Sunday, March 24, 2013

Foie Gras on creamy Asparagus

Now we go with the next recipe of this little series about Asparagus. This time I combine it with creamy asparagus and then olives and tomatoes, a little unusual, but really tasty. I got this idea from a master chef in Switzerland, he had a top rated restaurant in Basel and made a very similar dish and it was so good that I remembered it even so many years have passed

The tomatoes and olives are really important for this dish as otherwise it would be just too rich with the foie gras and the cream, so I just sautee a little shallot with olives and tomato concasse in a bit olive oil, I then add it around the finished dish and the acidity just breaks the other flavors and makes the entire dish even rounder
It looks like I have a lot of time to write at the moment, but believe me, at work it is hectic, we have one of the busiest month in the history of the hotel, we had huge functions, then special a request for a function that was 4 days, special tea breaks, dinners, lunches all for an African Beer Award, so yes, every coffee break was designed to be more of a beer break, so we served assorted pies, meat balls, cold cuts and more.....this is an event I might even write a Blog about.

Then we had some VIP's in house....nothing special just some governors (Nigeria, Congo), presidents (Lebanon) and former presidents (Brazil).....they keep us on our toes that is for sure and then we had a whole lot of small functions.
Amongst all that we prepared to change the Pool BBQ menu which will be implemented as well just before Easter, so everything comes together, the Asparagus promotion, the new Pool menu and Easter...... the fun never stops

Anyway, enough of all the talking, here we go with the recipe

600 G Foie Gras
500 G White asparagus
200 G Green asparagus
200 Ml Cream
50 G White wine
20 G Sugar
25 G Butter
10 G Salt

200 G Tomatoes
100 G Olives black
100 G Onions
5 G Salt
2 G Pepper
50 Ml Olive oil
100 Ml Balsamic vinegar
20 G Honey

Peel the white asparagus
Cook it carefully with white wine, sugar, salt and water
Cut the green asparagus and blanch
Cut tomatoes in concasse
Cut Olives in julienne
Cut onions in brunoise

Saute the onions in olive oil without color add olives, tomatoes and parsley
Season to taste, just saute quick
Make a creamy sauce from the stock of the white asparagus
Add the white asparagus to it, heat it nicely

Plate the asparagus in the middle of the plate
Fry the foie gras a la minute

Dress with the olive ragout
Add a little Balsamic reduction around

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soft Polenta with Asparagus and Tomato Ragout

I hope you enjoyed the last asparagus recipe, I know it looked very long, but you see it is actually not that difficult. Now I want to do a super easy recipe, something that is healthy and most people can eat. Yes it is gluten free and can even be done for Vegans. When I do the recipe for myself I have to admit that I prefer to cook the polenta with a chicken stock, it is just so great for the flavor, but if you have a good vegetable stock it will come out as perfect.

I found out that Polenta is something many people don't know, therefore they don't buy it or don't go for it in a restaurant. The traditional Polenta is done in a big copper pot on the fire. I had that last time when I was in North Italy in a small restaurant called Grotto. Grotto is a restaurant in the Italian Alps that is built like a type of older days this was used as a storage room because the temperature would stay the same all year long, but then the owners would convert these storerooms into small restaurants. Nowadays a Grotto stands for good and honest and simple cooking. Often one gets served local dishes together with the wine of the region, simple but delicious food.

If you use the coarse Polenta (the original way) it takes a lot of time for the cooking. The stock get boiled up and then the Polenta is added, stirred occasionally and simmered on very low fire for 2 to 3 hours........delicious but whoever has to clean the pot will hate you forever because is usually burns on the bottom. That is why we use the quick cooking polenta, everything is done withing 10 minutes, so it is very quick and easy and still delicious. I decided to go for the quick recipe as it is a lot easier.
There is as well a very simple way to makes sure your Polenta has the right consistency. For each Liter of liquid you take 200 g of Polenta. Most of the time it will come out in the perfect consistency. If you want to makes sure the Polenta stays nice and soft, only add 150 g of Polenta, boil it up and then let it rest for 10 minutes, stir and let it rest for another 5 minutes, then add the Parmesan and Butter

