Sunday, January 27, 2013

Burns Dinner in Ghana

The traditional Haggis
It sounds strange doesn't it? Yes it is strange, but we made it happen. The Caledonian Society of Ghana organized a proper Burns Dinner with everything that goes with it. We even got the best Haggis available, got it through unknown channels into Ghana.....OK, it was all official, but we had to get it in via a private source as it would have been far too complicated and expensive to get it from one of my suppliers
The on top of it we have the BBC here filming the whole event and it will be broadcast at the next Commonwealth Games which are to happen in Scotland. They want to show how Burns Dinner is celebrated in other countries and I think Ghana is really an exotic country compared to Scotland.

Haggis is something really special, it is sheep's stomach that is filled with oats, lard and sheep's offal, including the lung, so it is an acquired taste. Many countries in the world are not selling the original Haggis as there are parts of the animals in it that they deem not good for human consumption, like the lung. Yes, you hear right, a good haggis contains lung. It might sound awful to you, but if lung is prepared nicely, it is actually very good. I had many years ago a "Rahm Beuschl" in Vienna, which is Lung in a creamy sauce and it was really delicious
In the US you won't find the traditional Haggis as it is not allowed to sell lung....yes not fit for consumption by humans, so don't even try to find it, and don't try to get it in like we did in Ghana, no, customs will not be as lenient as they are here

I remember last time I wrote about Burns Dinner I gave the recipe for the Cook a Leeky Soup, I Think this time I give you a really easy recipe of the oats cookie we served with the cheese course, something really simple and it goes so well with the cheese.
The Haggis after the traditional cutting
Oats was something that was always plentiful in Scotland. Wheat doesn't grow that well this far north, but oats being sturdier still grows nicely in the south of Scotland and is used in many dishes, even the Haggis
The dinner always starts with the traditional presentation of the Haggis. I was asked to be the one bringing it in the dining room, of course walking before me a bag piper. Then there is a bit of talking going on before the haggis gets officially cut. (We pricked the haggis a bit to prevent it to spit the hot fat while being cut). The the wet part starts, I had to drink a glass of whisky, yes just had to down it and then kiss the bottom of the glass. After that I happily brought the Haggis back to the kitchen and we started serving the food
Scottish Trifle
Of course we had a taster of the Haggis and everybody really enjoyed it, contrary to the expectations, it was lovely moist, a little spicy and full flavored, most probably one of the best Haggis I had.

We served the soup and then the main, after I was called in the ball room to have a glass of 18 year old Glenfiddich.....pity to just drink it ex, but that is the way to do it. The table who called me was as well here at our last dinner that was organized by the Caledonian Society, so it was great to see them again.

Then we sent out dessert and cheese, all went smooth and the party went on till nearly 4 AM, yes the know how to party
Oatmeal Cookies

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jaconde Alize.....a sexy dessert

Every good menu needs a stunning dessert to end the meal, so we need to have something really sexy for dessert. The name is already sexy, Jaconde Alize.

If you google the dessert you will quickly find out that it is actually a classic dessert which has be brought to perfection by Michel Roux. It is soft layers of almond sponge, then praline butter cream and raspberries, something that is just too wonderful.

So yes, our pastry chef was for many years on ships and had the privilege to work with Michel Roux....what a lucky guy. And I am now a lucky guy to have the pastry chef working for us here. I met Michel Roux when he came for a well deserved break in the Relais et Chateaux hotel where I was the chef at the time. Such a humble and great man, no arrogance, just simply enjoying his time with us and the food.

The almond sponge is soaked with a bit sugar syrup, then you paint dark chocolate on it, so it gets just a tiny bit crispness, then the raspberries and the butter cream, wow, it is really great

Just be aware, it takes a bit time and loads of love to make this recipe work
600 G Almond Sponge
300 G Frozen Raspberries
400 G Butter Cream
50 G Hazelnut paste
50 G Chocolate
20 G Cocoa Powder
30 G Sugar

50 G Mango sauce

Bake the almond sponge in sheets
Cook the chocolate with cocoa powder and sugar till melted
Paint the chocolate on top of the sponge
Defrost the berries, chop
Put the berries on top of the chocolate

Mix Butter cream with hazelnut paste
Spread the butter cream on top of the berries
Put the individual layers on top of each other
Press gently
Cool over night
Add a last layer of butter cream on top

