is right, but as well the quality is excellent. Of course being Italian, we could expect an Italian inspired day, especially as the lodge we went was run by an Italian friend of his, Fabrizio.
Meeting another Canoe
We started early, 5 AM we were fetched and off we went to Krokobite. We arrived around 6 AM but being a Sunday, we had no rush and first had some proper Espresso, the one where the machine is put on the stove and then the water gets pushed through the ground coffee. Then we relaxed a bit and enjoyed the sun rise at the beach, it was just absolutely wonderful
Fixing the net on the way out
We went then to the local town and Bruno organized us a Canoe....together with nearly 10 guys. They of course enjoyed the Sunday outing and knew that all the fish would be theirs, so off for a free fishing trip
Bruno trying his luck
We went out quite a bit, I have to say, sometimes the canoe went a bit much on the sides, but of course it did not tun over, sometimes I think I was the only one concerned.
The first fish caught
Then the fishing started and we were lucky....or at least some of us were lucky, and the fish bit nicely.we sailed out around 9 AM and were back just before lunch time. The sun was not shining a lot but believe me....I burned.
The most we caught was a fish called lemon fish, there was plenty of it and all the other canoes around us were catching the same.. There were some little red fish as well, but not much at all. Anyway, there was plenty of fish and we didn't need much in any case.
A part of our catch
On the way home we got some fresh lobster as well and Fabrizio got cooking from the moment we arrived back at the lodge. Now we met as well some new friends who brought some amazing Italian wine....we were at the end 10 people and had 4 bottles of wine....not that everybody was drinking, some preferred cool drinks and some wanted beer, so yes, there was plenty of wine. Every wine was hand chosen from small producers in Italy and then shipped to Ghana, what a treat
The food was simple and delicious, the starter was an amazing Penne al arragosta, Penne Pasta with a spicy tomato sauce and the fresh lobster in it, just a great way to start. Then we had fish, just plain cooked with salt, pepper and olive oil, first the red fishes and lemon fish, then the cassava we caught, Cassava being from the same family like the Branzino in the Mediterranean.....was just amazing.
Fabrizio, our chef and host
So the lunch must have gone on for hours, at the end just everybody sitting around, chatting and ending the meal with another great Espresso
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