50 Ml Olive Oil
100 G Onions
2 Each Garlic Gloves
1.2 L Asparagus stock
20 G Salt
250 G Polenta rough
100 G Parmesan

500 G Asparagus green
500 G Asparagus white
500 G Tomatoes
100 G Onions
50 G Garlic
50 Ml Olive oil
15 G Salt
5 G Pepper

Cut the onions and garlic in a very fine brunoise
Shallow-fry in the olive oil without color
Add water and milk, boil up
Add the polenta while stirring all the time
Season with salt
Boil up, then put on the smallest flame
Leave the polenta covered for about 90 min
Mix in the parmesan just before serving

Blanch the green asparagus
Peel and cook the white asparagus
Cut the tomatoes in concassee
Cut the onions and garlic nice and fine

Saute all the ingredients in olive oil

Season to taste

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Asparagus Terrine

Spring is coming, even so Europe just got another cold spell and a lot of snow, but yes spring is coming. With spring there is something else coming, one of my favorite vegetables, asparagus. I know nowadays one can buy asparagus the whole year round, but for me, April and May are the traditional Asparagus month when the fresh white asparagus is coming on the market. I love white asparagus, it has the wonderful taste, not as strong as the green asparagus, but lighter, more delicate and deeper. The queen of vegetables!

So what is the difference between green and white asparagus? Just the color, white asparagus never sees the sunlight, so there is no photosynthesis. When the asparagus grows it gets covered with mulch and black plastic. It does help to keep the flavor delicate and the asparagus stems tender.

We will have now a mini series of asparagus dishes, basically every dish except the asparagus soup, as I have made already a Blog with the recipe. I want to start with....yes you are right, another terrine. I admit, I love terrines, I love making them it is just something that is time consuming but at the same time relaxing. This terrine is gelatin based, so everything gets put together and then chilled in the cold room.

If you like to see photos of the entire menu, feel free to check out the Country Gourmet Traveler Face book site, there you can have a preview on the recipes to come.....or if you are patient enough, the recipes will feature soon here.
750 g Asparagus white
750 g Asparagus green
300 G Parma ham
300 ml Asparagus stock
18 Ea Gelatin

1 Kg Potatoes
50 G Parma Ham
50 G Spring onions
50 Ml Oil
750 Ml Chicken stock

Cook the white asparagus till soft in the traditional way
Blanch the green asparagus till soft, then chill in ice water
Cut the Parma ham thinly

Lay out a terrine form with plastic wrap
Then put a layer of Parma ham all around

Soak the gelatin in cold water
Then melt it in the warm asparagus stock

Put one layer of asparagus in the terrine, always
alternating white and green
Then add some gelatin
Repeat till the terrine is full
Close with a layer of Parma ham
Cool in the fridge over night

Cook the potatoes in the chicken stock
Take the potatoes out, cut in cubes and add them back
in the stock to marinate
Fry some Parma ham in the pan with a little oil
When hard and crisp take out and cool
Crumble the Parma ham

Make a salad with the potatoes, stock and balsamic
Mix in the spring onions at the end

Plate a slice of terrine on a large white plate
Add some potato salad, sprinkle with the Parma ham powder
Garnish with garden leaves like frisee and rocket
Add a slice of Parma ham to it

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken Roulade with Lobster Mousse

I am on a roll at the moment. We are changing a lot of dishes on the menu, have new promotions coming up and therefore there is a lot of cooking and testing going on. I wanted to give you a very special recipe, something we actually did for the Valentines menu, but because I was so busy with other things had no time to make a blog about it.

It is a bit time consuming to make, but the result looks really stunning and is worth the effort. I wanted to create a stunning looking dish that amazes with its clear lines, classically and flavor.

Funny enough to combine lobster and chicken is nothing new, it has been done since 100 years by French chefs. The beauty of this combination is that both ingredients, as different as they are, the flavors just go wonderfully together.

