Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chocolate Soup

Still on the desserts, this time with a chocolate soup, but with a little difference. I am sure you have seen the special chocolate slabs with sea salt in the delicatessen areas of the shops? It is something similar but we will go one step further, we will combine chocolate, sea salt and olive oil into an amazing dessert.

The soup is very easy to do, it is basically cream with a top quality chocolate, I like to use one of the top Valrhona dark chocolates like the Guanaja which has a great flavor and is about 70% cocoa, so dark and intense.

I made a photo from the top, so you can see the salt flakes and the swirl of olive oil. The streusel are normal streusel one uses for cake toppings, just baked without a cake..... It gives great texture to the dish and actually cuts the richness a bit

200 G (7 oz) Chocolate
1 L (1 qrt) Fresh cream
 Sea salt flakes
 Olive oil

100 g (3.5 oz) Butter
100 g (3.5 oz) Sugar
150 g (5.5 oz) Flour

Heat the cream until 80C and add the chocolate
Cool down completely

Mix the butter, sugar and flour together, make sure you got fairly big crumbs
Refrigerate for a couple of hours
Bake in the oven at 180C till golden brown, which takes only a couple of minutes
Cool down completely before using

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Santa has come to town

Santa on his Speed Boat
Like every year, Santa is coming to won all over the world and of course it is the same here at Soneva Fushi in the sunny Maldives. For some unknown reason I was chosen to be Santa this year. I was pondering over the reasons for a long time and just could not come to a conclusion........maybe there was a little hint when I looked down on me and saw this tiny little bulge sticking out, the result of enjoying and tasting food for many, many years. Yes I admit, it was my tummy that made everybody vote for me and there was absolutely no chance for escape.
The kids waiting for Santa
The costume was bought and flown in from London, fancy yes I know...but it was just because we had some people coming from there and they could bring the costume, the purchase was made over the internet. When I tried it on the first time I immediately knew that it must have come from a cold country as it was excruciatingly hot in it and I was not sure if I would actually survive the you can see I did.

We had about 20 kids on the island, most of them still in the age of believing in Santa, so it was a big thing for everybody. I had 2 elves with me and of course Mrs. Santa.
Santa, Mrs Santa and the 2 little elves
After changing in a secret place (GM's home) we went off to the other side of the island, hopped on the speed boat and off we went. What a great ride, just at the end when I had to stand in front of the boat and have to admit that my knees where a bit wobbly, I am not good standing on something that is not steady.

Anyway, we arrived with a big ho ho ho and the kids had major fun. Every one got a personalized present and they all promised to listen to their parent and go to bed when told to....hehehe, I am sure it is not working but worth a try.
Santa with the kids
Overall it ended up to be a lot of fun, hot, sweaty, but a lot of fun. To see the kids faces when they were called up was just marvelous and to see them when they received their little present which was packed in second hand paper  (as we are making sure we look after nature, stay sustainable and reuse as much as we can) was worth every little drop of sweat. We laughed a lot and had fun, so it was a great experience.

A big thank you has to go to everybody who helped, especially Dorine who is in charge of The Den, our kids club. She personalized with name every little present and made sure that Santa got the right present for the right child.

After a good hour we were off again, happy kids, happy parents and happy Santa, Mrs. Santa and the two gorgeous little elves. I guess next year I will be Santa again if I fit in perfectly into the costume......
Family Santa with Dorine

Monday, December 23, 2013

Duck leg with smoked Risotto

Christmas is coming and I want to do something different for the festive season. Duck goes well in the Christmas season, but I am bored of the traditional Duck in Orange sauce. So I am preparing today a slow cooked duck leg, and as it is cooked in its own fat it is called confit. The cooking process takes 3 to 4 hours, one has to be patient, but the result is absolutely delicious.

With the duck leg I prepare a risotto. I have mushrooms in it and instead of a light chicken stock I make a brown chicken stock. For that I roast the bones in the oven till they are nice and dark brow.....remember, only dark brown as if the bones burn the stock will be bitter.

