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

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