I have then paired it with a simple potato gratin and fine green beans. A little chicken jus and the dish is finish.....ok, it is not that easy, but really worth the effort.

So here is the recipe
2 Chicken legs
250 Lobster meat
150 Salmon
300 Cream
10 Salt
3 Pepper

450 Green Beans
25 Butter
5 Garlic
10 Shallots
10 Salt
2 Pepper

250 Tomatoes
25 Olive Oil
5 Salt
1 Pepper

2 Potatoes
200 Milk
300 Cream
5 Nutmeg
10 Salt
2 Pepper
100 Parmesan


De bone the chicken legs and remove all skin
Flatten the legs a little
Blend Lobster meat and salmon in blender, add seasoning
The add ice cold cream, make sure everything stays cold
Take plastic wrap and spread it on your working place
Spread the mousse on the plastic
Then put one deboned leg on it
Roll it carefully and make a knot on each side
Make sure the plastic is nice and tight

Poach in water for 20 minutes at 85 C Cool down in the fridge
When using take the plastic off and fry in butter till golden brown, then finish off in the oven

Clean the beans and blanch, then fry with shallots and garlic, season to taste
Roast the tomatoes in the oven till semi dried

For the potato gratin boil up cream with garlic, onions salt, pepper and nutmeg
Cut the potatoes very thin, then add 2 layers of potatoes and then some of the flavored cream.
Repeat till you have a nice stack
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 180 C Cool the gratin down over night
The next day cut it in portions, sprinkle with Parmesan and heat up in the oven

Saturday, March 9, 2013

South Africa, Club Mykonos, Langebaan

OK, for a change I want to tell you a bit about travel, not just food. This time it is about a holiday destination in South Africa, in Langebaan on the west coast, about 100 north of Cape Town.

Club Mykonos is the perfect retreat for either a weekend or even one or two weeks at the time. It is all self catering with built in BBQ or Braai as it is called in South Africa. The rooms are serviced daily and one actually finds everything that is needed in the huge complex. Usually one apartment sleeps 4 or 6 people and there is ample space for everybody. The kitchen is well stocked and the stove works very well, which is important for me, being a chef.
There is of course a Casino, so if anybody is interested in making a quick buck or two (or loosing them) this is the place to go. It is not one of the major fancy casinos in Cape Town, but it is overall very nice.
There are a couple of restaurants and bars on the complex. Yes it is nice to have a cold beer or drink at the pool while the kids are playing in the jungle gym. The main restaurant seems a bit big for me, especially in quieter times, but I can imagine that it is humming in high season. I liked the coffee shop a lot, it is just nice to pop in and have something small to eat. The atmosphere is cosy and warm.
Club Mykonos emphasizes the kids entertainment. There is not just a kids centre where they can play, but one can rent Play Stations and more and of course there is a kids program, even out of season which is great for parents who like to have a bit free time. In the photo below you can see the kids centre, it is quite big and has a lot to offer.
There is a lovely mini golf track which is really close to the restaurants and the small shop, so one can play and just pop over to the shop and get an ice cream. There is everything one needs in the shop, so if you need some bread, cereal, milk, yogurt or juice, they have it. It is just so convenient. Even so if someone wants to stock up the fridge a bit more extensively there is a shopping center less than 5 minutes drive from the complex
And then of course being next to the Atlantic, there is a big yacht club. So one can actually sail to Club Mykonos, stay there, use the golf club in Langebaan which is really beautiful and just have a good time. There are many events all year round, yacht races and more, so it is worth checking out the website to be up to date at all times
Overall this is a great place to be, even so far from Cape Town it is still close enough to do a day trip there and enjoy the tourist attractions there

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Smoked Salmon Mille Feuille

We had some special guests in the restaurant today and they wanted to have something different. As a starter they requested smoked salmon, something rather common, but nice to work with. It is very versatile and can be paired with so many things.