As for the smoke..... I am "cheating" a bit, I am taking one of my fancy powders from the Molecular Cuisine, the smoke powder. If you use smoke powder get a top quality one. I use the products of a company called Sosa. They specialize in all sorts of flavors and products used in the Molecular Cuisine but can of course be used as well in normal cuisine. We don't actually do Molecular here, I call it more progressive Cuisine as we use the aids which can give you amazing flavor combinations, without actually being Molecular.

The risotto is prepared exactly the same way like a normal risotto, but with the brown chicken stock it gives it more the look of being smoked.

Then of course we are using some lovely green vegetables to make the dish perfect in looks and taste

Just for a garnish OI made a little beetroot chip, just looks very nice

4 Ea Duck leg

160 G (6 oz) Arborio Rice
560 Ml  (0.55 quart) Chicken Stock
50 G (2 oz) Parmesan
3 g Smoke Powder
120 G (4 oz) Asparagus, green
100 G (3.5 oz) Mushrooms
80 G (2.5 oz) Mange Tout
40 (1.5 oz) Ml Fresh Cream
50 G (2 oz) Onions

Confit the duck leg in duck fat in the oven for 3 hours at 135 C
Chop onions finely, fry in olive oil without color
Add the risotto, fry a little
Add chicken stock and smoke powder
Be careful that you don't add too much powder
Add the cream, mushrooms and Parmesan at the end

Saute the vegetables

Friday, December 20, 2013

Crema Catalana

Finally, I am sharing again a dessert recipe. A very traditional Spanish dessert, but done in a completely new and different way. Ever heard of Molecular Gastronomy? You know all this fuss the people do about El Bulli, Heston Blumenthal, having Airs, Foams, hot Jellies and little Spheres?????

Yes, that is exactly what we will do with this recipe today. Molecular Gastronomy for you at home. But no worry we are going very easy on it. I am sharing recipe that you can cook at home. The only thing that you need is an ISI Whip, what? ISI Whip, what on earth is that. It must be one of these fancy new machines that nobody can afford......No it is not. It is one of these cream whipping bottles that get charged with CO2, my mom had it already in her kitchen nearly 30 years ago. Just that she did not use it to whip up some Molecular treats for the family, no, she simply used it to make whipped cream. So you can actually get a "cream whipper" in every good kitchen shop allover the world.

But now to the actual dish. What we do is that the cream, the vanilla custard is cooked and then cooled down, then put into the ISI whip, 2 charges are added and then it gets "foamed" into ceramic dishes. Quickly add icing sugar on top and caramelize it with a blow torch, again something that should be standard in a very well equipped kitchen. (Don't worry, my mom didn't have that in her kitchen....)

500 ml (half quart)  Fresh Cream
500 ml (half quart)  Milk
40 g (1.5 oz) Corn starch
1 Ea Lemon
1 Ea Orange
1 Ea Cinnamon Stick
125 g (5 oz) Sugar
8 Ea Egg yolk

Grate Orange and lemon rind
Boil up milk and cream with orange and lemon zeste
and cinnamon stick
Cool down and keep for one day in the fridge to marinate

Mix egg yolk, sugar and corn starch
Rest for 10 min
Strain the milk/cream mix
Combine egg mix with milk
In a heavy bottom pan heat up the mix to 80 C
Make sure the heat is not higher as otherwise the mix
will be too thick for the bottle
Cool the mix down completely

Put half of it in an ISI Whip and add 2 charges

Shake well and press the foam in a heat proof plate
Top with Icing sugar and blow torch it

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Artichoke Soup with Scallops

We had a couple of soups lately, but there are so many great soups that it is difficult not to write about them. Especially when the plating has changed a little bit. It is not all about the soup anymore, the soup of course is part of the dish, but this time there are so many other elements, all different in taste, but at the same time they all go so well together.

I think one of the greatest arts in cooking is the combination of flavors. Everything depends on the flavors on a plate being perfect. Yes of course one has to t
ake quality products, one has to cook everything to perfections, but still, the last touch is that the flavor combination is just right.

Artichokes are an amazing vegetable because they can be paired with many other flavors, Mediterranean flavors. They go with meat, fish, seafood or on their own

So this time I did a combination with pan fried scallops, salmon roe, dried Iberian ham, garlic chips and some extra virgin olive oil. The just garnished with some micro herbs. All the flavors are going superbly together, they just fit to each other.