Cut slices of 140 g each
Garnish with mango sauce

And here is the recipe for the Almond Sponge

600 g Almond Flour
600 g Icing sugar
200 g Flour
150 g Butter
750 g Eggs

Beat the eggs with the sugar till light and creamy
Add the other ingredients carefully, except the butter
Melt the butter and add at the end
pour on baking trays and make sure it is not thicker than 1 cm
Bake at 180 C till light brown in color

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beef fillet with Truffle Potatoes

It has been a good new year so far, we had already some great recipes, so time now for a good piece de resistance, the beef fillet. I serve it with truffle potatoes, basically lovely creamy mashed potatoes with a bit of truffle oil and then chopped truffles. For the meat I take a Karan fillet. Karan is a South African breed, very nice and lean. It is good value for money, not as nice as a Scottish Black Angus, but for the price there is no complaints, Karan is lovely

I love truffles, of course I do, I love truffles, I love foie gras I love food. Always happy to try new things and they don't always have to be exotic.

Truffle is something not too many people cook with, even so I have to admit, I found it once in Seattle in the frozen section of a supermarket, wow, was I happy and we of course cooked straight a lovely dish with it.

Truffles go with many things, not just foie gras, no, it actually goes great with potatoes. The potatoes are the best carriers for this lovely subtle flavor, it is subtle that is for sure. If you use truffle oil, use it sparingly otherwise it will overpower your dish and it won't be the great dish you were hoping for

There are plenty of different truffles, I think I should actually write a separate blog about them, they really deserve it!
But of course the recipe would not fall under gourmet recipes if there is not some more labor involved.....hehehe, yes it is. The sauce I serve with the fillet is actually an oxtail sauce. It is a powerful yet subtle sauce that just goes perfectly well with the fillet and the truffles and the potatoes. It takes hours to cook, but boy is it nice!!!!!

So without too much chatting, let's go and check out the new recipe

1.8 Kg (4 lb) Karan fillet
15 G (0.5 oz) Salt
2 G Pepper
50 Ml (2 oz) Olive oil

1 Kg (2 lb) Oxtail
10 G (1/3 oz) Salt, pepper
50 Ml (2 oz) Oil
150 G (5 oz) Onion
10 G (1/3 oz) Garlic
100 G (3 oz) Carrots
100 G (3 oz) celeriac
100 G (3 oz) Leeks
50 G (2 oz) Tomato paste
10 G (1/3 oz) Rosemary
200 Ml (0.2 qrt) White wine
750 Ml (0.75 qrt) Brown veal stock
250 Ml (0.25 qrt) Demi glace

1500 G Potatoes
10 G Salt
2 G Pepper
100 Ml Milk
50 Ml Cream
50 G Butter
50 G Truffles, black
5 Ml Truffle oil

Roast the whole fillet in the butter till brown all round
Season to taste
Finish in the oven at 51 C for 3 hours
Cut the Oxtail in 5 cm pieces
Cut the vegetables in matignon
Season Oxtail
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

Peel and cook the potatoes till soft
Drain off water
Dry the potatoes on the stove a bit
Boil up milk, cream and butter
Mix with potatoes
Add truffles and truffle oil
Season to taste

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snapper and Lobster with Parsnip

Let's go to the next course of the NYE menu, I used originally grouper, but now I have a recipe that uses snapper instead. Of course you can change the fish to any fish you like, there are no limits.

I serve the snapper with a small lobster tail, parsnip puree and roast cocktail tomatoes. All has a bit of a Mediterranean flavor to it, is light and just simply yummy. It is easy to prepare and a success id guaranteed with any dinner party.

The tomatoes I cook at the very end, just drizzled with olive oil, a bit salt and pepper out of the mill, then I put it in the salamander or in the oven with top heat only. It just takes a couple of minutes and they are cooked

Parsnip is another ingredient that I simply love. It is actually the root of parsley, but over the years the root became a vegetable for itself. The flavor is awesome, I can't describe it any different. It has hints of parsley, but much more mellow, it even has hints of celeriac, but again, just so subtle., it is really a great winter vegetable. Of course it can be roasted or made as a soup, in any way you do it, it will be just great

So, let's go ahead to the recipe, very simple, step by step. You can easily prepare something ahead as well, like the parsnip puree, so at the end you just have to put everything together


