Sunday, December 11, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Apples and pears are so versatile…while they are great to eat raw; they also make a delicious addition to baked goods, salads, sauces or stews.
Personally, from a cooks perspective, I prefer to use pears in my cooking. There are more than 3,000 varieties of pear cultivated all over the world, but it is thought that the wild pear originated in Asia and the ancient Greeks introduced them to Europe. They come in different shapes and sizes and vary in sweetness and texture and so can be used in different ways. Most cooks tend to prefer the Comice pear for their sweet, aromatic flavour and good texture,
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Pretty soon now, potatoes should have been lifted and stored for the winter. Consequently, a wide range is now available and it’s a good time to experiment with the world’s favourite tuber.
|Potato & parmesan soup with walnut-watercress pesto|
I think the potato is a fantastic ingredient for any cook. They are so versatile, can be cooked in so many different ways and they are also a great vehicle for absorbing loads of other flavours. My favourite pairings for potatoes include truffles, bacon, capers, anchovies, watercress & caviar. The combination of warm roasted new potatoes topped with sour cream & caviar is simply awesome and must rate as my preferred canapé of all-time.
Potatoes were by no means an instant success in the western world; they were thought to have originated in Chile when prehistoric tribes took them to the Andes region of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. The potato had been cultivated for centuries in South America before the Spanish conquistadors arrived and took
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Autumn is all about the harvest....it's the time for gathering and collecting…making Jam, making wine & bottling preserves.
The golden colours take over from the vivid display of summer and cooking takes on a different character too. The flavours are more powerful and pronounced, as the ingredients lend themselves to more robust, earthy dishes with game, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin and wild mushrooms all coming into season.
|Mushroom & Spinach Tartlets|
There’s something special about wild mushrooms. The fact that they have still defied modern cultivation methods and only grow wild in woodlands and meadows adds to their mystery. Wild varieties have been gathered since 3500bc. The Greeks exported them to the Romans who considered them food for gods and the Egyptians would only serve them to the pharaohs as they were judged to be far too good for ordinary mortals like you and me.
These days’s mushroom picking is a national pastime in Spain, and thousands of passionate devotees spend hours in the fields and meadows searching for them. Collectively they are known as “setas” or “hongos”, and dozens of regional varieties exist. Although autumn is traditionally considered the best season for wild mushrooms, Spain’s varied microclimate helps to offer a
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Cool summer soups are a refreshing addition to warm-weather menus.
Just as the cauldron of hot soups, broths & stocks provide comfort and solace on a winter’s day; chilled soups are a refreshing respite from the heat of summer. As the great French Chef Auguste Escoffier said, “Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite", while Beethoven claimed” Only the pure of heart can make good soup". But in this sweltering heat, they have to be chilled right down and served iced cold.
The king of cold soups is gazpacho. In essence, they are wonderful thirst-quenching, liquid salads, made with fresh, raw vegetables and ripe tomatoes; and they are the perfect thing for long, hot summer days.
Friday, August 19, 2011
LAMB KOFTE KEBABS WITH FRESH HERB & CUCUMBER YOGHURT
Ingredients Serves 4
500kg good quality lamb meat (from the leg or shoulder)
1 clove garlic,
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A generous pinch of hot paprika
6 fresh mint leaves
Salt to taste
To make the kofte, Place the lamb with the garlic, mint leaves and spices in the food processor. Blend to form a fine mince.
Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. With wet hands, divide the seasoned mince into 8 equal portions and mould each one around a wooden skewer into a long sausage shape.
When ready to cook, heat a griddle or grill to it’s highest setting. Place the köftes on the griddle or grill and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with fresh herb & cucumber yoghurt.
FRESH HERB & CUCUMBER YOGHURT
1 small cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks.
125g cream cheese
120ml natural yoghurt
4tbsp finely chopped herbs such as basil, coriander,
1tbsp white wine vinegar
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend for 10 seconds.
Place in a bowl and chill until required.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Chocolate & Lavender Crême brulée
Ingredients: serves 6
1tbsp lavender flowers
1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
grated zest of 1 orange
Heat the cream, milk, lavender flowers, vanilla pod and orange zest in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil and remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes and strain through a fine sieve. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and add the cream mixture.