1 Kg Artichokes
200 G Onions
6 Ea Garlic
180 ml Olive oil
80 G Iberian ham
20 G Pistachios
3 Ea Scallops
10 ml Milk

10 gr Salmon Caviar
Peel the artichokes
Cut the onions in Julienne
Cut the garlic in thin slices and blanch in the milk

Cut the ham in Julienne and deep-fry
Crush the pistachios
Grill the scallops

Saute the onions and artichokes, add water.
Simmer till soft
Season to taste
Blend and add the olive oil

Garnish with sustainable caviar

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Saffron and Goats Cheese Tortellini with Asparagus

Now we are doing a nice and light pasta dish, it is vegetarian and extremely tasty. It is Tortellini which are filled with creamy goats cheese and cream cheese. I make a green and white puree out of the asparagus, then have some al dente Asparagus and to top it off I will serve some raw Asparagus chips. At the end we drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on it and some finely sliced black truffle, it just gives the edge to it and makes this already great dish a little fancier.

As usual truffles are totally optional, you really don't need them to create a great dish. Please don't substitute them with truffle oil as otherwise everything will taste and smell of the oil, just use a really good extra virgin olive oil, which will add to the flavor instead of overpower all the subtle flavors.

I like colorful dishes, the eye eats as well. The asparagus goes so well with the bright yellow of the tortellini and for me the truffle doesn't just give a colorful accent, but is as well very tasty.

This dish will be on our menu in Restaurant 9 as from December 18, so the first menu changes there. I will have most probably every other week a new change till the whole menu is changed, then I will start again and change more, all the times
250 G  (10 oz) Saffron Pasta dough
100 G (3 oz) Goats Cheese
50 G (2 oz) Cream Cheese

500 G (1 lb) Green Asparagus
500 G (1 lb) White Asparagus
50 Ml (2 oz) Olive oil
10 Ea Red Cherry tomatoes
10 Ea Yellow Cherry tomatoes

50 G (2 oz) Black truffle
1 Pun Micro herbs

50 Ml (2 oz) Olive oil

Roll the pasta dough out thinly, cut in rounds
Fill with fresh goats cheese and form tortellini
Blanch in salt water till al dente, then put in ice water

Take half of each asparagus and boil till soft
Put the green asparagus straight in ice water to preserve the color
Blend them individually, season and mix up with olive oil

Blanch the other asparagus till al dente

Blanch and peel the cherry tomatoes

Cut some fresh white asparagus in very thin chips
Keep them in cold water to crisp them up

Put the hot puree on the plate
Top with the tortellini
Garnish with asparagus, chips and truffle
Then at the end put some micro herbs on top

Monday, December 9, 2013

Reef Fish Carpaccio with Madras Curry infused oil

We are going absolutely wild here at the hotel and having so much fun. We are looking at all the recipes in the different restaurants and I am busy compiling all of them into one single file. This is not an easy task and it will take some time, but all the chefs are helping and making sure their recipes are in and the photos are up to date. That means we are cooking and tasting and changing and photographing and having huge fun.

Today we did a new dish, something we want to serve on our special sand bank dinners. it is a reef fish carpaccio with Madras curry infused oil. It is a bit of a fusion dish of local fish with hints of India which is so close to us and of course I have a lot of Indian chefs working here.

It is actually really simple to do, if you cant find reef fish, try to get any white and firm fish, even a halibut would go really well because it has a delicious flavor.

We serve it with a little salad, brunoise (little cubes) of vegetables, cooked lentils and a slightly spicy curry infused oil which I take as well for the vinaigrette. I like to finish off the dish with some micro herbs, but that is optional
600 G (1 lb, 5 oz) Reef fish fillet, white
20 G (0.75 oz) Sea Salt
10 G (0.3 oz) Black Pepper
50 G (2 oz) Radiccio salad
50 G (2 oz) Frisee salad
50 G (2 oz) Lollo rosso salad
30 G (1 oz) Micro Herbs