400 G Grouper Fillet
600 G Lobster tail
10 G Salt 1 G Pepper
50 Ml Olive oil

400 G Parsnip
100 Ml Cream
50 G Butter
7 G Salt
1 G Pepper

100 Ml Chardonnay
150 G Butter
35 Ml Cream
40 G Parsley
40 G Dill

350 G Cherry Tomatoes

Cut the grouper in exact squares
Season the fish and fry in olive oil
Cut the lobster tail in half, season and fry in olive oil

Peel the parsnip and cut in cubes
Cook in salt water till soft
Blend, add butter and cream
Season to taste

Reduce Chardonnay till half
Add cream, boil up
Whisk up with ice cold butter
Chop herbs very fine
Add the herbs just before serving, season to taste

Roast Cherry tomatoes under salamander with a little olive oil, salt and pepper

Monday, January 7, 2013

Foie Gras and Chicken Liver

One is French the other English? No, of course not. But calling goose liver Foie Gras just sounds more elegant. They are basically both livers, one from the chicken and one from the goose. But there is one huge difference, the goose liver is from a force fed animal. At least partly force fed. Already the ancient Romans enjoyed catching the geese when going south in late autumn, their liver big and fatty for the long journey.

Of course there is no comparison to the goose liver of today. Today, the geese are fed till the liver has a size that nearly fills the entire stomach cavity, not good, I admit. So the goal is to find a producer that produces the liver more natural, they are a lot smaller, but still have this lovely flavor.

I like to combine goose and chicken liver. There are several reasons for it, one is that they are both different in taste, but still compliment each other. And then there is of course a cost factor, it is a lot cheaper to do a goose liver terrine and then stretch it a bit, but still have it full of flavor

The recipe is actually totally easy, I got it from a great chef in Switzerland a couple of years ago and I am still doing it regularly.

250 g Foie Gras
250 g Kg Chicken liver, cleaned
250 g Butter
3 Eggs
25 ml Brandy or Cognac

Clean the foie gras and cut in 2 cm pieces
Blend the chicken liver, then strain through a fine sieve
Melt the butter, add to the chicken liver
Beat the eggs and add to the mix
Add Brandy and season to taste......yes you should taste the mix before cooking it, sounds terrible but can avoid that your terrine is too salty or lacks salt

Lay out a terrine form with plastic wrap
Pour the mix in the terrine form, then add the foie gras pieces
Cover and poach carefully at 80C for about 45 minutes.

Cool in the fridge, un mould and slice

Serve with a little port reduction and a crispy salad

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and another Scallop recipe

Happy New Year everybody

I hope it has been a good one for all of my readers. It has been a good one for me, one with many changes and new challenges.

I said good bye to ships life and have settled on land again, in a place I would not have thought I would be working, but you know how it goes, it usually doesn't end up how one plans these things and like with many other things, one has to go there where the jobs are.

Then when I have arrived in Ghana, I must admit, it was really a good experience. The hotel is amazing and I can be creative again. On the ships the creativity is somehow limited. Here I can say that each recipe I give is actually a recipe of a dish that is serve in our restaurant

I got a lot more followers over the year and the hits on the blog are now on average 150 a day, something I wouldn't have thought it could happen just a year only the sky is the limit and I still have so much more to write.

So yes, there are so many more recipes to come. I just made the recipes for the entire New Years Eve Menu and will happily share them with you. Maybe we should just start looking at the menu first, then we go in the kitchen and start cooking. The first course are roast diver scallops on mange tout salad. It is nice and light, the perfect way to start the dinner.

I know I just made a recipe with scallops but it is just twice on the menu in different forms

300 G Sugar snap peas
50 G Onions
250 G Tomatoes
50 G Radicchio lettuce
500 G Scallops
50 Ml Olive oil
10 G Salt
1 G Pepper
1 G Saffron
30 Ml Cider vinegar
70 Ml Olive oil
5 G Salt
1 G Pepper

Blanch the sugar snaps very briefly and cool immediately
Blanch the tomatoes, peel and cut in concasse
Cut sugar snaps and radicchio in very fine strips
Season the scallops and fry quickly in olive oil
Mix all ingredients together for the saffron vinaigrette

Plate the sugar snap pea salad in the middle
Top with the warm scallops
Drizzle the vinaigrette around
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...