Thursday, April 17, 2014

Carrot Salad from Tom Aikens

We just had an amazing time here at Soneva Fushi with our guest chef Tom Aikens, one of the top chef in UK. We did a couple of events here, a cooking class, a cocktail with his amazing canapes, a Gourmet Dinner and a chef's table

It was a lot of work, but I think it was absolutely worth it because it was great to see how everything came together at the end. There are a lot of individual techniques and cooking methods on each dish, so it was not always easy to get the ingredients and specialized products for the food.

Today I want to share one of my favorite dishes we did during his time here, the Carrot salad. It is an unbelievable amount of work, but trust me, this is no ordinary carrot salad, this is a piece of art, something extremely special, it is as well by far the longest recipe I have copied and even so usually I don't really work with recipes, here I have to
Tom with me and Roland, the CDC of our fine dining restaurant
You will see with the recipe below, how involved this recipe is, there is purees, dressing, Malto.....pickles and sorbet, all based around the carrot. It will take you a long time to do all the ingredients, it will take time and patience to find the ingredients and you will need specialized equipment, so this recipe is not for the normal cook, it is actually for the advanced professional to do. For anybody who dares to take on the entire recipe, I can guarantee you that this will be an explosion of carrot flavors. For everybody else, it is already great just to take an individual part of the recipe like the honey pickled baby carrots, something everybody can do

Then of course there is the Molecular part, like the Tarragon Malto, something you can attempt easily at home, but to have a great result you need an amazing blender. Malto is actually something very simple, Malto is a powder that either thickens oil to a jelly, or if you add more, it makes powder, The famous Molecular Gastronomy powder. So here we make a home made tarragon oil, then we add the Malto and make a light green tarragon oil powder, cool!

Carrot Dressing
250 G Carrots
300 Ml olive oil
2 G salt
4 G Castor sugar
12 Turn Pepper, ground
100 Ml Vinegar, white wine
300 Ml Muscat/Sauterne
500 Ml Carrot juice
400 Ml olive oil
12 G Tarragon
8 G Thyme
2 Ea Bay leaves

Peel the carrots and chop them finely, place a pan onto a low med heat and cook these in 150 ml of olive oil with the thyme, tarragon, 2g salt, 4g sugar, cook these on a medium heat for 5 mins so they start to cook down. Deglaze the pan with the white wine vinegar then reduce to almost nothing, add the 300 ml muscat and reduce by 2/3 then add the carrot juice that has already been heated and passed. Reduce this by 2/3 rds then add the 300ml olive oil and simmer for 3-4 mins on a very low heat. Then leave this this to cool, then sous vide and cook at 75c for 2 hours then refresh in iced water and leave for at least 3 days before use so it takes on more flavor, every day mix the bag up so that it takes on more flavor.

Ultatex Carrot puree
300 G Carrots
300 Ml Sauterne
1 G Citric Acid
8 Turn Pepper black
1 G Salt

Use 25 g Ultratex on 400 ml liquid
Juice the carrots, once juiced take of the scum with a ladle and then place into the sauterne, mix well with a whisk then add the citric acid followed by the seasoning, whisk in the ultratex then pass through a fine sieve.

Carrot Puree
300 G Carrots
50 G Butter
12 Twig Tarragon
8 Twig Thyme
2 G Sea salt
200 Ml Chicken stock
150 Ml Cream
20 Ml Lemon juice
12 G Sugar, castor

Heat a pan over a low heat then sweat the carrots in the butter with the salt, sugar, tarragon and thyme covering with a lid and cook for 8-10 mins with no colour stirring now and again, add the stock and cream and cook till this has reduced at a simmer for approx ten mins and is soft. Remove the thyme and tarragon, place this into a blender with the lemon juice and puree till very smooth, pass through a fine sieve.

Carrot Mousse
100 G Carrot Ultratex
100 G Carrot Puree
1.5 Leaf Gelatin
100 G Cream, whipped
8 G Tarragon leaves

Heat a little of the carrot puree then add the gelatin, add this back to the remaining carrot puree then add the carrot ultratex and semi set over ice and then fold in the cream, leave to set properly over iced water before you put it in a blue piping bag.