10 G (0.3 oz) Curry powder
1 Ea Cinnamon stick
1 Ea Star anise
1 Ea Cardamom
1 each red chili
100 Ml (3 oz) Oil

30 Ml (1 oz) Sherry Vinegar

30 G (1 oz) Lentils, pink
70 G (2.5 oz) Carrots
70 G (2.5 oz) Celeriac
50 G (1.8 oz) Lotus Root

Add spices to the oil, heat up and simmer for 10 min
Keep the spices in the oil over night, then strain
Use some of the oil for the vinaigrette

Mix half the oil with the vinegar for the dressing

Roll the fish in plastic, nice and tight and freeze
Cut the fish thinly and plate on baking paper, then add another sheet on top, cut in a perfect square
Plate in the middle of your plate
Sprinkle gently with salt and pepper
Mix the lettuces and toss in a bit vinaigrette

Sprinkle the carpaccio with the blanched brunoise of vegetables Cook the lentils al dente and sprinkle as well

Drizzle with oil and vinaigrette, garnish with Deep-fried lotus root
Serves 10 friends

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Poached Egg in white Truffle Sabayon

Yes I know how to do a poached egg, but to combine it with potatoes and truffle Sabayon, that is something different. It is sort of an Egg Benedict where the muffin has been changed to pureed potatoes and the Hollandaise Sauce has changed to a Sabayon.

The dish has a lovely richness and some decadence if one uses real white truffles as a garnish. Just to tell you little bit about white truffles. These grow only in the Alba region of Italy and are the most prized and sort after mushrooms. The average price for 100 G in whole sale is around 200 Euros, so 2000 Euros per kg. which is around 2750$. This is a lot of money. Depending on quality and size the price can even go up a lot.

The highest ever fetched price at an auction was in 2010 when Stainley Ho paid 330'000 $ for a truffle of the size of 1.5, now that is ridiculos

So anyway, if you want to just give a little extra fanciness and have Dollars to spare, go for the real thing.....the smell alone is already so erotic you will love it, much more subtle and at the same time pungent than the oil. You can see that I love white truffles

But lets get going to the recipe, it will be enough for 4 friends

8 Ea Eggs
450 G Potatoes
150 G Butter
120 Ml Cream
150 G Mushrooms
4 Teasp. White Truffle oil
 Micro herbs

 White truffles

Poach four of the eggs
Peel the potatoes, boil and mash, then add cream and butter
 Saute the mushrooms
 Make a sabayon with the 4 egg yoks, add oil in the last minute

Put the potato puree in the bottom of a glass
Add the sauteed mushrooms
Top with the poached egg
Pour the Sabayon carefully around
Garnish with micro herbs and as much white truffle as you like or can afford

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kobe Beef Sashimi a bit different

Today I give you the recipe of one of my many favorite Japanese Dishes. It is a Kobe Beef Sashimi, made in a bit of a new style. Of course one can take another beef too, but I have to advise everybody to best take an extremely marbled meat, like the Wagyu.

Wagyu is the type of beef, Kobe Beef is basically a Wagyu that comes from Kobe, only then it can be called Kobe Beef, but there is beautiful Waguy coming from Australia and other countries. One could even take a Prime cut from the US, best the fillet. Make sure you get a beef that is well marbled.
Now the new style I take a bit from Nobu, an amazing Japanese Chef who has now a whole load of restaurants, called Nobu. His food is not pure Japanese, but a fantastic fusion of local and Japanese cuisines. He worked for long time in Peru, so there is a strong South American influence.
The new style Sashimi is different from the normal Sashimi because just before serving the dish, hot, flavored oil gets poured on the meat, cooking it a bit, but still keeping it raw, the flavors you will get out of this dish are amazing
Just a word about the Yuzu. Yuzu are small Japanese lemons, very fragrant and different than the lemons used in theWest. The good thing is that Yuzu juice is nowadays widely available from good Asian stores

You might have some of the Soy-Yuzu sauce and the oil left, it is better to make a bit bigger quantities and keep for next time as it might be difficult to scrape the last bit of oil to pour over the meat

600 g (20 oz) Kobe Sirloin (or Wagyu)
3 cloves Garlic
50 g (1.5 oz) Ginger
Toasted Sesame seeds
Garlic Chips

