Monday, April 29, 2013

Sweet potato cakes on spicy coconut and spinach sauce

This is the second vegetarian dish we put on the menu, which is on since a bit more than a week and it looks like it is a great success. It sells really well, looks very pretty and tastes even better. The amazing part is that this dish is even good for Vegans, yes this is a really tasty Vegan dish

They are little cakes made from roasted sweet potatoes which are just tossed in a bit olive oil, garlic added and then finished in the oven.

The sauce again is very simple, coconut milk, spinach, a little chili and coriander, boil up, blend, serve. It could not be easier than that.

Then I like to serve it with something a bit different, a pickled cucumber salad. This just gives the dish a really nice balance as you will see the sauce is rather rich, so it needs something to break the richness.

It has been another busy week here at work, we had a lot of functions and and the restaurant was pretty busy too. It is nice, it keep me out of mischief, but as well away from writing blogs. It is rainy season here so sometimes the power is a bit of a challenge, even so we have a couple of huge generators to keep everything going, it is after all 260 rooms..... but every time the power trips the gas on the stove goes out automatically and it is always a challenge to get the grill and the stove going again, not sure what it is but when the power trips three to four times an evening we do use sometimes words that should not be used in public....

1.5 Kg Sweet potatoes (red)
100 Ml Olive oil
5 G All spice, ground
5 G Cumin, ground
5 G Chili flakes, dried
5 G Thyme
100 G Garlic
15 G Chili, fresh
100 G Spring onions
50 G Coriander, fresh
25 G Lime zest
800 Ml Coconut milk
300 G Spinach, fresh
80 G Onions, chopped
60 G Garlic, roast
10 G Chilies, fresh
50 G Peppers, green
5 G Paprika
5 G Thyme, fresh
5 G Salt
3 G Pepper
25 Ml Lemon juice
20 G Coriander, fresh
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in cubes
Toss the sweet potato with the olive oil and spices
Roast together with the garlic in a pre heated oven at 200 C until soft (about 20 min)
Mash the sweet potato and soft garlic together
Form small cakes, 3 per person
Pan fry them in a bit olive oil
Saute the onions, garlic and chili in a bit oil
Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil
Add spinach and the other ingredients
Bring quickly to a boil
Blend and season to taste
Put a mirror of the sauce on the bottom of a square plate
Then set the sweet potato cakes on top
Serve wit a pickled cucumber salad and a roast tomato

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pea, pine nut and rocket risotto

We have just implemented our new vegetarian dishes, yes, we are changing the entire a la carte but it has to go bit by bit  to ensure everything is running smooth.

The one new dish is a pea, pine nut and rocket risotto, it is an absolutely beautiful dish, very creamy and full of flavor. It is very easy to prepare, just needs a bit time to have everything ready, but as soon as the pea puree is made, it gets quick and easy.

So without further ado, here is the recipe, you will see that you will love this risotto
50 Ml Olive Oil
100 G Butter
800 G Risotto Rice
150 G Parmesan
200 G Onions
2000 Ml Chicken stock
500 Ml White Wine Salt
500 G Peas
250 G Baby Rocket
100 G Pine nuts
150 G Baby Peas
200 G Crème Fraiche

Cut the tomatoes in quarters and roast in the oven
Cut the onions in a fine brunoise
Shallow-fry the onions in olive oil without color
Add the rice and shallow-fry some more
Add the white wine and chicken stock
Season and simmer for about 15 min
Add peas and baby peas, pines and rocket for the last 5 minutes

Just before serving add the Parmesan, ice cold butter and crème fraiche

Garnish the risotto with tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and fresh rocket

Friday, April 12, 2013

Canapes, little delicious eats for cocktails

Smoked Salmon Roulade
Don't we all love going to cocktail, sipping the bubbly, talking stories to other people and listening to their stories and yes, of course nibbling these delicious little cocktail food called canapes.

Let me give you the definition of a canape as per Wikipedia:

The name comes from the French word for "couch," drawing on the analogy that the garnish sits atop the bread as people do a couch.
Because they are often served during cocktail hours, it is often desired that a canapé be either salty or spicy, in order to encourage guests to drink more. A canapé may also be referred to as finger food, although not all finger foods are canapés.  Crackers or small slices of bread or toast or puff pastry, cut into various shapes, serve as the base for savory butters or pastes, often topped with a “canopy” of such savory foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purees or relish.

