Monday, September 29, 2014

A taste of Morocco: Potatoes Maekouda

We have just opened a new restaurant in the hotel, called Marrakesh. and of course being a beautiful city in Morocco, we are serving Moroccan snacks and delicacies together with traditional tea and coffee and of course Shisha.

The restaurant is absolutely beautiful, being situated next to our Liquid Bar, one can relax on the carpets and sofas, the swimming pool in front, and then of course the waves splashing against the rock, really a relaxing place to be
When it comes to the food, we went as authentic as possible, our two Moroccan chefs really worked hard to get everything ready on time and after the food tasting, a first evening with all the senior management and a pre-opening cocktail party, we are starting today with being open to our hotel guests.

To make the dish of today is really, really easy. It is basically mashed potatoes flavored with some braised onions, then crumbed and deep fried. Like this you will get a deliciously light interior with the crispy and crunchy outer part

You can easily do that in advance and freeze, just do the crumbing a la minute, then fry immediately and serve 

1 kg Potatoes
100 g Onions
10 g Salt
2 g Pepper, white, ground
3 ea Eggs
150 g Panko Crumbs
100 g Flour

Peel the potatoes and boil in salt water till soft
Dry the potatoes in the oven a bit
Put them through a potato masher
Chop the onions finely and fry in olive oil without color, then mix with the potatoes and season
Form discs of about 50 g each
Beat the eggs
Put potatoes in flour, then eggs, then crumbs
Deep fry and serve immediately

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Indian Cuisine: Masala Kulcha

Today we have another Indian Recipe of a dish we serve in our Vegetarian Restaurant, Masala Kulcha, the Indian breads which are baked in an oven, or Tandoor. To work on a Tandoor takes a lot of stamina, the heat is absolutely excruciating and then to "glue" the bread on the side of the just really really burning hot. Trust me, I have put my hand and arm in a Tandoor and all my hairs on my fore arm where singed off.....

So I have my utmost respect for the chefs working on the Tandoor and what they do is absolutely delicious, but why would I give a recipe that requires a Tandoor? Because you can do it in your oven as well....maybe not as perfect, but try it, because you will see it does work.
It is just really important that to oven is very, very hot, I mean burning hot. The you put your baking tray in the oven, making sure it gets piping hot as well. The you take the dough, pull it a bit and then you slap it around with your hands, a bit like a Pizzaiolo does, just your dough is like a miniature Pizza Dough

Then you bast it quickly with some Ghee, which is simply clarified butter, add the chopped herbs and you bake it quickly. It might not be perfect, but I am sure you will get a good result.

When it comes to the topping of the breads, be creative, garlic goes well, plain is always delicious, or add ground pepper and spices!

Plain Flour- 500-600g
Oil- 3tbsp
Yogurt- 1 cup (lukewarm)
Yeast- 1 ½ tsp
Baking Powder- ½ tsp
Salt- To taste
Chopped onion
Chopped chilli
Chopped ginger
Onion seeds

Take the flour in a large bowl.
Add the yogurt, milk, sugar, baking powder, 1 tbsp oil and some salt to it.
Now add some water and the yeast to the same mixture.
Prepare a dough and leave it to rest for at least two hours.
Now take the dough and make small balls out of it.
Roll it out thinly and slap the dough between your hands a bit like a mini Pizza
Stuck all the chopped masala on top of small ball, with touch of oil
Cook in tandoor or in the hot oven and serve hot with applying salted ghee.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vegan Cuisine: Punjabi Samosa

Yes we are going Vegan for a change, but in a way that it is amazingly tasty and anyone would enjoy it, not just Vegans.

OK, I have to admit that I usually use Ghee (clarified butter) and a little yogurt in the dough but it is easily left away and as tasty as if one uses Ghee. One can as well substitute with Soy Milk

There is a lot of Indian Vegan Cuisine, it is amazing to see the range of vegetarian and vegan dishes cooked in India. So we have brought some of it in our Restaurant called Just the name says, we do only serve vegetarian cuisine there and even in the kitchen, no meat of fish will be prepared.

Just Veg is the first and only Vegetarian Restaurant in Maldives and is part of the All-Inclusive Plan of Atmosphere Kanifushi, a relatively new hotel that is not even one year old. But the restaurant has already fetched honors in England when it was voted one of the top 10 restaurants in Maldives by Travelogy, a top Travel Agency in the UK, and something that we are very proud of.