Yuzu Soy Sauce
100 ml Soy Sauce
60 ml Yuzu juice

180 ml Olive oil
50 ml Sesame Oil

Cut the beef into thin slices about 3 mm thick
Pound then slightly
Arrange the beef attractively on the plates
Spread a little grated garlic on each slice of the meat
Top with a very fine ginger julienne and chives
Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds
Pour the Yuzu Soy sauce over the meat
Heat the oil to nearly smoking point
Carefully pour with a spoon a bit oil over the meat, it has to sizzle a bit
Garnish with garlic chips

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Maldives, a new adventure begins

Newly created kids amenities, chocolate fondue
As you could gather, Ghana is in the past. I had a wonderful time and learned a lot, but it was time to move on. There will be more recipes from Ghana, there is still so much to write, but right now it is time to tell you more about my new adventure, the Maldives.
Staff beach......
I spent nearly 3 month in Philippines and the job search was on full blast, not easy to find something that has everything one wants, a decent salary, great location and on top of that the promise of having an enormous lot of fun producing great food, work with a great team  learn new things and I think that I found it.
Fresh in the Garden Restaurant
I loved of course every minute in Philippines, that is why we have more Philippine recipes and travel hints and next time I am here there will be a lot more, but now it is time to take off.
Chocolate Soup with Sea Salt and Olive Oil
Malaysian Airlines flies three times a day from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, so the flight I had went off a 3 PM (OK as usual there was a delay) and I had less than one and a half hours on KL airport to catch the next flight (which as well was delayed). The actual flying time was short, just a bit more than 3 hours for the first flight and 4 hours for the second, I am used to much longer distances. The downfall was that Malaysian Airways still has really old planes in service, so on one leg we did not have an inflight entertainment system.....I didn't see that for many years. But the food was good and the seats are OK. I had a terrible cold while flying, so happy to just sleep on the plane.
Relaxing area by the beach bar
Then in Male I was transferred straight to the Island....straight? No, of course not, first I got stuck in immigration, then the domestic plane had over an hour delay.......then I waited for the transfer to the boat who then finally brought me to the island and at 3.30 in the morning I was finally in my new home on Soneva Fushi, one of the best Resorts on Maldives
The main road on the island
I had a days rest and then started with work, getting to know everybody, the Island and Resort is amazing, it is one of the biggest private islands in the Maldives and even so everything is made for luxury, we live the slow life here, meaning that we try to go as organic as possible, to buy as local as possible and even grow a lot of salads and vegetables ourselves.

I will write a bit more about the island soon, about the different restaurants, the snorkeling and diving and all the other things one can do here.

The Observatory
Of course you can expect a lot of recipes, we are cooking a lot here, just the finest products, I will tell you about the white truffles used here, I will even go a little into Molecular Food, just a tiny bit, something you can actually do at home, yes it is not that difficult.

So join me in this great new adventure of food, here in themiddle of the Indian Ocean

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Aguinaldo Shrine

We were in Bacoor visiting family when the idea came up to visit Aguinaldos  Shrine. Just for all of us who are not so well versed in Filipino history, Aguinaldo was the first President of the Philippines when they declared independence from Spain in 1898. I am now reading up a bit about this time in the Philippines, very interesting and sometimes a bit confusing, a lot happened in just a few years. I don't want to go into a history lesson, but some numbers are amazing. Aguinaldo was just 20 years old when the independence was declared from his house and he was already a general. He died in 1964 being 95 years old, looking back on a very eventful life. I am actually going out now to look for a good history book about this stage of the Philippines, I love history and can't wait reading up a bit more

The house where he lived is now a museum showing the process of the independence. The amazing part is that the entrance is free and it is absolute worth a detour. The building has been renovated and there are lots of original antiques showing how they lived at that time. Aguinaldo gave the entire property to the government of Philippines to remember the independence
The easiest way is simply to drive to the city of Kawit, Cavite, one will automatically drive past the Aguinaldo Shrine. One takes the CAVITEX highway and gets out at Kawit. On the way back to Manila you will be treated with an amazing view over Manila Bay and you will see how huge Manila actually is......and good looking I have to say. The skyline of Manila is really breathtaking, especially with good weather and late afternoon, something one just has to see

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Charlie Trotter R.I.P.