I decided to go with Pumpernickel and cream cheese. Both are very traditional ingredients for smoked salmon. To make it a bit different, I simply layered the read with the flavored cream cheese and the smoked salmon. Pumpernickel is a traditional German bread made with rye, sometimes rye flower and often with whole rye "berries" which is the rye before it is ground, but then cooked, it is cooked very slowly, for about 198 to 20 hours on a fairly low temperature (120 C or 250 F) to give it the special texture and color. It actually tastes slightly sweet.

Then I gave a little bit of smoked salmon on the side, a small, crispy salad and just some vinaigrette. This is a starter that is so somple to prepare, but is really effective with the guests, my guests loved it.

So without much further ado, here is the recipe for this simple but delicious starter
300 g (11 oz) Cream Cheese
30 g (1 oz)Garlic
30 g (1 oz) Parsley
1 pinch of Salt
1 pinch of Pepper

600 g (11 oz) Smoked Salmon

1 pack Pumpernickel

30 g (1 oz) Frisee lettuce
30 g (1 oz) Red Oak
30 g (1 oz) Lollo Rosso
30 g (1 oz) Chicory

60 ml (2 oz) Olive oil
25 ml (1 oz) Balsamic Vinegar
Mix the crem cheese with the chopped herbs and season
The take a pumpernickel, add some cream cheese and then a layer of smoked salmon
Repeat this till you have used up all the Pumpernickel
Keep the Mille feuille for 2 hours in the fridge to settle
For the plating cut the Mille-Feuille in triangles
Then add some more smoked salmon on the side
Garnish with the salad, add the dressing
The recipe is enough for 4 friends

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cured Salmon

I have been away for a while, but now I am back in full swing with new recipes and tips, some more about travel and other interesting stuff.

One of the first things I did when coming back to work is some cured salmon, or Gravad Lax. This is a wonderful way of marinating fresh salmon, the flavor comes out beautifully and it is extremely versatile. I like to serve it with a honey-mustard dressing, rocket salad and beetroot.
Just a bit about the history of the cured salmon. It was originally done in the middle ages as a way of preserving the salmon as it is a seasonal fish. The fish was simply salted and buried in the sand to ferment. Of course the flavor of the fish was not even close to what we have today, it was a very strong smelling fish, but it gave food to the people in hard times.

Presently the salmon gets cured with a lot more ingredients, the other main ingredient is sugar, but then one uses as well juniper berries, black pepper, mustard seed and dill.
I tasted some absolutely amazing cured wild Norwegian salmon when I was in Bergen, Norway. There is one of the most amazing fish markets in the world, it has become very much a tourist attraction, but it is still authentic and a must for every traveller going to Norway. It is amazing the array of fresh fishes one can get there. One is welcome to sample and it is possible to buy some and eat right there. I was fortunate enough to be there early in the morning while working on one of the cruise ships and we had at around 7.30 in the morning tasters of cured and smoked wild salmon on freshly baked bread......with a glass of Aquavit....... yes the day started well. The combination is absolutely wonderful and I was hooked on the wild salmon. Of course I went wild in buying and all the residents on the ship were able to sample the salmon for the next couple of days while back at sea.

1 Ea Salmon Fillet
50 G Salt
50 G Sugar
15 G Pepper black coarse
10 G Juniper berries
10 G Caraway seeds
10 G Mustard seeds
2 Ea Lemon rind
2 Ea Orange rind
250 G Dill fresh

100 G Onion

100 G Beetroot

50 G Pommery mustard
20 G Honey
30 Ml Cider Vinegar
75 Ml Oil

100 G Rocket

Remove all the small bones from the fillet
Leave the skin on.
Sprinkle with all the ingredients, starting with salt and sugar
Crush the juniper berries slightly
At the end cover generously with freshly chopped dill.
Leave for three days in the fridge, then slice and serve.

The more salt and sugar used, the faster the salmon will cure.

Roast beetroot in the oven with the skin till soft
Cool, peel and cut in cubes

Slice onions in fine slices

Mix all other ingredients to a nice Dressing

Garnish with rocket salad and toasted brioche bread
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...