Towards the end of the month we will get a Guest chef here, I am not telling you much yet, but yes he has a Michelin Star, he comes from Milano, Italy and the restaurant is Vegetarian.....not many of them have a Michelin star
1 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp Carom Seeds
Warm Water as required
Salt to taste

For Stuffing:
500 gm Potatoes - Boiled, Peeled and Mashed
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Ginger Finely Chopped
2 tsp Green Chili Finely Chopped
1/2 cup Onion Finely Chopped
½ tbsp Red Chili Powder
2 tbsp Fried Cashew Nuts - Finely Chopped
1 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Fresh Coriander Leaves
½ cup Green Peas, Boiled ½ tbsp
Dry Mango Powder
1 tbsp Oil

Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

Take a bowl. Add flour, salt, carom seeds, oil and mix well.
Knead a firm dough using warm water Heat oil in a pan.
Add cumin seeds when its splutter add ginger, green chili, onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes
Add red chili powder, garam masala, salt, dry mango powder, peas and mix well
Add mashed potatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat
Add fresh coriander, fried cashew nuts and mix well. Keep aside
Take one lemon size dough and spread into a thin circle.
Cut it into half and make a cone of half circle with the help of water
Take a some portion of potato filling and place it in the middle of cone and close the cone with the help of water
Heat oil in a pan and deep fry samosa on medium heat.
Serve hot

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Reef Fish on Zucchini, Red Capsicum Sauce

Just a quick light dish for lunch, I put the dish on the buffet but it goes perfectly well as a light lunch, it is filling, looking good on the plate and has no starch, so we can cut a bit on the carbs.

Reef fish for me is the obvious choice as I get it around 3 times a week fresh from the fishermen, often I get fresh Tuna as well, so fresh that we use it straight for Sashimi, what a dream. But we are not talking about Sashimi today, we are talking a nice Mediterranean dish.
By the way, did you know that all the fish in Maldives is caught by line? No nets are allowed for the fishing so the Eco Balance is still there, OK, not like 50 years ago, but at least it is not too over fished. Except the Lobster, unfortunately the consumption is too high and there is less and less lobster available, but it is really good to know that the fishermen are taking care of the environment with the way they are fishing
The Capsicum sauce is most probably the one part of the recipe that takes the longest to cook, but I usually make enough and then freeze it as it is so versatile and can be used in anything, I even make salad dressings with it. All you do is take the red peppers, cut the pips and the green out and simmer in water with a little salt till they are very soft.. By then the water has reduces to about half. Then I simply blend it, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and put it back in the pan. The I blend it up with some really good olive oil, season and finish
If I want to freeze the sauce, I just leave the olive oil away and freeze it pure, like that I can just take what I need and blend up with the oil.

The Zucchini are simply cut in slices, then I rub them in olive oil (really good olive oil), salt and coarse pepper. As for the salt, I like to use a coarse salt like the Maldon Sea Salt. The I make sure I have some fresh Thyme and a bit garlic, finely sliced.
I just quickly grill the Zucchini and keep them warm while I fry the fish in olive oil, or simply grill it.

The plating is great and honestly, it is not much work at all, but the dish will make your family happy or your guest say wow.......

Recipe for 10 friends

2 kg Reef Fish
800 g Zucchini
50 ml Olive oil
10 g Salt
5 g Pepper
5 Twigs Thyme

700 g Capsicum red
10 g Garlic
100 g Onions
6 g Salt
3 g Pepper
100 ml Olive oil

Clean the capsicum, making sure no pips are left
Peel onion and garlic and cut in small pieces
Combine in a pot and add water till nearly covered
Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil
Simmer till very soft, blend and strain

Cut the zucchini in 1 cm thick slices
Season with olive oil salt, pepper and thyme
Fry on both sides till golden brown

Season the fish and pan fry or grill with olive oil 
Just before serving mix up the capsicum sauce with olive oil to give it a smooth consistency
The dish on the buffet

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Beef Tartar with Salmon Roe

I always feel that Amuses or Amuse Bouche are such an important part of a meal. It is the business card from the kitchen, the little surprise that gets the guests going, the start of a great meal.

As the name says it already the Amuse Bouche is a bit like a teaser to the taste buts, the preview of things to come. I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in France where the kitchen would serve even an Amuse for the desserts, the pastry liking to show off as well.

The beef tartar is actually a very easy to make amuse. At the same time it is a dish I would only eat in a reputable restaurant as it has its dangers when eating raw meat. It really has to be super fresh and the hygienic conditions in the kitchen have to be top

I like to mix in some different flavors so this time I added some salmon roe and crème fraiche. All together it is a lovely experience of the meat flavors, the saltiness of the roe and the creaminess of the crème fraiche

Here is the recipe for 4 friends (starter portion)

320 g Beef fillet or any other lean and tender cut
50 g Onions
10 g Garlic
25 g Spring onions
10 g Mustard (Moutarde de Meaux)
10 ml Olive oil
60 g Salmon Roe
40 g Crème Fraiche


Cut the meat in very fine cubes, I prefer it like this as you have more texture to the dish.
Chop the onions and garlic very fine
Cut the spring onions
Mix the meat with all ingredients except the roe and crème fraiche
Season to taste
Plate the tartar in small rings
Garnish with roe and crème fraiche
Optionally garnish the tartar with a sweet potato chip and or a small salad

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