Chef at work (Image Getty Images)
Yes, one of my cooking idols has passed away, last night at the young age of 54. When I was a young chef I looked with amazement at his cookbooks, full of brilliant ideas. He was basically the first that really explored the regional products and reading the ingredients in his cookbooks really showed the difference if you buy the one right and special potato or just a potato off the shelf in a super market. 

He was an absolute perfectionist, someone who will not serve anything below perfect. I found one of his menus on the net, served by table. Just look at the different items, absolutely wonderful. One can only imagine how much work goes into a creation like this

I was lucky enough to be invited by friends to his restaurant C in Cabo San Luca. This was an absolutely amazing treat, we had a chefs table and the head chef produced one of the best meals I had. I was working on the ship The World at the time and the residents who invited me did not tell me where we go. So my surprise was big when we drove in the One and Only and walked into C.

Of course I have a whole lot of his cook books, especially Charlie Trotter, Charlie Trotter Vegetables, Charlie Trotter Seafood,  Charlie Trotter Dessert and Charlie Trotter Meat and Game. These are amazing books, as well for the not so well trained chef, beautiful photos and accurate recipes, something one does not always find in cook books of top chefs

The photo of the baby carrot terrine is one of my favorite dishes he made, I have done it many times myself and every time it is a great success. The flavor combination is amazing. I think I will have to cook it again soon and share the recipe with you.

My favored Terrine
It is sad to see a great chef pass away, one who has trained other great chefs like Grant Achatz which is now one of the top chefs in the world.

But all I can say now is Charlie Trotter, we miss you RIP

Monday, November 4, 2013

Beef Bulalo

Today we do a recipe from the region I live in Philippines, as the Beef Bulalo is traditionally made in the Tagaytay area. One could most probably put it as well in the soup category, but at the same time it is a bit like a stew. Of course this dish is not only cooked here in Tagaytay, but all over Philippines, especially in the areas where there is a lot of beef. The origin so is Southern Luzon....exactly where we are!

The main ingredient is the beef shank that is cut like the osso buco. The other main ingredient are Marrow bones, this gives the soup an extremely rich flavor and makes it even more delicious. The main difference is that this dish is cooked like a clear soup.

The flavor is absolutely amazing, the slow simmering brings out a beautiful beef flavor and with the bone marrow it makes a really great combination. Of course one has to add a lot of vegetables, some potatoes towards the end and at the very end the Chinese Cabbage, it should still be a little crisp when served. Many versions use as well Sweet Corn and/or Bok Choi, this is all up to you, prepare it the way you like it. For me the corn gives a strong flavor that detracts from the beef.

Now when it comes to cooking beef, there are different opinions about how it should be done. The traditional one is that you actually blanch the meat to get rid of all the impurities and to have a nice clear stock. This is done by putting the meat and bones in cold water, then it gets slowly brought to the boil, then the water gets poured off and the meat and bones get washed under cold know how much flavor you loose????

So I do prefer to keep as much flavor in my stock as possible which means that I start exactly the same way, I put my meat and bones in cold water, then I bring it very slowly to the boil. Now the secret comes, you need to take off all the foam that starts gathering at the top, this is called skimming the stock. Like this you will remove basically all the impurities, without loosing any of the flavor. I let the stock boil up one, just for a very short time, then I go down with the temperature till it just softly simmers.

If you have only little time there is another method, use the pressure cooker, like this you can cut the cooking time by half......we tried it out and it worked very well, I am just very classically inspired chef, so I prefer the traditional method, but like I said, the result was really, really good.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) Beef shank
500 g (1.1 lbs) Marrow bones
500 g (1.1 lbs) Onions
50 g (2 oz) Garlic
10 g (0.3 oz) Peppercorns
30 g (1 oz) Ginger
Patis (fish sauce)
500 g (1.1 lbs) Potatoes
500 g (1.1 lbs) Carrots
500 g (1.1lbs) Chinese Cabbage

Take about 3 liters of water, add the beef shank to it and bring slowly to the boiling point
During this time make sure you take off all the dirt and foam that comes to the top, ensuring a clean broth
Add Fish sauce, salt and peppercorns
Simmer on low temperature for at least an hour
Peel the carrots and onions and gut in big pieces/quarters
Add to the broth and simmer till everything is nice and soft
The meat must literally fall off the bone.
Just at the end add the Chinese Cabbage as it needs only a very short time cooking