Carrot Vege Gel sheet
350 G Carrots
300 Ml Sauterne
15 G Carrot puree
1.5 G Citric Acid
1 G Salt
12 G Vege Gel (Gelatin powder)

Juice the carrots, once juiced take of the scum with a ladle and then place into the sauterne, mix well with a whisk then bring to a slow simmer, take off the heat and pass through a muslin then add the carrot puree citric acid and seasoning, whisk in the vege gel and heat to required temp then place over the cling filmed and oiled tray

Carrot Sorbet
375 G Carrot puree
500 Ml Carrot juice
25 Ml Lemon Juice
70 Ml Orange Juice
70 Ml Stock Syrup
3 G Citric Acid
1 Leaf Gelatin
1 G Guar Gum
4 G Stab 2000
40 G Lemon Balsamic

Best freeze everything together and use the Pacojet

Mix carrot puree with the Juice, OJ, Syrup, lemon juice, melt the gelatin in the syrup and add to the mix along with the stabiliser then guar gum and vinegar last.

Carrots Semi Dried
20 Ea Baby Carrots
300 Ml Carrot juice
250 Ml Sweet wine
3 G Bayleaves
30 Ml Lemon Juice
12 G Lemon Thyme
12 G Tarragon
2 G Salt

Baby Bunched carrots 10 in each bag, these are topped, tailed and peeled, leaving the tail bit on. Mix the above, then place into two vac pac bag’s and cook at 85c in water bath for approx 45 mins, till tender, reduce these down in a pan with all the liquid, then once reduced place into a dryer at 70c for 2 hrs till they have shrunk by half, then store them in an air tight container.

Tarragon Oil
200 Grapeseed oil
250 Tarragon leaves
2 Salt
4 Castor Sugar

Blanch the tarragon leaf, cook until just soft, then refresh in iced water and squeeze all the water out then place this into the thermomix and cook to 70c in 7 minutes then chill instantly, drain through a double muslin cloth secured with an elastic band over a small bain marie.

Tarragon Malto
50 G Tarragon Oil
30 G Maltosec

Mix the two together
whisk well so they are mixed and then pass through a fine sieve.

Blanching Baby Carrots
2 Kg Baby Carrots
2 L Water
12 G Salt
30 G Sugar, Castor

Bring all to a simmer then add the carrots individually in the right color and size, then once cooked refresh in iced water.

Honey Pickled Carrots
500 Ml Carrot juice
4 G Coriander seeds
2 G Fennel seeds
12 Ea Tarragon sprigs
8 G Thyme
8 G Salt
10 Ea Peppercorn black
300 G Honey
50 Ml Vinegar, white wine

Bring all to a simmer then place the peeled baby carrots into sous vide bag with the pickling liquor, cook at 85c for approx. 20-25 mins then cool in iced water.

Pickled Carrots
400 Ml Carrot juice
50 G Castor sugar
2 G Coriander seeds
1 G Fennel seeds
6 G Tarragon
6 G Thyme
8 G Sea Salt
14 Ea Pepper black
2 Ea Bay leaves
250 Ml Olive oil
100 Ml Vinegar white wine
100 Ml White wine

Place all the ingredients into a pan from the carrot juice to the white wine and bring to a slow simmer, checking the seasoning. Use this to cook the carrots in the sous vide bags.

Herb Yoghurt
200 G Yoghurt
20 G Tarragon keaves
20 G Parsley leaves
20 G Chervil leaves
20 G Lovage leaves

Bring a pan of 2 L water to a boil with 12 g salt and cook the herbs altogether till just soft, place instantly into the Vita prep with 100 ml of the cooking water added, the puree needs to go around in the blender till nice and smooth. Then chill instantly over iced water, weigh out 40 g for the recipe and place the rest into the freezer in a small container. Then once frozen turn out of the plastic container and wrap individually cling film then vac pac and freeze in two separate bags.

To finish yogurt
100 G Strained yogurt
40 G Herb puree
2 G Salt
8 Turn Black pepper

Mix all together

Malt Crumb
100 G Pearl Barley
100 G Malt flakes

100 G Spelt flour
100 G Rye flour

215 G Toast mixed flours
20 G Brown sugar
50 G Barley Malt syrup
80 G Butter, soft
2 G Salt

20 G Maltosec
100 G Rye bread crumbs

Roast the pearl barley and Malt flakes for two hours at 150c and then turn the oven up to 165c and cook till nicely caramelized then cool and blend to a fine powder and pass through a fine sieve

Toast all the flours at 165c, till they are nice and golden brown, then mix all the four flours together and weigh out the below

Mix all together in a bowl till a loose crumb is formed by mixing with your finger tips then place onto a baking tray on a plastic mat at 170c, cook till crisp and golden in color. Then allow to cool, then make to a fine crumb with your fingers.
Mix with Maltosec and rye bread crumbs

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Black Ivory Coffee

Sometimes one comes across strange things, delicious things, bad tasting things and rare things.....among many other things. I came across a very rare thing called Black Ivory Coffee

What is so special on this coffee?