Traditionally, canapés are built on stale white bread (though other foods may be used as a base), cut in thin slices and then shaped with a cutter or knife. Shapes might include circles, rings, squares, strips or triangles. These pieces of bread are then prepared by deep frying, sauteeing or toasting. The foods are sometimes highly processed and decoratively applied (e.g., piped) to the base with a pastry bag. Decorative garnishes are then applied. The canapés are usually served on a canapé salver and eaten from small canapé plates. The technical composition of a canapé consists of a base (e.g., the bread or pancake), a spread, a main item, and a garnish. The spread is traditionally either a compound butter or a flavored cream cheese. Common garnishes can range from finely chopped vegetables, scallions, and herbs to caviar or truffle oil.
Caramelized Foie Gras Profiterole
Wow, that is a lot of explanation for a little thing, but as you can see, they don't just look delicious, thy taste delicious.

Today I have 2 types for you, both of them are a little high end but something different to the usual cheese on cracker. The one is a smoked salmon roulade with cream cheese. I serve it on a toasted brown bread with a little lettuce. The other one is a Foie Gras Profiterole......I explain a little more about profiteroles another time, but it is basically choux pastry that is filled with a foie gras mousse and then the lid gets caramelized, this gives it a bit sweetness and crunchiness

Salmon Roulade

300 G Smoked Salmon
500 G Cream cheese
1 Ea Pumpernickel, rounds
15 G Salt
2 G Pepper
20 G Parsley, chopped
1 Ea Lemon juice

Baby Spinach
Radiccio salad
Frisee salad

Beat the cream cheese till light and fluffy
Add seasoning and chopped herbs
Take cling film and roll it on your working surface put one layer of smoked salmon on it
Spread the cream cheese evenly all over the salmon
Holding the cling film, carefully roll the salmon that it forms one long roulade
Wrap it in the cling film and freeze
Let it slightly defrost, cut in 5 mm slices

Take the pumpernickel, top with one leaf of baby spinach and a piece of radiccio salad
Top with the salmon roulade
Garnish with frisee lettuce Makes about 45 pieces

Foie Gras Profiterole

250 G Foie Gras
75 Ml Chicken stock, light
250 Ml Cream
10 G Salt
2 G Pepper
15 Ml Cognac
3 Ea Gelatine
100 G Sugar

Melt the foie gras in the chicken stock, not heating it too much
Blend everything in a food processor
Cool down to room temperature
Season with salt, pepper and cognac, it needs to bee a little on the salty side as otherwise with the cream it will taste bland
Soak and melt the gelatine
Add to the foie gras mix
Whip the cream till stiff
Fold into the foie gras mix

Caramelize the sugar
Cut the profiteroles in half
Dip the cover of the profiteroles in the caramel
Cool down Pipe the mousse on the bottom, then add the caramelized top

Makes about 45 pieces

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicken Breast on Creamy Asparagus Tagliolini

Today we have a super easy and delicious recipe, something when you start eating it you can't stop. Creamy pasta is always nice, but with asparagus it is just that much nicer.

The secret to this dish is that you use the stock of the white asparagus as a base for your white sauce, so there is plenty of flavor in it.......basically you will use the white asparagus soup as a sauce, with plenty of fresh green and white asparagus inside, then a crispy roast organic chicken breast on top, this is just like being in heaven.

When cooking asparagus you will be able to use about everything. I even take the water from blanching the green asparagus to cook my pasta in, it just adds to the flavor. Try it out yourself you will see it is just that much more delicious. I often use the blanching water of vegetables to cook my pasta

so here is the recipe

2 Kg (4.5 lb) Chicken breast
75 Ml (3 oz) Olive oil
20 G (2.5 oz) Salt
5 G (0.2 oz) Pepper
500 G (1 lb) Tagliolini
750 G (1.5 lb) Green asparagus
750 G (1.5 lb) White asparagus
250 Ml (10 oz) Cream
250 Ml (10 oz) Asparagus stock, white

Reduce the asparagus stock till half
Add the cream and boil up
Add the blanched green and cooked white asparagus
Season to taste Cook the tagliolini al dente, chill
Just before serving boil up the sauce and add the tagliolini, heat and plate

Season the chicken breast and fry in olive oil till golden brown
Finish the breast off in the oven
Let the breast rest for 5 minutes
Slice and plate

Garnish the plate with fresh herbs and a swirl of jus

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Veal on Asparagus

Now this is about as classical as it can get. We have a veal steak, asparagus, parsley potatoes, Hollandaise sauce and a bit gravy. Every single restaurant has it on the asparagus menu in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. It is a must have. If it is not on the menu, then the guests will either ask for it or complain that it is not on......strange but true.