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bangkok Night Market or how to make a special Cappuccino

Getting everything together for the Cappuccino
Today I like to tell you a bit from my travels on the ships. I have seen many corners of the world and tasted many foods, but sometimes one has experiences that are extra ordinary. I spent a lot of time on the different markets in the individual ports we went, for one of course to get some fresh goods, but then of course as well to educate myself more on local fruit and vegetables and often I saw new fruit, bought it and then we tried in the kitchen new dishes.
Having a smile at work
One of the funny experiences happened when we sailed to Thailand. We were actually docked in Patthaya, not too much I want to tell you about that port.........but our supplier suggested that we maybe should pay a visit to one of the big night markets up in Bangkok, one of the markets that is there for the restaurants, so not really open to the public, even so it is not closed so everybody can just walk in. Of course I said yes, I would love to go and then was able to invite some of my fellow chefs to come with.
Adding loads of coffee, sugar and powdered milk
He collected us at 1.30 in the morning, we needed a good hour to drive up to Bangkok and arrived just in time when the market was hustling and bustling. It is an amazing place to be, I had no idea where to start so we just followed our supplier. He was a great guide, coming from Denmark and married with a Thai lady, so she was there too and helped with translations.
The system is actually quite amazing. One goes through the market and if one wants to buy something, everything is of course only sold by box or crate, one negotiates the price. Then one has to pay and give the car registration number and the more or less direction where the car is parked. Then the food will be brought to the least that is how it was explained to me and amazingly it worked. When we were back at the car every single box of fruit and vegetables we bought that night was safely stored.
Pouring the coffee in the ice bag
Being on the market made me absolutely happy, we learned the finer things that make a difference, we tried Rambutan from the North and the South of Thailand and tasted the difference in sweetness, yes the one from the South is superior. We even tried really has to love the taste... When the Durian is young it very much tastes like raw onions, but has a lovely yellow look. When the Durian gets ripe....ooohhhhh boy, then the flesh looks lovely like vanilla pudding, it smells and tastes like rotten eggs, caramba, what an experience and no, I am no fan of Durian.
Our take away "Cappuccino"
After all the walking and tasting the idea came up of having a cup of coffee, it was nearly 5 AM and we would be heading home soon. So there was a stand selling coffee and we ordered 5 Coffees. The question then was if we like it hot or as ice coffee. Ah yes, a ice cold coffee would be great, so the ladies started to work. One went away to get crushed ice in bags, the other one put 5 spoons full of Nescafe instant each cup, then 5 spoons of sugar and the same amount of milk powder. Wow, I could not imagine drinking this coffee, it will be so strong that it must be nearly thick. But of course this was not the end, she added the hot water and then just after a little stirring simply poured the piping hot coffee into the ice filled bags. Then she looked at us, smiled and asked if we like Cappuccino? Yes, why not? So she took a tin of condense milk and poured a swirl onto each bag of coffee. A straw in bag and voila the Cappuccino was finish and believe me, it tasted just great.
Having coffee with the chefs and supplier, next to me Chef Tai, Chef Raf and Pastry Chef Wolfgang
We had an amazing night on the market, after having all worked a good 12 hour shift, having a couple of beers in the crew bar, then driving to Bangkok, seeing all these amazing fruit and vegetables, having a super coffee, we walked around a little longer and then at around 6 am went back to the ship in Pattaya. We had one more stop for a great breakfast consisting of Tom Yum and more, and then around 9 AM we were back, quick shower and starting another days work.........having an experience we all will never forget

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lentil Soup with Rabbit Sausage

Today we do another lovely soup, really perfect for winter, a lentil soup. Lentils are so versatile, they can really be used in so many dishes and apart from tasting really good, they are extremely healthy, just ask any vegetarian or Vegan what they think about lentils.

To just make the soup a little different I made some rabbit sausages, cooked a bit Puy Lentils and then a little bit Chinese Cabbage. 

