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.
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