So there is just no choice but giving you the recipe for this lovely dish, you will see the flavors are just perfect together, the harmony is tantalizing.....try it out

You might find 200 g of meat per person a little too much, but you will see after cooking the steaks are just perfect. When cooking the steaks please don't forget, veal is nothing else than a young beef that has not eaten grass yet, that is why the meat is still so light. Of course you can substitute the veal with young beef, it is not the same but will do just fine. Make sure you buy a good quality veal, organic farm grown is the best. The meat will be delicate and tender
The asparagus promotion went well, it is nearly finished and the dishes were really popular, especially the soup we had on the menu, so simple and so good, white asparagus with a rose of smoked salmon, just yummy, but as well the fish went well and of course the polenta. I will do it again next year, with some recipe changes, some new dishes, just having fun
You will see that the recipe for hollandaise gives you a lot of sauce, be generous, give your guests the Hollandaise because it is simply delicious and decadent. No, it is not for someone who is on weight watchers, that is for sure but this sauce will make everybody dream and wanting more and to run out of Hollandaise is the last thing you want to do

2 Kg (4.5 lb) Veal loin
25 G (1 oz) Salt
5 G Pepper
1 Kg (2 lb) Asparagus green
1 Kg (2 lb) Asparagus white

1.5 Kg (3 lb) Potatoes
100 G ( 3 oz) Butter
50 G (2 oz) Parsley

Hollandaise Sauce
50 G (2 oz) Shallots
10 Each Peppercorns
1 Each Bayleave
100 Ml (3 oz) Whitewine
6 Each Egg Yolks
600 G (1.3 lb) Butter
1 Each Lemon
1 Pinch Cayenne
5 G Salt

Cut the veal loin in 200 g (7.5 oz) steaks
Season and fry in a bit olive oil
Cook the white asparagus and blanch the green
Turn the potatoes and boil till soft
Melt the butter, toss potatoes and chopped parsley
Season to taste

Method for Hollandaise Sauce
Clarify the butter
Peel and chop the shallot
Reduce white wine together with shallots, peppercorns and bay leave
Cool the reduction down
Mix the reduction with the egg yolks
Whisk the mixture in a bain marie until poached
Take the mix off and cool down slightly while whisking all the times
Whisk in the warm clarified butter
Season to taste
Makes enough sauce for 10 friends

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everybody

I hope you all have a fantastic time and get this super maximum chocolate load we all don't really need but so much like. There is nothing nicer that eating all the chocolate bunnies, sugar coated eggs, marshmallow eggs and all the other sweets, then feel sick and guilty......but having enjoyed every bite!
Here at the hotel it is not all about the chocolate eating, no, it is actually a super busy day and everybody is running around like....Easter Bunnies, trying to get everything ready on time.

We are serving a big Easter Brunch and we are fully booked since weeks. You know how it is, everything is  fully booked, the waiting list goes on and on......and everybody comes, never mind if they have booked or not. We are ready for the big storm of guest, the battle Royal at the buffet, the trying to re-fill faster than the guest eat....yes it doesn't work all the times.
The array is actually quite big, you come in and get given a glass of Champagne....and there are Oysters as well, of course Champagne and Oysters belong together......and then it starts, there are lovely salads, cold meat platters with Parma ham, poached lobster and Norwegian Salmon, there is a Sushi station for the lovers of raw fish and then we have all the main courses from the buffet, the action station with fresh mussels, a carving station with lamb, chicken and rib eye.......going out side for the BBQ, grilled a la minute for our guests and then of course there is the desserts........the center piece of our Easter buffet.
As usual there is a slow start on the buffet, but after about one and a half hour we were hit by the wave......just refilling as fast as possible, trying to get through the people queuing for the food. Pool is shouting that they need help, they just got swamped with short orders.....everything is full, our waiters are on roller skates, but they can hardly get all the orders in time to the guests, one of our roller skaters at the pool is actually int eh Ghana National Skating he is fast believe me. No worry, I sent another chef outside and a stewarding to keep everything clean.
It is pumping now, for good 2 hours it doesn't sop, the life music is loud, the guests have a good time, the restaurant looks like an ant hill with the ants crawling all over the buffet. Short orders in the kitchen are on the pass, room service, bar and lobby is pretty hectic.....not every one wants to sit in the Restaurant.
4 is calming down, we will still have guests till nearly 5 PM, here everybody eats late, that is why the brunch only starts at 12
6 PM........everything is set for dinner, all is calm again, we are ready to serve the next meal. Banqueting is ready too, we have a wedding for 200, lucky it is buffet, so it is a bit easier
10 PM......Quiet evening, 70 a la carte, the day was good, the banquet is on going, but the food part is finished, another exciting day here in Accra comes to an end
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