Firstly, only 200 kg are produced each year, that of course makes it extremely rare, especially when one thins that in Finland everybody consumes on average 11 kg coffee per year, so 20 Fins would drink up the entire production.
Secondly, and I think that is even more interesting, the coffee is not made in the traditional way, no, it is actually .........let me start from the very beginning

In northern Thailand there are coffee plantations, some very high quality Arabica cherries (coffee beans still in the skin). They get harvested and then, ha and this is the big difference, gets fed to street rescued elephants! So now you can imagine what happens: The elephants eat the coffee cherries, then digest them and .....yes they are coming out in the back again. Then the fermented cherries (only the nice and whole ones) get picked from the elephant poop. To produce 1 kg of coffee beans, one needs 33 kg of fresh coffee cherries. Why? Because when the elephants eat it, it gets mixed with fresh fruit and eaten as a snack, some of the cherries will get crushed between the teeth and are not usable anymore. Then sometimes the elephant do what they have to do in places that they can not find the poop or they are in the water....and everything is lost. So it is not easy.
Then they get cleaned and dried. The coffee gets then roasted at 200C to a medium roast, then packed and shipped immediately to conserve the freshness. So for anybody who has doubts about the cleanliness of the coffee? It has been tested and came out as one of the cleanest coffees available.

The preparation of the coffee is something special too. It work in a vacuum coffee machine, a replica of an 1840 model, and it works perfectly. The coffee beans get grind by hand at the table and then the coffee is prepared, so there is a lot of show and enough time for the waiter to tell a great story about the elephants and the coffee
Blake, the owner of Black Ivory Coffee demonstrating the grinding of the coffee
How does the coffee taste????? If you expect any special flavor....sorry to disappoint you, it tastes like coffee. OK, it is milder than coffee, maybe for many of us too mild, it even looks a little bit like a dark tea. I have to admit, I do prefer a nice espresso after dinner, but if it is explained properly on the flavors, one just takes a little sugar in the coffee, yes I have to admit it is actually very nice
How much does it cost? Let's jut say, it is not cheap, but if you want to try, we will offer it within the next couple of month as one of only 19 hotels world wide to be able to sell the coffee

There is another coffee that is made similar, but with Civets, but unfortunately because of the popularity there are now cases of animal cruelty, so one has to be careful with buying that coffee

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sri Lankan Coconut Crepes

Today we do another lovely dessert from Sri Lanka, a lovely and yes very sweet dessert.

We have plenty of coconuts here on the island, nobody really knows how many exactly but the guesses are all around 3000 trees, so there is a year round supply of fresh coconuts which we serve daily to our guests. I this amazing to see how the guys go up the trees with the simplest method of having a towel wrapped around the feet and the tree and off the go to the lofty heights to get the coconuts

Of course we have some older coconuts as well and that is exactly what we need for this dessert. The fresh coconuts have very little meat, but of course lots of juice so perfect for drinking

The filling is very sweet, typical for desserts from Sri Lanka and India, they are all sugar loaded, but taste delicious

The garnish you can see on teh photo is a sesame brittle. I simply caramelize sugar, just to a light caramel. I take the caramel off the fire and add the sesame seeds in it. You don't need to toast the sesame before because the heat of the caramel will toast teh sesame automatically. Then I pour it on a slightly oiled cold surface and when it is cold and hard I break it into small pieces. This makes a great garnish for many desserts

But here is the recipe, you will see, it is actually very easy to do

2 Ea Eggs
2 Ea Egg yolk
80 G Sugar
250 G Flour
25 G Butter
550 Ml Milk
10 Ml Vanilla essence
5 G Salt

200 G Coconut, freshly grated
200 G Palm sugar
20 G Mixed spices
1 Ea Orange zest
1 Ea Lime zest

Melt the butter, then mix all ingredients for crepes
Let it rest for an hour in the fridge
Bake thin crepes in a crepe pan

Chop the palm sugar (Jagery)
Mix with lemon and lime zest
Add a little water
Bring to the boil Add grated coconut
Cook for just a couple of minutes
Cool down completely

Fill the crepes with the coconut and roll them

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