The Puy Lentils are one of the best Lentils available on the market, they are rich and flavorful and very dark in color. They get their name from the French city of Puy, where they were originally grown and are still a driving industry. The name is protected and the lentils are sold under the AOC label, meaning Appelation d'origine controlee, a fancy French term saying that they are under controlled production from a certain, clearly demarcated area. The special flavor of the lentils is because they are grown in the volcanic soil of the Auvergne region. So if you see them in a shop, get them and try them out

The rabbit sausage is not a real sausage, I just took the back of a rabbit, deboned it carefully so I have the fillet and the skin nicely together. Then I took a bit leg meat and made a farce, or filling with a little cream, salt, pepper and liver. I added a bit sundried tomatoes to give it a nice color. I added a bit farce next to the fillet and simply rolled it so that the skin is all around. Then I tied the sausage and roasted it in a pan and finished it off in the oven.

Sounds labor intensive? Yes it is and you really don't have to do it, just simply make the soup, and then make the sun dried tomatoes, lentils and Chinese cabbage as a garnish.

So here is the recipe for the soup, if you want to have an exact recipe for the rabbit sausage, let me know and I will happily part with it

250 g (9 oz) Puy Lentils
150 g (5 oz) Onions
50 g (2 oz) Garlic
25 ml (1 oz) Olive oil
1.2 l (1.2 quart) Chicken or Vegetable stock
250 ml (9 oz) Cream
Salt, Pepper

50 g (2 oz) Puy Lentils
50 g (2 oz) Onions
50 g (2 oz) Carrots
25 ml (1 oz) Balsamic Vinegar
25 ml (1 oz) Olive oil

1 head Chinese Cabbage
25 ml (1 oz) Olive oil
Salt, Pepper

Cut the onions and garlic in fine dices, then saute together with the lentils in the olive oil, without color
Add either chicken or vegetable stock and simmer till the lentils are very soft
Blend the soup quickly, but don't strain it, you want a bit texture in the soup
Add the soup back in the pot and add the cream

This soup is very versatile, if you are vegan then you just leave the cream away

Season to taste, if the soup is a little too thick, just add some more stock

Cut the onions and carrots in brunoise, blanch
Saute the lentils
Add stock and balsamic vinegar
Simmer till tender
Mix with the blanched vegetables, you should have no stock left

Cut the Chinese Cabbage and just saute quick in  bi olive oil
Season to taste

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chanterelle Cappuccino

It is getting colder in the northern Hemisphere, so it is a good time to do some soups again. I already did quite a few of them, but being a "soupoholic" I can never have enough recipes

This time I am making a Chanterelle Cappuccino with some rabbit fillet and a little salad. This is mainly because the under plates are nice and big and had space for some extra garnish, and it goes really well with the soup.

Chanterelles are wild mushrooms. They are yellow in color and absolutely amazing in taste. They are usually harvested wild in the forests in autumn and go great with game, as a soup or just fried with garlic, onions, butter and herbs and then served on toast
The soup is really easy to make, the mushrooms get quickly washed as they are usually still full of soil and if they are not washed properly you will have all the sand between your teeth and believe me, this is not a nice experience. At the end either top it with a milk foam or a bit soft whipped cream that is seasoned with salt and pepper and if you wish flavored with a little truffle oil. 

Of course this soup can be made as well with other mushrooms, Cepes go really well or just plain button mushrooms. I like as well the traditional wild mushroom mix with everything you can find on the market

So here is the recipe

300 g (11 oz) Chanterelle Mushrooms
100 g (3 oz) Onions
20 g (0.75 oz) Garlic
50 g (2 oz) Butter
80 ml (3 oz) White whine
500 ml (half pint) Chicken stock
100 ml (3 oz) Cream
Salt, Pepper

4 ea Rabbit fillets
Sesame Seed
Olive oil

Herbs, assorted
Lettuce leaves
Balsamic reduction

Clean the Chanterelles well in cold water, rinse well and pat dry
Peel and chop the onions and garlic
Saute onions and garlic in butter without color
Add the Chanterelles, saute a little longer
Add whitewine
Bring to the boil, then add chicken stock
Simmer for 20 minutes
Blend and strain
Put back in a pot, add cream and bring to the boil, season to taste

Season the rabbit fillets and fry them in olive oil till nearly done
Roll the fillets in the sesame seeds

This is enough for 6 generous portions

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